1. I thought you did not exist anymore, I even asked a French band if they knew anything about you because the last album I had heard was "Contamination Rises" and they said you had recorded a new album and it would be a killer... I really thought you gave up... What were you doing all the time? Hmm, maybe it's only my impression, but I personally consider "Self Mutilation" a comeback!
After ?Contamination Rises?, our label at that time, ?Fnac Music?, decided to kick every band they had formerly signed giving the excuse of a financial crisis. Many bands tried suing them, but in vain. We were ready to do another album but had to find instead a new label, and it was hard at that time, because we were starting to get a name , yet not big enough to sign with a major. We managed to release another album in 1995 called ?Season?s of Soul? and a maxi ?Red Embers? in 1997, thanks to a small label called CNR MUSIC. Both were recorded at the ?Studio des Forces Motrices?, the ?David WEBER? studio in Switzerland. But unfortunately, the label never did a good job on the promotion and we never got very far. We never stopped, thaw we did have a few changes after the release of ?Red Embers?, we left the label CNR MUSIC after our singer and bass player quit the band for a more peaceful life. We can consider ?SELF MUTILATION? as a comeback, since we have 4 new band members in NO RETURN.
2. It seems you haven't changed much, you always inclined to thrash... a lot of those so called true thrash bands went trendy, ones turned into death metal, others into heavy and HC ala KORN etc. You stayed true to the classical thrash, how come you weren't seduced by anything during all the time, it is still the good thrash!
In fact, we did deviate a bit to a more Power metal on two other productions, but it soon got boring, so we went back to our favorite style : Trash Death Metal !
3. Do you think thrash metal will still be as strong as it used to be? Name bands which have influenced you in some way or some albums that took your breath... you surely listen to something else than thrash!?
Yes, I think that trash is coming back in a way and, after that, will evolve. The fact that more and more machines are being used in metal music will, I think, give another breath to the style. Heavy metal is also making a comeback, bands like STRATOVARIUS , SYMPHONY X and others? For instance, I listened to the last DIMMU BORGGIR : I don?t find their music black metal anymore, but more or less influenced by trash and death, they only keep the black metal side for the looks? We were a bit influenced by SLAYER with the album REIGN IN BLOOD, that really kicked us in the ass, as well as DEATH. We listen to everything in metal and anything anywhere else, in fact we are very open.
4. Fans of old SEPULTURA and SLAYER will be satisfied when they hear "Self Mutilated", am I right? How do you see the development of these two bands? I think SLAYER is still SLAYER, but the new production of SEPULTURA is somewhere else... don't NO RETURN think about turning a wrong way too? I hope I will hear from you now!
Yes, it?s true, I feel that No Return?s style is really close to the style and period of these two bands, but we have evolved in our style by bringing samples to give a new and modern dimension to the Trash Death Metal. I?m pretty sure that we will stick to this style because it?s what we play best.
5. Looking at your cover or your web pages, I often find motives of female body... why? Do you have a specific relation to women? Do you have any bad experiences with them? When you look at a girl, what impresses you most, her apprarance, nature, way of communication, what?
That?s because we are sex maniacs ! Every man has had bad experiences with women, it builds character. The women on the cover expresses with her beauty, two hidden faces. She can be fragile and delicate as well as cruel and perverse, sometimes. That?s what I wanted to say with this cover : two women genetically modified and which there beauty has been mutilated : it?s a metaphor about our society in constant progress. The title is a transition between the lyrics and the cover. I mean that the women, here, represent our society and the lyrics talk about a society of a make belief, manipulating us in that way. The glow in the middle is an exit, a freedom, but difficult to reach, because it?s well protected.
6. Hmm, we've turned away a bit. Don't you think that if your label had taken a proper care of you, you would have been at least as known as SACRED REICH, KREATOR etc... Where do you think the mistake was? Maybe it's only my feeling, because when your albums were released, there was no proper distribution or promotion of records in the Czech Republic.
I do think that we would probably not be here anymore. We?ve had a lot of difficulties with our labels ?FNAC MUSIC? and ?CNR MUSIC?. Their mistake was to never promote the albums abroad, that?s why we never got far, and we had to finish the contract as it was written in it. Now, things are going to change in many ways, our new label is working harder and better than ever !
7. Keyboards appear in your music, surely a good thing and a bit untraditional for thrash, whose idea was it? What do you expect from it?
The idea comes from Didier, our drummer and I. We were at his place one day, listening to demos of bands we use to form in the past, before being No Return. And we listened to ??IXION?? a band Didier played with at the time he started No Return, in 1990. We got the idea after listening to one of the guys who had his key board plugged into an effect pedal and the result was an extremely weird sound. Also, I like Industrial music, New Wave, New Age, it helped me a bit?
We always used a little samples in our albums, except that before, they were called arrangements? We were afraid of the reaction of our fans in France to the release of ?SELF MUTILATION?, but it turned out to be a success, they loved it !
8. You will surely play many festivals in the summer, which ones for example? Do you have any special program ready? Will you include also older songs into the playlist or for example a cover from a profound thrash band such as SLAYER ha ha... You will play at NUCLEAR STORM Open Air Fest among others as well, I think this will be your first apprarance in the Czech Republic.
Concerts, festivals, you want it, we got it ! This summer, July 7th, at St Paul Trois Chateaux with NATRON and SEPTIC FLESH? Then the "HELL ON EARTH" festival on the 13th, 14th, and 15th of July Wiener Neustadt (Austria) with KREATOR , HYPNOS, SOILWORK, Darkane, Night In Gales, Die Apokalyptischen Reiter, Sear Bliss, and many more ( http://www.h-o-e.org ). We will be playing songs from ?SONTAMINATION RISES? but mainly new stuff since it?s the first time we play this far away from home, so we though that playing material from ?SELF MUTILATION? would be a good idea? and , maybe, if you are nice, we would even play songs from SL?.
9. Do you have a clue where your compatriots CRUSHER disappeared? And what about LOUDBLAST and MASSACRA! All these bands were the basic stones of France... Yeah, of course together with AGRESSOR and NO RETURN. I would also like to know what happened to MISANTHROPE? As far as I know Alexis Phélipot has got a studio where "Self Mutilation" was recorded, did you get on togheher well? Are you satisfied with the result of "Self Mutilation"?
CRUSHER should be forming again with new members, LOUDBLAST completely stopped, except for STEPHANE BURIEZ who formed a new band called ?CLEARCUT?. MASSACRA, is a mystery, we never knew what happened to them, and for MYSANTHROPE, I heard that they kicked BENEDICT (key boards) out and their guitar player, XAVIER left the band as well as ALEXIS, who?s now working in his studio on a solo album. Since there aren?t many left, I guess that they have finally split.
Alexis only did the sound takes on our album. It worked out OK with him but we had to do a personal work on this album. We mixed and mastered ourselves at Malko?s studio (key board and samples in NO RETURN), our ideas were concrete and the only way to see it was to do it our own way. We are quite proud of the result, since it was our first ?hand made? album. 10. Tell us something about "Individual Ideal" song. It seems to me that this song is a bit different from the others... it has got an intro and an outro and the entire structure is different... should it express anything?
??INDIVIDUALISTIC IDEAL?? is a song on a real vision of the world according to an individualistic ideal where people are being manipulated, conditioned and oppressed? The words talk about human beings in general who will let them self somber in total chaos without them even noticing it. People think that their life is getting better because they can buy everything they want with unlimited and more accessible credits. Then it?s a question of competing with each other, which will earn the most, loosing conscience that they are dividing and becoming individualistic. The government plays with that and will hold out the prospect of a wonderland. They are taking advantage of the fact that people are always wanting more to create different classes which also creates individualistic ideal, to be clear : live and let die ! ! !? The intro is a paradox , it brings this spirit from oriental religions that are suppose to be good for human well-being and like every good religion, will treat man as sheep. The paradox with the text is that the song talks about an individualistic world.
11. I would also like to ask about your debut "Psychological Torment". I have never heard it and I would like to know how this recerding sounds, what mood is it in, how many copies were sold (people were hungry for thrash metal at that time no matter whether it was good or bad), I would also like to know if it can still be bought.
Well, unfortunately, there were only 4000 copies made of ?Psychological Torment? in France and there is not one left. It was the band?s first album, the style is more influenced by the trash style of the 80?s like CORONER, TESTAMENT an SLAYER?
12. I would also like to know about the "Red Embers" MCD, what is it about? There was a long silence after this MCD... The period of 97 wasn't in fact ideal for the classical thrash metal...
?RED EMBERS? is a more Power / Hard Core maxi 6 title album. Tanguy, the singer was very influenced by this style and you can feel it in his songs, he talks about every day?s life and ordinary topics. After we had released ?Red Embers? and toured with it, the singer and bass player quit. We left the label CNR because they did nothing for our promotion. So there we were, looking for another label as well as new musicians, so it took us some time between ?Red Embers? and ?Self Mutilation? to find the right people to work with.
13. That will be all from me for now... I may send some additional questions, ok? If you want to say something, say it now! Cheers... DEATHER
Thanks to you Jaromir and to IN DEED HELL Magazine & Artwork, for your support and for this interview.
PS : I?m sorry for the delay, but I had a lot of work lately, being the singer, the tour manager as well as the band manager of No Return, I?m trying my very best? THANKS