Svart Crown interview (11/2010)
|With:||JB Le Bail|
|Conducted by:||DerRozzengarten (e-mail)|
Svart Crown hail from France and they move in the dissonant fields of black/death metal, depicting on their extreme sound pathways the various faces of darkness. JB Le Bail is here to give answers and make the picture of the band more clean for the audience concerning everything the band stands for along with many other things, hope you enjoy!
Greetings from Metalstorm JB and congratulations on your new album! Would you mind telling us a few things concerning the history of the band for the members of the site so as to know you better?
I started the band in 2005. We recorded a demo, Bloody Crown in 2006 and did as many shows as possible. We went through the usual line-up changes and released our first album, Ages of Decay in 2008. We went on a French tour before a new (and hopefully the last) change in the team. Gaël Barthélemy took the drum stool and Clément Flandrois, the second guitar. Ludo Veyssière, our bass player, was already there since the first album. We did two European tours and various shows through 2008 and 2009, and recorded the new album, in early 2010.
What does the name of the band stand for?
Svart is a Scandinavian word meaning black. To mix two languages is interesting and makes people wonder and that's a good thing. It also represents our influences that come from the worldwide metal scenes.
Witnessing The Fall, your latest effort, I have to admit I liked very much the cover artwork, black and white with a decomposing sense, like death carrying the deceased, who worked on it?
Stefan Thanneur, a French artist who is incredibly talented. His work went beyond our expectations and we have nothing but positive reactions about it. Your description is the closest to the truth yet you can probably see more things on it.
So, what lies in your music is a mixture of black and death metal and according to my ears you move towards the first one. Which bands would you refer to as influences? At times I notice a Behemoth vibe of the latest releases, something from Antaeus maybe, I also sense something from the Swedish modern black metal scene. Would you ever consider Deathspell Omega as an influence of yours? But still, it's just me, the truth lies in your words.
The Behemoth reference was more appropriate for the first album. We really like Deathspell Omega and you can certainly hear some influence here and there but our music tastes are wide and go from 90's death metal scene to post hardcore, black metal, dark/ambient/experimental music and so on...
The drum work is fabulous, G.Barthélemy has arms or some kind of machinery? Not only he doesn't lose the tempo, but it seems as if it's kind of natural for him to play like that forever adding as well some really creative passages inbetween the massive hell he forges.
I worked hard with Gaël on the drum parts for this album. I made demos with programmed drums on it as I had already some patterns in mind. We, then, practiced the songs together until we find the right foundations for the songs. We have the same references about great drumming performances on metal albums, such as Hate Eternal's I, Monarch, Immolation's Unholy Cult, or Gojira's From Mars to Sirius. We had the same vision.
Inside your music you blend groovy moments, passages that blast the whole place etc, how easy or hard was it for you to tie them together at the exact to keep the album flowing harmonically?
I wanted to have an album with a lot of dynamic. Heaviness, groove, blast beats fury, melody, dissonances. It had to be a travel through various lands, colors and tones. It's not easy but as for the drums, I really worked hard on the arrangements to make sure each song had its own identity.
You prove to own a good throat, many can growl, grunt etc, yet it also requires soul, you must feel what you¢re doing so as to paint with your voice the album in an extreme manner that presents varying tones. How much further can you go in the future?
Thank you for the compliment. I think I improved my vocal skills a lot on this album. The numerous shows we did the last few years helped me a lot to be more efficient. The vocals had to follow the depth I wanted to give to the music. It had to be brutal yet understandable.
I bet L. Veyssière is quite happy with the fact that his work is noticeable in the album instead of feeling like Newsted! The bass lines have quite an interesting role, he doesn't just keep the tempo, he even adds to it in his own way!
Clément and I worked with Ludo on the bass lines and I'm glad that you noticed the work that has been done. Like for the drums, it's a team work. We did'nt want to have the bass that would only follow the guitar lines because there was room for something different and interesting. Once again, it fits with the overall idea of dynamics for this album.
In the raw side of the music path you move upon (almost) everything has been played, all that has remained is inspiration and you obviously had a lot, apart from music influences and personal ideas, from where do you draw inspiration?
I totally agree with this statement. That's why you must be open to any form of artistic creations, be it Cinema, books, paints etc…and of course, it applies to the music as well. We all listen to many different music styles and all these influences can be thrown in the creative crucible. I really want Svart Crown to be in perpetual motion for the years to come.
Your music is fierce, powerful, dynamic, I bet the lyrics pace in the same vain. Through which specter do you see the world we live in?
The lyrics describe the fascinating ability that men have to destroy themselves. This is the fall we talk about. Wars, Religion or every day's life are an endless source of wondering about how twisted human's behaviors can be.
Is there a tour on schedule so as to promote your new album?
We already started an intense process of touring. We just finished a tour with Shining and Enthroned that went really great and we¢ll be on the road with Melechesch in early December. We'll be doing a massive amount of shows as well in 2011.
What should anyone expect from Svart Crown on stage?
We just play every show like it will be the last, period!
We put our body and soul into it and give all the energy we have to the audience.
We have to be totally exhausted as we go off stage!!
The production compliments the album, it's actually pretty clean and every single instrument is present in the final mix, even the bass lines that are usually being buried in the scene you're into, I bet you're satisfied with the outcome! How did it feel working with Francis Caste (Arkhon Infaustus etc)?
To be precise, We worked with three different persons for this recording. The drums have been made at the S.D.V studio in Paris with Jean-Pierre Mathieu, guitars, bass and vocals, in B.S.T studio with Sebastien Tuvi and Francis Caste did the mix/mastering at the St Marthe studio. All of them did a fantastic job but having Francis putting the final touch made a huge difference. He had great ideas and totally understood what we wanted.
I haven't listened to your debut album, Ages of Decay, would you mind lending some thoughts on it? And also, how did you progress during Witnessing The Fall when compared to the first one?
I still like this record a lot yet I would change things here and there if I could.
But for a first effort, I think we did the best job we could at this time and we still play songs from that album on our current live shows and it sounds great. The production is also very clean on this one, compared to the new album that have a more organic vibe.
Also, all the shows we did between the two albums made a real impact on our individual skills as well as our ability to know what we wanted to achieve with the new record.
Lately I've noticed that many albums have returned to the golden 45s and by that I mean that their duration is around 45 minutes. What do you think on that? The way I see it is that we live in a competitive world, even in the music universe, many bands, many albums, so keeping it in logical amounts of time it won¢t tire the listener if the album has something to say.
Witnessing the fall is a 46 minutes album! There are of course some great albums that barely go beyond half an hour but today, with all the downloading, listeners want to have something that is worth the money they spend. However, we didn¢t think that much about how long our album had to be. It had to be a coherent work and I think we kind of succeed.
Which extreme metal albums from 2010 you liked the most and found worth mentioning? It hasn't been such a fertile year for the black metal scene to be more precise...
Not necessarily black metal, I really liked new albums by Klone, Celeste (both from France) and Hour Of Penance (from Italy). Not that much records to say the least!
What's your point of view on album downloading or downloading in general?
It has both good and bad sides. It helps bands to promote their music themselves and the listeners have more possibilities to discover bands and listen to what they do. If you like the band, then you should support them and buy their album, but sadly, to buy CDs is a dying tradition, especially for young people who never bought any CD in their life. An album represents a massive amount of work and some people don't understand it or just don¢t care. But there's pretty much nothing you can do about it.
How does it feel being in Listenable Records' roster? How did this collaboration of record company/band come to life?
It's great, regarding how many great albums have been released on Listenable! I sent a promo cd to Laurent, the label manager and he called me back to tell me how much he loved the album; it's as simple as that! It was the best choice without any doubt.
How do you see the French black metal scene? Which bands would you mention as stand-out acts? Also, apart from the extreme metal scene over there which is apparently vivid, a doom metal scene is lurking, are you aware of this or it's just not your cup of tea?
There' s a strong black metal scene in France for sure with such bands as Otargos, Deathspell Omega, Glorior Belli, Aosoth among others, that stand on their own and that's a very good thing.
The doom metal scene is also expanding as well with bands like Eibon, Ataraxie etc…We have a wide range of great metal acts and it's getting bigger!
So as to conclude, what you'd like to say to the fans of Svart Crown on board but also the new ones that will listen to you?
I want to thank every single person supporting the band in any way. we're very grateful, and it makes us even more determined for the future.
We will be constantly on the road in the months to come to meet all the people who give the meaning to all of this.
Cheers and keep up the good work!
Thanks for the interview mate!! Take care!
Many thanks go to Listenable Records and Jupitreas for arranging this interview, !J.O.O.E.! for the help and bringing the band to my attention in the first place and last but not least of course, JB and the band for giving a reason of existence to this interview in the very first place!!
||Posted on 12.11.2010 by "It is myself I have never met, whose face is pasted on the underside of my mind."|
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