First and foremost, I’d like to thank you for taking your time to reply to this little conversation. It’s not all bands that do that and I deeply appreciate your act. Please, introduce yourself to our readers.
Hi Marcus. My name is Jean-Jérôme. I’m the guitarist of Regarde les Hommes Tomber and former of the band. We come from Nantes, France. Thanks for the interest. It’s a pleasure to reply to your questions.
I was reading an interview, I guess it was from last year, on a French website in which you stated that you had just started to write a new album and that, perhaps, it would be released in 2015. Is there anything you could share with us concerning it?
Yes, that’s true. We have already begun to write a new album. Last year, we had just started because we spent all our time giving concerts. We have really started working on it since the beginning of this year. We have three new tracks almost finished but there is much work to be done. We hope the new album would be released for the first half of 2015.
In addition to the previous question, do you feel, at all, some sort of pressure to release a new album after such an amazing début that was “Regarde les hommes tomber”?
Indeed, it’s a difficult task. For the new album, no one knew us and expected us. Now, we have a label “Les acteurs de l’ombre” and we collaborate with a agency in charge of getting us concert dates. They are eager to discover this new album like people who liked the first album. There are also a lot of questions about the musical orientation of the second album. We hesitate between the desire of innovating or composing in the same pattern.
I find your music hypnotic and beautiful, yet heavy and intense and dark. For a person that isn’t familiar with Regarde Les Hommes Tomber’s sound, could you describe it to them as well as cite some of the musical influences that you had?
I wanted above all to create a particular atmosphere when I composed the music. Not only I wanted to create an intense and heavy music but also sad, melancholic and dark at the same time. I’m a big fan of Post-Rock. I took my inspiration from this music trend to create the different ambiances. I idolize bands such as Sigur Ros, Mono or Caspian. Norvegian Black Metal has an important part in my influences. I also listen a lot to Post Core and Sludge music: Converge, Cult Of Luna, Isis, Envy. Finally, there is one thing to know; many members of the band are from the Hardcore scene. You can feel it when we play the tracks. That shows the heavy side of our music.
What are the main messages or themes that you want to share with your music? And when it comes to your lyrics, what inspires you, books, movies, history, the humanity, human feelings, the decay of society?
The main theme is about the perpetual failure of the Human Being in his quest for the absolute but also the opposition between the Man and the Divine. Man wants to be greater than the Divine, greater than he is and keep failing in his quest for the absolute because his meaningless condition as a mere mortal is unable to understand a tiny part of this immensity. It’s an hopeless struggle with an inevitable conclusion. Man will always be caught by his lower instincts, his desires and his egoism. The Human Being, starting from a will to become a better Man, will always turn his quest for the absolute into a mean of domination in order to control his environment and people. This thematic is discussed in a lot of biblical stories. So, we asked our friend to get the inspiration from those biblical stories to write the lyrics of the songs. The story of Babel, Noah, Cain and the Dante’s initiatory route with Virgile are all told and expressed in our songs. These examples show that the immensity which surround us, called God by the Human Being or natural elements, will always bring the Man to the reality; to his mortal and meaningless condition.
Regarde Les Hommes Tomber is signed to Les Acteurs de l’Ombre Productions, a label specialized in black metal and that have released albums from bands such as Pensées Nocturnes and The Great Old Ones. How do you feel about the work that the label has done so far? Is it easier for a band to work with such a specialized and “smaller” label?
Indeed, “Les acteurs de l’ombre” is a small Label but that is his strength. Gerald, the boss, sign few band. Thus, he can release one or two album a year. Him and his team are deeply invested for the bands and do an amazing work. Without them, we would not be there.
The band’s name was inspired by the movie title of the French director Jacques Audiard. I have to add that I highly enjoy his movies, just to mention a few, I’d say Un Prophète and De battre mon coeur s’est arrêté. Are you fans of his works in general or just the 1994 movie (which is amazing as well). Or did you just like the name/ title? In addition to that, do you enjoy the movies produced in France and if so, could you share with us some of the titles?
Unfortunately, I’m the only person of the band who doesn’t like French cinema! Haha! The others members of the band could much better talk about it. It’s Antoine, the other guitarist who found the band’s name because, indeed, he likes movies of Jacques Audiard. This title fits perfectly with the atmosphere of our music and lyrics. Personally, I’m a big fan of Japonese Cinema. Movies of Takeshi Kitano inspire me a lots. I also like movies of Hayao Miyazaki, Makoto Shinkai and Momoru Hosoda! I like the beauty and the slowness of these movies. They are contemplative and dreamlike. They have a pessimistic vision but they always have an optimistic and a hopeful end. Moreover, musics from those movies are wonderful and inspire me a lot. I think particularly to Joe Hisaishi and Tenmon, Miyazaki and Makoto Shintai’s fetish composers.
About your live shows, please, describe to us how they are and what can the fans expect from your live performances.
Well, chroniclers who come to our shows are the best person to talk about it! Generally, What you can read about us is the fact that our live shows are intense and hypnotic. There is no downtime in our shows. We often notice that the public is captivated from beginning to end. From our side, we give the best of our energy and we are often in a trance. Last April, we performed at the Roadburn Festival. Public from this festival is very demanding. It’s a well informed public. At the end of the set, we had a great ovation. We found this very touching and that proves that the public can feel our emotions thanks to our music.
You’ve stated on interviews that the band members are “music geeks”, that you enjoy studying music and its history, evolution. Could tell us what are the main aspects and subjects concerning music that you all enjoy studying the most. And for those that love music as well, but don’t play instruments, that have never been involved in a band at all, but would like to know more about it, about music itself, to educate himself or herself (not about learning how to play, but, as I mentioned “music”), what works or paths would you suggest?
Ha! I like your question. Music is a universe incredibly rich and vast. As you say, each person have their own way to live this passion: there is the musician, the fan, the collector, the chronicler, the photographer, etc…There are so many different styles, books and methods written about music that it’s difficult to answer you. The advice I would give is to be curious and have the desire to discover something new. It’s very important to create oneself its own music culture. It’s also important to be interested in the music’s origins to know the history of the different music trends. It’s like the work of an historian. If a person is passionate, she will conduct some research on music and will go beyond of what you can hear at the radio or TV. It’s the same thing for an instrument. When you are a passionate, you always look for new sonorities to make music evolve. I also think that for a musician, it’s important not to be locked in a particular style/trend. For instance, even though I’m in a Metal band, I’ve been studying classical guitar for ten years and today I have a lot of fun playing guitar in a choir.
How do you feel over the internet role when it comes to music nowadays? Do you feel that the internet has helped you to reach a higher audience? I ask this because so many musicians complain about the illegal downloads and see the internet almost like something negative. Please, share your views on this with us.
We have no problem with the internet! We can count on the internet because thanks to this media you can broadcast music in the whole world. In my opinion, the negative side is that nowadays music is accessible to all and it’s hard to stand out from the crowd. In France, we got well known thanks to concerts and not by the internet. Nowadays, everybody can broadcast music on the internet, but you can judge of the quality of a band only during live shows. It’s also thanks to the label’s big work “Les acteurs de l’ombre”. The internet is just another support on which you can count on.
This is a part of the interview in which I often ask about the tastes and lives of the musicians. Nothing too detailed though. What are your main interests outside the musical world? Could you share some with us?
Good question! As you could see, I’m really interested in japanese culture. I’m in an association which promote Japanese culture in Nantes. We propose animations and we take part to many events. I’m also a big fan of Science Fiction! I read many books and watch many movies on this topic. In Nantes, we have an important international festival of Science Fiction called “Les Utopiales”! It’s always a big day in the year. I like a lot sport and the martial arts, but because of music I have no time to practice sport anymore.
And so we come to the end of this interview. I hope you and the readers enjoyed it. One more time I’d like to thank you for your time and wish the band the best in the future. Do you have any last words for the readers?
We do thank you !
All photos belong to their rightful owners.
Label link: http://www.lesacteursdelombre.net/productions/June 9, 2014