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De Duitse post-black metallers van Heretoir brachten pas geleden best een meesterwerk uit in de vorm van 'The Circle'. Een perfecte mix van prog, pos en black metal. Atmosferisch, emotioneel doch complex en kundig doorwrocht. Innoverend en verfrissend; Heretoir is iets op het spoor. Uiteraard nam Lordss Of Metal contact op met de band en drummer Nils stond ons vriendelijk te woord.

Door: Roel de Haan | Archiveer onder post rock / post metal

To start things properly: How are you doing?
Hey, thank you for the interest. I am rally fine. It´s a sunny spring day in Hamburg. If you ever been here you might know this isn´t normal haha. I spin some vinyl while answering your questions – a perfect Friday.

I want to congratulate you with your new album ‘The Circle’! I was completely blown away by it! How are the general reactions to the album? What are your expectations for the album?
The general reactions and the first reviews are overall really good. Most comments on FB or YT are very positive. Of course there are some people who complain about the style change. But we don´t care too much about that. It wouldn´t make sense to write the same album over and over again. We worked so hard on this record and we are really proud of the result. The record is the way we wanted it to be and we all love it. That most of the fans and media like it is a bit of a relief.

Compared to your previous (already quite impressive) album ‘Heretoir’, ‘The Circle’ sounds so much more mature, creative and evocative I can hardly believe it. Can you?
During the process of writing ‘The Circle’ the band grew together and David became such a good songwriter and even a better singer. This is one of the reasons why this record evolved from the older stuff (which is great too). I just joined the band some months ago so I have a different view on that. We became friends some years ago and I witnessed the process of this record. Dave sent me demo tracks and asked my opinion. When the record was finished I was blown away. It´s so much more technical and the songwriting got better. The great thing is that the atmosphere didn´t lack under that change. A huge impact on the sound have the people who recorded, mixed and mastered it. Our guitar player Max recorded the instruments and vocals in his studio (Forester Recording) and our dear friend Oliver Carell mixed it at Blastbeat Productions. Luckily Lasse Lammert had some time to master it at his LSD studios. You see a lot of people were involved in making it possible.

The album features many different elements ranging from black metal, post rock, prog to gothic metal? Somehow, you’ve succeeded in blending al these influences into a innovative and emotional, but above all cohesive album. Can you tell something about how you approached the song-writing for the album?
We are fans of different styles of music and although David writes nearly every little piece of music we are influencing each other. Matthias is a huge fan of Architects which lead to David starting to love them. And I guess you can hear this on the record. There are more rhythmic orientated passages. David also improved his singing skills a lot and we wanted to have his clean singing have a bigger place on the record. The first record ‘Heretoir’ was written in a quite short period of time and it had a more naïve approach towards the songwriting. On the new record the songs are much more progressive and technical. He ‘thought’ a little bit more about the songs. This might sound strange but everyone who writes songs might understand what I am talking about. Sometimes songs just flow out of you and are written within an hour or so. But on this record David rearranged the ideas over and over until he was convinced he had the best results. I think you can hear this huge amount of work. Although the record is very technical and ‘planned’ it doesn´t sound cold or sterile. For me it is even more emotional than the older releases.

The use of ethereal effects is very tastefully done and enhances the solemn atmosphere greatly while the aggression and complex rhythms keep the momentum of the songs high. How do you combine these opposing musical forces?
We are fans of postrock acts like Mogwai, Explosions in the Sky or ISIS. These bands combine walls of sound with fragile and beautiful moments. The guitar effects and a certain kind of production are essential for this kind of music. We tried to get a little further with adding blastbeats and breakdowns. If you listen to Golden Dust or Exhale you might not think they are from the same record. When you listen to the record as whole they perfectly fit together. I think parts and songs should always be listened to in the context of the song or the whole album. A raging blastbeat has a quite different effect when it´s played after a calm and melodic part. Of course you always have to check if the part still fits or if it sounds designed. The razors edge of songwriting haha.

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In contrast to your first album you now have a full line-up. How has this changed the way Heretoir operates?
The songwriting for ‘The Circle’ was more or less done by David alone. Matthis, Max and I are concentrating on all the aspects besides that (like booking, online shop, interviews, promo). David is the creative guy behind Heretoir and it would be weird if we others would start to write songs. People love the stuff David writes and we do as well. But for the future Albums I will send David some ideas on drums that he can use to write. He likes to write his songs on drumpatterns. I think this will leave an interesting mark on the next album because the band never had a drummer that contributed ideas to the sound. For the older albums David programmed drums or got patterns from other drummers.

Is there a concept to album? If so, could you tell us something about it?
The title ‘The Circle’ refers to different aspects in life such as life and death or the seasons. People are born and while living we all leave a mark on the face of this planet. After a few years we die and go back into the earth and flowers can bloom over our graves. The seasons, or just a day – circles. We all had to experience death in our lives and the album is a way to deal with the loss. But we wanted to concentrate more on the brighter moments in life. David has a special connection to the sun which lead to the uplifting songs like Golden Dust. We wanted to take the listeners on a journey and let them face different emotions. We believe a darker and harsher part works much better after a quite mellow and calm part. I think these contrasts are pretty important for the record.

Looking at that the stylish artwork of the album done by Fursy Teyssier, it is very intriguing and atmospheric. Could you tell us something about the artwork and how it is connected to the music?
The band worked with Fursy in the past. He painted the awesome artwork for the first record ‘Heretoir’. We all love his unique style of painting and we wanted to have him design the artwork for ‘The Circle’ as well. As mentioned before the sun was an important influence for the music. David had a clear concept in mind and Fursy was able to transform this into colours. I think the result speaks for itself – what an amazing artist.

Neige of Alcest fame has a guest spot on ‘Laniakea Dances (Soleils Couchants)’ with great results of course. How did the collaboration go?
We are all in a way connected to music of Alcest so we are super happy he did an amazing contribution to our record. Neige and David became friends some years ago. When we heard the song the first time properly recorded we all knew that this is the perfect song for Neige. I think he did perfectly fitting vocals. Because we didn´t have much time and not the biggest budget we couldn´t have him in our studio. Neige recorded his vocals in France but he knows what he does and we were stoked hearing it for the first time.

An excellent new album is best promoted with touring. Is there anything planned in this department?
We will go on tour in May/June. We already have lots of shows booked all over Europe. We are glad some known American friends of ours asked us to support them. Check our pages for further info. I hope in a few weeks we can finally reveal the tour dates. There are some festivals planned as well.

I wonder what has the future in store for Heretoir? What are your plans and ambitions for the future?
First of all we want to promote the new album. David is already concentrating on writing new songs so we really hope it won´t last six years until we can release the next album. But I am not going to promise anything or give you a date haha. But be sure we are really trying to be faster than a bullet hahaha.

Thank you very much for your time, I wish you well and as tradition demands it I hereby offer you the final words to our readers?
Thank you so much for the interview and your interest in our music. It´s good to know people like what we are doing. And thanks to our fans who comment on social media and pre-ordered the album or simply listen to the songs. This means a lot to us. I hope the years of waiting were worth it. We are a band for the losers, the misfits, the queers and everyone who doesn´t fit in - come to one of our shows and feel free.

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