An Interview with Neige, at Infernal Damnation Festival VIII; April 23rd, 2011

Back in April, not only did I see Dornenreich live along with a few other names; I also got the chance to go backstage for an interview with Neige himself – a man of many projects, not least Alcest.

I understand that this was your third visit to the UK. How has the reception been so far, for Alcest?

It’s pretty good – we made really good shows, and the audiences were very enthusiastic!

So you haven’t had much trouble especially as a French band, knowing of the cultural spats between England and France?

Yeah, but music is universal! Its country of origin doesn’t matter, as it’s just about the melodies and sounds; dwelling on cultural rivalries is very silly!

At the time of this interview on April 23rd, you’re doing a European tour with Austrian labelmates Dornenreich. In what ways do you feel that they fit together with your band?

I think that like Alcest, Dornenreich is also a band of passion – Jochen (‘Eviga’, lead vocals) really knows what he’s doing, and is very personal with his music. Alcest is just as personal in its strong identity, so they fit together very well.

Alcest is pretty much rooted in a far off time and longing for another place in your childhood, which you’ve explored through your recent albums. How does this translate into your life outside of music?

Everything related to this far away place goes into my music, yes, but in daily life it’s different.

When it comes to making music, I just go into this special mood in order to reproduce otherworldly feelings. As you may know, Alcest is a concept band which focuses on life, the afterlife and esoteric subjects. This does come from an experience during my childhood, but I should add that the music doesn’t actually have anything to do with my youth.

Though even when I’m not in the frame of mind for (my band), such as when I’m going about my daily routine; these nostalgic feelings for that experience are still something that I have inside of me. Like if I take a step here or there, they’re in my subconscious being.

You once referred to all of your musical projects at one time being as outlets for your personality – Alcest being the basic core, Amesouers (before its disbandment) as the urban facet and Peste Noire as related to the uglier, more bestial side of yourself.

Since your involve with the last two has ended since then, how have these outlets changed over time for you?

At the moment, I just compose Alcest’s music which of course is neither ugly or aggressive. I have to say, that I miss the darker side of myself that I could express in Amesouers! Sometimes I do feel like working on something which is more sinister, so all the time I feel that I need different kinds of bands.

I will still participate in them even if I’m not writing the music, though It’s not the same. Even in Peste Noire I didn’t write anything, and in Lantlôs (which is the creation of musician Herbst) I only provide the vocals.

Lantlôs not only sees a difference from your own personal project with its style and focus, but it also has you singing in English, rather than French!

It’s very strange, as you’ve noticed; French guys have a very strong accent! (laughs) It’s not easy, as I have to care about the voice itself together with pronounciation. The accent in turn, is much more work.

You once mentioned before that the new Lantlôs will be much darker, and see a further shift from the metallic side of the music.

Well, the upcoming Lantlôs will be the most personal album of Herbst, as he’s told me that it will be the most intimate album he’s made to date.

People who like the more emotional aspect of the band will be surprised, because it’s very ambient and progressive in a way, as well as very claustrophobic with no feelings – it’s a very grey album. It’s really interesting when you go into it, you really go into a special mood and it’s a very dense album.

I’m sure it’ll reach another kind of audience, like guys who are more into doom metal or stuff like that.

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