After their foundation in Paris in early 2013 by the Durand brothers, NOVELISTS quickly joined forces with former A CALL TO SINCERITY members Matt, Charly and Nicolas and released their first single ‘Twenty Years’ already in April of the same year. Their fresh and distinguished sound was something the metal world didn’t expect. But this was only the beginning. The young band released 5 more singles and numerous videos within the next 10 months, culminating in the release of their Demo EP. By that time, in early 2014, NOVELISTS’ name and music had spread around the globe like a wildfire catching both the fans’ and the industry’s interest.
While working with full force on the production of their first full length album, the demand for live shows was rising and lead NOVELISTS to play selected prestigious events like Euroblast Festival, Ghostfest, and Damage Fest, before the band embarked on a full scale European alongside I, THE BREATHER in late 2014.
Empowered by this new live experience NOVELISTS finished the production of their debut album in early 2015. It was time to raise the bar again and to increase the pressure even more. In March, the first single from the upcoming album, ‘Gravity’ was released as a video, gathering more than 100k plays in less than 4 weeks. NOVELISTS had quickly become a rising star within the progressive metal scene, ready to release their highly anticipated first album Souvenirs. It will be released via Arising Empire on the 6th of November 2015.
Hi Nick how are you going?
Great, nice to meet you.
You guys are relative newcomers to the music scene however you have made an impact quickly according to Music Journalist’s. When you first started playing together did you expect to reach this point?
We wished and wanted, I am not shortly expected to reach at this quickly, we really wanted to get right to the point where we can do big tours and stuff like that and that the album would have a good impact but we did not expect this just after two years.
Is there one artist that if they did not exist you would not be in the music industry today?
Me personally, it sounds a bit weird to say this band but I would say blink 182, that was the band that I listen to when I was 12, and that’s the first bands that made me want to get into the music industry.
Ha! I actually played the bass because of blink 182. Amazing!
Personally, when did you start learning the bass? How many year of tuition?
Actually I used to be a guitarist, I play guitar in my other band six years ago but we broke up two years ago right before Novelists and I started playing the guitar for this band but the songs were so technical that really quickly I told them that I was not going to be out of play that kind of thing. I knew the guitarist from the other band so I told Novelists that we should get him and I would play the bass.That was okay with everyone and it was easier for me because of always been more into the production side, I’m not really a guitarists nerd. I was not going to be outward play that kind of techie stuff. It was a good decision for everyone.
Do you have any other instruments that you play?
Not really just the guitar and bass. I have learned a little bit of stuff on the piano but I’m more the kind of person that sits in front of the computer, in front of the software and try to produce and mix it to make it sound good but I’m not really the one that will play for hours.
The Novelists writing process, is that a whole band approach or more of an individualized style and then discussed with the band?
The two brothers in the band, the drummer and lead guitarist they were born into a family of musicians and they both write music for Novelists. So Flo writes the more techie stuff and then there’s Amael that writes the more rockish and heavy stuff, at first we wanted to blend that into every song and make a mix of it but we realise it was good to have the two faces in the album, so we have four songs by one of them and for songs by the other. Therefore we don’t get bored in the album and they really are the two faces in it. So basically they write everything and then the rest of the band listens to it and add a few things here and there but basically they just write everything. The senior sends me the lyrics and then I correct them, so it’s more of an individual process but the whole band does have a word to say on everything which is good.
Did the recording and production for Souvenirs differ much to how you imagined it to be?
Not really as I am the producer and my drummer is doing it too. So basically I just program everything, the singer goes to my drummer and records the vocal and then I get all the tracks and mix and master everything. So it is something that we doing ourselves, so there were no surprises as we knew how it was going to be anyway.
Well done for that!
You just recently did 4 shows in Spain, how was your music received from Spanish crowds?
Way better than we thought, we had some bad thoughts about the metal scene in Spain and going there we thought we were going to play in front of ten people and it was actually surprisingly good, people were really involved and they knew the songs, we felt bigger than we actually thought we were.
That would have been a good feeling!
In October you start touring around Europe, have 13 shows in 13 days. Then a short rest then more shows in the UK, then the US, clearly you like touring! Will you take some time in dec to rest?
We were supposed to do some headlining tour in the US after the UK tour but then we decided for efficiency we would not go there just for 14 shows and then we thought it was a bit too much, we don’t want to be burned out and be disgusted by tour. we didn’t wanna feel that we had to toured too much so in December and January and February we are going to take some time off and then will do a headliner in Europe, in March which will go for about four weeks. We did have to tour a lot around the album as that is good publicity, and you need to support the album when you release it.If you release an album and don’t tour around it then is not really useful.
We are still doing it right now actually! (both laughing) it is going to be some really cool T-shirts and posters. We are thinking about adding something a bit special to it but I am not going to talk about that now as we are not fixed on it. There will be a bundle with a sweater and a T-shirt and CDs. as it’s coming up to winter in Europe we are probably going to do some bundles with sweaters and beanies. we will do T-shirts for Australia as it’s coming up to summer.
You have some really nice merch, do you design your merch yourself?
Yes everything is done by our second guitarist, Charlie. He designs everything so basically what happens is myself and the manager and Charlie do a brainstorming session and we tell him and think with him what we need and what would be good to have on the merch store. Then he does a few drafts and then he sends them to us and we tell him a little bit about the direction that we want him to go but we like to have everything inside the band. Personally I think it would be dumb to pay for artists will make and do it ourselves because Charlie is a graphic designer. We never really thought about doing it differently, it is just so easy to do it like that and it is free for us and allows us to keep all the control on everything we do.
Your music video for Gravity is mesmerizing, who came up with that concept and how did it take to make, I would say a lot of computer work went into that. I love watching it!
Well what is funny is that we really didn’t have a concept when we shot it, we came to the location and we have a lot of trouble to adapt and we end up shooting on a black screen and the director said why don’t we do it in black and white? So we just turn the camera into black and white and so we didn’t have any choice afterwards. We wanted to take that decision at the shooting and not afterwards and so we shot in black-and-white but there was not so much computer work on it just a few effects and all the motions had just been done at the shooting. we did not going into shooting with the concept was something that was thought during the process.
I do like the Souvenirs music video as it is a display case of your individual talents as you each play your instruments. How many takes did that take or was it easy as?
To be really honest the video for Souvenirs is the one thing that were not happy about. I don’t know I think it just looks bad. We did a new video for Souvenirs, our own version, we shot it about a month ago and it will be out sometime in November around the album which will look 10 times better.
We wanted it to look very professional, it is still very simple but it looks just better.
I think off Souvenirs ‘Echoes’ is my fav song, although that might change from day to day. I can’t put my finger on it but the more I listen the more I like it. Is there one song that you have the best time playing live or one you connect to the most?
Well it is ‘Echoes’! (laughing), it is the hardest one to play live. The songs that we are going to love playing live are the heavy ones. The ones that we like to listen to are the techie ones. With the heavy ones we can go crazy on it and so it is not the interesting song to listen to but live I think it is the best experience.
I hope that one day you will come to Australia so I can hear you play it live.
We have no plans to come to Australia now as it might be a bit early for that but we really want to come so as soon as the opportunity comes we will take it right away.
We are so far away and it is hard for bands to get here.
Yes and with the US it is the same thing, perhaps the USA is even worse due to the Visa’s as when you are big it is ok but when you are not to big it is a bit tricky as you have to prove that people there want you to play there and that is due to the USA immigration system.
I never thought about it like that. We have just knocked back Chris Brown’s visa to tour here due to his violence towards women. I have been following the story as Tyler the Creator was also banned from coming. So I never thought about the Visa part of touring until those two cases came up in the media.
It is a very big part, if you are American and you come to Europe to play it is always easier, Europe is nice to bring bands but when you want to go to the USA they think, why would you want to come here, we have lots of bands here. So we have to pay a lot of money.
Thanks for your time Nick I wish you all the best for your album release for November. I look forward to you one day heading down to Australia so I can hear you play live.
Thank you so much Jen.