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Maïeutiste and their debut album are one of the best new acts of this year in my opinion, so I caught the chance to understand who they are and what they want to accopmlish.
Welcome on Aristocrazia Webzine and thanks for your availability.
Thank you for your kind words about our debut album.
As usual we would like to start providing some info about your band, its birth its members, and the influences that inspire you, the floor is yours.
Maïeutiste was founded in 2006 in the Rhône-Alpes region by Keithan and Eheuje, who wanted to create music, especially with references to black metal. We wanted to make an eclectic style of music, while still retaining the fury and frenzy of extreme metal acts such as Bethlehem, Emperor, Darkthrone or Ulver. It took us a long time to be satisfied about what we wanted. The band works in a collaborative way, despite the fact that Keithan initiated the writing and recording processes. We also wanted to evoke philosophical questions that we could put into music, searching for a poetic format.
The first time I listened to your album I was impressed by its varied and cryptic nature: there was so much food for thought in its sound and atmosphere the led to many ways of listening to it, I had reset my brain to listen to it again. How was writing it? Which were the troubles in doing it and how did you find the balance between notes and concept that made you create it?
We wanted to offer a style of music with multiple interpretations, which reveals itself over time, even if that meant seeming too dense on a first listen. We like albums that require a certain effort — which doesn't necessarily mean that the music in itself is complicated — that need time to be assimilated, and for a clear picture of the creator's intent to form over time. Compositions and lyrics are done by Keithan and then worked on and rearranged collaboratively by the band as a whole. The composition of the album did not occur "guitar in hand", but rather as an assembly of various sound scapes which were then adapted onto the chosen instruments. Our approach of evoking maieutics, the "art of giving birth to the spirit" according to Socrates, is interpreted in a poetic manner.
In the modern world where carelessness reigns supreme and everyone is constantly chasing news that make a sensation, can men give their thought a personal and identifiable trait? You talked about this topic in your album and in my opinion we should talk about this every day since the incredible amount of true or fake info we always receive.
First of all, people have never had as much means to access knowledge as they do today. Tools like internet are a way to give everyone access to humanity's heritage, and freely (to some extent). Of course this gives birth to a rise in misinformation, lack of objectiveness from the media and such… It's also important to question our own subjectivity, to take a step back and rationalise things. For instance, despite the atrocity of current wars that we won't go into here, there has never been so few major conflicts on earth than in the present day, but the way they are exposed by the media leads us to believe the opposite. We don't mean to say that these conflicts aren't as bad as previous ones, or aren't worth our attention, but it's important to pinpoint possible wrongdoings and political appropriations from all sides. That being said, our approach with Maïeutiste is far from a political one: it evokes the ambivalence between truths and falsity through a poetic form. We try to keep as much distance as possible from world issues, not because we disengage from them, but in order to claim an apolitical belief. The most important thing is to never be absolutely sure of what we feel or think.
In the digipak version there aren't the lyrics, while in the limited box version they are present; will we be able to find them online? And what are the celestial coordinates in the digipak?
It's true that the lyrics are hard to get hold of at the moment, but they will be released for free access on internet soon. We want to remain discreet concerning the meaning of the celestial coordinates that, although the lyrics give some means for interpretation, must remain cryptic, encouraging listeners to find their meaning. We believe that interpretation and the listener's appropriation of our music is as important as the music itself.
LADLO is a label which built its room in an interesting area of the black metal scene distant from the standard structures and open to different influences, how did you get in touch with them? Will your collaboration continue?
Les Acteurs De l'Ombre quickly came to mind, as they are one of the rare French labels to support and effectively allow new bands to emerge, offering coherent promotion means and releasing physical albums as true extensions of the music itself, which is becoming rare in this digital age. They are great people to work with, which is why we also work with them on another project that we are involved in, Barús, whose first EP was released by their Emanations branch on January 29th 2016.
Frequently the extreme music scene is criticized for its focus on the appearance instead of the content of the music, but bands like yours or MGLA drew attention because they are distant from this kind of stereotypes. Artists convey, craftsmen just do what others already did and many times they don't have anything else to say, so I want to ask you: how is the scene today?
Indeed, as for many things, appearances prevail. This concerns bands but also Media and labels in the metal scene. I think the first issue comes from the communitarian behaviour of the scene, claiming its own culture, excluding artistic freedom and being more worried about labelling things than exploring the artistic expression that they contain. This prompts the question "and what about the music?". It is quite paradoxical from a scene that claims to be a form of counter culture. That being said, a balance must be found between substance and form, and it's important to valorise the subjectivity of artistic intentions, that should above all remain sincere and authentic, and not have to worry about belonging to a genre. Several great bands have emerged in the last few years, partly thanks to the simplicity of spreading music via internet… so we don't think that things were better before, they are simply changing.
If I asked you to match five albums that you consider important to five literary works, which ones would you choose and why?
- Mournful Congregation "The Monad Of Creation" & Homer "The Iliad": this album is one of the most exceptional creations in our eyes, and it directly references "The Iliad". The epic allures of this music engage the listener on a journey and the Iliad offers immense resources to explore.
- John Zorn "IAO – Music In Sacred Light" & Aleister Crowley "The Book Of The Law": it would be dishonest of us to say that we know Crowley's "The Book Of The Law" well, but it makes us think of this album by John Zorn that we are very fond of. The album refers to the book and is incredibly mystical.
- Thergothon "Stream From The Heavens" & H.P. Lovecraft "The Lurking Fear": we enjoy Thergothon and H.P. Lovecraft, one of our favourites being "The Lurking Fear" (not very original of us). Thergothon was important in evoking this fantasy world that goes beyond human comprehension.
- Ulver "Bergtatt – Et Eeventyr i 5 Capitler" & Oscar Wilde "Intentions": this collection of four essays from Oscar Wild develops the question of critical thinking, of artificiality as opposed to naturalness, of masks… and demonstrates the paradoxes related to these questions. "Bergtatt" is an album which's intention can easily be misread: it's a very subtle album, yet despite its apparent romantic nature it reveals a deep darkness that makes many Norwegian releases of that time look pale in comparison.
- Deathspell Omega "Chaining The Katechon": The "Katechon" is a term used by Saint Paul; its semantic roots are debatable. It's the idea of a being, whatever it may be, that is ready to counter the coming of the Antichrist. For us, this seems like the calm before a storm, the sensation of terror before something terrible happens: the song (which is one of our personal favourites in the whole extreme metal scene) evokes stopping this force from countering the Antichrist. We prefer not to refer to the Bible, as we don't know it well enough.
After the Bataclan tragedy there were some people that, instead of working to face a difficult situation, chose to point the finger on Eagles Of Death Metal raising once again the argument about satanism. What was your reaction when you found out what happened that night? Knowing that a certain kind of music is always penalized, do you think that this kind of wicked behavior of these religious fanatics can start a new witch hunt?
Our first reaction to this barbarian act was horror and sadness, followed by a concern that the media and politicians on all sides would re-appropriate it and use it for their own benefits. We don't think the rock scene is the only victim here, as the entire entertainment world was affected. When claiming to belong to a counter culture such as ours, more conservative or fundamentalist people will always see it as wrong. I think we must fight them through the force of ideas, through freedom and through calling this behaviour to question. We think that we should concentrate on citizen acts aiming to fight obscurantism in our daily lives, through sharing ideas, discussing, especially at a time where internet gives us potential access to global knowledge, despite manipulations and misinformation. At a global level we need to step back and put things into perspective. We don't want to be the ones to accuse, nor do we want to mimic previous generations in occupying today the thrones of those they condemned yesterday. We fight through argumentation and not through affiliation to a specific movement: all those who use the tragedy of the Bataclan in order to push forward their ideas of beliefs forget the essential values of an awakened society.
Which are the three main problems of society today? If you had to match them with a song, which ones would you choose?
It's hard to say this in all objectivity, but in our point of view: the lack of questioning information from the press in our everyday lives, the lack of valorising the population's access to culture, and of course the neglect of the notion of citizenship, which is much more important than the notion of politics. If we were to refer to a song from our album, "Death To Free Thinkers" denounces the hatred cast upon those who wish to question the system (pour des valeurs d’ouverture), those who are ready to sacrifice themselves for their ideas.
Let's talk about Maïeutiste and their live shows, how was bringing your songs on stage? What should we expect from one of your concerts?
We usually play with three guitarists on stage, which is sometimes a delicate process. Through our concerts, we strive to set the audience on an inner journey, even through that might sound pretentious. Due to the nature of our music, we opt for quite a sober scenic display and behaviour. We are thinking about the possibility of adding video projections to future shows in order to reinforce the audience's immersion.
Do you have any scheduled dates in the next future? Will you have the chance to go outside your country?
We'd like to set up a European tour sometime in 2016 with Mournful Congregation. We'll see if it works out, and we might have the opportunity to play in Italy sometime soon. Nothing specific at the moment but we’ll have more news soon.
Are you already working for your second album?
Yes, we are currently finishing the composition work for our second album. Some of the songs go back to roots as old as 2008. The album will contain influences of Italian baroque music, but we don't want to be too specific in order to keep the surprise, as it will be quite a departure from the first album.
2015 is almost ending, we can draw some conclusions: how was this year for Maïeutiste? What is your target for 2016?
This year was full of surprises for Maïeutiste. We didn't choose the easiest of roads in this adventure and are pleasantly surprised and incredibly grateful of the feedback our music has received. We thought more people would be reticent, or would listen quickly and label us as over-complicated and pretentious (which has happened in a review or two). Our intent is in fact simpler than it may seem, and the feedback we have had so far has been fair, justified and a source of constructive criticism and further inspiration.
We are at the end of the interview and I want to thank you again to let us know you better. You can leave one last message for our readers, the floor is yours.
Thank you for these questions! We look forward to feedback from Italian listeners and hope to be able to play in Italy sometime soon!