Spellbound, singer and creator of Jours Pâles, answered some questions about the release of Tensions, his second album.
Hello and first of all thank you for giving me your time! How would you introduce the band Jours Pâles without using the usual « Metal » labels?
Spellbound : Hello. I will say a sincere, melancholic, heady music, which is a mix of several styles or influences that I dare to hope filtered and digested, so necessarily something personal too.
The second album of the band, Tensions, is about to be released, how do you feel?
Spellbound : I’m exhausted, because this album took a lot of energy from me, and then I had a big down period at the end of the composition and recording. A kind of emptiness, I was disoriented and tired, that’s why I quickly started to compose a sequel, in order to fill this interstellar nothingness and this negative state of mind in which I was then. On the other hand, the release is approaching as we speak and I’m excited because I’m very proud of the final output and I can’t wait to be able to share my album with the fans, as much as to let people discover it who don’t know this project yet.
How was the composition process as well as the lyrics writing? What has changed compared to the first album?
Spellbound: Nothing has really changed if we only talk about pure composition and working method. I pick up a guitar and I let myself be guided by my feelings or my emotions, everything starts from there. My way of approaching the creation has not changed since Asphodèle. On the other hand, all the musicians present on the first album Eclosion have since left for various reasons, most of them due to lack of time related to their respective bands. So I refocused the line up exclusively on geographical proximity. This has clearly facilitated the organizational aspect, whether for recordings, arrangements or communication. Then the guys around me are great musicians and Jours Pâles is moving even faster since we are on this formula. Alexis on guitars, Alex on bass and Ben on drums did an insane job. Other than that, no noticeable change.
What can you tell me about the creation of the artwork? Why did you choose Niklas Sundin, and how was the collaboration with him?
Spellbound : I had several ideas for the artwork. Either to continue with a photo like for the first album, or to go in a really different direction. As the music is evolving, I guess it was good to make a break in the visuals. Concerning my choice of Niklas Sundin, first of all I’m a big fan of Dark Tranquillity and of almost all the bands he plays or has played in. Then he made cult covers for bands that are just as cult. His style as an illustrator is particular, I can love some stuff and others a little less, because he is « versatile » and has techniques in different styles, and therefore a really wide palette. I’ve been wanting to do something with him for a long time and it was like a childhood dream to be able to collaborate with this great artist. So I tried my luck by sending a first mail, which received a few days later a positive answer, with in addition his congratulations concerning my musical work. I find what he produced on Tensions simply perfect. It exactly depicts what I wanted to convey in terms of musical atmospheres and lyrics. A disillusioned world, sad, stuck in its technologies, its cold and nauseating modernity… And then the cover is full of details. The female face gives off a rare beauty as well as a huge sorrow. It was the perfect cover for this album in my opinion and Niklas knows how grateful I am to have worked with him.
Compared to the first album, I clearly felt a more raw and aggressive approach, do you feel it too ? How do you explain this change?
Spellbound : Yes of course, I think so too. Some songs are more frontal, more in-your-face but on the other hand you have a lot more subtlety for example in the drumming, there are also more clean voices in some places, but also a more aggressive side that’s true. Some songs keep a touch that can be found on Eclosion, this Rock side, some quite slow parts… An album represents a T moment. At the time when I composed and recorded voices for Tensions, I was clearly much more angry and in danger than on Eclosion. I think that’s a big part of the reason why the aggressive side takes over a lot of the songs on this record. On the other hand, you also have more tracks that stretch out than on the first album, so it’s a good balance between aggression and melody.
On the album, we haveNatalie Koskinen’s voice (Shape of Despair), how did you get in touch with her to have her participation?
Spellbound : I’m a fan of Natalie and I like the concept of having other artists on my records, I think you noticed that. I’ve often said that if I had to pick only one song in my life, it would be Withdraw by Shape of Despair. So having Natalie on this album means a lot to me. I had made a first attempt, a first contact a few years ago and it didn’t succeed. Then when I had some musical material for the second Jours Pâles album, and I composed this title Ode à la vie (chanson pour Aldérica) I immediately thought that I needed Natalie‘s voice on some parts. I simply got in touch with her again and let her have the demo track, and she kindly agreed to, graciously, participate in laying down her vocals.
We hear vocal samples again on some tracks, what do they bring to your compositions?
Spellbound : I insert samples since Asphodèle, and on all my other albums indeed, Eclosion and Tensions are no exception. It’s simply used to support a subject or to prepare vocals arriving after, to illustrate a piece of lyrics or to dress a musical passage and in all the cases it is never random. You find a background because since the first album of Asphodèle I use the same reportage for my samples (Drogue dis-leur, Nils Tavernier).
What is the track that speaks to you the most on this album?
Spellbound : They all speak to me on different levels and I only have preferences intermittently. Depending on my mood I’m more likely to prefer this or that track because the album is varied in terms of moods and there’s something for everyone if I may say so. At the moment, I listen a lot to Dose(s) because I like its energy and its aggressiveness and Ode à la vie (chanson pour Aldérica) because it’s maybe the most personal theme I’ve been able to develop so far and Natalie‘s vocals increase the global atmosphere. Jour de pluie jour de fête as soon as it rains of course and I invite people to do the same, this track with some strong beers on a rainy day is a good choice.
Jours Pâles has recently started to play live, how were the first concerts?
Spellbound : Really good so far. We were lucky enough to be thrown straight into the arena with some great dates, our first was for the LADLO Fest, so very nice conditions, both on and off stage. We know the requirements and the seriousness of the label in terms of organization and reception… Then we could play at Furios Fest, an emerging festival in the Cantal. We also made a date in a private event organized there still by LADLO in partnership with the independent brewery Ouroboros (Haute-Loire) a great place for a occult, participative and thematic weekend. We will leave by the end of February on a mini tour which will pass by three dates in Germany and which will finish on Colmar and Lyon, with another LADLO band: Lunar Tombfields and also Lighthouse, a German band. I think that the release of Tensions will allow us to continue on our way and to do a lot of dates for 2023.
Do you already have plans for the future of the band? Whether it’s live, recording, or other…
Spellbound : The plan is to promote the arrival of Tensions as much as possible, through concerts, tours, interviews, and to continue to prepare the discographic continuation of the project, the third album being already on the way since I almost never stop composing.
How do you judge your evolution as a musician between the first and the second album?
Spellbound : I think there is a big gap between the two albums and yet there is only one year between the two composition sessions of these two releases. I worked more on guitar and my vision of composing was refined between time, everything is more intense, more achieved I think. I believe that Tensions is a step above, whether it is with regard to the technique, the structures, the execution… I am very proud of Eclosion but I am very « happy » with how the project turns with Tensions.
What do you think about the French scene in 2022 ?
Spellbound : Not much actually! There’s always been some great stuff coming out of France, but I don’t necessarily look at what’s coming out in the last few years or months. It’s more that I stumble upon it. I was recently at a friend’s place in the Périgord Noir who mixed the latest Hordous, I didn’t know it and it’s a great discovery for me.
What are your musical favorites at the moment?
Spellbound : At the moment I’m listening a lot Sidewalks & Skeletons, an Electro project that I love. Otherwise, I found some tracks from the Canadian project Unexpect, completely crazy, I like it a lot. I also dive into the album Confusion Bay of Raunchy, I find it very fun and very well done, I love the crazy but also very convincing vocals of Lars Vognstrup who left after this recording to go to much more Pop musical horizons… Finally, the last two Ferriterium are being played quite a bit here at the moment.
Do you see yourself collaborating with other musicians in the future ?
Spellbound: I’ve always enjoyed collaborating with artists on my personal projects and yes, I think in the future there will be more things along those lines. Whether it’s me as a guest, I’ve already accepted it in the past with bands like Hanternoz, Winter Dusk, Sühnopfer, Darkenhold, Tarask and other inquiries come to me quite regularly… But also artists who will come to pose voices on the next Jours Pâles, for sure.
Last question : which bands would you like to play with ? I’ll let you create a tour with Jours Pâles as an opening act, and three other bands.
Spellbound: Shape of Despair, Psychonaut 4, Au champ des morts, Jours Pâles.
Once again, thank you for your time, last words are yours!
Spellbound: Well, thank you for the interview, for your interesting questions and your interest in Jours Pâles. Don’t hesitate to follow the band on Facebook to have access to the latest news, the next concerts etc… Good luck to you and see you soon!