Where were you born and where did you grow up? What sort of kid were you growing up with?
VA: I’m born in Lille, a town in the north of France, in 1971, and live there since. As far as I remember, I was a quiet kid.
Did you have a lot of friends growing up or were you more of a loner?
VA: As I was an easy-going kind of guy, I’ve always had friends.
Early on, when you were a teenager, did you start to listen to a lot of music and if so what were some of the 1st bands you got into and did you have many friends in the same style as well?
VA: I was not really interested in music until I crossed the path of AC/DC. Hell’s Bells single introduced me to hard rock.
At first, I only knew some big names, AC/DC, Scorpions, Iron Maiden, Motorhead, Trust (which was big at least in France) etc…
Then, maybe around 1983, I began to listen to every heavy metal radio show possible, and record them on tapes.
At this time, you could listen to heavy metal on independent radios, on a daily basis. It’s how I’ve discovered, among many others, WASP, SATAN, GRIM REAPER, ACCEPT, TOKYO BLADE, RAVEN, TKO, MANOWAR, but also VENOM, METALLICA, ANTHRAX, and overall, SLAYER, this band became my favourite one for years. I’ve even heard BATHORY, at an early stage, it was the early version of “Sacrifice”, featured on “Scandinavian Metal Attack I”. But as the band name and track were not credited, I had this mysterious and dark song on tape for some time, without knowing who it was…
So til 1985, I was listening to anything from PRETTY MAIDS or LOUDNESS, to SLAYER and EXODUS, but at the end of this same year, I began to lose interest for heavy metal, as there were more and more speed/black/death metal bands
I was heavily into HELLHAMMER & CELTIC FROST, ONSLAUGHT, POSSESSED, DESTRUCTION, KREATOR, SODOM, BATHORY, VOIVOD, SOD etc…
During those former years, I’ve got some friends who were into hard rock and heavy metal but hated speed metal.
Now I am pretty sure I am interviewing the bass player, so what made you want to pick up the bass and who are some of your favourite bass players? (nope I was the wrong haha)
VA: Sorry, I’m the guitarist/vocalist. But you’re not that wrong, as the bass was the first instrument I played decades ago.
And I must confess that I’ve played the bass for this recording. Let’s say you’ve got some sixth sense. (more like a lucky guess-Chris)
Now you were in 2 bands before Messe Mortuaire are any of them still together?
VA: I was in Sepulchral with my good old mate Damien, who is the REAL BASS PLAYER. We have some other projects, which are on hold now. I don’t feel the need to detail until those ones will have at least some actuality.
How did the coming of the band, I mean Messe Mortuaire, come together? Did you go through many early members before you came up with the line-up that recorded “Nocturnal Demonic Visitation”?
VA: As I’ve answered above, Damien and I were playing in SEPULCHRAL before, and when our drummer left, we decided to change the band’s name, and Mickaël fills the vacant drummer’s coffin.
We were the same members since we’re active under the flag of Messe Mortuaire, til a second guitarist, VIA SINISTRA, joined us just after we finished the recording of the demo.
Who came up with the name and logo for the band? Do you at all think the logo of the band is kinda cheezy by that I mean you can’t even read the band’s name. Your thoughts on my opinion?
VA: I’ve come up with the name, I’ve found it in Roland Villeneuve’s “dictionnaire du diable”. Those two words have already something sinister and menacing in their tone. But it’s more its meaning in this book, which convince me to use it as the band’s name, as it is not just a funeral mass, but a sacrilegious mass performed to give death. It’s a kind of black magic.
About the logo, Mickaël (aka Filius diaboli, DRUMS) is the one to blame, he is the one who has contacted the artist who draws this logo.
But we all really like it. It depicts well what we are about, and I don’t think it’s that much indecipherable.
How soon was the band together before you started to write songs that ended up on your recently released EP?
VA: In fact, with the sole exception of the song “Nocturnal Demonic Visitation”, everything was already written before “Messe Mortuaire” came to life undead, in 2019.
We’ve got already ten songs before we start the sessions.
Even the intros predate the birth of Messe Mortuaire. Ludovic Lejeune composed those intros for Sepulchral, we asked him to use them for our new band, and he gave us his agreement and it works very well with our sound and texts.
How long were you in the studio for recording it and did everything go pretty smoothly in your eyes during the recording?
VA: It was not recorded in the studio. The credited “devil’s room” is the name of the rehearsal room we use to rent. I had got an old 16 tracks recorder, so fucking old that it can not be linked to a computer.
We have recorded drums live, with no editing, and we don’t have used triggers. You can hear what was played, for the best or the worst.
Then I’ve done all the overdubs, guitars, bass, and vocals. No amp sim, just mics before amps. In the end, we’ve done the mix together. How long? I don’t know, as We have taken our time and recorded many rehearsals, from August 2021 to February 2022.
We have worked on seven, or maybe 8 songs, as I was hoping to capture, at least, a second demo during the sessions.
For many reasons, it didn’t work that well, we have finally completed 4 tracks, and deleted everything else.
The final versions which have landed on Nocturnal Demonic Visitation were recorded in October 2021, for 2 of them, and the last track was captured in February 2022. We’ve got lots of trouble nailing “Filius Diaboli”. We’ve changed his structure and rhythm many times.
How did you end up on Repulsive Echo Records? Did you send them some music or did they hear you and wanted to release some music from you?
VA: As far as I know, the boss from Repulsive Echoes, who was in touch with our drummer, heard rehearsals prior to the demo and was interested.
I (Filius Diaboli drummer) am in contact with Kostas the boss of RE for long years now, I just talked to him on Facebook about Messe Mortuaire, sent him a couple of rehearsals songs, and he really liked what he heard, proposed to release our future demo on his label, and that’s what happened!
How has the response been from the underground so far? Me myself I love it as it is a dark, dirty, nasty slab of death metal.
VA: Thank you, Chris. There are already plenty of good reviews, and it has begun long before the physical version’s available. It’s a good surprise.
Why the title “Nocturnal Demonic Visitation”? How came up with that title and the cover for your EP?
VA: I’m not sure, but I think I was reading a book by Laura Knight-Jadczyk. There was something about a man, who was raped by a succubus.
After some research, I found it was an extract from Warren’s book “the haunted”. I’ve built the text around his witness, with added quotes about incubi & succubi. I had already the title “nocturnal demonic visitation” in mind for a demo for a long time.
As a band’s demo is a kind of visiting card, then “Nocturnal Demonic Visitation” sounds like some visiting card from hell.
For the cover, our drummer asked me for details about the lyrics, for the artist. I did not agree, as I usually don’t want too literal transcription of lyrics into artwork. But I let them do it, and finally, the artwork is fantastic. Thank You again, Diana Rottenhead.
You recently sent me a rough mix of a Slayer tune you are working on. What made you pick that particular song and where will you be releasing it?
VA: Slayer is part of my DNA. For years, I was literally obsessed with Slayer, since my encounter with “Show no Mercy” in my teenage years.
I’ll like to state that, in a certain way, “Haunting the Chapel” was an influence on NDV. It’s not just about riffs or lyrics, but also the three tracks’ structure, and the massive use of reverb. There are three tracks ep’s that’ve put their mark on me, Haunting the chapel, of course, but also, Venom’s 12′ EP, “Die Hard”, “Seven Gates of Hell” or “Manitou”.
Why Necrophiliac? I use to think that “Haunting the chapel” and “Hell awaits” contains some death metal elements.
Necrophiliac was the first song I’ve heard from Hell Awaits. It was incredible by the time of this release.
Maybe the lyrics, and the dark mood of this song, pushed me to pick this one. I’ve tried to play Necrophiliac, like one of our songs, so I’ve changed its structure, and some patterns, and asked our drummer to play blast beats.
I don’t know if we will release it, but we have to rerecord a better version before anything.
With all the bands out there and even small labels, do you find it hard to get noticed at all? I know I would if I was in a band as this isn’t the 80s when I was around and there weren’t as many bands/labels around and it was more easier to stand out.
VA: Yes, It’s harder to get noticed, but everything else is so much easier.
Communications are fucking easy, we can get in touch with anyone around the world in an eyeblink, and it’s cheap.
DIY recordings are much easier, and cheap too. But, I’m sure we will reach the ones who are of our kind.
They probably won’t be legions, It’s ok for me.
Has the band played out live much and how is the underground scene in France these days?
VA: No gigs so far with Messe Mortuaire, as I have had got to put myself on stand-by, for some months, after we’ve finished the recordings sessions.
The underground french hordes doing well those last years, with some already renowned bands, like Skelethal, the veterans from Mercyless, Ritualization. And there are more to discover: Baneful Storm, Disfuneral, Enokhian, Sepulcre, Kabbhal, and undead prophecies among others.
Anyone curious about the french underground can check the WE ARE FRENCH FUCK YOU compilations, released on Triumph of Death.
What are your plans for the rest of 2022 and going forward?
VA: I’d like to record a second demo. It will be named “An Unquenchable Thirst for Human Blood”. It will sound different from NDV. We’re also thinking to work on a setlist and begin to play some gigs.
What merchandise do you have and where can people pick up your fantastic EP?
VA: Our demo is available on cd by Repulsive Echo Records, there are two versions of this cd, one is with a red tray (200 copies) and the other one black tray (100 copies), I think that perhaps there will be a cassette tape version soon, and we also hope to print some shirts someday.
Thanks for doing this interview and horns up going forward. Any last words the floor is yours.
VA: Thanks for the support!