Ray from ThisIsNotAScene continues his love affair with French Metal as he sits down with Eryn Non Dae.’s bassist Mickaël André to talk about their new release “Meliora” and the French metal scene in general.
Hi there and thank you for doing this interview. Are you happy the way “Meliora” came out?
Well, we’re happy with what can be found on the album concerning music, lyrics and artwork, concerning all that surrounds the release of an album, we will see when the album will be out as it’s always difficult when we do almost all the work on our own.
What does the album title mean?
The word Meliora is a Latin word that we used for an idea of improvement, of something that goes forward, it sums up the lyrical concept.
You seem to take cues from bands like Tool, Isis and Meshuggah on the new record. How do you see things?
Some of us really appreciate Tool and Meshuggah, I’ve rarely heard about Isis amongst us but I see what you mean, I guess people could hear some elements from these bands in our music, it’s funny the variety of bands we hear about when it comes to describe Eryn Non Dae.‘s music, most surprising was a comparison with The Swans or to the American Black Metal scene, funny !
What I really like about “Meliora” is that the band made quite a leap forward in terms of songwriting and overall cohesion of the song material. What’s your take on this?
Yes, we’re aware about that, even if it’s still hard to have a clear vision of what we did with “Meliora”, we knew what elements were about to be pushed further, a lot of these elements are present in the band sound since the beginning but they need to be worked year after year to be improved, we took two years to write this album, we worked very hard to be sure that we were satisfied with each seconds so I guess it can be heard on the album !
How would you like to describe writing and recording process for “Meliora”? What were you guys aiming for?
We did exactly the same way than for “Hydra Lernaïa”, it’s always about locking ourselves in our rehearsal room for hours to shape the songs, it’s quite a long process for us, we’re recording some demos for each song to work again on structure and details again. Except for ‘Hidden Lotus’ where some parts are quite improvised and some ambient part in the album, the songs and lyrics are completely finished when we enter the studio.
We recorded “Meliora” with Mobo again and it was an intense moment, we were very focused, we used a great studio for the drum because we wanted to have that roomy sound for the drums then we moved at Yann‘s (one of the guitar player) place to record bass, guitars and voices. Our main goal was having something a bit more natural than “Hydra Lernaïa”, with that more acoustic drum sound, then the songs have taken us naturally where the needed to go I think, I’m waiting to have the album in my own hands to listen to it and see how it sounds to me…
With the previous record you were signed to Metal Blade, but this time around you’re going to release the album independently. What happened?
Not exactly independently, we have a small french structure helping us for “Meliora” which is called M/O Music, concerning Metal Blade it’s easy to say that Eryn Non Dae. isn’t a top seller as Behemoth or Cannibal Corpse are, we ‘re often told that our music is very difficult to label and to sell, so I guess we were not exactly at our place with Metal Blade. They were unhappy with selling numbers for “Hydra Lernaïa” so we ‘re not working together anymore. But compared to Metal Blade we can see that as releasing a record independantly yes !
French metal band seem to get more recognition from outside your country, especially since the breakthrough of Gojira. How does this reflect on Eryn Non Dae?
Sometimes I think that Metal Blade was looking for the next Gojira as they signed two others french bands with us so I guess that was the first Gojira effect, french bands are getting more attention since Gojira. We’re often asked about that but excepted that fact I don’t know if it changes anything for French bands, as every country we always had good and shitty bands, so the fact that we have now more attention is for sure a pleasant thing since we are now more confident with saying that we’re french but I still hope that a band is judged on his music more than other things…Gojira is playing since almost 15 years now and nothing can replace that hard work that made them become what they are now.
In a country like Finland metal is seen as a legitimate form of art. How does that work in France?
It’s quite interesting that you mention how metal is seen in Finland since we often wonder how things are going in foreign countries, here in France it seems that listening to old bands like Motorhead, AC/DC or Guns And Roses is becoming quite hype since a few years and I wonder why, maybe these people are trying to build them a kind of legitimate stance for being able to say “I like metal” but the truth is that metal is quite a shame here, I know that some countries are worse for playing metal of course but I can’t say that metal is a respected and considered genre here in France, but I’m completely at peace with that, it always have been like that since I play music so I’m used to it, there are a lot of talented people around that scene that organise gigs, make artworks, records bands and all that make that scene so interesting, we have good small concerts, good small bands, everything is small and very DIY but it’s ok with me…
If you had the chance to become the curator for the famous Roadburn festival in Tilburg, The Netherlands, which bands would you pick and why?
That’s funny beacause it’s typically the kind of manifestation that I believe could fits Eryn Non Dae. I hope one day somebody from the Roadburn Festival will think about us, haha ! And even more funny because I think each band I could mention have already been programmed by Sunn or Neurosis I think, I would mention these bands and other like Ulver, Shora, Cult of Luna, but I also would try to make something more eclectic that commercially could be quite risked but maybe Whomadewho for the Dance Floor side of things, Origin because they’re so intense live, Katatonia because their latest release is magic and even if it doesn’t work that way I would propose a 5 fictive million euros to Deathspell Omega to perform live for the first time ! Haha !
Time for the final question. What is next in terms of touring and possible other music-related activities?
We are now focusing on “Meliora” release and it takes time and energy so we’ll be dealing with touring after “Meliora” came out, we’ll see what happens, I think we won’t wait very long before starting writing new music again as it’s Eryn Non Dae. main reason to be finally…
Thanks for your time and questions !