French black metal/shoe gaze outfit Les Discrets embrace the idea that love can exist between lovers even in the afterlife. The band’s latest effort, Septembre Et Ses Dernieres Pensees, expresses that notion with startling complexity and style. With intensely emotive visuals accompanying the music, the new effort from Les Discrets alternates between melancholy romanticism and black metal influence. Vocalist/guitarist/visual artist Fursy Teyssier unveiled his thoughts on the new record, the inner workings of Les Discrets and what lies ahead for the band in the future.
The complex sounds of Septembre Et Ses Dernieres Pensees draw from a diverse number of realms, stylistically speaking, and the record paints a big picture in the mind of the listener. From what aspects of life itself did Les Discrets draw inspiration during the creation of the music?
Les Discrets is music about death and love, mostly. So it basically paints the fears I have about losing the woman I love. It also tells about the possibility of a life after death, in which lovers are together again forever. It’s a big fear I have since I felt in love and it’s something which is becoming stronger years after years. I think it’s something I’ll always be afraid of, and it’ll always inspire me. The next album still speaks about that.
The new record is available as a standard digipak version as well as an art book edition, featuring over 50 pages of artwork, accompanied by a short film. How did the visual counterparts manifest, and how would you describe their relation to the songs themselves?
Music helps creating pictures and pictures help creating music. That’s the way my brain works. The paintings with the music are making a whole thing that really represents my state of mind of these last seven years. The artbook edition is really the best shape the album could have. It’s an honour to have been able to release such a fantastic object. I am very happy with Prophecy.
The work contained on Septembre… spans a period of seven years (2003-2009). A lot can happen in a person’s life in that amount of time. How has this concept shown through in both the music and visual side of the project?
I don’t really know. I think that this fear and fantastic thing to be in love has grown in me years after years, so I didn’t really notice. I really noticed I was afraid of losing my girl in 2007, that’s why I did this animated film “Tir Nan Og” (which is in the artbook edition). Of course, I changed a lot but I don’t know how it influenced my way of making music. When I listen to this album, I clearly recognize those latest 7 years. Every song has its period. That’s nice to be able to freeze my memories and states of mind in a song.
The sounds of Les Discrets do contain elements of black metal flavor, but for the most part, maintain a rather melancholic approach and attitude. What are some of the bigger influences in the metal genre from which Les Discrets has drawn an artistic spark?
I listened a lot of postrock these latest years, but now I’m done with that. So, it has been and will be indeed a great influence to me even in the future. I would say that my inspiration comes from bands such as Primordial, Summoning, Arvo Part, Ulver (Kvelsfanger – I didn’t know Bergtatt when I composed the album.. but now I do!!), Arctic Plateau and indeed Anathema. I’m also listening a lot of french singers, such as Dominique A. The band that really changed my way of composing music was Epic45. This is THE band that “changed my life”.
Where the visual art is concerned, each piece seems to portray its own small part in a potentially enormous story. Can you describe the process of constructing the artbook and short film, along with the meanings of the imagery within each?
Wow, what a compliment! That’s what I wanted to say. I’m glad that at least someone felt it this way! Thank you! I painted the pictures after having recorded the album in studio. Each song was a picture in my mind, so I constructed the album with those pictures, like a film. Intro, film, end. I could write thousand lines to explain why this song is here and why there are crows there, etc. But I want to keep this for me, so that each of you can imagine what you want. But nothing was done quickly and without meaning. Everything is ALWAYS linked to the cover art, with those two lovers facing Death without fear.
As a visual artist, what or who are your biggest inspirations in the creation of your work?
John Bauer, Arthur Rackham, Caspar David Friedrich, Edmund Dulac, John William Waterhouse, Victor Hugo (writter but also a great painter). Romanticism. Always!!!!
Does Les Discrets have any plans to tour or perform outside of Europe in the future?
Yes. I do have plans and I have the will to play live. I just wait for the second album to be released or about to be released to start playing. I have the lineup (same as Alcest live) and almost all the tracklisting for the shows!. We just need to practice…especially me with vocals! Outside of Europe, I would love to, let’s wait for proposals…
In what ways do the work and function of Les Discrets differ from past projects such as Amesoeurs, which shared the same drummer?
Les Discrets is quite close (in term of shape, but not musically) from Amesoeurs as it describes a lot of feelings related to a similar concept. For Amesoeurs, it was the city and the human being in the modern world. For Les Discrets, it’s life and the fact of dying. As you’re speaking about Winterhalter the drummer, I want to point something I said in previous interviews. I thought that composing the drums meant to say “I want a 4/4 with double kick there and then a slow tempo afer it”. But I actually noticed that this is not composing drums at all! So I want that to be clear, because Winterhalter actually composed 70% of the drums (breaks and nuances which is composition, of course…) based on the ideas I had. We rehearsed 4 days before entering the studio and he recorded the drums in 2 days… He is really a talented drummer and I had to clear this point because he played very well considering the short time we had. I really don’t want people to think that he was just a robot who played what I wanted. We discussed it, and my mistake was to think that I composed drums, and it was not true.
What plans, outside of performing live, does the group have for the remainder of 2010? Anything else to add?
We’ll enter the Drudenhaus Studio again in January if everything comes as expected, to record the second Les Discrets album! I cannot wait. I’m even more satisfied with this one than the first one. I have more experience and improved in composition. Winterhalter also improved A LOT at drums and a drum maker created his own drumkit with the perfect sound for him and for Les Discrets too. He is really proud of his 28′ kick (he is a big fan of 1970’s music ) so I am pleased to tell it for him!! I’m really excited to start recording with him again. Audrey, the female singer will sing more on the next album too, and I think we’ll write all the lyrics together. My favorite songs are the ones we’re singing together, as it really fits the Les Discrets lovers concept, and I love her voice. Thank you for this very interesting interview!