Eryn Non Dae comes to terms with its honesty

During the writing and the recording of its new record Meliora, out since October, Eryn Non Dae (formerly known as END) set the tone very soon basing their communication on the record’s topic: metamorphosis, especially the one by which someone evolves towards “something bigger”. By describing such an introspective trip in a record said to be “especially dynamic”, with a lot of contrasts, maybe the band is trying to transcend itself, on a human and on a musical level.

The downsides of the way humans interact with technology is one of the things that are tormenting guitar player Franck Quintin, whose sayings may sound innocent but are declared with unwavering conviction. Eryn Non Dae doesn’t make any compromise both artistically and marketing wise, taking the time they need to write their songs and communicating only when they’ve got something to say. Eryn Non Dae is a band who is completely at ease with the fact that their art is hard to grasp and that it makes it difficult for a label to work with them, even if that means that they might be left aside.

A band coming to terms with its honesty.

« If people could fuck their phone instead of their girlfriend, they probably would! [laughs] »

Radio Metal: The first informations we got about your new album were about its topic. You emphasized on the fact that it would be about metamorphosis. Is it a concept album?

Franck Quintin (guitars): Yes, Mathieu wrote all the lyrics and had this idea in mind even before the musical conception of the record. He really wanted to express this idea. While writing new tracks, he found this topic and started to expand it through his feelings toward humanity and the world surrounding him. This metamorphosis evolves in the course of the record. He’s talking about an evolution in the way of thinking about what surrounds him.

This topics brings up the human being’s metamorphosis. It’s about a kind of introspection that turn the person into someone better, which doesn’t means they’re superior, more that they became a better person.

Yes, it’s only about becoming a better person, which nowadays is obviously becoming more and more difficult, or just a goal… We think it’s a bit pathetic. When we look at people around us, we think that human beings are sinking downer and downer into selfishness and casual individualism. They’ll be more likely to talk to their phone than to the other human being walking next to them. People don’t look at each other, don’t talk to each other anymore. Mathieu wanted to express how sick of this we are.

Do you think that we must eradicate technology in order to build a better world?

No, it’s not about eradicating technology. I do use technology, but I don’t forget to talk to my neighbor, to look at people in the eye when we meet in the street. I think that human sensitivity is slowly disappearing. If people could fuck their phone instead of their girlfriend, they probably would! [laughs]

Then we’re gonna hang up! [laughs]

When I look at all these people who surround us, I can’t help but ask: “Where are we going?” Technology shuts people away. Of course we can open ourselves to the world and chat with people at the other side of the planet, but we don’t look around ourselves anymore.

We try to see as far as we can even if we have things in our reach that we don’t even care to watch.

Exactly. Human relationships have been damaged by all these technologies that are invading our everyday life. You probably noticed it if you have that kind of sensitivity. I find this shocking. I’m also noticing that in my work, people don’t talk to each other anymore but are stuck to their phone.

Those are concepts we all have in mind, but that doesn’t mean that everybody follows a special philosophy that tries to go against this phenomenon. We still throw things in the bin even if we know that we shouldn’t and so on. Did you take on a new way of life to suit these ideas and stay away from what you were talking about?

Sorting the recyclables is becoming more and more common. I’ve got a compost heap for my organic waste, I built a wood house to keep my energy consumption down. I’ve got a stove that warms the whole house. I’m building a wood house with solar panels. I’m using my bike for short distances so I think I’m helping on my small scale. I’m being careful and live up to these standards.

Did working on this record struck some kind of introspective reflexion in the band members or was it something that was inside of you already and that you wanted to talk about?

We always had this inside of us, and maybe that’s why we’ve been together for so long and we get along so well. We all agree on the topic so the conception of the record didn’t really needed more introspection. We have this way of looking at things and human beings in our everyday lives.

Does this way of seeing things affect the way you manage the band? Do you try to be a “better” band?

Yes, we try to become better people. Perfection doesn’t exist and never will, so we try to get better all together.

« You have to let people forget about you to be able to come back with something fresh and to avoid the fact that the public might feel harassed by too many news. »

A listener comments that technology isn’t a problem, but stupid people are. I guess he means that if it weren’t for technology, people would find another way to move away from each other. It reminds me of what one of my teachers was saying: nowadays people have a tendency to travel all over the world without knowing what there is ten or twenty kilometers away from where they live and could be just as beautiful and interesting.

Yes, that’s the same thing with human relationships. We use the Internet to talk to people that we barely know at the other side of the world while we won’t even speak to our colleagues. Technology is a tool, it could be fantastic but we only use its bad sides.

It’s something that human beings always did. Some technologies like nuclear energy ended up being used as war weapons…

Exactly, you find that everywhere. There’s always the dark side in people that says: “What if I tried to do this? It’s better for myself, I don’t give a fuck about the others.”

These human qualities you defend are a very positive philosophy, unlike your music that’s very aggressive, very tormented, unlike this idea of keeping things simple. What do you think about that?

We all have our dark places, our demons, some events may affect us and that’s what ends up in our music. Art in general allows to express emotions, so while in our everyday lives we’re quite happy, our music expresses every emotion, every frustration that comes from the world surrounding us. Obviously, E.N.D.’s music isn’t all roses, far from that. We put everything in our music. We still have good times, I don’t think we’re depressing people to be around.

The album is entitled “Meliora”, which is the Latin for “better”. Why did you pick this language?

When Mathieu suggested this title, we all liked it. I think it sounds good. It’s an old language that’d been around for centuries and thus have a certain power. At first, we wanted to have a title in French but we couldn’t find something that pleased everybody, so we ended up picking this one, and everybody’s happy about it. At first it was supposed to be a French title, just like a certain band…

What were the arguments against a title in French?

Not everybody liked it. The record was supposed to be called “Renaissance” [Rebirth], especially regarding the human being. Finally, I think I like “Meliora” better.

“Renaissance” sounded maybe a bit more cliché…

Yes, there was a bit of this too. But “Meliora” is really good.

French bands tends to get some attention from the US. Our fellows from Metal Sucks wrote a post about you in which they were talking about the “French Touch”, saying that there was in France a pool of great bands that share a common kind of intellectual approach. Is it something that you feel too? Have you been in contact with American journalists interested in your band?

Since we signed Hydra Lernaïa on Metal Blade, we had a lot of press in foreign countries. Usually, they would talk about this emerging scene due to the success of Gojira, and then Hacride and Klone that are also amazing bands. You can read about that quite often in columns and interviews but then explaining what is this “French Touch” is quite difficult.

Did it bring some opportunities in the US or did it just not had that much consequences?

We had some feedback in the media. We sold quite a few records there without doing any gigs.

Some other opportunities?

We had one opportunity to go play there but it was quite expensive. We also had some problems with the visas that were really expensive too, so in the end it didn’t work out. Maybe another time.

About Metal Blade Records : « I think what they saw in us was the ‘French Touch’ that was potentially about to be the next big thing, but no, because it’s a music that isn’t easy to get into for most of the people and thus we didn’t sold much. Our music doesn’t get that much people hooked anyway. »

The track “Scarlet Rising” is one of the first you revealed, way before letting know anything else.

Yes, we were playing this track way before we recorded it. It’s a track we finished quite quickly during the writing process, so we thought we could already present it exclusively live to our fans, so yeah, this track is getting a bit old already.

The song “Hidden Lotus” is closing the record. What can you tell us about it?

It’s the most infectious track of the record. The album’s been written in the same order than the tracklisting, so “Hidden Lotus” was the last. We finished it not very long before getting into the studio. We were starting to get a bit antsy because we hate starting in the studio with an unfinished track, that’s just something Eryn Non Dae doesn’t do. This song is a bit more direct, but we’re really happy with the result.

One of our readers says that “Hidden Lotus” rocks and that “it’s really trippy live”.

Thanks! During our shows, we try to make people travel with all the different atmospheres we’re trying to build in and between every track of the set. If he found it trippy then we reached our goal. That’s what we want people to feel.

Why putting this track at the end of the record when it’s a very direct and thus catchy one? It could be a single…

We don’t think in terms of singles, I actually think it’s pretty hard to find singles in Eryn Non Dae’s records, except for this one maybe. We had a good feedback, so why not. The tracks follow the progression of Mathieu’s concept, he wanted the tracks to remain in that order. At the beginning, we thought that “Chrysalis” could close the record, but it didn’t happen, so it remained as the opener, and Lotus closes the album. It works very well with the overall concept of Meliora.

You were saying that it wouldn’t be possible for you to get into the studio with an unfinished track, but a lot of bands finish off writing in the studio. How come you couldn’t?

It takes us a lot of time, a lot of planning, a lot of reflexion. We analyze every single instrumental part as soon as we find something. Everything is dissected and every instrument is important in the band. Each track takes us about a month to be fully written. It would be impossible to do that in the studio. One month is the overall time we spent there for the whole record! If our music was something more direct – almost Nirvana-like for instance – then maybe it could work out and we could write new tracks more easily, but our music is too complex for us to work like that.

Your last album was out in 2009, it took you three years to have the new one out. You were telling us that you take your time for each song and that besides, you didn’t tour much during this time. Is this new album the only thing you worked on during these three years?

Yes, and yet we’re not wankers, we rehearse three times a week! [laughs] We like to do things properly, so even if we play only once or twice in a month, we work on the set seriously, but it interferes with the writing process. The gigs and the music we made took us three years of writing. The album could have been out a bit sooner but we lost some time canvassing labels. If we would have been signed on Metal Blade, it would have been out six months sooner. But then six months isn’t that much anyway.

Isn’t it a bit of a problem to let three years between two records for a young band that would need to keep the public’s attention as much as possible?

No, we don’t work like that at all, maybe like most of the current scene. You have to let people forget about you to be able to come back with something fresh and to avoid the fact that the public might feel harassed by too many news. We don’t work like that, we take our time. Even if we’d stay on Metal Blade, the time needed to have an album out wouldn’t have changed. Whatever might be the label, it’s the sine qua non condition for us, we can’t have a new album out every two years. For us, it’s anti-creative to have an album out on a regular basis.

Nowadays trend is mostly burst advertising, especially on social networks where bands are throwing new informations all the time in order to keep the attention level high enough. In your case, it’s not your thing at all, isn’t it?

I’m the one who’s taking care of this. The others tend to hold me back a little because I’m always trying to do some work; when I don’t do anything, I’m feeling guilty. We’re not media exposure addicts, though.

Do you think that nowadays, bands tend to forget the most important things and instead concentrate too much on what’s around the music more than the music itself?

Absolutely. I see it on the Internet, a lot of bands are posting stupid stuff, contests in which they ask their fans to do some thing or another, like to wear a T-shirt then to take a picture and whatnot just to round the more people up… That’s not our thing at all.

« [Century Media] liked the music of Meliora but they clearly told us we don’t sell enough to be on such a label. Other ones told us our album was amazing but that they had enough bands already. I think I prefer this answer: at least it means that they’re already doing a good job for their ten or fifteen bands and that it’s enough for them. »

The artwork of the record is gorgeous, what can you tell us about it?

Thanks! It’s our bass player Micka who drew this beautiful artwork. Romain did the one for Hydra Lernaïa and did the layout, but the general idea for the front and back of digipack was Micka’s, it’s very pretty and we’re very happy with it. When he showed it to us, we knew we wouldn’t need anything else, we had the artwork.

The album Meliora will be out the 8th of October. Will it be available everywhere?

We hope so. The label M&O will take over after Metal Blade, and hopefully it will follow. The preorders have been up since a couple of days on our website.

Is it possible to buy your record on your website?

Yes, our website is currently on maintenance but there is a link on the main page to preorder the record then receive it a bit before its release date. It’s on Big Cartel and on Bandcamp, then it’ll be available on our web-shop.

You were saying previously that you had a new label, and that after Metal Blade, you’re on M&O Music. It’s quite unusual to go from a big label such as Metal Blade to M&O Music, a smaller one. Why this change?

With Metal Blade, we had a contract for an album with an option for four but after a while, since we didn’t sold enough with Hydra Lernaïa, they ended the collaboration here.

Isn’t it a bit sad to kick a band out for a matter of money when promoting is part of their job?

They did a very good job promoting us. We had interviews everywhere and a lot of feedback. On the other hand, we toured less for Hydra Lernaïa than for our previous EP [note: The Never Ending Whirl Of Confusion]. Of course there were some beautiful dates, but if you play less, the sales figures won’t increase. It’s a bit frustrating, but we’re not the only ones to leave Metal Blade. We thought they’d have more ideas to work on a long-term scale with us since we’re a developing band… So we started canvassing again for Meliora. We got in touch with a lot of labels, we got a few answers and we picked M&O Music because it was the best for us.

Maybe it’s a bit difficult to work on your band…

Yeah, I think what they saw in us was the “French Touch” that was potentially about to be the next big thing, but no, because it’s a music that isn’t easy to get into for most of the people and thus we didn’t sold much. Our music doesn’t get that much people hooked anyway.

What M&O Music gave you that other labels didn’t?

There hasn’t been a lot of labels interested. We tried the big ones, the regular ones, then the smaller ones. M&O was bringing something interesting distribution and money wise, so we picked this one. A lot of people don’t understand why we’re not on Metal Blade anymore, but that’s how things go. It’s the law of market forces; the music industry is getting worse and worse so the ones who don’t sell much are left behind.

Comparing to the first time you canvassed and signed a deal with Metal Blade, did you see a change in the offers you had and the contracts you were proposed?

We may have had more offers for this record, but there wasn’t much interesting ones. We even tried out with big labels. For instance, we have contacts in Century Media, the person liked the music of Meliora but they clearly told us we don’t sell enough to be on such a label. Other ones told us our album was amazing but that they had enough bands already. I think I prefer this answer: at least it means that they’re already doing a good job for their ten or fifteen bands and that it’s enough for them.

Haven’t you been in contact with Season of Mist? A band like yours could fit the label’s philosophy…

A lot of people were thinking this too but no. They only want to listen to one track, which is a bit weird to begin with, especially since in our case, the music is very versatile all along the record. Some parts are heavy, some are violent, some are mid-tempo… We chose to send them the track “The Great Downfall”, a pretty heavy one. They liked it OK, but not enough to have us work with them, so it didn’t work out. A few other labels could have suited our music too, but either they didn’t answer, either they weren’t interested.

Did it ever occurred to you to do everything by yourselves? More and more bands do things this way creating their own label.

We thought about that, we started to plan things up and to follow the procedures in case we wouldn’t have found any label at all. We were really close to have it out by ourselves, it’s been really a matter of a very short time period. Maybe we’ll do the next one this way, we’ll see.

Did you think about getting in touch with Guillaume Bernard from Klone to be part of the Klonosphere? Your band fits well with Hacride, Klone and so on… Would it be something that interest you, to be part of this?

Regarding the label, we thought about auto-production so we left the Klonosphere aside. I know they work very well to promote bands but with the contacts I had thanks to Metal Blade, I think I can do the most of the work by myself, whether it be in France or in the rest of the world, where I’ve got more contacts than in France. It crossed our mind, we know each other, we appreciate these bands both humanly and musically. I didn’t work out, but maybe some day it will…

The advantage of the label he founded is that now, the bands are distributed by Season of Mist.

Maybe we made a mistake, maybe we’ll realize it later but that’s how things goes.

Do you already know how M&O are working? Did you ever work with them before?

Not at all, it’s absolutely new. Alex told me he had a lot of contacts in France and I have a lot of contacts in foreign countries, so we complete each other. We are serene regarding that. I started canvassing all over the world for columns and interviews coming up and I know that some journalists already listened to our record and liked it, so we feel confident for the future and for Meliora.

Do you have anything to say about a possible tour?

For now, we got a big proposition for opening for a huge band. It should be decided in the coming days, if it doesn’t work out it’ll be one more time because of money issues which would be really frustrating, but that’s how thing goes. If it doesn’t work out, we’ll look for tour dates here and there.

Which band?

I can’t say anything but if it happens, it’ll be amazing!

Is it a French or an international band?

[Laughs] I won’t say anything because if, for instance, I say it’s a French band, you’re gonna think about whales immediately… Anyway if it doesn’t work out, I guess we’ll be so frustrated we’ll let you know what band it was anyway. Until then, keep your fingers crossed for us!

Is there anything you’d like to add?

Watch around you, talk to each other, it’s my current cry from the heart. Everyday when I’m going to work I wonder what human beings will become. Do something!

Interview conducted on September 11th 2012
Questions: Spaceman et Metal’O Phil
Translation: Chloé

Eryn Non Dae’s official website: www.erynnondae.com

Album Meliora, out since October 8th, 2012 via M&O Music

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