Hacride interview

"Gojira have aided French metal, but this is not enough to push a band into the spotlight"

22/05/2013 @ 14:42
Having been experimental since their beginning, they manage to sound permanently modern, having created their own personal sound. We ‘re talking about French metallers Hacride, who have returned with their fourth album, "Back To Where You've Never Been", attempting -and achieving- their reconstitution. Rocking.gr spoke with the band's newest member, frontman Luiss Roux, about the new album and also the French metal scene in general, the true meaning of being 'modern' and 'progressive' and many other interesting stuff.

HacrideHello, I am Vagelis from Greece's Rocking.gr. Would you care to introduce  yourself and your band, for those who may not know who Hacride is?
Hi, my name is Luiss and I'm lead singer in Hacride. The band started ten years ago in the west region of France. This is our fourth album but it's the first one that I sing on. We are part of the extreme metal scene but our influences are broad, ranging from progressive metal to hard core and death metal.

So, new singer / new label / new album. It seems that Hacride is making a powerful comeback. How have the last four years been for the band?
I only joined the band last September so I'm not the right person to talk about this. From what I gathered Hacride has spent a lot of time on the road supporting "Lazarus". The composition for the new album began two years ago and the band lost both drummer and singer along the way. Flo Marcadet and myself joined the band successively and we are now coming back with a new formula. I guess you could say the last four years have been rather hectic but as the saying goes what does not kill you makes you stronger!

Hacride - Back To Where You've Never Been"Back To Where You've Never Been" is quite different as an album title than "Amoeba" and "Lazarus". Does it contain of an indication, regarding the band's current status?
It could be saying that we're coming back to our roots but doing things differently than we would have 10 years ago. To me the title means that you not only reach your ultimate goal but also go way beyond previous expectations. In other words it means that the only limits we have are the ones we set ourselves.

Personally, the first impression that the new album has made on me is that you achieved a more matured and determined sound. How would you say that you have evolved since your last album?
"Back To Where You've Never Been" is more straight forward and direct than "Lazarus". The compositions are shorter and the structures have been stripped down of anything unnecessary. Adrien's intent was to combine classical structures with technical riffs and make the music as uncluttered as possible. It was an interesting challenge for the band because it's harder to make things simple. It is also a very groovy album in terms of drumming dynamics due to Flo Maradet's integration.

HacrideWhat led you to your parting with your former vocalist, Samuel?
Sam left because he wanted to focus on other aspects of his personal life. Music requires a lot of time and dedication. We are not capable of making a living out of music so we need to work as well. It became impossible for him to keep a steady job, play with Hacride and still find enough time to spend with his family.

Alongside his replacement, you also welcomed a new drummer. How did each of them become a member of Hacride?
Flo Marcadet was a pretty natural choice since he also plays in Klone, which is a band that shares a longtime friendship with Hacride. He was accepted in the band after the first audition because he is a great drummer and a very nice guy. I was then contacted by the guys in September because they had seen me on stage covering a Pantera song with Trepalium. Flo also knew my vocal style through a band called Sinscale and we knew each other for a few years already.  I demoed one track from the new album back home and mailed it to them. A few days later Adrien called me and said they really liked what I did on the track. We met in a bar the following week, had a couple of beers and I was in the band.

HacrideWhich is the band's core, so to speak, regarding the songwriting / creative stuff? Have the new members contributed to the album as well?
Adrien composes the music and then we get together to discuss the arrangements and apply structure modification when it is necessary to do so. The concept for the record was already established between Sam and Adrien so it gave me a guideline, but I had complete freedom to write my own lyrics. Every member is responsible for his own instrumental parts but Adrien is sort of the mastermind behind the music and he gives us the vision. Our sound engineer/producer Franck Hueso is also a significant element of the band, we value his opinions a lot and he has an important final input.

There are definitely some new elements in the new album, leaning to a more 'light' prog rock sound, and a vibe which one could describe as Tool-ish. Which bands would you name as the most relevant to your current style?
Tool and Deftones influence us because they are the kind of bands that are not afraid to go beyond the boundaries of metal. We value their approach a lot because you can tell they are really in love with music. Modern metal bands like Meshuggah and Devin Townsend are also part of our musical package. We are also influenced by anything we can put our hands on. The truth is that we are very curious and open-minded about life and music in general.

HacrideYou are known for your concept themed lyrics. Do the new album's lyrics consist of a concept, as well? Could you tell us about it?
"Back To..." is about a transitional phase in life during which you have to choose between childhood dreams and the 'adult' world. I do not like the word 'adult' but you get the point. It's telling the story of a guy who wakes up one day and realizes he has missed his entire existence. The lyrics encourage the listener to find out what's truly meaningful to him and make it a priority. It's encouraging you to have faith in yourself and become who you are meant to be. There's a lot of anger and frustration in the lyrics because I'm tired of not knowing where I'm going with my life. I love music but I get very frustrated professionally speaking sometimes. I needed to express the disgust that I have for modern society and the working world. I do not want to end up bitter or addicted to alcohol because I do not believe in what I do every day. I meet a lot of ghosts in my everyday life and I feel that many of us just need to forget because our lives do not fulfill us entirely. I think Zombies are the metaphor for our general lack of passion.

HacrideMy first contact with the band was through "Amoeba", where I was initially attracted by your cover version of Ojos De Brujo's "Zambra". And I believe that this song played its part to the shaping of your unique personality. Has this kind of music been a constant influence for you? Would you explore any similar paths in the future?
We love many different kinds of music and we do not want to have any limitations so we could explore similar paths in the future. It will depend on our mood when the time comes to write another album.

Some could say that Hacride is following Gojira's steps, yet you've been around for more than a decade. Would you however say that Gojira's breakthrough has aided French bands like yourself to step forward?
I think Gojira is an exceptional band that does not have any equivalence in France. They have been around for longer than us; they are hard-working guys who completely deserve what's happening to them. Maybe they helped bringing some kind of awareness about the French metal scene worldwide but it's not enough to push bands like Hacride into the spotlight. We have to make it on our own and there's so much music out there nowadays that it makes it really hard to reach a similar level of success.

HacrideMost people characterize a band as 'modern' or 'progressive' according to other bands that it reminds us of. Yet both those terms' actual meanings are about constant change, beyond anything else. How could you define the state of being modern and progressive in today's metal music?
Being modern and progressive does not mean anything. I always had a problem with these terms because they have to be considered in a specific context. Hacride is modern because we try to push the music out of its original envelope and we like to experiment with sound. Pushing things forward in terms of musicianship and composition is what makes a band progressive. The complete opposite of that is for example a band like Darkthrone who intentionally decides to go backwards and aims for a simplified and more primitive approach. I respect bands who decide to revive the old metal glories and I think trying to unlearn your instrument can be very creative but it's not Hacride's objective at all. Being modern in metal nowadays means experimenting and always strive for personal improvement. Personally I do not have any preference about these two approaches and I actually do both with my other musical projects.

Luiss Roux (Hacride)So, is "Back To Where You've Never Been" an improved version of Hacride? Or is it rather the beginning of a new era?
It is the beginning of a new era definitely and I think the best of Hacride is yet to come. I intend to give 100% of my creativity and determination to make the best songs that we can.

Could you name five albums that you've been listening to, lately?
Glorior Belli's "The Great Southern Darkness", it is a very interesting French stoner black metal band. Shining's "Redefining Darkness", they are the ambassadors of suicidal black metal and Niklas Kvarforth is a fucking genius! Ghost's "Infestissumam", there's something unreal about this band. The songs are almost too catchy and good to be true. Deftones "Koi No Yokan", as usual Deftones made a great record and I'm glad they are back! Pig Destroyer's "Book burner", the most intense and frenetic grind core band that I know, it's filled with good riffs!

Thanks for the interview, man! Last words are yours...
Thanks for your interest in Hacride. I hope we get to play in Greece soon and I wish you the best. Cheers!