Hi, how are you doing?
Fine, thank you so much!
How is Ufych Sormeer doing at this moment?
Better than ever, our album has been released and got some nice reviews, so we feel like proud parents whose child has received good marks. What's more, there's a really positive spirit in our actual line-up, so everything's all right!
Could you please tell me some more about how your band came to its existence? Once upon a time, three kiddos from northern France ,Olivier Bourez(vocals, guitar and synths), Fabien Waquet(guitar and synths),and myself(bass), vaguely feeling that there could be higher aims in life than earning money, and overall being bored down to the core, decided to put a band together. We soon developed a keen interest in metal music, beginning with oldies like Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer, and soon discovering more extreme bands. Black Metal quickly became our favorite style and we were enthralled by the atmospheres in the works of bands like Emperor and Bal Sagoth. They managed to lift our souls far away, and that was something we wanted to achieve with our music. About eight years ago we took up the name “Ufych Sormeer” after Jérôme Pawlovski(drums, synths) joined us. Soon we recorded ”Anthem to the Glory of the Great Octagon”, a symphonic Black Metal album influenced by Bal Sagoth, Dark Funeral, Ancient, and Emperor. Jérôme then left us, and was replaced four long years later by Julien(drums). Meanwhile, our musical tastes had broadened up very much, and the result, more original and with a great emphasis on our Rock'n'Roll side, can be heard on our second attempt, “the Whimsical have a dream”. Fabien (who had to choose between Music and his Studies abroad) left after that. We got a deal with Holy Records and surprisingly enough, Julien abandoned us shortly afterwards, leaving us drummerless once again just before signing the deal. The ghost of failure was looming over us, but the perspective of the deal gave us wings, and we quickly managed to recruit some good friends to form what is, I hope, our ultimate line-up, with which “Crazy Mac” was recorded: Olivier(vocals, studio guitars and synths), myself(bass), Guillaume Singer(lead and rhythm guitars),Guy-Noël Hoareau (lead and rhythm guitars), and Grégoire Galichet(drums).
Why a difficult band name like Ufych Sormeer? Aren't you afraid nobody knows how to write it when they hear it?
Because we are Michael Moorcock fans(“Ufych Sormeer” is an island evoked in the prologue of an Elric story), because we liked(and still like)the way it sounded, because we got our first deal under that name…That name is part of our history, short as it may be, and being a bunch of sentimental sissies, we couldn't bear to give it up. It may certainly not be the wisest choice in terms of communication, but we don't care. If people really like what we do, it won't be a problem for them to make the effort to understand our silly name. What's more, we have a lot of fun hearing them trying to pronounce it the good way. And after all, once you've mastered it it's not easy to forget.
When I first heard your record I thought I was listening to 'just another heavy metal band', and it freaked me out because I don't even like heavy metal! Soon enough all the crazy experiments started to kick in and I totally loved it, how did you come to make this unusual blend of music?
Olivier is responsible for all this! He writes 90percent of the musical stuff, and this unusual blend is the result of his very open-minded approach to songwriting. He dares everything regardless to musical boundaries that only exist within people's heads. The only importance is: “Does it sound good or bad?” After that, each member brings his ideas and opinions. It takes some time, a great deal of arguing, and lots of Duvel and Tripel Karmeliet. We're performing the music we want to hear, and that's certainly why it sounds unusual. The evolution came quite naturally, there has been no brainstorming during which we would have said: ”Okay, let's try for something really sick!”.
It reminded me a little of Bal Sagoth, but there is more to the Ufych Sormeer sound, what are your biggest musical influences would you say?
That's a difficult question, since all the bands we listen to influence us. But if I were to sum up things a little bit, I'll say Megadeth, Guns'n'roses, Bal Sagoth(“Starfire” era), John Williams, 80's Pop music, Queen, David Bowie, Blind Guardian, and so on…
I linked you to your fellow countrymen of Carnival In Coal, also a band with a unique and sometimes even schizophrenic sound, judging from the sound of the album I thought you might like them, do you know who they are?
Not long ago, I had the opportunity to meet their guitarist/songwriter, and he's a very nice, funny and cultivated fellow. Olivier often chats on the internet with their singer, and they get along very well, since the two of them are crazy as fuck. I think it will be very much fun to share a scene with them!
Where in France do you live, and how's life there? Any good for metal bands?
We live in the North of France, near Lille(Rijsel), apart from our drummer, who lives near Paris. Life's not bad, there ain't no civil war or famine yet. Concerning Metal Music, there's a lot of underground activity, with local fests, little gigs in bars, fanzines led by truly dedicated persons. metal music still isn't being taken that seriously in France but thanks to hard work and dedication, it sometimes manages to get a greater public exposure, which means greater means of expression. Let's take as an example the success of Gojira and the Hellfest organization. So I'll say things are getting better.
What are the ambitions with this band, how far you think can you get making this kind of music?
We intend to have as much fun as possible, and share it with people who like our music, by offering them good live performances. We do not think much about our future, we prefer to focus on the present work. And there's a lot to do! To answer your question, let's say we'll go as far as we're able to.
If you had the opportunity to create a tour on which your band was the headliner, which bands would you take and where would you like to go?
Wow, wow, let's first start down the ladder, after that we'll see. At the present time, we are happy enough with the simple fact of doing concerts at all, as we've been just a studio band for years, due to these fuckin' line-up problems . As a music fan, there are many bands I would be proud, or would have been, to open for : Freak Kitchen, Children of Bodom, Textures, Motörhead, Faith No More, Sikht, Nevermore, Satyricon (although I don't think they would agree!), I could give you names till' the end of night. Concerning destinations, we're ready to go anywhere! Personally, I'd like to go to countries I've never been to: Japan, Scandinavia, Eastern Europe, Russia…Dreaming gives hope!
You must be huge SF/fantasy fans, who is your favorite author, and what kind of stories influence your music the most?
Olivier and I, as sole survivors of the original line-up, are the only ones in the band to be SF/fantasy dreamers. We do not read as much as before, but still have great pleasure re-reading the writings of Michael Moorcock, Robert.E.Howard, David Brin, Orson Scott Card, Terry Pratchett, H.P Lovecraft, Stephen King, Susanna Clarke, J.R.R Tolkien… The one who had the deepest impact on our lyrics and atmospheres is obviously Moorcock, with the Elric Cycle particularly. We borrowed many elements of his universe: The endless War between forces of Order And Chaos, the demonblades, a horn with cosmic powers… On”Crazy Mac”, though, another big influence is Terry Pratchett and his humoristic approach, as Olivier didn't want the lyrics to sound as dramatic as the ones on our first album.
How would you describe your studio sound?
Our intent has never been to make a sound we could have labeled “Ufych Sormeer tears your stereo apart”. When we entered the Midnight Studio, we merely wanted a clear, powerful sound. And due to our numerous keyboards arrangements, a “louder than Hell” guitar sound wouldn't have been the best choice. The mixing of this album was a search for the perfect mix between power and clarity, and thanks to the skills of Hubert Letombe, our beloved sound engineer, we managed to get close to it.
It was a pleasure hearing your album, but it would be an even bigger pleasure to witness the madness live, any touring plans beyond France?
We'll maybe have the opportunity to soon get a gig in Switzerland, nothing sure yet, and alas nothing else is scheduled abroad for the moment. We'll probably try to find some gigs in Belgium, as we live next to it, and the Netherlands aren't far at all, so there's no doubt we'll give it a try too!
Thanks for this interview, if you want to add anything, please do so.
Thanks to you for your interest in our music. We are still looking for a keyboard player, so if any of you Dutch fellows wants to join our jesters crew, let us know! Remember that Northern France isn't that far from your country. Check out the details on our website. Peace and Love.