Créatures is a one-man French band that has released the first full-length “Le Noir Village” last year and has received great reviews for it. The music is so awesome that Pest Webzine decided to have a chat with the man behind this project.
This is a one-man horror metal band. How complicated/easy is it having all the responsibility?
One-man band is complicated during recordings because I have to do everything by myself, which is very time-consuming. But it is much easier during composition because I o everything I want. I don’t have to propose each riff to other members and make compromises, or to do rehearsals.
Facebook mentions Créatures as a horror metal band but all reviews mention Black Metal. What’s the best definition for your sound?
My music is quite hard to refer as a kind of metal because I mix many styles (most of my music sounds black metal but there is also doom, death, heavy, symphonic, ambient, etc.). Some people smartly avoid the problem by referring to Créatures as experimental black metal, because of all these influences. I like to mention horror metal because it much refers to the ambience and concept of the band than the music itself.
The band’s logo is quite interesting with the bats and spider web. Who has drawn it? Does it capture the essence of the band?
It was drawn by my friend Roy de Rat (https://www.facebook.com/camerdr). He is a very talented designer with whom my label has worked for several years. He totally understood the horror essence of the band. Now this logo is tattooed on my forearm.
The band’s main influences are King Diamond, Tartaros, Notre Dame. What inspires you in these acts?
I chose these bands more to explain to the public the ambience of Créatures than to give my real influences. For example I discovered Tartaros at the end of the composition of the album. King Diamond really influenced me for the concept of Créatures. I like the horror stories he wrote for each album and how he composes his music and interprets characters to fit with these stories. Musically my inspiration comes from The Ruins of Beverast, Dødheimsgard, Satanic Warmaster, Culte des Ghoules, Arkha Sva, Ved Buens Ende etc.
How did the idea of creating a one-man band come up?
I was playing in other bands for several years and I wanted to express myself entirely in a musical project. A one-man band allows me to be totally free during the composition. That’s a very good feeling to create art alone from the beginning to the end.
The first full-album “Le Noir Village” was released last October and all reviews are unanimous and have rated it with a high score … almost a year has gone by, have sales and reactions in general met your expectations? How is “Le Noir village” being accepted by the fans?
About 40 reviews were written on “Le Noir Village” and just 2 are negative. I am very happy with how the album has been welcomed by the press and the listeners. It is also the best sale of our label, and a little fan base grew up.
The album took 4 years of composition work and another 3 years of production work. Why this long?
I am a sickly perfectionist, and in a one-man band I express this trait to the extreme. The composition process was long because every riff, melody, pattern, or intervention of additional instruments was thought to correspond the best to the story I tell. The recording process was also long because the album is very long and dense. I recorded by myself five guitars, the bass, the piano and church organ, one voice, some other folkloric instruments etc. It was also long to record all the guests.
Despite all the years’ work, the album’s production is quite raw and unpolished. Was this a way of praising the roots of Black Metal?
The raw production is not a goal, but due to the way I recorded it. I mean not in studio but alone, with my own and not professional equipment, without the skills of music engineers. This is how the formers of black metal always did.
This is a concept album about malefic creatures in an old village... how did you come up with this idea? Is it based on true facts?
I always made conceptual albums, even with my other bands. I like to write and tell stories through a whole album. “Le Noir Village” was not based on true facts or on a specific traditional tale, but I was inspired by several folkloric figures of horror that marked the cinema and literature, such as Werewolf, Ghost, Vampire or Zombie.
All the characters in the narrative are interpreted by different singers who express themselves in the first person… who are the guest musicians on the album?
Most of them are close friends that I wanted to have in my first album. They sing, play an instrument that I can’t do myself, or both. Twelve persons stepped in the album. For example Lazareth from Ordo Blasphemus, Hyvermor from Hanternoz/Grylle/Régiment, Géraud de Verenhe from Borgia, or Arnev from Aezh Morvarc'h.
The digipack is pure luxury which includes a booklet with all the lyrics… how important is it for the listeners to read the lyrics while listening to the album?
The music was completely composed around the story. The ambience of each riff reveals the personalities of characters and the events that are happening in the village. Lyrics are very important to understand the story in detail, but if you don’t speak French you can get an overview by watching the pictures on the booklet and listening to all the sounds added on the music.
All lyrics are in French. Does it add to the mystique of the band? Do you think using your mother language helps you conveying the message in a more accurate way?
It’s both easier and harder to write in French. Easier because it’s my native language, so as you say I can be more accurate. But harder because this is a very poetic language and it can quickly sound ridiculous and cheesy when it’s not inspired, that happened so many time in the French black metal scene. I’m working on a complete translation in English of the lyrics because it’s a pity that non-French speakers miss an important part of the album. If you are interested, feel free to send an email to my label and I will send you the translation when it will be over.
The digipack contains a 16-page booklet presenting a painting and six drawings of medieval inspiration made especially for this album. Who did the painting and drawings?
Once again I asked a friend of mine for this piece of work. Simon Hervé painted a landscape of the village on a 60x60cm canvas, inspired by naïve art. Each song is illustrated in the booklet by a drawing inspired by the XV century wood engraving.
This is like an opera… do you think it will appeal to the usual Black Metal crowd? Who’s your target audience?
Another freedom in this one-man band is to make everything I want, no matter how it would be received by the audience. If I want to put 5 minutes of pure tribal ambient or a cello and violin duo in the middle of a metal song because I think it’s pertinent for the story I tell, I will do it (and I did this!). This music without concession can’t appeal to people who just listen to true old-school black metal and who want the music not to change. But if you enjoy other kind of music (I mean other kind of metal but also other kind of music) and are open to experimentation and creativity, “Le Noir Village” is for you.
Did you ever consider the idea of performing this opera live? Have you played live already? Are you thinking about doing it?
I played live with my folk black metal band Hanternoz many years ago. I would love to play Créatures live, but it is very hard to set up a show for a solo project because I have to find session members, and the songs are long and difficult to learn. Besides I don’t have that much time for rehearsals due to my other musical projects.
The album was released by Antiq Label. The owner of the label is also the man responsible for Créatures. Didn’t you receive any offers from other labels or didn’t you send it off at all?
Yes, my friend Hyvermor (Hanternoz, Grylle, Régiment) and I are behind the label Antiq. I didn’t search any other label because I wanted to produce the album by myself via Antiq (so I could control my project from the composition to the delivery to the public). Antiq always produced conceptual bands about history and occult, so Créatures perfectly fits this with its story about a medieval village.
It was possible to meet Créatures at Hellfest this year… how did that go? Did many people show up to talk to you?
I was managing the Antiq stand during the Hellfest like we do every year. It was the first time we proposed the album for sale at a market and it went pretty well. I brought the original painting with me. Some people were intrigued and discovered Créatures here, some others had already heard about Créatures, some more were happy to find the CD because they didn’t buy it on the internet. I was also surprised to meet the first fans of Créatures.
You are already working on the concept for the new album with Quentin Foureau. Can you tell us something about it already?
Exclusive information: the second album of Créatures will come up with a novel written especially for this opus by my friend Quentin Foureau, who is a talented writer and storyteller. We are currently working on the storyline together, and then he will write the script alone. The lyrics of the album will be poems inspired from this novel and will be written by myself.
Did Quentin Foureau help you in the last album as well? Will we have to wait 7 more years for this to see the light of the day?
No, I made the concept of “Le Noir Village” alone, with the help of Hyvermor for some lyrics. I took my time for the first album because no one knows about Créatures. Now, because I have a little fan base, I can’t take that much time between two albums, so I will try to work faster, and it’s much more motivating. It will be quite long to write the novel and then compose the music and lyrics of the second album, so I am working on a short EP simultaneously. This EP will be inspired from a medieval poem in old French about a Werewolf (I let people search which one it could be!). Maybe we will also repress the first demo of Créatures, produced in 10 copies in 2008.
How did you get into music? Which song/band made you realize you wanted to be a musician?
I wasn’t interested into music before I discovered heavy metal. My first step into it was a live of Arcania in 2001, a local thrash metal band in Angers that still exists and which is now playing amazing progressive thrash heavy. That made me want to play bass. I then opened my mind to other kinds of heavy metal, and since I am a musician I’m interested in other kinds of music.
Please share some final words with Pest Webzine’s readers.
Thanks to you Sónia for your pertinent questions, thanks to Adrian for the well-written and very positive review, and thanks to Pest Webzine’s staff and readers for their interest for underground metal. Don’t hesitate to follow Créatures on Facebook to keep informed about the new albums (http://facebook.com/creatures.horror) and feel free to listen to the full album for free on Bandcamp (http://creaturesfr.bandcamp.com).
Interview by Sónia Fonseca