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Déluge's François-Thibaut Hordé:"I wanted to go really further into something more “easy to listen to” but the artistic challenge was to not lose what we had, that melancholia and the essence of our music."

Interview with François-Thibaut Hordé from Déluge
by Lior "Steinmetal" Stein at 21 October 2020, 10:40 PM

To dig into the heart of melancholia but to find out the constant battle between light and darkness, where light for a reason has an advantage. A listener can find comfort and an audience while letting himself / herself be swept but such atmospheric music that would take over the senses, and actually breed hope to those who heed. Developing such a flamboyant sensation wave, there is the French Déluge. No wonder that they signed with Metal Blade Records for the release of their sophomore album, “Ægo Templo”. There is something in there that is open, fresh and has to be experienced. Steinmetal had a chance to talk to the band's leader, François-Thibaut Hordé, about the making of the record, the essence of the music, ideas and conceptions and more…

Hello François, it is awesome to have you for this interview for Metal Temple online Magazine, I hope that all is well on your end, considering the circumstances. Can you say that you are adjusted to the current state of the affairs in light of Covid-19?

Hey Lior, thank you for your interest. Unfortunately, everybody has to be adjusted to the pandemic situation. It affected us since the mixing & mastering of the album as I had to spend entire nights on Skype with our sound engineer to be able to send it in time to our label for the release.

The second wave of this pandemic has already struck major parts in Europe, slowly sending countries back to states of lockdowns, or something closer. How are things looking in France?

They are looking pretty bad to me. Most of big cities have curfews and it does not seem to go in a good direction.

Do you see any way out of it any time soon, in particular when it comes to the culture, which was one of the majorly damaged industries ever since the pandemic began?

I was being a part of the more optimistic ones, since the last days, but honestly I do not see it ending in a nice way soon. A few of our members in Déluge contracted the virus, luckily they are all safe at the moment. We can only focus on the massive work we have to do for the promotion of the album and hope for the best.

Honestly, Déluge had me intrigued as I haven’t really dwelled into it up until I received the promo copy of your sophomore album, “Ægo Templo”. Even more so, the album captured the eye of Metal Blade Records, which is one of strongest players in the Metal industry. After being signed to an underground label, how do you see this massive step up the ladder with the signing to a substantially bigger label?

I have always seen things in big for Déluge. This is the project I put the most of myself in. LADLO did a nice job on our first album and I am very happy to have now Metal Blade on our side to develop the breadth of the project. They are incredibly competent in matter of strategy and resources and they let me a total liberty in terms of artistic creation.

With my French being weak down to nearly non-existent, and I believe that others as well, can you shed some light in regards to the overall idealism and philosophy that are behind “Ægo Templo”? Without understanding much, it felt immensely deep for instance.

I wanted to go really further into something more “easy to listen to” but the artistic challenge was to not lose what we had, that melancholia and the essence of our music. It was a very interesting (and exhausting) challenge. Blending that essence with the new elements I really wanted to dig in was not so easy, but we are very proud of the result. The album title means as much ‘Temple of the self’, ‘I am the temple’ or ‘The temple of ego’. The lyrics of "Æther" were an observation of special parts of our lives. "Ægo Templo" is more about the work we have to do on ourselves to be better (or more accomplished) persons.

Within the commotion of the album, and at times it rattled with its rigidness, where do you find yourself once the music embraces you, the songwriter of these creations? How does it make you feel?

I always listen to Déluge (and in a certain always write the songs) as a third person. Without being selfish, I love to listen to Déluge. Of course after spending entire months working on the album it is good to take a break and listen to a lot other fresh bands but I am proud to be a part of it as much as I love to listen to the songs.

The album’s artwork is highly cryptic, the symbolism is very interesting and has its enigmatic effect when it comes to trying to connect the dots. What can you tell about this piece of art? What was the vision behind it? Who created it?

As I always say I love listeners to interpret the symbolism we use (in our artwork, music & lyrics) with their own eyes, their own experience and their own knowledge of symbolism. To me, it is the very essence of symbolism. All is metaphor. The content & form are always linked more than one can imagine.

During the making of “Ægo Templo”, I studied a bit the work of an amazing artist, Frida Kahlo. She had a strong bus accident when she was young and it has impacted her whole life. She painted a very famous canvas representing her, with a broken pillar instead of her back bone. I found that infinitely inspiring. We all have our lot of “bus accident” in life and the metaphoric meaning of that painting deeply inspired me and the vision of the artwork I wanted. Of course, Valnoir from Metastazis did his own (incredible) job on the artwork.

Over the years, Déluge created a special relationship between contemporary Black Metal, Post Metal/Core with variants that made it different from other French acts that are somewhat similar like Alcest for example. Would you say that you became a little more spiritual and atmospheric on “Ægo Templo”, as the next step in your evolution?

Thanks a lot for the comparison. And I totally agree, I love Alcest very much but I really wanted to do something else, maybe something a bit more live-oriented even if it is not definitely something I have in mind when I create music. I think this might be subconscious but in the end, most of our songs are nice to play live.

On the dossier, you said that you discovered Black Metal rather late, yet you embraced it with open arms and took it forward with additional elements, as other bands in their own way have been doing. So why not really call it the new kind of trve? Because let's face it, we aren’t in the early 90s anymore

I like that mindset! You are totally right to me. I love the primitive energy of Black Metal but I was not a part of the early years and I like to say that a lot of people saying they were actually weren’t either.

How do you think that “Ægo Templo” improved you as songwriter? To what sources did you turn to in order to broaden the musical ideas surrounding the album?

"Æther" was 99% made by me. For "Ægo Templo" I really needed a “mirrored-man” for the composing and a lot of advices from the men I trust. The essence remains the same but the wrap is a bit different. I wanted to use our first album as a reference but I wanted to go further in a wider range of emotions, something more “open”, more easy-to-listen-to without losing what we had.

Creating such a complex release as “Ægo Templo” doesn’t seem even remotely easy. What would you say were the challenges that stood in your way while working on the album? How were you able to handle the hardships throughout the course of the recording process?

To have an idea and a direction in mind is something, to put it on paper is another story. I had the honour and pleasure to be able to work with Thomas Desrosiers, who is a producer and also our light designer and an infinite help from Thibault Chaumont the sound designer of "Ægo Templo". That album would not be the same without them.

Listening to the album, since I am no French speaker, as mentioned, I let the music do the talking and from what I could comprehend, it sounded pretty bleak, smeared with anguish, discomfort, remorse and sorrowfulness. Was this the direction intended to take your music into a downward state emotionally?

This is how I would describe our first record. Melancholia has always been the essence of Déluge but I find more hope in our second album. Melancholia can be sad, but can also give you hope, even sometimes happiness. This is how it works for me.

When it comes to atmosphere and melodies, along with punching a few skulls, I found “Opprobre” to be a chaotic exemplar. It really has a strong Black Metal edge that reminded me of the early days, but always with an open eye to the future. What can you tell about the creation of this tune?

Funny fact, "Opprobre" is already a three-year-old song. This is the first song I wrote for the second album, we already played it live a few times and I love the way it turned out on the album. "Opprobre" is the position you get by a community when you betray one member of that community. I suffered betrayal in the most hideous way just before the beginning of the creation process of our sophomore album. "Opprobre" is mainly about that feeling and the will to rebuild you after such a betrayal.

Throughout the album, I noticed a lot of sea waves, and something that sounded like a constantly moving wooden wheel or rather a wooden boat. What can you tell about these elements as part of the album’s conception?

The first song I wrote ("Opprobre") and the ending track of the album ("Vers") where written in front of the ocean, and the different states of water have always been a strong influence in Déluge’s philosophy. A specific state of water can express a specific state of emotion. I want to play with that. I will let the listeners deal with that.

Which of this album’s songs do you find as the one that brings you down for a deep thinking session with yourself? Please elaborate on your pick

The track listing of the album has been a huge work. The result wants to be an initiatory journey with yourself. "Béryl" is, without any doubt the darkest song we ever wrote, and might the darkest we will ever but Abysses might be the one you are looking for.

Since culture is shut down, therefore artists have more time for themselves, to work on their material and even come up with new releases. However, I have the feeling that Déluge isn’t one of these bands, am I right?

I think you are. We are all very busy at the moment dealing with our lives, the situation, we have businesses to run, and the promotion of the album but I am pretty sure we will write songs sooner than everybody expects. As for now, let’s concentrate on "Ægo Templo" J

François, it was an esteemed pleasure to have you sir, no doubt you made me a fan and opened me up for a fresh experience. All the best, cheers.

I am really glad to hear it. Thank you very much for your concerned interview. I wish you all the best to you too.


 



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