Greetings over there. Thank you very much for the opportunity to interview a band that I really like. Well, how could I not, with your musical style and your lyrical theme, I think it would be impossible not to. Please, introduce yourself to our readers.
Thanks! I’m Xavier and I play guitar in a band called The Great Old Ones. We are influenced by a lot of things, including black metal and HP Lovecraft universe.
Please, tell us about the new album Tekeli-Li, released in April, 2014. I should congratulate you on the quality and greatness of it. How was the recording process and what about the response from the fans so far?
Thanks again! Benjamin (guitar/vocals) composed 80% of the material. He started to write right after the release of our debut album Al Azif in 2012. We let the music evolve in rehearsals, working on sound and arrangements, until a point when we feel everything is complete. Then we recorded everything in studio in the end of 2013. The album was released on april 16th, and the response is great so far. We have a lot of feedback on it, and even if it’s a negative one, people seems to understand what we are trying to do. And that’s great.
The band themes its lyrics on Lovecraft works, which, in my humble opinion, is something magnificent. The latest album was based on “At the Mountains of Madness”. Why did you decide to write about this book particularly?
We just feel that it’s one his best work, and Benjamin felt more confortable writing on this novel. I think the story fits pretty well with a musical adaptation.
Still on the Lovecraft subject, what are your favorite short-stories by this great author? You already create a song about my favorite one (Rue d’Auseil). I always thought that, done correctly, The Music of Erich Zann would turn into a great song (which, fortunately happened in your case).
Strangely, Rue d’Auseil is not a track we really enjoy. We even hesitated to add it on the album at the time. Can’t really tell you why. We didn’t played it since more than a year I think. But I’m glad you like it.
About our favorite stories, well obviously At The Mountains Of Madness, but also The Case of Charles Dexter Ward and of course the Call Of Cthulhu.
Have you received any feedback from Lovecraft fans, but not metal fans? If so, how did they feel over your work? I know this is something not so easy to happen, but I’d love to know the perspective of your music from a non-metal fan but also Lovecraft admirer. I say this because, in my humble opinion, the music fits so well the atmosphere of his “worlds”…
Some of us subscribed on a French forum about HPL. I know we had some feedback from there. Of course, they are interested by the work done on lyrics and artworks much more than the normal music listeners, but you can’t force people to like metal music.
I’ve read an interview with the band in which was stated that you were not trying to revolutionize the metal scene, but rather play the music that fits with your vision of Lovecraft’s work. I have to say that, even though we see lots of new atmospheric black metal (with shoegaze influences) bands being created each day, your music stands out. It’s not something that we hear from every single one of the mentioned bands. Generally speaking, differently from I asked on the second question, how do you start creating music, does it flow naturally or do you sit down and think about it? And what do you feel that the band does that helps your music stand out from the “crowd”?
We don’t really have the impression to stand out of the crowd. There’s so much quality music out there.
Usually, Benjamin writes a whole song structure alone with every instruments and he records a demo. It’s really natural for him. He rarely spend more than a day to write a whole song. Then, we work in rehearsal for several months with his demo for a starting point. We let the music evolve and we record a second demo all together before the studio.
Both of your art-works look stunning. Please, let us know who is the creator of them and how do you feel about the importance of cover-arts, booklets, etc. Are you an “conservative” fan, that likes to get the CD in your hands, read the booklet while listening to the music or do you prefer the digital releases?
Jeff Grimal, who is our second guitarist and singer, is responsible of everything visual in this band. He is a really talented and prolific artist. When we start thinking about an album, he just starts painting with theses same ideas in mind, and we just have to choose one of his work.
We give a lot of importance to artworks. if we’re releasing a physical album, it has to be beautiful. There’s no point releasing a CD with a bad artwork today, even if the music is awesome.
Personaly, I like both physical and digital. I buy much more digital stuff actually (thanks bandcamp) but I buy CDs or LPs when I like the artwork as much as the music.
Les Acteurs de l’Ombre Productions has released your albums. How do you feel about their work so far? Just another day I interviewed another band that is on their roster, Regarde Les Hommes Tomber, and I must say that this label does feature great bands.
The relation we have with LADLO is the best you can imagine. There’re doing an incredible job promoting our music, they are always supportive and they are the nicest individuals on the planet. They’re the reason why we’re here today and we’re really thankfully.
We did a mini tour with RLHT 2 months ago and it was really great! They are great people to tour with and they are an incredible live band.
You should check out the debut album of Paramnesia, they just sign on LADLO and they are great too.
I know the band isn’t involved in occultism, but are interested around this subject in cinema, literature and art in general. Same thing with me, I love the subject, but never dealt with this and I’m not interested either. Could share with us your favorite movies, books and art works that are about this subject?
I like the aesthetic of occultism. I really love the way black or doom bands use these visuals, that’s fascinating. I lack of culture on literature on this subject, but one of my favorite movies is related to occultism is Rosemary’s baby from Polanski. I love how the atmosphere evolves with barely nothing all along this movie.
All interviews should contain some silly or fun questions, just for the heck of it, and it might become a bit too serious. Have you watched the South Park episode that was about Cthulhu? If so, what did you think about that My Neighbor Totoro parody song about Cartman and Cthulhu? In my humble opinion, it’s just one of the best songs ever, hehe.
Yeah I watched it! and I’m laughing again just thinking about this episode. I’m not sure Lovecraft would be a fan of South Park if he was alive today and saw this haha
Please, share with us the future plans for The Great Old Ones now that you’ve released Tekeli-Li.
Mainly touring. We’re doing a couple of festivals and gigs this summer, in France and Germany. Then we have a whole european tour in preparation for November, but I can’t tell you more about it as nothing is confirmed. And then we should return in UK early 2015.
Alas we reach the end of this interview. It was, for me, a great pleasure to interview you. I’d like to thank you once again and wish all the luck for the band. Do you have any closing arguments, words or thoughts for our readers?
Thanks to you! And sorry for the time we took to answer your questions. And thank you all for the support since Tekeli-li has been released. Catch us on tour and stay tinned here: thegreatoldonesband.com
Label link: http://www.lesacteursdelombre.net/productions/June 11, 2014