Pensées Nocturnes

With: Vaerohn
Conducted by: Troy Killjoy, Lucas (e-mail)
Published: 06.06.2010

Band profile:

Pensées Nocturnes




T - What led to the creation of Pensées Nocturnes?

Pensées Nocturnes is a one man band which gives me the opportunity to express myself without other constraints than my imagination. It's really difficult to work in symbiosis within a band and concessions aren't easily made when related to art. This project lies on a Black Metal basis and approaches many other influences to fit to what I have in mind. No matter what is usually done. No matter what people want. Pensées Nocturnes is the image of how I see music, what I really want to listen to. I've composed the first song ("Flore") in August 2008 and Vacuum, the first album was released in April 2009. In this sunny day we are talking about Grotesque, the second album, released in March 2010.



Grotesque


T - As a one-man band, what do you think are the pros and cons of writing music without receiving input from other band members?

I often play with other people and I also play live with other bands which means that PN is a way for me to try something different. I can assure you that running a project alone is quicker than having to deal with a lot of personalities and points of view: it's more spontaneous and coherent. You don't have to convince anybody, to agree on something, to rehearse, to deal with the fifth wheel... Sure sometimes you may feel a little impatient because it's a lot of work but it's really pleasant to feel you master everything. The other reason is that it's impossible to innovate when reducing the instruments used to two guitars and a bass. I think that together with only using (often unconsciously) the minor harmonic scale, this is the origin of the fact everybody is doing the same thing again and again. How do you want to do something new if you begin by restricting yourself on the choice of the instruments? What I mean is that you won't ask for a trumpet player to come to play only a few notes on the whole album, and this is particularly true for a band which plays live. You just do it yourself.

T - Pensées Nocturnes is considered to be a band that mixes depressive black metal with classical music. Do you believe that is an accurate description of your music?

Pensées Nocturnes can be called whatever you want, that doesn't matter to me. I see music as a whole, and to compare or make styles confront each other is just a waste of time. I play Blues, Black Metal, Death Metal, Classical Music, Jazz, Post Rock, etc... I don't understand how can people follow some denominations and create real conflicts between two words. What's Black Metal? What's Death Metal? Is it possible to define such styles precisely? Except some sociologists not much meticulous, nobody has the nerve to do such a work. We are just talking about subjective interpretations of different vibrations due to who we are, our lives and own experiences. You have your own idea of what is Black Metal and so am I but with a different image. I think it's a waste of time to try to catalogue everything, to put words on each notes. Music is the only thing that matters, and I am just a guy who plays music, putting words on it is your job actually!

T - Where do you draw most of your inspiration from musically?

I usually start from a concept, a thought, and I develop the music with the idea of what I would call a scenario. Sometimes this logical sequence is led by a text, sometimes it inspires one. There is no strict rule. I just let my imagination lead me when inspiration is here. I think it's important to be led by emotions rather than brain during composition (or more exactly both of them but separately) that's why I don't censor myself even if I've a text to follow. In a way music express more precisely than words what you can feel and I don't want to miss this particularity. So no rule, just try and see. Therefore some ideas in Grotesque have raised from a music heard in a bar, a conversation between two people in the street of Paris...

T - Has reviewing other bands' material in the past helped you find your sound? Some might say reviewing other albums in the past would hinder them musically in the present.

I don't think so. I mean reviewing is just the conclusion, it is just writing what you think of something and you can also think about something without explaining to others your opinion, which is what I have always done. I have stopped reviewing because I don't feel like I have the pretension to enlighten others on my point of view which is necessary a subjective representation of a particular music. What would others care about that? What you feel when listening to music has nothing to do with the concept behind it, the emotions (Hate can be found in Rap and Death Metal) expressed, or any objective aspect, and therefore I don't see any point in explaining to others why they should listen to this or not which doesn't mean I have to stop studying others' music.

T - Care to tell us a bit about your musical background?

I don't think talking about myself would be very interesting. PN is not a music based on the image of its composer as could be Shining or Marilyn Manson, for which singers have the predominant roles. In PN the main role goes to the music. It's like when you buy a science fiction book with the author on the cover: honestly what do we care about the face of the writer?

T - What are your thoughts on the modern black metal scene?

What I've always wanted to do with PN is using Music as a tool to express a larger matter. Not trying to create the most beautiful or powerful Music. Not trying to do the best Black Metal ever because I know more than others what it is. Most of the time in Extreme Metal people are led by the music rather than being the master of it. Let's take the example of Anti-Christianity: honestly with all the changes in terms of culture and religion in Europe who really thinks it's still a major problem to deal with? Musicians aren't artists anymore, they are just puppets being convinced they have a path to follow or whatever. Because art cannot be reduced to being cast in the same mould as most Black Metal bands seem to think. "Transilvanian Hunger" is one of a kind, "Fountain" by [Marcel] Duchamp also, but you only do it once however it's just pure plagiarism and totally useless. I don't revel in reading a book I have already read as well as composing something I already know how to compose and playing something I already know how to play. I have something to express, to deal with and then I compose the music which fits to it. It's the way it should work, not saying "OK I want to do Black Metal, now what should I talk about? Others deal with this, OK it should be the good thing to talk about."

The problem today is that nobody cares about this aspect: what do you find in a review? The "journalist" is going to give a description of the album with the few things he knows about music. And then he is going to tell if he likes it or not because it fits more or less to his vision of Black Metal (what a big word) or whatever. Nowhere you will find somebody trying to understand why this instrument is used here? Which author these words refer to and why? Which philosophy is developed here and how? Why is this particular passage minimalist and this one rather complex? Do these chords make words? Why are there hidden words at the beginning of each verse? Etc... What people are waiting from you is composing the music they would like to listen to, being cast in the good mould. They don't want you to make them think or expressing yourself.

Then that is called supply and demand, not art.

The goal is to download the quickest possible the album to be the first one to say on Last.fm what I think about it, even before the release. Nobody would take the time to decode the music. Then I cannot help wondering: how can people be pretentious enough to write about something they don't even have the slightest idea of? Do they do the same thing with non-representational art? "No I don't understand this, this is not art." Wake up!

T - Do other bands have an effect on your sound at all?

Honestly I didn't really try to copy a band or a musical style even if you can find more or less obvious references to classical composers or other bands in Grotesque which are more a modest homage. Sure I'm not credulous, Pensées Nocturnes isn't a revolution and is influenced by what I'm used to listening to but it is not a purpose I try to fulfill when I compose. So I can't really tell you what artists inspired me, but I can at least tell you what I'm used to listening to: generally speaking I prefer to judge bands on a case by case basis and try to avoid cataloging as far as possible: Black Metal obviously (in all its forms: Symphonic, True, Depressive, Melodic...), Death Metal, Classical Music (mainly Romantic Period and the following ones), Blues, Jazz, Post-Rock, French variety...

T - What led to the change from Vacuum to Grotesque? Both albums are similar in style, but Grotesque seems to be a little more chaotic.

Vacuum was my first experience in terms of composition, recording and mix and today I feel I better master these processes. Grotesque is more mature and looks more like what I'm looking for. I think it is more complex in terms of composition but of concept too. On the one hand Grotesque goes deeper on the "mixing everything" thing and thus is more absurd and ludicrous than Vacuum which is more common if I may say. But on the other hand there are more brutal parts and thus more extreme metal pieces on Grotesque, Vacuum being more into the "Depressive Black Metal" style. So to sum up I would say Grotesque is at the same time less serious and rougher, less righteous and more unhealthy than Vacuum. I think the main improvements between these albums concern the production, the voice and the composition, far more original and complex.



Vacuum


T - Do you know if you'll be changing vibes like that again for your next release?

I have no idea what I will create in the future but it won't be something common and already seen. As I said Art cannot be reduced to being cast in the same mould so I apologize for the ones who wanted me to create other Vacuums all my life long but it would be losing my time and yours.

T - Have thoughts of live performances ever crossed your mind? Maybe hiring some tour musicians and hitting the road...?

I'm often proposed to play live but I don't think a concert would be something suitable for this music. Actually I don't want to reduce PN to a live band because it would be necessary to be credible which would decrease a lot the number of possibilities. I don't want to compose with the idea of being limited to material issues like how will I play this live? So for the time being the priority is the band's discography. What's more I'm not convinced being able to share as easily as I'm able to do with an album and I have already other bands for that. That's why I don't want to lose time trying to set up a line-up only for promotional interest or to do like every other band.

T - Les Acteurs De l'Ombre began as a French webzine and concert producer, yet formed as a label in order to promote your music. What kind of effect did this have on you?

Les Acteurs De L'Ombre is a non-making-money organisation which was indeed created by Gerald to organise concerts in France, mainly in Paris, and I am used to giving them a hand from time to time. Later it evolved to be also a webzine and last year Gerald quitted the president function to create the label, LADLO productions. I guess you can understand that being a part of it makes it quite natural for me to work with them. On the one hand it is still a small structure so I can't have the same expectation as I would have in a bigger label but on the other hand this situation provides me freedom I need. I am not under a contract which tells me what I have to do the objective of LADLO productions being here to support the scene and not to make money.





T - As a musician, what are your thoughts on the Internet (and more specifically, illegal file sharing)?

As a fan the Internet is obviously a wonderful means to discover a lot of bands, of different music, etc, and moreover to develop your knowledge about everything. However the main issue I see about the Internet is that it's a place where everybody can play the role of whatever he wants. Everybody can be a journalist, a writer, a scientist, a music critic, etc... Therefore finding relevant information in all this mess is a real loss of time, when you manage to find something... I don't think I would be able to go without the Internet today, like everybody, and I really hate this situation in which everything has to be quick, entertaining and funny, and in which thought and seriousness just disappeared. Nonetheless it's not a characteristic of the Internet since all the media follow the same path: television, music, the cinema, etc... Actually it's just the dark side of democracy: a place where the opinion of the village idiot is given the same weight as the opinion of Aristotle.

As for illegal file sharing, I see two major problems about this situation we have to accept anyway. The first one, namely the financial one, mainly concerns labels (since in extreme metal bands almost never earn money) which invest money in a release for pressing of course, but also promotion, imagery, production, etc. Therefore we could wonder why keeping on investing money in an artwork and in promo CD since people don't really care about the material object anymore and since downloading is a pretty efficient way to spread your work. Then here we come to the second issue in my point of view: the control of image and music. When a label send a promo album to be reviewed, he knows he will generally get in return an acceptable review on the album, far way more interesting than an "I like it" or "I don't like it" or "I prefer blablabla". When an album is released (and often before the release, like with Grotesque) it doesn't belong to the musician anymore, it's the privilege of warezforum, blogs or whoever has a connection to the Internet. To give you an example, three weeks before its release you could find some songs of Grotesque on Youtube, mixing a pitiful quality mp3 with corny pictures. I just regret there is no more respect for music in this world.

T - With two albums already under your belt (Vacuum in 2009, Grotesque in 2010), what can we expect from Pensées Nocturnes in the future? Anything special planned for 2011?

I'm continuously working on PN but without any deadlines or plan. Grotesque was finished months ago and therefore I have well progressed on the future of the project but I have nothing really precise to say for the moment. So just wait and see.

T - On behalf of Metal Storm I would like to thank you for reading and answering these questions.


 



Posted on 06.06.2010 by
Troy Killjoy
Just another opinionated guy telling you what to listen to.
More interviews by Troy Killjoy ››




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Troy Killjoy - 06.06.2010 at 22:50  
Thanks to Lucas for some additional questions and formatting techniques.
White Winter Sun - 07.06.2010 at 00:49  
Interesting interview guys, good job.

Cool to see that the future stuff won't be something common and already seen.

And for those of you who haven't done it yet, have a listen to Grotesque, it's an awesome album, really.
Vitriolic Hate - 07.06.2010 at 03:11  
Nice interview,interesting to read.
Daggon - 07.06.2010 at 07:25  
Wow, he is really a down-to-earth man, I'm impressed about this interview, thank you guys. and as White Winter Sun said, give a try not only to "Grotesque" but also to "Vacuum", Black metal fans (and metal fans in general) won't regret it.
Troy Killjoy - 07.06.2010 at 07:34  
Not only is he down-to-earth, but incredibly intelligent and very humble. He was a pleasure to work with that's for sure!
Chainer - 07.06.2010 at 18:06  
He really went off on a tangent about the modern metal scene didnt he? Well while I don't totally agree with everything he said it still made for a cool interview from a wicked one man band.
Troy Killjoy - 07.06.2010 at 18:26  
Written by Chainer on 07.06.2010 at 18:06

He really went off on a tangent about the modern metal scene didnt he? Well while I don't totally agree with everything he said it still made for a cool interview from a wicked one man band.

No kidding, I didn't realize it would spark such a heated response! I guess that's how it works with interviews, even if not conducted in person. Nevertheless, he still has a lot of interesting things to say and certainly has no problem with stating his opinion.
Chainer - 07.06.2010 at 18:41  
Written by Troy Killjoy on 07.06.2010 at 18:26

Written by Chainer on 07.06.2010 at 18:06

He really went off on a tangent about the modern metal scene didnt he? Well while I don't totally agree with everything he said it still made for a cool interview from a wicked one man band.

No kidding, I didn't realize it would spark such a heated response! I guess that's how it works with interviews, even if not conducted in person. Nevertheless, he still has a lot of interesting things to say and certainly has no problem with stating his opinion.


The second paragraph is what really struck me, it sounds like he wants indepth meta-physical analysis and justification of every note and lyric than just the reviewers opinion on the album. No I'm no reviewer but if that was me I might have been just a smidge insulted.
Troy Killjoy - 07.06.2010 at 18:52  
Written by Chainer on 07.06.2010 at 18:41

The second paragraph is what really struck me, it sounds like he wants indepth meta-physical analysis and justification of every note and lyric than just the reviewers opinion on the album. No I'm no reviewer but if that was me I might have been just a smidge insulted.

I don't know if I was insulted, but it kind of makes you think like...what are people expecting from reviewers? If I think an album sounds good (regardless of the genre, mind you) I'll tell you why. What I won't do is provide, as you said, a metaphysical analysis of every note and lyric because in most cases musicians aren't exactly poets, in that there isn't much substance to actually delve into the "metaphysics" of the concept. In most cases it's just good or bad music, sometimes with subtleties and nuances, but you have to call it for what it is.

In my opinion our friend here is perhaps aiming too high in terms of his expectations for his audience. There are genuine musicians in the scene who at least think like artists as opposed to just making music for the sake of doing it/making money, and it's obvious that Vaerohn is one of them.
Lucas - 07.06.2010 at 19:14  
Nice job, Troy.
Troy Killjoy - 07.06.2010 at 19:27  
Thanks Lucas. Vaerohn made me look pretty good!
krakenao - 07.06.2010 at 20:15  
Thanx a lot for your support!!!
Troy Killjoy - 07.06.2010 at 20:48  
Written by krakenao on 07.06.2010 at 20:15

Thanx a lot for your support!!!

Any time!
Ag Fox - 08.06.2010 at 22:26  
He seems like he's quite quite a strong personality and views. Quite respect him for that though.
Got Mayhem? - 08.06.2010 at 22:41  
Good interview, definitely an interesting and intelligent man. Not to mention a fabulous musician...
Troy Killjoy - 08.06.2010 at 22:42  
Written by Got Mayhem? on 08.06.2010 at 22:41

Good interview, definitely an interesting and intelligent man. Not to mention a fabulous musician...

He's got the whole package.
Got Mayhem? - 08.06.2010 at 22:44  
Written by Troy Killjoy on 08.06.2010 at 22:42

Written by Got Mayhem? on 08.06.2010 at 22:41

Good interview, definitely an interesting and intelligent man. Not to mention a fabulous musician...

He's got the whole package.

He can probably even cook and make girls laugh too
Troy Killjoy - 08.06.2010 at 22:48  
What a champ.
Mikyz - 11.06.2010 at 19:06  
He doesn't hold back. Honest, straight forward, down-to-earth. Even if I'm not a big fan of his music, it's in no way groundbreaking or anything, he earned my respect him as a talented multi-instrumentalist. Thumbs up for the interview.
visiblenoise - 12.06.2010 at 07:06  
He really sounds like he knows what he's talking about, but he seems pretentious and not quite down-to-earth at all.
Troy Killjoy - 12.06.2010 at 07:12  
Written by visiblenoise on 12.06.2010 at 07:06

He really sounds like he knows what he's talking about, but he seems pretentious and not quite down-to-earth at all.

He definitely has a lot of knowledge, but I wouldn't call him pretentious. I think he might come off as a snob by the way he views the (black) metal scene, but overall I think what makes him seem down-to-earth is his honesty and willingness to answer questions about things he holds strong opinions about.
visiblenoise - 13.06.2010 at 04:34  
Written by Troy Killjoy on 12.06.2010 at 07:12

Written by visiblenoise on 12.06.2010 at 07:06

He really sounds like he knows what he's talking about, but he seems pretentious and not quite down-to-earth at all.

He definitely has a lot of knowledge, but I wouldn't call him pretentious. I think he might come off as a snob by the way he views the (black) metal scene, but overall I think what makes him seem down-to-earth is his honesty and willingness to answer questions about things he holds strong opinions about.


Good point. I guess my main beef with his responses was the one on his musical background. It's nice for a musician to be so into pondering life and all, but making everything philosophically charged gets tiring.
Noekkk - 27.06.2010 at 20:27  
He talks a lot
The Turbanator - 10.01.2011 at 10:30  
^ Haha.

He's a confident man. I wouldn't call him 'down-to-earth' but what make me respect him is that he has his opinion/principles, he sticks with them and he believes in them. That's what we need in today's world.

Amazing character.

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