The Walking Dead Orchestra Talks New Album "Architects Of Destruction"
Closely echoing the band's chosen method of musical expression, the aptly titled "Architects of Destruction" is the newly released full-length album from French outfit The Walking Dead Orchestra.
The band may have declared war on humanity with this release, but drummer Cedric Ciulli was kind enough to spare my life for an interview, which can be found below. Read on to find out about the construction of the album, what's happening in the elaborate artwork, and how the French metal scene is changing with bands like Gojira and Betraying the Martyrs gaining international recognition.
xFiruath: This is the band’s debut full-length album. How did this album come together and where did you handle the recording?
Cedric: This album is the logical continuation of our first EP “Oppressive Procession.” I believe the shows we've done following the release of the EP really helped us to know better what we want to do musically. So after a number of shows in France with bands like Betraying The Martyrs, Death Mentality, Ultra Vomit, Downset, Agnostic Front, Nashville Pussy, Biohazard, and EyeHateGod we decided to record our first album “Architects of Destruction.” We've done everything to make the best album we could and that’s why we worked with Mickael Valesi, who is a good friend of ours, at Sonovore Studio for the recording and the mixing, and with Charles J. Wall of Sonic Assault Studio, Cape Coral, USA for the mastering. We really wanted a big, kind of American sound for our first album.
xFiruath: This album features a few songs that were on the previous EP. Were all these tracks written at the same time, or did the rest of the songs on the album come about later?
Cedric: We decided to re-record these old songs because we thought that they deserved a better recording, mastering etc. In addition, Flo has improved his vocals since the first EP and he really wanted to re-record them. When we recorded the first EP “Oppressive Procession.” we had already composed almost every song that is on our CD. The three unreleased tracks were finished like two weeks before we went back to the studio. We think that they can show where we want go with the second album.
xFiruath: Who is handling the distribution on this album and are you guys currently signed to a label?
Cedric: Yes, we've been signed by Klonosphere, a French label, and we're currently distributed by Season Of Mist. We also distribute personally our albums on our Bigcartel shop. By the way, we're looking for people who would be interested in distributing us abroad, so think about this and email us!
xFiruath: I dig the crazy cover artwork – tell me about who put that together and how it ties into the album.
Cedric: We really wanted someone who would be able to understand our musical universe and who would be able to paint it. After a lot of research, we finally found Hicham from Strychneen Studio, who has already worked with bands like Hacride, Destinity, or Trepalium. We really loved his work and asked him to do our artwork. As I told you, I really care about the lyrics so the artwork had to reflect what we want to say. We wanted to summarize our album in a nutshell and we had the idea of the “Chosen” who survived a global destruction. On our cover artwork, you can see one of these “Chosen,” bald which is kind of a representation of the “rebirth,” wearing some kind of toga showing the birth and the importance of his new cult. There are plenty things to say about it because there are tons of things hidden in the artwork but that’s also part of the game, try to get people to look at the artwork and discover them.
xFiruath: On the subject of the album’s themes, what’s happening with the lyrics and song titles?
Cedric: The first thing people say about extreme music is that it’s always about death, hate, and instigation to violence, etc. That's why I really care about the lyrics of our music. They are indeed about death, hate, violence but this is a pretext to talk about things more important. There are always metaphors in our lyrics and the songs are not about what they seem to be. For example, in the song “Burden of the Flesh,” the woman in the song is actually our planet and what we've done to “her.” As I'm not able to write real poetry in English, I try to write thoughtful texts. Hope you'll enjoy it! The album “Architects Of Destruction” takes place in a world devastated by humankind where people fight in order to survive. We see men acting like cruel beasts (even if beasts are not that cruel actually), killing its peers, wandering in this abandoned place, begging for God’s mercy… And in the end, we witness the rise of a tyrant chosen by the gods to lead this devastated people.
xFiruath: You guys just released a music video for “Entombment of a Monarch.” Why did you pick that track for the video, and what was the filming process like?
Cedric: "Entombment Of A Monarch" kind of imposed itself on us. It was, according to us, the music that would best describe our universe and the most striking. Since we wanted to make a real impact with the video, we tried to work with professionals so after deciding on which song we wanted to film, we contacted of our friend Medhi from MKPROD. Regarding the filming process, we basically played the song like 50 times in a single day. Now when we listen to this song, we almost throw up. No that's just a joke of course, it was a bit tiring in the end but still awesome at the same time.
xFiruath: Going back to the beginning, when did The Walking Dead Orchestra originally form and how did you guys meet up?
Cedric: Each member of the band comes from various bands. We all had some projects before TWDO, which were more or less serious. The band was created two years ago by me and lead guitarist JB. Then our singer Flo joined the band and after many lineup changes, we finally found our bass player Charles and our rhythm guitarist Marco thanks to friends who told their friends, who then told other friends that we were looking for musicians.
xFiruath: Where and when can fans see The Walking Dead Orchestra playing live in the near future?
Cedric: We're going to make a French tour by the end of September so French fans will be able to see us on stage. Then we're also going to make a tour in Europe, including Germany and the Czech Republic by February - March 2014. Now we're also waiting for answer from fests all around the world so we’re keeping fingers crossed to play all around the world soon. By the way, again, we’re looking for people who would be interested in making us play in America so, you know what to do!
xFiruath: What’s going on in the French metal scene lately and your own local music scene these days?
Cedric: I think that the main thing that happened in the French metal scene lately is the emergence of the band Gojira. Indeed, it's one of the first French metal bands that succeed in exporting its music abroad and especially succeed in entering the U.S. music market. It might seem not that big but it's a huge improvement for the French metal scene. We've always known that American music influenced French music but thanks to Gojira we can hope that we can reverse the trend or at least participate to the change in the extreme metal world. There is also the band Betraying The Martyrs, which had the opportunity to make a tour in the USA. A tour that helped them a lot by making them more and more famous. Regarding the local scene, it's emerging but there are just presages of what this scene could become. The metal is still too stigmatized and people don't want to be linked to this “world.” Bands try to help one another but it's very difficult. People are not as open minded as in the USA. It's pretty sad actually.
xFiruath: Is anything happening in metal in the near future you are personally excited to hear or see?
Cedric: We are waiting for several things, the official announcement of the European tours with bands like Whitechapel, Oceano, The Black Dahlia Murder, Dying Fetus, there are too many bands to name, and the announcement of the different fest's program like Hellfest and Wacken. We particularly excited by this for we're waiting answers from these fests in order to know if we'll be able to play!
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