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Het Franse Kera is een relatief jonge band die met ‘Delusion’ hun eerste album aflevert. Hun death metal heeft een stevige progressieve inbreng dat voor heel wat sfeer zorgt. Evengoed durven ze het gaspedaal wel eens stevig indrukken. In elk geval hebben ze een uitstekend debuut uitgebracht waarbij ze in de progressieve death metalscene een vaste plaats verdiend hebben. We spraken hier over met lead gitarist Arthur en bassist Florent.

Door: Koen W. | Archiveer onder death metal / grindcore

Kera is a relative unknown band in our parts. Can you tell us in short who you are and what the band stands for?
Arthur: Kera started from the ashes of Thanatic Eyes, a Paris-based thrash/death metal band that had just split but whose members wanted to start something straight away. However we rapidly moved to something very different, more progressive, and more complex but without falling into the wanking side of it. The band evolved and we had new members coming. Now, who we are, and what we stand for: We are five musicians truly passionate by music with very different preferences and background and we’re committed to create music we all enjoy. That brings various emotions and influences and I think that is one of our core strength. We really stand for music that makes you feel something.

Two years ago the band released the EP ‘Kera’. Meanwhile you enlisted Ryan as a new singer and took on board Flo as the new bass player. How did these changes influence Kera?
Florent: I guess two new musicians means two new ways to work. Ryan is a big fan of pure hardcore/deathcore, he brings in every new song those (vocal) influences. This guy has an infinite voice range, and definitely make the difference on the album. As a bass player I'm more into mathcore, technical stuffs. Kera is the best outlet I could find, there's two powerful guitars but I always find a way to play like I want: Slapping, tapping and violent bass lines! And for the human side... let's say the band has a best "consistency" now: we're like a family!

With ‘Hysteresis’ you delivered a beautiful and strong debut album. How long did you work on it?
Arthur: It started at the very beginning of Kera. Our first EP was nothing but a tool to be seen and listened so that we could play live. But it was in our mind from our very first gig ‘ill now. The writing process was 70% complete when we started recording guitars in December 2016. We hit the studio in April 2017 for three intense weeks to record most of it and we had a few extra sessions in Paris up to June 2017. That was a huge load of work! As for me, I am really happy with how it sounds.

Raw and aggressive pieces are regularly interrupted by atmospheric pieces of guitar and almost all the songs have this natural flow and it’s almost like they are all little pieces from one long piece of music. It is like you want the listeners to consider it as one long song, am I right?
Florent: Exactly! Most of us love progressive rock, and we can't ignore albums like ‘Metropolis PII’ (Dream Theater) or ‘Colors’ (Between The Buried And Me). To me, an album needs to be coherent from the lyrics to the music itself, and this is why we want the listeners to hear it as one logic piece of music and not a collection of songs.

band imageThe album itself is a concept about personal traumas. The bio emphasizes that the themes about murder and other macabre issues must be seen as metaphors. Are they from the whole band or just from the person who wrote the lyrics? And why did you choose to write about this dark subject?
Arthur: I guess that’s something I was more into than some others. I had written ‘Silence’ and ‘Epiphany Of A Lunatic’ and I like lyrics to be meaningful. However it was more in the process of writing that we realized there was this common thread in several songs and that it would be nice to maintain a good coherence. Some lyrics are from the whole band (‘Compos Mentis’, ‘Delusion’), some are more personals. Several songs have to do with some hard times we had when one of us went so down and had to be interned in a mental institution for several weeks.

Elaborating on this, is Kera a democratic band where every member participates in the writing of an album or is it more the work of one or two members who are the spine of the band?
Florent: Arthur does most of the composition but it comes through different forms, some are already well developed, some are just basic ideas. Everyone then contributes to enrich them. Many ideas get rejected. Some are brought by the others. I guess that’s fair to say he does the construction work and we do all the rest that make the songs sound good.

One of my favourite songs is ‘Compos Mentis’, which is also the most brutal one. Is this a perhaps a blueprint of the musical direction the band will be heading into the coming future?
Arthur: Hard to say really. We all love ‘Compos Mentis’ and one thing that makes it special is that it comes at the right place, at the right time, with the right amount of violence compared with the rest of the album. I don’t think one would notice it if the whole album was that full of massive low tuned Meshuggah-like riffs. But that’s definitely a direction we will explore further.

On ‘Hysteresis’ you received some help from Joe Tal and Ace Kahney from the Dutch band Textures. How did you come in touch with them and what exactly have they added to your album?
Arthur: Want to know the truth? We contacted both through social networks. Joe, in particular, is the kindest man I have ever meet and an outstanding musician. We chatted a bit and sent him a backing track. He then recorded the best solo of the album at the end of ‘Delusion’ and I still can’t play it hahaha. We got very lucky though because they had a short break in their tour with Textures and he had some spare time. That usually is not the case. Acle is different. He is a professional sound engineer and we asked them about his rate for the analogic mastering of a 54 minutes album. That worked for us and he brought clarity and dynamic to the mix.

I just love the artwork on ‘Hysteresis’. The half head with, as far as I can see, some ancient Greek or Roman columns sticking out of it. What does this artwork represent or symbolize?
Florent: This half-head and those ruins represents the persistence of emotional traumas. We wanted Edouard to draw an honest and original cover, by himself. So we told him about the lyrics, we sent him a few songs and he showed us a few days later four illustrations. We all fell in love with this one, because it was meaningful to us. 'Glad to know you love it !

’Hysteresis’ was a self-released album. Was this an conscious decision or haven’t you found a label yet that would be interested in signing Kera?
Florent: Quite frankly, it was a conscious decision, we wanted to have a final product that we could easily show to the labels, and this is why the album is already on the best streaming websites! And now we are looking for that signature, fingers crossed!

I suppose you would very much like to go on tour to promote your album, but neither your homepage nor Facebook page shows any upcoming shows. What’s happening?
We are working on news shows they will be announced really soon.

Alright, that’s it for now. To finish the interview, are there any last words of wisdom you want to share with our readers Holland? The space below is yours.... Thanks for your time and good luck in the future!
You guys must go on strike, DO NOT LET TEXTURES STOP ! Hope to see you soon somedays in the pit.

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