An interview with Alcest…Saturday, December 4, 2010 Category: Blog
01 – First of all, thank you very much for taking your time to answer the MetalCast Show interview. I hope you’re doing fine. As Alcest is one band that has many listeners on our show, I don’t think a long introduction is needed, but please, tell us a bit about you and Alcest to start this interview.
Hello! The most important thing to know about Alcest is that the musical side of this project is just the outside part of the iceberg if I can say. The only goal of Alcest’s songs, lyrics and images is to give a more concrete shape to a very personal esoterical experience I had in my younger age.
02 – “Écailles de lune” is beautiful. Even though “Souvenirs d’un Autre Monde” left me speechless after I heard it for the first time, I enjoyed quite much you adding some Black Metal/ harsh vocals on your new release. How was the response from the fans so far?
Thanks a lot for the compliment! “Ecailles…” had a great response for the audience. I love both firsts albums but speaking about feedbacks “Souvenirs…” had more “love or hate” ones.
03 – I know it’s early to say something about this, since Alcest latest album was released now in 2010, but do you have any idea on how your next release should sound? Do you believe it will be on the “Souvenirs d’un Autre Monde” approach or “Écailles de lune”?
The next album composition is almost finished! I am working really a lot on this record since I absolutely want to reach at least the same quality level of two first albums. From the songs I already have I think I will achieve this. The new album will be like a synthesis of everything I made with Alcest since “Le Secret”, it has the ecstatic/fresh feeling of “Souvenirs…” but kept the maturity, very epic passages and progressive structures of “Ecailles”. I think this will be the most epic and powerful Alcest album to date.
04 – Somewhat connected to the previous question, when I heard “Souvenirs d’un Autre Monde” I had this nostalgic feeling and it reminded me of some movies such as “Je suis le seigneur du château”, “Le château de ma mère”, “L’argent de poche”, “La gloire de mon père” and many others (there’s no need to mention them all). I think that these movies are somewhat related to “Souvenirs d’un Autre Monde” because all of them show some of the beautiful aspects of childhood, although your album has a different, more esoteric approach. Have you watched these movies and how do you feel about this comparison? Again, this is only about the childhood approach 😉
I don’t think I have seen any of these movies, but you know Alcest has not much to do with childhood. It’s only about describing, reflecting feelings linked to this experience I had as a child, visions from another plane of existence, another world. What interests me in childhood is innocence, which is for me a tool to reach different levels of perception that the ones we have when we grow up. (Note by the interviewer: indeed what I wanted to say, about the innocence of the childhood, especially with “Souvenirs d’un Autre Monde”).
05 – You are now a member of the German band Lantlôs. I find “.Neon” one of the highlights of 2010 releases. How did you get involved with this band as well as how were the recording process of “.Neon”?
My only participation to Lantlôs is performing vocals. Herbst sent me the songs and I recorded vocals at my home. For the coming Lantlôs album I went to Germany to record the vocals, it was a very exciting experience! Much more creative than being alone at home to do that.
06 – Alcest’s musical style has also evolved from black metal to a “calmer”, more atmospheric and dreamy music and now it’s more extreme again and at the same time atmospheric and dreamy. Does this happen naturally? Is it connected to your feelings and your message or do you intend to add some extreme bits into the music?
Yes the Alcest musical style happened naturally. My intentions never was to do a mix of different genres of music, I don’t care about this. The style of Alcest is just the most appropriated form for me to describe the “Alcest world” and emotions related to my visions of it.
07 – From all the bands you have been a part in, what songs you’re particularly proud of, of which you want people to remember you? And which are the most “personal” songs you’ve done?
You know I am proud of almost each song I made since I am very exigent with myself and never record something that I feel could be pushed more and improved. Well except for the first Alcest demo, which I consider too much inspired by other bands, it was not personal at all. The most personal ones, hard to say, maybe “Les Iris”. All the Alcest songs due to the themes they are dealing with are very personal.
08 – It is a great satisfaction for me to see bands I enjoy playing live more often that they used to. Are there any shows planned for new next months?
We are making two festivals this month, (Eindhoven Metal Meeting and Blacktroll Fest) then next shows will be from early April.
09 – Is there any interesting story that happened during your tours and you’d like to share with us? Also, is there any place you’d like to play and you haven’t so far? (A country or a festival for that matter…).
Interesting stories? Humm I don’t know, we are not this kind of rock band that has tons of tour stories to tell you know. I just remember really funny and epic moments with bands we played with, The Vision Bleak, Velnias from the U.S, and more recently Totalselfhatred, all these guys were awesome. A place I would like to play? Before it was New York but we had the chance to go there this year (the most incredible city I’ve seen in my life). Now this would be Japan/Tokyo I think!
10 – Are there any bands you’d like to tour with? If so, could you mention some for us? (Maybe this could result into something positive ;)). Also, what would you prefer more: touring with different styles band or bands that have a similar sound to Alcest and why?
You mean bands I would dream to tour with even if I know this will never happen? Yes sure, I would like to tour with my fave bands/artists: Yann Tiersen, Summoning, Brendan Perry, The Chameleons, The Smashing Pumpkins. I prefer touring with bands that have a different style because I think it’s interesting to have a certain variety on the bill. Recently we played with Anaal Nathrakh and I enjoyed seeing their show, it was really apocalyptic and intense.
11 – Is there any recorded live material for a future DVD? Is this a plan for the band? I ask this because unfortunately some people won’t have the chance to see Alcest live, but this could give them a little taste of the show.
No DVD plans yet.
12 – How is the work of Prophecy Productions so far? Are you satisfied with the results that the label have achieved into promoting Alcest’s music?
I have nothing to complain about Prophecy, this is a great label. They do an amazing job for Alcest and I always appreciated the fact they have an artistic/aesthetic directive line and philosophy to follow. I love the aura of the label; it’s very different from the other ones. Moreover I begin to know them quite well now, so it turned into a real friendship.
13 – You have said that Alcest is a spiritual quest for you, a way to translate musically an esoteric experience. What are your views on Esotericism and do you follow any esoteric philosophy? Are you familiar with Holism and, if so, what are your thoughts about it?
Yes Alcest is a daily spiritual quest for me since I don’t have much information about this experience I had, even if I’ve read some books related to astral journey, life after life and things like that. I am always looking for answers. About the awaken flashes I had as a child about a fantastic/incredibly luminous place I suppose that it was “memories” of the place (or one of the places) the soul would go after death, an haven where we would rest, be free of the burden of incarnation before starting a physical life again. I do believe in the immortality of human soul and in life after death, here or somewhere else. If didn’t have these “visions” I would certainly not believe in this but due to this I can’t have a single doubt about it. And despite some life’s dramas as illness, death, suffering, though unfair events that can happen suddenly I am seeing a sense in existence, a goal that every soul tend to reach. A terrestrial life could be comparable to an exercise we repeat again and again in order to always learn more, to improve, to evolute and to raise our spirit in order to reach another state of existence at the end. As for Holism, I am not familiar with it and don’t follow any esoteric philosophy or discipline.
14 – This is a question I always ask: What are your feelings and thoughts when you get to know that a person indentifies himself or herself with your lyrics/ music and that the band’s releases have actually helped them to go through a rough time or that, at least, they forget about the troubles while listening to Alcest? Have you received any messages from the fans concerning this?
That’s a thing with Alcest that will always touch me and make me thinking that the things I made with this project were really worthy. I often receive this kind of message, to tell us how our music helped the person to get rid of a difficult period or even changed his life. It always moves me when this happen. For me Alcest is infinitely much more than just music and I am glad that this could be the same for our fans. I think there’s something really special about Alcest in the ears of the listeners.
15 – I read once an interview in which you stated that you are a cinema addict. I myself am one as well. So, what do you prefer better, the dramatic and real European cinema, the stylish and sometimes weird Asian film industry or the big American blockbusters?
Yes I love cinema but I usually hate independent cinema, it doesn’t touch me since it almost never transcends reality, always offering pretty down to earth stories, dramatic/soporific/so called intellectual shits. Some of my fave movies are Let The Right One In, American Beauty, The Thing, first Alien, all Kubrick movies, Cronenberg movies, Hayao Miyazaki movies, first The Crow, Dark Crystal, Groundhog Day, Abyss, etc..
16 – Another question I like to ask and this one regards the download issue. Many bands/ musicians complain about illegal downloads, on p2p software’s, blogs, etc. What is your view concerning this matter? Do you believe that illegal downloads harm the metal bands?
You know even if I am not so old I was born and grew up during the record culture and I am very attached to the item beyond the music itself. Now everything is so easy, people just download tons of album, even not listen the half of them and when they do if they don’t like it they just put it into the trash. Before people came back from the music store with CDs and really wanted to give them a chance since they bought it. Speaking about the harm of downloading for the bands I think the consequences are dramatic. We all know that music CDs are expensive but people must not forget that a CD doesn’t grow out from the ground by magic. This is the fruit of artist hard work and sacrifices, and downloading an album or stealing something in a supermarket is exactly the same thing. Well I don’t want to give lessons to anyone but really, if you like a record, just BUY IT!
17 – Like in all interviews, we must have some serious questions, some interesting, some of the same and we need some silly questions too. So, in all of your collections, music or movies, which is the title/ band nobody would expect you to own? Or perhaps: is there any music that Alcest fans would be surprised to find out you listen to?
Ahah, funny question. I don’t know, I love the Michael Jackson classic songs like the ones of “Thriller”. I think Jackson didn’t always make good songs but he was a true artist. The first CD I bought in my life was a Michael Jackson one by the way, that’s why maybe, it’s kind of nostalgic to me.
18 – Some personal ones now. I read once that you like good food. What are your favorite foods (concerning the good cuisine) and are you into the fine French cuisine? Also, you also said that you like a drinking night with friends. What are your favorite drinks and which ones would you recommend to us? Any restaurant in Paris that you’d advice us to go when visiting the City of Light?
My favourites foods are Italian, Japanese and French ones! But as I am curious I always like to try new foods, especially when we are touring with Alcest, we always try to stop somewhere and try some local stuff. As for drinks I love Bordeaux wines and German or Belgian beers. German beer is excellent for summertime, very refreshing and sour, I love it. Belgian beer has often a very rich and strong taste with different subtle flavors. On another hand I never drink liquors. As for a good restaurants in Paris as you suppose there are plenty but it depends on the kind of food you like and how much money you can spend because everything is very expensive in Paris! (Note from the interviewer: Love German and Belgian beers too. Bordeaux wines usually are very good, although I mostly prefer Bourgogne :)).
19 – What have you been listening to now? What kind of music/ bands/ musicians are you interested outside the metal world?
These times I listen a lot to Brendan Perry, his voice is just unbelievable. It holds so many emotions within. A huge inspiration for me, as well as Dead Can Dance. I had the chance to watch him playing with his solo line-up at the previous Wave Gothic Treffen, it was a moment of pure magic.
20 – Once more, thank you very much for this interview. It’s always a pleasure and may I say an honour to interview you, as Alcest is one of the bands I regard the most. I wish you the best. Do you have any last words for our listeners?
Thanks to you for this interview and for your sincere support! As for your listeners, come to see Alcest live!
A final comment by the interviewer: Once again, I hope you guys enjoy the interview. I always say that I interview bands I like because I interview them with my heart and not as an obligation. It is really great to see their comments/ replies written/ recorded here. Thank you all.
Marcus D. Goulart – December, 2010.