Interview With Seth
Heimoth & Saint Vincent
Greetings from Metalheads Forever Magazine, how are you guys doing in the beautiful city of Bordeaux?
H : Pretty well thank you ! Actually most of us are scattered around the country. We only have one original member still living in Bordeaux, South-West. So basically it makes it a bit of a plan for us to practice and play live. I am still going south though pretty often but the band today is not the one that started 25 years ago together in Bordeaux when things were just easier to meet.
“La Morsure du Christ” was released on May 7, 2021, can you tell me about the Songwriting and production behind this album?
H: It was produced by Francis Caste, Studio Sainte Marthe, Paris, where many French bands do record (Loudblast, Hangman’s Chair, Svart Crown…). Since we wanted something not too old and not too modern, tough choices had to be made and he was the right to do this with. The production is much thicker than old usual BM stuff yet the old-school riffs we have breed a more traditional feeling to it so overall the mix is clearly not clinical unlike quite a few albums that we did release like Era-Decay for instance. La Morsure du Christ is clearly the best sound we have had so far as it perfectly fits in with our nineties musical approach. It was a bit of a challenge though to come up with the right balance with so many keyboards tracks and so much vocal intensity on front. I did write the whole album in over a year. By the end of each writing process, each track was sent to the other members. These riffs are rather instinctive to me – I had to get back to the mindset I was in 23 years ago but it felt like it was yesterday. Adding keyboard lines on top of both bass & guitar layers were a bit tricky as it is something we hadn’t done for years. Our keyboard player Pierre Le Pape would send me over his ideas – they were aimed to transcend the riffs and not to mess it all up. So it took quite a while to figure out the best recipe so that the key can tell its own music-story as well over the basically written guitar parts.
The album art has a deep meaning showing the reason arson attack on the Cathedral of Notre Dame, and is this the concept set behind this album?
SV : It is indeed the album concept. We chose the Notre-Dame blaze on the cover for three reasons : as the new album is a 90s black metal revival album we used the classic black metal iconography and a burning church. Moreover we are assuming our French identity with French lyrics, and Notre Dame de Paris is a worldwide known French monument and symbol. Finally, and this is the main concept of the album, the Notre-Dame blaze epitomises the downfall of religion and spirituality in the Western World. It’s like a death certificate concluding decades of downfall.
What was your thoughts and feeling towards the devastating fire blaze at the Cathedral of Notre Dame?
SV : When I discovered the blaze on the news and saw the flames over Notre-Dame, I felt I was watching an historical moment full of meaning. A bit similar to the 11th of september 2001 (I was in Chile this day and discovered everything live on the news channel). If 11th of september was more impressive, for sure, with shocking destruction and all the dead, I think symbolically speaking we can find some similarities between them; the first being a major paradigm change on a geopolitical scale, the second on a religious scale.
The title song has a deeper thought inside of the fact that God has forsaken his world, and recent happening do make feel with the Covid Situation around the World, why has God given up on this World that he so loved, what is your actual idea behind the title track?
SV : The album title can be translated as “the bite of Christ ” but phonetically you can also translate it as “the death of Christ is certain ”. The bite of Christ could epitomise the dying faith getting transmitted like a ghostly vampiric curse, pointing out there was no resurrection but a real death that finally contaminated all christianty. When the believers needed their God the most, it happened to be absent. The last year since the arrival of covid must have been particularly challenging for god believers, on many different scales even.
“La Morsure du Christ” has a strong correlation with your debut album “Les blessures de lame” It’s really powerful, great musicianship and songwriting behind the new album, how as a band do you feel about the outcome of it?
H : Yes from the onset of this new release we openly said that this was to be a faithful sequel to our first album. This was kind of a bet since people had their expectations of course but of them actually agreed with the band statement : there is consensus pointing out not only La MOrsure du Christ does sound like our first album but it has also magnified the whole debut Seth spirit. Some reviews have argued that reviving the past is always tricky but that we have done it flawlessly. And I am happy to hear about that.
You signed up with Season of Mist in your debut and took a break from the label and 2013 you returned to Seasons of Mist label again, how are you feeling to work with them again?
H : Overall we take things quite naturally today and feel like we are experiencing time as a circle. Just like the Ouroboros symbol used in Les Blessures de l’Ame (Serpent biting its tail) our history inescapably repeats itself today. As a result, it completely makes sense to release this album on our very label Season of mist. They are doing a great job promoting our new album.
Seth goes way back to 1995, and its quite a long way being one of the pioneers of Black Metal bands in France, how do you feel where you are now?
H : We have pioneered French BM in that we belonged to this very tiny fraction of French BM bands to introduce and plainly deal with French lyrics so much that it did become a strongly recognized feature of the band either nationally or overseas. Likewise, despite the reluctance of French bands to cross the boundaries of underground music and openly embraced bigger interview magazines and while trying to actually set out a more professional attitude generally speaking (also music-wise). All this defined the band as an outsider amongst the supposedly French elite of the time. What is pleasant is we haven’t changed much in the end : still around, still alive and still delivering professional BM music. And god knows how sustainability is hard to maintain in music.
What would be your next plans, are you planning for any tour or there are restrictions still because of the pandemic?
H: We are about to announce a string of new shows and possibly tours as well ! So we can’t wait to play live again and festivals ! Next year Hellfest and Steelfest have been announced already, those are parts of the covid rescheduled shows.
Have you ever thought of taking a new concept to your songs rather that your traditional concept of music?
H: Not sure I get what you’re saying here. Basically the band has released 6 albums and most of the them do sound really different from one another. Of course our concept album on Divine-X (2002) which sounded really modern for the time has nothing to do with La Morsure du Christ. I assume different music approaches go along with new concepts and ideas too.
What would be some of the greatest moments you guys had over the years?
H: I have best recollections touring with Seth in Canada, 2014, and also playing the anniversary shows for Les Blessure de l’Ame album two years across Europe. We actually were busy after the release of The Howling Spirit in 2013 as never have played live so much. Nice memories !
What would you consider is the best song from this new album, and what makes it so special to you?
H : I equally love Le Triomphe de Lucifer and Sacrifice de Sang. I think they are more intricate than the others, deeper, really epic and ritualistic. Vocals are also very theatrical. It is difficult to provide a good answer as I believe this is the only album we have released to set out so many equally good tracks. It has made it very tough to pick our two singles in April and May to unveil the album.
SV : It’s indeed difficult to pick up a track, as said Heimoth, as all songs are quite equally good in my opinion. My personal favorite track would still be “Hymne au Vampire (acte III)”, I guess because the lyrics are the most intimate to me.
Finally, thanks again for an amazing album this year, it’s truly a musical journey from starting to end, to think about the current world situation and seeing a dying world, I think this will be the big message for the fans to give a thought too, What would be a message from you to the fans during this time?
H : I think the undying need to see bands playing live has been predominant throughout the crises. And it speaks volume in how important music can be. Means I am rather hopeful as for the outcome is concerned : bands will eventually be allowed to hit the stage and I am sure people will massively show up !
SV : An old world died. A new one is coming. We still don’t know if the new one will be better. But for sure when the sheeps lose their shepherd, wolves are getting around. watch out !