Mnemic Members Guillaume Bideau And Rune Stigart Reflect On New Album "Sons Of The System"
Danish modern metal act Mnemic has dealt with quite a bit of change throughout its history, seeing the band's vocalist position changed out three times over the course of four albums. Vocalist Guillaume Bideau has now performed on two albums with the band, including the latest release "Sons of the System."
Speaking on taking up the front man responsibilities he commented, "Well the most important thing for me was to stay myself and not be another Michael. We have a few vocal similarities but we are very different. The music, and only the music, tells me what and how to sing." Both Guillaume and guitarist Rune Stigart took some time to share the band's history and discuss the recording of the new album, which was handled in Mnemic's own studio.
xFiruath: For our readers who are new to Mnemic can you give me a brief rundown of the band’s history and the story behind the band’s name?
Rune: Our first singer, Mark, came up with the name after looking through a Latin dictionary. I don’t remember his exact idea with this particular name other than it sounded different and not very metal. This aspect especially worked for everyone. Brian and me formed in the mid/late 90s what would later become Mnemic when jamming more or less aimlessly just to become better musicians and because we just had to. Mircea joined in the late 90s and then we became motivated to actually take it somewhere and when Michael came onboard we did our second demo, pitched it to Nuclear Blast and the rest is history. Tomas then joined after MSP and things began to move fast exposure-wise. After two albums and a lot of touring Michael decided to quit and was replaced by Tony Jelencovich of Transport League and B-Thong. We parted ways after some heavy touring during the writing of Passenger and then Guillaume was thrown into the middle of a hectic storm and has somehow stuck with us since.
xFiruath: Guillaume, this is your second album with Mnemic. Taking over vocal responsibilities seems like a difficult task, as you are essentially the face of a band. How have you been fitting into the band so far and how do you think the fans have reacted to the change?
Guillaume: Well the most important thing for me was to stay myself and not be another Michael. We have a few vocal similarities but we are very different. The music, and only the music, tells me what and how to sing. Singing is some kind of an amusement for me. And singing in Mnemic is way more fun for me than in my former band Scarve. About the fans I don’t really know. Of course some of them didn’t like my vocals but we also gained new fans who were not interested in Mnemic before. You lose some, you gain some. It’s just like a balance you know.
xFiruath: How did you meet the guys in Mnemic and end up joining the band?
Guillaume: We didn’t know each other when they contacted me. I of course knew the band and their music. I was really impressed by their sound and musical approach. They flew me in Denmark for some kind of an audition and it simply worked vocally, musically and humanly. Even if the music is cool it’s out of question to play assholes. As I am a big asshole myself. To many assholes are bad for the business, hahaha!
xFiruath: What is your personal history in music and who was your biggest musical influence?
Guillaume: I started singing at the age of four and started listening rock, hard rock at the age of 12 or something. Then metal around 16. I’ve always sung all kind of different styles from Hip hop / funk to metal. I formed my first band at the age of 16 with good friends of mine. I used to be a drummer in one of my band as well. But I’m too egocentric to stay in the back. I became professional around 22. It’s pretty hard. I used to record some vocals for stupid French episodes and commercial. It was pretty funny. And my parents were happy to hear my voice on national TV, hahaha! From the age of 20 I was or I am in different bands like Scarve, One-way Mirror, and of course Mnemic. But plenty of other bands as well but only known in France like The Cube, Boy DamonT, and Manu Livertout Band. I’ve released CDs and toured with these bands as well. I started producing at 26. I’m actually preparing a solo album. I need to do it to know myself better. It’s gonna be interesting for me. It’s gonna be rock and metal but very diverse. My biggest musical influences were or are Midnight Oil, Pantera, Rage against the machine, Guns n’ Roses, and Devin Townsend.
xFiruath: Tell me about your new album “Sons of the System.” How does it sound in comparison to your previous albums and what’s the biggest change that’s been made?
Rune: Though still being metal, it’s the most “rockish” album we’ve done in both sound and musical approach. It’s more in-your-face and direct. The songs are better structured and more complete. They sound more like actual songs than just tracks of riffs. The biggest change is that this time we’ve had… well, more time. But most important is that we’ve had each our own mini-studio at home. This has meant a way more scrutinizing way of writing and really putting your own touch on the different songs. To me that has really made the songs more worked through, more intentional and much more personal. We’ve controlled this album more.
xFiruath: I understand that this album was recorded in Mnemic’s own studio. Was this the first time you’d recorded an album there and who did you work with as far as mixing and producing?
Rune: It’s the first time we’ve recorded there, yes. And the first time we’ve had so much control over the process ourselves. Tue Madsen mixed and semi-produced.
xFiruath: Are there any unrecorded songs left over that may end up on a future release?
Rune: No finished songs, but definitely still a lot of material that could end up on some future release. Maybe even some remixes of some sort by the band. I’d like to write some different new stuff myself.
xFiruath: Who writes the lyrics and what do they deal with on the new album?
Guillaume: Mircea and I are the ones who wrote the lyrics for Sons of the system. It's our own vision of the world. The system. Personally I describe the society as it is today through my eyes and own sensibility, but mostly with a very subjective approach. I like people to be able to suggest different visions of the lyrics I write. Mircea does pretty much the same in a less subjective way but this is more his vision of the future in 50 or 100 years for example.
xFiruath: When listening to the new album are there any particular segments that you like the best or are the most proud of?
Rune: Sure, I have my favorite parts, but it’s more the album as a whole that I’m proud of and not a particular segment. I’m just glad to have grown as a musician.
xFiruath: Will there be any music videos for this album?
Rune: Yes, we’re actually close to shooting the first video which will likely be Diesel Uterus with Patric Ullaeus directing.
xFiruath: What does Mnemic currently have planned in regards to your touring schedule?
Rune: We’ve been touring Denmark this February with F.U.K.T. and furthermore have some single shows lined up in both Spain, Russia and different summer festivals. Let’s see if the album doesn’t throw in some extra work.
xFiruath: You guys opened for Metallica, which is a huge milestone for any metal band. How was that experience and do you have any stories from the road you’d care to share?
Rune: The Metallica thing was crazy, very surreal. One of those experiences you’ll be proud of your whole life. I’m not even a fan, but this was absolutely amazing. And playing for those crowds was a great bonus. The experience itself IS the story.
xFiruath: You guys got signed to Nuclear Blast fairly early on and have now release four albums through them. How has it been working with Nuclear Blast so far and what do you foresee continuing with them for the future?
Rune: NB have been cool and large about a lot of stuff. They’ve been very flexible and haven’t interfered too much in any of the creative processes. We’ve more or less had the freedom we needed on our hands. As far as the future goes, I think we’ll just have to wait and see what it brings.
xFiruath: When you have the time what bands and albums have you been listening to lately?
Rune: I’m at a stage where I listen to whatever sounds good, but that doesn’t necessarily have to be bad, hehe. But I’m also kinda going back to some old stuff with metal. I dunno. Too many different artists and genres to mention, but check out F.U.K.T. whom we are touring with. That shit grooves.
xFiruath: Got any hobbies or favorite pastimes in the “real world” outside of metal?
Rune: Well, I have my own musical projects that have yet to kick off, but I’m working on it. I’ll hopefully be releasing a promo of some sort this year. Then I paint and do graphics for different projects which I’m very passionate about. Cooking kinda rocks too and then spending time with my girl and our cats.
Guillaume: I am an amateur photographer, I love to cook, I produce different bands in different musical genres in my studio and I love GTA San Andreas! But strangely I don’t really like video games.
xFiruath: Anything else at all you’d like to discuss?
Rune: Well… ok… remember to laugh. Long and hard. As much as possible, but it has to be funny too, so be picky about it. Go write “Lava-Lava” on Youtube and that’s a start.
Guillaume: I got my iPhone stolen! I feel a little exposed now, hahaha!! We are way to dependant on these new gadgets, but they are so useful…
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