Interview with Neige (Alcest) in Minsk - 01/04/2017

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Without a long foreword we present a warm interview with a light and dreamy Neige from Alcest before the show.
MH: Hello Neige, nice to see you in Minsk.
N:
Hello, it’s great to be here.

MH: We’re looking forward to the show tonight… And we’ve got a couple of questions for you because we’re extremely curious about your band and what you do. You’ve started with black metal music, although it lasted not for a long time but still… What would you like to thank black metal for in your career?
N:
It truly started with black metal, it was in 2001. I was very young, I think it was one of the biggest music discoveries that I had in my life. When I discovered black metal it made such a big impact on me. And of course in the first years I was so influenced by this genre of music and the very first demo tape was like straight-forward black metal, but very quickly I wanted to do smth. on my own, smth. different. So yeah, I kept some elements from this genre, but you know, for me it’s more like music tool that amusing like blast beat or tremolo guitars, or things like that. But I really don’t see the connection of black metal and Alcest; because to me black metal goes with darkness and really like occurred misanthropic feelings, and the Alcest’s music is pretty much the opposite of that. I respect black metal a lot and that’s why I don’t want people to think that I consider Alcest as black metal, it’s not that at all.

MH: But some influence it has done on your music…
N:
Yeah, as I said, a few things like musical elements, more than attitude…

MH: Ok, I see. And your band is known for your experiments with the sound and we’ve mentioned some of them. And it’s some kind of risky because it evokes unpredictable reaction sometimes. You get different feedback, and how do you see it: as a positive thing for your band or you’re just doing your own thing  without paying attention to it?
N:
Yeah, I think we’ve always done our own thing and actually it was a kind of problem for metal listeners in the beginning because all of a sudden there was this band that was all about fragility, nostalgia, light, things like this and not like usual topics in metal. But also I think a lot of metalheads kind of like us because these listeners respect authenticity. And people might say everything they want about Alcest, but I think we’ve always been very honest by doing what we want to do, not trying to imitate or copy anyone. And in a way that’s smth. that I think people appreciate about us. We really don’t hesitate to mix the genres and do smth. on our own.

MH: I see, and many young bands especially nowadays when the audience is pretty close to the musicians through the internet, react to the criticism even if it’s constructive rather sharp and sometimes even painfully. So how do you think are they going to succeed with such approach?
N: I don’t know… People react in a very different way in front of criticism or success, or things like that. It’s very individual actually. I would say that the best is to really do what you feel is right in the precise moment of life; because maybe a week after you’ll want to do smth. different, but the moment when you want to do it – it’s important to do it and not to try to please anyone. And of course it’s hard, because when your music is finally released of course you feel a bit scared and it’s normal. But I don’t think that people’s expectations should influence the way you are making music. Or it means you are not sincere.

MH: Ok, nice point of view, thanks for sharing. And in general working in a music industry presupposes lots of cooperation starting with your own band – within your own band, and with your label and so on. And other musicians, of course. How do you view cooperation: as a kind of boost for your career or maybe some kind of obstacle, which makes you compromise, or smth. else?
N:
You mean the collaboration with the label?
MH: With the label, with the band… All kinds of collaboration you have to face.
N:
We are lucky because our label never asked us to do anything special. I mean they completely trust us, so when it’s time to release a new record they don’t even ask whether it’s going to be more metal or shoegaze or whatever. They really trust us, so we could do the record “Shelter”, that was complete non-metal record, more like dream-pop, shoegaze, you know… May be it couldn’t have been possible on different label. As you can see we are really working in our “bubble”.

MH: So you’re completely satisfied with the label, it’s nice because you’re given freedom. And what about other musicians in your band: do they share your views, do you get along easily? Musically I mean.
N:
Yes, the situation in the band is a bit special: we are two studio members – Winterhalter the drummer and myself, so I do the rest. And live we are four people, so we have two more musicians. So these two people don’t influence anything in compositional point of view, they are with us on stage. But Winterhalter and me, of course we have a very nice communication. I’m writing the songs: the riffs and the lyrics, vocals and everything. I do demos, sometimes I even record some drums to show him the kind of thing I have in my mind. And then we work together on the drums and he tells me what he thinks about the guitars and actual song. And we are very different as people and as musicians, so we are very complementary. It’s really interesting when we work together because we don’t necessarily have the same references: I’m more like into indie-rock, shoegaze and pop; and he’s more like into 70’s prog, psychedelic or even black metal – he’s much more black metal than me. So it’s really interesting, the way we collaborate.

MH: I just remembered your old project – Old Silver Key, and we’re extremely curious how come that you’ve started collaboration with the Ukrainian musicians?
N:
I know Roman since I think 10 years, smth. like that. We were sending email to each other, I’m a big fan of Drudkh, I’ve always loved Drudkh and I think that Roman has respect for all my projects including Alcest. He’s been a friend for many years, we actually never met, so I really hope that I’m going to meet him one day. So yeah, he just asked me to do some vocals on this record and I was working at my home, so I recorded vocals in my flat and I sent them by internet – the magic of technology.

MH: Yeah true! So good. And just falling back on your other projects, that were nice of course, how do you think, is it possible to revive some of them in future?
N:
Not really… Because these projects were actually from my teenage years like Amesoeurs, for example. It was the project that I created when I was very-very anxious, I was a bit depressed, you know. It was dealing more with my darker side. Alcest has a darker side too, but now I think I can combine everything in one project. But it doesn’t mean I don’t want to have other bands. I wish I could play very different genres of music, not only Alcest, for example. I don’t know… I wish I could be in a post-punk band or new wave or electronic or whatever, but I don’t have time actually…

MH: Ok I see, and we’ve mentioned your album “Shelter”, which of course stands out stylistically a lot. And it got positive reviews from critics but fans… it was different as well. And your next album was a kind of getting back to your roots: was it evoked by the reaction on “Shelter” or was just natural thing that occurred?
N:
Yeah it was a natural thing. After “Shelter” we couldn’t have gone even softer, it was already really soft. If we’ve gone softer it would be just like ambient record. So we needed to do smth. more dynamic, smth. darker too. We’ve had these terrorists’ attacks in Paris and I think it had quite a big impact on me: in some aspects of the songs, in the production too, in the feed of the record – it’s quite angry. Yeah, I would say that “Kodama” is a reaction to “Shelter” but it wasn’t because of the fans or the critics… And it’s really funny actually, because now “Kodama” is released and people see that we’ve got back to smth. a bit more harsh, they are like: oh, “Shelter” was actually really good. It’s always the same, people need some time to understand what was in your mind back then to appreciate what you’ve done.

MH: And finally I can’t but touch the topic of your visions you portray in your lyrics and it’s an integral part of the whole band’s concept. You’ve once mentioned that you perceive this world as a copy of smth. more genuine and beautiful. Could you please specify what exactly you find similar to this beauty and what differs?
N:
It’s very hard for me to talk about this thing. Actually rock music is about this spiritual experience because I couldn’t find the words to describe it. I would say that I had some memories of a place, I don’t know what it was… It was not here, that’s for sure. I don’t know, it’s like the most beautiful thing you can ever dream about… like if there’s a heaven – it’s this place. It’s like this world but million times more beautiful. That’s all I can say…

MH: And how do you think, can we ever dream of this beauty coming in this world?
N:
In this world – no. I mean there are other forms of beauty. I wish people were a bit nicer with each other and a bit less self-centered, especially nowadays. I think the world is getting really dark and it’s pretty scary. So I don’t know where it’s going but I don’t think things are going to get better in a close future. As musicians the thing we have to do is to keep doing what we’re doing. To make people escape from this place for a certain moment. We transcend reality.

MH: Thank you so much for com enjoy the showing here and let us enjoy the show, let’s escape out of this world at least for two hours you’re going to perform.
N:
Yeah, thank you.


Interviewed: Gella Inspired
Camera: Inga Max
Camera/editing: Nat NazgulСохранитьСохранить




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