As I mentioned to the readers in the foreword, Dysylumn was born from a rather sad event. Along with the promo for ‘Conceptarium’, I received a press book in which you mentioned this event and the ensuing formation of the project. As I’m sorry for your loss, I do not wish to go further into this moment in your life, but rather on the project. Why did you give life to Dysylumn after it, was it the best way to process the feelings you had?
Hi Daniël and to the entire Lords of Metal team! Initially, the idea was simply to compose to transcribe my emotions, avoid at all costs to mope, there was no other purpose behind it. Over time, these compositions have evolved, Dysylumn was born the moment Camille joined the project. From that time, the goal was to complete the album, go to the end, to give life to those compositions and finally turn a page on my life. Today, the last page is turned but we will continue the project!
That being said, congratulations on the debut, ‘Conceptarium’! Why this title, and how is it reflected in the songwriting?
'Conceptarium', because the idea was to make a conceptual album, initially there was only one piece of fifteen minutes, all riffs were chained. My idea was to develop this piece to cut it into several sub-parts, each piece bringing the next one, passing by several phases, death, black, progressive and sometimes doom. I also wanted to tell a story, so I built a logical sequence between each pieces both musically and lyrically.
As we have discussed, the band was formed to create an outlet for certain feelings. Have you achieved on this album, what you have wanted it to bring about in the first place? And, has the release brought some absolution – peace of mind?
For a moment I thought we would never finalize this album, the songs were put aside for a long time. But there was no question of giving up, the output of the EP in 2013 gave us motivation. I did not want to move on until the project was finished, I do not like to do things that are subsequently abandoned. Now we can express it, we are proud to have been able to release this album after these five years, it is a pride but also a highlight of our lives, we can finally move on.
As I was roaming over YouTube, stalking you on the Dysylumn Official-page (haha), I found out that you were essentially checking out black metal releases. I for one, however, found that the application of black metal qualities was rather held back on ‘Conceptarium’. Why this enormous interest in black metal – which I boldly suggest from this superficial investigation – and yet compose music that is primarily (progressive) death metal?
Before Dysylumn, I was a guitarist in the French technical death band called 'Antropofago'. I was generally more inspired by the brutal death metal scene. As the project evolved, my musical tastes have also changed. I am now passionate with the black dissonant sounds scene, Icelandic black stage, USBM scene, as well as the occult death metal scene. I enjoy less and less technical death metal releases from today, production sounds generally too 'plastic', technique for technique. in the end all this loses its original charm; it can sometimes be good during live concert but I'm bored listening to albums. In 5 years, the compositions of Dysylumn have greatly evolved, some tracks are originals, but others have completely changed (‘Esclave Celeste’, ‘Agonie’, ‘Nebuleuse’), to bring a little touch of freshness to the album.
There has been a recent rise in interest for ‘space’ – the Universe – cosmology. I traced this interest back to technological and scientific developments. In extreme metal however, the theme is exploited as well. As I thought about it, I tracked the attention from the music industry to the experience of smallness in contrast with the vastness of the Universe. Also, in its immensity, it is cold and – in this world ‘after the death of God’ – forsaken. As the track titles and the album sleeve suggest, ‘Conceptarium’ has also looked at the subject. What was your motivation for this direction?
The texts of ‘Conceptarium’ evoke a kind of psychological trip. At the first, I wanted to work out my feelings through music. Although the songs have evolved, the texts have remained 'authentic'. The space theme helps to set the scene for this psychological odyssey. I admit, it’s not very clear for the listeners, but it’s always good to keep some kind of mystery.
Dysylumn was a one-man project. End 2010, you met Camille 'Olivier Kaah' Faure-Brac, to take the seat behind the drum kit. How did you guys meet and decided that the drumming (which replaced a drumming programme) would fit the project? Also, I can imagine that it is a big choice to make, sharing your project with another – letting go of the one-man project, making no commitments to anyone, to form a duo. What was the relation between you beforehand, how’d you meet, and why choose to go on together?
I met Camille for the first time in 2009, he was a drummer in a black metal band called 'Synesthesie' (a band from Montpellier). I think from the beginning we were on the same wavelength. He made me listen to his recordings, his personal projects, where everything was managed by himself (compositions, recording, mixing and mastering). He is a multi-instrumentalist guy who knows everything (laughs). When Camille listened to my compositions he loved it straight away. so I asked him if he would be interested to take care of the drums for me. He responded with an incredible 'Of course, mate.' I think that without him, the project would not be out today.
Describe to me, the process of writing a typical Dysylumn song.
In 2010 it was guitar improvisations and as soon as something sounded good, I was composing on Guitar Pro and trying to find continuity. Then, it remained on Guitar Pro long enough for me to forget it. At the same time my tastes in music change so I had to rework on what was done. Today I no longer have the patience to use Guitar Pro, I compose directly on the recording software.
A new guitar track, I improvise on a loop, as soon as something I like I set it aside, I add a second guitar track, and I improvise over the first. Then I go to the riff, or the next transition and so on to get something that comes together perfectly. When the guitars are done, I record the bass and, until Camille looks after his drum parts, I add a drum machine which is automatically generated, based on the tempo of the song for a first overview. The longest and most complex stage is that of the vocals (laughs). After writing the texts on a theme reflected upstream, I isolate myself in a basement or a practice room once a week to test different voice takes until something get interesting. Some good hobo beers and let’s go. Until now, I used to ask to Gordon from Antropofago for the re-amping, as soon as it gets validated, Camille starts working on the mixing part.
As I mentioned before, I found out that especially rather hidden black metal bands were on the radar – but then again, maybe I’m wrong. Which bands were especially inspiring during the writing progress?
Five years ago, my compositions were rather influenced by some groups of the technical death scene (Necrophagist, Obscura, Death, Augury, etc ...) but mainly by my former Antropofago group that rubbed off in my compositions. Many plans were added mid-tempo. We always feel some remnants of this technical death period on some tracks (‘Cauchemar’ and ‘Reveil’). Meanwhile, I think I was influenced by some Death Occult: heavy riffs tremolo on one string from Grave Miasma (‘Esclave Celeste’, ‘Agonie’), sometimes singing some air from Bölzer (‘Vide Spatial’). ‘Conceptarium (Pt. I & II)’ are personal tracks, I don’t feel like it came from any influence, it came out from my guts, that's all... Everything was revised to incorporate some dissonant plans (the song ‘Nebuleuse’ is a perfect example), for dissonances I cannot forget to mention the excellence group Blut Aus Nord but also groups of the Icelandic scene ( Svartidaudi, Misthyrming, Mannveira, Sinmara, ect ...). As well as groups of the USBM scene (Yellow Eyes, Rhinocervs, Tukaaria, Eos, ect ...). You should know that the album was built on a death metal base, the changes to make it 100% black metal had no meaning, the idea was to keep the basic idea and adapt it to the daily tastes. Do not expect to hear one of the groups I have mentioned in Dysylumn, they are only an inspiration that I can translate my way of playing and my ideas.
You [Sébastien Besson] played in Antropofago: a brutal death metal band. The band released a new album this year, ‘Aera Dimentiae’ (August 2015) – and you weren’t on it. You did, however, play on ‘Beyond Phobia’ (2013), for example. Why did you choose to leave, and what role did you play in the band before you left? And – the other way around – what role did the band play in your life?
Antropofago is the first real project I got in in 2009 (thanks to Robin Lefaure). When I joined the group there was already an EP up, rehearsals began slowly, and Gordon, the brains of the group was already thinking of preparing an album. Antropofago allowed me to do my guitar parts on the first album, but I have also participated in the first group concert.
Since I didn’t have enough time to devote to the group, I decided to leave Antropofago, but also by a lack of significant budget (for the purchase of equipment, participation shirt prints, CD, etc ... ). However, Antropofago had an important role in my life, brought me a certain musical discipline, allowed me to see how to manage in a group, and much more. Today I am proud to have contributed to the group, and I can always count on Gordon to help me from time to time to re-amp my guitar tracks.
Will we ever be able to listen to Dysylumn in a live-context? Or was it always meant to be a studio-project only?
Initially Dysylumn was meant to make the ‘Conceptarium’ album and nothing else, to remain a studio project. Since the release of the album we want to continue the project and the idea of playing live one day is not excluded. But it is not possible at the moment. I live in Lyon (France) and my drummer lives in Germany. Dysylumn are only the two of us. It is not possible for now. But who knows, maybe one day (laughs).
I can imagine that making a living with Dysylumn alone is a no-go, knowing how bands are struggling to survive. And for a band not even touring, there is just no possibility of economic profit from the band. What are you doing when not busy writing music? Any related professions, studies or hobbies you are working on at the moment?
It is clear that I would never live from this project, it is a passion and nothing else. Today I sell my CDs and shirts to cover my expenses related to Dysylumn. I don’t make any kind of benefits. About my personal life, I’ve been working as a web-developer for three years now under Acti, a digital agency based in Lyon. The rest of the time is shared between my friends and supporting the local underground scene, concerts, etc. Camille meanwhile, continues his studies in Germany.
Now, for the future, what will be the direction Dysylumn will be looking in musically and conceptually?
We are working on a split, themed on the large original chaos, the cosmogony and its entities. The information is not yet officially announced, so I can not disclose the name of the band that will participate in the split with Dysylumn. All I can say is that the compositions are recent, for these, there won’t be a technical death musicality but there will always be a deep and heavy death occult side with the same progressive inspiration, even if it will be a bit more dissonant. The voices are more personal, for the rest it will be up to you (laughs). After that, we plan to make one or two EPs before tackling a second album. For the theme, I think the nightmare theme will remain with a psychological background. Still thinking about it...
Thank you so much for your time… I wish you all the best for the future, with all of your endeavours! Please, leave anything you wish to say to the fans below.
Thank you for this interview, thank you to all the Lords of Metal staff and anyone else who supported us. Do not hesitate to follow our news, stay tuned for surprises in the next weeks.