Author: Dope Fiend
Translation: Dope Fiend
Today we have the pleasant chance to have a look inside the sick universe of the creature named La Division Mentale, whose latest delivery, "TOTem Simius", you can read about in our website.
Welcome to the pages of Aristocrazia Webzine. Let's start with some biographical information: when was La Division Mentale born? Who or what is hiding behind this subversive artistic incarnation?
Cypher: LDM was born at the end of the nineties. In the beginning, it was a one-man band, an ephemeral project created to experiment everything I could not do with my regular band... And finally, it became my main musical project. A couple of years passed and Mriik jumped in the wagon to join me on "L'eXtase Des Fous". Even if we enlarge the family circle on every production inviting various participants, the heart of LDM is Mriik and me.
Five years have passed since the release of destructive "L'eXtase Des Fous". What has changed since that time in your musical inclinations and in your world view?
Cypher: I fuckin' don't know. I have the feeling that nothing has changed. Maybe things are more visible, but nothing has changed. I still have the same musical inclinations, I just express them better. As regards my view on the world... Chaos is endless inspiration. In stupidity I trust, believe me, we are all equal. Everything is a matter of view point, LDM is mine.
Mriik: As times goes by, I feel more and more interested in various artistic forms. What I discovered those past years enriched me a lot as an artist. When I recorded my vocals on "L'eXtase Des Fous", I was not very open-minded, you know, that kind of stubborn guy focusing on extreme metal exclusively. My taste and interests evolved with time, as well as influences. For about two or three years now, I've been very curious about other styles. I've been like a sponge soaking all kinds of bands having musical originality and oddness. I guess I've changed a lot between "L'eXtase Des Fous" and "TOTem Simius" on an artistic and personal level. I don't have any specific view to share about our world, as I always keep my eyes closed.
I noticed some substantial mutation in "TOTem Simius" compared to the past: the visual side has become, in my opinion, less dark and more "carnal" and the musical apparatus too is more homogeneous and conscious. What was the artistic and conceptual process that gave birth to "TOTem Simius"?
Cypher: Yes, you're right about the result. But nothing was calculated. We carried every track until its own maturity. In the end, we discovered the real cohesion of the set. We simply develop our music without theoretical stuff. Music guides us, not the other way round.
Mriik: To me, "L'eXtase Des Fous" was more a raw burst of anger and chaos, whereas "TOTem Simius" might be more introspective, well-balanced and emotionally much richer.
I think in your sound there are clear references to the past (Mysticum and Dødheimsgard to begin with), but what are the creatures that have brought you on this path of madness and degeneration? There are bands that you particularly love?
Cypher: We love thousands of bands, in every musical style; believe me, we could speak hours and hours of bands we're fascinated by. Ulver, Fugazi, Neurosis, Swans, etc... Their influence on me is absolute, they drew my way: no fucking restriction in music, no requirement. Actually, within the metal scene, I'm listening to bands like Liturgy, Wolves In The Throne Room, Celeste, etc... Those bands make it perfectly with new directions and I like it.
Mriik: Cypher is right: there are so many bands to mention here. As you say, the avantgarde norwegian scene had a big impact on Cypher's skills but also on the way I sing. Besides, I've been into all sorts of various awesome bands lately, such as Virus, Krakow, Conan, Kadavar, Danava, Juntus, Diapsiquir, Cult Of Luna, Yurei, Year Of The Goat, Solstafir and tons of others. And black metal-wise, if I had to pick records that recently blew me away, I would advise you to grab Nachtmystium's "Silencing Machine", Ash Borer's "Cold Of Ages" and, above all, Deafheaven's amazing "Road To Judah".
If you had to choose five adjectives to describe "TOTem Simius", what would they be?
Cypher: Uninhibited, that's the most important thing.
Mriik: Partly answered to that one in third question, dude. It's hard to describe a self-written album by the way.
Inside the disc package is written "LDM exclusively plays for monkeys". What does it mean?
Cypher: It deals with my vision of the world: we are just primates, stop hiding the truth! Man invented all sorts of things for his own comfort... does it differentiate us from monkeys? We are just monkeys with telephones, cars, and so on... Do these Internet muck, space shuttles or vaginal tampons make us better? Does that change the world? Only a monkey can own this and believe in God nevertheless (whatever it is), or in a power-hungry man (including, for me, all leaderships). I am an old gorilla; this album is aimed to my fellows. Ulver are the wolves, we are the monkeys... there's kind of cynical dimension on our record.
I have noticed a substantial growth between "L'eXtase Des Fous" and "TOTem Simius". In your opinion, what are the main differences between the two albums?
Cypher: Our first strike was personal, turned on myself. I composed "L'eXtase Des Fous" to evacuate frustration and anger. It was kind of a therapy. I had more hindsight on "TOTem Simius" and got older as well. An album always depends on a given situation. This release is more cynical, less cold; "L'eXtase Des Fous" was driven by older feelings. We were more... free on this new record.
I have always loved the brutal, insane and alienating quality of formations like La Division Mentale, Diabolicum, Mysticum, The Axis Of Perdition, etc.. What are the feelings and the inspirations that can give life to so destructive artistic visions?
Cypher: In the case of LDM, we speak about everyday life, relationships. It's about me, about people I meet, what I live or what I see. It's about the monkeys. LDM focuses on those little things, this apparatus that makes the world so shitty when you put that shit altogether.
In "TOTem Simius" I also found a greater experimental research (especially in songs like "Rebirth Of The Flesh" and "The Eye"), who juggles between ferocious electronic music, some almost melancholic traits and acid atmospheres. How did you structure the songwriting process? Are you completely satisfied with the result?
Cypher: First, I write all riffs and program rhythmic patterns in a rudimentary way. Ideas dealing with electronic samples and arrangements come later, right after listening to this basic material a couple of times. When all various parts of each track are approved, we push them to utmost limits. Then Mriik sends me his screaming lines so I can balance the whole shit, stress some parts and sweeten others. We make it with what we have, that means with our heart, our guts and our balls, and when I look at these conditions of implementation, yes, I am completely satisfied.
Are you involved in other projects, besides La Division Mentale?
Cypher: I've been working with my old friend Yan Donet under the moniker Absent since 2003. We realized music for short movies and documentaries and we collaborate with VJs, who are photographers and contemporary artists (linking to pictures is a priority). All these elements are parts of the richness of our music, somewhere between experiments and crude efficiency, between abstract and concrete sounds, between pictures and hallucinations. On top of LDM, I released a remix for Absent on the "Children EP".
Mriik: I'm the one behind Wolok. Three albums were spawned between 2003 and 2009 and this year will see the return of this bizarre entity with a new EP. I haven't talked to anyone about that, so Aristocrazia will be the first webzine to spread the news. Wolok can be regarded as LDM’s weird penchant in a way, since Cypher is also implied in there.
Do you have a live dimension? If so, how can you bring your disturbing and destructive atmospheres on stage?
Cypher: No. And I have no idea of what the result would be.
Mriik: Performing live is just impossible for us. We live too far away from each other and both have a really busy everyday life. Our respective jobs are just incompatible with rehearsing and playing live.
The french industrial black metal scene is quite thick and qualitatively developed (I am talking about bands like Neo Inferno 262, Helel, Reverence, oOo, Diapsiquir...). Is there some interaction between you and those formations?
Cypher: The only musical interaction I have is with Mriik and/or Yan from Absent. I am not a very sociable guy.
Mriik: The french industrial black metal scene is quite fascinating. I'm a big fan of almost every band you’re mentioning, especially Diapsiquir, who have no limits in weirdness and creativity. They go far beyond standard industrial metal. If you have a listen to "A.N.T.I.", it has nothing to deal with industrial black metal. Diapsiquir sounds like Diapsiquir, there’s no other band like that one. They’re unique in excellence. But if I get back to your question, yes, I have some contacts with the mastermind behind Helel. He's a talented musician and a brilliant sound wizard. He even got in touch lately to ask if there was any possibility to plan a Helel/LDM gig in Paris.
I guess you are fans of electronic and industrial musical styles: would you like to recommend some projects that you would say worthy?
Cypher: I feel that the electronic scene hasn't brought anything new for a long time. I prefer listening to old experimental music like Pierre Henry, Philip Glass or Steve Reich, and old glitchy electronica by Takemura and Yee-King. When I want noise, I play older Akita's stuff like "The Prosperity Of Vice", "The Misfortune Of Virtue", or "Satanstornade" with Russell Haswell, or I buy a ticket to see Swans on stage (three times this year and my audition is still pretty good). I still play the Aphex Twin "Ventolin Ep" very loud. I saw Harakami live, it was brilliant. I like bands like Crystal Castles, Zola Jesus or Tearist in a different way... and check Kabutogani's "Bektop (Mille Plateaux)". It's fucking aesthetic! As I said, we could speak for hours and hours about music...
I believe that "TOTem Simius" really is a masterpiece, but what feedback did you receive from critics and fans so far?
Mriik: We got a lot of positive response and I'm quite satisfied with that. And I wish to thank all magazines and fans who have supported us in that sense, especially in France, Italy, Poland and Greece. We have real die-hard fanatics in those countries.
What will be the La Division Mentale's next steps?
Cypher: Okay, you got a scoop: we are currently working on our first concept album. It's about hijacking reality. It's about the life of a great artist: Miroslav Tichy. The result will be more organic than what we've ever made. I don't know if this can be considered a digression or a new direction... we will just have to wait and see.
Mriik: As always, LDM is an unbound and out-of-control entity. But from what I've heard so far about the new songs, I can tell you that it will be really challenging for me to measure up to such strong musicianship.
Well, the interview ends here. I thank you immensely for your availability, I'll do once again my congratulations and I leave you the word to end the interview as you prefer.
Cypher: Thank you, man! Feel free to contact us, Mriik is behind our Internet's showcase. Our albums are available on www.foedus-aeternus.net, "TOTem simius" is also available via streaming, just go to our Soundcloud page and check.
Mriik: We still have a couple of die-hard limited packs, including digipak CD/button/patch/dropcard. Feel free to get in touch. And by the way, we’re looking for a label... would be very helpful to further spread our lunacy.