4 years after ‘Deceived Idealism’ French extreme doom acolytes Funeralium have unleashed their newest opus ‘Of Throes and Blight’, for which they just had their release show in Tilburg last Saturday.
BRIGHT LIGHTS , BLIGHT CITY
It’s been 4 years since we last spoke on ‘Deceived Idealism’. What has happened in the mean while?
Marquis: Many positive things for the band in general as I think we now feel stronger than ever as a band.
First, we tried to promote ‘deceived idealism’ live as much as we could as we’re also a live band. So we had many good opportunities like playing at Killtown deathfest in Copenhagen, doom over London or other great gigs in Bruxelles in Belgium (with Loss), France (with Mournful Congregation or Coffins) or Holland to promote our kind of doom.
Soon after all these gigs, we decided to concentrate on the composition of our new album ‘Of Throes And Blight”. We’re pretty satisfied about the way it went as we managed to compose new songs in the logic continuation of our previous album that had already reached a more mature approach in terms of composition or production. And once again, we found a sound engineer in Sylvain Biguet that totally fulfilled our expectations in terms of sound.
Yet, it was an album hard to finish for me as our drummer A.D. K'shon decided to leave the band for personal reasons. Fortunately, it didn’t take us so long to find a great successor ie RAEV and that’s why we’re now able to play gigs again. Yet, it meant that I had to work on all vocals arrangements at home and only discovered about the way they sounded when recording them. At the end, even if it didn’t turn badly at all that was not the easiest way to work like that.
Asmael Lebouc: basically we couldn't rehearse with vocals & drums. We've only been able to play the songs without vocals before recording.
Berserk : I must say it was not the most comfortable of situations, as I am used to have most of my leads and arrangement written during the composition process. But as they interact much with the vocals, I had to wait until the recordings to check if everything pieces of the musical puzzle would fit.
With only 4 songs over 90 minutes the songs are longer and yet slower and more minimalistic than ever. How do you keep a track interesting for half an hour? Not easy with people’s general attention span of about 3 minutes?
Marquis: First, we always try to make them sound interesting to play as musicians. If you’re already bored when playing your own song, that’s a bad start so it means you’d better not continue. As we’re 5 musicians in the band, we do our best to work on each single musical arrangement. It can be guitar leads, drums parts, backing vocals, and another line of bass. We already work on that during rehearsals but we also let the inspiration guide the recording work.
Asmael Lebouc: the tracks don't feel longer nor slower for us. We actually felt there were more mid-tempo parts. To us it is more varied than before. That's why we're not a Funeral Doom band in the traditional sense, we try to have many changes and evolutions in the riffs & structures so as to maintain the listener's attention. We are doing that in a "Doom format" of course, so changes occur over a long period of time!
Berserk : For me, the whole arrangement and production work is the key, at every step of the rehearsing and recording process. To keep things interesting, you have to retain the listener attention with new musical elements, textures, play on the dynamics… actually it doesn’t even have to be obvious, because everything has to fit altogether naturally.
Did the record progress naturally from where you left off last time or did you wanted to do some things really differently form for the new record?
Marquis: After ‘deceived Idealism”, I really think we managed to find the optimal recipes of the current Funeralium. The arrival 10 years ago of new band members like Asmael Lebouc, CharlesWard and A.D. K'shon really helped to reach that artistic direction. So the main idea was to keep on developing new ideas using the elements that came to maturity. To be honest, that was effortless as all things came to our mind so naturally.
Asmael Lebouc: as I said we have the impression that the album is a step beyond/or below the previous one as we've tried more things, more Death Metal-influenced riffs, mid-tempos and dissonant passages with unusual drum patterns. It came naturally indeed, we felt free to try new things while keeping the same foundations.
Berserk: On this album, I really was out of my “comfort zone”. As I had to record the arrangements and leads at the very last time, also being in charge of recording the whole guitars and bass parts at my place, it was a real but rewarding challenge. Most of the leads or arrangements were recorded “on the fly”, starting from a tiny bit of idea that we developed when hitting the record button. From this improvisation, we sometimes built guitar orchestras… sometimes leaving a melody alone, trying, failing, until we were satisfied. This said, the vast majority of the lead parts were recorded in the three first takes, so it’s mostly raw ideas that ended on “of throes and blight”
The lyrics are filled with even more spite and hate for mankind than before. I guess you’ve not had much to be positive about these past few years?
Marquis: Mankind will always remain our main inspiration. Living in a city like Paris can show you the worst aspect of human idiocy or selfishness as people are swarming everywhere. That’s also why we often compare people with insects in our lyrics as they sometimes truly behave like insects by crushing whatever and whoever is on their way. Our current society is also a great source of inspiration in the way everything is organized. The way people want to reach power described in ‘Vanishing once and for all” or what we can actually reach after a whole life in ‘Slowly we crumb towards crumbs”. I don’t think we describe the world in a worst way then it is to be honest. As also said in the lyrics of ‘Vermin’, we’re the worst and most lethal form on vermin on this earth.
Asmael Lebouc: how could we see anything positive or hopeful in this world? Western society is on the decline and "man is the bastard". The more you learn and search the more atrocities and depressing deeds & things you discover. It's as if we were the impotent observers of an apocalyptic shitshow that's going to swallow us all.
There’s also a feeling of being lost as an individual in the masses there. The downside to living in a huge city like Paris?
Marquis: Yes you’re totally right about that. I always observe a lot people when I take public transports in Paris as I spend almost 2 hours a day. And damn, that’s really inspiring to see the way one becomes indifferent to people, step by step. That can even be brutal for some people when they arrive in Paris as you know about Paris and its glamour/romantic reputation. At the end, you can easily come across all forms of misery in this city.
Asmael Lebouc: the Western man is lost and isolated. Selfishness & individualism prevail. Most have lost their purpose, empty shells filled with fear, distrust and hate.
How are things going with Ataraxie? You recently has the 10 the anniversary of your debut ‘Slow Transcending Agony’. Would you like to share something on any new material you’re working on?
Marquis: We’re at the moment focused on the composition of our new album. We have already 4 new songs over (so more than 70 min of new material) and we may wait to compose another new track to enter studio. That may be a way to release a 10’ soon after the release of this new album to shorten the wait between 2 new albums.
How do you decide what is more suited for Ataraxie or Funeralium as both bands are not a million miles apart from each other stylistically?
Marquis: That’s a good question as I’m the main composer in both bands. I think it’s pretty clear in my head which riff can be used for Ataraxie or Funeralium. Let’s say Ataraxie owns a more epic/dramatic dimension than Funeralium. Funeralium has more a nihilistic vibe. So let’s say all my epic doom doom influences can be kept for Ataraxie whereas my black or dark metal ones find more their realm into Funeralium. Yet, I agree that sometimes limit can be thin between these 2 bands as we both play extreme doom metal at the end with the same kind of vocals.
Asmael Lebouc: Funeralium has a more "raw" approach if we may say so, something less refined. As Marquis said the Black Metal feeling is more present. Plus the other members, with the arrangements, help define & differentiate the sound of each band.
Berserk : Being in both bands since the beginning, I can clearly state that they don’t carry the same intentions. Funeralium is a band where there is room for improvisation, and is in a filthier mood in general. While in Ataraxie – and especially since we are three on the guitars – my ego as a guitarist has to back off, in order to serve the music. Having to play less to be more consistent is a real challenge, but I think we found the proper formula. You’ll check this on the next album…
Any chance we’ll get to see you soon with either Funeralium or Ataraxie on a Belgian stage?
Marquis: No gigs scheduled for the moment in Belgium even if we would love to play in your country. Yet, we will be headlining Little Devil Doom days II in the 13th of May. That’s not far away from Belgium. As for Ataraxie, no gigs planned in Belgium as we have to remain focus on the composition on our 4th album. Yet, we will play at In Flammen Open Air In Torgau in Germany during the weekend of the 6/8th of July. That’s not far away either.
Asmael Lebouc: Belgium has always been a great place for us to play. Great scene and great people.
Is there anything you want to add that you feel we haven’t covered yet?
Marquis: We currently searching more gigs across Europe to promote live ‘Of Throes And Blight”. If you’re interested in booking us, don’t hesitate to contact us via our facebook page or bandcamp.
Asmael Lebouc: the true essence of FUNERALIUM comes alive on stage where the 2 bass-guitars can be really felt. We try to make every show as crushing as possible, almost punishing! We reel you in and don't let you go.