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Disconnected

The French modern metal outfit Disconnected recently with White Colossus’ released a very strong debut album. Reason enough to do an interview our neighbours in the south. Adrian Martinot (gitarist/composer) and Ivan Pavlakovic (vocalist/songwriter) took their time for an elaborate interview.

By: Koen W. | Archive under different metal

Recently you guys with ‘White Colossus’ released a real killer of an album. It’s almost unbelievable that a band can come up with such a strong debut. What have you been doing in the past that makes you sound so strong and mature?
Adrian: Thank you so much!! My reflection about the album started when I came back from my music school five years ago. It was a long process to create our musical universe, our identity because our music has many different textures, but it all came naturally and I think that’s the best way to create. It took me a long time to find the right people to work with. It is always very hard to find a line-up with the same ambitions as yours, the right musical skills to play your music. It is also a hard task to find the right people who are motivated enough to dedicate theirselves for non-stop touring. I had many and many issues in this process but patience and determination were my best friends. After a ton of hard work the album is finally here, and I’m very proud of it!

Can you tell us shortly something why Disconnected was formed and with what intentions?
Adrian: Sure, I’ve created the band to conquer the world and the whole universe ha-ha. Just kidding.
I’ve created the band because I felt the need to express myself into the music. I’m playing in another metal band Melted Space since many years, we released awesome albums and we toured a lot with amazing bands like Symphony X, Myrath. I earned a lot of experience with this band and I’m so thankful for that. But I love writing music, that was the logic way to create a band to put all my ideas into it and to expand our music as much as possible because music is simply, my passion, my job, and my way of life!!

You are simply impossible to pigeonhole anywhere. It is modern rock, but you can also hear pieces of grunts and metalcore in your songs. Where do all those influences come from?
Adrian: When I’m writing music, I let my inspiration express itself. Whatever the kind of music, a chord progression stays the same. The way you work out with your elements makes the difference and could bring all your elements together. I really don’t like to stay in a box, that’s frustrating to me to put boundaries on writing, that’s so unnatural, I need to explore! The common things which unites the songs together is the loud guitars and the ambient side of music and of course the vocals. That’s why it’s hard to put a tag on our music because I mix a lot of influences in it. You can have a technical riff, a power metal riff and a smooth part which reminds Pink Floyd in the same song. I love mixing different kinds of music together and it comes naturally, I don’t push myself into this. It’s just the way it comes to me.

And how about your lyrics? How important are those for you? And what are they about? Is there a central theme that connects all the songs, or are they more stand-alone? And what things in life do you like to write about and why?
Ivan: Our lyrics are obviously very important. There is a central theme indeed. We talk about disconnection through all the album. We develop that theme with a different angle on each song. For example ‘Living Incomplete’ is about a guy who can’t find his place in the actual society, he simply doesn’t fit in this world and he wants to disappear. With ‘Losing Yourself Again’ we talk about someone who just live through social networks, he doesn’t want to have real contacts, with real people, and prefers to hide behind a laptop or a phone.… When I started to write the lyrics of this album, my inspiration was leading me towards this concept of Disconnection in every natural way. We live in a world of «super» communication, but we’ve never felt so alone in reality. I have to say that I’m really interested by this theme. I was born in a world where internet, and all this didn’t exist and sometimes I think things went maybe too fast, but we can’t do anything against it, we have to adapt. Realizing that we are probably prisoners of this new system of living, to me it’s already healing a bit ourselves. Writing about it was just very interesting and I think in the future we’ll develop even more this theme of disconnection. After all the name of our band speaks for itself.
For the last part of your question, I just like to write things about real life, by observing people around me or sometimes cause it’s directly related with own experience. I’m not into stories of dragons and swords, you know what I mean. I like it to be concrete. I always write the lyrics after having the melody of a song, sometimes I can have just a word to start with and I build a story around this word. I choose this word in particular because it sounds great on a riff and sometimes as well because it’s the riff or the ambiance of the music that inspire me to choose this particular word.

According to the credits, only you (Ivan Pavlakovic) is responsible for the vocals. Does he also do the grunts or has he had some help?
Ivan: I’m the one who does all the vocals, growls, screams, clean vocals. I’ve had the luck to work in a lot of different styles of music, and I’ve forged my voice with a lot of different styles of singing. I really enjoy to be versatile as a singer. Let’s say that it’s my signature! In our style of metal there are strong codes for singers. Most of the time you’ve got the screams and/or growls and then the very clean vocals and nothing in between. I like to fill that « nothing in between » with a lot of different colours of voices. I’m a big fan of singers like Mike Patton and Corey Taylor, they are able to propose all this different intentions and colours with their vocals. I look up to these guys, and I humbly try (at my level) to carry that torch too.

Despite the dark vocals, a song like 'Feodora' is a genuine love song. Or is there a dark side to it?
Ivan: Let’s say that there is a strange side of it. This song is about a guy who lives with a women that he loves more than anything but step by step you understand that he is crazy and this women isn’t made of flesh and bones. I’ve got a passion for Japan, I found their culture really deep and their craziness is at the same level! Fedora is the name of a love Doll (Rabu Doru in Japanese). I saw a documentary about a guy who was in love with one of these, I was so amazed by how fucked up he was. He took her on holidays, weekends, took bath with her, and some crazy other shit that wasn’t showed in the documentary, if you know what I mean…. I thought, if there was a great example of Disconnection, this one would be the perfect one! I just love the fact that the music of this song is the most « mainstream » that we have, and the actual story carried by the lyrics is the most fucked up of the album!

The tune 'For All Sake' starts with didgeridoo, then oriental string instruments and vocals and then western metal. That is really world music. How did you come up with such surprising ideas?
Adrian: At the start there was no intro for this song, but with hindsight I really felt the tribal mood into the whole song and it was obvious to me to write an intro like that. I started with just the didgeridoo, and it inspired me the odd parts and the oriental vocals parts too. But Ivan put more vocals ideas, and it became very organic!

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With Francois-Maxime Boutault (Dagoba, Behemoth and Loudblast) and Maor Appelbaum (Faith No More, Sepultura, Yes) you have hired some pretty famous guys for producing and mastering. Did those guys have a profound influence on the end result by contributing own ideas, or did they just follow your lead?
Adrian: I met François-Maxime while the first European tour with Melted Space, he was our sound engineer. He is a very nice guy, very talented and he has become a good friend. I didn’t imagine to work with someone else for this album, he is involved for many years in the band, and I sent him demos to have his opinion because I really trust his judgement. I will definitely work with him again in the future, to me it’s like the sixth member of the band! We had many discussions about the album and we agreed on the modern direction of production and also on the creation of the « sound » of Disconnected! François has been working in the past with Maor, and when he proposed him for the mastering, I checked his references and his work and I was immediately convinced, and I was right! His work is absolutely fantastic and he works so fast ha-ha! I highly recommend him if you need a huge mastering!

How satisfied were you about the album when you heard the end result? Or was there still something you would like to have done different?
Ivan: To be honest with you it is too fresh to really have a definite point of view about our album. But at the moment, I wouldn’t change a thing of it. I’m very proud of what we’ve achieved. I think the production is great, and every of us gave their best to make it sound great.

Adrian: I’m very proud of the album, of the work of all the people involved in this project, I feel blessed to have a team like this and I wouldn’t change for anything in the entire world. It has been a long road from the beginning but I don’t regret anything, life is too short for that.

Recently ‘White Colossus’ was made available in it’s entirely for streaming on your Facebook page. I take it you don’t really believe in physical sales anymore when giving the music away like this?
Adrian: It’s our debut album, so our first aim is to reach a maximum of people, I believe in physical sales maybe because I actually buy, on average, eight cds per month but there is a fact: nobody is eating for us. I also believe that metal heads are true fans of music, if they discover our music through streaming ways, if they like it they will come at the shows, that’s what matters the most to us! And maybe after they will buy our cd or merchandising stuff, that’s the way it works nowadays, I don’t buy a physical copy if I didn’t take a hear into a band.

CD sales maybe down the drain, and stuff like Spotify only financially benefits the boys from the board, but slowly but surely old-fashioned vinyl again becomes a force to be reckoned with. Are there any plans to release ‘White Colossus’ on that big black sucker? Or maybe even on cassette?
Adrian: You got me! I’m totally agree with you and we actually have a mastering export for a future vinyl edition. We will try to release this «big black sucker edition» by the end of the year! Vinyl’s still are expensive to make so we need to sell more merchandising and cd’s, so if you want it, support us first ha-ha! I didn’t even think on a cassette edition but it’s a funny idea!

A few weeks ago we got to hear your fellow countryman Insolvency with ‘Antagonism Of The Soul’, also a fantastic album. Apparently you are friends and regularly go on tour together. It seems that France is very fertile ground for bands that play modern metal.
Adrian: Absolutely, those guys are awesome, we actually come from the same town in France (Troyes). We did our first gig with Disconnected over there, the day of the release of the album (03/23/2018). And it was obvious to me to ask them to share the stage with us! We actually didn’t yet go on tour together but it will be a blast for sure, maybe one day, one never knows what the future hold in store.

The next step is of course some heavy touring in promotion of the album. So tell me, what are the plans in that direction? And what about festivals? Can we expect you guys on some of the big fests this year?
Adrian: We’re actually working hard to get on tour as soon as possible. Some serious leads are already engaged but for the moment I can’t tell you more about that. We’ll keep you informed sooner as we could. But if you’re interested in booking us: write to us through plan one! We did our first gig in our hometown (Troyes) the day of the release of the album. Perfect timing. We played the entire album and we’re amazed by the crowd’s reaction!!! They just got nuts during the entire show! It was a blessing for us to feel their excitement, especially on our first gig. We had an entire week in the venue to prepare the show with our sound and lights engineer. So we benefit the best conditions to make a perfect gig. This year it will be complicated to hit the stage of the big festivals, because the album was released too late for the booking, but for next year we work to be there and we really hope we will!

Alright, this wraps it up for now. Thank you for your time. Do you have some last words for our readers?
Ivan: I just hope you will dig it. Give it a shot. Share our vids, events. I can assure you that we are working hard to come over to perform in your country. We’ll give you a hell of a show, I guarantee you that!!!!!!

Adrian: You’re welcome! Thank you for reading this nice and interesting interview, I hope you’ll like the album and by spreading the word, you will use the best way to support our band! See you on the road! WE ARE DISCONNECTED.

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