As we have documented on several of our social media plugs and articles, we have a thing for French Rock and Metal. Why? Well there are several reasons. If you were like us and lucky to have grown up as a teenager in what many refer to (or no one but us) as the best period in music ever (1988-1998) then you would know how many interesting, unique and never-able-to-be-duplicated bands emerged during this time. Two of the most important happen to be French. Treponem Pal, which could be argued only released one memorable album “Excess and Overdrive”, and The Young Gods, who changed the entire perception of what a “rock” band was. If anything came out of this, it was that people took notice that France could produce quality heavy music. Let’s face it: before you heard of Gojira you probably weren’t aware any metal bands even came out of France unless you were a underground metal hound like yours truly. And now you’re probably going “wait, Gojira is French?”
Yes they are. And more so than just the mighty Gojira, there have been a lot of bands to emerge from France over the last several years, all ridiculously heavy, creative and extremely good. Hord, Scarve, Anorexia Nervousa and Hacride. And while the aforementioned bands are either disbanded or on a really long break, Hacride has persevered. When most bands tend to fall off when a vocalist is replaced, Hacride actually got better, if that was possible after the epic “Lazarus” release, when our new friend Luiss Roux took over for the departed Samuel Bourreau. After cutting his teeth in group such as Havarax and Sinscale, Luiss found a new home suited to his vocal skill set and creative talents with the French quartet, by stepping in and absolutely crushing he vocal duties on their last release “Back To Where You’ve Never Been”. By keeping a similar vibe laid down by Bourreau, Roux attacked the new tracks like “Introversion” and “Outcome” with enough melody to hook Cthulu out of the water and plenty of aggression in his screams to please the most die-hard of Steve Von Till fans. Indeed it seems that Hacride is poised to take that next step in catching the eyes of every international metal fan as they work on their next release. Luiss was cool enough to chat with us on the history of Hacride and how he has fused with the band since joining.
MMF: So I guess we should start with how everything is going in the Hacride camp and how the new record is coming along?
Luiss: We recorded “Back To Where You’ve Never Been” in 2013, so it’s been a while since it came out and we toured a lot and played 80 shows for a year straight, which is a lot for us. It’s not a lot for big big bands but for us, French standards, it’s a lot because we still have to work and have our daily lives. Adrian is a guitar teacher, I work for a company so it’s a bit complicated trying to get a record done. We’ve been working on new songs since last Christmas and Adrian started back last Summer.
MMF: So is the new album going to be on Listenable Records?
Luiss: We signed a two album contract with Indie Recordings, which is the same label that “Back…” was released on.
MMF: I haven’t heard much about Indie Recordings. Are they a French label?
Luiss: No they are based in Norway actually. It’s a fairly famous label but it’s more known for black metal. They have Enslaved and Gorgoroth and such. A lot of black metal bands but they’re starting to get into progressive bands which is why they were interested in Hacride. Cool guys with an international name. So it’s going well so far.
MMF: So going back a bit…before you joined Hacride you have a black metal background. Can you give us a bit of how you came to meet up with the band?
Luiss: Sure! Of course….I guess I started playing metal a long time ago. I was around 11, I’m 32 now so it’s been a while. I started with guitar and started messing around with friends and jamming metal. And then I started making my own black metal band called Havarax around 2004 or so. So I’ve always been involved with the genre. But also on the side I had a project Food for Worms. We’ve only released a demo, and we do have an album in the works. It’s taken a while to record. Very horror movie inspired, punk rock type stuff….it’s a cool mix of the two. And there was another band before that called Sinscale, with the guitarist from Klone who we’re good friends with…so when Hacride lost their singer we just had a lot of common friends that suggested “you should try Louis from Sinscale”. We tried out and that is pretty much it….I was in the band.
MMF: Florent was also in Klone with you at the time right?
Luiss: Yes, but he joined Hacride around a year or so before me. All these bands in France, we’re all different but we’re very close friend wise. We live nearby so it’s worked out that we’re all from bands with each other.
MMF: Havarax was a solo project? Did you use computers or keyboards for that?
Luiss:I guess I worked on my craft with that band. I always played all the instruments, programmed the drums and such. It was all very raw and low budget, didn’t sound very good. Year after year it got better and better. But it was a way to get ready for something more professional. It was DIY for sure.
MMF: We call that punk! (Laughs) So in having that background working with samplers and electronics, I noticed on the last album, it had almost an “industrial” vibe, more keyboard work…was that something you brought in joining the group? Was that your influence?
Luiss: When I joined the band actually the album was recorded. I just had to write the lyrics and sing. But Adrian is really into industrial types of music, bands like Strapping Young Lad and such. He’s really the one who wanted some keyboards on that album. You’re right though where “Back…” has that industrial vibe to it. It’s something we’d like to pursue a bit more in the future.
MMF: The band has progressed from album to album, bringing a new vibe on each album. Lazaurs had a big, epic but doomy feel, where “Back …” had, not maybe a “positive” vibe but a different energy to it…
Luiss: I think you’re right. It was a more positive album in a sense. Some songs were a bit glum but the overall album wasn’t maybe as “sad”. It’s more of an in-your-face album. We did try to have a bit more catchy things than “Lazarus” and a bit more groovy. Maybe a little Klone influence because of our drummer. He added some groove into it. That’s probably why you’d get that impression. The next album we’d like to go a little darker. That’s what I like about Hacride. I like the slow and dark vibe.
MMF: As a fan of both albums, I think “Back…” had that melodic feel. I first heard the song, “Introversion” and I didn’t know you joined the group, and I wasn’t sure it was a new singer.(laugh) So when it kicked in I’m like “that can’t be Samuel there” so I had to look it up that you had joined. But your voice really fit the newer sound he band went with. It reminded me of a Steve Von Till (Neurosis)…it was heavy but a little more optimistic?
Luiss: Yes, I think it’s hard to be in your face and hopeful sounding and combine those two elements. I haven’t really talked about “Back…” much but it’s very much a transitional album for us. It’s unique. Hacride will never be able to make an album with so much going on…Adrian had a son around then and he had a frame of mind. There was in him dealing with becoming a father. Then Samuel left…so everything was chaotic for us. So it made the album what it was, then I came in, and though I didn’t have any musicial input…it’s not a pefect album but I consider it transitional, necessary for us to go to something more personal. It takes time for a band to come together and we’re still getting there for the next album. I think the next one will be our “next” sound as a band. But it was a a great transition. After you play a ton of shows though, even if you enjoy the album, we’re excited to make the next songs.
MMF: I’d imagine since it’ll be the first full length as a band with all the new members. As far as the lyrical content, as a vocalist, what were some of the topics you touched on on “Back…” and lyrically do you have themes for the next songs you’re inspired by?
Luiss: On Back, I guess I was more feeling out of place in a way. I felt I was not finding my purpose in life. I was a little confused in a personal way…especially with work and music…the fact we’re adults and accept we’ll probably never be able to fully live on JUST music. It’s our passion and it always will be. But at the same time, trying to follow your dreams and have a “normal” adult life….you start losing your dreams because of that reality. The album has that theme…losing your childhood dreams in a sense. It could be seen as sad I suppose. But at the same time, I tried to have a positive outlook on it. Like “Overcome” it’s about accepting the fact that you won’t be the exact way you imagined, but you still manage to make the best of it. And out of life. And compromise on the two.
MMF: Yes, like the lyrics on Introversion, puts that concept into perspective. I think everyone in this 30’s get that seed of doubt. “Can I still have this dream but survive by being an adult? Should I ditch my passions?” I think we all go through that as adults.
Luiss: Definately. I’ll always write about personal experiences. I don’t write about anything cartoonish or, you know, horror metal lyrics. Other bands maybe but with Hacride, I didn’t want those fantasy themes. I wanted all personal experiences. So for the next album I’ll be touch on my father’s death, which was back when I was 11. But I wanted to draw from that process of mourning and grieving. And the hardships of losing someone close to you. In the end it will have a positive theme, just darker in a way. The topic of death isn’t the most original subject right? But doing it from a personal view but it’s a topic so many people can relate to. And for me, the best way to write is to keep it in a way that can touch a lot of people. Singing is such an emotional process and the content has to be strong and real. Taking something from your own background is how you do it.
MMF: The stages of grief and loss, for sure, we’ve all dealt with. Music always connects more than talking about “Satan” like is expected from metal bands sometimes, but talking about heartache is more real for sure….
Luiss: I’ve even been listening to country lately because of that vibe. Some might look at it as cheesy but it’s amazing how much emotion country singers put into their songs.
MMF: Have you been listening to older country, like Cash or Merle?
Luiss: Yes, and like Hank Williams, even Hank 3 who is more modern….Conway Twitty, things like that. I also have been influenced by some Hawaiian type music, that twangy stuff..or Jerry Burn and 1960’s stuff like Grand Parsons….I draw inspiration from a lot right.
MMF: I always got the Roy Orbison “sad Elvis’ thing from my family. (Laughs) But that is good you’re open to drawing from non-metal sources to inspire your creativity.
Luiss: Yes, I don’t like limiting what I listen to, I like having eclectic tastes. I think some people are so into metal they miss out on some great music otherwise. When you like music, it’s hard to restrain yourself from keeping an open mind. Though I’ve had a hard time getting into techno or electronic dance. I like some hip hop even if it has a good feel to it. Most of the time I listen to doom, grindcore and punk of course. But I need to take breaks, just depends on my mood.
MMF: So when I was younger I got into the French Rock scene, and they really stuck out to me like Treponem Pal and Young Gods…for a lot of American Metal people those were the bands that got us exposed to the “French” sound I guess..and with the success that Gojira has had, is the metal and rock scene taking off the last few years….
Luiss: Well I guess you could say Gojira is the top of that mountain right now because they’re so good and well known. But their success for being a French band is unique because their the only one. And I’m not talking about quality, just success. The scene itself overall, it is growing a little bigger because of bands like ourselves, Dagoba and such. It’s not like people over here are going crazy over here for metal. It takes a lot to get French folks to come out to shows. The scene isn’t giant by any means. Even if there are really good bands. From an outsider perspective you might think there are a lot shows but it’s more about festivals in Europe sometimes. It seems like there are a lot of bands just not as many places for shows. But I thikn the French sound is pretty special. I’m not sure what it is. Maybe it’s because there aren’t a lot of shows so a lot of musicians stay in and work on more songs and finding new songs. It probably pushes people to make the sound more original.
MMF: So is there a time frame for the next record, or when you’re going to get it done?
Luiss: We’re hoping by the end of the year, that we’ll get into the studio. By the end of the summer the album will be pretty much done with composition and lyrics, maybe earlier. We are definately looking for a spring 2016 release. And when we stopped touring last year we said “ok this is the last show until the next album” because of our various things we’re doing. Our drummer is still in Klone, and we wanted to take a break and have a new album to offer a new album to fans.
MMF: Well when you tour again try and get to the states. We would use a few new bands from overseas like Hacride to get over here…
Luiss: Oh we would love to of course, and we would love to go there. We’ve been all over Europe and India but we would love to, it’s something we’ve always wanted to do.