– Hello, thanks for taking your time, hope you are all healthy over there. Has the whole pandemic situation affected the band’s activity in any way?
Olivier Voyou : Ola ! We’re doing great, thanks ! We had several gigs canceled because of the pandemic, 4 or 5 I’d say… And of course no practices at all during a couple of months but we took that time off looking for new riffs and ideas, so it was not a completely desastrous waste of time.
-You come from a Punk background. From where did the idea of forming a traditional Heavy Metal band blossom?
Olivier Voyou : Yes we have a Hardcore Punk background. We’ve been playing in many Punk bands for almost two decades now, I can name a few (the most recent ones): Mondragon, Pinku Saido, Gasmask Terrör… Heavy Metal for us is long-time love story rooted in our teenage years (we’re all 40 or older in the band), we just needed to be a bit better at playing our instruments and in 2018 we felt confident enough to give it a try.
– What do you incorporate to MEURTRIÈRES from this Punk background? Be it the ethos, the way of doing things or that raw energy.
Olivier Voyou : It’s definitively a mix of all that. We have a hard-to-kill habit of doing things the DIY way. We don’t wait for anybody to do things for us (but we’re very happy to have labels though ). Also, 20 years of playing every squats and bars on this planet has taught us that you don’t need a stage, a monster PA to put on a good show. I’d go further, the best shows are always the ones when you play straight on the ground with people going crazy and falling on you, this is where you can feel the energy flowing in the room.
– And how did you come up with the band’s name? Feels a little like a tribute to French 80’s Heavy Metal bands like BLASPHÈME, SORTILÈGE, etc., a bit like what contemporaries like CHEVALIER are doing.
Olivier Voyou : It was a name I had for years in my bag and it was at first designed for a black metal band that never happened. Then it turns out that it was very well fitted for a Heavy Metal band with lyrics about medieval women and their tragic fates as Meurtrières has a double-meaning in french, it’s both a murderess and an arrow-slit in a fortified castle. It can also be translated as KILLERS if you know what I mean…
– And like them you have this medieval-themed lyrics. Are they fantastical or based on real events?
Olivier Voyou : They’re basically all made-up stories except for Rosae Bellum which refers to a real person : Christine de Pisan, a XVth century philosoph and poetess.
– Gates of Hell Records is now doing a re-release of your debut EP in vinyl format. How did this collaboration arise?
Olivier Voyou : When we launched the album on bandcamp, at our big surprise we got a lot of positive feedback and offers from various labels. We were not in a hurry and were still undecided if we wanted to release the LP ourselves or do it via a label. And we were right to wait since the best offers came a bit later on. We already knew the work of Gates of Hell records because of Chevalier or Traveler for instance and we’re not disappointed at all since Brigida is a very sweet person and very easy to deal with.
– Your music is described as “hard rocking medieval Heavy Metal”. Did you have a clear vision of the kind of music you want to play when you started out MEURTRIÈRES and how you wanted it to be aesthetically?
Olivier Voyou : Yes we had a clear idea of what we wanted since the beginning. We wanted medieval epicness and hard-rocking riffs in the same song without it sounding like a weird forced mix. We had also a very precise idea of what we wanted lyric-wise : medieval tales written in french. Fleur, our singer added her personal touch so we ended up with french medieval tales with strong female characters. Perfect.
– Talking about aesthetics, the cover artwork perfectly fits your slightly epic sound and the medieval themes. Is making everything on the release work as a whole something you were aiming for?
Flo Spector : Our friend Alyosha Krawa draw this awesome artwork for us. We know each other for quite some time and he always provides top notch artwork. So we were pretty sure he will nailed it. We only brought some guidance, like our favorite artworks and our lyrics, to let him grasp our universe.
– In your music atmosphere also seems to be an important element. Is there anything you want to capture with it?
Olivier Voyou : We want people to feel drag away in an adventure with each song. A very tumultuous adventure filled with horse rides, swords battles and epic love stories. For us Heavy Metal is an escape from the sometimes boring daily routine.
– Production-wise, was it easy to get the sound you had envisioned? It sounds organic and obscure.
Olivier Voyou : It was kind of easy actually since we more or less kept the same sound we have in our punk bands. Keeping the production to a reasonable level (nevertheless Bruno Germain who recorded us did a fantastic job). The drums for instance sound very natural avoiding the trigger-trap.
– You play a very traditional style yet breaking with conventionalisms. Usually tradition is detrimential to conventionalism and vice versa so how easy is to get a good equilibrium? Is it something that just comes out naturally when writing?
Olivier Voyou : We don’t intellectualize our music that much though ahaha… We just want to play good old Heavy Metal in the end, that’s all…
-It’s traditional style rooted in the early-80’s basically. What did that era have that you believe is missing in today’s Metal?
Olivier Voyou : hum… I can’t think of something missing actually. Maybe it’s a bit less spontaneous… But the main difference is that there’s basically no money to be made with heavy metal in comparison with the 80s’ so the bands that keep playing that old-school style are doing it only for the passion and that’s great ! Passion is the key-word here.
– Anyway your influences are broad within the Heavy Metal spectre; we can find NWOBHM, some epic, a bit of MERCYFUL FATE… What have been the most influential acts for the band’s sound?
Olivier Voyou : The usual suspects : IRON MAIDEN, JUDAS PRIEST, MERCYFUL FATE/KING DIAMOND… Some frenchies as well : SORTILEGE, MALEDICTION, HIGH POWER…
– Leaving the classics aside, are you aware of what’s going on in the music industry nowadays? Do you dig any of those bands taking back a more “old school” sound?
Olivier Voyou : We’re all music nerds in the band (for a lot of different music styles actually) and we keep on searching for obscure old bands but also new bands and there are many that kick asses nowadays ! HAUNT, MIDNIGHT PRIEST, TRAVELER, ETERNAL CHAMPION, WYTCH HAZEL, METALLIAN… The French new guard is very good too : HERZEL, ANIMALIZE, TENTATION, ELECTRIC SHOCK…
-All this about your EP being said; how would you describe it in just 3 words?
Olivier Voyou : Raging Hearts Metal.
– And what are the plans for the band now after such a success of an EP? Are there plans for a full-length?
Olivier Voyou : Yessss we’re currently writing songs for a full-lenght LP but we’re not in a rush, we will take our time. We want only good songs on it. ALL KILLERS NO FILLERS ahaha…
– That’s all from our side, thank you once more for answering our interview. If you’d like to add some final words; feel free to do it.
Olivier Voyou : Thanks for giving the opportunity to express ourselves and… EN GARDE !