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Ysengrin, the wolf. Ysengrin, the creature of the French Guido Saint Roch released that the third album. Now we'll know more about him.
Hi Guido and welcome on our website, since 2008 to now you had four years full of work, are you taking a break or already thinking about the future of Ysengrin?
Ciao! Well, I'm active since '97 in different bands, so it's not just since 2008 that my diary is quite full of work! I don't think I'm overactive, I'm just eager to release dark music. I don't have any idea for a new album in the future, and if we release a new one, it will take years to sure! For 2013, there will be a short recording for an ambitious project, but cannot say more on that for the moment.
Let's talk about how this project was born, which are the main points of it and how did you become part of this world?
Working alone, playing all the instruments, creating something obscure and mostly mid-tempo: a music between old Katatonia, Deinonychus, Swedish Black Metal… That was my original will.
I had the pleasure of writing about two of your works, "Tragedies – Liber Hermetis" which you sent me in 2011 and "To Endotaton" that I received from I, Voidhanger, the label who released it. In both the albums I noticed the passion for medieval times, what do you like of that obscure and sometimes forgotten era?
It's old and in my veins since so fucking many years. Some guys have the pleasure walking in an abandoned factory; on my side, I prefer to walk in castles, churches, cathedrals, medieval villages… Maybe it can be seen as a stupid childish worship of imagined time, but for me it's really not that and it's a part of my daily life. By the way, please note that both albums are not exclusively medieval even each one contain references to this era.
With "To Endotaton" you went even more back in the past with Greek mythology and symbols often linked to Christ (the Sun and the Cross) but which also identify many Gods. Are the answers we search for always in what has already been?
Hellenic religions speaks a lot to me, more than celtic or nordic religions for example. Maybe it's because my blood is definitely more mediterranean, but also because I'm still amazed by the beauty of the Roman/Hellenic ruins temple nowadays, and this since my childhood too. Anyway, your question is interesting and i reply to this yes, to go back in time is to find the point of departure, the "None-Time" (the Eternity) like Mircea Eliade said. He also wrote that: "To forget is the equivalent to sleep, and it's also the lost of the self, in fact the disorientation, the blindness (patch on the eyes)".
The two albums are deeply different in the structure, how did you compose them? Which are the basic points, both about the music and the lyrics, which you started from to give them a personal sound?
There is nothing static or written for ever in my music. I have the inspiration when playing to my instruments or reading books or anything! Some of the riffs in "Tragédies – Liber Hermetis" were pretty old, and "To Endotaton" is definitely more mature in every ways, to be lyrical or musical side. Lyrics are anyhow very important, and i try to put each riff in direct relation with the words… or the opposite obviously!
Why did you decide to put everything in one track?
Why not? Well, I love the "Crimson" album of Edge Of Sanity, it probably gave me an inspiration. It was also a challenge for me, and I think the result is interesting and personal.
How was the iconographical research for the artworks of your albums?
I always want to control the artworks as I do for the music. I give all the elements to the guys and then we work together to create the most suitable art for Ysengrin. I work a lot by myself too, for the inlay for example, but as I'm pretty shitty in drawing I cannot manage all alone!
At the times of "T.R.I.A.D.E" Ysengrin was a solo-project, now you have a full line-up, the first who became part of it was Aboth, then Kalevi and finally M., right? How was the collaboration with these musicians born and how much did they influence the evolution of Ysengrin?
No, Aboth is the only full-time member, together with Aldébaran. The first one joined on drums in 2009 for the recording of "Tragédies – Liber Hermetis". The second one joined us since 2010, for lead guitars and he also help me for keys. Their influences are huge, as both of them are very professional, and they totally understand what i want for each instrument. It's about technics without getting boring, fast at work and nice guys. Now the trinity of the Malebeste is full. Concerning Kalevi and M., there were both session musicians. Kalevi played lead guitars and medieval instruments on "Tragédies – Liber Hermetis", and it was an honour to have his skills on the album. Bloody Sign was definitely one of the best french DM band around! M. sang on both albums, as a guest too. I listen to Opera IX since a long time, it was my first metal contact with the (great) italian scene, together with Evol and Sadist.
In the last years I had some talks with Shaxhul (Annthennath) and Nathaniel (Résistance) on this website, and I also had some mail chat with Kalevi (I am still sad about the split-up of Bloody Sign) and Grief (Affliction Gate) in which I noticed the thick communication – connection among bands which allows you to work together in many times. So I ask myself: is there a real scene or are there only groups limited only to some bands? Like an elìte.
Honestly, i don't believe in a metal scene here in France. Maybe I'm too misanthropic, although it's sure there are some connections between guys from Death Metal, Black Metal, Doom scenes… Concerning a possible so-called elite, i have the same thoughts! The only thing I'm sure, is that Ysengrin is not for everybody, probably because it's not an easy listening, and our music is definitely for the taste of old bastard metalheads [laughs]!
Which are the limits of metal today? Its weak points and contradictions which threaten its solidity?
Hummm, plastic metal, "metal"-core, whatever ultra technical/brutal stuff…! These are for sure the worst things for the real metal. Metal is a music rooted in the Seventies/Eighties; it cannot be another way!
Is there something of your past of teenage metalhead that you miss? Anything of your youth that you can't find anymore today.
My walkman when i was in the school bus… Reading fantasy books when i was a child then teenager… The rehearsals with my first band, when our heads were full of dreams… I miss the paper/physical labels catalogues: it was fucking nice! It was also easier to buy blank tapes too [laughs]!
Are there any persons that may be your ideals to follow about the attitude and the albums they released? Someone who deserves to be listened to and from which you draw inspiration.
Hard question, but of course first who come to my mind is King Diamond. His work with Mercyful Fate and King Diamond are beyond words, and in my opinion it's rare to see 30 years old bands without any shitty track in fact. I can add some bands like Autopsy, Candlemass, Mortuary Drape still playing great music after all these years; it's crazy! In more recent musician, i can say Mordra of Necros Christos is a model: excellent guitarist, intelligent and nice guy, and of course awesome band. Just one more (recent) band: Negative Plane. They are really, really promising!
If the instrumental part of your work is fundamental, we can say that's impossible to divide it from the lyrics, this aspect is often considered like an useless surplus since many people download only the mp3s, also the labels make people download files with high quality artworks, aren't they killing the albums they release in this way? Is the research of the original and physical work to know it better something for few people?
How a band can "release" a digital album?! It's totally weird to me, and definitely not metal in every ways! Yeah, the pleasure to read the booklet, the contact with the physical object cannot be equalized by those virtual shit! Fortunately, I don't think it's only for a few people! This virtual/digital fashion is for the youngers. But remember one thing: purchase physical releases is for you, and not just to upload pictures on forums!!! It's not obvious for everybody it seems…
Ysengrin and I, Voidhanger, how did this band and this label which like to cover unexplored ways meet? Will your collaboration continue?
I sent a promo to Luciano (I, Voidhanger) and he was very interesting to hear more. I sent him the whole album (in unmixed version) and then we agreed to work together as he liked vey much the whole stuff. Yes, we'll continue to work together for different projects (cf. question 1).
Do Ysengrin make live shows? Are there any dates to support "To Endotaton"? Is having only one song a problem about playing it?
I don't plan to make an Ysengrin gig one day; I prefer to keep the project for studio only.
Who is Guido Saint Roch outside the band? Passions, hobbies, everyday life.
My passions are just link to what Ysengrin is: ancients times, the Occult, of course reading books, watching movies, listening to music… I think nothing exceptional. I don't go oftenly to gigs, and I'm not a die hard drinker. Of course, I'm and i'll stay always a metalhead in heart, but i don't really like to be part of the metalhead community (cf. question 9). I have a wife and I prefer to stay home with my wolfdog pack and stuff like that rather than puking in a bad metal bar!
The interview is finished, thanks for the time you spent with us, you can leave a last message to our readers.
I don't really like to answer to webzines but your interview was interesting. Thanks for your support and all hailz to Italian maniacs! A.M.D.G.