Crédit photo : Aurélie YVON, Photographe — at Le Ferrailleur.
Scorn Aesthetics, the debut album from French death metallers Ad-Patres took no time in drawing acclaim and critical acclaim upon its release recently, no surprise really with its carnivorous expanse of primal and pack like songs steeped in death metal corrosiveness. There is much more to the sound and release though so it was with a wealth of questions to find out much more about the band and their compelling creativity that we asked bassist Arnaud Pecoste and guitarist Canard to tell us more…
Hi Guys and thank you for talking with us.
Hi, and thanks for this interview.
Tell us about the beginnings of Ad Patres, its inspiration and intention.
Ad Patres was created by the end of 2008, at the time we didn’t have any precise idea of what it would be about, we were all looking for a band to play and have fun in. Soon enough though, it became obvious that we were to play Death Metal and that’s how everything started
Your sound is rich in old school death metal influences but unlike many other bands we sense you are not anti the variations of the genre’s sound today. Where does your heart and invention lie primarily or get its biggest appetite from?
Of course there are Old School influences in our music, for it is a common passion to all of us but we are also five individuals with our own tastes and culture, we don’t want look to play death metal only, I’d say we try to play death metal with our own individual influences as a topping.
Are there particular bands or artists past and present which spark ideas in your imagination and sound?
We, as a band, are constituted of quite different persons as members. Our musical tastes and influences are diverse but there are some bands that we all have in our favorites.
The band with the biggest shared consideration is, without a doubt, Suffocation. We all share a common passion for Despise the Sun and Souls to Deny releases.
Other federating bands we could mention are Decapitated, Hate Eternal, Nile and Death Metal classics (Death, Morbid Angel…) but not all of these have a direct influence on our own music.
Tell us about the band name, was it chosen for any specific reasons?
We had a tough time searching for a name. We did not want to have a name already heard or approaching many death metal band names such as “Brutal Demolition”, “Suffocate in Blood” or “Agony of Suffering”. I can invent thousands like these, lol.
We wanted our name to be a bit different and recognizable. “Ad Patres” is a Latin locution meaning “to the fathers” like in “to be sent to the fathers” or “joining ones fathers” standing for “to be dead” or “to be killed”. I think for a death metal band, it is sticking to the roots of the genre and it is direct, like we want our music to be.
Am I right in thinking the band, certainly in the first couple of years went through a few line-up changes, members leaving. Did this hold up the progress of Ad Patres significantly?
We did have some line-up changes during the first two years or so, we started with only one guitar and after a short while, Olivier joined up. We recorded a demo at the time which luckily never came out… Julien, our first singer learned that he had to move to Paris during the year 2010 so we recruited Axel and have played with both singers for a while, which is why they both appear on our 2010 promo. Once Julien left Axel remained alone on vocals, and we could focus on the writing of the songs on Scorn Aesthetics. We had some luck though as all this happened at the very beginning of the band and it didn’t really have any strong impact on the songwriting.
Your first release was a three track demo in 2010, with a re-release as a part of a split with Writhing two years later. How does your debut album Scorn Aesthetics differ from that first EP, has there been an evolution in sound between the two?
In terms of composition, I don’t think both releases are very different. The three tracks on the demo were re-recorded for the album.
One of the most noticeable differences is the presence of both our former and present vocalists on the demo, sharing the lyrics. There is also a guitar solo on “The Lock” that was added on the album version.
Regarding the sound and production, I think “Scorn Aesthetics” has a way better sound quality, the sound is more precise and our playing is also better.
Scorn Aesthetics has rightly earned strong acclaim since being released, has its success that way surprised you at all?
Honestly, our 2010 promo EP also had a great reception, on a different scale, so we were already feeling high expectations for “Scorn Aesthetics”, at least in France.
But you are right the rave acclaims of the album was above our predictions and we were really impressed by the feedback and the enthusiasm from the fans and it was an amazing surprise to have our debut voted among the best metal albums on the biggest French extreme webzine.
What was the recording experience like for the album, how did you approach its creation in the studio?
The recording process did not take place like what you see when Metallica or some huge bands make “Behind the Scenes” or “In the Studio” videos you might find on YouTube. We don’t isolate and lock with the band, the producer, sound engineers and a TV crew during months.
Most of the creation of the album, in terms of composition, was done a long time before the recording took place, expect a few arrangements. The drums were recording over a weekend at a friend’s place whose father runs a professional recording facility. A couple of months later, we recorded separately each guitar parts at Mathieu’s (from Gorod) home studio and the bass at Matthieu (from Asmodée) home studio. Later again Axel returned to the pro studio for the recording of his vocals and the mixing and mastering were done by Mathieu at his own place.
Did the songs on the album emerge much different from your original ideas once in the studio surroundings or did you have set ideas which were stuck to?
We were pretty set on what we wanted entering the studio, we spend quite a lot of time having the material the way we want in rehearsal, so no, there hasn’t been much change, maybe a couple solos and a few arrangements came up on the spot but the songs sound mostly like they sounded before the recording.
How long did it take from songwriting to the actual release of your album via Kaotoxin Records?
We took our time, first because of the line-up changes you mentioned earlier, then because the album was recorded over several months, and finally because once everything was ready, we didn’t have a label yet…So we had to look for one, luckily Kaotoxin was on the list and everything went smoothly from there.
I’d say it has taken two good years to write, record and release Scorn Aesthetics but we are really satisfied of the result, there’s no point in rushing things if you can afford the time to do it right.
How are songs written within Ad Patres generally?
Usually, Olivier comes up with quite an elaborated structure of a song which we work together in rehearsal (it’s not always this way but most of the time it is), then each of us makes his part on the song, Axel sets his vocals up and in the end Arnaud write the lyrics. that’s how most songs on scorn Aesthetics were written anyway.
Is it quite a democratic approach to songwriting and working on the direction of tracks and your sound?
Actually it is, but it has some drawbacks, you can’t begin to imagine how many songs were started and put aside for some reason. For everyone to be content with every aspect of one song is almost impossible, so there has to be compromises if we ever want to move forward somehow.
We described Scorn Aesthetics as like ‘being persistently courted and pursued by a rapacious giant hornet, its demonic flight a niggling and insatiable tearing of the air and predatory hunt of the senses’. How would you describe your intense invention?
I’m afraid my English is not good enough to fully understand this sentence!
As we have a subjective point of view, we tend to consider our music in terms of riffs, notes, blast beats, heavy double bass patterns, energy and dynamics. I mean, we don’t describe it using animals and outdoor activities but anyway, it sounds badass so thank you very much!
The majority of your striking invention and imagination lies beneath the great surface sonic squalls of songs, have you found the majority of genre fans are willing to delve deeper to find these treasures?
That is a great compliment and a great question, thanks for asking.
My point of view is that the way you feel music is something extremely personal and I also think one of the very interesting aspects of playing music in a band and writing songs jointly is that you are inventing things and feelings that you may not share or feel equally with the persons you are creating with. It is some kind of hazardous random assembly.
The step further in this process is exposing the result of your production to people that were not involved yet in the making – the fans of the genre.
This all sounds like Alchemy but let’s face it, we won’t create Gold, all we want to produce is brutal head-banging and we’re doing quite well so far!
Do you find combining the ferocious aggressive assault and the equally potent melodic enterprise and imagination and easy mix for you to sculpt to allow both extremes to have their loud voices within songs?
You are pointing to the key of our writing attempt and central point of concern. Our goal and obsession is to find the optimized balance between brutality and catchiness, efficiency and sophistication.
There is nothing simple within this approach and that is why we write then abandon many songs and why it takes us some time to write an album such as “Scorn Aesthetics”.
French metal nationally seems on a high right now, how is it when you get down to individual cities like yours of Bordeaux?
It is correct to say that French extreme scene, and Death Metal especially is doing well right now. We have really high hopes for very promising bands such as Antropofago, Offending, Savage Annihilation, and Nephren-Ka following the steps of more established ones like Gorod, Benighted, Recueil Morbide, and Kronos. I invite you and Ring Master readers to check those names if you don’t already know them.
Of course, we are talking about underground music and the difficulty is having venues and gig promoters that can meet both requirements of an underground audience and the need to help the bands grow in quality.
That also means individuals consenting sacrifices for the sake of our common passion and there is the crucial point when all we can do is hope most of those death rookies will overcome the difficulties of being the new breed to reach the level of our spearheads.
What has the rest of 2013 in store for Ad Patres or more what do you have in store for the rest of the year?
The first thing we have in mind is to promote our first album “Scorn Aesthetics” the best we can, and we do it best on stage. We are currently working on some upcoming gigs and booking some also for the end of 2013 and early 2014. We are now working with the idea to play outside France and we hope to be able to play in the UK in the near future.
We are also working on some videos that will be released from this fall and later, maybe in 2014.
We are so happy with “Scorn Aesthetics”, we want to promote it the best we can!
Once more great thanks for sharing time with us, any last words or thoughts you would like to leave us?
We would like to thank The RingMaster Review for offering us time and ‘voice’ with this interview.
Thanks a lot for your support, we really appreciate it. To all the readers, thanks for reading and go check our album “Scorn Aesthetics” — it is streaming for free at http://listen.kaotoxin.com — and feel free to send us your feedback, we’d love to hear what you think and expect us live someday, we’ll do our best to come play near you!
Read the Scorn Aesthetics review@ http://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2013/06/21/ad-patres-scorn-aesthetics/
The RingMaster Review 10/08/2013