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Interviews Cauchemar

Interview with vocalist Annick Giroux and guitarist François Patry

Interview conducted by MetalMike

Date online: December 22, 2013

MetalMike: Congratulations on Tenebrario, your first full-length album! How have things been going since its release back in May 2013? How has the response to the album been?

Annick: Greetings Mike! Things have been going very well since the spring of 2013; we played our first ever US gigs, as well as a few cool shows here in Canada. The response has been really good, I think! The album is a bit doomier than the first EP, so some people were quite surprised by it, but overall we have gotten great feedback. There's a guy that already did a cover of one of the new songs and some people told me that they translated the lyrics to get even deeper in to the album. Quite amazing, really.

MetalMike: Can you start us off with a little history about Cauchemar? For us non-French speakers, what does the band's name mean and why did you choose it? How did you meet and what made you decide on Heavy/Doom Metal?

Annick: Cauchemar started out as a musical project between myself and François, who plays guitar. Originally, I was only the bassist. We had wanted to play music together for a long time as we both have extremely similar tastes and vision. We met at a basement New Year's Eve metal party about 8 years ago, but the band only started in 2007. We didn't really choose to play Heavy/Doom metal, that's the only style we can write. The band name, Cauchemar, means nightmare. We chose it because I always get intense nightmares, which have become a source of inspiration for the band! Anyway, in 2010, Patrick joined us on drums, and together we recorded the La Vierge Noire EP. We didn't really consider it a band, more of a project at first, but eventually I shifted to vocal duties only and we started doing live shows. Andres Arango took on the live bass duties and, eventually, became a full-time member. He was with the band when we recorded Tenebrario. Patrick was replaced by Tooth after Tenebrario came out.

MetalMike: What were the influences that prompted you to become musicians in the first place? Was it always the goal to form a band?

Annick: For me, as a bassist, it was Geezer Butler, hands down. I learned how to play bass by playing Black Sabbath and other rock covers in bands in my junior high school days! I always had bands although I did take a little break before starting Cauchemar.

François: The first band I really got into and that made me want to play guitar was AC/DC (which I still love), but I'm still playing today because of Black Sabbath. Before Cauchemar, I never had any serious bands, just had fun jamming with friends.

MetalMike: Do the band members live close enough to practice "live," if you will, or are you more of an "electronic" entity that shares files over the Internet?

Annick: We are too primitive to do anything through the Internet! Our drummer lives in New York, but he's really good and he doesn't need to rehearse much with us before we play. Basically, François and I write the songs and then Andres comes over and writes bass lines to go with them (and, of course, offers his ideas on how to make the song better). Tooth then comes over and adds his drum parts! We're a weird band in that sense as we don't really "jam." We just write songs. And riffs!

MetalMike: What was the writing and recording process for Tenebrario like? Were you able to spend time in the studio? Who writes the music and lyrics?

Annick: Tenebrario is quite a special album, as it was written on the road during a long trip. In January 2011, François and I left for an 18-month trip in South America/Asia/Europe. We left our jobs, our apartment, we gave our cat away; all with the goal of roaming the world and learning some of its mysteries. It was, of course, tremendously inspiring, and we wrote the entire album in rehearsal studios in various cities all over the world. We spent every weekend of January 2013 recording the album in a far away studio. We didn't have time to do anything else but record, unfortunately. The music is written by the whole band (see the previous answer) and the lyrics were written by François and me.

MetalMike: What are some of the lyrical influences for Cauchemar? This is my second question about French; maybe I should learn a second language, huh? : )

Annick: Well, the lyrics reflect our obsessions, our discoveries, our lust for freedom and horror, and they are greatly influenced by our personal experiences. Most of our lyrics also have double meanings, which makes it even harder for a non-French speaker to understand, hehe.

MetalMike: What are you favorite songs from Tenebrario and why? Which ones have worked best in the live setting?

Annick: Good question! I don't really have one favorite song, but a few favorites. I think "D'Encre et de Sang" (I love the main riff of this one and it's a real headbanger!), "Le Fantôme" (the bass line that Andres came up with for that one is genius), "L'Appel" (really creepy and atmospheric with killer lyrics by François) and "Trois Mondes" (very cryptic) are my favorite tracks. "Tenebrario" also is a track that I particularly like. The best one to play live, by far, is "Le Fantôme"!!

François: "Le Feu du Soleil" is a really important song for me, lyrically, and I love its heaviness. Live, "Le Fantôme" always kicks ass.

MetalMike: Obviously, Cauchemar is a touring band, and reading your posts on Facebook, I see you've played in some pretty amazing places, especially South America. How have your touring experiences been? Which places have you enjoyed the most and which country will be Cauchemar be conquering next?

Annick: Yeah, we have played some pretty exotic places, among them Chile, Peru, Colombia and India. Playing these places was not really planned, it just happened! I think our last gigs have been the best by far, especially the Valparaiso gig in Chile. We played really late, around 3AM. The atmosphere was absolutely insane; we had chains, skulls and candles on stage and the whole band was completely possessed. We also played a really good gig in Toronto a few weeks before that, opening up for Blood Ceremony. It felt good. We were possessed again! We are planning to do another European tour this spring but only a dozen dates this time. We'll be playing Ireland and the Netherlands, which we haven't done before.

François: My favorite touring experiences are when we are discovering new countries at the same time. I'd like to play more in Asia and South America. Places like Japan, Thailand, Ecuador, Brazil...

MetalMike: Annick, you are obviously a Renaissance woman, with your D.J. duties, writing (Hellbent for Cooking: The Heavy Metal Cookbook), being a crazy collector of Heavy Metal records/tapes/CDs and now singing for Cauchemar. Where do you find the time? What is your rarest or most prized piece of Metal history?

Annick: Haha, I take the time, I don't find it. That's the only way to do it! I own many records that are worth a lot, but I don't really focus on that. I guess my rarest record is probably the original Celtic Frost Morbid Tales picture disc on Noise records. Or my Masters Hammer test presses. I only keep records I really love and listen to regularly! But for other pieces of metal history, I love to collect old 80's band shirts, as well as set lists of gigs I've seen. I've got a box full of set lists! They make really great souvenirs!

MetalMike: Francois, you appear to be "the quiet one" from Cauchemar : ) What are some of your other interests outside of the band?

François: I love travelling, discovering new places and cultures. My favorite way of living is with only a backpack and never staying too long at the same place. I love old movies, and I read a lot, all the time, on any subject.

MetalMike: If you could go back in time and see any band that is no longer around (or who is different today from their heyday), who would it be? Which bands would like to share the stage with today?

Annick: I was actually thinking about that a few days ago! It sounds pretty obvious, but I think that seeing Black Sabbath in a small venue back in the early 70's would have been absolutely amazing. Or perhaps Hawkwind; the gigs they did for Space Ritual. And Death SS in the 70's!!! I would love to share the stage with Paul Chain, it would be really cool! But of course, it would never happen.

François: I would have liked to have been at the Monterey Pop Festival, seeing Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin in their pre-fame prime. Black Sabbath around 1970-73 would have been amazing, too. Nowadays, I'd like to play again with Reino Ermitaño because they are truly magical onstage.

MetalMike: What was your first concert? If your first wasn't Heavy Metal, what was your first Metal concert? (I'll admit that my first real concert was Sha Na Na – at least it was Rock and Roll! – while my first Metal show was Ozzy Osborne/Motley Crue/Fastway in 1984).

Annick: My first rock concert ever was the Quebec pop-rock band "Les B.B." I was 4 years old, and I found it so boring that I fell asleep! But my first real Heavy Metal gig was Ozzy Osbourne in 2001. I know, it's only 13 years ago, but I was only 14 years old at the time and it was a huge event for me! I couldn't believe my parents agreed to let me go. What luck! My hair wasn't very long back then but I remember being really impressed by seeing these guys headbang and I wanted to do the same. It was a mesmerizing gig.

François: My first rock concert was The Rolling Stones in 1994, but my first really important one was AC/DC on their Ballbreaker tour in 1996.

MetalMike: What are some of the challenges a band like Cauchemar faces? Obviously, the Metal scene is more popular today than it was, say, 15 years ago, but with the Internet and file sharing, bands that once sold millions of records now consider thousands a success. What things do you do to keep Cauchemar moving forward?

Annick: Our biggest challenge is having a long-distance drummer. We can't play as much, and we really have to chose our gigs, but besides that, we've got it pretty good. We don't make money and we don't aim to become successful, so we are satisfied with how the band is going at this moment.

MetalMike: Speaking of the Internet, how have things like social media (Facebook, Twitter, Bandcamp, etc.) helped Cauchemar?

Annick: Of course, the best promotion for a band is to play gigs and write good albums, but as a band with an obscure sound like ours (and with French lyrics), it really helps to spread our music to fellow heavy-doom metal enthusiasts worldwide.

MetalMike: What is next for Cauchemar? Have you been working on tour/festival plans for 2014 or is there a new album already in the works? Where will fans be able to check out the band in the live setting in the near future?

Annick: We plan on doing some Canadian gigs with High Spirits in April, and then flying to Europe for a two-week tour. Hopefully we'll be able to do more US gigs next year as well! Time will tell...

MetalMike: Thank you, Annick and François, for taking some time to answer my questions and share some inside information on Cauchemar and Tenebrario with the readers of The Metal Crypt! Is there anything else you'd like us all to know that we didn't cover already?

Annick: In regards to Tenebrario, we'd like to mention that we are very proud of having had Paolo Girardi as our painter. We explained the concept of our record to him and he did a magnificent job at translating it into art. Even though we were far apart, he worked with us intensely. When he finally heard the album, he said that the song "Tenebrario" represented exactly how he felt about the record. Pretty cool. Anyway, thanks a lot for your time to interview us. I've been friends with Michel of The Metal Crypt for years, and never thought that one day I'd be interviewed for his website, wow, thanks!

MetalMike: Thanks again and I hope to see you in the States soon!

Other information about Cauchemar on this site
Review: Tenebrario
Review: Chapelle ardente
Review: Rosa Mystica

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