Interview with Au Champ Des Morts

Every time I write a review, I try to get in touch with the band and get some more information around the album and the musicians responsible for it. And it is always a pleasure when this actually happens. Back in February I wrote about Dans La Joie and a few days ago I had the pleasure of talking with Cécile G., a very down to earth personality with a lot of insights to share. Go ahead and read this…

Give me some historical background on the band and the members.

Cécile: Au Champ Des Morts started up in August 2014 when the both guitar players, Stefan Bayle (ANOREXIA NERVOSA) and Migreich (VULV) first met during an underground festival in France. They’ve decided to make this project a real band and in 2015, the line-up was completed by the arrival of Wilheim (NEURASTHENIE, EXECUTION) on drums and myself (OLEN’K, ANOREXIA NERVOSA) on bass. After recording the album, Migreich decided to leave the band so now we’re evolving as a trio.

What is the feedback on the album so far? Are sales going as you expected?

The feedbacks on our album are good and far beyond our expectations. We are very touched by the welcome given to our work. Regarding sales, we don’t know yet and it’s still too early to say because our album has been released at the end of January. And honestly we don’t expect anything, I mean, we did not really thought about this, especially since this is our first album, so we will see. At present, I don’t think you can predict anything concerning record sales in underground music.

You incorporate a lot of different elements in your songs. Can you name some of your influences?

Our influences are very varied, to sum up, it goes from black metal, cold wave, old hard rock, essentially bands from the 80s to now. And to name but a few I will cite bands like Bathory, Celtic Frost, And Also the Trees, Dead Can Dance, Austere, The Devil’s Blood… There are too many to quote them, but we are really passionate and we always listen with pleasure to the cult albums as we always looking for new stuff too.

What are the lyrical themes about?

For the lyrics, we all participate, we write on a theme or something inspired by the music, or a personal experience that has affected us. Symbolic, our vision of the world, our readings…Inspiration comes from everything around us.

But, for this album, once we were working on the track listing, we found that a kind of concept has emerged. I like to summarize it by this sentence “We are the witnesses of death under all its forms”. Indeed, the theme of death is omnipresent in our work, under every of its levels; death of the flesh, death of the soul, death of the civilization, death of the world.

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While on this subject, you stick –like most French bands– to your native language. Was this decision made because you feel more free to express yourself that way or some other reason (they sound more exotic for example)? Do you feel this as a limitation?

In fact we have not really thought about this, it came naturally. Maybe at the beginning we thought it would be easier to express ourselves in French because it is our mother language and we are attached to it, but it is not obvious to sing in French in Black Metal growls, it’s not really appropriate. Even in clear vocals in my case, it’s new to me, I’ve always sung in English or Latin so it’s a good challenge and you have to be careful to choose the words that make sense and can be musical too.

I think we use French because we wanted to deliver something which really comes from us and for the declaimed singing the French is perfect for its theatrical and powerful side too. I do not see this as a limitation, I just find that exercise is a bit more challenging.

What does the album cover stand for? Care to share some info on the artist who drew it?

The cover of our album was made by the talented artist Dehn Sora. He perfectly rendered the atmosphere of our album, the concept of death and its symbolic. Like any great artist, his work has many interpretations, it is for listeners to make their own, it’s the same thing about listening our music. You have to leave room for imagination and sensitivity of each one, art is made for that. We admire his work on contrasts and lights and his way of living black and white, this is what marked us and I invite you to take interest in the work of this artist.

What are your future plans? Do you have any live shows booked?

We’ve returned to composition, and we’re looking for a second guitarist to play live so no shows booked for the moment. It’s very important for us to construct something worthy of the album for what will be Au Champ Des Morts live and we hope to be ready soon.

How do you write music? What is your creative process?

It’s Stefan who mainly composes. The process is simple, usually everything starts from a riff which becomes an obsession. Then a structure is built and melody ideas keep coming. You have to be in a particular state of mind to compose, it’s a kind of second state, something beyond yourself. For that you must have time to devote yourself fully to it, I mean, trying to make a vacuum around yourself, which is not really easy sometimes.

Do you have some specific piece of gear or software that greatly facilitates your job?

Not really. We work the old way, with not really recent material, an old Atari, an analog console, vintage effect pedals, Marshall amps… This suits us perfectly. We only use computers for practical reasons and for recording software. That’s fine when it works but when it breaks down and you’re forced to take a recent pattern it becomes a headache. All this to realize in the end that it works much less well than before. It’s really frustrating to waste time with it…We hate the modern world and its nonsense.

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France has built a trademark-BM scene. How does it feel to be part of it? Is it a blessing or a burden?

We are often asked this question, I do not have the impression of being a part of a “scene” strictly speaking. I don’t know if there is a trademark BM scene in France, as French musicians we have always been interested in French metal bands, so I think you are better placed than me to talk about it. The idea of scene disturbs me a bit in the sense that it evokes a certain form of conformity, or even competition.

For me, it is obvious that in recent years there have been talented and interesting artists in France. I think of bands such as Year of No Light, Throane, Alcest, Aluk Todolo … Of course they share common influences but they have very different personalities. The link is in the way of elaborating the art, and a certain state of mind that drive those bands to compose this way. It deals with sincerity and a will to come back to a more emotional way to make music, without thinking about business or selling. At least that is how I feel and I fully share this vision. If this is what you call the trademark BM French scene then I agree.

Any underground metal bands from your local area we should be looking out for?

Underground metal bands… No, I don’t see. The only name that comes to my mind is Burzum but I think you already know it. There are probably others but I don’t know them yet. The problem of overproduction…

What do you know about the Greek extreme metal scene? Any favorite bands?

I don’t know too much about Greek extreme metal scene, sorry. I know Astarte, Necromantia and Rotting Christ of course. I like Rotting Christ, Stefan knows them well as they went on tour together during the Anorexia Nervosa era.

Before letting you go, any news from the Anorexia Nervosa front?

Even if Anorexia Nervosa belongs to the past, we are always in touch with the members, we are close friends. They are fine. Concerning music, Hreidmarr has several musical projects in progress and Neb Xort still holds the Drudenhaus Studio, he has recorded our album.

Closing thoughts, anything else you want to add?

Thank you for this interview. Let yourself be invaded with Joy and Light…

 

Follow Au Champ Des Morts at https://www.facebook.com/Au-Champ-Des-Morts-1061663760580553

Interview with Ossuary Anex

A few days ago I got the chance to talk a bit with Russian brutal deathsters Ossuary Anex (if you remember them from the review of their latest album I did a few months back). This interview is quite revealing, especially if you aren’t really familiar with the Russian metal scene. It is a somewhat long read but as always, it is going to worth your time.

Give me a bio of the band so we can get to know you better.

Max: Ossuary Anex was created by me in 2008. (Before that I was playing in an Occult Death Metal act called Daemon). Nothing particularly remarkable was in our bio. The line-up changed often during the early years, so the group evolved slowly. But it may be noted only the release of our debut album in 2012. And In 2014 Kirill joined us as lead singer. I think it was a turning point for the band. He was the missing element for us, and our puzzle was completed with the arrival of him. From that moment the new life of the band began to take form in which it is now.

Actual Line-up: Kirill – vocal, Simon – bass, Sergey – Drums, Max – guitar.

You released your second album “Mutilation Through Prayer” a few months ago. What is the feedback so far? Are you watching the sales, are they going as you expected?

Max: We get a lot of positive feedbacks so far, sometimes even rave reviews. Some positive articles were written, for example by Frank Rini, another on Hellmagazine, or your own review etc. It’s really cool! But we are not watching the sales of our label, perhaps it is too early to think about it.

Have you gotten the time to reflect on the album? If you were back in the studio, is there something you would change in it?

Max: It’s been over 3 years since we started working on this album. Of course, we have been changing during this time, as well as our attitude to music. This album captures the vision that I had when the work began. Despite the fact that it was released not long ago, it shows where we were three years ago. The recording of the album stretched across almost two years. Sometimes it was not easy. If it were possible to make the album for a lesser period, I think it would be much better.We could have made a more thought out, more perfect record. When a recording stretches for a long time, fatigue accumulates, interest reduces. Everybody wants to finish as soon as possible. And quality may deteriorate. But I wouldn’t like to change anything in it. This album is just a slice of our history. Now we have a different view, and we will translate it into new things.

Most brutal death metal bands are into blood/gore culture when it comes to lyrics. You on the other hand decided to tackle religion. Why is that?

Kirill: I think religion is a great evil for people. Religion causes war, intolerance and ignorance. It makes a man a slave and a pliant puppet in the hands of liars. I hate that shit!

Max: It should be noted that some obscurantism has been increasing in recent years in our country. The Middle Ages return. The Church has been gaining strength. It influences the politics and culture. Religion has been becoming a national idea. In addition, “insulting the feelings of believers” became a criminal offense in Russia. Orthodox activists cancelled theatrical performances, exhibitions, and concerts, if they think that it is something blasphemous and no one can do anything about it. For example, concerts of Cannibal Corpse, Behemoth were canceled in 2014 in some cities. All concerts of Belphegor were canceled in 2016. Strictly speaking, our album is outlawed in our country today. But we are not known by the masses, we’re an underground band. If we were a famous band, we would have had problems I think. That’s why religion is an urgent topic today.

The album has some astonishing artwork. Care to tell me who did the cover and how you came across each other?

Max: Thanks! It was created by W. Smerdulak. He is a quite famous artist and designer in some circles. Initially, we didn’t have a definite idea about our cover art, but we clearly knew what we didn’t want. We talked with the boss of our label about it. And he said: «I’ll take it upon myself, I know an artist that you need». We trusted him and decided to agree. When we got the first sketches, it was not so clear what we would get in the end. But when the work was finished, everybody liked it and only small changes were made.

Are you happy with your label’s support so far?

Max: Yes, quite. These guys are really decent. We began to look for the label, as soon as we had finished the recording. We sent out our stuff without mixing to many labels. Max (boss of our label) answered immediately as he listened to our raw tracks, and offered us good terms. We received suggestions from several foreign labels. But the offer of Lord of the Sick Recordings was the best that moment. In addition, I knew Max for many years as an ideological person and true fan of extreme music. After signing a contract he and his team set to work very hard. Almost around the clock we kept in touch with him. He was responsible for creating the cover art, the booklet design, also participated and helped us in our work with the studio, which was mixing our stuff. The good support was provided after the album’s release. Considering that it is underground and young enough label the work has been done perfectly.

Where do you draw inspiration from?

Kirill: I try to draw inspiration from the shit that’s going on in the world. Some texts from the new album were inspired by the Old Testament. This book is saturated with blood and horror, the best inspiration. Sometimes an idea comes to my head by itself and I try to write it down immediately.

Max: Usually I draw inspiration from dark and gloomy music. Although I listen to different music styles. Sometimes black metal, sometimes death metal, folk, new age etc. Quite often I visit concerts of symphonic music. I like Mussorgsky, Prokofiev, Borodin, Schubert, but especially Schnittke, he is an absolutely crazy composer, I call him “The God of music“, hehe.

What is your creative routine? Is there some piece of gear you wouldn’t be able to work without?

Sergey: We wouldn’t be able to work without our guitarist. Max writes all the music. Then together we work with parties and make changes if necessary. When the music is ready, Kirill applies text to the music.

What are your future plans? Do you have any shows booked?

Max: Ossuary Anex have a Russian tour with Relics of Humanity and Darkall Slaves in May 2017. In Autumn we’re planning another tour and a couple of separate shows. Besides, we began to work on a new album, we have a lot of ideas. We would like to achieve even more natural and dark sound. By the way, Justin DiPinto (a former drummer of Malevolent Creation, Pyrexia, Mortal Decay, etc.) agreed to participate with the drum work on the album. We sent him an outline of our new things, and he was quite interested. Sergey, our permanent drummer will concentrate on preparation for the concerts.

What are some of the difficulties extreme metal bands face in Russia?

Sergey: The main difficulty for extreme metal bands – little interest in this kind of music. In our country, people treat minorities and subcultures with suspicion. Few people go to concerts of extreme music. No culture of buying music. Everyone’s downloading from the internet.

Max: …and as a consequence it is difficult to find good like-minded musicians.

Tell me about your local scene. Are there any notable bands I should research?

Max: The extreme scene in Russia is very unstable. I don’t know groups that have been being active since the 90s, which have been regularly releasing albums, constantly performing, were well known throughout the country, like Greek Rotting Christ for example. There is a death metal band Miscreant from our city, they have been playing since 90s, but now are almost inactive. There is old band Alkonost, their earliest stuff is awesome – rough pagan metal, but their new work is not so interesting. But many decent bands began to appear in the last 10 years about in deferent styles. Black Metal: Drauggard, Grey Heaven Fall, Vedmak, Neron Kaisar. Death Metal: Cephalic Impurity, Grond, Pyre.Grindcore: Internal Damage, Fitcage, Disact, etc.

Simon: There are a lot of extreme metal bands in Russia, but not many bands linger on the stage. Remarkable bands for me – Disact, Visceral Disorder.

Any albums you got to listen lately that you feel deserve more attention?

Max: I recently listened to an album of Apparatus (Copenhagen) it’s called the same – Apparatus (2015). I really like it, very dark and atmospheric music. And I think almost all the releases of Lavadome Productions deserve more attention.

Great, I haven’t heard of them, but I sure will. Now, what do you know about the Greek metal scene? Do you have any favorite bands?

Kirill: I’m a big fan of Rotting Christ. I really like Triarchy of the Lost Lovers, I listened to this album a million of times. It used to be my favorite album. Well and early Septic Flesh of course.

Max: The Greek metal scene is very rich and diverse! One of my favorite bands – Inveracity, I love their album Circle Of Perversion (2003). Then, I know guys of Sickening Horror, they had a Russian tour in 2009, and I organized the concert in our city for them, they even couch-surfed in my flat! Also Dead Congregation – awesome band. Besides, I know Greece has a very strong black metal scene! I listened to Necromantia, Varathron, Zemial, Lord Impaler, Agatus, Burial Hordes and many more!

Ok, you covered pretty much everything. To wrap it up, is there anything else you want to add?

Thank you for the questions, it was very interesting to answer them, and thank you again for your review of our album!

Follow them on https://www.facebook.com/OssuaryAnex

Interview with GreyAblaze

Back in December I had a great opportunity to talk with Astargh regarding GreyAblaze’s fresh full length album. As a musician myself, I am always curious about the way other people of my ilk work as well as the business end of things. If you too are curious, read below and be enlightened.

Give me a short bio of your project.

The project has no biography. Once I had the idea to write DSBM project, but it turned to something else.

The album was recorded back in 2013 but got released just now. Why is that?

I didn’t want to give it indiscriminately to someone, all proposals for the production of the album were unsuitable. Ashen Dominion did everything as I wanted, so they released the album.

 

What is the feedback so far? How are the sales going?

I do not know how many CDs were sold, I do not follow it. But we got a lot of positive feedback.

Now that the album is out, would you change anything in it?

No, everything turned out as planned. All I wanted to do now, will be on the new album.

You haven’t gone into the usual great lengths that most labels require to market the album (professional photo shootings, videoclip etc). Was this deliberate? Are you happy with the label’s support so far?

Here, it was not necessary. There are music and images in the lyrics. Think that this album not needs in musicians photos and music clips, we give to listeners the freedom of imagination.

Where do you draw inspiration from?

It is very difficult to say where it all comes from. I think it come from inner state, some feelings, from music of old bands, such as Queen or Pink Floyd.

What are the lyrics about?

All the lyrics for the album written by Helg (Khors, Ulvegr, KZOHH).  They didn’t have some sending or concepts, but they are filled with a very expressive images that emphasized Greyablaze music.

What is your creative routine? Can you tell me anything about your favorite gear or software you use?

Usually I compose music at home. When all the demos are ready, we start working on the Dark Essence Recording Studio. At work, I use a lot of software, the main DAW – Pro Tools, also I use many Kontakt libraries. I have old American guitars BC Rich and Jackson, I used them on all recordings.

 

What are your future plans with GreyAblaze? Are you planning to play live shows?

Now I compose a new album which I want to release this year. About the live performances anything difficult to say. If there are proposals, we will play concerts, but there is the same problem as with Elderblood – for organizers of concerts is difficult to carry a band from Ukraine.

Any albums you listened lately that you would like to share with us?

Pink Floyd – Dark Side of the Moon
Cult of Luna / Julie Christmas – Mariner

What can you tell me about your local scene? Any bands we should lookout?

I do not watch the local scene. All worthy groups are already known.

What do you know of the Greek metal scene? Do you have any favorite bands?

From the Greek scene, I heard a lot of bands. Favorites are Septic Flesh and Acherontas.

Anything else you want to add?

Thanx for the interest in GreyAblaze. Horns Up!

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To stay tuned with GreyAblaze, follow the band at:

https://www.facebook.com/greyablaze

https://vk.com/greyablaze

Interview with Deathkin

 

Two weeks ago I reviewed this Finnish band’s debut album “Kohti Kotiani Kaaosta”, and then I had the pleasure and opportunity to talk to them about the album, their plans and a bit about their local scene. Here goes:

First things first, give me an introduction to your band.

Deathkin is a five member band formed in 2009. We have had our share of lineup changes in every other position than drums and one guitarist. The purpose of our existence is proclaiming the majestic trinity of chaos, death and immorality. So far we have released two EP’s (Deathkin & Purged by Impurity) and one full-length album (Kohti Kotiani Kaaosta) which was released in  November 1st this year.

You have released an album this month, what is the feedback so far? Are the sales going as you expected?

Yes, we did release our debut album “Kohti Kotiani Kaaosta” few weeks ago. So far the feedback has been really good even on a global level so it seems that we managed to create an album which really is enjoyable to listen to. The sales have been surprisingly good comparing to the fact that we haven’t put any money on marketing and done only minor web promotion. That is another example of the fact that it really is a quality record. If someone wants to buy it, they better be quick.

It’s a bit early for this question, but, now that the album is out there, would you change anything in it?

There are a couple small things that didn’t make their way to the album which would’ve made the album even a little bit better than it is now. We are not talking about any major changes, just one guitar lead, one extended ending. Yet it may be possible that those changes would have ruined something. We will never know. Otherwise there simply isn’t anything to change since the album is pure diamond all the way.

Tell me of your lyrical themes.

“Kohti Kotiani Kaaosta” is a concept album. It preaches about an eternal crusade beyond all boundaries. Of a Journey across aeons that is trodded on the bones of your predecessors in order to witness the faces of Chaos. Of reaching out and longing towards entropy, home of the universe from which we were spat out as a cosmic joke to suffer in a prison of flesh and blood in the wheel of life. Guided by the ardor of darkness and awakened by the serpents venom we will return home.

You decided to stick to Finnish for the lyrics. This may alienate some fans and add to the mystical feeling for others. What is your view on this?

Our first two releases were written in english. Since our guitarist already had some decent lyrical content in finnish it was something worth trying and it turned out really great. There is so much more in the lyrics now that they are written in finnish, it has gained some extra depth in the context. And what comes to the matter of how people globally response to hearing finnish lyrics and not understanding, we couldn’t care less since everything we do in Deathkin has nothing to do with pleasing anyone or making any compromises. And even though you didn’t understand finnish there is some words and names that are familiar to give a little perspective on what the lyrics are made of. And to be honest, you just can’t deny the fact that it gives a little extra on the mysticism.

Give me some insight on your artwork. You decided not to have your logo on the cover, which is a rather bold move. In retrospect, was it a good choice?

Leaving the logo out of the cover was a really quick and easy decision. Our friend Saila Leskinen did so spectacular job under the loose guidelines we gave here that we decided to give the artwork as much space as possible. There is a load of interesting stuff in the whole artwork itself (cover, booklet, etc) and it fits to the concept perfectly. So it is not just the music that is worth buying, it is great concept art as a whole.

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Describe your creative routine. How do you form your tracks? What is some of your equipment/software you can’t live without?

The usual process begins with guitarists writing riffs on their own and bringing them to rehearsals to build full songs out of them. Sometimes the structure is almost ready when we start to create a song, sometimes it is just fragments that we pull together. So as you can see, we do a lot of arrangement stuff together. When we get to the point that the structure is satisfying we start to build the details and our vocalist begins working on the vocal arrangements. What comes to equipment, you couldn’t manage without quality instruments, for example good drums or good valve amps. At least they make things a bit more comfortable.

Moving on, what are your future plans?

We don’t really know what will happen in the future. Maybe some gigs and releasing Kohti Kotiani Kaaosta in vinyl. Hopefully our new album will gain us enough interest and give us enough visibility among black metal scene to have a possibility to tour in Europe and maybe give us a deal on a bigger international label. There hasn’t been any writing so far done regarding new material yet so can’t say anything reliable about possible upcoming album. Maybe it will continue in the vein of our debut album or maybe it will be something totally different. You really don’t know. Even the fact that is it going ever to happen.

You are an independent band, are there any difficulties in Finland for such an act? Tell me a bit more about the Finnish scene. Any notable bands we should research?

We have a relatively big metal scene here in Finland so popping up from the vast mediocre majority is really difficult and many good bands don’t get recognized. And it doesn’t make it any easier if you aren’t already in acquaintance with the small amount of the right people. Black metal isn’t as big thing in here as it used to be in the ‘90s which is probably a good thing as it almost got into a mainstream position in some areas of Finland but at the same time it means that it is quite hard to get your band to gig as there is still a great amount of independent bands trying to do the same thing. At the end it all comes back to knowing the right people which is a bit annoying when you don’t couldn’t bother knowing more people than few closest friends. Finland has quite a lot of at least “quite good”-category black metal. Quite well-known bands to get yourself familiar are for example Horna and The True Black Dawn but from the more underground you shouldn’t forget for example Oranssi Pazuzu and Dark Buddha Rising.

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Any albums you listened to recently that you want to share with our readers?

Rome – The Hyperion Machine and Deathspell Omega – The Synarchy of Molten Bones are pretty close the best albums this year. Ravencult’s Force of Profanation deserves to be mentioned because it was very good!

Closing thoughts or anything else to add?

Buy the album, support black metal and especially your local scene and greetings to Greece!

 

Contact them via

FB: https://www.facebook.com/deathkinband

email: deathkinband@gmail.com