THE FANZINE THAT FEATURES SMALL AND UNSIGNED BANDS
Friday, June 4, 2010
INTERVIEW WITH YEAR OF NO LIGHT
HELLO, HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR MUSIC YOURSELF? Mathieu : Heavy, hypnotic, progressive, evocative. Johan : Heavy, celestial, ritualistic & sonic drones.
A BAND’S NAME THAT SOUNDS LIKE YEAR OF NO LIGHT…THAT ALREADY SOUNDS LIKE SOMETHING WITHOUT HOPE… Mathieu : Right… But there are some shiny elements in our music too… We think that in a dark environment, you can see light much better… But we’re not very optimistic about the actual state of the world or present human values, if it’s what you meant.
YOUR FORMER RELEASE “NORD” WAS WITH VOCALS, WHY TOOK THE STEP TO DO IT INSTRUMENTAL? Johan : We started as an instrumental band. A singer arrived when we started composing ‘Nord’ and he left the band in 2008. Since then we changed a little bit the line up adding a 3rd guitar player & a second drummer. Songs composed worked fine like this hence we decided to let it like that.
I WAS AMAZED BY IT BUT I COULDN’T HELP IT…IS THIS POSt_METAL OR POST-ROCK…WHICH AUDIENCE DO YOU HAVE EVEN IF I DO THINK THAT CATEGORIES ITSELF ARE NOT IMPORTANT… Mathieu : In a recent review, a guy said that we sound like if Sigur Ros was playing doom. That’s a quite good definition I think, even if I really don’t like labelling. So, post-rock, post-metal, post post post… what ? Post-modernity is a fucking plague. Let’s go back to the basics and make’em bigger, heavier. Johan : We never felt related to any scene even if the metal scene seems to be the best audience we can have. In the past we have been able to play in front of very different audiences from Hellfest to Dour festival via Roabdurn and everytime feedback was great. We started the band before that ‘post...’ label hype and we were labelled ‘dark & heavy hardcore’, ‘slow hardcore’, ‘hardcore doom’... Labelling is awful and we really don’t care about it. We are just playing our music !
I WAS ALREADY AMAZED BY THE COVER, IT’S LIKE THAT COVER ALREADY REVEAL SOME OF YOUR MUSIC… Mathieu : It is supposed to be the aim of the artwork, isn’t it ? Johan : Yes it is something really important for us. A record is more than just music. Artwork is totally part of it. It’s like adding another dimension to the record and a way to go further. At the beginning we wanted a more ambitious artwork but we were a bit short of time. But it ended well and we were all happy with the result.
HOW DO YOU END UP ON A BELGIAN LABEL? Johan: Conspiracy records is a label that we really admire for more than 10 years now (I think the first time I met them was in Ieper in 1998 and since them we met regularly on festivals, tours & co...) and we kind of grow up the same way speaking of our musical tastes. When Dave & Joris told us they were interested into releasing it, it was incredible & an honour for us so we don’t hesitate and accepted to do it with them.
I HOPE YOU DON’T MIND FOR SAYING IT, BUT GOOD FRENCH RELEASES ARE SOMETHING LIKE A RARE BREED… Mathieu : You can say it, but it’s not necessary true. There are plenty of real good French bands and records but their audience is pretty small, due to a lack of communication or because of the hype’s disinterest. But in the strict metal scene, you’re maybe right. Johan : Yes I admit that I listen more American bands than French ones ! But there is/was also a lot of interesting bands in France like Monarch!, Ananda, Tantrum, Sunshine parker, Aeroflot, Goodbye Diana...
I GUESS EVERY COUNTRY HAS ITS PRO’S AND CONTRA’S? BUT IS IT EASY TO FIND A PUBLIC IN FRANCE WHICH GOES FOR YOUR MUSIC? Johan : Yes and no. In France, due to legal issues, it’s really hard to play in official venues unless you are a professional musician. You can’t be an ‘amateur’. It’s totally silly but there’s nothing between pro and amateur ! It the only country like that in Europe hence it makes it harder to play there and really easier to play abroad. France is also always a bit behind on what is happening everywhere else in music and it seems young people didn’t refresh the audience... You put everything together and you can see why we really prefer playing abroad. Apart from it, it’s the same as everywhere else. If you tour a lot it will be easy to build a public base...
THE SOUND OF YEAR NO LIGHT WHICH YOU GAVE US ON “AUSSERWELT”, IS THIS YOUR DEFINITE SOUND OR CAN IT BE THAZT THE NEXT RECORD WILL BE SOMETHING TOTALLY DIFFERENT? Johan : It’s definitely not our ultimate sound. We have no boundaries and we really want to go further that what we started to do on Ausserwelt. This record is just like the demo of what we envisage with this new line up. We really feel and hope we will manage to incorporate all the elements we didn’t have the time to work on it for Ausserwelt.
DO YOU THINK YOUR MUSIC IS DARK…I MEAN I ADORE IT, BUT I CAN’T SAY I FELT HAPPY AFTERWARDS…. Mathieu : That’s not our purpose… We wanted the album to be a real introspective journey, and no one can say that human soul is a pure heaven. But it’s not total hell neither. If after listening to the record you have to keep the world silent for some time, if you need rest or tranquillity before going back to your modern life occupations, then we have succeeded.
WHY EXACTLY, THAT TITLE “AUSSERWELT”? Mathieu : Briefly, it is related to the “beyond”. You can see it as theological or metaphysical. We wanted the tracks and the album to be introspective and tripping, like a journey into dark paths of the subconscious or into some long ago forgotten worlds and human feelings. It can also be the perfect soundtrack to your last car ride, in deep deep night, hypnotized by kinetic energy and with a wall right in front of you.
SOME SAY MUSIC NEEDS NO WORDS, I GUESS WITH YEAR OF NO LIGHT THERE ARE INDEED NO WORDS NEEDED….
TWO QUESTIONS I ALWAYS ASK… WHAT’S YOUR FAVE RECORD OF ALL TIME AND PLEASE STATE WHY… Mathieu : Man, it can change everyday… Yesterday, it could have been Kraftwerk’s “Trans-Europe-Express”, tomorrow it could be Metallica’s “Kill’em all”… But for today, let’s say “Smiley Smile” by The Beach Boys… I like its imperfections (the album is in fact the demo tapes from an album that would only be recorded 40 years after…) that give the record a “dirty” feeling, a roughness far from the luxury of the previous, “Pet Sounds”, which is, objectively, the best album of the band. I really love this album because you can feel that it’s torn between perfect purity and total sickness, like if Brian Wilson was trying to talk to angels but with a demon inside of him. There are also plenty of genius ideas, like in “Vegetables” where the drums are made of crunched carrots and clinking glasses, or the use of silly pitches on their usually great vocal harmonies, which lead them to some concrete sound of human mental troubles, of total insanity. In a word, this album is like the “pop” equivalent to the first “Black Sabbath” record : that’s the end of the flower power spirit, the utopia is behind, we can just face the horror and wait for the end of the world. A real sick masterpiece, in total contradiction with the title of its hit single: “Good Vibrations”. Johan : There’s too many ! Some that changed my life may be Joy division ‘unknown pleasure’, this record is timeless and perfect, Sisters of mercy discography, swans later era as they gave me envy to make celestial music, unsane ‘scaterred...’ full of noise hymns, the orb ‘uforb’ or ‘adventures beyond the ultraworld’, my discovery of electronic music, botch ‘we are the romans’ as all was done on this records and current hardcore bands still try to copy it without any success, neurosis ‘through silver in blood’ as I remember exactly the first time I listen to it & thinks oh man where does this music come from ??? their best songs coupled with the producer that fitted them the best : billy Anderson. My bloody valentine ‘loveless’ as I found magical all the harmonies coming out of the wall of sound...
WITH WHO WOULDN’T YOU MIND TO BE ALONE WITH IN AN ELEVATOR FOR 8 HOURS AND WHAT WOULD YOU DO THEN? Mathieu : John Carpenter… Even if his last movies aren’t quite as good as his early ones, I still think that he is one of the most important filmmaker of modern times. A true genius who, in this era of hysterical and nonsensical cinematographic grammar has the courage to oppose the purity and the intelligence of classicism with the always pre-eminent interrogations about humanity and survival.
THE LAST WORDS ARE YOURS….. Johan : Thanks a lot for the interview & hope to meet you on the road next time we will play in Belgium.