Well, most of you have certainly yet heard or read (great) comments about this french band, but did you all give an ear (or two) to their killer album "entering darkness" ? If not, you really missed an essential release like just a few french bands (all metal styles included) have released so far. This int' with Jérôme (drums) should definitely help you on the way of redemption to drown in their abyssal, ultramassive sludgy doom metal, full of anger, cold and oppressive atmospheres. So after this reading, have a look on their site with all merchandising infos and support them right away !
Hey Jérôme, it’s been just a week since we met at Roadburn , but that was after no more than 15 years… you didn’t change at all, congratulations !!! (I used to be very closed to one of his old bands -Astral Rising- back in the early 90's, I also knew at that time Stéphane -bassist- who played in Garden Of Silence... Georges -vocals- also played in Drowning... no trendy newcomers here as you see !!!)
Haha, you too man! You would have had another opinion if you had seen me 10 years ago, at the peak of my yuppie period, hehe. But as we say in French: "Chassez le naturel et il revient au galop" !!
“entering darkness” came out almost one year ago now, what’s its history since then (sales, reviews, fans response, etc…) ? Where did you get the most interest from ? Scott Kelly has programmed it on a radioshow, how did that happen ?
I can say that nearly every people who expressed an opinion on 'Entering Darkness' had something positive to say about it. And it is still true today as 'Entering Darkness' keeps getting reviewed in various mag/webzine. As of Scott programming Eibon in his radio-show, we simply sent him the 2 tracks EP and he seems to enjoy it enough to air both tracks. It is a great pleasure and honor to have some kind of recognition from such great artist that is a great source of inspiration.
Just as your music, your lyrics are totally dark and sorrowful, dealing with pain, war, depression… is it inspired by real facts or books or just by a damned imagination ?
A bit of both of that actually. Like for the music, writing lyrics is a collaborative process in Eibon. We start from drafts written by one of us, or someone close to us and we gather to bring all our own piece to the puzzle. As we all strive to express the same find of feelings that you mention, it enable us to have several views of any particular subject that a song deals with.
A 2nd guitarist joined the band just after the album release, was it something planed for quite a long time (I mean maybe it took time to find the right guy) or did you just feel this need at that time, maybe for gigs especially?
We wanted to add another guitar for quite a long time. Initially, the objective was being able to play the songs live the most closely as possible as they sound on record. This is also the reason why we trigger the same loops and samples. This said, it came that Guillaume has a lot more to bring to the band than just playing riffs on stage. Therefore, it was obvious for everyone to enrol him as a full-time member and he has already written his first track that we play on stage and that will feature on our next album.
On the song included on your split ep with HKY, I think that there’s also 2 important new facts to notice : 1st Stéphane sings and 2nd with a (nice) clear voice… just like you , he’s been playing in various bands for about 20 years and that’s the first time he sings (officially at least) how did it happen ? do you think his rising vocal talents could be developed in Eibon’s music in the future ?
To have Stephane performing some vocal parts is something we had been discussing for quite some time. In addition, you mentioned Scott Kelly earlier and at the time we recorded the track, we and specially Stephane, were listening a lot the latest solo album from Scott. So when we felt that a cleaner voice would fit in this song, we encourage to do it. Of course, like every first-time, things could have been even better but this is probably something we will do again in the future.
The french doom scene is developing slowly in terms of quantity but the quality is honestly very good, more than above the average, with bands like Hangman’s Chair, T.B.D.L.B., Children of Doom and newcomers like Huata or Barabbas… What’s your opinion on it and how do you see the place of Eibon between these bands ?
We do not really feel like we belong to any particular scene even though, all the bands you mention play music that is kinda close to ours in various aspect. You could have also mention Mourning Dawn & Fatum Elisum, 2 french doom acts which are on A.D. as well. As of Hangman's Chair, this is quite different as there are a lots of ties linking our bands. To name but a few: we share a split-EP, we share the same rehearsal place and we have been playing more than a dozen of gigs together.
you told me you were pretty much satisfied with Aesthetic Death rds, which is cool, but don’t you think things could go more faster with a bigger independent label or do you think that Eibon can’t expect much more than 1000 copies sold and is perfectly at its place with A.D. ? will the next album be out on the same label ? when do you plan the 2nd album ?
It is fair to say that without A.D., we couldn't have developed the band as it is today. A.D’s owner Stu is the one that trust us in the first place. He is the one who proposed us to release the 2 tracks and support us for the recording and the releasing of 'Entering Darkness'. Stu is a very dedicated person and it is a great pleasure to work with him. We have built a relationship with Stu that should we ever move to another home, it will be a natural step forward for the band and not just a short-time opportunity. But as of today, the 2nd album will be released by A.D. We are still in the process of writing materials. We aim to enter the studio by the end of the year.
Your style is hard to describe, a weird cold mix of doom, sludge and even black metal… even if there’s common elements (heaviness, darkness) this is rather far from the sound of your old bands… what’s your opinion about that ? how do you see this evolution ?
I tend to disagree with that for one simple reason: in all of our projects, we played the music we wanted to listen to. Therefore, Eibon sounds quite different than let's say, Garden of Silence, simply because we do have different influences as our tastes have evolved over the last 20 years. If you listen to GoS ep, it easy to spot that 2 of our main influences at that time were At The Gates and Candlemass. Now with Eibon, it is less obvious to dig any particular bands because we are now open to more kind of music and we do not really restrict ourselves to one or two bands in particular.
Does the new guitarist compose, bring new/different ideas ? Could you tell something about new songs ?
As I said previously, Guillaume has already wrote one new song and another one is on the way. Most of our new songs reflects the actual evolutions of the bands, meaning that every aspect of our music has been pushed further. The angry parts are lot more brutal and the melodic ones are more subtle. One of the new song that lenght 20mn is a perfect example of that as it includes nearly post-rock ethereal guitar lines and it finished by a wild Discharge-like sonic chaos.
Sadly you don’t play live that much, having to organize several gigs by yourselves in Paris and waiting for something serious elsewhere… this is the case of most French bands… in 20 years there has not been any real evolution !? How was your latest gig with Ramesses and Hooded Menace ?
We have played a pretty decent number of show in Paris, including a couple of them organised by us. It is true though that we have been more rarely seen far from our home base. There are several reasons for that. The main being time and money: in order to lower our fees per gig, we need to find several dates in a row which not a easy thing to do. This said, we will play at the Sludge Fest in Eindovhen on November 12th. The latest Gig with our good friends from Ramesses went fine. We missed a few dozen of people to break even but bands receive really positive feed-backs during and after the show.
15 years exactly after the split up, what’s your look on Astral Rising ? which are your best or most noticeable memories: the recording of “in quest” with Tim Buktu ? dates in Germany with Mirror Of Deception ? last gig in Dijon ? … ?
I do have quite clear recollections of all those events you mention. I would say that the most memorable is probably the recording of the Astral Rising’s album ‘In Quest’. This is the most professional recording session I’ve ever been involved so far. Tim has built his studio in his basement and we were staying in his house during the 15 days that last the recording. Therefore, we had no really pressure from the clock and Tim and his Guys did anything possible to make us feel comfortable and relax. That includes all kind of substance and beverage as well as a lot of good laugh! These are definitively good time memories.
Who do you think had the best potential between all your old bands (Cemetery, Garden Of Silence, Astral Rising, Weld, Horrors Of The Black Museum) ? Ridwan was really a brilliant vocalist, don’t you think that it’s a terrible shame that he couldn’t have been revealed in a largest way ?
I think that among all those project, GoS is the one I feel the most frustrated when I think about its potential. Guitarist Nicolas Vintejoux and Ridwan are really gifted musicians and I feel we could achieve greater things. At least an album and some gigs. This said, Eibon is the most full-filling project I have been involved, being on a artistic level and on the personal level. We have been knowing each for so long that it’s being a family without the wrong side of it.
So what did you think about the Roadburn fest ? (fave sets, ambiance, etc…) Could we expect EIBON to be on next year’s bill ?
This was my first Roadburn this year. I had read and heard a lot about and I had great expectation. As of the bands, the ones I was the most excited to see did really meet my expectations. Should it be Winter, Candlemass or Godflesh. I also enjoyed a lot the sets from Weedeater, Ramesses, Voivod & Winterfileth. My only regret is not having attended show of bands I did not know. I can surely say this was one great experience to be part of and I will surely come back for more, hopefully with Eibon! That woud be a great achievement and I am sure, a fantastic moment to share with my mates.
There’s a delightful black metal edge in some parts of your music, how do you think that this music has evoluted ? Are you just interested by old influential bands from the late 80’s/early 90’s or maybe any recent ones too?
We are old enough to have witnessed the birth of Black Metal and its evolution throughout the years. What makes it such appealing for me is the duality of extreme raw brutality vs. the depressive and gloomy atmosphere. Since the early stage and probably even more now, some bands succeed to bring something interesting and some did not. We do love a lots of BM from the ancestors (Bathory, Burzum) to the younger wolves (Deathspell Omega, Leviathan).
A canadian label has released 100 copies on tape from the album and previous ep, that must be something very special and enthusiastic for old-school motherfuckers like you (!, )how did that happen ?
Having our two main releases available on tape appeared to us like a pretty fun thing to do.Mike from Media Tree contacted us to release ‘Entering Darkness’ on tape and we propose to add the self-titled EP. When we started talking about the project around us, people mostly like the idea and this has been confirmed since its released.
Thanx Jérôme, add something if you want (merchandising…) ?
Thanks Steph’ for this interview, it was nice speaking to you after all these years!
We are now fully dedicated to writing new materials, our next gigs will be this November. In the meantime, you can checkout our online boutique at http://eibon.bigcartel.com/ Doom on!