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Wormfood - As Weird As They Come

Discussion in 'Metal Interviews' started by circus_brimstone, Feb 9, 2006.

  1. circus_brimstone

    circus_brimstone Forest: Sold Out

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    [IMGLEFT]http://www.russell.ultimatemetal.com/Interview/WF3.jpg[/IMGLEFT]By Jason Jordan

    Perhaps France is best known for its black metal, though the country easily rivals any of the major producers of metal such as Poland, Canada, Norway, Sweden, and the U.S. One French gem is none other than Wormfood – a thriving oddball more unpredictable than anything France has exported previously. Over the course of the past few years, there’s been a deluge of remarkable French albums, and France is most assuredly one of them. I was eager to talk with vocalist/guitarist El Worm (no relation to Cryptopsy’s Lord Worm) about the state of his country, as well as the new material and its meaning for both the band and a foreign audience.

    Jason from UltimateMetal.com here. Thanks a ton for the interview, as I’m enjoying France immensely!

    Hello and thanks for your enthusiasm!

    France is, unsurprisingly, all about France and the record contains a bevy of the French language. Are you concerned that you’ll alienate much of your potential audience by laying the French on so thickly?

    First, I’d like to say that – despite its title – France isn’t strictly speaking a concept-album “all about France.” The topics are quite universal, even if the French background is the thread of our stories. We also clearly claim our identity, and enjoy using our native language, which certainly gives an exotic and “Frenchy” flavor to the compositions…. Then, we sincerely believe that our French-speaking is paradoxically one possible mean to seduce the foreign audience. We knew this album will be released worldwide, and consciously took up the challenge. After all, to assume one’s own cultural identity is something more and more current in metal since the appearance of bands like Rammstein, for example. We had to try the formula with French!

    Along the same lines, most of the reviews and interviews I’ve seen have been in French. So, for the English-speaking readers, would you mind briefly describing the overall theme(s) of France? What can non-French speakers take away from the new album, even if they don’t understand what’s being said?

    France is a collection of dark and cynical musical stories, with a wide French background, from the 17th century aristocratic libertines, to the present urban reality. Thinking of the foreign audience, it seems really important to insist on the fact that the lyrics (fully transcribed in the booklet, anyway) are often alternating English and French verses, and that the cinematographical use of atmospheres and acting allow one to feel the meaning and evolution of the narration, even for a non French-speaking audience.

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    In the press release, Wormfood claim that the reason behind unleashing France is “no stupid patriot purpose nor, on the contrary, denigration of our Frenchness. We proclaim the poetic value of our mother tongue, our rich cultural heritage, and we are proud of our metal scene which slowly gains a worldwide reputation.” Wouldn’t you say the statement above sounds like patriotism, or are you referencing France’s past rather than its present? What are your thoughts on present-day France? Living standards? Domestic issues? Foreign policy?

    I meant, above all, that we didn’t want people to think that we are nationalists, because of our artwork or the title of the album! And to answer your question, no, I don’t believe in the “old good time” nostalgia or in “the present good time” illusion: the world changes around us, but humanity still remains the same. We simply chose to highlight one not well-known, despaired and wicked side of our culture, to show the foreign audience a different artistic view of our country. Regarding our thoughts on present-day France, I’d say that our country is, sadly, the land of socio-cultural paradoxes….

    I’d like to have everything (lyrics, spoken words, et cetera) translated into English, because I’m curious as to what it all means. I’ll save you from that chore, though. Is there a common theme buried within France? Other than the fact that the whole disc is about your country, of course.

    I believe that France is a very humanistic album, constantly dealing with the uncontrollable parts of being: love, vice, misery, fear, guilt, disease and last but not least, death. Writing the lyrics, I put a very intimate part of myself in Wormfood, and I want to emphasize my topics with a real sincerity. For example, “Death Equal to Nothing” deals with the matter of death from a very realistic, medical point of view. Let’s face the truth, death isn’t romantic, cool and fashionable: death is an abyssal terror eating inside us. And, as said in our promo letter, we try to develop in parallel a real reflection of the metal genre itself.

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    I do know that the unusual speech in “Dark Mummy Cat” concerns embalming methods, which is quite funny. However, some may not be aware that France is actually the result of revamping your 2004 effort Jeux d’Enfants. Did Code666 Records urge you to revisit the latter, or was it more a collective decision of Wormfood?

    The answer is somewhere between those two statements. We had already distributed a few Jeux d’Enfants copies by ourselves, which was problematic for the label and distributors. We also weren’t totally satisfied with the sound, the short length of the CD, and the provocative Disney-like artwork, which was too much joke-metal-grindcore. When Code666 signed us, we decided to turn this first try into something more professional and international. So, we totally re-recorded the existing master, adding in the same time tracks by our guitarist Fred (who joined the line-up right after Jeux d’Enfants’s release), four new songs (the import version of France will include two bonus covers, namely Type O Negative’s “Christian Woman” and Serge Gainsbourg’s “La Décadanse”), and finally remixed it during one entire month. The result was so different from the first effort, darker and heavier, that we decided to change the concept and artwork radically, to fit a new concept about “La France du bizarre.”

    You’ve been described as “a bizarre and grotesque sonic-picture of modern French society, an original mix of doom, thrash, French variety, death, gothic, punk, pop, classic, baroque, jazz and black humour,” which I think sums up the band pretty well. France strikes me as the soundtrack to Disneyland Paris under new, misanthropic management. Would you say that, when you’re composing, the arrangements flow freely, trickle slowly, or are somewhere in between? How natural did this music come to you, and are you comfortable being shelved under the avant-garde category?

    “The soundtrack to Disneyland Paris under new, misanthropic management”: very nice allegory. I swear we’ll use it for promo purposes! Seriously, I guess every interviewed “avant-garde” band would give the same answer: we simply compose the songs we’d like to hear, emphasizing personal topics and experiences, without wondering if it sounds original or fashionable. So the composition process is quite natural, even if we often work hard to make our songs sound enjoyable and listenable. But we don’t pretend to launch a “nouvelle vague” or belong to any artistic revolution. What you hear is what we are.

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    Certain songs on France have a genuine circus aura about them. Speaking of which, Axel Wursthorn from Carnival in Coal produced the new one. How did that arrangement come about? Please also tell us how CiC acquired Wormfood members for a few select tour dates….

    The collaboration with Axel has been one of the best thing that’s happened to Wormfood. He really is the sixth member of the family! We met by chance, as I was a fanatic Carnival in Coal fan for years, and I asked him to mix France’s prequel, Jeux d’Enfants. He kindly accepted, and a great friendship and collaboration was born between us, and between both our bands! We recently joined (Alexis, Tim and myself) the CiC live band very naturally, because they had this project in mind for a long time, and we didn’t hesitate. In the near future, both our bands will certainly tour together.

    Right now it seems as if the French black metal scene is as strong as ever, with Deathspell Omega and Blut Aus Nord leading the assault. Have you been involved with black metal before, and which French bands do you listen to the most?

    Romain (bass) and myself were involved with two French black metal bands a long time ago: Outward Ceremony and Bloodthirst. I have to admit that I didn’t feel comfortable with this style. I need much more artistic and ideological flexibility! Anyway, you quoted Blut Aus Nord, which is one of the few French BM bands I appreciate. But I don’t listen to “true” black metal bands anymore. Speaking of French releases, I listen to Carnival in Coal – of course – or The Old Dead Tree, SUP, Gojira….

    Do Norway-based Solefald ever make it into your player? I ask because I think I hear Solefald on “Miroir de Chair” when the spoken, low-pitched vocals enter the fray. Those type vocals appear intermittently throughout the last bunch of songs, too.

    Sadly, not yet, but I absolutely should listen to them! Seems to be a very interesting band.

    Since 2005 ended a little over a month ago, what are some of your favorite releases from last year?

    2005 was really a “grand crû” for the metal scene! I have already told you about the French bands I’m currently listening to. Besides the French scene, I enjoyed the releases of The Bronx Casket Co., The Axis of Perdition, Frantic Bleep, Born from Pain, Roadrunner United, Crowbar, and others.

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    Anything else you’d like to add before I let you go?

    Well, thanks to you for giving us the chance to promote our work and to explain it to the foreign audience. Come visit us on our website, and don’t hesitate to register and post on our message board. English-speaking is welcome! See you on the web or on tour soon….

    Thanks! Like I said, France is a fantastic record that kept me completely enthralled.

    UltimateMetal’s Review of Wormfood – France
    Official Wormfood Website
    Official Code666 Records Website
     

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