Posted by Nick Skog on Saturday, August 29, 2015 Under: Interviews
Verlies Interview with Black Phoenix Rising
Interview by: Paul Henderson
Published: August 15, 2015
Recently I was able to ask some questions to N., founding member of French black metal band Verlies, whose impressive debut album 'Le Domaine Des Hommes' was re-released earlier this year in a collaboration between Hypnotic Dirge Records and Throats Productions. Here's what N. had to say...
First allow me to thank you for taking part in the interview. For the benefit of any of our members who are not familiar with Verlies can you introduce yourself and briefly describe your music?
Hi, and thank you for reaching us out.
I'm N., the creator of Verlies.
What I can say... Is that we play Black Metal. Not the traditional one, with repeated patterns and raw approach, we have a lot of influences and everything create the whole thing, but Black Metal is the main essence of our music. I wouldn't have started Verlies if it wasn't for this. Call it atmospheric, ambient, progressive, avant-garde or whatever... It's Black Metal over everything.
I understand Verlies came into existence in 2010, your debut and current release ‘Le Domaine Des Hommes’, however, did not emerge until early 2014. Were there any reasons for the time taken to release the first album, and were there any significant events during this time which had an impact on the music we hear on this album now?
In fact, the project started in 2009. I was younger back then, less mature, and heavily influenced by the music I was listening to, as it was guiding my life. I can't say that I was joyful, so when I first started to write music, it was all about sad things, influenced by DSBM and tortured music. I had no experience of writing, recording, and mixing music, so I let myself go and tried my best. Then the first Demo “Les Déclins”, was published. It sounded like shit and I was unaware of that.
But after some time seeking for musicians and seeing no one wanted to be involved, I understood that maybe that's because it wasn't good, and decided it was the right time for a break. So Verlies disappeared from the front stage, as I lead myself through different musical projects and horizons...
However, I never stopped writing new material for this, learned to play my instruments better, and eventually came in 2012 with something that I was proud of. A guy I was hanging out with came to me saying that we should play music together. That's how F. joined this sinking boat. We met T., our bass player, few months after and finally managed to get a drummer. In summer 2013 we had our first stage experiences and recorded the album, but something was rotten. There was no deep bond between us, and the way I carried the project, letting other's choices interfere with my point of view when I was sure of something, it was a mistake.... So we all tear apart and went separate ways.
At this point I was decided that I wanted to make Verlies come again, but to become something different. I wanted Verlies to be what it should have been since the beginning. Something dark, something ethereal and powerful, and something that I own completely, as much as it owns me to the core. That's why when Psycho and V. Joined as T. Came back again, we decided what was going to happen, and how we were going to do it.
The music on this album certainly shows an incredible amount of diversity and a wide range of different elements. What are the main things which you draw on for inspiration when creating your music? Also are there any other bands or artists who have had a significant influence on Verlies?
When Verlies started, I was just trying to play music and be someone that could bring something to this universe. I cared a lot about what I was listening to, so it affected me deep, especially in my writing. Verlies was shaped with despair, sadness, but melody and melting with different genres of music. I never paid attention to anything and never wanted to sound like “this band” or “this genre” - only Black Metal – but I guess I did in the end. Some bands and project brought into me something that I couldn't erase. I've already heard that my vocals sounded like Vaerohn's (Pensées Nocturnes), but Vaerohn himself told me jokingly that it seemed like I was trying to make an impression of Alcest. Some people see the Opeth influence inside Verlies, some are more farseeing and observe the mark of Gris and Sombres Forêts... These amongst all the music I had listened in a decade (like blues, jazz, classical themes...), are the soul of Verlies, and I can't do anything about it.
What sort of themes do you explore with the lyrics on ‘Le Domaine Des Hommes’?
That may sound boring, but I can say that I write about myself, my perception of life, death, illness, spiritualism, satanism, nature... Really personal and deep for me, but it may seem just like normal poetry and lyricism to someone who does not share my thoughts. I prefer to talk about it with someone who try to connect with Verlies, face to face, but it's only relevant if that person is touched by the music before the lyrics, I guess.
It’s early days yet of course but have you been happy with the feedback you’ve received from the album so far?
I am really thankful for everyone who just listened “Le Domaine Des Hommes”, and even more to people who took their time to mention it, write about it, or just write us to say that they liked or disliked it. Even if Verlies is not meant to be acclaimed by people – for example, we stay silent on stage and do not share a word with the audience –, I am thankful for every bit of attention we get. Black Metal is not everything about hatred and anger. Even if we are alone in front of everyone, even if when I get dressed and start to wear my second skin I become someone else... Seeing people that may be fulfilled and transported by our music, almost as much as we are is what makes me proud of doing it. So we can say that we enjoy a lot what is happening and what reviews say about us.
‘Le Domaine Des Hommes’ has of course been released via Hypnotic Dirge Records, an arrangement I hope works well for you both. Do you feel that Verlies fits in well with the philosophy, ethos and musical vision of HDR and if so in what ways do you feel this is most reflected?
In fact, “Le Domaine Des Hommes” was co-released by Hypnotic Dirge Records AND Throats Productions. And honestly, I could not find something better. I first contacted HDR, amongst other labels, because I couldn't find the money to release it by myself at that time. I was distant and a little bit skeptical about the way things would have been done if someone payed attention to Verlies. Then Nicolas, HDR's brain, wrote me back, and we started to share many things together, to build our trust towards each other. We have the same vision about music, how it should be free for who wants to listen to it (that's why all the digital files are distributed freely), the same approach to spiritual matters. We may have some different points of view about some substantial subjects, but never got an argument and probably never will.
When Edgar, from Throats Productions, first came to me, the deal with HDR was already sealed, but I think his involvement is a big plus for Verlies. He's an honest guy that is really into making underground bands to get a visibility, and he deserves a bigger recognition for his work.
To them both, Nicolas and Edgar, I keep a special place in my mind for giving me the opportunity to make Verlies “Real”.
You’ve now formed with a full live lineup I believe. Have you played many live shows and how have you found them so far? How well do you feel Verlies’ music translates to the live environment?
We started again to play live shows in January. After a two years break, many things have changed. Everyone on stage wears his second skin and ritual outfit, so I can consider it is a big step towards what I had in mind. We have a new scenic approach and new relation towards the audience, and that suits the atmosphere of Verlies very well. But there's a lot more to do. We have to gain confidence, to get more “into” it. We played five shows since then (3 in France, two in the Netherlands thanks to our brothers from Black Command), and I can consider that the best one, with the best conditions was the second one, in Paris (25/January/2015). We managed to really get into the mood, and to lose control to become our other selves. There were some other things that went a little bit wrong... But it's part of the job. We have to get better. We will.
What have you learned most in the time Verlies has been around that you feel will stand you in good stead in years to come? Is there anything you might have done differently if you had the chance, knowing what you know now?
The most important thing that I learned was not to do things in a hurry and not to let someone interfere against your vision. Verlies is my creation, Verlies is more than important for me, it's a cure for my disease and the single hope for a hypothetic future. My musicians are part of it now, and I do trust them to bring to it a part of themselves, but I created it, and I will bear it till the end.
Following that one rule, yes, I would have done some things differently. Maybe I wouldn't have played the first shows, maybe I wouldn't have the opportunity to share the stage with gods from Sombres Forêts... Maybe it wouldn't have changed anything in the end. But now, I don't really care anymore. Things are like they are today, and they will progress to a greater good.
How is the metal scene in France, and where do you see Verlies fits in in relation to it?
The metal scene in France is really prolific, you can find some very good bands in any genres wanted. Speaking about Black Metal... I think that France is actually the best place for it. So many good BM bands came out these past years, so many good ideas... It's just really impressive. I am amazed that a country like France can produce so much quality in terms of Black Metal. I do not turn my head towards the north anymore when I want to hear a good tune. I truly think France and Quebec have the best BM bands for a decade now.
But Verlies is still unknown there. When people come to the shows we play at, they usually do not expect that if they haven't heard about us before. For now, we only play our music, without really trying to fit in some box. We'll see that later.
Are there any other up and coming bands you’ve enjoyed or been particularly impressed by lately?
There are actually some bands that I listen to almost every day right now. I really like Peste Noire since they released the mindfucking album “L'Ordure A L'Etat Pure” a few years ago. Another great piece of Black Metal I listen to lately is Wyrms. They have two albums and an EP, and I do not regret buying them last time we played together. They play an infernal and melodic black metal, with some really good ideas you can't find anywhere else. Just perfect.
Again, I will soon try to have a copy of the latest Ad Hominem Album “Antitheist”, because Ad Hominem symbolize to me the BEST way to spread an unconditional Hatred.
And finally, since I saw them last year, I can't wait to hear the first full length album from Septentrion. Their bass player/singer made a featuring on our cover of Celtic Frost's classic “A Dying God Coming Into Human Flesh”, and seeing their song live made me really wondering about their future releases.
Where does Verlies go from here? Any idea what we might expect from the next album or anything else in the near future?
Verlies is still moving. We had our last show played in the Netherlands with Black Command and Wyrms and it was great, but for this summer, I think we will make a short break, letting everyone in the band go to their respective musical activities outside Verlies. Nevertheless... I can say that the second album is written, and we will start the recording sessions in a month. I won't say that much things about it, except that you can expect something more violent, more progressive, more atmospheric, more changing... We pushed the composition farther on this one, and I really am glad to work with my musicians to create a whole new atmosphere for Verlies.
And something else to add: we are currently making a video clip for a song from the First Album.
Finally, once again thank you for taking part, in conclusion is there anything you’d like to add or say to the members of Black Phoenix Rising?
It's been a real pleasure to answer your questions. Thank you for your time, your support and attention. To the members of Black Phoenix Rising: Live your life well. Enjoy or hate your time here, and die when you're done.
If anybody want to listen to or download the album 'Le Domaine Des Hommes' it can be downloaded free from Bandcamp via the following link
In : Interviews
Tags: hypnotic dirge records verlies experimental black metal avant-garde black metal progressive black metal gris opeth post metal jazz