Hello. First of all thank you for taking some time and answering some questions. Some of our readers may never have heard about you. Please tell us something about the bands history so far.
Gris is a musical duo that was founded in 2004. We have produced three albums so far: Neurasthénie (2006), Il Était Une Forêt... (2007) and À l'Âme Enflammée, l'Äme Constellée... (2013). Also, in 2009, we have created a collaboration album with Annatar of Sombres Forêts that is called Miserere Luminis; a project with which we have toured in Québec in 2009-2010. We have also taken part to two live tours with Sombres Forêts: Les Treizes Nuits de la Peste in 2008 and Sombres Forêts's European Tour in 2013. One could describe our music as experimental black metal.
Your new album is out for some weeks now. How are the reactions from your fans and the media so far?
The reactions have been impressively great. We've read a lot of fantastic reviews and opinions, so it is very encouraging. Most of the people who have listened to the album were positively surprised by the evolution that took place between “Il Était Une Forêt...” and “À l'Âme Enflammée, l'Äme Constellée...”. It is pleasing to see that most people are open to hear new approaches of creating black metal.
When did you start working on the new album and how long did it take you finalize it?
We've started to work on “À l'Âme Enflammée, l'Äme Constellée...” at the beginning of 2011, a few months after our last concert with Miserere Luminis. From there, we have been working on it intensively for two years, up until june 2013. It has been a very meticulous, but rewarding, process.
Your new album sounds very different compared to the “Il Était Une Forêt…” album. Would you say that the Miserere Luminis project had a big influence in the change of GRIS’ music?
Well, Miserere Luminis has been an important part and step in our musical and artistic development, so it necessarily had, and still has, an impact, even if maybe unconscious, on what we do with Gris. But still, we tend to have a precise vision of how Gris' music should sound like, and it stands pretty much on its own. We think that the major difference that Miserere Luminis made for us is that producing it was the first time we really wanted to create something more unique, in terms of sound, approach and concept. It has pushed forward our experimental curiosity.
How do you write a new album? The two of you together or everybody for himself till you meet? And is one of you a so called mastermind for the lyrics or the music in general or do you both do the same amount of songwriting?
We always write all the core of the songs together. We also take every creative and conceptual decision together. Gris is the mastermind, not only Icare, or just Neptune. Each one of us has particular strengths and to combine them for the best in our music. What we both propose and bring to our art seems to just naturally fit, as we tend to balance ourselves.
Where did you record your debut album and why did you choose that place?
At Studio Gris. Because it is our studio and the place where we have always made music.
The use of classical instruments like the piano and the violin is much bigger on your new album. When did you learn to play these instruments and how important is classical music for you?
In fact, no piano was used on this album. As for violin, we wanted it to take a more important place in our music for this album, as it has a very particular color and vibe. Icare began to learn violin when he was a child, but only started to play again at the time of “Il Était Une Forêt...”. Classical music has been important to us for sure, but we would say that music and art in general have been very important for us in the same way, throughout our lives.
The cover art of the new album has a different style compared to your first album (and the “Neurasthénie” record). Who came up with this picture and why you changed your band logo?
The artwork of the album was designed and created by Fursy Teyssier and us. It has a more mysterious and modern feel than what we've done previously. For the logo, we only felt that something more hand-written suited the album and its content best. But it is possible that we use the old logo in the vinyl version of the album.
You are using French as your main language for your lyrics but you also had some English lyrics when you were called Niflheim. Can you imagine using English lyrics again under the banner of GRIS? Or will that never happen and if so why?
We don't think will use the english language again with Gris. It is just so; french is the mother tongue of Gris and is directly related to its natural expression.
Please tell us something about the Black Metal scene in your region (Quebec) and in your country. What bands should be checked out, which labels are important? How familiar is the Black Metal scene in Quebec/Canada?
We would say that the scene here is slowly, but consistently, growing. There are not that many black metal bands, but have a few good and creative bands (Such as Sombres Forêts, Monarque, Forteresse, Csejthe, etc) that we think are there to stay and that are starting to get a good visibility on the international scene, which we think is a very encouraging sign. Sepulchral Productions, which was a major game changer for the visibility of most of the mentioned bands, is the main black metal label and producer in Québec. They also contribute a lot to help Québec to become an interesting place for international black metal artists to come play in, via the Messe Des Morts festival for example.
Are there any other non Canadian bands you would like to promote because you think they are totally worth it and/or underrated?
Well, there are many! But they can surely handle their own promotion.
Are there any plans to release a new album under the name of Miserere Luminis with Annatar from Sombre Forêts?
Yes, we are thinking of reviving this project again, at some point. We don't have any precise plans or forms for it at the moment, but a follower might come to life in a year or two.
What are your plans for the coming months? Any big concerts, tours, etc.? Maybe a small trip to Europe?
Getting some rest. We just came back from a three weeks european tour with Sombres Forêts which was a wonderful and exciting experience. As for Gris, there are no plans for any concerts at the moment. We will see what the future brings.
Thank you again for your time! The last words are yours?