Sordide from Rouen, France is one of those bands that manage to keep the whole concept of “Black Metal” interesting to me. Rather than following the current trends, the band has found themselves in the traditional nineties Blackened realms, adding the rawness and primitivity of Punk and even Garage Rock elements (as well as more purely artistic and Avantgarde elements) into their sound. In all it’s primitive and raw complex beauty, the creative process behind their music demands clarification.
Bonjour Sordide! How has the year drawn to it’s closure over there in Rouen?
Bonjour Antti! Last weeks were a turning point, as we had our first tour in France. An important experience, with great meetings and very good feedback. We toured with Nebehn, Sordide’s new bass player. He joined the trio from the very first gig, without any rehearsal (we called him the day before going on tour). Continuing ahead, we are currently working on new material for the next release.
The members of the band have been active in the local music scenes for quite some time. Extreme Metal seems to be the main style of your preference, but are there other styles to be found in your musical lives?
Indeed we’ve mainly been playing extreme music, be it Black, Doom, Hardcore, but also Experimental, Improvised or Classical music.
As you have taken a very traditional (mostly nineties-sounding) approach to your brand of Black Metal, do you still feel this as the most powerful path of the art, as opposed to current trends?
We don’t care about trends. In fact, we just play music as we feel, each time trying to keep a similar energy. Our sound and sensibility have obviously been affected by first wave of Black Metal, but not only nor mainly. We cannot say how much. Some bands kind of lose themselves in the studio, overdubbing everything, triggering the drums… It’s like they anesthetize the music and lock it in a cage. We want to keep it wild and alive.
The other elements of your music include (in my opinion) Garage Rock, French “Folk” Music, and Post Punk. Has this been a mutual collective choice, or do the different elements come to the band from the different individuals creating the music?
At the beginning, we only wanted to play Black Metal together. We’ve never had any precise plan, only a common will and that style in mind. Then, our collective and individual influences, experiences and feelings made a “strange” musical alchemy, crafted what you can hear: Not only Black Metal, we are often told. Pinpointing all influences would be both a pain and useless. We couldn’t even tell. As often, there’s no precise intention to cross over trends, musical styles or areas, it just happened…
Talking about the raw energy in your music, there is no denying the strong influence of Punk in styles like Thrash, Death and Black Metal. That is also something I’m personally hearing in your sound (at least), besides the more artistic approaches to the riffs and songs. Is this mostly intentional or unintentional?
Yes, it was clearly intentional. Our music had to be raw. No polishing, no compromise. We want to keep it real, on stage as on records. Keep it simple, wild, alive… In a way, the Punk influence you underlined.
How about the lyrical side of Sordide? Without any knowledge of the French language, I am guessing the topics include social and personal issues, ponderings on what it means to be French today?
Lyrics effectively deal with social and personal themes, but are way wider than national ponderings or issues. They’re composed of various visions of situations we can live or behold. They mainly bring contemporary but also long tradition values into question. Titles are meaningful : “Ni Nom Ni Drapeau” (Neither Name Nor Flag), “Gloire” (Glory), “Violence”, “Blâme”, “Pauvre Histoire” (Poor History) or “La France A Peur” (France Is Afraid) – This latter being from a 1976 TV speech.
I can understand when some bands want to keep political opinions out of their music, even when dealing with social issues (and let the listeners decide for themselves), while some bands want to speak out their mind under a certain ideology, may it be Left, Right, Anarchist, Fascist, or whatever. But is there a clear attitude or philosophy to be heard in the art of Sordide?
We claim to have a “neither name, nor flag” -attitude. You can interpret it politically or artistically. Those were our first words, and part of the art of Sordide. The band is not claiming specific political opinions, or a straight musical path. We do experiment, nothing is black or white.
Are you active in the local music scenes? Do the local bands help each other out when it comes to things like rehearsing and gigs? Are people of different genres open-minded, or do the different musical scenes stay separated?
Rouen musical scene is quite rich and musically open-minded, but not that much socially. It is said to have known a real Punk Rock background from the late 60’s to 80’s. Nowadays, like in a lot of the cities of France (and Europe perhaps), we’re lacking places to organize shows. Rouen has no squats or independent venues. In a nutshell, lots of bands and a few places…
We must admit we’re not very active in local scene, often supporting gigs, but we do not organize gigs more than twice a year. We intentionally chose not to play in Rouen before a year, thus focusing on other cities.
How has the reception been towards your amazing first full-length “La France A Peur”? Has the reception been better in France or abroad? You are currently in the process of creating a second album?
In France and abroad, the album has been very well received. Lots of positive reviews, download-statistics and radio broadcastings are good evidence it was. We’ve heard of some negative opinions regarding lyrics, and perhaps misunderstandings concerning our approach (it is a hen, in fact…). Anyway, among most amazing feedbacks we had, the ones following gigs surprised us. We often met people who came to hear us, some of them even knowing lyrics. And when some just discovered our music, we’ve often been thanked. What better reception could we hope ?
How does the year of 2016 look to Sordide? Is the band something you can all invest in full-time, or is your time (as a band) limited when it comes to musical activities?
It already looks like an important year. We are currently working on the next album. Recording session early February: That is a challenge. Everything hasn’t been composed yet and we have to affirm the new line-up. Moreover, we can’t invest in full-time because of jobs and have to invest in other bands too.
One thing is sure, new material will be more violent. Satisfaction is already here and we will continue our breathless work till recording is over. Then, we’ll be eager to tour again.
Many thanks for your attention and interest, Antti.