12 Years In The Making: Luc Lemay Of Gorguts Talks "Colored Sands"
Twelve years after "From Wisdom to Hate," Canada's legendary Gorguts is back to desecrate the metal scene with "Colored Sands."
The blend of technical death and avant-garde black metal that forms "Colored Sands" is out now, and in support of the release front man Luc Lemay got in touch with us to dissect the album and discuss how more than a decade of inactivity affected the band.
Read on for a complete track-by-track breakdown and in-depth look at the Tibetan lyrical themes of "Colored Sands," along with what band Luc thinks is currently killing it on the live circuit.
xFiruath: Tell me a bit about returning to Season of Mist earlier this year and how the band getting back together came about.
Luc: Coming back to Season of Mist is great! They are doing an amazing job promoting the new record and I couldn’t be more pleased for all of this! The main idea behind “Colored Sands” was to make a record to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the band and offer a new record to the fans.
xFiruath: It’s been 12 years since the last album, so obviously there’s been big changes in lives and musical preferences and so on. How do you think the long stretch of time has affected this album and changed your outlook on writing and recording an album?
Luc: Through the course of the 12 years, first off, from 2002 to 2006 I didn’t play any guitar at all. I was completely done with music and if you would have tell me back then that I would make a new record I would have laughed and said: No way! But then I got in Negative and slowly I got into the act of composition again. In the beginning I didn’t wanted to be involved in writing. All I wanted to do was to do was my arrangements and I didn’t want to bring any song on the table. But slowly I got back in my old shoes… then one day I wrote a complete song for Negativa, then the idea for a Gorguts reunion came up and here we are! Musically I got more connected with the new scene through Steeve Hurdle who had a very impressive collection of music and he made me discover a lot of the new scene. It’s through him that I heard the Dim Mak record which John plays on it and he made me discover Behold… The Arctopus as well.
xFiruath: Tell me about the recording process for this album.
Luc: We did all the basic track recording at Wild Studio in St-Zénon, QC. That’s the studio of my long time friend, Pierre Rémillard. Pierre did Obscura and FWTH. Then after Colin took over to record all the vocals, string orchestra, and additional guitars. For the basic recording, we’ve spent about a week. After the vocals were recorded sporadically. I did a session of 4 songs, then 2 sessions of 2 songs since the lyrics weren’t all completed at the same time.
xFiruath: On that note, what’s happening as far as lyrics on “Colored Sands?”
Luc: The concept canvas is Tibet. One day my attention got caught by the mandala drawing ritual. I got very much fascinated by the look, meaning, and the process of drawing mandalas. At first I wanted to do the whole record about each step of drawing these mandalas… but after reading and reading on this topic I found out that it was too complex and I would need to educate myself for a decade before I knew what I was talking about. And also, I didn’t want to do a “documentary” record. The sense of “story telling” was missing.
We decided to change the angle and tell a story about the Tibetan culture. The album is divided in two parts. The fist one deals with the beauties, the philosophy and culture of these people. Then you have the orchestral instrumental which piece which illustrates the Chinese invasion of 1950, then after that everything changed for the worst for those people.
“LE TOIT DU MONDE” Which means roof of the world, brings the listeners in the geographical place where the story is going to take place. I talk about the mighty mountain range in a poetic way…
“AN OCEAN OF WISDOM” tell the story about how they found the 14th Dalai Lama. The rituals, the sacred lake (lake of vision) Lhamo-Latso, and the epic quest for the reincarnation of the Dalai-Lama’s soul. But above all, “ocean of wisdom” means Dalai Lama.
“FORGOTTEN ARROWS” is about the rules of causality. Everything that happens in life happens for a reason. I got inspired by a text of Matthieu Ricard, who is the French interpret of the Dalai Lama. He wrote that all the actions that we do in life are like arrows that we thrown in the sky one day, then we forget about them, and suddenly, one day, they strike back on us… the echoes of our actions.
“COLORED SANDS” Tell the process and the mystic experience of mandala drawings. Pilgrims who walk for months towards the place where the ritual is going to take place. They walk and they prostrate every 3 footsteps face to the ground.
“ENEMIES OF COMPASSION” Is about the Chinese invading Tibet and taking control by persecuting Tibetan people.
“EMBER’S VOICE” deals with the horror of Tibetan people immolating themselves in public to protest against the Chinese occupation.
“ABSCONDERS” tell the story of a murder captured on tape by mountain climbers who witness Chinese border guards deliberately shooting Tibetan fugitive trying to escape to Nepal.
“REDUCED TO SILENCE” is questioning the “non-violence” philosophy… the silence of the international community witnessing the genocide of the Tibetan culture and people. Will the “non-violent” way of life brought them to their own end?
xFiruath: Who did the artwork and what connection does it have those themes you mentioned?
Luc: The artwork was done by Martin Lacroix. There was a painting made for each individual songs. I wanted to have like a story book. I see the album pretty much like one whole story and each song would a chapter for this story.
xFiruath: There was a lyric video for one track, but will there be a full music video for any of these tracks, or any additional lyric style clips off the album?
Luc: I don’t know about this. We’ll see in the future.
xFiruath: What upcoming tour dates do you have scheduled to support the new album?
Luc: We just came back from a short run. It was great to play new material live! We should a couple more show before the end of the year.
xFiruath: I saw that Revolver article where you discussed “weird” albums, and I was pleasantly surprised to see Dodecahedron listed there, as that’s an album I immediately fell in love with from the first play. Do you have any other albums of that you’d care to share that are dark and menacing and just have that immediate “wow” factor?
Luc: Not that I can recall for now… sorry.
xFiruath: What other projects do the band members have going, and will any of them be releasing anything now that the Gorguts album is coming out?
Luc: Well, Kevin have his solo project, the band Vaura and Dysrhthymia. Colin has Behold… The Arctopus, Krallice, Indricotere, and Dysrhthymia as well.
xFiruath: Have you seen any live shows lately that were really great?
Luc: The last band that really blew my mind was Teramobil! I saw them live twice in a short period and they totally killed it! Amazing musicians!
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