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Pierre Chauty (Era Nova)

Interview with Pierre Chauty from Era Nova
by Grigoris Chronis at 06 June 2010, 3:06 PM

ERA NOVA’s debut album “Children Of Alcyone” shall probably remind you of the genuine soul Euro Power Metal music had in the 90s, before this sound got over-zipped and lacking fantasy and clear will. Keyboardist Pierre represents the French outfit in their first interview across their country’s borders and – while preparing the text for uploading – I’m pretty sure I should have asked more for this notable release, haha!

Hi from METATEMPLE, thanks for taking the time to answer to our questions!
Hi everyone! Thank you for this very first foreign interview!

ERA NOVA is band hailing from a country not widely known for its contribution in Metal music. This is not true, of course, if you dig deep into France’s Rock/Metal history. So, can you us give some key facts regarding ERA NOVA’s career so far, in order for our readers to get familiar to the band?
Well, the band was created in 2002 by Chris, our guitarist, who is the only founding member remaining today. There were lots of lineup changes until 2005, when Manu (from ULTRA VOMIT) and myself joined the band. The band also had a lot of name changes until we finally chose ERA NOVA. Just before the band’s lineup stabilized, ERA NOVA recorded its one and only 3-track demo, entitled “Sin Eater”. Those three songs are on the album. We started the pre-production of the “Children of Alcyone” LP in 2007. We then chose to work with Ben “Neb Xort” Roux (from ANOREXIA NERVOSA) at his Drudenhaus Studio near our hometown, Nantes. We thought it was a great opportunity, because he worked before with our drummer’s band ULTRA VOMIT and the production was really powerful. We just knew we would have a great sound, as he is one of the best Metal producers in France right now. The recording and mixing session started in April 2008 and was over in November 2008. Then, we had to find a record label so that took some time too. That’s why the album is released almost 2 years after we started recording it. It was very hard work but it was worth it, we finally made it!

Are there any bands in the wider Nantes are that helped you when you took your first steps in the Metal scene? Really, is there any chance any 80s classic French Metal bands (e.g. SORTILEGE, SATAN JOKERS, BLASPHEME, NIGHTMARE, H-BOMB etc) were located in your area?
I’m afraid I’m not quite familiar with the French 80s Metal scene. I just know that a band from Nantes called SQUEALER had a bit of success at that time, but none of the most successful bands were from our area. Yet, some bands emerged from the local scene in the past 10 years and helped us. For instance, our producer used to play keyboards in the symphonic Black Metal band ANOREXIA NERVOSA, which had a nice success in the early 00s. I must also talk to you about our drummer’s band, ULTRA VOMIT, a comedy Metal band which has a really great success right now in France. They are really funny guys but they also are great musicians. They toured all over the country and everything is going fine for them. I don’t know if you guys had a chance to hear their stuff but I assure you that they really kick ass, yet I guess you have to speak French to really get it.

With “Children Of Alcyone” you make your first full-length attempt, and I must say the result is quite interesting! When did you start working on the album? Was it before or after you inked deal with Pervade Productions? Where you searching for a label straight after promoting the “Sin Eater” demo or you lately focused on a deal?
Actually, some songs were written even before ERA NOVA started as a band! Of course, the songs are quite different now than what they used to sound like, especially the 3 demo songs: “Sin Eater”, “In Search Of Gralium” and “Requiem”. We really focused on preparing our first LP after the recording of the demo and the stabilization of the lineup. That was at the end of 2005 I guess. Then we recorded it without knowing if we could sign a deal with a label! We were quite confident, I guess…We started looking for a label right after the mastering was done, in early 2009. The album actually was a great business card! We signed the contract with Pervade Production, the label of my first band MIDWINTER, at the end of 2009. The album was officially released on April the 12th, 2010.

Who’s the main composer, really, and which are the main sources of inspiration for the music and lyrics?
Our lead guitarist Chris is the main composer and he had been writing songs on his own before 2002. Now, talking about influences, he is a big fan of classic Heavy Metal like METALLICA, IRON MAIDEN, ANGRA, STRATOVARIUS but also listens to a lot of heavy Thrash music like ANNIHILATOR, TESTAMENT or NEVERMORE. That’s why our music sounds really aggressive sometimes. Now, about the lyrics, they were written mostly by the singer, Andreas. “Children Of Alcyone” is a concept-album, it tells a science fiction story, Alcyone being a very well-known star. I’m afraid I can’t tell you much more!

Judging from the album’s atmosphere, I could easily say you have worked hard in the melodies of the songs. Would you refer to some particular bands/styles are ‘key’ sources for the style of Metal you want to play?
Not necessarily. I mean, I don’t want to tell that our music is close to this or that band…It’s just melodic Heavy Metal, it’s really various, we have classical Heavy Metal stuff, Thrash guitar riffs, ambient keyboards, progressive structures or even classic Rock stuff sometimes. Now, talking precisely about my keyboard parts, I always refer to Roddy Bottum from FAITH NO MORE, Yoshiki from X-JAPAN but also to classical composers like Joe Hisaishi or Craig Armstrong, or even to Depeche Mode for some electro parts.

Would you say you’ve somehow added some non-Metal elements in your songwriting? Do you listen to any other kinds of music apart from Rock/Metal music, not only as fans but as musicians, too, in order to refresh your ideas for ERA NOVA’s music?
Well, definitely. We all listen to various stuff. Our singer is a big RATM or RHCP fan, for instance. Myself, I listen to a lot of music styles. I mean, really a lot. I can listen to hip hop and two minutes later to symphonic Black Metal…I’m not saying I added some of that stuff to ERA NOVA, but I think it’s essential that we try to widen our musical sphere. That’s the key for having your own sound and try to mix very different things. In “Children Of Alcyone”, we definitely have some progressive and Rock atmospheres. It’s not just basic Heavy Metal.

Was it stressful enough to come up with ideas having a Metal background but not sounding like “something else”? How easy is it to sound ‘personal’ in today’s conditions, with countless bands and sub-genres, really?
It’s really difficult. Maybe the most difficult thing, actually. Yet, ERA NOVA has no pretension of adding something new to music or shit like that…We just play what we like. For a first album, I think it’s better to focus on efficiency. We have plenty of time to develop our very own sound, our very own way of writing songs and everything like that. We still are a very young band, we have a great margin growth.

You tried to ‘include’ a message in the (wonderful) artwork in order for the potential buyer to assume what he’ll be listening to in the CD? Also, what does the title refer to? Are we having to do with a general concept?
The title refers to the concept. It’s a kind of tradition in our music style, I guess. It’s true that when you take a look at our cover, you know you’ll listen to Heavy Metal. It’s no false advertising! Patrick Baud did an excellent job with the cover and inlay…He just put on paper what we had in mind! That was super-impressive, really.

Another thing that caught my attention is the sound. ERA NOVA does not sound like hundreds of other Euro Power Metal bands and I think this is for the band’s benefit. Did you have a clear idea for what the production would be or things ended this way? Who handled the production, really, and were did you record/mix the album?
First of all, thanks! It’s good that people think we don’t sound like any other Power Metal outfit. I think we need to thank Neb Xort for that. You know, he had not been working with heavy metal bands before. He used to produce more aggressive stuff like ANOREXIA NERVOSA, ULTRA VOMIT, GTI… So, I must say he had quite a fresh vision of how our music should sound. He did such an excellent job, it just exceeded our expectations. You may say we have a rawer sound than many other Heavy Metal bands and that’s a good thing because we also have some very aggressive guitar parts. We just needed that kind of production. Yet, we must not rest on our laurels. We’ll try to do better next time!

So far you believe you’ve stayed loyal to your wants and ideals like in the first days the band was formed?
Completely. We do not compromise. I think integrity is the most important thing in music and in life itself! That’s why I will always admire a band like PEARLJAM. Those guys are my models. They always were close to their fans, they always did what they wanted without compromise, they never cheated on their political and philosophical ideas…It’s just the way all artists should be. Unfortunately, you sometimes have to kneel before the industry so you can live decently. That’s very sad. I hope ERA NOVA will never have to sell its soul.

Have you lined up any dates in support of the new CD?
We are working on it. We just started rehearsing again. We have a new rhythm guitarist, Greg Dutein (former ULTRA VOMIT bassist) so it will take some time. When we will be ready, we will try to do as much gigs as we can. We are eager to try the songs live! We hope to be able to tour at least in France. If we have good opportunities (in Greece, for instance), we’ll definitely do what it takes to be there. There’s nothing like playing in front of a foreign audience, I guess. It’s stressful but really rewarding.

How should an ERA NOVA show look like? You prefer to have a rockin’ in-your-face show or rather create a mystique atmosphere? What would you like to have as stage antiques for a memorable show (if money was not the problem, haha)?
Well, personally speaking, I prefer simple kick-in-the-butt shows. Bands like PEARL JAM or ALICE IN CHAINS do it perfectly. Even with thousands of people watching them, they just play like if it was a very small venue. I so much admire those guys, really. Yet, I think it’s very different for Heavy Metal bands. This music style is very bombastic so you need to impress as much as possible, but you also need to be careful not to show off too much! It’s just a question of balance… The audience must feel like the musicians are close to them, it’s really important.

Are you supporting the opinion that great bands of the 80s should at last retire and leave space for younger bands or you think classic bands should be around as long as thy can because other wise the Metal scene may show some kind of ‘nudity’?
That’s quite an interesting question, really… I think that if ‘old’ bands always try something new, they can go on forever. Experience gives you confidence to always try new stuff. I just hate those 50-year old guys who do the same stuff since the very beginning. Aren’t they bored? Well, at least I would. I just can’t stand doing the same thing twice, and I’m sure ERA NOVA will never be like them. There’s a good chance we will never have a big commercial success, but I can tell you, we will always try not to repeat ourselves. That’s the way I feel about music, and there can’t be any other way.

If “Children Of Alcyone” was to become a book or a movie, how would you imagine the scenario of it? To what kind of readers or cinema fans would you recommend it, really?
Ahah, funny question… As we already have a concept, I think it would be a space-opera or a fantasy movie, somewhere between "The Lord Of The Rings" and "Star Wars" (only the first trilogy, of course). Something with a lot of action but also poetry and most of all, a great and unique atmosphere. I would definitely choose a guy like Alfonso Cuaron to direct it, ahah!

Thanx a lot for your time, thanx! Really hope to see the band creating a buzz with “Children Of Alcyone” in the near future!
You’re most welcome. I hope the readers will like our music and buy “Children Of Alcyone”! As a young band, we need the support of everyone who likes our stuff! We hope to play in Greece in the near future so maybe we’ll meet you there!


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Edited 01 February 2023

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