понедельник, 23 февраля 2015 г.

Belenos Interview

1.Greetings to Belenos! At first of all, tell the history of the band. I watched too many changes of line-up was and changing location of a band/project itself! Maybe, I think, some questions would you make repeat the texts written at main page of your site, but it’s better to read your opinion and words, not dry words from the web.

Hi ! Well first of all, people have to know that Belenos is more a one-man-band than a real band, this rule is still true today after 20 years of existence. There have been some periods of live activities (from 1999 to 2004, then in 2010 and from early 2012 until today). During the other periods, playing live was impossible due to several reasons: (no live members available, or no rehearsal room, or too much to do with jobs or just not enough motivation to go back on stage).
From the starting of the band and during one decade, Belenos has been located in northern France, and then I moved to Brittany (Celtic region, western France) in 2004 until today. As far as possible I try keeping a same live line-up.

2.Next main question – how is the inspiration to get through origin of your ancestors belief came to you? Why did you chosen so path? I know, that France was a territory, where Gauls dwelled in ancient times! Am I think right, that’s main reason?

Yes, the Antiquity period with the Gauls against the Romans is very popular in France even if it dates back to 2000 years! The town where I’ve lived during 25 years in northern France is built upon the ruins of a Roman city called Nemecatum, the local Gallic tribe was called the Atrébates. The name Belenos is inspired from this old Gallic/Celtic culture; it was the god of light. This rich cultural environment pushed me without doubt to develop the concept of the band, and no need to talk about the trendy Vikings, it’s not my culture!

3.Other branch of your ancestors’ folk dwelled in Britain and Ireland. What do you know about the difference between the branches and is it really too much? Do you like the bands from England and Ireland, which also praise of their own ancestors’ culture and can you name here some good/worth?

Yes, during the barbarian invasions, Celtic people from Britain and Ireland (with a lot of monks and priests) crossed the English channel and started to begin a new life in western France which was occupied by Gallic tribes, the result was a Christianization of this region which has been more or less an independent country in the middle ages and the formation of the actual Breton language which is very similar to the one spoken in Cornwall, Wales and Man island. It seems that metal bands in Ireland or Scotland are not so numerous but I like bands like Primordial, Celtachor and Saor. I feel very close to this part of Europe, except that they officially speak English and I officially speak French, only 400km of water separate us, we have the same Celtic culture

4.Do you get knowledge generally from the books, or something survived in French folk? Or both ways? Do you interested in historical works or generally about esoteric and religion?

I’m not so much interested by esoteric and religion, or should I say I don’t want to deal a lot  with it in the Belenos texts, it’s too much used by Black metal bands and I would like to keep a kind of originality/distance with these aspects. About the knowledge, yes I use books to learn what has been forgotten over the centuries

5.I don’t know French, so can you tell about the lyrics and main themes of an albums? Are they conceptual? And may you draw the story line through them?

Generally, I try to unify the texts of a new album around one precise theme, for example, the new album “Kornog” deals exclusively with Celtic Brittany’s legends of the ocean so this album can be considered as conceptual album, some previous albums had a different kind of concept, for example the “Chemins de souffrance” album is musically the darkest Belenos album, its texts are dark but deal with different things. Another conceptual album was “Chants de bataille” which exclusively deals with the rites of war amongst the Gallic tribes. For all these conceptual albums, I have to read books and then I sum up and adapt what I learnt

6.You’re silent about 4 years, except the tapes compilation. Do you got some now material, and how do you imagine it should be sound and what about all this will be?

The last album “Yen sonn gardis” dates back to late 2010 already, then I’ve worked on 2 reissues: “Spicilège” in 2012 and “L’ancien Temps” in 2013, I’ve spent also a lot of time rehearsing for all the concerts (at least 30) we gave since early 2012: French tour with Seth and Glorior Belli, Hellfest, Motocultor fest, Fimbulfest (Germany), concerts in Belgium, Switzerland, Ireland, Canada… I’ve rebuilt my new home studio which has demanded several months of work, and when I had some rare free time, I was working on the new album. It will be 5 years between both albums, the new album is called “Kornôg” which means “West” in Breton language, I’ve start the recording these days and it will be released this summer I think.

7.Tell about the other projects and group where you part it and especially Beer Vomit. It’s grind right? I see so strange for man playing Celtic Black Metal. Also I know, you took part in Gothic/Doom band and also Death Metal band.

Before starting Belenos, I had another solo project called Asyndess (the music was a mix of experimental black-doom-death, I had released 3 albums). Still in the nineties, I’ve worked on a gore/grind solo project called Excavation, at this moment the guy of Beer Vomit asked me to help him, this band was not mine, and the other bands in which my name appears: Bereavement (death metal), Despair’s tiny things (doom death), Nydvind (pagan black), Artesia (gothic atmospheric) were not bands founded by me, I was just a member, not the leader

8.Tell about your ex-band Nydvind, which active still.

The leader of the band is a good friend for many years, at the very beginning the band was located in Paris, I’ve rehearsed sometimes as a bass player then as a guitar player, I’ve played the first 2 concerts of the band then I stopped due to a lack of time. Belenos and Nydvind have played together some months ago. I think/hope they will record something soon…

9.Do you record all by yourself and use other musicians just for live shows or not? Did they put something into music? And do you like to play live or do it often/rarely? Describe the meaning of good gig for you, worthy live bands, stages and fests. Do you take part in some “native” or outdoor/open air pagan festivals?

Yes I’ve always recorded all alone, as far as I’m able to play every instruments it’s faster and easier for me since I don’t spent time writing tabs for each members, rehearsing etc. On albums, Belenos is a one man band. Sometimes I ask my live members their point of view about different parts when I’m hesitating, they can provide a little help if needed. Since 2012 Belenos has a strong live line up that allowed us to play an average of 10 concerts per year, it’s the maximum we can do because most of them are far from our home. I prefer concerts in good clubs in front of 200 persons instead of larger audiences and rough sound of stressful open air festivals.

10.Can you describe your musical tastes? Tell about your favorite writers and cinema. Can you advice some authors that man interesting in Celtic mythology and religion should read?

I like listening to metal music (mainly death and black), classical, Celtic, medieval, ambient music. About books and films I appreciate things like Tolkien, Game of thrones otherwise a lot of things about alternative science and ancient history. I recommend the comic strip called “Les druides” (the druids) the story takes place where I’m living and mix pagan Celtic legends with the Mythology and its evolution through the beginning of Christianization.

11.Do you use in your work some authentic compositions of Celts, or Middle Ages times or so? Where do you find a music notes of it, if yes?

I like listening to Celtic or medieval music but it’s quite hard to integrate this kind of tunes or melodies into a dark and fast black metal basis, this musical influence is slightly present only and moreover I don’t practice any ancient instrument.

12.And about lyrics. Do you use some authentic rhymes, novels in Gauls native language? Did you met such people, old natives of France, which well acknowledged of British/French folklore and did you used their speeches and knowledge as a part of your folk’s heritage while creating your albums?

No it’s not so simple, only “Chants de bataille” deals with Gauls which were composed of several tribes in the west and center of Europe, the Gaul’s language does not exist anymore and even if it’s an old Celtic language, it does not sound like actual Celtic languages. The band Eluveitie sometimes used Gaul’s language, to know it you have to do hard researches in archeology and history because 2000 ago, there was only an oral transmission from a druid to another.

13.Are there any sacred places in/near Frances remained from Celts/Medieval or Pre-Medieval era, from the times of Saxons and Britons, which you like to visit/or heard/read about at and want to visit?

Sacred places, well the first thing coming to my mind are the gothic cathedrals mainly present in the main towns located in the north half of the country; most of them have really ancient foundations. Then really ancient and probably sacred places are all the megaliths built thousands of years BC, they can be found everywhere in France but especially in Brittany, the most well-known place is “Carnac” with thousands of raised stones. Still in Brittany, ruins of ancient abbeys built by Irish monks who were persecuted by Saxons can be found but these abbeys have been destroyed later by the Vikings. According to me, the most impressive place which is probably the most well-known place in France is the Mont Saint Michel that looks like to the Tolkien’s Minas tirith, but is not built a the step of a mountain but on a small pyramidal island between Brittany and Normandy. So there are really a lot of ancient monuments for all tastes !

14.Do you like reconstructions? Not especially battles, but maybe just living in villages, sewing clothes or something like that?

Oh yes I like it, as soon as there is a medieval feast not far, I go dressed up there. The biggest medieval feast here takes place in the town of Dinan. I have the chance to live in a region which counts a lot of forts, medieval tows and manor houses, so the decoration is perfect to gather people for enjoying ancient way of life !

15.What do you think about such Celtic/German sanctuary in a south of Poland, which inspired Graveland and other Polish hordes for pagan activity in 90s? In what foreshortening you see their way of worshiping your ancestors’ religion?

No, I really don’t know it at all sorry !

16.As far as I know, too much bands in France have Celtic themes in their creativity, but also more “old-school and evil” bands take in theme of Celts in their creativity. I mean, surely, Osculum Infame from one camp and Vlad Tepes from other. Your relation to it. I was really surprised, when I saw, that members of Osculum Infame took part earlier in such bands like Heol Telwen, that also connected with Bran Barr and Aes Dana, which are purely folk blackened metal bands. Describe, how such cooperation between so different camps proceeding in France and tell about so great diversity of French Scene!

Well, to understand the reasons, one has to know how works France: you have a very very big city in the north/center of the country where a lot of things take place (politics, economy, cultural life) and you have the rest of the country which is very quiet. I would say that half of the metal bands in France are located in the Paris region, there are a lot of bands but not so much metal musicians, most of the metal musicians have one main band and on top of this, they often play as live or session member in other bands even if the style is totally different. And remember I’ve been myself involved in death/doom and grind metal bands!

17.Tell about your view at French scene, it’s worthy and unworthy bands and it’s development from 90s, when you began with Belenos!

Well, the very first black metal bands in France was surely Blut aus nord which is still active and around 1994/1995 there has been on top of the black legion bands, a fresh and strong wave of new bands: Aes dana, Antaeus, Temple of baal, Seth, Himinbjorg, Merrimack etc and Belenos was also present at this moment. We don’t have in France very well-known bands, I mean we don’t have bands as known as Immortal or Satyricon for example, and I don’t know why, probably we have kept here a stronger faith towards the underground scene. I don’t really follow the actual scene but there are a lot of black metal bands, probably 100 or more. Otherwise the death metal scene is well present with bands like Gojira, Loudblast, Benighted, Gorod and many more.

18.What do you know about Slavonic scene and Slavonic culture? Do you interested in it? What also cultures of Europe you wish to investigate what else band, cultivating native heriteage from different parts of the Europe you mean worthy?

I’ve heard that the medieval culture in these countries is still alive, I know bands like Arkona, Drudkh, Graveland, not so much unfortunately, this Slavonic culture and scene are really far from here so perhaps that’s why we don’t know it well. I have to say that I have polish blood in my veins, from a part of my family, I’ve enjoyed trips in the Carpathian Mountains or red castles near the Baltic Sea. Playing in this part of Europe should be excellent but it’s very difficult to organize.

19.Your opinion about new wars in Slavonic countries, I mean Russia/Ukraine and can you imagine such war between folks of German/English/French language Western Europe group?
What problem do you see in folks of Eastern Europe, slavs I mean in first, that often turn their weapon against each other?

Well, seen from here I don’t really understand the reasons of this conflict, is it a civil war helped or manipulated by powerful entities? In western Europe, such a war can’t happen but there are tensions especially in Belgium with Flemish and French speaking Walloons. In France, some territories which have kept a strong cultural identity fight to get more cultural freedom (Basque country, Brittany and Corsica island) it’s the same thing in United kingdom with Scotland, Northern Ireland who reclaim a kind of independence, there has been a violent civil war too some years ago

20. While you're silent since 2010, you now prepare new material, right? Tell about how do you see it and how it will be in your opinion?

Indeed, 5 years separate « Yen Sonn Gardis » from « Kornog » meanwhile there has been a lot of work done for all the concerts and also a lot of time used for the reissues of “Spicilège”, “L’ancien temps”. Anyway writing this new album was long and I had very free time to work on it. Usually my albums last around 47 minutes; this new album will approach one hour. I don’t know what to say more except that the songs will be in Breton language, the music is close to what I’ve done 5 years but I hope that the songs are better, we will see!

20.Some final words for the House Of The Whipcord Zine!

A big thanks to you ! !
I hope to play live in your country one day, an open air festival seems the only chance but is Belenos enough well-known in this part of Europe? not sure !!
As 2015 is the 20 years anniversary of Belenos, and just after the release of the new album, it’s planned to do a “best of live”on CD
Then in 2016 the last sold out album “Chants de bataille” will be remastered and reprinted
At last I have some ideas and riffs for another new album but this leads us far in the future!

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