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Here we are with Antonin Gerard, guitarist and (probably) founder of the French act Paramnesia, which latest split and self-titled debut we reviewed a few weeks ago. Let's see what he told us in this brief, essential talk…
First of all: who hides behind Paramnesia? It is very difficult to find reliable information on the web, would you like to clarify what happens behind this mysterious monicker?
Antonin: We simply don't think about releasing that much information I guess. We're really just four musicians, not much more about it. It might also come from our choice to not host a Facebook page. Thankfully people can still easily find a way to contact us, so we're not that far behind when it comes to communication. After all, we've spent years playing and recording music for ourselves, so this public thing is still pretty new to us.
Black metal in its rawest, angriest form, with more than a touch of atmosphere: what message lies behind your music? What themes do you deal with? Nature, religion, mankind, the universe, none of these…?
Emotion is the core of it all, for us Paramnesia is a catalyst, we use it to express ourselves and how we feel, be it about mankind, nature or religion… Although lyrics are involved in the creation process, we do not convey our message through words. Most of it is up to the listeners interpretation. Of course when a feeling as primal as anger is involved, you can easily hear it.
What brings a black metal band in 2014 to choose the "old school" approach (i.e. no info on the web, no details about the music, etc)? [NOTE: at the time this interview was written there was no indication of the band lineup on the Internet]
It's both part of who we are and the way we create music. We do not feel the need to expose our personal lives, or our everyday actions. The music is what's important to us, so it's all we really focus on. It doesn't necessarily mean we're hostile when it comes to communication, answering an interview being proof of that. As for the music we try our best to give an atmosphere people can read through the music and the artwork (which is done by our drummer), I feel like further details are unnecessary, as they don't add that much to the experience.
Given this aforementioned approach of yours, how do you relate with the whole extreme metal world both personally and as Paramnesia? I do not have a precise answer in my mind, just say what you feel about the whole thing.
As Paramnesia, we evolve in an alternative scene rather than a strictly metal scene, as do many bands that don't follow a traditional approach. Personally i'm completely out of touch with the metal scene now, I just don't relate to most of it. I've always enjoyed the most twisted forms of metal, and tend to think of bands as particular entities rather than being a part of a larger picture. There's many music genres out there that deserve recognition, therefore I don't feel at home with fanatics of a single genre. However in the last years many extreme metal bands produced material far beyond traditional black-death-doom metal. Those are the kind of people I wish to meet on the road with Paramnesia.
An overview on the current black metal scene: what would you change, what would you keep, what are you most satisfied with and what do you despise the most?
Even the most terrible things are needed for the genre to advance, so I wouldn't change anything. A lot of people despised myspace bedroom black metal when it was a thing, but i'm sure great bands actually came out of that. I'm really satisfied with the way black metal evolved those last years, I loathe stagnation, and some real gems popped up. What I despise the most is music relying solely on nostalgic feelings, for some reason it truly irks me.
One last, silly question: would you list a bunch of albums you could not live without, if there are?
There's a lot, but I'll pick a few out of my all time favorites in the black metal genre to stay relevant, that I can wholeheartedly recommend :
Paysage D'Hiver – "Schattengang"
Leviathan – "The Speed Of Darkness"
Manes – "Under Ein Blodraud Maane"
Urfaust – "Geist Ist Teufel"
Weakling – "Dead As Dreams"
I think this can be enough, thank you for your time and, please, if you want to add anything, this is the moment.
Thank you for this interview. And thanks to all the kind people that have supported us so far, it is truly appreciated.