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......::::ABSTRUSE CUSTODY (Canada)::::......
Realized at: 31th, March 2017
 

"We don’t try to follow any cultural trends about black metal. It’s a strong part of our musical influences and the ambiance generated by a dark music fits our purposes perfectly. (...)"

1. Since your inception in 1998, you’ve passed through several line-up changes and other sorts of difficulties. Tell us a bit about the early days and how would you characterize the development of your band during all these years?

Guillaume Tremblay: It started with two young geekish metalheads scratching their guitars in their respective mother’s basements. When we first met, I was much more into old school thrash like Metallica and Megadeth; David was more into old school black metal. So at first, there were some clashes, style-wise, but we figured out quickly that we share a common passion for dark melodic metal. I didn’t like hard screaming back then but David managed to change my mind with his high-pitched inhuman screams. I remember telling him something like “Wow! It sounds like an agonizing vampire bleeding to death in a snow bank”. I think it’s the moment we both knew we had a very good fit and all this new tormented stuff David introduced me to started to inspire me a lot. We were very productive in the first one-two years but aside from Awakening and Salem, what we wrote back then has not been released yet. We felt that our “old” style, more black than thrash, yet very melodic, was not appropriate for a starting album.

David Martel: We agreed on keeping those older songs for our second album, as they pretty much belonged together, and we are currently working on our “Chapter Zero” album, which will also feature newer material in the same style.

GT: We never managed to form an actual band back then as I think people were not taking us seriously enough. And a bit later, David moved away to another city for about six years. Meanwhile, I kept writing a lot of stuff and my style evolved to that of Seeds from the Void. Finally, David came back to Quebec City but after an unsuccessful last attempt to form a band and a disappointing demo we had lost the will to do it and the project was put on ice indefinitely. We got back on track in 2013, after I had stumbled into a local musician I had lost sight of for a while. He had since then put a little studio together and was offering his services to record our music. It took about six months to record both guitars and bass (he did the drums), and a couple of weeks to complete.  Unfortunately, because of personal problems on his part, it was not possible to finish recording the vocals of "Seeds" so we had to change our plans and drop a song from the original lineup. Also, he had the only copy of everything we recorded and getting everything back was… complicated. For a while, it looked like the project was seriously compromised, but it turned out okay in the end.  

DM: A few months later, after some technical difficulties, I discussed about the project with Sébastien Robitaille (Sorcier Des Glaces, Moonlyght), who’s a friend of mine. We had wanted to work together for a long time and, as he’s a producer and someone I knew would get exactly what we were intending to achieve with this album, this was the perfect opportunity. He provided with precious insight, and took over the mixing and mastering of the album.  

GT: With hindsight, I’m convinced all these hurdles gave us the time to gather the needed maturity and skills to make “Seeds from the void” what it is today.

2. Despite being active for many years, the band has a limited number of releases. Why’s that? 

GT: It has been a very long, complicated and enriching ride as I stated above. The good side of it is we’ve already got enough songs for another album and a half. And this time, we’re gonna record our stuff ourselves...  

DM: Managing to get a complete lineup has always been a challenge, and has been a contributing factor for our lack of production, somehow. Speaking of which, we take this opportunity to introduce our two newest members: Guillaume Roberge (ex Daedalean Complex member), on bass and vocals, and Guillaume Lafleur Laplante (Endless Rebirth), on drums.  

3. Your full-length debut record (“Seeds From The Void”) was released more than a year ago. Now that time has passed and the thoughts have matured, are you satisfied by the outcome? Would you change anything if you had the chance to do so?

GT: Personally, I have mixed feelings. I am mostly satisfied though but I think the unfavourable context, all the difficulties and our lack of experience shows a little bit on this version of the album. I willingly write “this version” because we expect to rework “Seeds” after the release of our next album. We’ll see after we’ve gained some experience recoding everything ourselves for the next album. We could honestly be tempted to re-record  all guitars and bass of the entire album.

4. Did you have a ‘mission’ and goal ready when you first started out, or did the music and direction first take shape as you crafted songs and so forth? 

GT: Personally, one of my main objectives is to write songs as melodic, dark and brutal as we can, all at once. Okay, we can’t always go “all in” but my favourite songs are usually those that combine the best all these elements. I won’t speak for David but I think he completely agrees. It’s up to you to tell us if it works.  

The songs come by themselves, it’s hard to describe. Often, it feels like they have their own soul. We always start with a few guitar riffs (except Ison whose lead bass riffs have been written by René Laforge, a lifelong friend of mine) but the rest usually “falls by itself”. Even studio mistakes are sometimes very good “ideas”.  

5. Do you think black metal has a spirit, or a set of values to it? Where do you think this came from? Are there any historical antecedents?  

GT: To me it clearly has a spirit. It’s the pure expression of everything we have in ourselves that’s hurt, tortured and misunderstood. It’s also very passionate, rebel and free in many ways. I find it liberating and empowering. My father can’t understand I guess.  

DM: We don’t try to follow any cultural trends about black metal. It’s a strong part of our musical influences and the ambiance generated by a dark music fits our purposes perfectly. Personally, I approach this as a painting, you start with the “canevas” and we add layers. Often the song itself leads us elsewhere. I like calling this a “controlled accident”.  

6. The lyrics seem quite important for the band and your expression, how do you look upon the importance of the lyrics?  

GT: Yes they are. Our lyrics are usually personal, social and often spiritual. It comes naturally, we’re not trying to “give ourselves a style”. Our new bassist, Guillaume Roberge, is expected to contribute a lot. He’s got a lot of great unused ideas and song lyrics that fit very well with the spirit of the band.  

Guillaume Roberge: Yes, looking forward to see what we come up with! I believe lyrics shouldn’t be an afterthought in the process of musical expression. It is after all a form of dark poetry, where each word has the power to inspire or evoke. When I discover a new song or artist, I pay close attention to their texts to see if there is some depth, intensity, aesthetic that appeals to me. There are often hidden wisdom in some metal texts. If the music is already great, it will elevate the song to another level. Where words and meaning seem amplified, mantras or ideas expressed powerfully. I think of bands like Gojira that blend massive riffs and thoughtful texts. Of course, not all songs need to be philosophical or existential in nature to be effective. But if I am to sing or yell something over extreme music, it should be something I can pour intensity, passion and conviction into.

Guillaume R. is an all-around gifted musician. After exchanging about a little about where we were already heading, he got the picture right away and already started challenging our ideas to make it even better. We are extremely happy to have a third voice in all of this as Guillaume T. and I worked closely for the lyrics on “Seeds” and it went very well, but we feel that having a third person in the mix would give much more depth to the lyrics and bring us in new directions.  

7. And what about inspiration outside of black metal and music in general? What else fuels your inspiration? What kind of art do you enjoy in your spare time? Literature, cinematography, theatre?  

GT: Outside of metal, I’m inspired a lot by old school classical music (and NES soundtracks…). I also listen to almost anything but rap and country music. I read a lot of stuff but I’m not very fond of literature and unrelated arts in general.    

8. What rules and canons do you follow when writing music? How much is this process free and artistic?  

GT: As I wrote earlier, we often try to go as melodic, dark and brutal as we can. Aside from this, we have no rules. We do as we like, we are our best fans and I think it’s very important. Music has much more soul when you do what you like than when you try to please others. 

9. Your music sounds complex, I guess it took quite some time to build everything! Tell us more about it!

GT: Most of our songs are written as two or three different “blocks”. It may take a few days or weeks but some songs (especially those on the next album) have been written over a ten-year span. Sometimes, you write the first part in 2002 and you finish the song in 2016. Contrary to many bands, we do not write by jamming. Most of the riffs of our songs are written by a lone guy in his bedroom/basement and yeah, it may sometimes take a lot of time to find the inspiration to finish a song.  

10. What’s your view on the value of music today? In what way does the abundance of music change our perception of it?  

GT: The “liberalization” of music has a lot to do with us recording albums so I won’t down talk it. It’s nice that everyone has its chance. It’s up to the public to choose what it likes. Bad music will die by itself.  

GR : It does change the perception of value quite drastically. At least dilute it a lot with generic and uninspired music, but it makes finding the one that resonates with you much more satisfying. However I believe the widespread availability of recorded music devalued the perceived worth of live performances. There is something special you can only feel live with both musicians and audiences sharing a space, synchronized rhythms and harmony weaving emotional tension and releases. It is both invigorating and soothing to me and many others who attend or perform extreme music. It can be rather therapeutic when it is authentic and you can relate. 

11. If we had to classify you in a certain genre, would you say that you are a Black / thrash Metal band?  Do you agree with this characterization? Who composes the music of the tracks and what bands do you consider having a significant effect on your sound?  

GT: One of the critiques of our first album labelled it “blackened trash” and I like it a lot. Our next album is more into “melodic thrashy black” so I guess that “melodic black thrash” maybe a nice broad label. My strongest inspirations, aside from classical music, are old school thrash (Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer), melodic death (Death, At the Gates) and all kinds of dark stuff David could have made me listen to (like Burzum and early Cradle of Filth).  

I write most of the music but I have to admit that without David’s inspiration and support, I wouldn’t have been able to write as I do today. The lyrics and the spirit of the band are much more of a team work. It’s not a project any of us could achieve alone.  

DM: In fact, “Chapter Zero” will be the first album on which I am officially contributing to the music. Some riffs go back to 1997, before meeting Guillaume, and came from my old black metal project. We both agreed that these contributions would come in later. You can’t really feel it from “Seeds from the Void” but my roots are deep into the Norwegian scene from the early 90s. Old Darkthrone, Immortal, Emperor, Burzum and all those bands that made black metal what it is today. 

12. Could you give us a little insight into the metal scene in Quebec? Are there many bands that play metal, and especially black metal? And how are gig-possibilities et cetera?  

GT: Yes there is but we’re not part of it as we never play live. Quebec City has a very vibrant metal scene with bands like Neurasthene, Haeres, Aborgnon (black), Ancestors Revenge (melodic death), and as I stated earlier, Daedalean Complex (industrial metal) and many others.  

GR: The black metal scene in the Quebec province is still present but not at the apex it once was a couple years ago when it could fill bigger venues from amateur local acts. Music comes in waves and right now Black Metal is back to the underground where it still thrives. It is less prominent now, but still felt in the inspiration of many musicians performing other genres. In Quebec City, you have to seek it to find it, often in smaller venues, gigs put together by bands. There are also labels such as Sepulchral Productions that host a popular festival called Messe des Morts in Montreal. Gigs are certainly possible in the local talent if they are willing to mesh together since there’s a lot of great extreme metal bands in Quebec. Most of the bands that were tied to the Metal Noir Quebecois scene draw inspiration from folklore, traditions, culture identity and patriotism. Some notable bands to look into: Monarque, Forteresse, Csejthe, Chasse-Gallerie, Gris, Neige et Noirceur, Utlagr.

13. Thank you for taking the time to speak to The Pain Fucktory. Do you have any final words, or anything you would like to add?

GT: Yeah. Speaking for myself, it’s as funny as it’s appreciated to write an interview without even having put a single foot on a live stage. We’ve got a lot of stuff left to record so we hope at least one of our next songs ends up in a future compilation. As weird as it may sound, I wish you enjoy listening to our metal as much as we do.
 

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