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Alcest. Alcest: "Theres never perfection"

23:21 - 06.02.2018
John Sinterson:
| www | icq |

:
:
15.06.2005
: 1545

Let's go back to the end of 2017 which marked a very special European tour of ANATHEMA and ALCEST. It was such a feast for the soul! We managed to meet ALCEST frontman Neige before the show in Helsinki. Please have a read our exclusive interview!

                    

                    

                    

                    How is the tour going?

                    

                    The tour is going well, now were almost at the end of it. We had some issues, you know, with our bass, and we had to cancel two shows, so that was the bad moment of the tour, because we arent used to cancel the shows, so it was quite hard. After that it took us a couple of concerts to go back on track and feel normal again; its been interesting to play in front of different crowds. Yeah, its been not the easiest one, but its going well in the end. Now its almost the end.

                    

                    How does it feel to tour with Anathema?

                    

                    Theyre very nice. As I told you, its a different type of audience. We have a little bit more metalheads and maybe younger people, but its interesting because every night were making new fans and I guess theyre making new fans, too, in our crowd, so its a win-win situation.

                    

                    Absolutely. Actually, its been more than a year since youve released Kodama. Does it still sound good, or can you already hear anything you would like to change?

                    

                    Yes, thats the interesting question, as usually it takes us maybe... I dont know, maybe two days to go back home and already hear things we dont like on our record, thats usually what happens. But with Kodama were still very happy, with the sound, with the writing, and I think were super proud of this album, maybe even more than the other ones, and the fans really liked it from day one and maybe you know when it was released it didnt make the biggest fuss, because there were so many releases at the same time like Opeth, Oathbreaker, so maybe it wasnt the best time to release it, but I think people are still discovering it now, its still an album to be discovered and were getting lots of great feedbacks for this album.

                    

                    So probably for you its the best album, I mean, if youre still satisfied with it

                    

                    I dont know if its the best one, because its harder to have enough distance to say what your best album is, but its among maybe two or three of the best ones. Its among the best ones, I think so.

                    

                    Me too, because my favorite actually is Écailles de Lune

                    

                    Yeah, so its either this one, or the first one, or Kodama. Its between these three that people usually name.

                    

                    Well, speaking of the new albums, does every new one somehow changes you as a person, so you feel a little bit different before and after the recording?

                    

                    Hmm, yeah, of course, because we never know what well end up with when we go to the studio, and maybe we imagine that the record will be in a certain way, so were in a certain state of mind, and when recording is finished were in different state of mind because weve got a final result of the work, so we either feel very good of it, or not, so sure about it, you know Yeah, I was headed for Kodama, and we felt that it would be fine. With Shelter we werent sure, because it was a switch in the music style, its different, so we were We needed to make this album, especially myself, because it was the time when I was really a bit fed up with the metal sound, and I wanted to do something else. But you know you record your music, its finished, but then comes the day you have to show it to the people, and youre not so sure anymore in it. And I think its quite healthy, because if youre sure every time that this is the best thing ever, I mean, its a bit arrogant, and then you just dont need to make music anymore, if you think everything you do is perfect, whats the point?

                    

                    Yeah, its like Ive already achieved everything, and now I can just stand on the top of the mountain

                    

                    Yeah, thats stupid. For me, you know, theres never perfection, theres never an end to this journey, youre always trying to make something better, and on one side, we know that we can make good songs, but on the other side, we always need a confirmation of it.

                    

                    

                    

                    Ok, and now I have some questions to answer which youll need to use your imagination

                    

                    Ok *smiles*

                    

                    Imagine that youre in a world where you can take any form you like, fantasy, non-human and so on. What would you look like?

                    

                    Oh, I dont know. I know that Im very attracted by water, so maybe I would be like a sea, or something like this

                    

                    Like a mermaid?

                    

                    Something like a wave. I dont like to speak about mermaids or fairies.

                    

                    So something connected with the sea

                    

                    Yeah, and non-human.

                    

                    I see. Imagine that you can perform at any place on the Earth. Which natural setting is the best for Alcest?

                    

                    The natural setting yeah, weve never done it, actually, like playing in the forest. Hmm I would love to play on the beach, because weve never done that, so it would be really cool.

                    

                    Well, I know there are some metal festivals, which take place in the forests or in caves, but Ive never heard of anything happened by the sea

                    

                    Yeah, theres one called Dunajam in Sicily and we got an invitation to play there, but we couldnt do it, and they didnt invite us again.

                    

                    Oh, thats a pity. Its believed that French people know everything about food, and French cuisine is considered to be one of the best in the world

                    

                     *laughs*

                    

                     so if Alcest music was a food, which food would it be?

                    

                    Oh, it wouldnt be French. It would be either or Japanese or Chinese.

                    

                    Really?

                    

                    Have you been to China?

                    

                    No.

                    

                    So you have to go there and youll see. Its fabulous. There are lots of food youll never find anywhere, and its incredible. Its not like usual pork; it has nothing to do with that. They love hot pot, for example. Its a soup where they put vegetables and meat and everything. Its very spicy usually.

                    

                    You arent the first one who advises us to go to China

                    

                    Yeah, its very different, and thats what I like about it. Its a different world.

                    

                    So were done with the imagine-questions. Could you tell whats your favorite time of the day and why?

                    

                    Well, it depends on the day and my mood I dont know. Any time when I feel right and good, it can be in the morning, it can be in the night, but usually its when its sunny. I need light to feel good. Like, for example, these days we havent seen the sun for two weeks and I feel strange.

                    

                    Yeah, days now are so short and dark

                    

                    Yes, Im not a winter person.

                    

                    

                    

                    Alcest music makes people cry, because its so beautiful and pure. Is there anything that can make you cry?

                    

                    Yeah, usually its movies.

                    

                    For example?

                    

                    I dont know about the last one Well, Im sensitive to [Hayao] Miyazakis movies, lots of them are quite sad. I mean, not sad, but there are sad parts, and its hard to keep tears inside you. *smiles* But yeah, usually its associations of images and music that can really make me feel something very strong. If its just the music, I really need to be very fragile to cry on something like this. I feel when you combine images and music its like the most powerful thing.

                    

                    What about Hachiko?

                    

                    I havent seen the movie, but the story is very sad. Ive seen the actual statue of the dog in Tokio.

                    

                    And now I have a little bit strange question. While being in Russia or chatting with Russians have you ever heard a French phrase which sounds like je ne mange pas six jours?

                    

                    *Neige looks very puzzled*

                    

                    How do you translate it in English?

                    

                     I havent eaten for six days.

                    

                    Oh, its je n'ai pas mangé dès six jours. Ok.

                    

                    Have you ever heard it?

                    

                    No. What does it mean for you?

                    

                    Its a popular quotation from a Soviet book called The Twelve Chairs. It tells a story of two conmen who were hunting for a treasure hidden in one of the twelve chairs. One day theyve run out of money, so one of them who was a smarter guy made another guy beg, and this phrase was actually used for begging. Lots of people remember it, but they dont really know theres a mistake in it, so when they see a French guy they are like Hey, I know some French! and say Je ne mange pas six jours.

                    

                    Oh, I see. Ive never heard it. You have to say je n'ai pas mangé pendant six jours or something like this, because its not correct and its hard to understand.

                    

                    Well, so now youre warned and you can correct people if someone uses it.

                    

                    You know, you know

                    

                    They say one should try everything in life. Is there anything you would never try?

                    

                    Oh, many things. I think there are more things I didnt try then things I actually tried, so Every day brings you something new, I guess.

                    

                    So nothing really special?

                    

                    Yeah, for example, Ive never jumped out of a plane... you know, this parachute thing, because Im too scared. Ive never tried a roller coaster, because I dont like it, Im afraid of it. Im really not into all these extreme things.

                    

                    Well, it can be dangerous and youll never know

                    

                    I dont think its dangerous; there are just some people who are attracted to this. They want to feel something extreme, and some people are just not into it. But its just one example; there are so many things Life is too short, you cant try everything.

                    

                    And what do you think everybody should try?

                    

                    I dont know Maybe traveling. Everybody should take their time to travel at some point, because you learn so much. You know, before touring my world was very different and much smaller, even in your own mind everything is so much smaller, and when you travel and meet new people and discover new culture, then you have a very different perspective on the world, and you realize that people are not that different in between countries or continents. Its actually a very small place.

                    

                    The world itself is a small place

                    

                    Yeah, and till you travel You know, before I went to the USA for the first time and to Asia it seemed to be so far, and then you go there and you go back and again, and in some point it feels like not home, but you know this place, and then your world becomes at the same time bigger and smaller. And you learn so many things just by trying food or talking to people. This is something I really recommend, because it makes you grow as a person.

                    

                    Absolutely. Are there any places you would like to visit?

                    

                    Yeah, I havent been to Africa, and I would like to go there. Yeah, maybe Africa or more Asia, because I love Asia so much. To spend more time in Japan

                    

                    Well, probably one day youll do a long Asian tour

                    

                    We did it many times, but

                    

                    with more days off.

                    

                    Yeah.

                    

                    So I wish you to have it one day!

                    

                    Oh thank you! *laughs*

                    

                    

                    

                    And the last question for today, I guess. What has this year brought to you, what are your plans for the new one?

                    

                    Well, I think for us it is one of the most intense years we had, because since Kodama was met with some quite a bit of success, we had to tour so much. We spent the whole year touring, and its crazy, because our tour started one year ago precisely, in the same month, so weve been touring for one year.

                    

                    Wow!

                    

                    Yeah, its crazy when you think about it. Its at the same time great, but on the other side when you spend so much time touring, you really dont know where your place is anymore, I mean both physically and also in your mind, if you are not very strong, you can really get confused, so now Im really looking forward to be back home. Were going to have a break now, a long break of six months without touring, and its the first time it happens in seven years.

                    

                    Oh my

                    

                    Yeah. *laughs*

                    

                    So just six months of relaxing

                    

                    and taking time to do what I like to do and what my bandmates like to do. Our drummer Winterhalter is going to move to the USA with his wife, so theyre going to do lots of outdoor activities, like fishing. As for me, I think I will go back to the writing process, because I didnt write anything for a long time. Its impossible to do while touring. And I guess I try to lead a normal life again, celebrate the holidays quietly without moving or traveling.

                    

                    Well, thats it! Merci pour l'entrevue and have a nice show!

                    

                    Merci!

                    

                    

                    Questions: Maria Meledyakhina

                    Photos: Rikka Finn


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