Vacuity is everywhere and very ambivalent…
With their first full length Æther released in September this year, France’s Déluge delivered a remarkable piece of work. Here, F.T. talks to MR’s Jason Guest about the band, the album, the writing, working with Alcest’s Neige, the artwork the video for ‘Houle’, and what it means to be “Untrve French Black Metal”…
Thank you very much for taking time out for this interview and congratulations on Æther, a very impressive debut! (reviewed here)
Hi Jason and thanks for your interesting review.
To begin, can you give us some background on Deluge, how the band formed and what drew you together?
I have been working on DÉLUGE in the shadow since almost 3 years now. It is my project and I put everything I have in it but I am also infinitely proud of my team. All of them are very good friends, good musicians and good advices. I don’t hesitate to consult them on particular points.
Who are the bands main influences? And how have they impacted on the band’s sound?
When I started composing for DÉLUGE, I discovered Deafheaven’s Roads to Judah and I definitely found it inspiring but I also felt that some parts could be more melancholic. I am also a big fan of Post-Hardcore with bands like CELESTE or Amenra, I tried to mix these influences and make something powerful, melodic and modern.
On your Facebook page, under genre it says “Untrve French Black Metal”. Can you elaborate on this? Are you purposely setting yourself apart from the Scandinavian bands and their descendants? If so, why?
As most of our listeners would understand, we are not deeply rooted in the traditional Black-Metal scene. At the beginning, I used the label “Untrve French Black Metal” as a joke and even if we don’t use it a lot now, at that time we decided it could simply and perfectly describe what we do: modern and ambient music that draws its inspiration from the primitive energy of Black-Metal. We set ourselves apart from the Scandinavian bands because it wouldn’t be honest to pretend the opposite. Even if we like a lot some of these bands, this is not what we have decided to do. Once again it’s about being honest. I am not a true Black Metal warrior and I totally assume the fact that DÉLUGE is not a traditional BM band. It is not specifically a defiance to anyone and I will always be open to debate on that point.
Æther is your first full length release. What did you want to achieve with it?
Even if I compose almost everything, I always speak and think as a third party about DÉLUGE. I am not afraid of seeming arrogant but I really think Æther will make an impression in the scene. Because when I create music, I want something new, epic, powerful and melancholic, full of emotion. I want to hear something I haven’t heard before. And that’s also why setting some marks does not matter that much because I will have that modern and ambient Black Metal / Post Hardcore record I’ve been looking for lately.
Is there a theme, a philosophy or an ideology that underpins the album? Can you tell us a little about it and where inspiration came from?
Æther is not a concept album. We had enough material to make an album but the songs and lyrics were not written to specifically melt themselves together. To be totally honest finding a suitable name for the album was a big dilemma. But I realised that a big part of it was ardently related to emptiness, to the lack of something or someone. The philosophical and physical meaning of Æther was the best common denominator to a lot of lyrics and sensations that emanate from the songs. Vacuity is everywhere and very ambivalent: as a stand-alone element it is nothing (by definition) but without that “lack of something” all the other elements of life and death can’t communicate. As a person, you have to go through times filled with emptiness to be really able to feel the good or sad parts of life.
Neige of Alcest makes an appearance on the album. How did you come to work together? and what did he bring to the album?
Valnoir (the guy behind Æther’s artwork) introduced us to Neige and we became friends very quickly. He is a very talented and nice guy, very professional. And he insufflated a brand new breath on ‘Mélas|Khōlé’, the third song of the album, with his unique voice.
How long were you working on the material?
I started working on DÉLUGE in 2012.
Does it mark a progression since your 2014 demo, Mélas | Khōlé?
The content and concept were the same on Mélas | Khōlé but Æther is a lot more accomplished work, especially the recording and the production.
The artwork and packaging is absolutely beautiful! Can you tell us about the artwork, how it relates to the music and what it represents?
Thanks, I like to stay evasive on that part and leave the “listener” free to interpret. What I can say is that it is easy to find a sense in the cover if you seek information on the philosophical and physical meaning of ether.
The artwork is by Valnoir of Metastazis, yes? Why choose to work with him? And how much direction was given in its design?
Yes, we like a lot his work and he did a great job. To us, he represents the “modernization” of the black metal codes, such as our label: Les Acteurs de l’Ombre.
Can you tell us about the video for ‘Houle’? Who’s the director? And how did you work together to produce the video?
I met director Benjamin Cappelletti on another shooting and I instantly liked his “eye” and professionalism. ‘Houle’ symbolises a painful break. It may happen between two lovers, friends or be represented by the lack of someone.
How did you come to work with Les Acteurs De L’Ombre Productions for the release of the album? And do you plan to stay with them for future releases?
We have been in touch even before we released our demo tape. To me, they are one of the best and most engaged French labels in “our scene“. I discovered a lot of great bands through their roster and it is a pleasure to work with such devoted and competent people for the release of our first album. Future releases are not planned at the moment; we are going to promote Æther as much as possible.
How does the band approach composition? Is it lyrics first, or the music or a melody perhaps?
Our singer has actually a lot of things to say. We use a lot of metaphor and we like it that way. I’m sure a lot of people will find themselves in the lyrics, they are totally open to interpretation but their meanings are very specific for us. I compose 95% of the songs and we do the rest in the studio, mainly drums patterns or a few rhythmic parts.
What does the act of making music mean to DÉLUGE?
I make music for almost fifteen years now but this is the first time I really create something that I feel completely fulfilled with. We simply want to give the best of ourselves at every step and the project to be mature and honest.
Any plans for shows in support of Æther? And will we be seeing you in the UK any time soon?
I hope we will reach the UK pretty soon. We have a few nice shows until the end of the year and a tour booked in February.
What would be the ideal setting for a DÉLUGE performance?
I really like alternative places to play with DÉLUGE. I would love to play in front of the ocean, very old theatres or places of worship. We have a few suggestions for alternative festivals / venues in this spirit for next year. I can’t wait to see how it is going to be.
What does the future hold for Deluge? Is there more material in the works?
As I said, future releases are not planned at the moment. Æther has been a lot of involvement for all of us and a big piece of work. I have some more material in my head but we really want to tour as much as possible for now. And I also want to really take time for the next release.
Thanks again for taking time out for this interview. Do you have any closing words for our readers?
Thanks. We really put all we had in this album and we can’t wait to see where it is going to lead us.