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Nightmare's Yves Campion: "The sentence “You have to suffer to become beautiful” has probably all of its meaning within "Aeternam"…"

Interview with Yves Campion from Nightmare
by Lior "Steinmetal" Stein at 25 October 2020, 9:22 PM

No matter the experience, the many years of a career, even at times being on an off, there is always something new to learn. One actually learns on a daily basis. Largely, there is a lot to take in when it comes to looking sideways, seeing what sounds good, what is strong and compelling. With more than three decades under their belt, the French Nightmare, led by bass player Yves Campion, prove that no matter the heritage, renewal and implementing new attributes to the music can become an advantage. Steinmetal had a chance to talk to Campion about the new album "Aeternam", the new additions to the band's lineup, concept, musical delivery and more…

Greetings Yves, it is an honor to have you for this interview for Metal Temple online Magazine, how have you been doing sir?

Thank you very much for these kind words… I’m fine thank you!

It has been quite a challenge for humanity these past several months, ever since the pandemic hit. How have you been managing yourself in this time period?

Trying to not catch that shit the best we can like everybody I guess. Regarding the band, we are like all the artists like lions in cages, we really looking forward to play live the soonest possible. It’s very frustrating to have one album that we think is maybe our best and to see all our shows postponed to uncertain dates to next year…

With the second wave a relevant threat, where do you see us going with this pandemic? How is the French public handling it?

Don’t know really… In France its very chaotic: doctors and specialists do not agree and they don’t speak or give advices as one voice and the government is acting like very unprofessional with saying one thing and the opposite the week after… Even with the numbers, nobody knows where is the true… We feel we live in total chaotic world…

I missed you guys of Nightmare, four years felt much more to be honest. As far as I can tell, and correct me if I am wrong, but you have been busy with inner band issues concerning the lineup, is that correct or was it something different entirely?

Since the departure of the brothers, we have changed identity for sure and we have decided to move on to female vocalist giving the band a new approach in terms of musical direction. To say the least is that we are not regretting this choice. Recently we have moved to a new line-up after the departure of Maggy Luyten and with the arrival of Madie as lead vocalist… Niels Quiais took the drums replacing Olivier Casula bringing a more modern touch to the overall sound of the band: the young drummer is very technical coming from the extreme scene, so definitely improving our sound, style and musical approach to something definitely more modern…

Nightmare has been exploring and came up with its 11th release, “Aeternam”. I think that first you will have to shed some light on what has been fascinating you in regards to the afterlife, purgatory, the eternal rest?

First the title just means “for eternity” (ad vitam aeternam) but the overall concept deals about possession and madie had the cool idea in regards to be back to the roots: back to the eighties to refer this thematic to the cult horror movies of the eighties like "A Nightmare On Elm Street", "Alien", "Friday the 13th", "The Thing" by John Carpenter… etc… all connected to the possession…

In regards to what is beyond our world of the living, or perhaps the essence, core, of our existence, what do you believe in when it comes after our departing?

I'm basically atheist and I don’t believe so much about an afterlife… I know it seems to look strange with an album named "Aeternam", which means “ad vitam aeternam” that suggests life forever… Science suggests there is nothing after our departing but maybe these kind of things are beyond what we can prove, isn’t it?

I have known Nightmare’s music for over 10 years, and from what I can conjure out of “Aeternam”, this prospect is probably your heaviest, yet also one the most complex, cunning and eclectic in comparison to your grand past. What pushed you guys to go over the edge as if to find yourself a new image musically? What was your motivation?

It is always a matter of meeting new musicians or new musicianship and I guess that when it comes to Nightmare, the change of line-up was effective in that sense. I also guess that Franck and Matt (the guitarists) who are playing together since quite a few albums so far have improved a lot in their songwriting when it comes to guitars riffs getting more experienced from one album to another and songs became more complex as you say and heavier but in the same time more melodic… As I already said earlier, the new drummer more modern brings also that more modern songwriting and now the voice of Madie catch the melodies…

As a veteran that has been there from the start, how did you find yourself playing a sort of Bay Area Thrash meets American Power Metal, a form of aggressiveness that is more or less new to Nightmare? How did it feel?

It's not really new: I think albums like "Insurrection", even "Genetic Disorder" or "The Aftermath" culminating to "Dead Sun" have that power metal thrash attacks in the riffs. I’ve always a big fan of Nevermore for example and some of our inspirations not in all songs but in some have that Nevermore feel… So overall Nightmare always had that “Bay Area Thrash meets American Power Metal” feel in our music…

How did the arrival of the new band members, your new talented vocalist, and explosive drummer, affected the songwriting of “Aeternam”? Would you say it was a process of creative freedom?

I totally agree about the “creative freedom”. Of course new members bring new musicianship and bring their influences. Madie comes from a more alternative scene so it's pretty interesting because it definitely brings new colors to the band, the drummer, Niels, is young and comes from a more extreme scene so he definitely brings that modern touch to the songs. Music is always a process of creative freedom but songwriting to be creative must be inspired… and I think that is something we have a lot improved with Aeternam…

Even though the era of “Aeternam” has just begun, as the promotion for the album is right here and now, what can you foresee regarding where the music of Nightmare is going?

So far I guess we’ve released our most ambitious and maybe best album to date and if we judge by the general feedback from the medias, we think we are not wrong with that statement. So thinking about what will be next is a bit too early and the challenge for us will be another big step… When you think you have done your best album so far starting a new one to do better is something you really have to think twice and get well prepared. We had a dark feeling when we wrote this album and it was a very hard task so I guess the more is hard to achieve the better it is at the end… Let’s see what the future will bring!

What is your observation of various extreme Metal elements in the band’s music, even if minimal as displayed on “Aeternam”? Would you call it a refreshing kind of move for the band or a necessity in order to catch up with the times?

The new members bring new influences and put some colors in the music so I guess the change of line-up was a big part of it especially with drumming: we had already a nice evolution on the album "Dead Sun", and with "Aeternam" we have continued in that direction with a more modern and extreme drumming. Also Matt and Franck in the process of writing riffs has evolved with their songwriting and definitely have much more experience now that they got all over the time…

Earlier we talked about your new vocalist, Marianne Dien aka Madie, she is stunning, dominant and takes on the music in the palm of her hands. Where did you find her prior to recruiting her to the band’s lineup? What is your appreciation of her abilities as a vocalist?

I first met her a few years ago when she was performing with her band Smoky Eye in a local rock bar and I was absolutely amazed by her performance. So I have kept an eye on her and a few years later I offered her the support slot for Ultra Vomit in a bigger venue with her new band Faith In Agony, and I noticed big improvements… So when Maggy Luyten decided to leave the band, we had the idea to get in touch with her and to offer her the slot… We live in same city, we have the chance to have her here and was surely much better than trying to recruit a foreign singer… We were very lucky to have her!

Simone Mularoni did magic for “Aeternam”, helping you to create Nightmare’s finest sounding releases to date. How do you find his work on the album? Is this ferocious, toughened sound expected to lead Nightmare forward?

Thanks for the compliments! I really agree: he did awesome job and we knew he was the right man for making "Aeternam" sound as we wanted. This is also one of the very first time we have a great balance between all instruments especially when you have some orchestrations and keys ambiances. In previous albums we think keys were sometimes drowning the guitars… But this time we probably have our best guitar sound so far: I can see that Simone is a talent guitarist master of sound… And moreover we can hear all instruments each one at their right volume.

Once I started listening, I was emblazoned by the destructive form of the opener, “Temple Of Acheron”. It pretty much proved what I described earlier, the newfound, so to speak, direction of the band into a new era. What can you tell in regards to this song’s creation and motifs?

This has that kind of very Jeff Loomis influenced guitar riff composed by Franck. He is very inspired by him and by Nevermore and for sure you can feel it in that song. But in the meantime, when it comes to the bridge and chorus, open chords make it easy for putting nice melodies and a catchy chorus… That is the most important: that the songs can be easily memorable and catchy at the end.

I have to ask, who is the growler and male vocalist on the final tune, “Anneliese”? What kind of conflict are you trying to picture on this special track?

The growler is Mick from French band Destinity and ex-No Return singer. He did a fantastic job and really entered into his character. The song is relating the true story of Anneliese Michel… She was a German girl who underwent Catholic exorcism rites during the year before her death. She was diagnosed with epileptic psychosis and had a history of psychiatric treatment, which was overall not effective. She inspired the movie The Exorcist of Emily Rose…

So we have 3 characters on this song: Madie who is Anneliese the haunted girl, Matt who sings also and plays the priest doing the exorcism. Mick with his growling is the devil on Anneliese’s body!

“Crystal Lake” reminded me of several of the 00s tunes of Nightmare, encrusted by a cloud of emotions, yet also unafraid of showing toughness and a sense of evil. What is your appreciation of this track?

A song written by Matt musically where Madie brought a lot of herself in the singing and this is maybe the song where she gave her best interpretating. Song is about the famous murderer Jason Voorhees and has very dark feelings of course… This is maybe the song where the voice of Madie is the most accurate… And the song that displays the most progressive touch to the whole album…. The words “sense of evil” really fits to this song for sure.

Looking back to the songwriting and recording of “Aeternam”, how did these processes challenge you personally? What were the effects on the band? Were there conflicts or dilemmas along the way?

One of our biggest challenge for sure, and with the time period we are all facing it was even harder, we had to record the album at the time when we were all in lockdown due to the pandemic. It was like a street fight. Maybe the hardest album to work on personally but at the end the best result of our whole career! This is probably also the first album where everything has a meaning… and probably the darker one when it comes to the topics… will be hard to do better next… but that is in the meantime another challenge. We never had conflicts or dilemmas of any kind but we had some painful process conducting to hard work and perseverance that lead to the light at the end… The sentence “You have to suffer to become beautiful” has probably all of its meaning within "Aeternam"…

With currently not being able to perform live, what are the plans of Nightmare to promote its new album?

That is a pain in the ass for sure! We had full European tour with label mates Rhapsody Of Fire that we had to reschedule later… like all bands… it looks like that bands releasing an album in fall 2020 will promote it on the road in end of 2021 early 2022 but I see we are not the only ones in that case… We will work on new video clips and more projects that we have to focus to be effective in 2021 awaiting for the moment when the concerts will be possible again… We have a few festivals rescheduled from 2020 and one in Russia…

Yves, I can’t thank you enough for your time for this interview. No doubt that you surprised me with how far going Nightmare can be and I am glad that you made it happen with  “Aeternam”. Thank you sir.

Thank you very much for your support! Hope to meet you soon on the road!


 



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