Interview Sylvaine (English)Catégories : Interviews
For the release of her new album Atoms Aligned, Coming Undone, the Norwegian multi-instrumentalist and singer Sylvaine has had the kindness to answer to some of my questions. It’s been a very interesting talk and that’s a great pleasure to share it with you.
Radio Metal Sound: November the 2nd you’ll be playing at Le Petit Bain in Paris and you’ll present your third album Atoms Aligned, Coming Undone. You’ll also share the scene with Emma Ruth Rundle and it’s pretty uncommon to see two women headlining a rock/metal concert. In this regard, do you think your gender influences on your status within the musical scene?
Sylvaine: I suppose it does to certain people in certain ways, yes. Even in 2018, people still seem to be fascinated by female fronted outlets within the rock and metal genre. For me, the gender of someone behind a creative vision has never been a thing of interest. I don’t really get the reason why people focus on this so much, as it seems to be the least interesting part of an artist. Our gender is something we have, not something that necessarily defines us as a person. The music business is a heavily male dominated scene, making for some very strange situations as a female at times, but I think we are moving towards a more equality based business slowly but surely.
Radio Metal Sound: After having done your first European tour in 2017 with Harakiri for the Sky and Shores of Null how do you approach your imminent tour?
Sylvaine: We’re all really excited to get back on the road for a proper European tour next year and can’t wait to bring the new songs alive on stage. I hope people will enjoy our new, more intense set! We’ll start by doing a handful of shows in France, before we’ll tour more extensively in 2019. At least this is the plan for now.
RMS: Even though both albums develop a similar topic, Atoms Aligned, Coming Undone seems far darker than Wistful – in the musical composition as in the artwork which is quite mineral and cold. Is there, in spite of this thematic bond, a difference in the feelings or in the intensity of these two albums?
Sylvaine: Wistful to me is a downright sad and melancholy album. It was a result of big life changes for me at the time, resulting in a rise of my usual inner chaos and an intense feeling of loneliness. Atoms Aligned, Coming Undone on the other hand, feels less fragile in some songs, yet darker than before. I think this comes as a result of drawing inspiration not only from my inner world as before, but also from the external issues in our human society. All my three albums function as my audio-diaries, to deal with all of my issues, wonders and struggles during my human life in a way, and speak about a lot of the same emotions that don’t seem to be subdued within me. It always comes out in a different way though, as certain times will enhance certain feelings.
RMS: From an intimate production you’re gone to a more “expert” production (collaboration with Neige (Alcest) since the 2nd album, mixing by Neb Xort from Anorexia Nervosa…) and your popularity has obviously increased since Silent Chamber, Noisy Heart. How do you feel this growth whereas you develop a very personal music?
Sylvaine: It’s such a blessing and very humbling to see your most personal emotions touch people out there in the world, and to have their supportive feedback about my music. When I started Sylvaine, I did it to make an outlet for all of the issues I’d kept with me secretly for so many years, but without expecting anyone else to necessarily be interested in it. After the release of my two first albums, I was beyond grateful to see that there were others out there that could relate to the same feelings as me. It’s the best thing we can ask for as artists… When you start creating something, it’s almost always because of a selfish need, something you just have to express for yourself, but as soon as this expression is defined and recorded, of course you want to share it with the world. Of course you want to reach people with your vision. It’s a bit peculiar to have all of your most personal thoughts out there, and having people critic it, but that’s just how it works. I’m grateful every day for all of my experiences with Sylvaine so far and hope this is just the beginning!
RMS: You often have song’s title in a foreign language: Bien Loin d’Ici, L’Appel du Vide (French), Saudade (Portuguese), Tоска (Russian)… What is your relationship with words and with foreign languages?
Sylvaine: Language is a fascinating concept and a powerful tool in our human world. I wish I could speak more languages, especially being able to express myself freely in French…. Maybe one beautiful day, haha. The concept of untranslatable words always intrigued me. How some languages have ways of expressing very specific emotions, without being able to translate these words into one English word. It became a kind of concept in Sylvaine, to always have at least one title on the record that is of this nature. On my first record, it was Tоска, on my second record it was Saudade and now on Atoms Aligned, Coming Undone, it’s L’Appel Du Vide. I always felt connected to the written word since I was a child, so I wanted to bring something a little different to each Sylvaine album in terms of lyrics and titles. These words all have incredibly beautiful meanings that fit perfectly with the Sylvaine universe and emotions. It became the perfect match.
RMS: Your first album explored the contrast between the various feelings which drove you whereas Wistful seems to be carried by a single – yet tumultuous - flow. However, the three songs you’ve already released from Atoms Aligned, Coming Undone find a perfect balance between those two musical dimensions. Have you thought your album this way and may we talk about a “mature album” (musically speaking)?
Sylvaine: I have a feeling this is the way it has manifested, yes. Atoms Aligned, Coming Undone is a darker, more diverse record than the previous two, yet the expression is more focused and matured to me. It holds the same emotions and dilemmas as the previous two records, but the presentation comes with a slight difference. Amongst others, I decided to work with a different team for the recording/mixing/mastering of the record, as I felt the emotional content needed a different sound landscape than the first two. I wanted something lush and atmospheric, yet at the same time keeping a very organic, open and rough touch for certain parts. Seeing as the album was darker, it needed something a bit more tangible for the production.
RMS: Do you wish to transmit a specific relationship to the world or is music but a sentimental catharsis for you?
Sylvaine: Sylvaine mostly functions as the typical therapeutic catharsis, but at least on my new album, there’s a definite touch of wanting to transmit a message related to the poor state our world is currently in, both socially and purely ecologically and maybe urging people to have a real look at what is going on. I suppose it’s a slightly passive-aggressive way to confront such a vast and serious subject, but we all have our ways of trying to deal with stuff. That’s the first time I drew direct inspiration from extremal sources, but with so much chaos roaring outside, it was hard not to be influenced by it.
RMS: Whether it is L’Appel du Vide or Wistful, your music contains a lot of dark feelings. Do you think – like Alfred de Musset – that the most desperate chants are the most beautiful?
Sylvaine: That’s an interesting question. I don’t think there are any rules for what is most touching in any kind of art. Art is a subjective matter and will speak to each individual in a different way. For me personally, music was always a manner to deal with the negative or difficult feelings in life, which is why my music comes out quite dark. There’s almost always an outline of melancholy in the stuff I connect to the most I suppose, but there’s a lot of art celebrating life, that is just as wonderful as the saddest of songs.
RMS: We’ve been provided a very deep music video for Abeyance and your next album is almost released. But do you already have some projects for Sylvaine? Maybe someday a live recording or a biggest tour?
Sylvaine: I’m already working on the next album and will finish an EP containing more vocal/guitar based songs by the end of this year hopefully. It’s a constant circle, that’s always turning somehow. As previously mentioned, we hope to do a more extensive European tour early next year and then probably festivals during summer. I would love to tour in the US and Asia as well, but I’m trying not to get ahead of myself. Time will tell what the future has in store for Sylvaine.
That’s it for today! If you’ve not already done it, let’s buy Sylvaine’s new album on Bandcamp. Trust me and trust your ears!
Par Baptiste - 25/10/2018
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