OLIVIER DEFIVES - BASS
1.Can you give us an update on what has been going on with the band since the recording and release of the new album?
Well, as you probably know, Richard, former singer, and MONOLITHE split-up. For the recording of this album, we worked with Sébastien Pierre (Enshine, Cold Insight, Fractal Gates...).Then, Rémi Brochard became the band's new singer. Rémi has actually already been the frontman since July 2017 and he already performed 7 gigs as such. It went very well so it comforted us all that it was the correct choice.
2.Recently you have released a new album, how would you describe the musical sound that is presented on the recording and also how does it differ from the stuff you have released in the past?
I think MONOLITHE has always been about exploring; in the themes - the Universe, the origin of mankind, space, stars, extra terrestrial life, but also in the music. Before I was in the band, I listened to MONOLITHE's music and really enjoyed that mix of metal, classical, progressive, dark, even sometimes gothic... In “Nebula Septem”, I think that most of our musical influences are represented in the songs. There's more electronic material and more progressive parts, but the atmosphere is still Dark and Doom.
“Nebula Septem” is the perfect summary of our first 17 years of existence and opens to the many ways that MONOLITHE will probably explore during the next 17 years!
3.Your lyrics cover 'origin of mankind' and science fiction themes, can you tell us a little bit more about your interest in these topics?
When you create, you can talk about anything, really. There's no rule, no forbidden subject... But, what really matters after all? For me, probably nothing except on the one hand, “inside feelings” such as love, anger, friendship, etc.; and on the other hand, the BIG question: why are we here, what's the purpose of all this? Moreover, we know almost all the Earth, so the next territories to discover are in out there in space…
4.What is the meaning and inspiration behind the name 'Monolithe'?
MONOLITHE started as a sort of tribute to “2001, a Space Odyssey”. Back then, we created a story about the “real” origin of mankind, the reasons why we are there, and that spanned over the first 4 albums (“The Great Clockmaker” saga). But there are a lot of other sources of inspiration in our world. And that goes from serious astronomical researches to absolute geek movies.
5.What are some of the best shows that the band has played over the years and also how would you describe your stage performance?
We are just playing a few shows a year, less than 15, and that's a mindful decision. We want each gig to be a special experience, for us and for the audience. We change our set list at almost every show, so people can experience a different gig every time. So that's really hard to tell you which show was the best. Every one of them had their own good sides... Even the worst ones!
I can tell you that I personally enjoyed Metal Days in 2016 the most, because it was a blast; thousands of people, at night, with the moon and the stars above our heads, and trees all around, that was simply wonderful. I also enjoyed Hellfest, because we played at home, or Brutal Assault, because I went there with my son, who came to his first metal festival ever, or Doom Over Bucharest because of our Romanian fans, which were great people. But I also liked playing at from Dusk Till Doom, because the producers are so nice, and we played with our friends from Abyssic.
I could tell you that every gig we've made is the best, because there are always reasons to think so!
6.Do you have any touring or show plans for the new album?
Yes of course. As I said, concerts must remain exceptional events for us. That's the reason why we don't play more than 10 or 15 gigs in a year. For this album, we are planning to go in countries we never played before, but also some shows in France, probably with bands from our label. Nothing is signed at the moment, so I cannot tell you much about it except that we will probably play in very distant country, and the “Nebula Septem tour” will span over a bit of time.
7.The new album was released on 'LEs Acteurs de I' Ombre productions', how would you compare working with them to your previous label 'Debumber Morti Productions'?
There's no comparison to make because both labels are great. We didn't stop working with Debemur because it was a bad label. It's been a decision on both sides we took during the time of the release of Zeta Reticuli. We met Gerald, LADLO Prod’s manager, at a gig we did in France and he asked us to be part of his roster right away after seeing us play.
LADLO Prod is one of the best labels in France in my opinion. They are passionate people, really listening to the band’s needs and desires; decisions are taken together and we don't have to wait for an answer during weeks; they all are very reactive. It's pleasant to work in this kind of atmosphere with trust, professionalism and friendship. Last but not least, they obviously love the music of all the bands they work with.
8.You have also participated on a Skeptiicism' tribute album once, what was the decision behind doing your own version of one of their songs?
That was a long time ago. We were contacted by a Russian label, which had this Skepticism tribute project in the work, and he asked MONOLITHE to be part of it. So, why not? I was not in the band at that time though. We won't decide to cover one song of any band by ourselves, but if someone asks it's always a good exercise to practice on someone else's music and trying to make it sound like ours. We are currently working exactly with the same state of mind, on a cover for a tribute to Cathedral that will probably be out by the end of the year.
9.On a worldwide level how has the feedback been to your newer music by fans of dark, doom and death metal?
We had a fabulous feedback. Anyway, you know the way it goes, there are also people who don't like changes. We don’t care about them. Overall “Nebula Septem” has been met with critical acclaim. The variety of the good comments we had is also really satisfying; this album seems to be loved in many and very different countries, and by many different people such as Doomsters, Death and Dark Metal fans of course, but also some Stoner, Prog, Post-Rock fans, and even Classical Music musicians!
10.What is going on with some of the other bands or musical projects these days that some of the band members are a part of?
My two other bands, INNERCHAOS and JADALLYS, are currently on hold, waiting for inspiration! We are discussing about a possible reunion in 2019. Who knows? Keyboardist Matthieu Marchand will release PARADIGM’s 1st album in 2018. Drummer Thibault Faucher just released NORD's new EP a few days ago. Guitarist Benoit Blin is involved in another really important non-musical project. And as for guitarist Sylvain Bégot... We never know! Perhaps he's composing an album of Classical Music with an orchestra or the next MONOLITHE's songs, but we'll know it when he will be satisfied of his work, never before. Singer and guitarist Remi Brochard is going on tour in Russia in February with his band ETHMEBB. They’re opening for Eluweitie.
11.Where do you see the band heading into musically during the future?
To be honest I have no f*** clue! We do not have a limit in creation, no predetermined plan. Sylvain, MONOLITHE's composer, wants to be free to write what he wants, when he wants. He is definitely a man of concepts, so there might be something around the number 8? I don’t know at that point.
There’s many ways ” Nebula Septem” could be a start from for what’s coming next, so I can't bet on one direction instead of another. What I know for a fact is that there is a line we won't cross. We won't change our sound as radically as some bands have done. The best path to take is to slowly evolve to keep things fresh and interesting. The core of the band's music is always going to be there, even though the form it takes is still going to morph and explore new territories.
12.What are some of the bands or musical styles that have had an influence on your newer music and also what are you listening to nowadays?
We don't really have any band that mainly influenced us, but of course, we are regularly listening to legendary bands such as Anathema, Opeth, Iron Maiden, Metallica, Black Sabbath, Led Zep, King Crimson, Yes, Genesis, Alan Parson's Project... and many more.
For “Nebula Septem”, I think everything Sylvain listened during the last years can be heard inside, even if it's light. He also loves to experiment with keyboards sounds!
In “Nebula Septem”, you'd probably find a little bit of post-rock, synth-wave, 70's progressive-rock psychedelic artists, stoner, a few black metal, post black...
Personally I'm a big fan of old gothic music, progressive rock, stoner, djent... and I'm listening to a lot of bands we played with during the 2 pasts years and became friends or bands from LADLO Prod, such as Abyssic, Presence of Soul, Regarde Les Hommes Tomber, Au-dessus....
13.What are some of your non musical interests?
Mainly books and movies. A lot of them influenced us of course. We are all fascinated by space, the universe, and the Mystery of Life. Some of us are really found of astronomy and space travelling, others knowledgeable in history of civilizations or Asian cultures... But we also are normal people liking having a drink and telling bad jokes. We all are really different and complementary, so the travelling in between gigs are always fun!
14.Before we wrap up this interview, do you have any final words or thoughts?
Thank you very much.
We have released a five episode video documentary called "Innersight", in which MONOLITHE band members speak about the history of the band as well as the new album. That might interest some people! It can be seen on Youtube or Facebook:
MONOLITHE Nebula Septem full streaming
MONOLITHE “Innersight” documentary