France has developed over the years a strong and serious scene when it comes to black metal. I won’t mention the already famous LLN here, but bands like Antaeus, Temple of Baal, Malhkebre, Osculum Infame, Darvulia, Christicide etc have managed to spread the venom for quite some time now. VI is no newcomer to the scene, even though in 10 years of activity they have only released only one studio album, the magnificent De Preastigiis Angelorum (Agonia Records, 2015).
In order to find out more about this band which I really appreciate, I asked the main composer INRVI some questions. Here are his replies:
1. How did the idea of the three way split released by Agonia Records earlier this March come to mind? The result is really impressive as each band comes with a new and very powerful track. Whose idea was to put Temple of Baal, The Order of Apollyon and VI on the same record?
Because The Order of Apollyon just signed a deal with Agonia. BST wanted to officially celebrate this the best way possible.
2. VI’s first EP (De Praestigiis Daemonum) was re-released by Agonia Records in 2017 with a different cover and a different sound. Why this need to re-release so quickly such an already impressive debut? Were you not happy at all with the way the Art of Propaganda LP release turned out?
I was really happy with the Art of Propaganda release, but he released only 500 copies. Due to the fast selling of the “Angelorum” album, I thought it would be a good idea to re release it for its 10 years, to make sure the new fans would find one for their collection.
3. Are the names of your 2 LP’s “De Praestigiis Daemonum” and “De Praestigiis Angelorum” a hint to Johannes Wier’s workings? They sound very much like the name of some Middle Ages grimoires, bound in human flesh and written in blood. Are the 2 releases somehow connected, like some sort of concept albums?
Those two albums are indeed connected. But they have absolutely nothing related to Wier’s book ( which I didn’t read by the way ).
4. The lyrics on “Par le jugement causé par ses poisons” really struck a chord in me. Do you think that all men who have started to rebel against the cosmic order and liberate themselves from the chains which have encircled them have deceived their maker/creator? Will these beings go to hell, instead of reaching the heavens? Will the Lord eventually punish them for their acts?
I think you misunderstood the lyric.Even if I know you have a perfect french comprehension, I have to admit those are tricky.
We are a deception since day one. Our nature isn’t suitable to his will. He got it pretty fast and never stopped challenging us, fails after fails. All these threats didn’t put an end to our disobedience. Then, liberate yourself as none of us was supposed to reach heavens.
5. What has inspired you to write those texts? They cannot be called “lyrics” but rather deep, philosophical, religious statements. Where did you get your inspiration from? Also, one of VI’s characteristics is the length of the song names. They rather look like psalms from a holy book than regular song titles, why did you choose them to be like this? Or “somebody” else made that choice for you?
I guess, taking religious class too seriously during all my childhood fucked up my mind. I’ve developed a real fear of Death and what’s beyond. Writing that kind of lyric helps me to convince myself to reduce that fear.
Most of the people don’t read lyrics but they can read a song title. Mine are a kind of a résumé of the lyrics.
It’s just a hint to understand the whole ambiance and get deeper into the music.
6. Don’t you fear that singing in French reduces the impact of the lyrics since not many listeners are able to understand the essence of your message? I mean VI’s words and song titles are some of the most interesting in this whole black metal scene where so many bands are either singing about oriental/eastern magick, traditions and deities or about “Hollywood” devil worship. Isn’t it a pity that their message doesn’t reach all those who listen?
French definitely reduces the impact of the lyrics. But I’ve never felt the need to expose my point of view to the whole world. Those lyrics are a personal psychological treatment. I could have hidden them from the booklet but, fearing of loosing my mind, it is necessary to be able to put my eyes on them whenever I need to.
7. The French extreme scene has turned out to be quite a “smart” one, as many bands with strong individuals with very interesting (religious) points of view are still lurking in this hazy underground. Not to mention that many of those bands also share their members, creating some sort of “incestuous” relationship. Where does VI stand in this scene, do you feel like “you belong”?
As an individual, many people know me for being a part of Aosoth, so I guess I belong to the scene I mean, Aosoth isn’t the biggest black metal band but we did a quite few things. Considering VI, I have no idea. I don’t speak or ask about this project. I can’t tell.
8. Besides VI you also play(ed) in other well-known bands, like Aosoth and Antaeus. I assume VI is your main project, but how difficult is it to keep these bands away from each other, so to speak? It took 8 years to release your first full length, was it because the lack of time or you just wanted the whole process to come naturally?
Yes, VI is my main project. It took so long because I wanted this to be exactly as I expected it to be. The lack of time and motivation are also responsible for the late.
I Just played live few years with Antaeus. One or two rehearsals before a gig and we were good to go.
Aosoth, I only compose the bass lines, which is not so complicated. I usually compose the day of the recording. And same, one or two rehearsals before a gig. To be clear, those two bands weren’t time consuming.
9. When did you realize that you were different than many other people and that your views were completely in opposition with what the majority was thinking and doing? What exactly triggered this change, this rebellion? When did you start to fully walk on this (left) path?
I’m not different to other people, or we all are.
10. What does a (catholic or orthodox) church mean to you? Do you see it as a place of absolution/seclusion/ or just as a place of idolatry and fake worship? Is it still the “house” of God, or that expression has lost its true meaning? I’m asking you this because that chorus at the end of “Il n’y a pas de repos ni le jour ni la nuit…” is absolutely splendid and if you hear it in a small church, you would definitely be mesmerized.
I use to go quite often visiting churches, cathedrals and other religious monuments all over the world. It appeases me. I feel comfortable in there. Religious chants, inseparable from the church, has been one of the biggest influence of my music.
11. The name of the band is taken after the sixth trumpet of revelation. What does this particular trumpet signify to you and why is it so important, compared to the other trumpets described in the Book of Revelation? How strong an influence can the Bible and Christianity be when it comes to black metal? I really think that without religion black metal will no longer exist, since they are so strongly connected.
The 6th one, is the last one to date. We’re are still waiting for the 7th as the real final crime of God against humanity. Between those to melodies, we are supposed to live in a “fear&love” relationship with him. I won’t play that sick game. It just reminds me how threats are useless and rare are the ones who get back after you. It’s one more aggressive attitude against you.The kind you shouldn’t ignore but the kind you shouldn’t let govern your life. I won’t let anything or anyone trying to stop me following my quests.
Religion has / had its influences on black metal. But times have changed. So many things today have the power to piss you off that I’m not sure black metal needs religion to survive.
The hate and the violence have no boundaries. You have plenty of ways or reason to express it, music is one of mine.
12. You said in an interview that VI will never play live, and I totally respect that choice. Unlike other groups, I really don’t think VI’s music would have been suitable for a live setting, especially when the audience is made of idiotic morons. On the other hand, you played live with Antaeus and even toured with Aosoth. Were those concerts/tours an enjoyable experience or you prefer the solitude of the recording studio? Does someone become a true musician only after playing live?
I really enjoyed all the things we’ve done with those two bands as a live musician. Touring, playing all of the world, being surrounded by people you deeply respect. Living what a lot would have dreamed of. Yeah, I’ll do it again if I could. Considering VI, when it’s recorded I need to pass over it and go on and, on the opposite, I feel absolutely no need to present myself on stage under that banner. But yeah, I love recording stuff in studio.
13. Speaking of concerts, Aosoth was supposed to play at the Rites of the Black Mass in October but something happened along the way and that show was cancelled. Can you tell me exactly what triggered the band’s withdrawal from the festival’s line-up?
No, I can’t really tell.
14. In the already mentioned bands you play bass guitar but in VI you play guitars and also do the vocals (and you do it really well, if you ask me). Some musicians have difficulties when playing a different instrument than the one they’re used to regularly so how does it feel when you are the main composer/writer/player and everything is coming out according to your own visions and wishes?
I’m a guitar player since a long time, I had to play bass when we couldn’t afford a bass player for our first european tour in 2010. Bass is known to be very simple in our kind of music, it doesn’t take too long for a guitar player to handle it. And, yes, being in control of almost everything during the composition and recording is a great sensation when all is finished.
15. We have arrived at the end of this interview. First of all, INRVI, I want to thank you for accepting this encounter, it’s been a pleasure. Second of all, as my guest, you have the last words to close this. A bientôt !
A bientôt l’ami, j’essaierai de venir te voir dans ton pays, si j’arrive à trouver le temps.
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