Sunday, September 20, 2009

INTEVRIEW: Thesyre

Thesyre "Résistance" Interview
Archaic Magazine 2009


1. Having read other foreign bands talk of the difficulties they can encounter when singing songs in their native tongues, the album sung in the French language is quite a success, much like German it seems to be a language with a tone well suited to metal, are you in agreement with this?

For someone not speaking French it might sound alright. For someone used to speak French it might sound weird at first as we are overwhelmed by bands signing in English. English seems to be the common language for rock music in general and it always gives this genre some novelty value to sign in a different language. We used to have most of our lyrics in English to make sure most people would get the idea behind them but for this album it was mandatory to have them all in French; there was no other way than to express those ideas in my mother language. I’d say that most languages can be fit for metal since there is a lot of screaming and sometimes the elocution is not that clear. The Norwegians took great advantage of this in the 90s: they had the strong accent, the weird sonorities and the whole novelty value appealed to a lot of people. Most Scandinavian languages have this crude sonority to the foreign ear which suits metal expression well. French works differently by being closely linked to classic literature and poetry, I think. It has the smooth Latin element and yet remains harsher to the ear than say, for example, Spanish.

2. While so many bands in the metal genre can be seen experimenting with various folk instruments, whereas in thesyre you maintain a real attention to detail with the dynamics of the music, at the same time one can sense a real 'stripped-down' ethic to everything, is this something you pay close attention to when writing, are you conscious about this?

It was my goal since the beginning. I always felt that a lot of bands were trying too hard to sound different by adding a lot of different ingredients in the mix. I felt I could strip the music down to its very core and work around the dynamics instead, something most metal bands seems to avoid or ignore these days. Our sound is based around the traditional rock instrumentation and the structurs of our music is very song-based. The dynamics, the layering and the dissonances we sometimes use expands our sound canvas a bit while still remaining firmly rooted in rock music. Thesyre is all about songs so far, I would say. We’re after this catchy element which makes the music an instant hit or miss for the listener. I like a lot of more technical and progressive bands but this approach is not ours for the moment.

3. The vocals on “L'égalitarisme freine l'excellence” in places remind me of some songs by Deinonychus, were they an influence on you at any point during the creative process or even at all? and referring specifically to this song what particular thoughts spring to your mind and what have you yourself observed of egalitarian ideologies stand in the way of advancement?

Although I have been in touch with Marco of Deinonychus for years, I’d say firmly that his music or lyrics never had an influence on Thesyre. I am listening to Deinonychus’ latest album and I am still looking for the link you made (as I guess this could be the album being the closest to what we do in Thesyre, right?). As for your mention of egalitarian ideologies, I guess it’s obvious that our society allows too much place to equalitarianism. I have no problem with giving a chance to the runner but we shouldn’t do everything to have as many people as possible to feel safe and comfortable just because they’re different. Difference plays an important role in advancement, I would say. If you want to make as much people as possible to feel good about everything you’ll most definitely have to lower your expectations on them and to expand the services you offer them. In such a position I can hardly see how we can win anything out of it. It all have to do with the notion of competition among men and the idea that we were not all born equal. We’re dealing with an egalitarian obsession which we rarely witness in history. This might make us feel more ‘modern’ or ‘advanced’ but I am pretty sure it’s not an avenue that will win us anything on the long run. We’re taming ourselves badly by behaving like that.

4. Do you think humankind will eventually arrive at a sufficient enough paradigm for our modern society? or are there any movements you see currently today that might give rise to such? Personally I think we're making slow footsteps towards this the further we move away from orthodox religion.

You hit it right when you say we’re making slow footsteps in the right direction. The problem is that those slow steps are too slow for anything good to happen anytime soon. In our era we should be ready to skip a few steps and look out to reach the upper ladder, right? Never have we been so much in touch together via any form of communication devices. We have access to a database of knowledge our ancestors couldn’t even dream of a century ago. We’ve explored our world like no others did before and, yet, we’re still stuck with ideas and philosophies dating back to the past millennium. To truly embrace modernity man will have to break free from its chains but he’s not ready for it yet. Religion acts as a huge restriction on achieving true modernity. Most authorities in place, religious and political ones, realize that’s it’s a good thing to keep people rooted in their past. It’s easier to keep control on people when their desire to question what is perceived as the truth and remains low. It’s easy to force us into an economy of mass consumption when our ideals resume themselves by buying more stuff from the megastore at a cheaper price or to watch the football game on your HD screen. The whole entertainment culture we’re fed with daily keeps us chained and make us slaves to the real powers working behind the curtain. Up until we’re ready to break free from this manipulation they empower on us trough religion and their governments we’ll never be able to reach another level.

5. Thesyre to me is naturally reminiscent of many of your own influences, would it interest you if a younger generation of bands/fans begin to appreciate these important bands also?

I would love to see the next generation get into the bands which played a major role on our development because of our music. That would be an honor to serve as a link between both. I think that a lot of younger music enthusiast are looking to the past to find out who influenced who and why is this whole genre gone that far. I am doing the same with obscure progressive and psychedelic bands of the 70s. It’s always good to know the roots of an artistic movement as it helps you identify who were the leaders and the followers as well as knowing who made the real advancements and who helped refine the genre. By knowing where you are from is much easier to visualize where you want to go. By doing so, young musicians would also realize that there has to be some kind of a balance between emulating the past and looking at the future. It’s the source of all forms of progression: build on the past and keep looking ahead.

6. Have there been at times misconceptions created by people with regards to the meaning of the band's 'the eagle in the wheel' moniker? I shamefully admit to having mistaken this for something 'imperialistic' myself at first. conversrly, I think it describes very well the persons transformation from a cog in the wheel to an eagle, what were your thoughts at the time when this symbol came to your mind? I think it's very effective in this context.

Well, it looks imperial because of the eagle and the cogwheel also gives it an industrial feel. I reckon it might be misleading at first as it’s not very ‘heavy-metal-by-numbers’ for a logo. Many people linked us to NSBM, Industrial and Martial music when in reality we’re much more rooted in the Thrash and Black Metal genre. I like the idea that it’s a bit misleading at first. You must get passed the iconography and look deeper into the band to have an idea of what’s beneath the cover. I designed the logo to embody that idea of freedom trough hard work and dedication. It’s about will and perseverance, which frees one from enslavement. I am glad you got its signification right.

7. As mentioned earlier with regards to the experimentation certain bands are undergoing at present incorporating various native folk instruments as well as other elements, wouldn't you say that this may seem some way ironic considering that there can be so much that can already be explored on already existing instruments such as bass, drums and guitar? I think it was Brian Eno that said something along the lines of the guitar being such a limited instrument by it's very construction that this would natural make people want to push the limitations of the instrument in question. And would you agree with this statement?

There’s not much you can do when your expression gets limited by 7 notes, right? Be it on a piano or on an electric guitar, music works around a set of patterns. If you only understand music by identifying patterns then you’ll get bored quick. When you create music you’re trying to trigger a reaction in the listener. Sounds and words are connected to stimulate impression in the listener’s ears. Some people will react positively to the stimulation as they will be able to filter and process the information and eventually create links between the impressions they get, the words they understand and the notes they hear. It’s a complex language which is built on a simple pattern. It’s what you’re making of it which gives it its full potential. Letters, for example, won’t do much for you unless you sequence them into words and formulate sentences. Being able to express yourself with the language (visual, musical or lyrically) and to then have other people react to it is, for me, the whole reasoning behind any form of artistic expression. Pushing the limitations of the instrument was done in the last centuries. I think we’re now at a point where we need to find where we can bring all those experimentations. Mozart, Beethoven and Bach did a lot for music and we’re still relying on their discoveries now. Electronic music has pushed the boundaries even farther and this whole evolution of the artistic language allows us to enjoy very peculiar forms of music such as power electronics or noise. It’s a complex aesthetic which gets developed and which requires time to pass unto the audience but we’re still evolving artistically. We’re refining the aesthetics right now and I am looking forward to see the next steps.

8. From what you say the realization of this current album 'résistance' this time round has been recorded wholly by yourselves if i'm correct? in what way would you say this has aided the process of arranging the songs? it would give your more time to work more carefully on these I would imagine.

We always worked with a good friend on all our previous albums (in his professional studio) and this time we felt we could try something different. We recorded a few split releases on our own and liked the way it sounded. I felt it would suit our sound better to downsize the production a bit and concentrate on the rough qualities of our music a bit more. Our last album “Exist!” sounded much more polished and in some places I felt some of our initial rawness was missing. I think “Resistance” succeeds in keeping our sound but giving it a rougher edge at the same time. Some people will prefer a more polished approach but we’re not there to please anyone but ourselves first. The album was recorded real fast, as usual. Most of what you hear are first takes. The drums and bass where done in a record time I’d say and the guitars took a little longer as we had to 2 two tracks. I won’t even start with the vocals which is always easy for me. I messed around a lot more on effects and the mix since I was working in my own studio this time. I felt I had a lot more control on everything and could make sure that everything I wanted to hear was there. I do not downplay the role of a studio engineer or a producer but I think that in the case of a band like Thesyre, the more you handle yourself, the better it is for your sound. We also avoided doing a mastering on the album. So many bands rely on some studio magic to make things louder and more compressed it’s getting ridiculous. We preferred to deliver the album as we mixed it to Osmose. It’s loud enough and if you need it louder there’s a cool device on your player called a volume knob.

9. To me it seems obvious that some people are inherently born with superior genetics, to what extent would you say this holds true?

Well, it’s plain facts…truly simple. Who can argue that we were all born with the same genetic profile? We’re a product of our parent’s union and therefore they play a massive role in forming what we are. We inherit a lot from them so we’ll all be a mix of both (therefore different) the day we’re born. There are exceptions to the rule but you can’t beat having intellectually and physically strong parents; they’ll give you the best to begin with at least. Look who’s breeding the soonest around you… Look who’s having the more kids… It doesn’t take a degree to reproduce yourself, sadly. The worldwide gene pool isn’t getting any better these days. We’re supporting a lot of unable parents and their families and all this does is to create a culture of degenerates reproducing itself faster than the clever people out waiting to have a steady partner and find a steady job making sure they can provide and educate their kids properly.

10. If you could define the Thesyre concisely which words would you use?

Abrasive, catchy, mid-tempo Black/Thrash Metal.

11. With Thesyre one can find not just one but a myriad of messages running concurrently with one another, do you focus on the established truths or is it something that continual changes with you as you develop and explore?

My lyrics rely on what I consider to be the truth. I do not follow the established ideas unless they’re mine as well. I am always questioning myself on everything. My brain is on full throttle 24/7, addressing the reality surrounding me. Some of my friends could tell you I have a tendency toward conspiracy theories and that I am a little radical in my views but this is who I am and it surely transpire in my lyrics. It develops and evolves but the very core of my reasoning has been the same for the last ten years I would say.

12. What I find most interesting about the booklet of 'Résistance' is that it kind of sums up the lyrical theme of the album in one image so to speak, and saves the inclusion of the lyric sheets. What prompted you to take this decision? more direct perhaps?

More direct and, in some ways, open for a broader interpretation. An image is often worth a thousand words and I felt this collage I did was summing up the whole album. Knowing the lyrics would be in French also made me go in a direction where everyone opening the booklet could get an idea of what the album was about lyrically.

13. In what ways do you apply logic when discerning the truth in situations? for some people it can be a very contradictory swarm of information when one is trying to find the "truths" wouldn't you say?

What do we consider to be true? Just because something gets covered a lot in the media and that a lot of people have many theories about it doesn’t make it true. Truth for me has to be observable and identifiable. I rely a lot on hard facts to establish my own conception of what is true. I do not believe in a spiritual world, in a life after death, in ghosts or spirits. I believe in what I can feel, see, smell, taste and touch. As soon as something gets out of my (potential) reach it triggers a debate in me: is it or can it be true? What are the logical possibilities for it to be true? Is it man-made, is there an explanation I can come up with? Anything beyond the reach of your senses defies the laws of logic, I think. Even the cosmos, we have a lot of theories about it but very little hard facts. We’d like to think that the way we define the universe around us is right but unless we can go experience it by ourselves it remains theory and therefore shouldn’t be considered true in essence. It’s a limited view of the world in some ways but it’s also a very realistic one. I try to fight all the illusions around me the best I can. “No expectations, no deceptions” isn’t easy to live by but it surely is a motto worth applying to your life.

14. Are there some instances of modern society and products of globalization that you find quite rewarding? One thing that springs to mind for myself is the ease of communicating with people of different cultures, but I think this is something which can quite easily exist without the onslaught of globalist zeitgeist.

The world we live in right now is easy on us. We can feed a good portion of the population, a lot of us live with decent standards of hygiene and we can enjoy an ever expending life expectancy. No humans had it that easy before us, I would say. We have technologies to helps us cure ourselves from diseases, we have fast travel, easy communication devices…really we shouldn’t have to moan against anything. Yet, the main problem with what we call modernity is that we’re all becoming dependant to the technologies we developed in the last century and those technologies relies on energy we can hardly renew for various reasons. We’re licking clean this planet’s resources and one day or another we’ll suffer the consequences. We should be doing our best to make sure we can enjoy living according to the standards we established but also making sure it goes hand in hand with the planet supporting us. So far we’ve failed to do so and I would like to think that we’ll manage to sort it out and try to save what’s left. I have huge doubts we’ll be able to do it. Globalization is the solution a lot of people figured out would work the best for us but I doubt it. It only expands the problem to the whole of the planet and accelerates our downfall. A modern society should recognize that there are too much people on this planet and that our consumption habits will have to be suited to a more sustainable lifestyle. If we cannot regulate ourselves then nature will do it its own way, the hard way.

15. Artistic creations have shown in preceding decades through various movements, that areas of artistic endeavor often overlap, in some cases inextricably so. Are there any other areas where you could say you could quite happily see Thesyre in whether it be film, installation etc? Do you feel this is outside of the parameters you may have set yourself?

I would like to expand our parameters but so far I cannot invest more time in the band. If we’d try to expand our sphere of artistic activities we would have to dedicate ourselves a lot more and it’s impossible at the moment. We all have careers outside of Thesyre which are very important to us and we cannot sacrifice more of it right now without suffering a loss. I am glad to consider Thesyre as a musical eye-opener attracting a handful of people right now. I guess we could serve as a multiplication agent in a world of bands trying to make people think and react. We’re not here for the money or the fame. We’re not here to boost our egos and to convince ourselves we’re great musicians. It’s a creative outlet into which we all like investing our efforts and for as long as we will be able to keep it going we’ll accomplish ourselves within it. Anything beyond requires sacrifices we cannot do at the moment.

16. 'Afin d'en finir avec le judgement des dieux' ('In order to end with the judgement of the gods')? could you tell us a little about this particular songs meaning(s)?

This song is based around a radio play written and performed in parts by the French playwright, poet, actor and theatre director Antonin Artaud, back in the late 1940s. I inspired myself from a part of the original text and re-arranged it to fit my views on organized religion and the necessity to cut all ties with it in order to progress. I always wanted to do something based on this author’s works and it suited this album’s concept of resistance perfectly.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing this interview with your readers. Your support is much appreciated!

    ReplyDelete