Chuck Schuldiner Project

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Interview with Plaguewielder

After having proudly presented what I deem to be my homecountry’s strongest metal act as of lately, here I return once more to bug you with yet another article urging you to check out this band. Armed with a freshly released full-length album Plaguewielder from Luxemburg are slowly but surely climbing the steps to becoming a landmark act in the country's’ tiny yet flourishing heavy music scene. I got a hold of Nicholas and Maxime from the band for an interview.

First off, could you tell us how the band got together?
Nicholas. : I was working a student job in the summer of 2012, when I received a text message from Maxime - he asked if I was down to start a funeral doom metal band with long and dark songs. I was all about it! From there we asked Christophe, Camille and Chris (Boever) to join us. They agreed, we came together for a first rehearsal, and unfortunately Camille, as well as Chris, left due to musical differences. So, at a party I asked Luis if he was interested in taking the role as a drummer, and thankfully, he was. The rest is history.

Maxime: Well, Nicholas and I went together to high school, and we have been playing together the guitar in the Crust Punk Band Discordant System since 2011. Because I began listening to Post Metal, Sludge and Doom a lot during that time, I developed the idea of founding a Doom Metal Band with atmospheric elements. So, like Nicholas said, in the summer of 2012, while waiting at a train station, I asked him and Christophe — whom we had also known for a while — via text message if they wanted to join, and they agreed quickly. We went through a few line-up changes until Nicholas asked Luis if he wanted to play the drums — that’s when the band got its final form.

2. So this coming month you'll be releasing your first full-length album, titled "Chambers of Death". Could you tell us a little what the album is about, what it deals with?

N.: To be honest, the title of the album was a mistranslation on my part - for the cover of our EP we chose a work by Francisco de Goya called 'Camas de la muerte', which I thought translated to 'Chambers of Death', where in reality it means 'Beds of Death'. But after thinking about it, 'Chambers of Death' seemed fitting, as each song represents a different attitude towards death and helplessness.

M.: Like Nicholas said, the songs on Chambers Of Death all share death as a common theme. Nicholas and I had written the lyrics separately, but we quickly noticed that they all dealt with death in some way. Sometimes, like in The Funeral March, the theme is to be taken quite literally, as that song is about the sheer absurdity of human existence in the face of its inevitable fate. At other times, it is more figuratively, like in Casket Of Dying Flesh, which deals with isolation. For the lyrics, I also drew great inspiration from Jean-Paul Sartre, Albert Camus and Émile Cioran, who all gave death (or at least its accompanying nothingness) an important part in their philosophical work.

3. Could you tell us a little more about the artwork of the album?
N: It's also one of Goya's works, titled 'Disparates del miedo'. Our Friend Flo modified the work a bit by adding this purple vortex – I dig it.

M.: It’s derived from his final set of etchings, Los Disparates. Nicholas and I are huge admirers of Goya, and I think that Goya fits very well to our music because he always has this particularly bleak and nihilistic vision of humanity, and yet tries to extract some kind of recalcitrant aesthetic value from it. And some of his paintings — like „Witches’ Sabbath (The Great He-Goat)“ — are simply Doom Metal as hell.

4. I couldn't help but feel a bit of a 70's horror movie vibe with certain synth tracks. Was this intentional?
M.: To be honest, that vibe wasn’t intentional at all. Although I am somewhat acquainted with the general aesthetics of the genre, I haven’t watched a lot of 70’s horror movies yet (but I plan on doing so in the near future!). Interestingly enough, that particular „horror“-sound emerged rather naturally and unconciously while we were writing the songs. On the other hand, I definitely drew inspiration from 70’s-Prog Rock (and contemporary bands that are imitating that sound) for the synthesizers, especially while playing the organ on Casket Of Dying Flesh.

5. "Father Suicide" stands out from the rest of the tracks with its' strong post-rock influence. How did you get around the idea of fitting some "lighter" influences in a predominantly doom-influenced album?
N. : I guess 'lighter' parts or even songs seem rather unusual on a doom metal record, but they have a long tradition in the genre – they break up the heavier parts, and bring about some variation.

M.: We all have been listening to post-rock and post-metal — like Mono, Sleep Party People, Neurosis, ISIS and so on — a lot, and because we wanted to expand our sound as much as possible while still guarding the musical root of Doom Metal, it came naturally to us that we should incorporate those elements as well. Like Nicholas said: The characteristic loud-silent and textural dynamics of post-rock and post-metal add a lot of variety to more „classic“, riff-orientated song structures, yet remain very hypnotic — which is exactly the effect we want to achieve with our music.

6. You've also released a music video for the song back in june, what was the concept behind this music video?
M.: The music video is in fact my interpretation of Nicholas’ lyrics (which you can also discover in the video — they are placed quite strikingly, so you don’t have to look too close for them). Like I previously said, the songs on our album share the common theme of death, and Father Suicide is about the (religious or spiritual) idolization of it. That’s what I wanted to convey in the music video, which is split into three parts: idolization of death, reality of death, and a final part which is inspired from a dream about death I once had. In the first part, you can see the protagonist, F., cherishing afterlife by collecting items which idolize death. While doing so he negates his existence down here on earth instead of embracing it — that’s also why he is sleepwalking through daily life with this absent-minded look on his face. The second part then is the grim reality of death and the accompanying process of decay, while the third part is based on a dream of mine, in which I died and interestingly enough didn’t woke up.

6. Could you give our readers a bit of insight on the Luxembourgish Metal scene?
N. : I think it's more blooming than ever before – many musicians are roughly the same age as us, and there are some supremely talented bands out there, not just in the metal domain. It's a tightly knit community, most people know each other, due to the size of the country. It really helps when you're organizing shows, people like to come out and have fun.

M.: The scene is small (that’s why everyone knows each other), but very active. There have also been a lot of efforts to organize concerts on a regular basis in the last years, which is a positive development.

7. What is the next step for Plaguewielder after the release of this album?
N.: We are working on a new song as hard as we can. Yes a song, but it will be enough to fill an EP, so be prepared.

8. Describe Luxemburg with 5 nouns.
N.: Conservative Shitheads, Reactionary Shitheads, Judd mat Gaardebounen.

M.: Bouneschlupp, Xenophobia, Castles, Privilege, Wealth

9. Name one of your favorite albums, movies and books.
Nicholas: 'Thick as a Brick' by Jethro Tull is objectively the best album ever.
'Das Piratenmassaker' is a good film if you want to lose faith in humanity.
Animal Farm' is a neat little (but very shocking) book.

Maxime: CD: Amenra - 'Mass V',
Movie: Alfonso Cuáron - 'Children of Men',
Book: R. Scott Bakker - 'The Thousandfold Thought'

Interview by Robin Ono
A big thank you goes out to the band for taking the time to answer our questions.

Official bandcamp

1 comment:

  1. For me, Thick as a Brick is the best album that I've ever heard. So nice to enjoy it!