Chuck Schuldiner Project

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Interview with Jean Sébastien Poirier of This Deafening Whisper

So I had the honor yesterday of interviewing Jean Sébastien Poirier of the awesome hardcore band This Deafening Whisper. In the interview we talk about the band, their upcoming gig with Suicide Silence, their and metal music in general. I hope you enjoy it!

The band's Facebook is HERE
Be sure to "like" them!

And HERE is the audio

Jean, tell us about yourself.

I've been raised in a family of musicians, both of my parents are piano teachers. So I started out with the Cello when I was kid. By the age of 13 I quit because I really hated it. By the time I entered high school I noticed that I really missed music and that's when I started guitar. Since 12th grade is when I started to learn guitar by myself and write a few songs. That's when my first band started. And almost right away, almost 6 months afterwords I got my brother to learn the drums. He was tiny at the time, he was like 12, but he learned some basics. So we started out a band when I was 17 and he was 12. We stayed with that band for a long time but after a while it didn't make sense. We started with Offspring and Green Day and whatever we listened to at the time. Then we played that for 5-6 years before starting this one last year. Speaking about me, my influences go from Death Metal from Sweden to punk like Rise Against and Hardcore, to music scores like Danny Hoffman and John Williams. They were pretty big influences. That's it. I'm pretty fond of traveling and photography on the side as well.

Cool, so can you introduce This Deafening Whisper a little more? Can we have some history?

This band started out early 2011, from the ashes of our previous band which was called Hagen, which doesn't matter anymore. Anyway, the goal when we started this band was to make to make a sound that was influenced by metalcore and hardcore mostly. But we really wanted to have a big focus on an important atmosphere layered by piano or strings and maybe a little bit of electro. Basically I really wanted that side as well as that aggressiveness. But I wanted to escape from that trap that was singing choruses and screaming verses and super heavy breakdowns. Sometimes we have to do a little bit of that but I really wanted too not become another cliché band. So when we wrote that first EP when I wrote the lyrics and songs we really tried to build it up as a story with a real background and a scenario. So the main idea of the band is to have a big cinematographic element added to it. That was our main starting point. To keep on that track in the music and the videos, that kind of thing.

Well we definitely see that cinematographic aspect in your music video.

That's a good sign that you think so!

Would you like to tell us a little bit more about your music video?

Sure. We shot the video for Deadly Antagonism in February, no January. We didn't have a lot of cash to put in it. So we tried to find a good compromise between something that looked good for our first video and not just exploding our budget. In the end our singer Alban, who is also the founder of Dissension Productions it's like and photography company... He already had some contacts and some good friends who were really good photographers and camera guys. So we just took that little crew and rented big room in the suburbs. And we just wanted to shoot the video that we wrote. The core of that song is the mirror. The whole song is about how you feel when your nemesis dies, for example when the Joker dies for Batman. How you feel, when this goal in life disappears and your opposite side, like seeing yourself in the mirror. So we really wanted to play with that idea. So we hired one of our friends, not really an actor but he plays a little. I'm not going to lie, it's a simple video. But with not much of a budget, even if it's simple it can look pretty. I'm pretty happy for that.

I have to agree, it definitely comes across nicely without appearing corny and low budget.

(Laughs) The downside to it is that, I know many people who fell upon that video and go, “Ooh, they must be a big band.” Then they go to the facebook and go “Oh they're so young they haven't done much yet”. It's kind of a good thing as well.

It's pretty crazy. One of the things I really like about This Deafening Whisper is that when you guys play something you go all the way. When you play a heavy part it's like, full on deathcore, when you play a more melodic part it's like really really melodic. So how did you become a band that's so willing to go to both extremes?

Right away with the name of the band I wanted to show that contrast. This Deafening Whisper, I really like that name because I really like the antagonism between those two terms. It really shows a lot of aspects of us. I've always been torn apart between the influences of Rise Against and whatever, really melodic bands that I felt a really strong connection too and the really hardcore like All Shall Perish. I feel like, in order to play the heavy parts that really sound that heavy. Especially when you listen to an entire album, I know it can get pretty tiring to listen to only screams all along. But if you listen to only singing it feels like somethings missing. Sometimes we write the songs that way but other times it just comes naturally. I think you really need a balance. But I think more and more we're going to try to not really do the same pattern every song. Because it can be kind of repetitive when it's melody then scream then melody. So maybe some songs will be only hardcore and others will try to be more about melody but in an atmospheric way. We're still working on that though. It's always hard to find your real sounds like that. I know in shows some people will only want to headband, some will want to hear the lyrics and understand them. I think we're still trying to find our true sound.

What's interesting about you is that you're a Paris based band in France, a country mostly known for its black metal. So what's it like being a hardcore post hardcore band in a primarily black metal country?

Well, It's kind of surprise for me that you, as a foreigner view France primarily for it's black metal bands.

Well I bought this months issue of Metallian and the majority of the French bands in it are black metal.

Well I think that Metallian is only a specific part of the scene. But I think that from my point of view, I'm not really into that scene so maybe I'm not saying it that way it is, but I have this feeling that metal is just dead in France. (Laughter) We do have some kick ass bands like Betraying the Martyrs or Gojira. But the underground scene is not like in Germany or northern countries or England where you can feel that culture pretty much everywhere and you even have radio for that. In France, you can see a lot of core bands going up to like Early Seasons and Call to Sincerity. It's really coming up now. I think that's good, but more competition for us! As for the black metal, I feel that that's more Norway, which is the big place for that. I didn't really realize there was a big place for that in France.

Lets get into the Paris music thing, because we both live here. Whats weird I find, is that we kind of have a dichotomy. Like, in my experience Metallica rarely get's played on the radio, yet they sell out the Stade De France (An 80,000 seat stadium) Metallica is almost underground here.

True, that's a good question, it's still like, even if people listen to rock and metal they don't want to show it. Even for me it's kind of a mystery. How Metallica can fill the Stade. I think the thing you have you to see is that Paris, for most big bands, equals France. If you're a big fan of Metallica and you live in Nantes or Bordeaux or Marseille, and they have only one date here. Then you have to go. We have to see the statistics as to how many of the concert goers are Parisian or from other places in the country. For most big bands they will make one stop in France, and that's Paris. So, it's really hard to say. When I started rock I could count all my friends listening to it on the fingers on one hand. I always had a feeling that it was all about rap and electro and pop music over here. But now as I get into the scene a little deeper I see that yeah, people are here. But after you go to a lot of shows in Paris, probably you've done it, you will see that you recognize a lot of the same faces. It's not that big, always the same people that are just really active in that scene and really want to support and have fun. But in pure numbers. I couldn't explain the Metallica stuff, but it's really not that big.

Let's talk a little bit more about the image of This Deafening Whisper, how do you feel, being so much heavier than the vast majority of what is going on in Paris right now, how do you feel you're projected out into the music scene?

Thats a good question. Maybe it's just an image I have but people are a lot less open minded than in the US or the UK. I think that just for having a few melodies in the verses a lot of fans of deathcore and grindcore will hate us for that, however heavy we can be in the other parts. So I have a feeling that in france people are a little more close minded in that. “What I like is exactly like this, I want no melodies there, I want pure metal.” I feel that our audience will be mostly the ones that listen to less heavy stuff in general. Also because the image that we project shows that we're pretty nice guys. We don't look really badass, with super heavy tatoos and all that. I think we come across as a nice band overall with some heavy tunes. It's really tough to tell exactly, to judge your own band. We don't have enough comments right now to really tell you something objective, it would all be subjective. I don't know how people compare us to early seasons and all that. I hope that we'll find out a little bit more about that after Suicide Silence with some reviews and just hearing people talk online. That would be good.

Another point based on your image, is it because of this nice guy thing that none of you have long metal locks of satan?

Probably, there's such a difference now between the true metal community and.. we don't come across as true metalheads. The new scene with core its uh... I don't like to talk about it because I don't want people to think I care about it that much. But we just don't feel like it. We also all have jobs and studies on the side to worry about. We never felt like wearing leather, even if we apply to some of the dress codes of metal definitely not all of them. For me personally I never really cared about look at all. For example I really like Cradle of Filth and would even go see to them in concert but I don't care at all for the way they dress. Even Marilyn Manson I can listen to that.. but... I always stay pretty straightforward in the way I dress.

Are you worried that some people might think that you don't take metal seriously enough?

I guess that could definitely be bad for us for people who are a little less.. I don't know if it's about open minded, probably not. For people taking it seriously it could be kind of a drawback but I don't feel like the kind of music we do could really appeal anyway to someone who would listen to that kind of metal, black metal. Just the melodies, and our singer, I really like the way he sings and screams but we've kind of chosen our path. Sometimes I kind of lack arguments on that side..

So, what's going on with This Deafening Whisper right now?

Right now, we're definitely completely 100% focused on the show on the 14th. It's our first time playing to such a big crowd and in front of such a big band. We really know it's a win it or lose it situation. We really have to prove ourselves on that show. That's a lot of pressure. In august we're going to shoot a new video. We're going to go to the countryside and try to do things a bit differently and that will be kind of cool. That will all go to the preparation of the album, which we will recording in October, November and will be released that November or December. But it will depend, because we will try our best to find a label and the label will probably want to release ithe Cd itself. So we're probably not going to release it right away. But that's mostly what we're concerned about. Right after the show is done we're really going to focus on writing all the songs. We have to record more demos and work on the songs we already have. Because we really want this album to have a lot of variety, to have some kickass tracks and some real atmospheric layered ones. We really like the EP, but we feel that is really not the way we are right now. It will be less poppy, when we have melodies it will be a lot less poppy. We'll keep you updated on that. We're probably going to do some video shoots, like, in studio reports.

I'm already looking forward to it!

So am I! Already we have Deadly Antagonism and The Curse that will be in it also one that is already recorded that we will probably release in the summer to make another little tier. I don't want to say it's heavier and stuff because that's what every band say. It sounds more mature than the EP, less poppy. The melodies will be darker and sad. But it will still be there.

I have a lot of questions stemming off that response. First let's talk about the Suicide Silence show, how did that come about?

(Laughs) I can imagine that many bands are talking behind our backs, maybe that will draw a little jealousy! I think it's mostly because, the one organizing it is either“Orage Rock” they're the ones who produce every big band coming to Paris. And the other is... Only Talent. So we already had the opportunity to work with this company (Orage Rock). Most of their shows, if you've been to a metal show going to Le Batofar (A venue in Paris), are organized by them.  So we already had played with a few bands for that guy and he already knew us and where we were going. We kept a good contact with him. Just the fact that our... we really tried hard to contact everyone who could help us to get gigs. We just got lucky, I don't know why the scales have tipped to our side. I don't know if it's the video, or on our Facebook we have a lot of likes, things are pretty active. I'm not quite sure, but I think it's mostly the singers part of the job to take part of all of that stuff. I guess we're pretty lucky that's all I know. We just have to earn that luck now and I'm a little worried about that!

My personal theory is that Thor came down and was like “This Deafening Whisper is going to kill all the hardcore bands”

(Laughter) That's kind of a heavy burden to carry on our shoulders. I think that maybe the fact that we have all these samples, we really work a lot with samples, and once it's in a really good room and make a really kickass effect. I think that could give us a little plus over other bands. I think that the audience of Suicide Silence is a little more open minded, they like really heavy stuff, but most of the time they're all for a little experimentation, so I think it's a good fit.

Well aren't you already one of the biggest hardcore acts in Paris?

Hmm... I wouldn't say so, no, honestly I wouldn't say that. We're just too young. Compared to other bands I think our big drawback is that we haven't had that many live shows yet so we're not as well known. So many bands are ok to play anywhere and everywhere in the suburbs and stuff like that. Us, we don't think that's good. I don't know if that's a good thing or a bad thing but we don't have that much live experience yet. So after the CD is out I think that's what we really need to work on. I think that we have a good energy on stage and we can share it pretty well with the audience. The last shows especially at Le Klub (another Paris venue) especially as musicians. But on the technique side, no I can't say we're the best around. We're working towards that but no. Even bands like Early Seasons and Betraying the Martyrs as well. We really need to look up to them, we're still in a learning phase.

So, are you planning to do anything completely new at the Suicide Silence show? Are you going to play a new song, have a new effect or something? Or will it be business as usual?

This is going to be our first attempt with a new kind of communication with the public. We're going to really try and take advantage of having such a big room and audience. As we're going to play, there's going to be three bands, I don't know the first one, but we're going to be second on the list. So we're really going to try to take advantage of that and learn about the public. As for songs, we have a little longer set, 40 minutes, so we are going to do almost all the songs of the EP except Teaching to Whisper, because that one way to punk pop and will not fly at this kind of show and we're going to play three new songs including Deadly Antagonism and the Curse which most people probably already know. And we're going to play a new song which is pretty heavy and most people don't know yet because we haven't really done anything with it yet asides from playing it at the last show.

And, no covers?

Nope, no covers.

This is going to be intense (Laughter) Let's get a bit more philosophical now that we've talked about the band a bit. So, why do you play metal?

When I try to explain this to people that don't like and don't understand metal it's always a little tough. It all comes down to why I play music, which is for the emotions, and the ones that really talk to me, the deepest ones, they're the ones that I feel are really intense. The ones that will take my guts and raise my hairs. I just don't find it in most of the pop, I find it mostly in the negative feelings. Songs won't get to me as deep when they're just joyful and happy and light. They have to be talking about anger and sadness. They can be about hope and stuff too, but they really have to get me deep. If I had to compare metal music too music in general it would be like comparing Wagner's music to classical music. That big brass and super intense [sound]. That's really what appealed to me in metal. Just the way when I play it, as I write most of the lyrics, I try to always keep in mind what is talking to me, I don't want to lie or do something because it is only commercial. I want the feelings to come first. It has to be super intense. Even if everyone doesn't get it it's ok, It's like modern art, you don't expect everyone to understand it and like it. Most certainly not. Some people just want to listen to music to relax and chill and dance. But that's not for me, for me it's taking it to heart. Especially when I play in front of the audience. I see some people that scream the words as well. It resonates to me. It tells them something, and that's the best reward I can get. I know I love what I do and I give my whole self and my my bandmates as well. I think that's the best reward that you can get.

If you could sign to any record label in the world, which one would you sign to an why?

Hmm, good question. Maybe, I really like the way of doing business of Sumerian Records. I know from Betraying The Martyrs, who I know a little more, as I've worked for them. But the way they organize the tours and treat their musicians I think that it would fit us really well. I just know that we don't have that djent technicality that a lot of their bands have. Otherwise I guess Fealess, definitely not something like, if they asked us we wouldn't say no, but Rise Records. I really would hate a label that says here you need to have melody and here you need to do this kind of scream I think that would be really hard for all of the band to accept. I guess Sumerian or maybe Fearless, or maybe Epitaph, Epitaph would be kind of cool.

Talking about labels for a minute, how do you feel about the modern metal scene?

I think that there's a lot of good bands, i'm not really ashamed to say that most of the things on my ipod are really new. Like 5 years or less, I really like it, I don't spit on it like some who only listen to the classics. I think more and more it's becoming more extreme in every direction. It's like the heavy songs, and the really core bands have never been as extreme and fast as they are now days. In every direction it's hard to keep track. You really need to have an open mind to keep track of all the new stuff out there. I know that mixing rap and metal is not really new but when you see a lot of bands like Enter Shikari who I really like. I really like that side of the scene, thats not afraid of anything to try new stuff. But at the same time it's really tiring to see a lot bands copying each other and trying to rip each other off. All the emocore bands and that kind of stuff is really lame. Even like, Attack Attack, we sometimes play stuff that could sound like them to some people but I really hope people won't put us in the same bag. It seems like there's to many bands for one style. Like that style is good but you can do the same thing over and over again. It's hard too talk about the scene in general. But I think that there's two sides to it there's the good side of all the new creativity and professionalism too, now it's easier to do something pro for cheap. But on the other side because of the internet and it being so easy for people to hear your music it's easy to feel to feel almost overrun because...

Theres so many bands


What do you feel is going to be the future of metal? Now that we've distorted the vocals, the guitars, and now the rhythms with djent, what are we going to do now?

It's a really good question. It's really hard to say. It seems like so many of the things, it seems like after you reach a certain level you can't really much more technical than Meshuggah or Born of Osiris. The only way to get more technical is to forget the classic rules of music. So maybe some of the bands will go down that path. I kind of have a feeling that a big trend will be going back to simple stuff. I think that stuff like nu-metal and really simple core will have a kind of a comeback. I don't think we can keep on this path for a long time. Thats a feeling that I have, not sure I want it, but maybe...

We've gotten to a point that it's impossible to imagine something more brutal than Agoraphobic Nosebleed.

Yeah. Something like that! We've already reached, I think we've reached, all of the extremes. So now we're going to see what bands can digest it well and make some new music that takes something new and heavy. I think in the next couple of years we'll have some good bands coming up! I don't know if people will want more of that or get tired and go back to the basics. I'm not sure where we'll go. I don't really want to get into something really technical because it lacks a lot of emotion for me. Like the big solos and the super tough rhythm sections. Its kind of cool but when you're in the crowd you can't really headbang to it. And when you listen to it it sounds more like show off than real emotions. I like to have some tricky rhythms because that's cool to play and you really enjoy yourself. But is has to stop at some point.

Speaking about up and coming bands and the future of metal, who is your band to watch?

Let me see... Right now, I'm really into August Burns Red, and I'm curious to see if they can reinvent themselves. And I know that they are really great musicians and I love their music and their lyrics and stuff. But I'm wondering if they can reinvent themselves. I'm definitely going to check them out. As for a new comer band I think Oh Sleeper. They have a lot of talent and i'm pretty sure they're going to go really far too. They're just the ones who pop in my head. Its tough when there are so many bands out there though to choose from. So, I would say August Burns Red and Oh Sleeper.

It's funny that you mention August Burns Redm they're actually from my hometown! Let's start wrapping up. What band got you into metal?

The first metal band that I listened too was Limb Bizkit and Linkin Park, like many other people I started rock with Offspring. I directly noticed that I liked the faster and angrier songs. At that time there was no internet and growing up in France there was not many ways to find bands with essentially no coverage. I bought my CD's at Carrefour (A French Grocery Store) and you can imagine how the choice was in Carrefour. When you don't have as much money as a kid so you just wanted to buy what you knew you would like. Back in the day MTV still had some good music, that's how I discovered Limp Bizkit. It's maybe not the best reference ever. (Laughter) That felt good when I discovered other kinds of less commercial metal with more metal. Once I started that I never listened to them. But they still have a special place in my heart.

So to continue on that question, what was the first band that got you into real metal?

It depends toyour standards. I know some people might hate me if I call one band real metal. I guess when I heard the first Opeth album, I was like “woah” that s cool. Opeth is getting into something a bit darker. Slipknot, say what you want about them, but for the time and the nu-metal scene they where really heavy. I don't really like them anymore, their new album was kind of... As soon as I heard about them, they're pretty new, but All Shall Perish. They're a band that got me into real Deathcore. I think they're the ones with best forumal for it. However hard and brutal they are they are still technical and have melodies and stuff. They just seem like such great guys. They can play badass and stuff, but they're just so funny. Especially the singer. I would love to see them live. The one time I see them live they where playing with Caliban and Bleeding Through and then the singer got sick and they cancelled. That was really dissapointing.

So let's drive ahead into the last question. What do you love so much about music?

I think it's the power of music. It's not something you can touch. It's just something you feel. It can remind you of memories, it can make you sad, even borderline crying. You can associate music with stuff. It's just the soundtrack of light. No matter where you are in life be it your darkest moment it can follow you and inspire you. It's really hard to describe. It's just that force that is always with you and when I listen to the right music at the right time it gets me so deep. I can't stand putting some background music into my headphones nothing else can matter at that moment. It just makes me complete. Something is missing without it.


  1. i couldn't stop listening, mostly because of his accent :)

  2. how is this guy old enough to remember MTV playing video's?! limp bizkit rules!