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Saturday, January 2, 2021

Les Chants De Nihil Interview


1.Can you give us an update on what has been going on with the band since the recording of the new album?

Hi Occult Black Metal Zine, since the recording of “Le tyran & l’esthète”, nothing has been happening, like almost everywhere else around the world. All of the musicians of Les Chants de Nihil are dealing with their own lives, locked down sometimes, at work the day after. No serious musical activity for myself.

2.You have a new album coming out in 2021, musically how does it differ from the stuff you have released in the past?

It’s close to our 2011 album “Propagande Erogène” in atmosphere. And lyrically it’s the followup. Musically I worked to propose something more complex, epic and furious. I always wanted to play melodic or symphonic black metal, but didn’t like the childish sound given by keyboards or big orchestral introduction. So I recorded real choirs everywhere I needed to reinforce the dramatic side of the music. This album contains more death metal parts and the sound mixing is really aggressive… I usually had a “foggy”, diluted and quite soft and cold sound. Here it’s burning passion and sharp drama.

3.This is also the first album to be released since 2017, can you tell us a little bit more about what has been going on during this time frame?

Well, I would say it’s just life. It was at this moment that some big projects arrived, like buying a house, getting a new job… But to stay present on the black metal scene, we decided to record the 10-year anniversary compilation, with the main tracks of our first tape release “Les six leçons”, and some other 2007/08 tracks. It’s also our last production released on our old label Dernier Bastion.

4.What are some of the lyrical topics and subjects the band explores with the newer music and also how would you describe your progress as songwriters over the years?

The new album “Le tyran et l’esthète” is telling the story of an old leader (“the dreamer”) fighting against an enemy corrupting the masses. It’s written like an opera, with dialogues between the different characters, even if most of the songs are played by the main character : “the dreamer”. As I said, this story is the followup to the album “Propagande Erogène”, where you can follow the one-day ascension to power of this leader and relatives.

5.What is the meaning and inspiration behind the name 'Les Chants De Nihil'?

This name was chosen without any real meaning. At the beginning of this band, I had my serious project called “Legion Mortifere”, with which I already played live. But my friend Mist and I recorded some black metal tracks for our distraction and the use of our new recording material. Les Chants de Nihil was the name to gather these tracks. We weren’t necessarily trying to release music at the time. But when we recorded “Les six leçons” in 2007, I made a bunch of CD-R copies for my friends and some internet downloads. Then it came to the ears of Dernier Bastion who offered to release it on tape. Concerning the name, “Nihil” is the latin for “nothing”, so you can understand “Les chants de Nihil” as “songs from nowhere” or “songs of nothing”. It’s more a reference to nothing or nowhere in terms of reality, in the oniric sense.

6.Can you tell us a little bit more about the artwork that is presented on the new album cover?

I painted the cover in oil, 1x1 meter in July 2020. It presents the leader with the flag, his friends and army, charging after a night of war to a cliff. This scene takes place at the end of the story, the “final” track. The lady on the tiger is a deity giving power and advice to the leader, the guy at his left is holding the enemy, blindfolded. This henchman can be any of the characters previously mentioned in “Propagande Erogene”.

7.Originally the band started out as a duo, what was the decision behind bringing in other members?

You’re right, I started it with my friend Mist, still playing the guitar in the band. The first guy we enrolled in the band was Marc, for the recording of the drum parts on “La Liberté guidant le fer” album in 2009. Because we were already 3 people, we recruited a bassist the year after for live sessions.

8.I have read that one of the band members chooses not to use modern technology as much as possible, do you also use the more old school approach when it comes to discovering new bands?

I guess you’re referring to Pierre-Louis who is now recording synth wave ? I don’t really care about the way to produce a sound if the result fits the expectations. For the latest LCDN album, a raw and old-school sound would have ruined the atmosphere I wanted to create. I needed a spectacular sound to carry all the emotion and the fantasy of my new story. Discovering new bands is not an activity. I’m not searching on the internet for new releases. Sometimes I go to concerts, essentially to see friends playing, and I discover bands on stage in the evening. But I don’t listen to metal anymore so most of the time I just go to congratulate the artists I appreciated and that’s all.

9.What are some of the best shows that the band has played over the years and also how would you describe your stage performance?

I can say we were always welcomed in Paris and our first show there was a real surprise to me. In 2011 at the Klub, Paris, I realized that LCDN was not only an insignificant project but something followed by many people in the scene. Our 2020 live in Rennes was also a really great moment. First, it’s in the region where we live : Brittany, France. So we were surrounded by friends, recent or old. And I shared the scene with our last stable line-up : Mist, Sistre, Oberkommander. After many years of having session members, live-members, travelling ones… I finally found a new team, with which I recorded the new album, and played lives in a perfect symbiosis. 

10.The new album is coming out on 'Les Acteurs De L'Ombre Productions', how would you compare working with this label to your older label 'Dernier Bastion'?

There is just no possible comparison. I left DB because I had to send five emails to get a response six months later. Sometimes, LCDN merch people bought wasn’t even delivered... I also needed better promotion to complete the proselyte purpose of the new album. With LADLO productions, I receive messages every day, to work on details, on planning for everything, graphics for the goodies, etc. They are a really hard-working team with efficient and devoted women and men.

11.On a worldwide level how has the reaction been to your music by fans of black metal?

I sent a bunch of CDs around the world, sometimes I read comments under videos on the internet. It’s hard to realise how LCDN’s music is received abroad. Logically, I get some feedback from Quebec, the French-speaking part of Canada. Their black metal scene appreciates the French singing and songwriting.

12.What is going on with some of the other bands or musical projects these days that some of the band members are a part of?

Mist recently released his first CD album with his solo-project “Answer from Cygnus”. Sistre, our drummer, plays with Oberkommander, our bassist, in other projects : Bestial Nihilism and Gotholocaust. Both of them are involved in many other metal projects. About me, I use to record some various covers by myself, to take part in friends’ projects. Because I’m in charge of everything in LCDN : composition, songwriting, artworks… I like to be in the service of other projects. It’s like a challenge to me. Recently I recorded vocals on the folk project of my friend Sven from Tan Kozh. I also created some doom/ritual/black metal tracks. I wanted to experiment with new vocal styles. Maybe it will become a serious band to play on stage ?

13.Where do you see the band heading into musically during the future?

I think the next LCDN releases won’t be concept-albums like “Le tyran et l’esthète” is. Maybe a collection of poems like “Armor”. I guess I want our sound to evolve into something more pure and raw, fresh, natural.

14.What are you currently listening to nowadays?

Dimitri Shostakovich’s symphonies from the 4th to the 12th ; Aram Khachaturian’s ballets, Sisters of Mercy’s “Floodland”, Queen Adreena’s “Drink me”, Mike Patton’s various projects, old Russian folk music, movies scores, etc.

15.Before we wrap up this interview, do you have any final words or thoughts?

Thanks for spreading my music around ! 

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