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Interview: THE OLD DEAD TREE
Title: Over all borders

Their new and second longplayer „The Perpetual Motion“ covers a vast range of bold stylistic fusions. These cheerless French founded their band The Old Dead Tree 1997.

And already on the debut album „The Nameless Disease“ stunned this highly creative connection the fans and critics alike with highly variable Dark Emo Rock of sometimes bawdy kind. Enthralling music therefore, that must stick the predicate ,unique‘ on the artistic corpus.

Its melodies, equally painful as vigorously accessing to the recipients spirit, gets the longing quartet apparently from the rearmost refuges of human depression feelings, as it seems. And yet, the soulful funeral hymns of the four melancholy Frenchies are as rare capable to bring shining rays of hope into the souls of the listeners to glow. A paradox? According to statement from singer and guitarist Manuel not really.

Main news out of the The Old Dead Tree camp?

„Well, there are a lot of news in fact. Our first album “The Nameless Disease” had a warm welcome from both press & audience, especially in France, Belgium and The Netherlands. We went on tour together with bands we always used to admire like Paradise Lost , Opeth or Katatonia… One year ago, Foued Moukid joined us as a new drummer. And… last but not least, we recorded a brand new album called “The Perpetual Motion”. Our label Season Of Mist releases it on the 29th of August 2005.”


Were there any problems in The Old Dead Tree since the release of the last album?

„Franck Metayer, our previous drummer, decided to leave the band by the beginning of 2004. He wanted to devote himself to his private life… In fact, the band got bigger after the release of “The Nameless Disease”. We worked very hard and we felt more and more pressure. Unfortunately Franck did not really bear it... After his departure from the band, we met many drummers before choosing Foued. We really wanted to meet someone we would feel comfortable with and also a drummer able to slide easily from one style to another. And Foued is definitely the right person!”

Can you tell the most important facts about the new tracks of „The Perpetual Motion”?

„The new record clearly displays the growth of the band, both live and in the studio. The musical direction The Old Dead Tree introduced on “The Perpetual Motion” has now been finetuned. All songs are definitely more mature. I think our music can be described as some kind of a mix between death metal and pop music. We recorded very violent songs, but also very melodic ones. The guitars parts are mixing aggressive riffs and softer melodic parts, while the combination of drums and bass is putting groove and rhythms into the music! We also decided to add few samples to some of the songs. We did not really care about all the usual artistic limits of metal and dark rock. It’s quite hard to explain, because our influences go from Paradise Lost to Muse, or from In Flames to Pink Floyd. We don’t want to settle any limits, provided that music is staying driven by strong feelings and deep emotions. We wanted the audience to feel like being inside of the music while listening to this new record!”

How much are you satisfied with the songs for the new The Old Dead Tree album?

„We feel very proud with this new album! We did our best during the composing process and the recording sessions to create something as good as possible. We worked very hard in order to reach the perfect combination of both anger and melodies. Every single note, every cymbal hit was combined to fit together as a coherent efficient performance. We didn’t really sleep during 6 month but it was more than worthy!”

Which bands do you like and which of them are to mention as influences for The Old Dead Tree?

„We all listen to many different styles of music… so it goes from 70’s pop-rock to black metal. We don’t have real limits but feeling deep emotion while listening to music. Our main influences are bands like Pink Floyd, Paradise Lost, The Mars Volta or Opeth. They all created something new, unique and personal. I believe that’s the main goal to achieve as a musician.”

How has been developed your outstanding style with the time?

„Since the creation of the band, we always wanted to play something new by mixing all the different styles of music we loved. The more we grew up, the more we discovered interesting bands and new influences. We always tried to push the limits and evolved this way!”

How much are you satisfied with the production of Andy Classen out of his Stage One studio?

„Andy Classen is an excellent producer! We are very happy because he felt so involved in this recording. He did a wonderful job! The album carries a powerful modern sound. This is exactly the result we wanted to achieve. He usually works with extreme metal bands like Disbelief or Dew Scented. He really appreciate our music and I guess he ‘s happy to change his way to work sometimes.”

Why you choosed especially him?

„We already worked with Andy in 2002 for the recording of our first album “The Nameless Disease”. We wanted a big and warm sound and The Stage One Studio was perfect for that. We met Andy there and discovered he was very open minded and interested in producing new things. That’s why we went back to Germany in winter 2004 to record “The Perpetual Motion”. It has been a great pleasure to work with him again. The "work-out" was even much better this time. We did the whole recordings/mixing/mastering process here at Stage-One-Studio which made the sound more compact and also much heavier than on the previous album.”

How ran the time in the studio and how long have you been there worked?

„We stayed 3 weeks in the studio. We recorded drums, bass guitar, guitars and vocals in 2 weeks and Andy worked the last week on the samples, mixing and mastering. The Stage One studio is in the middle of nowhere. Anyway, we had some great times there! It’s the best place to work I guess… In fact, we needed to stay concentrated and focused on our work in order to give our best in recording our parts.”

Do you like Germany?

„Vincent, our bass-player, visited Germany every year when he was a child. It seems that he still keeps excellent memories! He is very familiar with places like Frankfurt and the Rhein/Main region, and also the northern German countries. He still has some good friends there. We had the chance to visit Kassel and Dortmund during the mixing sessions and I must admit that these cities are beautiful. The band didn’t really tour Germany for the moment, but I hope we’ll be able to come soon. Germany is famous to be one of the best places in Europe for all kinds of music!”

What is behind the title of the new release?

„It comes from the lyrics of the song Everyday Life, taken from “The Perpetual Motion”. In this song, the main character feels lost and fearful surrounded by the crowd. It’s also some kind of a metaphor. The band changed a lot within the last two years. Our way of composing is different now, a new drummer joined the band, we had lots of gigs in different countries… We feel like living in a constant movement – in a perpetual motion!”

Which feelings been gone through your mind during the process of composition for the new album?

„As I told you before, the band became bigger after the release of “The Nameless Disease”. We worked very hard and felt more and more pressure. We had conflicts inside the band and we all felt a bit lost, especially after Franck’s departure. It influenced me a lot on my way to write the lyrics. This period of doubt even stopped the composing process during several months. We had to talk a lot in order to fix our problems. When we went back to work, we were more motivated than ever! We really wanted to create some kind of personal unique piece, something really ambitious…”

Can you tell detailed information about the three chapters inside this new album?

„To be more precise, this record consists on three different main parts, but also on three songs remaining “independent” from the rest of the album. There’s no main concept to find out in the lyrics & music on “The Perpetual Motion” album, but some of the themes I wanted to write about needed to be developed on several songs. For example, one of the three parts, which is called The Lost Boy, is based on 3 different songs... on the other hand, a track like Even If is remaining totally independent from the rest of the album. We didn’t want to dedicate the whole album to one single theme as we did for The Nameless Disease. I always use personal experiences to write The Old Dead Tree’s lyrics.”

Which lyrical contents are in the new tracks mainly?

„This album is almost conceptual because of these 3 themes. It is not really easy to explain details about personal lyrics. Indeed I always wrote words in a very “selfish” purpose. I felt very surprised and afraid when I realised how much people could feel close to “The Nameless Disease” lyrics. I received lots mails and e-mails from people who lived similar experiences. Many themes are developed on the new album “The Perpetual Motion”. It goes from the questions I asked myself before my child was born to the growing tensions inside the band right after the release of our first album “The Nameless Disease”. The band activities are becoming more important now and it was not always easy to deal them together with the bandmembers private lives...”

Who did made the frontcover artwork?

„The artwork was done by french Artist Jérôme Cross, who already worked for others bands like Penumbra, The Crest…”

Your own opinion about it?

„We really do appreciate Jérôme Cross’s works. They deserve a lot! Our music is built on the mixing of different styles and elements. We wanted to broadcast this fact on an appropriate artwork: when you look at the cover, you can see a city. Big cities are generally lively places with day & night activities. But nevertheless, the city which appears on the cover seems to be abnormally calm and cold. Indeed, the artwork of the album is based on oppositions, just like The Old Dead Tree’s music which constantly slides between heavy and softer parts.”

Who had the idea for the band name The Old Dead Tree and what is behind it?

„I found the idea for the band name. It’s a name that stays in the head. Some people told us that they reminded the name right after reading it somewhere. That’s fine because we wanted to find a name evoking something in people’s mind. I also like the image of an old dead tree on an aesthetic point of view. You can also find a lot of interpretations in it, depending on your state of mind at the moment you see it.”

Do you like it to play on stage?

„We like it a lot! Playing in live conditions makes it possible to bring some new elements on the songs which don't appear on the original album versions. Of course, it is also one of the best ways to promote the band. Travelling, meeting people, visiting new places in foreign countries is also very exciting!”

Main plans for the future?

„First reactions from the media towards our new album “The Perpetual Motion” are very positive and encouraging. Our label Season Of Mist strongly support us and gives us the opportunity to benefit from efficient worldwide promotion and distribution. We feel very confident. We just can’t wait for the European tour now, together with Dutch act Epica on October-November 2005. Check-out our official website www.theolddeadtree.com for more information. And, last but not least, many thanks to you and all German fans for their support!”

© Markus Eck, 12.08.2005

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