Sébastien Lalanne -Bass
Léo Isnard - Drums
Xavier Godart - Guitars
Jeff Grimal - Guitars, Vocals
Benjamin Guerry - Guitars, vocals
The Great Old Ones and their "Al Azif" were among the most pleasant surprises of the first part of 2012, now we try to enter more deeply in touch with these French musicians and see what they have to tell us.
Welcome to Aristocrazia Webzine, your album was a debut with a bang, were you expecting such a positive reception?
Sébastien: Hello! Not really, even if we felt that something should happen with this project. We are really satisfied about all of this.
How did The Great Old Ones born, who are the musicians who are part of and what are the stories that have conducted you so far?
Benjamin Guerry (guitar/vocals) started the project alone in 2009. When he started writing, he felt that his music could really describe the atmosphere and the universe of Lovecraft's work. He wanted to transcribe the dreamlike and disturbing side. He knew Jeff Grimal (guitar/vocals) for many years. They were playing in different bands of the local scene and they did some huge parties together. Jeff knew Léo Isnard (drums) and proposed that he join the band. Then they auditioned Xavier Godart (guitar) and I, Sébastien Lalanne (Bass),at that same time and the lineup was ready to play. I think it took three months from the moment Benjamin decided to start the band to really get things going.
The master of Providence, H.P. Lovecraft, is the inspiration of many artists in the music and not only the extreme one, how you're passionate about his "world" and why focusing on "Al Azif" as the title of the album?
Benjamin, Jeff, and I read Lovecraft a lot, specially when we were teenagers, and this is a writer we still read now. He uses to describe an oniric and terrific world, full of secrets and enigmatic. This is a good subject for music. "Al Azif", the first track on the album, talks about the writing of the necronomicon. As we think it's the song the most representative of our music, it was an evidence to call the album "Al Azif".
How was the process of writing the album? What were the goals you had set out to achieve? Listening to it now are you totally satisfied of your results?
Benjamin wrote 80% of the material for "Al Azif" before we meet us. At this point we just had to write the vocals parts, some guitars and an additional track. We are very satisfied about the result. we intended to record a dark album, complex and intense. We think that we achieve these points.
You have approached the same producer of Year Of No Light and, in my opinion, it was a move guessed: this face more rugged than the standard of the "post" releases of today will be a plus. There also seems to you that this style of music is being increasingly "cashing in", or better said "fencing", behind executive and mixing solutions that have become banals?
We clearly wanted to do things diffently than a classical metal record. Most of metal records today sounds like a massic block in your face during 45min. Overcompressed, overproduced... We wanted a more organic sound, we wanted our music to breath, to be more dynamic in general. That's why we choose to work with Cyrille Gachet. And we're very happy with the result, this sound serve our music so well.
Ladlo Productions has released your "Al Azif", how did this relationship born? There is already a program to renew it in the future?
We had a contact with Antithetic records (the other label of TGOO, which released the digipack edition and will release the 2xLP) and we where looking for an European label. We contacted Ladlo and Gérald Milani offered a good deal for us. Gérald is a very passionate guy. He, and the Ladlo team, make all he can for us and our music. We're very happy with the relation we have with Ladlo and we would be glad to continue working with them in the future.
What are the reasons for which you play this music? What motivates you to go into these musical and lyrical territories?
Because these kinds of music and lyrics deliver all we love in music: darkness, violence, visions of dreamy landscapes, hypnotic trance...
What is your thought about the today metal scene? And, going on more specifically talking about the French one, what are the strengths and weaknesses that make it right now among the most prolific and better quality?
The French scene is actually internationally recognized for its originality. I think about bands like Deathspell Omega, Blut Aus Nord but also Gorod or even Gojira in a more mainstream way. But, sadly, the French large medias (tv, radios...) never talk about these bands, even if, like Gojira, you are on tour with Metallica and play in stadiums across the usa. I guess it's this lack of interest and exposure that motivate French bands to excel in their music scene.
The art is becoming more and more stuff to barter for two pennies in mp3, pdf, etc.; all this how much has affected the cultural decay that has befallen the younger generation? They seem to have everything at hand but, when is the moment to opening a book or buy a disc and give form to what they want, they cancel themselves, why?
I guess there's good and bad with all this stuff. But honestly, I really think we don't have enough experience to explain this digital revolution of culture. We'll see in 20 years.
How did your passion for music born? The first album you bought and the last concert you have saw?
The first album I remember have listened is M.Jackson's "Thriller". My first metal album was "Fear Of The Dark" by Iron Maiden. Last concert: Wolves in The Throne room in Toulouse/France.
What were the reactions of the audience when you performed live the new songs? There is a song of the album that in that context makes it more?
I really like to play "Jonas" in concert. This song is so heavy and doomy. We intend to evolve a ritalistic feeling, a kind of trance in the audience. Some people says that it works fine.
There are planned dates? We will have the chance to see you live here in Italy?
We're booking gigs in France and Europe for the end of the year. BOOK US (firstname.lastname@example.org)! We hope that we will be able to play in Italia next year, if not this year.
Five reasons for which we should know about a record like "Al Azif"?
Not five, only one: Because we put in all we had to make a good and personnal record.
Living thanks to the music is only ever an utopia, unless you are talking about a small circle of chosen ones: who are The Great Old Ones outside the band's dimension? Work, hobbies, everyday life.
We are normal people who does normal things but plays uncommon music.
And this closes the curtain around us, I leave you the word one last time to speak on a greeting or a direct message to our readers.
Thank you for these questions! Hope to see you soon in Italia!