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Beyond Creation

Het Canadese Beyond Creation is al lang geen vreemde eend in de bijt meer. Met hun debuutalbum ‘The Aura’ (2011) en opvolger ‘Earthborn Revolution’ (2014) werd de band een gevestigde, vooraanstaande naam als het aankomt op progressieve, technische death metal. Het nieuwe album ‘Algorythm’ is er eentje die misschien wel als blauwdruk van het (sub)genre gezien kan worden. Ik sprak met zanger/gitarist Simon Girard over het nieuwe album.

Door: Patrick | Archiveer onder death metal / grindcore

Musically you have always been the kind of band with a lot of diversity, with the emphasis on challenging and complicated music, with this new release being no exception. I like the balance that the band has between intensity, progression and aggression. How difficult is it to find that balance?
I started learning classical music at the age of six and so I quickly understood that there’s infinite ways to compose music. There’s no magical solution and that’s the beauty of it. Art is subjective but the most important is that your own balance in what you create and do it with passion. I always loved challenging music, not necessarily fast or complex but just well written. Emotions are the most important because that’s what hollow you to express yourself … same as a language. So, when I write music, I need to feel what I’m about to play as a story line either if it’s complicated or not. It’s like adding colors and shades to a painting.

On the previous album you added a little more melody to certain songs (e.g. 'Elusive Reverence' and 'Fundamental Process)', which in itself added another layer of interest to the sound. You maintained that element on the new album, as well as adding some extra more tranquil moments (e.g. 'Ethereal Kingdom', ‘Binomial Structures’), which add to the dynamics on the album. Are that elements you deliberately look for while writing or can we say that this type of music has become a sort of signature sound for beyond Creation?
I personally listen to a lot of different kind of music and I really like the atmospheres and trippy sounds for example on “Shine on you crazy Diamond” from the band Pink Floyd. When you listen to the song, it feels like a movie where you can imagine what’s going on based on the dynamics and moods. Or let’s say the entire “Liminal” album from the band Exivious; they really have a unique sound and mix a lot of different atmospheres. These albums really had an impact on me as a songwriter over the years. I also have a lot of interest into film music which can be really subtle but change all the mood of the scene you are looking at. So, I just felt like it was a good moment to expand the dynamic range / textures and introduce sounds that could give the listeners a theatrical aspect.

You have added a few instrumental tracks to the album ('À Travers Le Temps Et L'Oubli', 'Binomial Structures'). To me it results in the album as a whole to have a more fluent flow. Do you agree? What did you have in mind when you added instrumental tracks?
I always wanted to compose orchestra, I had the capability and everything in mind but for some reasons I never really had the right tools to do it properly on a professional record. I composed the piano section for 'À Travers Le Temps Et L'Oubli' even before recording ‘The Aura’ and every time I was pushing it further to the next album by matter of time and resources. So, I finally decided to get the right tools, time and find the right musicians to record my compositions. I’m so glad I did this and I’m really happy with the results. I also started creating film music genre so this gives me new possibilities for future Beyond Creation albums. On the band side, every album contains at least one instrumental song and with 'Binomial Structures', I wanted to give every musician a place where we could all step out of our comfort zone, play solos and ambiances we never really experimented before. Being also a big fan of instrumental music, it is important for me to let the music speaks by itself sometimes.

How does Beyond Creation compose a song? Do you come together in a studio when ideas or riffs have been written or do you use media such as Skype to share thoughts and ideas? How do you determine whether a track is good enough for you?
I compose all the songs starting with both guitars which I record at my place. I put all the melodies, atmospheres, themes and sections and once I feel that the song is complete, I send it to the guys. Then after I jam separately with everyone so I can explain the feels and signification for every part.
I always have a pretty good idea of what I’m looking for on the arrangement side so it’s easier for everyone to put the right feels on the riffs and songs. Finally, they create their arrangements accordingly to their own style and spices. After it is the time to compose the lyrics and integrate it to the songs. It’s easier for me to create the music before so I can fit the feels, themes and rhythms of the lyrics. Kevin also wrote lyrics for two of the songs on the album and half of the music on ‘Surface’s Echoes’. I consider myself as a composer before a guitar player or a signer. To me composing is the most awesome feeling. It’s hard to explain but it’s like creating a whole universe which you can explore and change the way you want. It’s like creating themes: melancholy, excitement, mysterious, glorious, fear, joy and tell a story with it. It takes time but at the end, I’m really happy with the result.

After the release of ‘Earthborn Revolution’ you had to replace Dominic ‘Forest’ Lapointe. How difficult was it to find the right replacement? Which characteristics (both as a musician and as a person) make Hugo Doyon-Karout the right person for Beyond Creation?
Hugo is an extremely talented musician, a good friend and a hard worker. He was since a young age Kevin’s neighbour and they knew well each other. So, Kevin suggest him to buy a fretless bass and take part in the auditions … which he did. He already knew that Beyond Creation puts every instrument as a whole and he had to push his skills to the limits. That day, he really stepped out and impressed us big time. We also knew by his energetic and positive attitude, that he would work hard and be looking at the same directions as we do. Creating this new album was a really immersive and fun process and we are really happy to have him on board!

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To what extend has the addition of Hugo to the band influenced the musical approach on ‘Algorythm’?
Hugo really created awesome basslines which shows a lot of his colours, feels and skills. He did an outstanding job putting the right feels and spices at the right moments. He serves the music by doing it in a really musical way but also in an interesting way which gives the basslines a unique place in the songs.

What is ‘Algorythm’ about? Is it comprised of individual tales? How is it tied to your personal lives? Where do you draw the inspiration for your lyrics? From personal life? From books, movies, nature, politics…?
The idea I had for ‘Algorythm’ mostly represents the general lyrical theme of the album because algorithms are naturally used in everything. When you look at the mathematical but also physical side of it, nature, animals and humans are all born from complex and natural algorithms. Look also at the day to day patterns most of humans and animals find balance by creating their own routines which is related by choosing the right algorithm. Things we buy and use are also created by using specific amounts of materials which had to go through the Algorithm process. Finally, since our lives turns around music, I decided to change ‘i’ with ‘y’ for the album title because music composition is a constant evolutional process and after all, you understand that there’s a unique and specific musical algorithm found that defines each and every album of Beyond Creation.

Most lyrical themes are about the way we interact to each other, the impacts of our words and decisions through time, environment and some of the major problems we are facing through our current era. I like to create lyrics in a philosophical way because the beauty of art is that you can receive the message and interpret it the way it fits your world, your own life and experiences. There also this writing manner which he talks about the problems but also tend to push on the optimist side of it because there’s always solutions to our problems. Problems never last for ever, you just need to take actions and accept to change the situation you/we are in. Kevin’s texts are about astrology, the effect that it had on our civilisations and the second one is more like a fictive story which talks about genetically modified organisms and the consequences of creating technologies that can surpass humans.

You have released a video for the title track ‘The Inversion’. What made you decide to choose this song, as an introduction to the new album?
There a lot of dynamics and different textures in the song which I think makes it a little bit more remarkable. It is also pretty catchy and melodic but also contain a melancholic vibe which can be pretty good for creating nice feels with music videos.

Can you tell us something about what happens to a band as Beyond Creation when you finish the recording of an album? What is coming towards you and how do you deal with it? Do you like this promotional stuff?
Releasing a new album is a lot of excitements but it also means a lot of work in every department. Promotion, PR, production, interviews, booking, logistics, visuals etc. You need to be well prepared and the chances are that 24h in a day won’t be enough haha! But honestly, I like it because everyone finally sees and hear the new material you’ve been working on during those past years besides touring, jamming and doing business. You’re offering something new to your fans, something that is part of your evolution as a musician and you can finally see how their reactions.

What do you do to keep working in music and the music itself fresh? What do you do to keep to create musical challenges for yourself? How do you ensure continuous improvement? In what aspects do you see your main musical challenges?
To me the most efficient thing is to stay open minded and listen to a lot of different music. Try new things, technique, ambiances and step out of my comfort zone. Art is subjective so play and create music that you really love…passion will do the rest.

When I recall well, you will be playing a bunch of shows in the US (with Obscura, Archspire, Inferi and Exist), after which a headliner tour through Europe follows (with Gorod, Entheos and Brought By Pain). How do you feel before going on stage? You have been touring several times; what makes it still exciting? How do you guys spend your down time while traveling?
Touring is a unique experience. Every show is different even when you play in the same venue and city. Creating music, jamming, recording in the studio is absolutely awesome but you never entirely realize the impact your music has on people until you start touring. Doing tours and shows is very intense, on many levels, but to me it is probably the most rewarding thing you can live as a musician / composer. It allows you to understand and realize how deep people perceive the stories and emotions you’ve been transmitting through your hard work. An opportunity to connect with fans and see their level of appreciation.

Thank you for taking the time to go through these questions! Let’s come to a closure; if there is anything left that you’d like to mention, feel free to do so…
Thank you all so much for the support. We feel absolutely blessed to see all the good comments and appreciation on our music and new stuff. Coming to the shows, buying our music and telling about us to your friends are all best ways to support the band. This directly allow us to keep create music and play shows for you all around the world. We are looking to see you again. Cheers!!

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