THE DEMO CORNER
This interview was conducted by Philip A. Wickstrand with ALCEST mainmain Neige at the Someday Lounge in Portland, OR on April 13, 2012.
Vive le France, vive le France! The French have given the world some impressive treasures throughout its history - the guillotine, the Louvre Museum, baguette sandwiches (seriously, theyíre everywhere in Paris and they taste awesome) and now ALCEST. While they may not be to everyoneís taste, since they are after all artsy and donít sound generic, they have won over a great many open-minded Metal fans, and if they keep their creative juices flowing they will win over a great many more before they are through.
Phil: First off, howís the tour been so far?
Neige: The tour has but we knowÖ the difference in the cities, sometimes it was really, really good, like New York and Chicago, and in the smaller cities itís a bit more difficult. Maybe some smaller cities donít have such a big Metal scene, you know, as maybe New York or Los Angeles, so it was sometimes that we played in great venues, and sometimes really shitty venues. But we have learned a lot about this tour and we were not going to make the same mistakes in the future.
Phil: Tell us a bit about the new newest album, Les Voyages de l'¬me - what was the writing process like?
Neige: It was shorter than usual but way more difficult. I have worked a lot, like hours and hours, to find good riffs, good structures and to make a kind of summary album of all what I like the most from the previous ALCEST records, you know? I wanted this album to be a transition album and kind of a summary of all that ALCEST was Ďtil now. And what could happen next will be different. But it was like the higher step, you know, of this kind of ethereal Metal.
Phil: How was the time in the studio?
Neige: It was good. We recorded in Germany and we mixed in France with two friends of ours; the guy from EMPYRIUM in Germany and the guy in France that played ANOREXIA NERVOSA, I donít know if you have heard his band before. Yeah, it was very smooth, very cool. Not especiallyÖ it was exactly the same process as for the previous album.
Phil: What are your favorite parts of the album? Not necessarily what your favorite song is, but what sticks out the most for you of anything on it?
Neige: Do you mean which aspects?
Neige: I like the fact that itís quite a complex album; very dense and there are a lot of riffs, lots of melodies. And itís not an album you can like at the first listen; it takes time. Itís kind of a grower album, I think. What I like the most is that I think itís the most otherworldly album Iíve done so far with really magical melodies, very likeÖ how do you say, otherworldly riffs, what I consider to be otherworldly riffs.
Phil: Why the alternate cover art for the vinyl version of the album?
Neige: Because I always want to have as many options, as many possibilities in terms of visuals as we can have. For the first album, we had two versions of it. The vinyl cover is more direct, it is more straight to the face; itís like kind of a strange creature and itís me, but the character is not human. Itís a different approach from the painting. Itís a bit more modern maybe, a bit more strange. I wanted to have this character on the cover.
Phil: Have you given any thought to doing a live album at this point?
Neige: Yeah, why not? If we had good conditions; if we had an opportunity to do it for a special event in a beautiful venue with good equipment, then yeah, maybe one day.
Phil: Is there and possibility of reissues of the splits you did with LES DISCRETS and ANGMAR?
Neige: Oh no. I think itís good that itís limited. You know, itís very small release; itís not as important as an album.
Phil: Outside of music, what influences your writing the most?
Neige: There is almost no musical influence in ALCEST. Itís only, as you say, other things than music, so everything can be an influence to me. The main influence, as you may know, is this experience I had when I was a child. The reason to be of ALCEST is this experience; I wanted to make music about it because I canít speak about it so much - itís very hard to describe and I canít prove it, I canít explain it, I canít describe it, so I wanted to make a band just to be able to speak, if I can say, about it. So everything that is related to this dimension, to these visions, movies that can remind me of what Iíve seen and places out of nature and some places can remind me of these very magical landscapes Iíve seen in my visions. Anything can be an inspiration as soon as itís connected to this experience in a way.
Phil: One last question - recommend a book for our readers and then explain why you recommend that particular work.
Neige: I always recommend the same book. Itís a book called Life After Life from Raymond Moody. Itís a classic of esoteric literature. Itís a big classic, you know, and itís a book about near death experiences, people that have a coma and they describe all the same thing; going into a tunnel, see a light - always the same story and the funny thing, even the scientists nowadays recognize that this is true, this actually happened and they canít explain it, so thatís really funny. I would recommend this book because itís a very big part of the ALCEST concept, this Life After Life because I believe in life after life. Thatís a great book. If you want to understand ALCEST better just read it.
Phil: Is there anything else youíd like to add?
Neige: Just I hope that your readers like the last album; I hope they will come to see us in concerts if we play.
Interviewer: Philip A. Wickstrand
May 22, 2012
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PHOTOS BY PHIL A. WICKSTRAND
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Formed: 1999, Avignon, Provence-
Alpes-CŰte d'Azur, France
Label: Prophecy Productions
Genre: Black Metal / Shoegaze
Neige: Bass, Vocals, Guitars,
Keyboards & Drums
Tristesse Hivernale (Demo - 2001)
Le Secret EP (2005)
Souvenirs d'un Autre Monde (2007)
Aux Funťrailles Du Monde /
Tristesse Hivernale (Split - 2007)
Les Discrets / Alcest (Split - 2009)
…cailles de lune (2010)
Le Secret EP (Reissue 2011)
Les Voyages de l'¬me (2012)