ASIDEFROMADAY Interview

Posted April 19, 2013 in
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It’s been thirteen years since their inception, and now ambient French post-metal outfit ASIDEFROMADAY is poised to conquer new territories with their hugely impactful latest release Chasing Shadows. This five-piece has perfected the creation of a veritable sonic landscape full of emotion and orchestration that takes the listening experience to a whole new stratosphere. SLUG had the opportunity to speak with lead singer Fred Nivard, guitarist Nico Chevallier and keyboardist Seb Descamps via email about the band’s new offerings (including their first music video), how they’ve sustained their longevity in such a fickle industry, and what ASIDEFROMADAY has in store for their hungry fan base this year.

SLUG: Chasing Shadows is a really incredible album, full of atmosphere and depth that is hard to shake once you’ve heard it. What inspired you to move from your previous albums’ sound, which was more traditionally metal, into this kind of post-metal realm ?
Fred: Thanks ! Well... we're always trying to create our music by melding different genres, we're not only versed in one particular style of metal. Chasing Shadows is the result of the work done by five persons. It's been 13 years since we started playing together, and our goal has never changed: displaying some aggressive and orchestrated metal and hardcore bursts. But you're right, Chasing Shadows is probably the most interesting album we've ever recorded, both by its creation and by its production. There's also a new fact to be considered: this album is the first one recorded with a new member on keyboards and it brings us some new possibilities and opens up some new directions to follow. The result is an album with epic and atmospheric songs. We've worked two years on creating this album, which is long, but we had to take our time to achieve this new effort, thinking of what we really wanted to do. Every riff was discussed, and discussed too much sometimes, but we paid a high attention to detail and worked on it until it was perfect to every member of the band. Chasing Shadows is a long journey where you're kept and swallowed by a maelström of feelings—that's what we tried to achieve and it seems that we've reached our goal. People seems to "travel" while they're listening to the album, I guess we have accomplished our mission...

SLUG: How have your longtime fans received the change ?
Fred: Our fans are always supporting us and we're really happy about that—we're nothing without people and especially without our fans, so we'd really like to thank them. The new album is critically acclaimed by specialized press, and it helps us too to keep the faith and to continue after all these years. We're an underground and DIY band—we don't have many tools in our hands to keep things going forward even if we're a band with a lot of experience, there are things that are not under our control, it's hard to find good shows and to book some tour.
However... to answer your question, I can say that we like to surprise people with our productions, releasing the same album year after year is the less interesting thing for us and we focus as much as possible on creating a different concept and musical world on every single album.

SLUG: How has it been playing these more ambient songs live? I know some bands with similar sounds or complexities have had trouble on some tours where their sets don’t allow for a full experience because of set-up or song length issues.
Seb: Actually, the songs played on stage are quite similar to the ones we recorded. When ASIDEFROMADAY asked me to join them, I did not really know what I wanted to do, and what kind of keyboards I would use, but I knew that I didn’t want to launch sequences, so everything is played live, and I don’t use a computer. In the same way, I didn’t want the keyboards to be “ornamental,” but to really be part of the band. In order to achieve that, we tried to avoid recording too many keyboards tracks while in the studio, because I would not be able to render that live. It is sometimes quite easy to thicken the sound by adding layers and layers of keyboards and guitars, but it would have been too far from what we really are when we play our songs, and from our writing process. The songs on Chasing Shadows are the result of rehearsals, and not of the recording process. Every single note has been thought and discussed—we spent almost two years writing this record, so the length of the songs is not an issue to us.

SLUG: Tell me about your writing process.
Fred:  Every single note is worked during rehearsals. Every single riffs and drums pattern too. Each member of the band has the right and the duty to tell what he's thinking about what we're working on. We've spent thousand hours in our rehearsal room to write Chasing Shadows, I spent many hours on writing the lyrics, doing some research on the internet and in books, to collect information, think on every words used and on the coherence between the instrumental block and the lyrics. We're not professional musicians except Seb on keyboards so we practice and create together, it's a long process but it's the way to make our music sound sincere and honest.

SLUG: ASIDEFROMADAY seems to be gathering a much bigger following since the release of “Chasing Shadows” (and rightly so). What are you guys hoping to accomplish in 2013 on the wave of this new popularity ?
Fred: Conquering the world of course. Becoming rich and famous could be nice too. Seriously, we just wanted to play our songs live and sell enough album to feed the beast hidden behind the band. We don't have any career plan with the band, we all have a job and some of us have kids, so we just wanted to play our songs. We are sincere and honest, we try to give our best and to share our feelings with people. No... In fact, we are angels on Earth and we deliver the truth so you just have to follow us and obey.



SLUG: You guys just shot your first pro video, which I imagine had to be terribly exciting. How was that experience? When can fans expect to see the video ?
Fred: Yes and we're so stoked about that. A new experience for the band and a new way to express our feelings. The directors of the video : Jean-Phi Putaud and Maeva Schamberger from "Apollo77" , did an amazing job with Nico our guitar player who is also graphic designer. The result is beyond our expectations. While I'm answering your question the video is not released yet but I guess it will while people will read this. We've planned to release it just before playing with Cult Of Luna and our good friends from The Ocean. Seems that we're trying to manage some promotion in time... Finally !
Nico: The experience was pretty long but really exciting. We had to work the script for 3 months before getting to something that would be coherent and achievable in a short time. The casting process was also quite difficult. Maeva was quickly agreed to play the role of the "Third Shadow" but we found the others just a few days before our deadline. Fortunately, Ben and Gustave, a father and his son were clearly those that was needed for this project. Conditions of filming wasn't so easy too : We had a day and a half to complete all sequences. We started early in the morning and ended late at night, spent about 20h in the snow, in the middle of nowhere.  They all did an impressive work, especially Gustave who is only ten years old. He was truly involved in this project.  As Fred says, it's a rewarding experience to listened to our music with images on it, it brings a new dimensions on it.

SLUG: You guys also just had your 13th anniversary as a band at the beginning of March. Congrats on that, an incredible feat for sure! What’s kept you guys sticking together for so long? How have you endured the ups and downs of musician life?
Fred: It's pretty amazing, I can't believe that it's been 13 years that we're playing together. What kept us stick together for so long... I don't know, tons of reasons, I guess. We're really close friends, we've shared so much, both in the private life and with band. We believe in this band and in the musical world we've created. We've seen some of us becoming fathers and true friends, they are my brothers and I believe in them. That's why we're capable to endure the ups and downs of musician life. And there was some, believe me. Fans' response was a great help too, people believe in us and give us the force to continue. Of course, the passion for music is one of the main reason too, I can't live without music, it's an entire part of me and my life.

SLUG: How do you feel about the current state of metal, in both Europe and abroad?
Fred: There are so many good bands, it's unbelievable. With internet, I discover some every day. I'm also an independent journalist, I write reviews and do some interviews for a DIY mag on internet, I receive tons of albums and tons of are good ones. Young bands are delivering some amazing album at the first shot with high-quality production. I guess that the level of music is getting higher and higher, it's good to ear that but it's also a difficulty in a way because everybody wanted to play shows and there's not enough place for every bands. Less venue, less money, promoters don't want to take risks on putting up shows in the metal scene, it's not bankable and popular. But, the metal scene is strong and will survive for sure. That's also a good motivation for us, it keeps us to play better and to give more to people which can't be a bad thing. It feeds my passion to music and it's a very rewarding experience to be in love with music. It's my fresh air in this mad world.
 

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