Los esfuerzos y sus recompensas tardan pero llegan; esto significa que nunca tenemos que dejar de hacer aquello que nos entrega satisfacción y dicha. Por más difícil que sea, por complicado que luzca la vida, por más irrealizable que nos digan que es, si estamos seguros de que tal o cual cosa son beneficiosos para nuestra esencia debemos realizarla a toda costa. Está en juego nuestro bienestar espiritual y anímico.
Es completa y absolutamente relevante que nuestra realización como individuos se realice. Es menester que cada uno de los aspectos constitutivos de nuestra individualidad cumpla su realización y que jamás sintamos que estamos en deuda con nosotros mismos. El presente es el paso a la felicidad del mañana; es hoy cuando está en juego nuestro futuro.
Es por esto que escribo estas palabras, es por eso que tengo y lucho diariamente por continuar con esta página, es por ello que escribo y entrevisto agrupaciones del mundo, es esta la razón que me anima a seguir de pie y a ser lo que sueño y deseo en la vida. Doy mi batalla personal contra mis propios demonios y espero terminar victorioso.
Así percibo que es la constante de esta espectacular banda; una lucha diaria, por cerca de (años) sin dar el brazo a torcer. Con honestidad, calidad, contundencia y fuerza: DIRGE es un faro luminoso en un mar oscuro. Haber podido entrevistarlos realmente se convierte en una de las cimas de esta página; se trata de una de mis gustos personales, y haber concretado un sueño es fantástico.
Realmente satisfecho y feliz de mi vida (con aspectos a mejorar) y con otros variados logros en carpeta para alcanzar, comparto la más reciente entrevista: la agrupación francesa DIRGE.
Una saludo caluroso para ellos: thank's a lot for your time STÉPHANE, and sorry for the long questionnaire. You know, not every day we have the opportunity to interview a band that you respect and follow.
Amig@s, un saludo caluroso. Disfruten la entrevista y disfruten la vida. Hasta siempre.
FELIPE: Esteemed, thank you very much for wanting to participate. I confess a fan of the group
STÉPHANE L.: Thanks to you.
FELIPE: Could you make an introduction to the group: Path members and albums.
STÉPHANE L.: The band was born in 1994 in the suburb of Paris. A lot of musicians came and went along the years. To this day, Marc T. (guitar & vocals) remains the only original member of DIRGE. Alain (drums) and I (guitar & vocals) joined the band in 2000/2001 and Luz (bass) started playing with us in 2010. After a couple of demos in the mid 90's, the band eventually released 6 albums between 1998 and 2014; the last one “Hyperion” has been released on the french label Debemur Morti. We're currently working on the seventh album.
FELIPE: The passage of the years, and of the albums, has evidenced a change, musical and personal. Almost 23 years have passed, how do you see now compared to when you started? Was there a spiritual, subjective, personal and social change in your music and in your personalities? Do you do the exercise of analyzing your musical career?
STÉPHANE L.: Obviously (and fortunately) we're better today than in our beginning, we've learnt a lot (writing, recording, playing live) and we still do. We have refined and improved the way to express ourself through music, production and words; and most of all we have tamed our sound and dug as best as possible our sonic signature without any compromise. We basically learnt how to create and re-create as best and personal as possible, over and over what DIRGE is all about. But while keeping moving forwards album after album.
But it is quite impossible to have an objective vision on the band's evolution (musically or lyrically talking). Of course, we are not quite the same persons anymore today, we see things with different perspectives (age and experience play their rule). That's also why a lot of musicians left the band. All of this has infiltrated our music a lot, it had a natural impact. So our music never stopped evolving, the same way we did.
FELIPE: In these almost 23 years of career what elements consider you that have been determinants to continue with the band? I guess living a life linked to extreme music is complicated anywhere in the world.
STÉPHANE L.: We do not feel linked to any kind of extreme. Of course, I understand why DIRGE's music can be seen as “extreme” in some way, but for us, it's nothing else than a specific way (among many others) to express what we feel and what we want to say. Our daily lifes have nothing extreme. And this is maybe the reason why the band is still here today. Some well balanced lifes (more or less) with enough emotions and ideas to express. We're still hungry, still passionate, still in search for absolute; that is the key.
FELIPE: Is it really difficult to maintain a stable alignment in a metal band? You have made some changes in your years of activity, what are the reasons behind these outings and what effect have they had on the professional development of the band?
STÉPHANE L.: As I told you, life's never stops affecting people and things. Situations, points of view, will, faith, passion, all of this can change according to your age and your experience; so this can affect the fragile balance within a band. And one day, you don't understand your bandmates anymore, your vision of what the music should be, the decisions to take, etc. And thus path separates, sometimes easily and naturally, sometimes more hardly and painfully. That happened several time within DIRGE, but note that the line-up remain quite stable for 6 years now. So maybe, in a way, age also brings some kind of wisdom. But I don't think any kind of musician’s departure did really have an impact on the band's music. I think the DIRGE's entity stays stronger than the sum of its individuality, even though some member have, obviously, more creative influence and importance than others.
FELIPE: The record that effects me most of you is “And Shall the Sky Descend”. It is heavy, slow, with harmonies and arrangements quite particular, with plays in the vocalizations and with an introspective and meditative aura that moves me. What album or band produces in you a similar effect?
STÉPHANE L.: As for me, I'd say the album “Elizium” from FIELDS OF THE NEPHILIM or certain SLOWDIVE's tracks combining sonic assaults and ethereal layers. The other guys would perhaps mention records from PINK FLOYD.
FELIPE: What is your opinion of bands like MOUTH OF THE ARCHITECT, NEUROSIS, CALLISTO, ROSETTA, CULT OF LUNA, YEAR OF NO LIGHT, among others?
STÉPHANE L.: NEUROSIS have been, obviously, a huge influence on our early records, as well as GODFLESH; both bands brought a very new way to create visceral sounds while playing on spaces, heaviness, distortion and dissonances. We loved their very intuitive way to express emotions. We learnt a lot with them.
What to say about CULT OF LUNA. Indeed they're kind of leaders from this so called “post-metal” thing, and I understand why. They brought a very effective formula mixing metal, hardcore and post-rock, they dug this, albums after album and today they sound really unique, with millions bands behind trying to recreate the COL sound. This is a reality: they managed to be THE BEATLES of this musical genre. As for us, we really liked their 3 first albums (we played with them on the “Salvation” era, and they were brilliant on stage – they still are). Personally, I still like their 4th album “Somewhere Along the Higway” but I really dropped them afterwards. I didn't like their 3 last albums, except the song “Ghost Trail” on “Eternal Kingdom”.
We don't like that much ROSETTA; not because we had a not-so-good touring experience with them some years ago but mainly because their music simply doesn't touch us. Too light, too clean, too boring, without the intensity, the scars and scratches that you can find on NEUROSIS or AMENRA albums, for example.
YEAR OF NO LIGHT are really worth to listen. They managed a very interesting evolution from post-hardcore/noise sounds of their first album to a more crushing, immersive and spatial sounds. “Tocsin” is great. On top of this, they are really good on stage.
Never listen to CALLISTO or MOUTH OF THE ARCHITECT, so I can't tell ;)
FELIPE: Are you aware of the global Metal scene? What groups stand out? Are you aware of any American group, and more particularly a Chilean?
STÉPHANE L.: As far as I'm concerned, I'm very selective with my metal musical tastes. I mainly love extreme (Death, Black, Grind) or deep and emotional stuffs; I love bands that have something to say, something to express, more than good looking musicians, 6 strings virtuosos, killer artworks, shitty concepts or grand-guignol live shows. I love pure and daring music made by pure and daring musicians. I love KILLING JOKE, NAPALM DEATH, NEUROSIS, ENTOMBED, SWANS etc because they stayed true to their very basic artistic instinct, doing what they want to do and not what they're “meant” to do.
Concerning Chilean metal bands, I only know MAR DE GRISES and PENTAGRAM (the other one) but only by name.
Metal or alternative music from South America never really reached our european ears, except of course a band like SEPULTURA/SOUFLY or to a lesser extent SARCOFAGO, OVERDOSE or RATOS DE PORAO. But it's pretty well known that there's a very active metal scene there.
Personally I came to listen some latin Dark Wave bands like AGHAST VIEW (Brazil) or MELLONTA TAUTA (Argentina) but I must confess it's all I know from South America.
FELIPE: What are the musical tastes of the members of DIRGE? What are you currently listening to and what can you recommend?
STÉPHANE L.: We all have very different musical tastes. One is more into movie Soundtracks, Electronic, Industrial, Old Classic Death Metal bands, another one is fan of Blues and more “classic” Rock, another one prefers Post-Punk bands (KILLING JOKE, PIL etc) and dub music. They all love PINK FLOYD or BLACK SABBATH. I personally listen to a wide range of alternative music, from Post-Punk/Goth to Industrial, passing by Ambient, Electro, Industrial, Extreme Metal, Punk.
You know, despite the fact we all play together for years now, despite creating the same music under the DIRGE's banner, there's in the end very few artists towards which we all converge : EINSTÜRZENDE NEUBAUTEN, NEUROSIS (in the past), that's all, I guess :)
FELIPE: What do you think about music downloads from the internet? Does it affect you or your neighbors? Would they restrict them?
STÉPHANE L.: In a perfect world, downloading music could be a benediction, if it would only give people the chance to discover more worthy music and more worthy artists. But the problem is that all these “connected” people are now very used to consume art or entertainment without paying for it. It's not a big deal for them, they don't ask themselves basic questions like ¿“am I stealing someone”? ¿“Is it OK not to reward, somehow the guys who made this music possible”? ¿“What if everyone would do like I do”?, etc. And I think that a new generation doesn’t even realize that it is normal to pay musicians for their work. So if downloading music for free would permit people to listen to a record before buying it, no problem. But not giving money (even in a quite symbolic way) for something you want, pushes all these new listeners to consume more and more and more. Which is the antithesis of art. This said we're not “big” enough for being impacted by this phenomenon; on top of this, people listening to the kind of music we're doing are very dedicated and aware of all these things. Most of the time, they buy CDs, vinyl’s or pay for legal downloads so I know we can trust their loyalty and common sense. Which is sadly not the case for 90% of music downloader’s across the world.
FELIPE: How was the reception of your albums by specialized media and fans?
STÉPHANE L.: Each of our albums received good or very good feedbacks from both medias and people. We'd just like to reach more of them.
FELIPE: Do you work on new compositions? Can you anticipate something?
STÉPHANE L.: We are currently working on our seventh album. Several songs are already finished; a couple of others may follow in the months to come. We hope entering the studio by the end of the year for a release expected in the first half of 2018. But meanwhile, we should release an EP with ambient and instrumental pieces next December, even though nothing's official for now ;)
FELIPE: What are your views of religion and the Church? Spirituality has always been an almost innate condition in man, but I mean the institutionalization of spirituality.
STÉPHANE L.: We don't use the music of DIRGE to deal with religion (same goes for politics), this is not the purpose of this band. Of course, you can find several references linked to the Bible in the lyrics, but it's more due to the weight of Christianity in Western Europe and the fact it shaped a lot of our cultural landscapes (moral, art.). We could as well refer to Satan but in the same metaphoric and romantic way Charles Baudelaire or French and European romantics (poets, painters.) did in the XIX century. Everything about religion or faith falls under, more or less, a form of expression, a way to carry feelings and concepts. It's basically another artistic matter. But in any case we use it as a message.
FELIPE: France is in the middle of a presidential campaign. In your country nationalism has strong adherents in contrast to a socialist view of the community. You have also had strong terrorist incidents that have permeated the eyes of society and politics. How do you see the country where you live?
STÉPHANE L.: This country makes me sad these days. Brown pest has hopefully been repealed on last national elections. I just wish it hasn't just been postponed.
And terrorism still lurks here and in other European countries, feeding this pest with fear and anger. The Devil's mechanic.