With its debut full length “The Crimson Lines”, french band Havenless has given birth to one of the best album of the last year. Bewitched by this release, Hypnos Webzine has taken the opportunity to know something more about the band and its work. Here’s what vocalist/guitarist Fred has told us.
Hail Fred, let’s start from the very beginning. Havenless formed in 2012 and in such a short time you’ve released an EP and an album that have shown really great songwriting skills. So, have you achieved this musical competence by playing in other bands before or are you at your first experience? What were the ambitions or goals when you started the band? As for your monicker, is it a tribute to Enslaved and to their well known song?
Fred: Hi and thank you very much for this interview! Havenless is not our first musical experience; me and Christine have already taken part in a number of different projects playing other kind of Metal music. Currently, few of these projects are still very active; Christine is playing for Qantice (Heavy/Speed Metal) and Hretghir (Black Metal) while I’m in Ossuaire (old school Death Metal) and Exylem (Post-Metal). Benoit plays in a 70’s rock band and Romain plays in various projects at Agostini drum school; for Romain and Benoit, Havenless represents their first Metal band expertience. Indeed, we have choosen the name of the band because of the famous title Enslaved album “Below The Lights”, but that’s not the only reason, this song name exactly matches the text written by our ex bass player Vincent Mattana.
As I’ve written in the review, but also as you’ve stated on your description, your music takes inspiration from Opeth, Enslaved, Ihsahn and Porcupine Tree, and I dare say Dream Theater too. Since they are all bands with a well defined sound, haven’t you ever feared to be label as their mere “copy”? How much do you think these influences has come into your way of playing?
Fred: I’m the composer and I listen to a lot of the bands you mentioned in the question… so yes, our music is really inspired by them; Opeth in particular stands out in a lot of chronicles about our music. We have absolutely no fear of being accused of “plagiarism” in the future, because we know that our music is very personal despite the similarities with groups… And even if this were to happen in one or more chronicle, we assume to be Progressive Rock and Metal fans!
Speaking about “The Crimson Lines”, the thing I’ve appreciated the most is that all these influences come naturally into your songs, without giving the impression of being “divided” into episodes but rather emerging from time to time. What can you say about how songs come to life?
Fred: According to the good feedback from listeners, while listening to our music, the riffs have a rather special linking: ambiences vary constantly but consistency is still there … It is a process that moves away from a lot of usual musical “verse, chorus …” structures. We must add to this detail the length of the songs. Unlike our first EP, the keyboard is very present in almost every passages of the album; this has considerably developed the atmosphere of the music and we look forward to experience this for our next album. The “Prelude” for example is quite similar to introductions pieces “House Of The Bleak”, “In The Soreness Chamber” and ambiences of “Cold Shape”. I think this is the kind of detail that has contributed to the good sequence of all songs.
Which song of album do you think can describe you better? Are you satisfied with the final result and how the album has been hailed?
Fred: We all have different opinions about the best song on the album … They all have a very different impact on our senses, but we believe that “Lamentation” remains the best piece which could be welcomed by fans of Prog Death Metal! We are quite satisfied with the result for a first album. We have not referred perfection at first attempt; which gives us a broad leeway for the next albums without putting too much pressure on ourselves. We wanted to have a 90’s typed sound, very natural without tons of trigger on the kick for example; and yes, you can hear real amps in there! At the moment, chronicles are very good, but we’re looking forward to having a feedback of our future concerts.
In the infosheet that came along your album, it’s written that your lyrics may remind King Diamond’s style. Since I haven’t had the chance to read them, can you tell us something more about the themes you like and from where their inspiration comes?
Fred: Me and our ex bass player are big fans of the King. He always skillfully told good stories in his albums while highlighting a very theatrical touch and using very descriptive and narrative texts; he also uses dialogues with imaginary characters in his texts. Add to this a few ghosts and other entities, and we have the King Diamond! In Havenless, we have created some thriller-like stories in which entities are also responsible for tragedies. We are also inspired by Edgar Allan Poe for some texts such as “House Of The Bleak” (“The Fall Of The House Of Usher”) and “In The Soreness Chamber” (“The Pit And The Pendulum”).
As for your future proposals, have you already planned or written anything new? Where do you see the band heading into musically during the future?
Fred: We have already started working on our next album and we hope it will be released in 2016! We will work to improve while maintaining a very organic and natural sound. This will remain very progressive and atmospheric, certainly more than “The Crimson Lines” … we go for it anyway! We will also listen carefully to the people feedback, and then try to best meet the needs of listeners! And we think that the arrival of Christine Lanusse, our new bass player, will bring something really new for us!
Have you had the chance to support the release of “The Crimson Lines” with any live shows? How would you describe your on stage dimension?
Fred: Unfortunately, we have not yet had the chance to perform the album on stage. For this kind of music, I think it is better to push the visual (we had a very nice artwork to help us) aspect to the maximum … Our music is atmospheric, as do the necessary to be on the scene too! This is our next step.
The last question is a bit different from the others, but I wanna ask it especially because you are from French. In my opinion, satire, as long as music, is something that shouldn’t have limits. What do you think about the terroristic attacks that took place in Paris?
Fred: Few people like to express their mind about that here in France because opinions are very different and debates rage… But we all agree that it is totally unacceptable that a group of designers is murdered for the purpose of drawing. Charlie Hebdo has always target all cultures and religions in its caricatures; such an act as extreme is not justifiable for us who live in a democracy. But most of the questions today arise on freedom of expression. Why specifically them? Had they go too far? Should there be a limit? If so, who is going to impose this limit? We do not wish to pronounce on it. The real question to me concerning what is happening now: How is that such an act triggers the hate for an entire religion? Fear perhaps…
Thanks for your time. Last words are yours.
Fred: Thank you again for your support and interest in our music. Follow us on facebook and please know that we are open to your offers (concerts, chronicles, label, etc.) to make our music heard as loud as possible! And we’re eager to present our second album! Rock on!