GAE BOLG – what a name for a band?! What does it mean?
I’m not sure myself! It seems to be the magic weapon of Cuchulain, probably the most stupid hero of the whole world mythology, but don’t ask me why I choose this name, I’ve no idea, except maybe the fact that it sounded good and probably also because I like stupid heroes!
Some people in the heavy way of living may never have heard about you. Please give us a short or very long briefing of the band's biography.
Gaë Bolg began his activities around 1997, when I suddenly realize that I’ll be never composer for Madonna. At the beginning, it was just a side project of my main project Seven Pines, something ironic and critical, but gradually, it came more and more important and serious, and I consider it today clearly as important as Seven Pines, and maybe more in fact.….. With the help of “The Church of Fand” (a strange philosophical, esoteric and probably Dadaist circle), and after several vinyls and some (more or less) private tapes, the first CD “John Barleycorn must die” saw the light of day early 2000, with the great visuals contribution of Ars Magna 1118. It was followed by Tintagel in 2001, then “La ballade de l’Ankou” in 2003, and finally “Aucassin et Nicolette” in 2005.
How do you describe your style of music; is it very “untypical” (see the reviews)?
Difficult to say… And I’m not sure I’m the best placed to describe it… Maybe: “Hard-Symphonic-Martial-Psychedelic-Medieval-Operatic-Electronic-Experimental-Prog-Folk”? Or something like that?
Does there exist a further connection/meaning and “lifestyle” behind the cover-artwork, your wear-style on stage/at home with the music you create?
I live surrounded by music, the largest part of my activities (including professional – I’m music teacher) turn around it, and in this way, I can clearly say that music is in the centre of my “lifestyle”. Probably my own music is, consequently, in some ways, the best description of me, but Gaë Bolg is just a part of me, I’ve a lot of other musical projects, and it’s just one aspect of my personality and didn’t reflect all of what I am.
All the artworks for Bolg till now are quiet ironic and in fact just revealed a certain critical vision of things, and not necessary only my personality. It’s also a meaning to take me not too seriously, a sort of counterpoint to the seriousness of the content. It’s also a meaning to take distance with the insane political ambiguity you can find sometimes in the industrial / neo-folk scene… About dresses, I’ve no particular dress style at home or on road (or maybe just things that I can qualified “hippie”), and I’ve to say that I’ve absolutely no interest for wear fashion, even if I like to be dressed sometimes in strange medieval wears, but it’s more for the fun than a lifestyle.
On stage, it’s of course completely different. Gaë Bolg concerts are more a show than a pure traditional concert, and in this situation, I endorsed a rule which include special dresses for the occasion, as all the members of the band. I treat our live acts as a theatre piece which contains many visual elements, and I’ve to say that changing of dresses have also a rule of ritual, in another words, I change of skin at this moment: on stage, I’m no more Eric Roger, I’m Gaë Bolg!
What kind of instruments did you use on “Aucassin Et Nicolette” and why is the record so much deep and dark?
I use many varied instruments: trumpet, recorders, acoustic and electric guitars, electric bass, violin, piano, harpsichord, various keyboards and samplers, a lot of percussions, and a lot of effects on the mix. Of course, the voices are very important too.
The dark atmosphere of the CD was not conscientiously calculated and was probably just a reflect of a period in my life that wasn’t the happiest, a sort of violent catharsis…
What about the lyrics? Are there some lyrics which have a special meaning for and maybe also for your fans? Tell us something about it.
The lyrics are taken from the medieval piece “Aucassin et Nicolette”, except for 2 songs which were taken from “Le miracle de Théophile of Ruteboeuf”, an author of the same period than Aucassin. Both are very interesting pamphlets (disguised under the dresses of ironic theatre pieces, probably to avoid censorship or problems with the inquisition), which promote a humanist, tolerant and pacifist vision of the world, completely at the opposite of the practices of the time.
If you realize that it was written in the 13th century, it’s absolutely amazing and fascinating, it’s so modern for the time!!! And when you see how the world is today, it’s finally so actual!!!
Where do you get your inspirations from?
I’m not sure… Probably from my life and from the little experiences of the quotidian, and probably most generally from everything my subconscious has remembered!!! In fact, when I do music, I don’t tell me any question! It comes, or not (!!!), but when it comes, I ignore from anywhere!!!
How important is it for you to play live on stage? Is it possible to see you live in the future, maybe even in Germany?
As I said previously, live acts are very important for me. It’s something very visual, probably much harder than on CD, more “Rock´n´Roll”, with a lot of energy and many drums, and with many aspects that are just at the state of suggestion in the recording.
Live is also very important because it’s the only moment on where I can meet “physically” (and not only through internet who is a nice thing but also a bit too impersonal) my audience, speaking and having contact and exchanges with them.
Dates in Germany for September-October are actually on discussion, I hope it will work, I’m very excited to play again in your country!!!
Didn´t you ever think about following the kind of music which is most popular this time (middle-age!) i.e. fireeaters, bagpipes, epic to become more popular or more earning money?
I never had this sort of preoccupation because, without any doubt, Gaë Bolg will make me very rich! I‘m sure of that, it’s just a question of time!!!
Why do you mainly sing in French language? Wouldn´t it be favoutable singing in English language concerning understanding of your fans worldwide?
You’re probably right but French is the only language I know correctly, and I’ve always find me ridiculous and stupid to sing badly in a language for which I don’t have all the keys… I only do it when I do a cover version, and in this case, I use of course the language of the original song.
Do there exist some parallels to SOL INVICTUS with refer to Gae Bolg? Maybe you can tell us something more about SOL INVICTUS?
I have been musician for Tony Wakeford’s Sol Invictus for around 10 years, and, by the fact that I had an important rule in the composition of music, I probably influenced the band during this period with my own personality, but exactly like all the other members of Sol did, members who are all great musicians with strong personalities, and whose own musical projects are for some of them absolutely fantastic, I think by example on Karl Blake (who play bass for Sol) and his Shockheaded Peters, for me one of the greatest band of the 2 last decades!
But it’s the only link I see between Sol Invictus and Gaë Bolg. Musically and humanly, we’re clearly completely different! Tony Wakeford and Sol Invictus are now a part of my past and I’ve to say that it’s much better like that!
How important is literature of the middle age concerning your music? Did you especially choose this epoch or will you change your style from time to time?
I’m very interested by middle age, a really fascinating period, but my interest is mainly superficial and phantasmatic, a way to escape sometimes to the reality of life, and I’ve to admit that I don’t know the literature of this period so well.
I’m not focused only on middle age, and I don’t know of what the future of Gaë Bolg will be made, so I stay very open and in fact, everything is possible!
Best whishes to you. Last words are up to you?
Thanks a lot for your kind interview! And as we said in Auvergne (centre of France):
“Pinus et Clitoris Hourra, Frimum et Pectoris Fouchtra!!!”