woensdag 2 augustus 2017

The Breath Of Life: Don’t we all hide a dark side and a certain disgust under a beautiful appearance?

With ‘Under The Falling Stars’, The Breath Of Life has delivered a fantastic album. They think so themselves, by the way, as we found out in a conversation with Isabelle (vocals), Phil (guitar) and Didier (bass) about the album and all the things that accompany it.
'Under The Falling Stars' is the 8th studio album of The Breath Of Life. I think it's one of the best. Did you intend to reach this high with this record?
Phil : We have always tried to give the best for each record, but there are some things that you do not always control. I think that in this case everything was right to get a good result. In the past also, we never agreed about a certain goal. We just made it happen. This time, we made recordings and nobody heard the results before we sent them to Gilles Martin in France. When he informed us that ‘your record is a blow’, we knew were not mistaken. What a relief!
Isabelle : Thank you. We always give the best for each record. Certainly we would like to play more. Sharing this album and making it live on stage is very important to us.
For this record, Philippe Mauroy played the guitar and Didier Czepczyck the bass. We have noticed that they both master the two instruments well, and that they often change from instrument on stage. Has the choice to play only one instrument per musician contributed to the coherence of the record?
Phil : I have been absent from the group for a number of years. When I came back we had to ensure some performances. During my absence, the group recorded two records with Didier on guitar. Initially, Didier played guitar on his own songs, all the more because we had a very different style and that I could hardly play his pieces. (Laughs) Afterwards, it seemed better that each one would retain a preferred instrument. It must be said that Didier excels at the bass and really gives a beautiful colour to the songs. As for the guitar, I let you judge yourself.
Didier : I really think that if I and Phil had to alternate the guitar, this would have reduced the coherence on the record to zero. Phil reminds me of the more excited moments of Jean Marie Aerts in TC Matic. And if he plays a bit softer, he has the romantic tendency to stroke his strings like Justin Jones of And Also The Trees. I am - at my modest level - more in the league of Billy Duffy or John Mc Geoch. Actually, I believe that two guitarists can quickly become as problematic for a group as having two singers. For example, I'm a big fan of Depeche Mode, but if Martin Gore takes over the vocals from Dave Gahan, I like it less.
Giovanni Bortolin, on the other hand, continues to combine the violin and the keys. I think his violin is well represented on the new record and is giving much identity to the group. What do you think?
Phil : Absolutely, it's an essential element. We can hardly think of The Breath Of Life without Giovanni and his violin. I do not know how it's with you, but personally I've never heard anybody like this violin. Together with Isabelle's song this is probably what the listener most notices about The Breath Of Life.
You've released two amazing videos with songs from 'Under The Falling Stars'. How did that happen?
Isabelle : We are lucky to be able to have the highly talented Jean-Gérard Dermine among our close friends. He is very open and very creative. His talent and his ability to bring things to a good end is impressive. And he is still working to prepare new surprises!
Phil : Indeed. It is our friend Jean-Gérard Dermine who has provoked this all. For 'Crime Passionnel', he asked a couple of tango dancers and a few figurants to participate. For 'Blackout', the setting of the Cockerill framework in Charleroi was sufficient.

The lyrics in your songs seem to emphasize the flight in dreams. Is this theme dear to the band?
Isabelle : Dreams are fundamental and help me to progress. I regularly notice that I am daydreaming. I love it. In addition, I cut several themes on this album, such as psychic manipulation on ‘Hide’, Malala Yousafzai's tragic story on ‘Blackout’, the interaction between feelings, thoughts and deeds in 'A New Reality', the importance to take distance and take a view from above to understand more complicated situations in ‘Higher’...
The cover of the CD shows a photograph of a boat stranded on a beach, taken by the extraordinary photographer Xavier Marquis. Why did you choose this picture?
Phil : Because of the atmosphere. I immediately felt a harmony between our music and the lyrics of Isabelle. And also with the title she had chosen for the record ('Under The Falling Stars'). Imagine that this boat stranded on an evening, under a sky full of stars. Don’t we all hide a dark side and a certain disgust under a beautiful appearance?
Isabelle : The photo was taken by Xavier Marquis, yet another person with a lot of talent who is passionate about his art.
Your new CD is a collaboration between Wool-E Discs and your own Music Language Records. Why?
Phil : It's the first time we publish a record ourselves, just because we noticed that the role of a record label has changed dramatically. In the past, they did everything they could to release our records, but today, such traders are no longer available. Only a few fearless people like Wool-E Discs continue to provide courageous resistance, out of passion. Everything is done via the internet, and at our level, labels have become a meaningless intermediate level.
In the past, you have released albums on labels like 'Hall of Sermon' of Lacrimosa or 'Danse Macabre' of Das Ich. Do you still have ties with these labels?
Isabelle : Surprisingly, Bruno Kramm of Das Ich asked us - 15 days before the Wave-Gotic-Treffen in Leipzig - to play as a main act on one of the WGT's podiums.
You also release a limited edition of the record on vinyl, next to the CD. Unfortunately, it will contain only 8 out of 11 numbers due to lack of space. Why this choice?
Phil : As you indicate, this is due to the limited possibilities of a vinyl and therefore not a real choice. It would be technically possible to put more songs on the vinyl, but that would have been at the expense of sound quality. So we have deleted three songs. That vinyl is a gift we have given ourselves.
Do you want to add something else? We give you the last word.
Phil : We do not need a label anymore, but an effective booking agency for performances would be welcome. The call has been made...

The Breath Of Life
Pictures: Xavier Marquis

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