Friday, April 15, 2016

interview: Phazm

Phazm is extreme metal from France with a new album called “Scornful of Icons” on Osmose Productions. The album emphasizes quality and songwriting skills. Perhaps one of the main reasons that the music is such quality is the experience and history of the band. The music leans heavily in the direction of black metal, but there’s a bit of other extreme metal forms in Phazm. Fortunately, we can find out more about this veteran band now through this interview below.
Hello, friends! You are in France, correct? How is the metal life there for Phazm?
Pierrick: Hail! Here in Nancy, the city we live, north/east of France, Phazm is the biggest metal band amongst the big list of other very nice bands, such as Mortuary, Warfaith, Anunaki, Blockheads… We spend some good drunken times at some local bars, we go and see each others shows, it’s all good.
How did your band start?
Pierrick: I’m the vocalist/guitarist of Phazm. I created the band back in 2003, with Dirk Verbeuren (Soilwork) on drums. In 2004, we went to Denmark, in Jacob Hansen’ studios, to record our first album, ‘Hate at First Seed’. We got signed on Osmose Productions, the famous french label, known for being one of the first label to release black metal music. Immortal, Marduk, Enslaved have been taken out or their caves thanx to Osmose Productions. We went on a European tour with Impaled Nazarene. It was crazy for us, we felt very lucky. In a very short period of time, the band was alive, with an album, a label contract and we were touring everywhere here in Europe.
In 2006, we recorded our second album, ‘Antebellum Death ’n’ Roll’ and went on tour again, this time with two Polish bands, Decapitated and Hate. That tour was a really mess, we had several crash with the bus, lots of drugs were involved. Many strange stories to be told. However, that tour was very successful, we had lots of people at every gig, it was a blast. That second album really put us to the next step, we had awesome reviews. Because we were the first band to combine extreme metal music with southern rock ’n roll influences, using slide guitars, harmonica, etc. We surprised the audience and achieve to be recognized as a band to follow.
Then, in 2008, the third album came out, ‘Cornerstone of the Macabre’. We had a new drummer, Pierre ‘Gorgor’ Schaffner, known for his works with Agressor and Imperial Sodomy. Because of several personal problems, we had to take a break for a couple of years. Some of us had to focus on their families, some had to clean up their bodies and mind after being on the road and surviving the metal life. Here we are back now, with a new album, ‘Scornful of Icons’. We are stronger than ever, with a good crew working for us, lots of tours are planned here in Europe. Our music has evolved to a more occult and powerful dimension.
How do you see the music of Phazm? Does it matter to you what people call it?
Pierrick: PHAZM is a pure mix of black and death metal with twisting rythms (shuffled blast-beats) and twisted harmonies. I use different kind of voice tones, I do polyphonic throat singing, being possessed by the pagan side of life. I don’t really care about how people label our music, to each their own, let you all feel free to experience our sound and react to it the way you want. What matters is if you like it or not, and why. I like to talk to our fans, and I’m always curious to know how they feel about what we do.
You have a new album called “Scornful of Icon”!! What can you tell us about it?
Pierrick: Well, our last album was composed after the death of my father. He was a huge fan of Phazm. Two days before he left, he asked me if we were about to release a new album. Answering him, I saw in his eyes a really weird sparkle, combining both joy and sadness. He knew he was going to die, but he was happy to know we would go on and keep on playing. Mourning my father made me deeply think about religion, which is closely linked to our mortality. The fear of what comes after. When your own spirituality doesn’t match with one of the three monotheistic religions, you have to build your own references. The Nordic Asatrú helped me a lot. To me, monotheism is the urbanisation of spirituality. I’d rather turn my back to it and focus on what’s real, Nature. Monotheism is one truth for the masses, Paganism is billions of truth for the individual. That’s what our album, ‘Scornful of Icons’, refers. We are influenced by the Norwegian black metal scene from the ‘90s and ourselves. After several albums, we have found our style, we just make it evolve and progress. The album was recorded at our own lair, ‘Studios de la Forge’, in France. There’s a lot of atmosphere, the production is amazing. I used the nyckelharpa, a Swedish instrument, there’s plenty of tracks hidden here and there. It’s a very rich album.
How did you become a metal musician?
Pierrick: I grew up learning how to play classical guitar. I was studying in a music academy, located in an old castle in the south of France. My passion has always been playing music. When I discovered Iron Maiden, my life changed completely. That album, ‘Fear of the Dark’ had this dark mood which wasn’t always the case at that time. I mean, listening to Ac/Dc and Def Leppard was interesting but at some point really boring. I found something very exiting in playing very dark music, frightening songs, connected with the occult. And when black metal started to emerge from Scandinavia, with all the church burning and murders, with the most exciting music to my ears, it was a call.
I had the chance to join Scarve when I was nineteen, an already big band here in France. So the connection with the right people were made easily. I had the pleasure to play with Agressor, the very first French death metal band. So I’ve been introduced to the scene and its protagonists in the best way you would want.
What can metal people do to support your music?
Pierrick: Come to the shows ! Buy our stuffs ! Wear them ! Be proud of what you are ! Be strong, fight for your beliefs! Stand up and scream for the One-Eyed Man !
Do you plan to tour or to play shows in 2016 and 2017?
Pierrick: We’ve just signed with a big touring agency, and several tours are in the track. Canada is on the list. Wait and see, but believe me, we will play a lot of shows in the upcoming years.
How important is making money from your music? What is “success” to you?
Pierrick: Well, money is not something that should matters when it comes to art. As we have our own studio, we avoid big costs. We also are sponsored by brands, like Ibanez for example. We never play for free. We sell merchandising. We’re not starving. It’s all right.
What type of lyrics is important to your band? What are your views about the situation with terrorism in your country?
Pierrick: My country, like many others in Europe, is contaminated by the Islam plague. Everyday we have to deal with the fact that Islam is attacking us, in many ways. You have the killings, but you also have the women wearing the veil, the hijab. It’s becoming a trend here. The Salafists try to convert all the Muslims to their sect, opening Islamic schools here and there.
But we fight, we will never surrender. Christianity, Judaism, Islam, to me, it’s all the same shit. Monotheism is responsible of the greatest killings in history. Phazm stands against that. Our political situation in France is the worst you can get, our government consists of the most disconnected people ever. They only serve their own cause and the rich company that make them powerful. We live in a sick world. Phazm is not affected by that, it only makes us stronger. As we are warriors, in some way, our music is our weapon, our voice. We’re not afraid. We are stronger than they think. They are dumber than you think. They believe the Earth is flat, and their prophet was a pedophiliac crazy maniac. Islam is the worst of the three monotheistic lies. They are digging their own grave by having the whole word against them. Again: we are not afraid.
What other Phazm news do you have?
Pierrick: We have ideas about releasing an EP, it will consist only of covering BM tunes in a very shamanic way. It’s too early to talk about that, but keep in touch and you won’t be disappointed…

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