With the upcoming release of their new album “Ascension”, we had the opportunity to contact for an interview Regarde Les Hommes Tomber; with their third full-length, a very deserving job, they aim to be at the top of the European black metal scene. Here’s our conversation with the singer T.C.
Hi, thanks for your time! First of all, I would like to ask you to introduce yourselves and talk a little bit about you, about the band’s name and the members.
We can translate “Regarde Les Hommes Tomber” by “Watch the men falling”, which the general concept of the band: the devotion / rejection of god, the harsh relation between the divine light and humanity, the fall from grace. All of our lyrics are linked to biblical mythology. It has been a slow and steady evolution for us since the beginning of the band (2012), and we are deeply proud of the things we have build during these years, playing our own black metal.
Your style is really various and heterogeneous. In more general terms, how could you define your music production? Which genres and bands inspire you the most? Do you all have different interests or could you say that the result is the union of your individual preferences?
An epic impressionist fresco, I would say. Regarde Les Hommes Tomber is composed of friends with different tastes, which is, I think, a true force. Some of us come from pure black metal, others are great fans of doom, even gothic rock… Actually we don’t consider that a musician shall listen only one genre, that’s why our music is a mixture of various influences. We trust the power of this diversity to build our sound. We don’t have “direct” influences, but listening us can maybe sometimes evoke bands like Drudkh, Amenra, Sargeist, Mgla, Dead Congregation, Forteresse, etc… Bands who are differents. We build our music whithout thinking of a model, we just look for the best way to deal with our concepts. When we compose, we don’t want to be limited by boundaries that could stop us, we just want to make something intense and spontaneous.
Now I would like to ask you something more specific, expecially I’d like to focus on “Exile” and “Ascension”, which are very connected concerning their themes and issues, as we can understand by reading the lyrics. Where did the idea of this concept rise from? In which terms “Ascension” can be considered a sequel of “Exile”?
“Ascension” closes the trilogy and you’re right, it is directly linked to “Exile”. Henoch, a friend of us, write all our lyrics. The two first album focused on a main point: the fall of the men, who are rejected and tortured by God despite of their devotion and their love for the divine. They pictured both this fall and the birth of a consciousness that leads men to reject the Lord and all the principles of adoration during the exile… to finally become their own gods and “sit on this throne”, like the last song of “Exile” says. The lyrics of the two first album were extremely close to “classical theology”, but it’s a bit different for the ones of “Ascension”: this is an original creation, a new tale, a new myth. The prism of biblical stories is so huge that everything can be imagined, this is so great… Henoch did it on his own way, writing a passionate, a deeply philosophical tale, helped by ancient myths. But I don’t want to spoil anything. The listener will know.
“Ascension” has been published five years after “Exile”; this fact suggests a longer and more reasoned job. Which are the main differences between the two previous albums? And how did it feel like moving to Season of Mist? Did this novelty influence somehow your job?
We gave a lot of shows since the beginning, and being on the road is sometimes hard. At the beginning of 2018, after our big final european tour with our friends Der Weig Einer Freiheit, we felt the deep need of a break. We gave a lot of gigs to promote “Exile” (released in 2015), which was absolutely fantastic but also exhausting. After several months, we started to rehearsal, to compose new materials… The process naturaly gave birth to “Ascension”, which was recorded in july 2019. You know, our music has been build step by step, year after year, album after album. We trust the time to generate creativity, simply because art can not be ordered. As you said, these 5 years have led to a more reasoned composition. Fortunately or unfortunately, we are a not a band who is able to write on the road. We play an atmospheric music, so we need a real working context to compose. A real rehearsal room, not a backstage sofa. We don’t get muses, we just need calm to write songs, to feel in harmony with ourselves, to feel introspection, like monks in their monastery. That’s why it takes so many time, we cannot do both things at once. Concerning the writing method itself, it wasn’t easy for this new album: to get the ability of creating new music without repeating outlines is every artist’s challenge, and we had to exit the comfort zone to write “Ascension”. Finally, that was an absolutely thrilling experience and we are very proud of the the result. We put our guts on this record, definitely. I would add that there is a lot of evolution between our first album and “Ascension” . Where many bands tend to soothe their aims and compose cooler music, we did the exact opposite, putting more and more epicness and violence in our songs. You could find a lot of doom sludge part in our first album… Whereas “Ascension” can be described as a very brutal record. Anyway, we couldn’t release everytime the same album. For the future, nobody knows! Anyway… We don’t want to classify our music.This is not our role to classify and put some labels on what we play. Some medias put us on “post” genre, which doesn’t mean a lot for us. Concerning our signing with Season Of Mist, it’s a bit early to speak about it, but for the moment we are really, really pleased to work with them. And it didn’t influence our job at all. Our former label Les Acteurs De L’Ombre was a small-sized structure,where people put an incredible energy in developing bands like us by an intense underground work of promotion/distribution. We owe them a lot, and we know that the band would not have grown without this label. We made this choice simply because we had the opportunity to do it. Season Of Mist is a bigger structure, a professional one, and not signing with them would have been an error. We had to do it to make the band evolve.
Aesthetically and graphically, we can observe a similarity between the cover arts of your three albums, a stylistic and visual concept which is almost unchanged in the entire production – amazing artworks, also. Could you please explain us the meaning of that symbology? What’s the reason why you decided to choose these images and these recurring geometric shapes?
To have something coherent is very important … Each one of our artworks is done by the artist-duo Førtifem. We knew their work before the first collaboration, we loved their creations. We are very inspired by artists like Gustave Doré, John Martin and Albrecht Dürer… Like for the production of the sound, we had a very precise idea of what we wanted for the artwork: we looked for something that could, on the one hand, easily remind the general concept, and on the other hand being unique. The continuity is very important for us. We wanted something epic that could perfectly highlight our sound and fit to the concepts we deal with. We tell stories, with chapters who are linked by an evocative tone and also by something chronological… so, we gave them the tracks, with precise indications, and they gave birth to the final result after several weeks of dialogue. Where “Exile” ended with “The Incandescent March” of diabolical forces to heaven, “Ascension” starts with the track “A New Order”, whom lyrics inspired the artwork of “Ascension”: the fire symbolize the celebration of the arrival of Lucifer & Lilith in the kingdom of God and the celestial battle between archangels and demons. You can also see a new Babel tower on the background , rebuilt after having been destroyed by God in “Exile”… symbolizing pretention and vanity of men towards the Father they despise. A good clue to know who will win the battle at the beginning of the story… Many twists coming after.
The lyrics are dense of symbolism and sacred literature, a very complex, difficult and interesting topic, which actually needs a deep and careful reading. Mystical, religious and ritualistic topics influence your entire production. Where does this interest come from? Which readings inspire you the most?
Lyrics are also crucial for us, and there is no ideological message in our music, we only deal with these themes on a creative way. Those symbols are intense and sum up the concepts we want to show in our music, that’s why we use them. None of us is religious, but we all put a deep spiritual intention in our art. This is a neverending source of inspiration for us, just because myths don’t describe some lost and ancient times, but the world we live in now. That’s why they are so enthralling. These ancestral stories must be red like it, the analogy gives them all their strength. They have been written in the past to describe the reality of today and predict the future.
What about your relationship with the other bands? Is there any band you are particularly fond of? And which are the biggest differences you notice between other european scenes and your local scene?
We’ve been affiliated to post black metal genre, and to be honest once again, we hate being categorized to something like this. If we absolutely should name our music, we would say play black metal, that’s all. We get our vision of this music, as other bands would have their own. Anyway… French scene is very active. Our former label Les Acteurs De L’Ombre tends to sign many small bands, and that’s promising to notice the great quality of many of them. Antiq Records does a fabulous job too: they recently released the first album of Malenuit (“Incandescente”), a pure masterpiece who mix black metal, french folk music, and batcave… Perfection, really. Needless to say that we can quote Deathspell Omega, The Great Old Ones, and of course the famous 90’s “Légions Noires”, but if you dig hard in french scene you can find others great things, presently… The last Véhémence album (“Par Le Sang Versé”) is a good example, Grylle too. Personally, I’m also a huge fan of Anorexia Nervosa and Nehëmah, both french bands who don’t exist yet, unfortunately.
One last question then, about your future projects. Are you already planning a new album? Will you keep on focusing on the same style and themes or are you thinking about doing a different work?
For the moment, we just think of one thing: touring. For the future, nobody knows.
Thank you for the precious opportunity to interview you and for the time you’ve dedicated to us. We wish you all the best for your career!