1/ For those that have never heard of you before, can you tell us a little bit about the band
EPITAPHE : Epitaphe is a Doom / Death Metal band from the French Alps. We are four long-time friends that share a passion for extreme and strange music. We started to play together in high-school.
At first, the music we wrote was really different from nowadays, more focused on the Death Metal from early 90’s. With the years we progressively decided to tune-down our guitars and to bring thick atmospheres and complex structures to the forefront.
We are releasing this year with Chaos Records our first demo.
2/ Recently you have released your first demo, how would you describe the musical sound that is presented on the demo
EPITAPHE: With our demo, we present 40 minutes of music conceived as a whole. It evokes extreme feelings, which navigate between momentums of blind violence and rage, as much as more melancholic, or almost spiritual and contemplative moods. All these instants are linked by a global frame of doom and chaos.
To speak in more classical terms, we have a solid Death / Doom metal basis, but you also can find Black Metal, Noise & Psychedelic elements in the music.
3/What are some lyrical topics and subjects the band explores with music
DRZ : The lyrics on the demo are written by LBK and myself with a quite opposite style. They all evoke vain personal struggles and roaming, with a distance and a disabused vision.
When I write, I think a lot about the rhythm and the consonance of the words. I use a quite direct style, without all the diversion used in poetry. I like when it’s anchored in personal experience and when it can easily speak to others through their own vision. On the demo I wrote the text for the song “Smouldering Darkness”, which evokes with violence different steps of a human life and it’s relation towards dynamics of power: how people can first learn to follow and find comfort in an imposed frame, then understand, question, and deconstruct, to come to a destructive mind when they consider all is equally void. Emerging from this, they finally become new powers that impose to others: “Eternal rehash”. If you read it superficially, some words can be understood as instructions, but it has to be said that Epitaphe has nothing to preach. We only consider the chaos of existence.
LBK : I use a more literary and illustrated type of writing than DRZ, to fit with the personal, abstract and opaque core of the music. You can read the lyrics and put several concepts and interpretations behind them, but the main themes are mostly a reflection on the time, death, deception and the vacuity of our human conditions. DRZ lyrics and mine are shaping well the various emotions you can find in Epitaphe’s music: anger, violence, chaos and nihilism, but also a profound and solemn sense of loss and despair.
4/ What is meaning and inspiration behind the name Epitaphe
EPITAPHE: Epitaphe is a French word who define a scripture you can see on gravestone. The final words when life ends, that echoes to our music and lyrics.
5/What are some of the best shows that the band has played so far and also how would you describe your stage performance
PBFK & VLVR: For us it was a show we had in a squat “Le Moulissimo”, in Grenoble, with Orange and Les Chevals Hongrois, two non-metal but extraordinary bands. Full of drinks, filled with food, the show was very good and the audience incredibly receptive.
DRZ : I think our best show was in Garave, a squat in a town near Grenoble (France) in which I used to live. I was the main organizer and for it, we built a DIY closed stage made of pallets and set up with incredible static blue lights and fog. We played with Whoresnation, Warfuck and Defenestration, three great bands from France that we salute. There was a lot of people, like 200 or 300 pers.
LBK : We actually only played a handful of shows with the songs and the dynamic we have with the demo. Most of our past shows featured older songs, songs that have not that much in common with what we are doing today. A new live direction has still to be think, but we already have a precise idea of what we want, both musically and visually: create an intense, wrapping and continuous atmosphere, which puts you on a journey through your darkest self.
6/Do you have any touring or show plans for the future
VLVR : I am currently studying in London since September, so we are still trying to figure out how we could manage with this. Plus we are currently recording an album, so we are more focus on this for now. But playing live again is something that we want to do. We just need a bit of time to see how we can handle it with our personal schedules & obligations.
7/EP was released on Chaos Records, are you happy with the support that they have given so far ?
PBFK : Yes, this label is doing a good job, despite the distance between our two countries. You should check his catalogue and distro, plenty of killer stuff in there!
8/On worldwide level how was the feedback been to your music by fans of black, doom, and death metal ?
EPITAPHE : We can’t really talk of a “worldwide level” for now, cause it’s our first demo and it just came out, but the reviews and feedbacks are really good and encouraging for the future.
9/ Where do you see the band heading into musically during the future
EPITAPHE : For now the writing of our first album is complete, and we are currently recording it. It will bring some new influences, both metal and not. We don’t know what will follow after this first album. No gates are closed.
10/ What are some of the bands or musical styles that have had an influence on your music and also what are you listening to nowadays?
EPITAPHE : Our music has a strong Death Metal basis, and, even if there’s not that much of “doom metal parts” in our songs, we like to see ourselves as a Doom / Death Metal band with some Black Metal, Psychedelic and Noise elements.
To do a quick name dropping, the following artists are, in a way or another, influential to us: Incantation, Dead Congregation, Full of Hate, Revenge, Bolzer, Evoken, Immolation, early Pink Floyd, Chaos Echoes…
DRZ : In my teenage years, I was mostly a grindcore / powerviolence and hardcore fanatic. With years, I started to really enjoy gothic punk, coldwave, death rock, and all that kind of stuff. To finish, I also like being aware of nowadays popular music.
PBFK : For the second part of the question, I’d say that the last albums of Portal and Hooded Menace are really strong. The crazy line-up of Kill Town Death Fest this year is kinda insane too.
LBK : Same as PBFK regarding the Kill Town Death Fest line up. For 2018 I have high expectations with Mournful Congregation, Anna Von Hausswolf & Primordial new albums. If my tastes are mainly rooted in Heavy Metal, I also have a lot of curiosity for different styles such as folk music, psychedelic and progressive rock, ambient stuff… It navigates from Judas Priest to Jackson C. Frank, passing through Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Angelo Badalamenti, Camel, And Also the Trees, Porcupine Tree, The Haxan Cloak...
VLVR : I have a classical formation in percussion and I also brought a lot from Iannis Xenakis (contemporary composer, he wrote a lot for percussion) in term of drumming, and from classical contemporary style in general, which is a lot closer than we could think from metal. All those noisy sounds we have, the fact that we like to take time for express a musical idea and settle a mood, the repetitive parts, are very close to some work from Yoshihisa Taïra, Iannis Xenakis, Georges Benjamin, Steve Reich etc… We are certainly less refined but if you are curious and put an ear on their work you will see, perhaps, some similarities.
The greatest part of this band is that we all bring our personal influences, which are really different sometimes, put them together, and see what happens. We don’t have control on a creation, just a general direction.
11/ What are some of your non-musical interests
DRZ : Family, good food, work & friends.
PBFK : Cinema, comic books.
VLVR : Good food and lovely people, hiking, happiness.
LBK : Literature, cinema, art, alcohol & most of all, my cat.
12/ Before we wrap up this interview, do you have any final word or thoughts
EPITAPHE : Thank you for the review and the interview.