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We had crossed them with "Bang Your Fucking Skull", they return now with the new "A Tale Of Decadence", I speak of the French Résistance that today we will be pleased to know better.
Let us put aside the pleasantries and talk about how did your reality born, the story of Resistance and of line-up, then I leave you the word.
Nathaniel: Hi Gabriele. The band started as collaboration by Joël (guitar) and Florian (bass) when they were still adolescents in 1998. Only years later, including a couple of line-up changes, I joined the band as a singer in 2005. The drummer at the time was Marc. He quit the band in 2008, and then Marti from Bloody Sign replaced him behind the drum kit. So far we released a demo in 2006, an album "Bang Your Fucking Skull" in 2008 on Emanes Metal Records, a song on the "Long Live Metal-Acte" premier compilation LP, a split ep with Hirax, and our second album "A Tale Of Decadence" in early 2011. We were lucky to play at the Hells Pleasure Festival in Germany in 2009, as well as at the Metal Magic Festival in Denmark. We shared the stage with bands like Manilla Road, Fueled By Fire, Cage, Hirax, Bloody Sign, Lonewolf, Killers, Hurlement, Necrowretch, Necrovation, Portrait, Pentagram (USA and Chile), Pagan Altar, etc… This year, 2011 we will play with Nifelheim, Necros Christos, Baphomet's Blood, Sanctuaire, Manzer, Gehennah… Life feels good.
It's been passed three years since the debut, what has changed in that time? I found the new album more mature and complex, in addition to having taken a concept direction that does not always lead to a successful outcome such as " A Tale Of Decadence".
Our ears were opened to a good dose of music these last years and it obviously influenced us on our way of writing. This time we thought about every little detail, arrangement, etc. The fact that we composed a concept album on the novel called "The Monk" by Lewis was actually pretty much thought provoking. It gave a lot of orientations in our composition. Some colours, ambiances… I think it is a successful result. We are all definitely proud of what we achieved with this album, as we worked so hard on it from 2008 to 2010.
What is that had fascinated you in the novel "The Monk"? The work has a personal meaning for you which is more than the easy amenability to morality and religion? In your opinion, what is the role of man and gods in the "game" that is life?
The very dark, theatrical aspect of the novel, as well as the scandal it produced when it was released back in the 19th Century are precisely what lead us to get interested in this story. It's outrageous, controversial, and very close to the feeling of the stories told by King Diamond. Enough reasons to adapt "The Monk" to our metal interpretation. As soon as Man got conscious of his untimely end, he decided to create the concept of divinity. I guess it helped to conjure the fear and anguish of death. God is just a way to channel the fear within man. That's pretty interesting but it started to be dangerous as soon as this concept of god turned into a dogmatic institution. Then the link with nature is broken and there's no turning back. We created gods to escape the fear and at the same time we have to fear these images we created… I call this nonsense for the weak and feeble minds.
While playing massively thrashy, the epic vein that ran in "Bang Your Fucking Skull" and exalted in the Manilla Road cover of "Necropolis" is not lost. What is the band of training that influenced you most in that context?
Yes indeed. We definitely kept the epic/narrative part more present on this new album. We all have a soft spot for narrative bands like King Diamond, Slough Feg, Manilla Road, Brocas Helm, Thin Lizzy, but at the same time we love the sheer energy of bands like Coroner, Holy Terror. Obviously we developed something very personal, but these are definitely the bands that we value as influences.
It's changed the way you compose the songs? The songs are more dynamic and elaborate, this has affected the entry of Ilmar behind the drums?
Yes, we evolved in our song writing. This time there was more a sharing experience between all of us. Of course Joël (guitar) came with the biggest amount of riffs. Still Florian (bass) and I brought many ideas about the arrangements. Of course Marti Ilmar's drumming is definitely different compared to our former drummer. He's more dynamic and plays less with the cymbals. Still we will take care that on our next songs Marti gets more involved in the process of composition. You know, he lives 600 kilometres away from us. So, we couldn't possibly rehearse all the time with him. And when we met, most of the riffs and songs were already arranged. So he kind of just had to fit in. The drum parts are indeed his work and own composition. But we will definitely give him more space in the future.
One of the most beautiful and personal characteristics of Resistance is your voice, it takes time to get used to it but when we digest is known as fits perfectly to the songs. There are singers who have had an influence on the interpretations? In "Tale Of Decadence" for the tones employed there seems to be a cross between Fernando Ribeiro of Moonspell and Chris Boltendahl of Grave Digger, they never mentioned this odd couple?
Thanks for your compliments about my vocals. Usually it's the "love it or hate it" thing in this band. Moonspell and Grave Digger are absolutely NOT influences of mine. That is for sure. These comparisons I read in some reviews of "A Tale Of Decadence" and I must say that it can only give a very wrong idea on how I sound. My voice is very special and the most intelligent comparisons I heard were the ones with The Hand Of Doom (German 70's band) or Nigro Mantia (Danish 80's dark act). I admire the work of many singers, but I cannot tell that I take a direct inspiration from them, as I actually try to develop my personal style. Still, the singers I praise are King Diamond, Felipe from Procession, Simon from The Lamp Of Thoth, Robert Lowe from Solitude Aeturnus, Ronnie James Dio, Bobby Liebling from Pentagram, Keith Deen from Holy Terror, Mike Scalzi from Slough Feg.
What is the French metal scene today? There is still a bit of the spirit of metal brotherhood of the eighties or, like in the rest of the planet, the high speed communication, the MP3 craze and the business tends to ruin everything?
Actually we have a handful of good bands in France these days. I think of Rising Dust, Children Of Doom, The Bottle Doom Lazy Band, Oyabun, Sun Preachers for the doom side of the scene. Death metal warriors from France are to be seen in Ritualization, Necrowretch, Abnorm, Necros, Affliction Gate, Bloody Sign (but they just split up). Black metal stuff I think is good is played by bands like Manzer, Annthennath, Sael, Perversifier, Lord. Heavy metal defenders are Killers (still alive since the 80's), Lonewolf, Hurlement, Sanctuaire, Elvenstorm. We are in contact with these people in one way or another and so far I wouldn't speak of "brotherhood" but more of a mutual respect and love for Metal. All these bands are sincere in what they play.
Today are produced dozens of discs, perhaps a bit too "onanistic" as conception and plastified, there is a great recipe that is always good to create good music?
A recipe? I don't know. What counts the most to me is that the music is played with feeling! You know, it has to have that little something special/magic… Call it whatever you want. It's so hard to describe. I think that as soon as it takes me by the guts it is good music, and it is not necessarily metal.
What were the first approaches that you have had with the metal? The band that made you think that your right way was this?
It was Iron Maiden with "A Real Dead One" in 1993. Since then there's been no turning back and I knew from the very beginning that this music was built for me.
How are you promoting "Tale Of Decadence" and how did the collaboration born with Emanes Metal Records, your label from the beginning?
We send promo cd's to some reliable contacts, we try to find gigs. We use the Internet. In the end that's nothing original, but this promotional work has to be done so we can keep the band alive. I know Laurent from Emanes Metal since way before he started the label in 2006. As we played a couple of times in Northern France, where he lives, he started to get interested in us and that’s basically what lead us to join the ranks of his label. The rest is history… [laugh].
Magazines and fanzines vs webzine, vinyl/cd/tapes vs mp3, two worlds, the beginning and the future that advance, that are constantly opposing most of the time while pursuing the same goal? What are the pros and cons of a vision strictly old school and of that in vogue today too oriented to the dematerialization of the material?
On one hand you get much more exposition for your music, on the other hand you have to play live a lot so you can sell a bit of merchandise that allows you to get some tiny finances for the studio costs. It's a hard balance. The problem with instant and worldwide information is that you may get people from the other side of the world knowing of you in just a click on the mouse pad, but you are quickly drowned in an ocean of other bands that want the same exposure. Nowadays you should have a professional video to get opportunities to play in bigger venues. That demands money, but so many people prefer to download your album and in the end it is difficult to raise the funds for your band to keep going, you know. There's also the hypocrisy of booking agencies. If you want to play in bigger circuits as an opening band for one or two more established acts, then you have to pay 400 euros a days to be allowed to join the package. If you have no money you don’t exist in this business. Hopefully there are still people that refuse this corporate behaviour and still produce music with their heart and passion. The most important in the end is that you enjoy yourself, and that the people that might be on the same wavelength get an easy opportunity to get your music. Then I'm happy. I'm still collecting vinyls, cd's and tapes, but I simply don't enjoy downloading… So I don't get hundreds of bands per month in my PC, instead I buy a few records that I think are good enough to be featured in my collection. This way I still keep my excitement and interest high.
What features live performances of Résistance? There are been dates in the past that you feel memorable for anecdotal or for the band shared the stage with you?
We're just giving the best we can on stage. I'm talking to the crowd, having a good time. As long as we manage to give a good dose of energy to the audience, the people give this energy back to us and then everybody has a blast! Sharing the stage with Manilla Road and having Mark Shelton singing "Necropolis" with us twice in our life was indeed something very special. We became good friends ever since. And we also had a very good time in Denmark where nobody knes us but we definitely stole the show! [laugh] And we were lucky to hang around with the Pagan Altar guys, who are very nice and humble people. It was also great to play with Hellish Crossfire. The band invited me to sing "Conquerors Of Black Souls" with them. We developed a good camaraderie with the German thrashers of Hatchery as well.
There will be a tour in support of "Tale Of Decadence"? We shall see you play here in Italy?
Nothing planned in Italy for the moment, but maybe you can give me some good contacts or organise something for us. Would be great! I know of good Italian bands like Baphomet's Blood, Voids Of Vomit, Blasphemophagher, the guys from the Alcoolistii Millenarii club. So far we cannot tour. We’re too small, we have jobs, and no venue wants to take the risk to get a band like ours to play on a Sunday or in the beginning of the week. So it’s better for us to try to play two or three shows in a row between the Thursday and the Saturday. This way we can keep the expenses lower for us and for the gig promoters.
Is difficult to reconcile the daily life of work and made? Various commitments, with time to devote to the band? What is your reality outside of music?
We all have jobs indeed. Still, our drummer Marti is the only one who's a professional musician. It's all a matter of priorities and schedules, you know. We still manage to keep time for us and our private life. Music takes still an important place in our lives. We rehearse once a week and we also often meet outside the rehearsal room, as we're first and foremost friends. Florian our bass player is working with music too, as hi job is to build and fix guitars, hurdy-gurdies. Joël is selling guitars and pianos in a music shop. And I am a guide in a medieval castle. Now you know everything! [laugh].
Thanks for the time that you have spent with us, I leave you again the word to close the interview as you want.
Thanks Gabriele! It's the first time that we’re featured in an Italian 'zine. We hope to play in your country in the future and drink your good wines and share some nice Italian food with you. To drink a beer and talk with us, just get in touch. We might have cd's and shirts for sale too.