!!!FRENCH PROG-THRASH METAL!!!
We had a conversation with Gabriel (Guitar) & Jean-Gauthier (Vocals) . Enjoy!
Welcome to the FILTHY DOGS OF METAL Webzine.
1. Tell us a few things about PRESCIENCE (Members, Starting Year etc).
Gabriel: We first started playing together around 2012.
In the beginning we were only playing old-school thrash covers, mostly raw and punkish stuff like early Slayer, Sodom or Toxic Holocaust.
We had a few line-up changes during those years and we only became a serious band after Jean-Gauthier (singer) joined us in 2016.
That was around this time that I started writing original music that was more ambitious.
We settled on the name PRESCIENCE in 2017, so you could say that the band was truly born in 2017.
I think those first years were really formative because that's during that time that we learned to play together, and did our first few shows.
2. This year you have released as a Digital format your Demo ''Out Of The Grave''. What is the Feedback from your audience as well as from the Press? Are you in search for a label?
Gabriel: The overall feedback was really positive. Especially considering the fact that this is just a demo, we didn't expect much.
We play in a really small niche, prog-thrash, and there isn't really a scene for that in France, apart from a few select bands like Extravasion...
but we were surprised to learn that people were finding our music, liking it, and even coming back to it.
When I take a look at the comments under our demo on youtube, there a aren't hundreds of them, but it seems that people that are enjoying it are like, really fucking enjoying it, and that's awesome. Same for the reviews: we only got a couple, which is already great for a demo, and they were really flattering.
Are we in search of a label? To be honest it's not something we care about right now. Our first focus is to make more music and put out a full album, then we'll see.
3. Label or DIY and why?
Jean-Gauthier : I have mixed feelings about this. Obviously we went for a DIY approach with this demo, and I guess we had good feedbacks about it, especially
in the idea of creating a unique object for each physical copy. But labels can often help to find the proper places to record, and can help you financially if you
are lucky enough, so both ways seem valuable to me.
Gabriel: I agree. I personally love the DIY approach because I enjoy being part of all the steps of the creative process: be it the conception of the artwork,
the making of the packaging, the shipment of the demos... I think it gives you a better perspective about the music and the scene in general.
And at the other side of the spectrum, it's a great way to give something special to the fans, something unique rather than a manufactured product.
That's one of the main reasons we chose to have our first demo handmade and serigraphed (by artistexpedition Zoé Metreau), rather than the usual cheap burned CD.
We don't have a lot of fans and we don't play big shows, so we want to offer something cool to the few people that actually care about our music.
4. Your music is Thrash Metal with a Progressive touch, sometimes it reminds me VOIVOD & CORONER so, which are your main influences (Favourite Artists / Bands etc.)
Gabriel: Yeah Voivod and Coroner are a huge influence for sure. I really love old-school thrash/death with a prog touch.
Bands like Atheist, Death, Edge of Sanity, Gorguts... these bands have the raw agression and natural sound of oldschool thrash/ death, but also lots of creative harmonies, rythms and song structures.To me, this mix between raw agression and more refined musical ideas is really appealing, and in a way that's what I aim for when I compose for Prescience.
As far as more modern bands go, Vektor and Revocation are also huge source of inspiration for me. I think you can even hear a little bit of Vektor in Haunted Cosmos, in the last third of the song. I found their last album, Terminal Redux, to be absolutely mind-blowing. And to this day I'm still speachless everytime I listen to it.
I really appreciate that they are trying to take thrash to a different place which sadly, is quite unusual in the scene these days.
Classic prog-rock and prog in general are for sure my biggest source of inspiration outside of metal. The strange, syncopated and dissonant riffs of King Crimson had a massive influence
on my playing. And it may not be obvious, but it's because of the influence of bands like Rush and Yes that bass plays such a key role in our music,
and that I compose basslines and guitar lines that complete or answer each other rather than playing in unison all the time.
5. Do you prefer Vinyl, Tape, CD or Digital Format and why is that?
Jean-Gauthier : Every format has its pros and cons. Obviously people are keen on vintage things, such as vinyls and tapes. It's been a while since I have bought a CD,
apart from the ones I really want to buy, mostly at gigs. The digital format is not the end of music, as you can often hear it, because without it I'm not sure
we could do such interviews, for foreign websites. We noticed that we had listeners in the US, in Latin america, in eastern Europe. Even if it is on a small scale,
it is an easy and revolutionary way to have listeners worldwide. I also think it is quite democratic to be able to find almost everything on the internet, in every
Gabriel: I'm definitely not a vinyl guy, at least from a sonic point of view. To me it's absolutely insane to actually pay more to listen to music
that was recorded digitaly through a medium that will add unwanted noise. I totally get it for old stuff that was recorded analog, because the sound was
thought through for that format. But listening to say, Cattle Decapitation, on vinyl, in 2019... what the hell? Haha!
One thing I love about vinyl is the extended artwork and booklet. In my opinion that's the heart of that discussion. Right now I feel like digital formats are really lacking on that front.
Most of the time if you get a digital copy of an album, you'll get a little .pdf or .jpeg of the artwork and the lyrics and that's it. It's not immersive at all.
I think the digital format will become something else than a 'convenient' alternative when more artists start to actually create real digital packagings as an extension of their music.
Like what Björk did with Biophilia.
6. Describe your ideal live show as a performance Band. Have you already experienced that?
Jean-Gauthier : We had nearly a dozen of shows in Strasbourg (France), where most of the members are based in. Concerts are always exciting : it is as stressful as it can
give you a great amount of adrenaline. I try to do my best to serve the narrative purpose of our music by trying to perform or reenact on stage what I am talking about,
even if most of what you say is not always understood live. I love to be on stage, and I had to work hard and to improve on how my performance could serve the music, and
not being just a pretext for me to do my own show. This is what a band is about, and what you should not forget. But at the same time I love to drive people nuts, inviting them to
get crazy and moshing. Most of our concerts were pretty badass in this way and I feel we are all proud of it. We can't wait to confront to some other audiences, who don't
know a damn about us, to keep on improving and delivering the best we can to invite the audience to a weird dancing journey through our songs.
7. Which things, do you think, a Band should sacrifice in order to succeed?
Have you ever sacrificed anything in your life for a better future of your Band?
Jean-Gauthier : Well, obviously we all have to sacrifice things we could normally do on weekends to rehearse. As I live a hundred miles from Strasbourg now, it is
more complicated for me to be there every week. I guess it is not just a sacrifice, but it is more about how the work you put into it is necessary, and does not become
only a constraint. We are not thinking about succeeding at first, but we try to give our best to deliver a proper job that people can like of course, but also, and this is
the most important, something we are proud of.
Gabriel: I think it's more about trade-offs than sacrifices. You have to know what makes you happy and what comes first.
It's not always easy to save 2 hours everyday to practice or compose. But I love practicing guitar and composing music so I'm ok with it.
Like Jean-Gauthier said, when you want to create something that you can be proud of there's no shortcuts.
Concerning 'success' it depends on what you mean: speaking from an artistic standpoint, if you manage to create something
that feels both personnal and accomplished then, to me, you're successful.
8. Which attributes, do you think, that a new Heavy Metal Band should have in order to gain identity and be unique?
Jean-Gauthier : In my opinion, the fact that Gabriel has a vision of what he wants, a composition and progressive approach about what he wants his music to convey
is a good way to do something of our own. Of course, the whole band talks a lot about the music itself, and keeps on going better by additional thoughts that comes
from everyone. Gabriel gave me a subject he wanted to explore, and I try to write lyrics that can feed my thoughts about it, and death is a subject I often reflect about,
but also fits to the atmosphere of the songs. So I would say that trusting each other and having a vision of what you do is a good way to be "unique",
even if the word sounds a bit pretentious, because we are all bringing our own various influences into the songs. The additions of different backgrounds is something
important to create an identity.
Gabriel: It's such a complicated topic. People are so different and work in different ways. You have to be confident enough to trust you own ideas and see greatness in them.
But you also have to be honest with yourself in order to separate what's good from the garbage. And to do that properly you also have to set yourself free of any expectation.
I tried many times to write a pure Thrash song - something like Razor or Sodom - but everytime it turned out to be shit.
I took me a while to realize and accept that I was much more proficient at writing proggy stuff.
Now I'm at a point where I'm starting to discern what the 'Presience sound' or the 'Prescience-style riffing' is.
And to complete Jean-Gauthier's point, it's also essential to know the strengths and weaknesses of every member and use it to our advantage.
For example I know that Alex (bass) has a really agressive playing style, so I always try to write parts that will fit his style ;
I also know that Chris (guitar) is a much more skilled guitarist that I am, and I know that I can trust him for writting leads in the weirdest keys and time signatures
(see: his solo in Haunted Cosmos).
9. Do you believe that Bandcamp and other Digital Platforms help the new Heavy Metal Bands? Which, do you think, is the ideal way for a Band to promote its work?
Gabriel: For sure. Bandcamp is such a useful plateform, not only for starting bands like us, but for independant bands, or any band that runs low on money
and can't afford to create and keep a website going. I really want to stress out how user-friendly this site is. They make it so simple to sell merch, customize your page,
add stuff like image maps. I'm still amazed that was able to set up our page in one afternoon with no previous experience or knowledge about web design.
With websites like Bandcamp, Soundcloud or Youtube it's really easy to make you music available to most people.
I think that should be your absolute priority: people who are actually interested in your music should be able to find it easily.
Same goes for stuff like lyrics, bio, contact, etc. Make it so that you give the most to the ones that want to dive deep into your work.
Again, that's why we tried to do something unique for our demo.
10. Do you know anything about the Hellenic Metal Scene?
Jean-Gauthier: I have already seen Septicflesh live, which was pretty kickass. I would lie if I told you I am a huge connoisseur of the greek metal scene. But as you
speak about Hellenic, Greece is always an important country for anybody who comes from a literary background, such as Alex and I.
Your country is the basis of western culture. Reading Homer is still an amazing experience today. I read it quite lately, when I was a student, and it actually blew my mind :
most of the narrative tricks are as bright as eternal. Thinking about Greece makes me think about how even the most ancient philosophers, such as Plato, had an influence on Sci-fi,
which we are all keen on, and it is crazy to imagine that he has been able to think reality through a kind of virtuality before the computer era.
I am also a huge Arsenal FC fan, and I really like the youngster Mavropanos and the famous Sokratis (I guess he has nothing to do with the philosopher) :
a solid, rough and scary looking colossus.
Gabriel: Yeah Septic Flesh are great. I remember when Communion came out, I was instantly hooked.
I cannot think of a lot of bands that manage to create such a dark and profound atmosphere, while at the same time remaining that catchy.
And they manage to be symphonic without being cheesy. Which is something that, as a huge Emperor fan, I really appreciate.
As far as Thrash goes I like Suicidal Angel a lot. They've got just the right amount of death metal in their sound, and their riff are evil as hell.
I've also heard a bit of Chronosphere, they're pretty cool too.
11. What are your future plans?
Gabriel: Right now we are working on new songs. Our main focus is to create a complete concept album that will continue the story that we started on 'Out Of The Grave'.
In the meanwhile, we'll soon release a second print of 'Out The Grave'. This one will also be handmade by Zoé Metreau and will be limited to 200 copies.
The packaging will be different that the first print.
I can't tell much about it yet but it will be a unique object, totally done DIY, and it will look killer.
12. Thank you very much for your time & Keep up the good work! The closure is yours.
Gabriel: Thank you so much for giving us a platform, we really appreciate it.
To us it's still insane that people thousands of kilometers away, not only heard our music, but enjoyed it enough to feature us on their website.
Stay tuned and keep an eye on our bandcamp!
By Steve the Filthy Dog.