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After seven years and four reviews we really had to sit down with Nesseria and talk about music, French post-metal and… bad treatment in the U.K.
First of all, it really was about time we had a chat guys: we have been long-time fans of yours and it is a pleasure to feature you on Aristocrazia again. For those new readers who might not be familiar with the band, would you introduce yourselves?
Jérôme: Hey! First of al,l it's really cool to talk to you and to people who have been interested in our music for a long time! We are a five-piece based in Orléans, but only the drummer and our bassist actually live there. The guitarist lives in Nantes, the singer and I are based in Paris. It is not easy to organize rehearsals but we deal with it! We started 10 years ago… Actually earlier than that, but before it was really creepy! We have a lot of influences: music, movies, arts, vision of life… So we try to mix all these things to create our music, to make it as honest as possible.
"Cette Érosion…" is a great album, and I am digging it so much. It is also very different from what you did in the past, still 100% Nesseria but more melodic, more thoughtful, I'd say, and press notes explicitly name screamo and shoegaze. How did this happen? In the review I write it sounds like a mutation that could be first heard in "Fractures" and kept spreading. I might be totally wrong, but the feeling I have is that of a band who has slowed down a bit and is now suffering more than ever.
Thank you for your kind words, pleased to read it. I think you're totally right. To be honest, different reasons have changed our approach of composition. First of all, after two albums and several splits we wanted to do something new for us and stand out from the scene we are confined in, because we have many influences and it's frustrating to be confined in one style only. It's hard because people like to classify you and it's difficult to introduce other elements without shaking up habits. As far as I remember we started to compose this album in 2014, at the time of our second release, "Fractures". The first song composed was the opening track "On Prendra L'Habitude". We felt this need of change (yeah, you can whistle Scorpion's "Wind Of Change" right now!) very early, as soon as our second full LP came out and we were playing gigs to present it.
Second and important reason: we changed line-up. Before this it was difficult to put new influences in our composition. Taking sad and hard decisions allowed us to be reborn in a different artistic form. All these aspects, melodic and mindblowing elements have been in the band for a long time, but it was complicated to express them, and we didn't develop these very much before.
You have always sung in French, which is quite an atypical language in post-metal (maybe just Colin screams some French with Amenra), and I believe makes your work even more intimate. Why such a choice?
It is an old, standing decison. We are French and I think it's easier for us to write and express ourselves in our native language. Furthermore, we think it is kind of easy for bands to express themselves in English. Too many French bands are inclined to write in English because they want to hide their laziness in writing and singing. But we agree that English sounds sweeter. Diction and rhythm are also more fluid in English. I want to try English but it is important to mantain a good writing quality, and actually if it were to me personally I would switch off frontal/scream voices, add more effect, and make instrumental Ambient music. Maybe I just gave you some indications for our next evolution!
As far as I know you never publish your lyrics (or at least, they are not to be found online and have never been in any promo cd): would you get into the subject a bit? What do your songs deal with?
You can find them on our website Nessera.fr in the «media» section. We put French lyrics and English translations or explanations. While it is important to write in French, it is just as important for us to translate our lyrics for an international comprehension. For this album the cover and lyrics are partially intertwined. We start with a simple observation; every day, you're always wearing different masks according to every situation. This is the idea you can find in the title "Cette Érosion De Nous-Mêmes". But a song as a "L'Usure" is about separation, "St. Petersburg" is about our Russian tour in July 2016.
Directly related to the previous question, now I will get a bit more personal: how important is the band in the everyday life of each one of you, and on the other hand, how much does your everyday life influence your work in the band? And what are the primary inspirations for your music?
It's very important for us because it's our passion. And this passion is the reason why we can tolerate each other in a van [laughs]. One of us works in a record label, the other guys and I have different jobs, but we made the maximum to do as many gigs as possible, to share our music with people. Sometimes we have to make compromises with our private lives and famillies to play and tour. The band is our way to express ourselves and to live our friendships. I don't know if my everyday life influences the way I compose guitar parts, because I need to be in a mental bubble to create. It's very funny, but most melodies come to my mind when i'm running or when I'm in the quiet coutryside at my familly's. But for sure lyrics are inspired by the world around us, our personal observations and lives. I am speaking for myself only, but maybe my primary inspirations for our music are movies and pictures, to create atmosphere and climax parts. I love Pink Floyd.
Something that strikes me is how you kept a mostly-consistent lineup for almost fifteen years, but had to change five different vocalists, Dez being the sixth. I get that singing this stuff ruins vocal cords, but come on, what happened?
You're a keen observer! Only six ? Damn i thought more! Okay I confess, Dez is our seventh. Our ex-bassist was the sixth and he sung on our first and second album! But I was our singer just in 2014. All the rest is just betrayal, underhandedness and lot of problems , drugs, sex, money, fights, assholes. I hope one day we can sit in front of a beer a talk about that in person!
I must say when I think of post-metal I usually don't think of France if not for Celeste and Nesseria, how's your national scene? I'm sure there are bands worth-checking.
We have great bands. Death Engine and Comity are really really good! Of course Birds in Row, but I can't say if they play post-metal, and Alcest. Potence are really cool too, as well as Fall Of Messiah! They play a different genre, but I also like The Dead Mantra.
You play a lot of live dates, how difficult is touring today, for an underground band? What places and countries did you enjoy the most, so far?
The main problem is having enought money to put gas in the van! But the other problem is to book dates. There is a lot of good bands and promoters cannot book all of them. Sometimes if you are an underground band it's hard to book on mondays or tuesdays. Promoters don't want to take risks and I understand it. Japan and Russia are crazy, but we really like to tour in France, Portugal, Deutschland and also had a great time in Italy! Every place and country is an intense experience. But the worst has been in the United Kingdom. I think dogs receive a better treatment! It's like «Come/play/get out of here, you losers».
Now a weird question from one of our staff writers: how would you explain your music to a ninety-year-old person? They have no knowledge of metal whatsoever, and you have to introduce Nesseria to them.
Mmh, I'd tell them to close their eyes, our bassist looks like George Clooney and he can play acoustic guitar, our singer Dez is cooking leeks as a chef, our drummer Greg can buy you great beers and rum, our guitarist Ben can book your death in any concert venue in the world, and me… I put a picture of all of this on Instagram!
I think this could be enough, if there is anything that you want to add to conclude, this is the time! I hope to meet you guys in person sooner or later somewhere in the world!
Thank you for your interest! We are shooting a new videoclip at the end of the year and we will play in Italy in february, so hope to see you there!