Interview with Harun Demiraslan of Trepalium
Interview by Jason Guest
Hi Harun. Many thanks for taking time out for this interview. Congratulations on H.N.P. It’s a great album (Ed: Jason’s review is here). It’s been out since June, what’s the reception been like?
Harun Demiraslan (Guitars): Thank you Jason! So… it seems globally positive! Reviews are mostly good even if certain media are baffled and don’t understand some points of this album.
It’s been three years since your last album, 2009’s XIII. H.N.P. is Trepalium’s fourth album. How has the band evolved since its inception?
Harun: If I look back, since ten years, we have recorded 4 albums, done about 300 gigs, played 4 times at Hellfest as well as at many festivals, a big succesfull national tour with Gojira in 2009, and now, We go on national tour with our friends of Klone and Hacride as co-headliner for 14 gigs then we’ll continue with Gojira and Klone on a European tour of one month. So, the band has evolved in a pretty good way I think… I feel pretty good about what we did!
To what extent does H.N.P. mark an evolution in the band’s career?
Harun: First of all, this album is an evolution for our sound and of the way of composing. We tried to go on something more binary and use our tools in a more subtle way. Finally, the result we obtained is something more direct and efficient. And, it seems that it has also permitted us to extend more the name of the band abroad.
Are there any particular influences that had a significant impact on the writing for H.N.P.?
Harun: Not really, what we have done on XIII 2009’s album was already influenced by bands like King Crimson, Mordid Angel or even Meshuggah in some way, but like for each album we just tried to work in a empiric way and to build our own musical speech.
When writing new material, are you consciously seeking to push the band’s sound forward, to keep it evolving?
Harun: Yes because we have our own tools of composition so it’s easier to keep that state of mind than trying to do like someone else and improve.
How does the band write? Do you discuss what you want to achieve before you start writing your next album or is it more of an evolutionary process?
Actually, KK writes lyrics and we work music on our side. But I wrote a big part of the music and then other musicians brought their personal touch during rehearsals and studio sessions.
For H.N.P., is there a concept or theme that underpins the album? Can you tell us about the lyrics? Where do you find inspiration for them? And what’s the significance of the album title, Heic Noenum Pax?
Harun: Well, H.N.P. is an acronym for Heic Noenum Pax. It means “Here’s no peace”. This album is the end of a triptych started on our second album, Alchemik Clockwork Of Disorder. It talks about what’s happened to the world after the death of the main character XIII… Chaos, secret societies, madness… KK took his inspirations from reading stuff from Bergier, Pauwels, Aldo Migliorini, Stanislas De Guaita, Aleister Crowley and even Michel Foucault.
Do you have any favourite tracks, parts, or moments on the album? Is there any one track that marks a significant step for Trepalium?
Harun: I like every track of this album but songs like ‘(A)I Was(S)’ and ‘Heic Noenum Pax’ mark a significant step in the progressive side of the band.
To cover a song by Pantera is quite the task, and you did a great job. Dimebag was a phenomenal guitarist, and the band has left behind one hell of a legacy. Why choose a Pantera track? And why choose ‘I’m Broken’?
Harun: This band is one of our main influence so it came naturally. With Pantera being one of our favourite bands and ‘I’m Broken’ being one of the first songs I heard from them when I was 15… We couldn’t have though for a better finish to this album I think. It’s pretty close to the original. We just apply our sound to the song and I started with the basis of the solo before finally performing it in my way.
The artwork for the album is very striking. Can you tell us about it, what it represents, and how it relates to the music? Who’s the artist? How did you come to choose to work with them? And how much direction did you give them?
Harun: Thanks. This cover has been made by Hicham Haddaji from Strychneen Studio. It’s about lyrics of course. KK gave him many elements we needed for express the mood of this album and he proposed what you see now. The statue represent the character “XIII”, there’s 5 monks surrounded by a chaotic world, so everyone’s free to imagine what he want.
What’s your opinion of the internet and its impact on the music scene? Do you think that because of the ease of making music available so widely, the internet has affected the quality of music?
Harun: Honestly, I don’t think so. It’s just a democratisation of promotion tools. I mean everyone can develop his project through internet and that’s a good thing!
Do you think that the digital era has made it better for musicians to write, record, and promote their music?
Harun: Yes and no. It depends how people use it and why… I mean someone who doesn’t know how to write a song probably won’t change.
Despite the argument that the internet and piracy is having an impact on the music business, bands are being very creative in packaging their music. For instance, vinyl has made a welcome return to the market and all kinds of packages are appearing such as digipacks, picture discs, booklets, etc. Do you think this approach is becoming a necessity for bands to survive?
Harun: That’s right. Artists needs to be very creative for promote their sound and even if it’s still not easy to sell vinyl in the metal scene, we plan to do it… cause it’s always been cool to have different stuff from bands you like.
You’ve recently completed the UK tour with Gojira and Klone. That’s a fantastic lineup! How did you come to be a part of this the tour?
Harun: Well. Recently, Gojira’s drummer, Mario, asked Sylvain (drummer) if we’re interested by a tour support through Europe. Of course, we said yes! And during negotiations about tour details with their management , we learned that they were searching for a second band too, so Guillaume Bernard from Klone, who is also our manager logically proposed his band. They really liked their latest album and they said yes for them too.
Have you played with either of the bands before?
Harun: Sure! We have already play something about 25 times with Gojira including a French tour of 19 gigs during their The Way Of All Flesh tour in 2009. And we’ll play again with Gojira for 24 shows in November alongside Klone. About Klone, we are from the same area and from the same team so yes, let’s say about 10/15 times I think…
What’s next for the band? Do you have any goals in mind for future recordings? How do you see Trepalium evolving in future?
Harun: We have to manage in the best way this French and European tour… And we’re cooking some stuff up, but no timelines or information to share, sorry.
Thanks for taking time out for this interview.
And you can read Jason’s review of the Gojira + Trepalium + Klone show in Wolverhampton here.