Trepalium interview (03/2009)
|Conducted by:||Darkside Momo, FreakyMarge (in person)|
This interview wasn't planned at first... Marge and I didn't know the band beforehand, but they asked for an interview just after we finished with Gojira's. How the hell could we say no?
It was done with the whole band. With them was also Sylvain Biguet, who produced their latest album and is also their sound engineer.
So, here it is. It's a bit awkward at times, and some of the questions were not the most pertinent, but it was fun!
Darkside Momo: So, when did Trepalium started?
Harun Demiraslan (guitars): Well, in the end of 2001. November, to be precise.
DM: How did you find yourselves on this tour with Gojira? I've heard that you are friends with them?
Harun: Well, Sylvain has known Mario [Duplantier] for almost 12 years...
Sylvain Bouvier (drums): Yeah!
Harun: And we've all known them for roughly 8 years... And well, how we ended on this tour... Sylvain?
Sylvain: Well, er... I talked a long time with Joe, telling him that our album was about to be released, and that we absolutely needed to tour... So he offered me that Trepalium could play at the Elysée Montmartre [a venue in Paris], saying that it would be good promotion for us. And two days later he called me again, telling me "well, you're doing the whole French tour with us!" So it was a big surprise...
Harun: Thing is, they quite like our last album, and also we know each other... So all this led them to think "we need a band for a tour support, and we want to help Trepalium because we like them, so let them be our special guest during all the French Tour."
DM: So you're doing only the French tour, and not the whole European one?
DM: Well... Now, talk about your latest album!
Harun: It's a new beginning for us, because we changed labels (we were signed on Holy Records for two albums, and now we're starting with Season Of Mist), and because there's a great evolution. The sound, first, is good... Well it's exactly as we wanted, it's warmer, more acoustic, and it has a really better production than everything we've done before.
Besides, the music is much more mature, I mean it's less weird, more focused on... Well, our identity is recognizable. So it's an album which is really heavy and dense, quite elaborate, and paradoxically it's much more technical and much easier to listen to because there are choruses, verses, all that stuff... In fact, it's the interpretation, how we play, that is really technical... We really found our own way to do it with this album.
KK (vocals): And it's called XIII.
DM: Why XIII?
KK [pronounced Kéké, as in 'Chemistry' for example]: Well… This album tells a story, and that's the second part of it, because I got stuck with the idea of a triptych. On Alchemik Clockwork Of Disorder the recurring character is called XII, and here he changes his name; it makes a parallel with tarot cards, as the thirteenth card is Death. And so, at the end of this album, he dies. So I thought it was a nice allusion to do…
Sylvain: That's it, it was our last album! (laughs)
KK : No, no, now the game is to guess what will follow up…
DM: Death and resurrection?
KK : Oh, no, no, this won't be a resurrection, let's be a bit down-to-earth.
KK, tired but happy after the show
DM: Oh... Will he come back as a zombie? (rires)
KK : Oh no! I'd like him to come back as a zombie, but it wouldn't be…
Nico (guitars): Maybe he'll reincarnate or…
KK : No, this wouldn't work either. However I'm already thinking about it.
Harun: In Trepalium, musically or lyrically, everything is possible. Let's say we've found a way to work, musically speaking; next, with the lyrics, he can do a triptych, start on a totally different story, well this will be a surprise.
DM: And so you write all the lyrics?
KK : With one of my friends called Louis. Actually… it has been more than ten years since we started playing music together. We've always worked together, music-wise. So we help each other out, and it's faster this way… We also think the same way so there are no endless arguments…
Nico : He's good at English too…
KK : Yeah, he speaks English really well so he can fill in the gaps…
Harun: And also...
Nico : And he also features on our last album.
KK : Yes, on And Now et Unexpectable Lies. You can hear his voice. It was a fair thing to do.
FreakyMarge: How do you compose? Do you use the same process since the beginning or did it evolve? Who does what?
Sylvain: We're keeping pretty much the same method, it's Harun who writes most of the music and then we bring our personal touch, to enrich it if it's possible when we have some ideas. But everybody is free to compose, but if everybody is already satisfied…
Harun: Yeah, let's say that our method is not cast in stone. After that, I know I always had a part in composition because I have a bigger affinity with the writing rather than with the guitar performance, but we often agree anyway... That's our way...
... Then followed a little laundry interlude ... Which won't be transcribed...
Harun: As I said, it's not cast in stone; if one of us was able to contribute to KK's lyrics, sure he would do it. But KK is way better than us at writing, he has this culture of 'metal writing', shall we say.
KK : Death, all that stuff... (laughs)
Harun: For me, music-wise, it's... Well, er... As far as the riffs are concerned, it's quite a pain in the ass to work with these guys, but then again we agree pretty quickly. After that, everyone is free about everything. Sylvain has a very personal way of playing the double bass... He plays more with his feet than with his hands anyway! (laughs) You've got it, he has a way to enhance rhythms with his double bass. We don't always think about it when we're writing the song, but he will feel it like a metal drummer ought to... It might work the other way, too: I might think about something, and all of a sudden Ludo will use the harmony of a previous verse and we'll all think 'that sounds fresh and good'! So yes, even if most of the themes are predefined, we always discuss...
Sylvain: Yes, it's evolutive...
Nico : It's a democracy, with us!
Harun: Er... yeah. That's beautiful! (laughs)
And we don't... We're pretty instinctive. Everytime, we set a deadline for recording. But, up to now, we haven't really thought about it. Except for the lyrics, KK is thinking hard about his concept and stuff...
KK : I take notes for a long time, and then I see what they did musically speaking… I go to the rehearsals, listen to the riffs, and I think about what I can do with it on an emotional level.
Harun: What it brings to your mind...
KK : Yeah, to remain consistent with the music; you can't say everything if the music is quieter or more aggressive…
DM: Sure if a riff is very melodic you can't talk about a big zombie with a machete... (laughs)
KK : I don't really deal with stuff like that. More about Life, with a capital L.
The Care Bears (Bisounours in French)
Harun: It's a bit hardcore, when you think of it...
KK : Yeah yeah, it's more hardcore than metal. It's… quite down to earth… No demon story, no stuff like that, it's…
Ludo (bass) : The Care Bears! (laughs)
DM: The Care Bears are not 'down to earth'...! (laughs)
Ludo (bass) : More in the clouds…!
DM: And now, what are your projects, after this tour with Gojira?
Nico : Keep promoting the last album, as long as we can. Before making a fourth one.
Harun: Yeah, we've got a manager and a promoter who are trying to handle the future, after this tour...
Nico : Touring in foreign countries would be nice too.
DM: Do you already have confirmed gigs, especially in foreign countries?
Harun: We've had a phone call from our manager recently, and he said that things were going well... Week-ends, festivals, stuff like that... But as far as other countries are concerned, we don't know at all. Let's say we're deep in this tour's craziness... It's the first time we do such a heavy tour; we're under pressure, after all there are about 1,000 people each night... So we rely on those who back us, they are here for this reason.
DM: For Metalstorm readers who don't live in France... Where can they find your album?
KK : On Season Of Mist's website.
Harun: It's officially released the 9th of February [two days after this interview was recorded].
Sylvain: It's not released in France only, I think.
Harun: It's also released in Switzerland and in the Benelux. Of course, if the word spreads and we find ourselves playing more tour supports, or foreign festivals, it's sure that Season of Mist will negotiate the licence, so the album can be officially released in other countries. It depends on... everything. But since we've found a label, things have been going quite smoothly for us, so we hold on and try to make it all work. But it's well underway, in any case.
DM: Has it gone wrong with Holy Records [their previous label], or what?
Harun: No no no, it's just that we needed different organizations and... let's say we're all nearly in our thirties now and we started to have enough of this atmosphere (which was very good nonetheless). During these last two years, we wanted to be more professional, as we want to live our passion, and get a living with it too.
Sylvain: Also to give more chances to our last album... The labels are not of the same importance, so the budget is not the same...
Marge: When you began playing music, did you have a very precise idea of what kind of band you would like to form and where you wanted to go? Or did it happen naturally when you met the others?
Harun: Actually, the thing is that I have ideas of some elements that I want to find in music, and I think we all share those in the band.
Nico : Sure.
Harun: The way we do is that I bring and propose some ideas, and if one of the guys really doesn't like those and think it's bad, then it's bad. But it's going very well every time so we keep going that way if it's constructive.
Concerning how the music is going to sound, we all know, even Kéké who writes the lyrics on his side while we wrote the music beforehand, how we sound. On one hand it's very natural, but on the other we think about the elements that we want to bring. For example, about the next album, I wouldn't want to make plans, but we know that some elements on "XIII" speak a lot to us, some very dark sides we never had on our first two records, inspired from King Crimson and stuff. And we all know that we can't play music without a groove part, and it's great when we can transpose that on stage.
DM: How is the audience reacting so far? Is it good?
From left to right: Harun, Nico, Ludo
Sylvain: It's good, it's good.
Ludo: We had no fight for now... (laughs)
Nico: No one threw stuff at us so far!
Ludo: But, it's true that, even if people come to see Gojira, the response is good. In general half of the audience reacts well...
Harun: And in about one show out of two, KK can start a 'Braveheart' [the French name for 'wall of death']!
KK: Yeah, when there's a good atmosphere, I launch a braveheart during the last song, and it's pretty impressive!
Nico: On the first 8 days of this tour, we did 3 or 4 that were really great. About the others... We were not always happy, but the audience reacted well anyway.
DM: We'll see this evening!
KK: Yeah, if the atmosphere's great, there'll be a braveheart!
The interview finished with some chatting and more jokes. It was really fun! So thanks to all of you, and thanks to Rachel for making this possible!
Also, thanks to Collin for the proofreading.
And remember that Trepalium will play at Hellfest this summer!
||Posted on 09.03.2009 by Once your regular Hellfest reporter, now retired. I (strangely enough) listen to a lot of metal. And enjoy good beers, comics, novels and role-playing games.|
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