Review 2153 : Vesperine – Perpétuel – English

Vesperine returns from the depths of the soul.

Five years after their debut album, Rémi Lasowy (vocals), Adam Courtinot (guitar), Pierre Prunier (guitar), Jérémy Piffady (bass) and Aurélien Tosolini (drums) unveil Perpétuel, their second self-produced full-length.

We immediately get to the heart of the matter with the fast, melancholy riffs of Mouvement III – Tant qu’il y a de l’espoir, an initial composition in which visceral screams take hold, however  giving way to heady clean vocals when the rhythmic pattern calms down for a while. Saturation flares up again, carrying the vocalist along in a flood of pessimistic fury that finally lets us loose on Mouvement I – Universelle Liesse and its eerie ambience led by a hoarse voice surrounded by a few ethereal harmonics. The pressure gradually builds before exploding and nailing us to the floor, but it eventually breaks cleanly to return in a more haunting fashion, leading us to the long Movement I – À Cœur Joie and its intoxicating dance rhythm of accelerations and soft parts, always supported by expressive vocal placements. The more ethereal elements perfectly shade the heavier moments, giving them that luminous touch in the suffocating darkness, as in the more upbeat finale that gives way to Mouvement II – Le Poids du Silence and its reassuring calm. Unsurprisingly, the musicians gradually disturb it with more abrasive pattern elements that finally give way to anger as they join Mouvement II – Interférence and its jerky approach that becomes surprisingly relaxing when tamed by our minds. More soaring touches appear between the waves of rage, then the band weaves its contrast once again on Mouvement III – Mauvaise Herbe, which first anchors itself in quietude, only to darken as the notes progress and finally bury us in this ocean of restless darkness, where each submerge leads us to the inexorable end of the album.

With Perpétuel, Vesperine unveils an ethereal and intense universe, but also one of contrasts between light and shadow. We enjoy contemplating the tableau of aerial riffs and deep howls, struck by the sincerity of the band’s message.


Version Française ?

A few questions to Rémi Lasowy, Jérémy Piffady and Adam Courtinot, respectively vocalist, bassist and guitarist for the French band Vesperine.

Hello and thank you for your time! How could you introduce the band Vesperine without using the usual musical style labels?
Rémi Lasowy (vocals): Hello and thank you. Vesperine is a band with a carefully crafted aesthetic, intense and sometimes complex music and deep sincerity. Emotion is the central element, dictating the creative process. The result is a volcanic album where relief dominates. Vesperine is black anger in the midst of deep reflection.

The name Vesperine is described as « a first name from another century (…) personifying the group’s mantras ». How did you decide to adopt this name at the time, and how do you relate it to the band’s current music?
Rémi: We wanted a feminine first name that personified a state of mind, the soul of this band, as if the five members formed a sixth when they are together.
Jérémy Piffady (bass): There had been a lot of discussion about finding a name for the band, a lot of different ideas… but we settled on the idea of a first name, and after a bit of searching, we found that Vesperine sounded pretty good. And with the name’s vesperal etymology, it suited our musical ideas, which are all about contrasts. It was only later that we realized that beyond that, we could also find a consonance with hope, which became a central theme in our explorations.
Rémi: In that way, it’s very much linked to the music we play today.

Perpétuel, your second album, is about to be released five years after the previous one. How do you feel about it? Have you had any feedback on it yet?
Rémi: I can’t wait. Releasing an album always takes a long time… There are a lot of elements to deal with before the baby is born. So, excited and impatient, yes. The few feedbacks I’ve had have all been excellent and varied. They’ve been heartwarming.
Jérémy: Releasing an album is both very exciting and quite intimidating. It’s the result of a lot of hard work, but also of a lot of introspection, so in a way, it’s revealing yourself a little too. And it means facing up to the critical gaze of others. We’re proud of what we’ve produced, and we didn’t write it to please people. We try to stay focused on our intentions, but it’s always nicer when listeners appreciate and resonate with what we’re proposing…

How would you sum up Perpétuel in three words?
Adam Courtinot (guitar): Intense. Narrative. Different (from Espérer sombrer).
Rémi: Cyclical. Intense. Rich.
Jérémy: Lying. Creation. Struggle.

How did you go about composing Perpétuel? Did you notice any changes compared to the band’s previous productions?
Jérémy : It was all a question of work and confrontation, in a constructive sense. There are 5 of us, each with our own vision and ideas… Vesperine is the interweaving of these 5 visions, the higher Truth in the face of which each of us at one time or another puts our ego aside to trust the others. In this respect, nothing has really changed. After that, there are bound to be different colors, new things, because we’re constantly trying to explore new horizons, not just repeat recipes.
Rémi : In fact, the methods have remained the same. A healthy dose of chaos, reflection and uncertainty. We really wanted to do something different from Espérer Sombrer, so we put a lot of pressure on ourselves. We’re a challenging group and hate sticking to what we know how to do. We have a great capacity to get into trouble. The changes had more to do with our objectives than with our method.

The first title unveiled is Mouvement II – Interférence, why did you choose this one rather than another?
Adam: We wanted to come back with a dynamic, explosive track, so it lends itself well to that with its abrupt start. It also has the advantage of giving a glimpse of the album’s diversity, with some fast passages, others heavy and slow, as well as more melodic lulls.
Jérémy: Maybe it’s also because it’s the one that asked us the most to think outside the box, and in the end, it’s a good illustration of the diversity on offer on Perpétuel. We went further in our exploration, while maintaining a form of continuity with Espérer sombrer.

Looking at the tracklist, I see that the album begins and ends with Mouvement III. How important is the order of the tracks on this album?
Rémi : It’s essential, precisely because this album is narrative and cyclical, so it has a beginning that’s also an end. We decided to play with that and not start at the beginning of the story. Overall, the album is made up of three main parts, movements whose individual pieces are difficult to separate.
Jérémy : The album comes full circle, and you can’t reverse the order of the tracks, otherwise you lose the narrative. The album sets to music the cyclicality of man’s struggle against a world that lies to him. The world fools man by giving him hope, so that we don’t look any further at the world’s true ugliness. But once we realize this, we can’t help but want to fight against it. And that means giving up this chimerical hope, and finally freeing ourselves through and for artistic creation. But hope always returns. In the end, we go from point A to point A, but it’s the journey that counts… and we’ve placed this point A right in the middle of Mouvement III, to heckle the listener a little, but in circular logic, we could have placed it anywhere on the album.

The band’s name evokes hope, but your music is mainly dark and tortured. What are the band’s influences on Perpétuel?
Jérémy : There are also quite a few bright passages, at least in our conception. As in life, there are beautiful moments and harder ones, and the two forms complement and nourish each other. We were already exploring this dimension in Espérer sombrer. In terms of influences, it’s very broad and difficult to sum up, as each of us listens to a wide variety of artists, reads very different books and loves different graphic arts.
Rémi: Our influences are obviously wide-ranging, but we usually say that we gather around bands like Neurosis, Amenra, Cult Of Luna and Deftones. But there are so many other things that the list would be incredibly long.

I know it’s a tough question, but do you have a favorite track on this album? Or the one that came most naturally to you?
Jérémy : Mouvement I – A cœur joie, which is emotionally rich and showcases the many facets of Vesperine.
Rémi : Mouvement I – Universelle liesse is my favorite track. I find it more than intense, with moments of extreme violence and moments of pure grace. I love its contrasts and it has a darkness that speaks to me. It’s also the one that seemed the most natural to compose.

What does the artwork represent, and what were the stages in its conception?
Rémi : The artwork is an assembly of 2 diametrically different landscapes. One depicts rich vegetation in garish colors: it’s abundance and overflowing, while the other is a grayish desert where emptiness fills the landscape. These 2 visuals are superimposed like old, torn tapestries. With this visual, we first wanted to emphasize the « perpetual » aspect, something worn but remaining; also thanks to the vertical stripes of torn appearance that repeat. Secondly, we wanted to represent the confrontation between abundance and nothingness, which for us is what hope sells. We had these specifications, and little by little, following Vincent Taïani‘s progress, the artwork took shape.

Like the first album, Perpétuel is self-produced. Why did you choose to remain independent rather than work with a label? How is the collaboration with Agence Singularités going in terms of promotion?
Rémi: Our first album, Espérer Sombrer, was released by Apathia Records. We weren’t alone, at least in the early days, because Apathia decided to cease operations. For Perpétuel, we wanted to be labelled, but not at any price. The deals we were offered didn’t suit us, so we said to ourselves: we don’t really need what’s on offer, we can do it on our own. Singularités are in charge of talking to the press about us. Which they do. So all’s well. 🙂

I haven’t had the chance to see you play live yet, what’s a Vesperine concert like from your point of view?
Adam : Vesperine concerts are designed to be immersive. The fact that there’s no interaction with the audience is part of it, even if it can be a bit divisive. But I particularly like the introspective aspect of what we offer.
Rémi : It’s dark and there’s a lot of movement. Strange as it may seem, we try as much as possible to make things immersive and aesthetic, pleasant for the ears as well as the eyes, but at the same time, we’re very attached to our « Punk » side, the « I don’t give a fuck » if things don’t go as planned. Sometimes there’s a kind of chaos on stage between the lights, the movements and the noises. We like that. Organized, aesthetic chaos.
Jérémy : A Vesperine concert is also about being in the moment. For our part, on stage, nothing interferes, we’re no longer 5 musicians with our own thoughts, our own current events, but we’re solely focused on Vesperine, we are Vesperine. We give ourselves only one instruction: to be individually and collectively sincere in our interpretations. Sincerity is the highest artistic value for us. It’s the source of all the emotions we and the public can feel.
Adam : And then we’re lucky enough to work with sound and light technicians who accompany us and enable us to create this immersion. I’m thinking in particular of Antoine Noirant ‘s lighting design, which we’ll be able to try out on our upcoming tour.

What are your plans for the rest of Vesperine?
Rémi : Touring to support Perpétuel on stage. Play on increasingly cool stages. And compose the sequel!

Are there any musicians or artists you’d like to collaborate with in the future?
Jérémy : I’d love to exchange ideas and create with the guys from Coilguns. I think they’re equally far-reaching in the sincerity and integrity of their project, even if they have a much crazier, punk edge than we do.
Rémi: I think Julie Christmas and I could do something really cool in Vesperine. But otherwise, not really. Haha, sorry for your question, but I think we’ve got enough material for our expression to come from within. That doesn’t mean I don’t want to make music with others. But Vesperine is quite specific and the message is precise. In another context, I’m obviously open to it.

Do you think you’ve improved as a musician with this album?
Jérémy : There’s no doubt about it. We’re always looking to improve our songs, diversify our approaches, and consequently our instrumental practices and ways of composing.
Adam : I’ve progressed in many areas thanks to this album, from instrumental technique to sound research. More generally, I feel I’ve enriched myself artistically, with all the thought that went into the composition.
Rémi : Absolutely. And that seems essential to me. If you don’t encounter difficulties in the art you practice, and if you don’t need work to overcome them, then there’s something missing. It’s important to be pushed to your limits in order to create.

What bands do you dream of playing with? I’ll let you imagine a date for the release of Perpétuel with Vesperine opening, and three other bands.
Rémi : Well, I’m personally a big Cult Of Luna fan, so that would be my choice.
If we could add Amenra, Neurosis and Deafheaven to the bill, I’d be delighted. With Nine Inch Nails as a surprise.
Adam : LLNN, Converge, Alcest, for my part.
Jérémy: I’d probably go for the bands whose sincerity I feel the most. I’d say Amenra, whose live experiences are among the most powerful, honest and authentic I’ve ever experienced. And, let’s face it, I’m a big fan of theirs, and this would be a very powerful achievement for me. While we’re on the subject of Coilguns, here they are on the bill too. And then Birds in Row. With us as the opening act (so we can enjoy ourselves afterwards), wouldn’t that be great?

Last question: what dish would you compare Vesperine ‘s music to?
Jérémy : A Thai curry, maybe the red one. The richness and finesse of the flavors, the heat and strength of the chili, tempered by the sweetness of the coconut milk.
Rémi : First of all, the plate has to be beautiful and colorful. Quality assembly. It would have to be something that leads our palate towards bitterness to fool the taster, expecting something sweet with all the colors of the food. And a vinegar sauce to acidify it all. Still hungry?

That was my last question, so thank you for your availability, and I’ll leave you with the last words!
Rémi: Thanks again. Please be patient with Perpétuel. It’s not just another consumer item 🙂

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