Wednesday, March 13, 2019

the return of the old black metal: INTERVIEW: GORGON

The old black metal has returned in 2019 after some 17 years of silence. Gorgon, according to Metal Archives, issued its first demo in 1992, putting the black metal at a very early moment in the history of France. Curiosity about Gorgon’s new album The Veil of Darkness on Osmose Productions sparked interest in making contact to find out more about the return of Gorgon after all this time.
The new album sounds like total black metal dedication. Who is Gorgon in 2019?
In the summer of 2017 I saw the drummer of our first three albums at an Absu’s gig. He told me that he wanted play drums again and gave me his email address. At this moment, I started to think about playing music again to see which could lead to such a cooperation. As he could do the job, I wrote him one day later but never received an answer. So, when I decided to rebirth the band alone in early December 2017 and I did not specially try to compose a new line-up. For this album I felt it was easier for me to make all the instruments I could, for a saving of time and efficiency. In fact, except for the drummer of our 4th album, which now makes guitar in a heavy-metal band, no longer any former member of Gorgon makes music. As I could play all guitar and bass parts, I have decided to do all the instrumentation myself with only the help of a session drummer that I have paid. It’s not a machine. I have contacted him by mail, we did not know each other prior to this. He made his parts but is not an official member. Currently I am still the only member, no other official musician has been recruited.
Has it really been almost decades since you last made music?
Yes, it’s true, the band was inactive from 2001 to 2018. In 2001, after our 4th album «The Spectral Voices», we have known line-up problems so even if the band had not splitted up, it was no longer in activities. Meanwhile, during the next years some records are out. I was contacted in 2005 by the French band OTAL to make a split album with them. The split-cd did have some problems, and came out quite some years later, in 2011. For our part, it was rare or unreleased songs from my archives. The same year, a CD compilation of Gorgon is also out, released by the Mexican label Rex Bagude Productions. In 2017, the same label has re-issue our first album in vinyl format, originally for the South-American market. In addition, in October 2017 I was contacted by 2 others French labels to re-issue the 1992 demo on vinyl format limited to 300 copies.
At the end of 2017 I felt the need to do black metal because what I had been seeing for years, mainly in concert, was not great, so I decided to bring my vision of the thing and among labels showed interest, Osmose Productions contacted us, too.
Gorgon is finally on Osmose Productions. Gorgon is black metal from France and Osmose Productions is in France and promotes black metal. What took so long to make this connection?!
Of course, I’d have preferred that Osmose signed us in the 90s but it didn’t happen, although they helped with the distribution of our material (demo, E.P., albums). At this period, they wanted bands who could play on tours and they have found good ones such as Marduk, Immortal, Impaled Nazarene or Rotting Christ. Now we are signed on this label, it’s a kind of a new chapter for the band. In addition to this new effort in different format (CD, vinyl, cassette), they will highlight our 2 first albums in vinyl and CD format at the end of May. In addition, our 1992 demo will also be republished in CD format only.
Will you be playing shows in France and Europe?
Yes, I also thought that gigs are important to promote a band and its last record, but in 2018 no concert has taken place to judge what we are currently worth. Last month I have made a first rehearsal with a drummer and a bass player (both ex-member of a local black metal band) and we have been practicing some songs. They are not official member, however. I’d be pleased to have a second guitar player but have not found one so far. I don’t want a “musician” but someone who understand what authentic black metal is. The scene has been so polluted by modern and mechanic bands, the technical level was increased at once. At the beginning we don’t care about technicality, it was in our blood. I want guys involved in black metal. It has to run through their veins and not be a cool thing until finally in a few weeks they start to play death metal or something else. So it seems it will take time to have a complete set list, but I think in some months we will be ready to play in France or Europe. Of course, old and new material will be included on our shows
The new album is guitar attack, speed black metal, with traditional grim vocals and the classic-style way of black metal. You were making black metal in 1991 and it is now 2019. In your mind, what has changed and not changed?
Our form of Black Metal deserves a crude and simple approach. I think this new album is the most brutal of our career, but this aspect of things came naturally, it’s not a voluntary change. I did not try to copy what is currently being done or any particular band. The composition was made in a few months with regular work to find all the ideas I needed to achieve a satisfactory result. What has changed is the sound of the record and this album enjoys the best sound we have ever had and it strengthens the impact of the songs, highlights some details. The idea was to keep the sound as simple as the band needs. The subjects are mainly based on Satanism, witchcraft, war, death and the dark side in general. Classical themes for this style and for us but just too many bands calling themselves black metal now use other topics in their texts, which is not compatible for me. Without being an obsession, I would like the audience think that the 2019 Gorgon is as good, or more than the one of the 1990s.
When you think back to 1991, what have you learned about recording the music now?
We play a style of black metal that is very raw, and traditional sounding, but here the production sounds very professional thanks to the sound engineer Sebastien Camhi. Gorgon was the first black metal band he heard in 1995 and then he became a fan of this style and especially Norwegian bands. He was really excited to record us in his studio called ArtMusic because generally his customers are more in rock or soft metal bands. He was also really happy to have our “guest”, the Italian singer Cadaveria, in his studio as you can imagine, even if she sings only on 1 song. With experience we learn things over time, but for this recording I still learned a lot because the sound engineer had very good ideas and trying them we kept quite a few. I’ve recorded more guitar tracks than usual and vocal recording sessions were more intense too. It’s been so long since I used to use my voice in a microphone. The sound quality of the drums is very powerful and comes from the fact that the original instrument had a very good sound and was very little modified. Moreover, for the 3 previous albums the sessions were paid by the hour, while there I had a package for a full month including mixing also there was greater comfort for work. We had already known this in the first album yet the amount to be paid was demarcated from the beginning.
What inspired you to play black metal in 1991? What black metal music was there in France in 1989 or 1990 before Gorgon? There was thrash and death like Agressor, Mercyless, Massacra and Loudblast. What black metal?
Gorgon was the first black metal band in France, we were really among the pioneers. Mutiilation and sometimes after Maleficum Orgia followed. After, a French scene of black metal emerged, but I have the impression that the French scene was more inspired by Dark Throne and Immortal in particular. Dark Funeral and Marduk have also been particularly highlighted at one time. When I started the band, I listened to Samaël, Venom, Celtic Frost, Sarcófago, Bathory, and Torture. My inspiration was black metal in all forms (fast or slow parts, melodic or raw riffs…) with occult-satanic lyrics. When we started death metal was king, but it was not my way as I preferred black metal. Moreover, as I have also disliked the trend, it was not for me. We have played with Mercyless in 1993, and 2 times with Agressor in 1995-1996, but never with Loudblast or Massacra that I have of course even seen in concert. Gorgon was from the same town as Agressor and our relations were good, but they were not in the black metal scene at all, thrash metal then death metal only.
The new album The Veil of Darkness begins with the first song “Still Six Six Six.” Do you still feel the same way about lyrics as you did back in 1991?
Yes, Gorgon has no political subjects, no social or medical lyrics, only the traditional and usual themes as this style must have. However, I try to tell stories or bring new ideas to each album while remaining in the same niche. I know too many bands claim to do black metal but take this to the second degree, use soft lyrics. According to me, our topics are still the same as in 1991 as I haven’t changed in what I think of the “desert religions”.
What role do you see religion, Catholicism and Protestantism, having in France in 2019? What about Islam in France?
Christianity is the main religion in France then Islam comes next. I don’t know where Protestantism is, but we don’t hear anything like Buddhism, for example. I stay away from organized religions, that’s my actual point of view. I don’t want to be a part of all those who have no problem to be a slave of that and think to be among the only people who know the way. In France Islam wants to conquer and has the French government, the media and many associations on its side. You can go to France with a shirt "Fuck Jesus", nothing will happen to you. If you go out with a shirt offensive to the Jewish religion or Islam, you will be sued in court for incitement to racial hatred.
What is the devil? What do you think about atheists or agnostics? Can a person be a Christian or a Muslim or believe in God and enjoy the music of Gorgon?
It’s not easy to describe my views on Satanism. There are so many different and sometimes even opposite visions, that I sorted and pioched in what was right for me to make my opinion. I love the medieval image of the devil physically represented as a goat, but I believe more in a spirit of evil than in a material divinity. That doesn’t stop me from talking or using visuals related to the goat, the demon with horns, the classic vision in fact of its representation in popular imagery. I understand those who overturn into atheism or agnosticism because classical religions with their institutions and their various prescriptions are, when we look at their historical bases, human constructions to maintain a certain order of the society of their time. These are two currents that seem few present in France which is a land of Christian tradition for more than 1000 years with its rituals, its calendar with the saints, its official presence on television. According to me, there is only a minority of those who listen to us and appreciate who are satanists, the majority are unpractising Christians or atheists, or pagans. It may have Islamists who like the band without necessarily looking at the lyrics or the concept, but in my opinion very little, based on those who are in France and who only listen to Rap.
What do you believe about the afterlife?
For me, there is something beyond that. There were too many occult manifestations, too many stories about reincarnation, and so on, for everything to stop at once you die. Physically the body is only flesh, water but there is also the spirit.
Recently in France the yellow vest protestors have been very active because they are frustrated with the government and the president of the rich, as they say. What is your opinion?
The movement of yellow vests is originally orchestrated for political purposes. The name "yellow vests" had been deposited to be protected since 2017, 1 year before the start of the demonstrations. It means how programmed it was. As much as it initially seemed spontaneous and came from the people, for weeks now it’s a people’s Saturday appointment that manifests and that never ends. The government has reacted very badly with an ultraviolent police, censored images, the television media hijacking or hiding the truth. Not to be anti-capitalist, but I’m not for it. There is too much abuse in France, too much unnecessary spending by politicians, too much diversion of money, too much unpunished scam. Politicians are corrupt, but if they got into this career, it’s for that, to have money and power and who elected them? Guys protesting on Saturday, so, and to finish off with that question, even if I am rather apolitical, of course I’m for the workers and the farmers who are doing a very difficult job because of what they then sell to the big stores and so on.
Where can people purchase to support Gorgon?
Our new album is available through our label Osmose Productions and shirts too as I have no more copies here. I have only patches with our logo. To judge before to buy I know that some have already put our album on YouTube and other. Osmose put it on Spotify and iTunes among others because the streaming is interesting for them since they sell music without providing any physical support, so it is easy to listen to it to make an opinion. I have faith in the potential of the album and the promotion that will come from your help, so I can only thank you for looking into our case.

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