To start things of, can you tell us a little bit about the history of Glaukom Synod?
Glaukom Synod was more or less created in 2004, even though I was trying to make music on the computer since a good couple of years. It didn’t become musically too serious before 2004, when I started to make more complex and better arranged songs. I learnt how to compose music when I played in a grindcore/ death metal/crust band with some older musicians who were very demanding with their writing skills and compositions. Then the first demo ‘Obsessism XXIII’ was released in 2005, I kept on searching and improving, another one called ‘Uczulony’ was released the next year. Most of the time I kept on searching for new ideas and influences, still in an underground cave. This is extreme music from the underground, the dark way, for those who feel like rotting in a cave.
What kind of bands were you into when you started listening to music? And what is it that makes the music you make and produce now the genre that fits you?
I initially got in touch with music thanks to the vinyl collection of my father. He had good hard rock bands such as Alice Cooper, Led Zeppelin and Hawkwind, so I quickly got in to it. Then thanks to friends at school, I got introduced to harder kinds of music, at the time it was metal bands like Sepultura, Slayer, Death, Morbid Angel, Carcass. I got in touch through industrial thanks to my cousin who was listening to strange stuffs like Skinny Puppy, and there were also death metal bands who had industrial projects back then. I can tell you the music I compose with a computer is very different from what I would do with a guitar, with a guitar I was mostly focused on riffs and beats, with the computer I can easily escapes from the metal schemes and try other things.
How did you come up with a band name like Glaukom Synod?
The band name comes from two sources. I was making strange drawings since a couple of years, and one was entitled ‘Glaucome cancroïde’. Searching for a name for this project, it was first ‘Black processor’ (It’s a bad name, isn’t it?), then I took the ‘Glaucome cancroïde’ and mixed it with the ‘Maggot Synod’ song of the death metal band Viogresson, and then came Glaukom Synod.
The album artwork is very cool and ‘thrashy’. How did the cover come about?
The covers are generally artworks I did. Artworks are never planned to be on a release or something, I often do drawings and (sometimes) paintings according to my mood or what I have to express, then I store it in a folder. I have quite a lot of drawings accumulated the last fifteen years. When I need something for a new release, I can look in my drawing archives.
The music you make is not for the masses. How would you describe your audience or who would you want to listen to your music?
The audience is mostly composed of peoples who enjoy extreme, or strange music. I tried to get in touch with the really electro industrial side of things but my music didn’t fit their tastes and clichés too much, the production wasn’t crystal clear enough as well. (Well, my music isn’t crystal clear at all haha, it’s mostly in a cave). So I would say my audience is mostly composed of peoples into death metal, grindcore and harsh noise/ experimental, since it’s mostly these peoples I’m in touch with through my underground activities.
You seem to be releasing your music the old fashioned way, and you are totally in control of the creative process I guess. Would you consider signing with a (major) label?
I already signed with a more professional label in 2007 for the ‘Uczulony’ album, but it wasn’t really a success. Even though I was free to create whatever I wished, the label didn’t do a lot of promotion and sold the CDs for too expensive prices, so this album didn’t sell much and didn’t get too much of impact. I got more feedbacks and reviews with the CDr version I released myself (approximately 500 copies, for this time it was good), so sometimes it’s better to do it yourself. As you say, I have total control about the creative process, I can compose or create anything without restriction, use the artworks I wish, and I’m also aware about everything that happens at the promotional/ communication level. Well, hopefully I am since it’s myself sending the promo CDrs to fanzines.
What goals did you set yourself when you started making music and did you reach any of them?
I didn’t really have goals. The first compositions of Glaukom Synod were rather in the spirit of the industrial projects from bands like Napalm Death or close musicians like those of Godflesh and Scorn. Death metal musicians had interesting industrial projects in the early/mid 90’s, so the spirit comes from here. There was also perhaps the influence of my cousin who listens to electro industrial like Skinny Puppy and Laibach. I initially wasn’t sure if I would release the music or not. Finally I did a tape limited to 50 copies… And later I did more haha.
How do you write your songs? Does it start with a riff or a sample, what gives you ideas for songs?
It can start from anything. It can begin from a cyber brutal death track, then I add more sounds and samples over the blast beats, and keep on making more complex and broken until it sounds extreme enough. Or it can begin from a strange sample put in loop, then I add more samples and beats over, sometimes a lot of things were added over the initial song and it finally sounds nothing like the initial idea… haha. The inspiration for songs comes from moods, atmospheres, or things from the daily life you wish the express to free some stress.
Your music has been described as old school industrial influenced by extreme metal. Music has to be labelled in order to be marketed, but how would you describe your music?
Well, this is me who described the music this way, since I have to describe it to give peoples an idea. I kinda have a hard time to describe it, because the style is quite different from a song to another. It could be titled as ‘The big maelstromic mishmash of all what I listen to and feel’ but would that give peoples an idea? So ‘old school industrial influenced by extreme metal’ seems to be quite fair, since the style is more industrial than anything, and I listened to extreme metal/ old school metal more than anything in my life, so it might be the right answer? Lately I read some peoples described my music a ‘breakcore’, I can agree for a part of the songs.
How do you feel your music has changed or progressed since you started?
The music was initially more simple, and I wasn’t good at composing songs. I wasn’t too skilled at ‘producing’ the stuffs either. I feel like I’m now more technically able to write more complex songs, with more breaks and things happening at the same time. I hope the listener is now able to ‘clearly’ hear what happens, because sometimes there’s a lot of samples and sounds at the same time. Some people keep on saying it’s just ‘random noise’ or senseless rhythm changes/ noise, but it doesn’t matter. I also listen to fewer brutal death metal than before, and find fewer interest in the ‘crystal clear’ extreme metal music, so it might be felt in the later releases.
Modern metal is always produced in a more or less clinical way with ProTools and other programs helping bands to create a slick sound. On the other hand you see that about every band releases vinyl again. Where do you see music go in the near future? Will vinyl take over again, including a more organic production? Do extreme music and a slick production even go together?
This is some kind of a paradox because many of the new vinyl releases were pressed with a modern digital master, so the sound isn’t in theory very different from a CD release. Well, you can’t categorize every bands as using ProTools and a clinical production, there are many bands embracing the old school metal genres and many have a raw/ simple/ natural production that doesn’t sound too different from the 80’s or 90’s. I’m into underground metal since a bit more than twenty years, and there have always been label releasing vinyl and cassettes, so even if it’s a trend it has always existed. Personally I prefer cassette releases because it’s cheaper to produced, easier to send, and the audio tape have an heavier sound with lots of bass frequencies that make the releases sound heavier.
The images you use are violent, very ‘underground’ and sometimes simply weird. Your music is out of the box as well. Does all this represent the person behind the music or is he completely different?
This represents what I feel and the emotions I have inside myself. I’m not a violent kind of person, I’m even quite polite, but I can be a bear and a solitary guy. Glaukom Synod is mostly the inner emotions and inner thoughts. This said, some of my colleagues say I have a strange kind of humor, and half of the time they don’t understand the jokes hahaha.
Are there any non-metal bands that you like and can recommend?
Some old electro industrial is good; Old Frontline Assembly (90’s), old Wumpscut, some Laibach. Then some 80’s postpunk like Magazine is also interesting.
How would you convince the pope to listen to your music?
The pope isn’t allowed to listen to Glaukom Synod. Instead, I would play him some quite obscure classical music from Mussorgsky or some eastern Europe composers from the old past. So he wouldn’t be afraid to listen, since it’s classical music, and it would be easier to infest his mind hahaha.
Finally, will you be playing live shows to promote your music?
I guess it will never happen. My music is composed of a lot of programming, mostly on old software, adding layers and tracks over tracks. I think it’s not good to see someone plug a computer and push the ‘Play’ button, it’s not what I call a ‘show’. It would look good even if I had more hardware. Perhaps it would need to find some musicians, but it would take too much time. And I don’t have the hardcore techno/ breakcore background that would enable me to mix something live an interesting manner. Thanks for the interview!