Greetings Vaerhon, thank you for accepting this interview. How are you lately?
Pretty well thank you. I’m still working on the next PN and I have recently joined the band Way to End as a bassist with which I’m currently recording a split with Blut Aus Nord. Pretty busy then.
Please introduce your project, Pensees Nocturnes, to our readers.
Pensées Nocturnes is a one man band which provides me the opportunity to express myself without other constraints than my imagination. It’s really difficult to work in symbiosis within a band and concessions aren’t easily made when related to art. This project lies on a Black Metal basis and approaches many other influences to fit to what I have in mind. No matter what is usually done. No matter what people want. Pensées Nocturnes is the image of how I see music, what I really want to listen to. I’ve composed the first song (Flore) in August 2008 and Vacuum, the first album was released in April 2009. In this sunny day we are talking about Grotesque, the second album, released in March 2010.
Why did you start this project since you already have a band, Valholl.
I indeed often play with other people and I also play live with other bands which means that PN is a way for me to try something different. I can assure you that running a project alone is quicker than having to deal with a lot of individualities and points of view: it’s more spontaneous and coherent. You don’t have to convince anybody, to agree on something, to rehearse, to deal with the fifth wheel… Sure sometimes you may feel a little impatient because it’s a lot of work but it’s really pleasant to feel you master everything. The other reason is that it’s simply impossible to innovate when reducing the instruments used to two guitars and a bass. I think that together with only using (often unconsciously) the minor harmonic scale, this is the origin of the fact everybody is doing the same thing again and again. How do you want to do something new if you begin by restricting yourself on the choice of the instruments? What I mean is that you won’t ask for a trumpet player to come to play only a few notes on the whole album, and this is particularly true for a band which plays live. You just do it yourself.
How come you closed a deal with a label even before releasing a demo? How your relationship with LADL so far?
Les Acteurs De L’Ombre is a non-making-money organisation which was created by Gerald to organise concerts in France, mainly in Paris, and I am used to giving them a hand from time to time. Later it evolved to be also a webzine and last year Gerald quitted the president function to create also the label, LADLO productions. I guess you can understand that being a part of it makes it quite natural for me to work with them. On the one hand it is still a small structure so I can’t have the same expectation as I would have in a bigger label but on the other hand this situation provides me the freedom I need. I am not under a contract which tells me what I have to do the objective of Ladlo productions being here to support the scene and not to make money. As for the beginning of your question, I was simply satisfied enough with the production of Vacuum and Les Acteurs de l’Ombre Productions was willing to take the risk to launch an unknown band, hence the fact there is no demo before this album.
I'm just curious, are you playing all the instruments on your releases? How come you know to play so many instruments? What's your musical background?
Well for an obvious matter of financial means, some "instruments” are actually synthesized, especially orchestration and choir parts, the idea being not to be limited by material matter. I just want follow every lead and the fact I don’t make any concert with PN makes it possible to create something which doesn’t have to be credible. I don’t think about concert when I compose or how I will put this on a scene because it would be too restrictive. I see Music as a tool to encode and express something, not a way to show everybody how good I am.
Your first album, "Vacuum", although limited to 1000 copies, had an enormous impact on the Underground scene. Have you ever expected such a great feed-back?
I don’t think Vacuum deserved so much attention and the explanation of this "impact” is mainly due to Gerald’s efforts on the promotion of the release. Vacuum was my first experience in terms of composition, recording and mix and today I feel I better master these processes. Today I don’t really understand this interest for this release…
Now you have released a new album, "Grotesque", what do you think is different on this one? How much time did you spend working on this new album?
Grotesque is more mature and looks more like what I’m looking for. I think it is more complex in terms of composition but of concept too. On the one hand Grotesque goes deeper on the "mixing everything” thing and thus is more absurd and ludicrous than Vacuum which is more common if I may say. But on the other hand there are more brutal parts and thus more extreme metal pieces on Grotesque, Vacuum being more into the "Depressive Black Metal” style. So to sum up I would say Grotesque is at the same time less serious and rougher, less righteous and more unhealthy than Vacuum. I think the main improvements between these albums concern the production, the voice and the composition, far more original and complex. As for the time I have spent on Grotesque, I have honestly no idea about it.
Please tell us about the lyrics, too. Any diference between the lyrics of the two albums?
Life doesn’t have a deep meaning, a precise objective, an absolute truth. The fact that human lives rest on their share of illusions and are led by a never-ending hope is undeniable. Nothing we do has an existential foundation aside from spending time. As if life comes down to everything that allows us to forget life… But despite this emptiness we have to "live anyway” and this kind of nihilism makes it possible to see life from a totally different point of view and to try to create something from this absurdity, something that you have chosen, something that don’t have to be conventional or "normal”. It’s a losing battle so we have to make fun of life and laugh at our condition. Grotesque is a little bit of all this things.
You're also involved in the Pagan Metal band Valholl. What do the other members of Valholl think of your project? Please tell us something about this band, too, as it is little known, if I'm not wrong.
Valholl is indeed an unpretentious band, mainly to play live with friends. There is not that much to say about it except it’s basic and brutal. As for what they think about PN, it would be better to ask them directly.
The feedback to this new album has already been overwhelming in the metal media, but are you happy with the final result?
Media’s opinion is not of a primordial importance to me as they are most of the time in contradiction with each other. I mainly focus on my own subjectivity when working for PN and regarding this aspect Grotesque is part of the past since in a solo project the only essential side is the creation process. Everything else is just obligation and promo stuff.
If you were to describe "Grotesque" in up to 5 words, which one would they be?
Grotesque is not enough? Well let’s say cynic, incoherent, imperfect, mocking and provocative.
What's next for Pensees Nocturnes? Are there any new tracks already composed? Will there be any changes in style?
Pensées Nocturnes is a long term project and I’m continuously working on it. You know Grotesque has been recorded months ago and I’ve done a lot of things since then but I don’t have a lot of things to say about it for the moment.
Thank you for your time, please end this interview by giving our readers some contact info.
Well thank you for your interest an all the best for the future.
Interviewed by Adrian