Dark Entries is an independent Belgian music webzine with a focus on dark sounds. The webzine itself is completely in Dutch and can be found at www.darkentries.be. This blog was created with the intention to have an additional online place where our editors can post their English articles.
maandag 25 april 2016
Skeptical Minds: It’s like a voice telling you: “hey guyz... you started, now you have to continue...”
Minds has surprised us with their latest work. It is a combination of a CD with
a comic strip called ‘Omega Thanatos’. Both the strip if the CD tell the same
story, and the result is impressive. We discussed how it all came about with
guitarist Mich and singer Karolina.
With ‘Omega-Thanatos’, you succeeded in making a piece
of art that combines a beautiful cd with a comic book. Where did that idea stem
Mich : In
fact, when we were busy with the second album, in 2008, we had also some ideas
about a concept album we would like to release in the future with a comic book.
Something different than what we did before. We always try to bring something
new. We wrote a small story. The story contained 11 chapters and the CD would
also contain 11 tracks. That was the starting point.
That’s a long time ago. How did you then proceed?
Mich : We
built the structure of the future Omega Thanatos project in 2008. But at that
time, we had no idea how we would achieve that in the future. We left that for
later... In 2010, we released the album ‘Skepticalized’. In 2011, we made our
first steps with Alain Poncelet. We made a first try with a comic book about
the song Broken Dolls. Alain became responsible for the whole Skeptical Minds’
artwork. That’s how we started to make Skeptical Minds and Alain Poncelet’s
dark art to be inseparable. After we saw the result and people’s reactions
about the new t-shirts designs and about Broken Dolls comic book, we decided to
start with the Omega Thanatos Project. We started in 2013 and we released it in
October 2015. Two long years of work, but it was a real pleasure both for the
band and for Alain. We learned a lot and after that “one shot” project, we
decided to continue because when we achieved it, many ideas started to come in
our heads... It’s like something telling you: “hey guyz... you started, now you
have to continue...” And that’s what we’ll do.
Many songs have elaborated parts with piano and
strings, and the guitars sometimes have to keep quite during longer parts. Does
that make them more difficult to play live?
Mich : Not at
all. Those piano and electro elements are sampled. It’s not more difficult than
before. It’s true that some times some instruments are more quiet. We tried it
and it worked. It gives most of the space to Karolina. People can hear clearly
what dimension she can give to her voice ! People appreciate to hear the voice
“alone” without heavy instruments around like usual. That’s a comment that came
back… Then, having a piano on a playback or not, I think they don’t care. We
don’t anyway… (laughs)
I presume Karolina came up with the story line, or was
it an idea that was discussed with the other band members?
story line was written mostly by Gab, our previous drummer. Then we discussed it
together with the band. We had the structure in 11 steps. When we really
developed the Omega Thanatos project, Karolina wrote all the lyrics of the
songs. She knew the 11 steps and what each song was about. Then she developed it
with her own words. As she has to deliver the songs and play the character,
it’s important that she writes the things how she feels them. You can feel in
the interpretation if it comes from her or not.
Karolina, you only joined Skeptical Minds in 2008. It
is surprising how well you fit with the band. You have also taken a leading
role in the creation process, even if I don’t underestimate the input of the
other members. Wasn’t it hard for you as a newcomer?
Karolina : In
fact, when we met with Skeptical Minds in 2008, we spent a day all together in
Amsterdam. The band was there and also our common friend who introduced me to
the band. His name is Stephane Odent and I want to thank him. Without him,
nothing of this would have happened. We spent a day all together and we all
felt like we knew each other since years… We all were connected and felt like we
formed a real team. The rest followed naturally… The contact with the band is
fantastic. They were very understanding and helpful in the beginning. I could
find my marks easily. When they felt I found my place, they started to give me
more responsibilities. In Skeptical Minds, everyone as his part of the job and
everything is discussed together. I also received my part of the job. I felt
they trusted me, and they were happy with what I provided. Since that moment,
you will fit better and better, also because you can bring things that fits to
you. If you feel comfortable with what you create, then it’s easy to express
yourself better and better. It was hard in the beginning. The band provided me
all what I needed, but they also were very demanding and I had to work hard.
Without work, I wouldn’t have stayed for long in the band. (laughs) They all work hard and continuously for the
band. I really like that because it make you feel super motivated even after
many years. The flame is still there, like in the beginning.
I have read that you also plan to tour with Alain
Poncelet. How do you think you can make him a part of your live-act? Is he so
devoted to Skeptical Minds that he’s ready to follow you everywhere?
Karolina : Alain
is the fifth member of Skeptical Minds. If you see the promo pictures, he’s
there. It’s not only the picture. It’s a team and Alain is a part of the team.
When he decided to start the project, he also decided to be involved 100%. When
we play, he often comes to dedicate some comic books. About the shows, we try
to develop the concept on stage to make Alain’s universe co-exist in Skeptical
Minds’ shows. The visual touch of Alain will be more and more present. Our last
video clip ‘Emptiness’ is a good example of what we try to develop. It’s a good
example of the co-existence of both universes. In the live shows, Alain can be
present through video projections or also by drawing live. We did the
experience once in January. 6 comic designers were drawing about Omega Thanatos
while we were performing on stage. It was great moment for everybody. We are
keeping busy with developing ideas… it can be visual but also more theatrical.
I don’t say more for the moment. Let’s see what surprises the future will
The clip for ‘Emptiness’ is amazing. How much work was
it to make this mix of real shots with animation figures?
Mich : It
took two months in total since the moment we shot the musicians and the end of
the production. The shooting sessions were ready in two evenings. Then came
post-production… Alain and the very talented video producer Patrice Gautot
worked together for about two months to achieve that clip, to see what drawings
they would need and how to make them move… Alain prepared the drawings and
Patrice added his magical touch to give them life. The result is far beyond
what we expected! What a chance we had to collaborate with such master. Don’t
be surprised if we continue to work with the same team. (laughs) Everything fitted
very well with the Omega Thanatos spirit we wanted to create. They all went
into it very naturally.
Last question: why should I watch my back?
Mich : Very good
question… (laughs) Many side effects are possible if you don’t watch it. Better
not to know. Continue to Watch Your Back!!! (laughs)