Hallo, Konichiwa or do you prefer bonsoir?
Ossu! No problem, thank for taking the time to write your questions in French. My answers will be provided in English for a better transcription.
This interview is about your new album ‘The Legacy Of Shi’. There was a period of four years between the predecessor and the new one. That is a long time in the metalscene. Why did it take so long?
We're about to release our second album entitled ‘The Legacy Of Shi’. ‘Welcame’, our first album, was released back in November 2014 and we had to defend it on stage. Touring is time consuming, involves energy and a record needs time to pass along and be digested by an audience growing after each show. New tracks came progressively and we had to sort the final tracklist out of tens of compositions we had. The twelve remaining one are those we took time to refine, record as demos in order to enter the studio with an almost finished product. Add to this process the time spent in studio, mixing, mastering, promo upfront the album release... We would have taken one more year if it was necessary, quality prevails upon quantity with Rise Of The Northstar!
You guys did a lot of touring and achieved more experience. That is easy to hear on the album. The music that you make could drive an audience completely insane. Did you ever realized that?
Your question is a bit strange... First of all, we just played 'Here Comes The Boom' so far, which is the first extract of our upcoming album. Then, if we didn't want people to jump around and drive them crazy, we would not play that kind of music! Anyway, it's always a pleasure to play in front of a unbridled crowd but the real reward comes with the new supporters we happened to seduce through our live performance, with the precious help of already existing fans of course. At every festival, we get feedbacks from people who didn't know us before our set and then start supporting us.
I was very enthusiastic about the song ‘Here Comes The Boom’. I even reminded me of the first time when I ever heard Rage Against The Machine. Such an intense energy. Have you already had some reviews about the album?
RATM is one of our main influences and as a fan, you could hardly indulge myself more with your remark. We tend to keep the album content secret and few people already fully listened to it, so we've had few feedback so far. But without spoiling you, if you enjoyed 'Here Comes The Boom', you will love ‘The Legacy Of Shi’ as a whole...
Did you had a lot of inspiration for the second album. Or was it more difficult to make then the debut?
It's not a matter of being difficult or not... Generally speaking, we all have our own musical background but we all agree on common influences like RATM, Slayer, Limp Bizkit, Onyx, Wu-Tang Clan but also Rookies, Akira, Hokuto No Ken, Dragon Ball, Saint Seiya... works without which our music would not be the way it is in its form and substance. The Northstar is always moving, whether it is individually, as a band or musically. This is why our sound evolves naturally.
This is also the first album where there is some rap to hear in French. And that sounds very nice. Was doing that an issue?
There was already some French verses on a track from ‘Welcame’. But for your defense, it's right that there is more on ‘The Legacy Of Shi’. I'll say it again but this was a natural process. Even if Vithia would never have dared thinking about singing in his native language ten years ago, to quote him, he still had the choice between French and English once in the studio in Brooklyn. Everyone felt like the chosen parts sounded better in French so we kept it that way.
Most of the lyrics are song in English. Is it difficult to write it in French and then translate it to English with holding the high pitches and the melodies?
French is a rich language full of nuances that are specific to it. What's difficult is to transcribe an idea or a concept in another language, choose the appropriate translation that will sound good. Accent and pronunciation were also a good challenge for our singer, he worked hard on it with Joe Duplantier so he could be understood internationally.
A special song on the album is the experimental ‘Kozo’. What is that about?
I'm not sure about the meaning of your question, but 'Kozo' is integral part of the album tracklist and perfectly fits the storyline and the concept of ‘The Legacy Of Shi’, namely duality and confrontation between Vithia and Shi. All along the album, the idea is to define if Vithia is possessed by Shi or if it's the opposite.
The album was recorded in New York. How was it to be in that city, the birthplace of hardcore?
We've always worked in our country until now but for ‘The Legacy Of Shi’, we wanted to get together somewhere else with someone from the outside to improve the project. We also needed to create a real gap production wise and USA was obviously a good choice for this. On top of it, New York is a very inspiring city and deeply soaked with metal and hip hop.
You got some help from one of the most famous metal guys from France: Joe Duplantier. How was it working with him?
We were aiming for a production that is more organic than what's being made nowadays and we really like the one of the latest Gojira album, ‘Magma’. Even if the connection is not that obvious at first sight, Joe was quickly interested by the project as he also have reverences close to ours. He also understood we were an assured band and that he was here to take us further towards the big picture. He is a perfectionist and won't hesitate to make you record a riff tens of times and bring some ideas. Even if our songs were finished, he knew how to add some little details that would improve it a lot.
You spend a lot of effort and time in the artwork. It looks really great. Who did that?
Vithia is the artistic director of the band, he creates all the visual universe of the band so thank you for him!
Never thought about a comic manga about the band itself?
You played in plenty of countries. How did they react in Japan?
Playing in Japan is a unique experience for ROTN. Once there, the band and its universe gets their whole meaning and it brings us an incredible comfortable feeling. Furthermore, people are very welcoming and respectful. They bring us gift, thank us for coming and are very honored by our presence. We even got apologizes letters from fans who could not attend some of our shows!
Thanks for your time. Any last words for our readers?
To anyone supporting us, thanks for believing in the Northstar. To anyone hating us, thanks for mentioning our name. May each one of you stay authentic the way we did! See you in December in Leiden with Dope D.O.D!