French progressive mettallers Kalisia have been a favorite around the Metal Call-Out Space Station and Observatory for a little over a year now since they released their first full-length, conceptual epic Cybion. We’ve wanted an interview with them all the while and are proud to announce our fan-boy wishes came true when Mat, our Canadian correspondant, made his way across the big blue Atlantic to a small pub in France where he sat down with Brett (vocals/guitars) and Thibault (bass) to talk about the band, Cybion, and their respective side-projects.
Enjoy the full interview after the jump! -Deathscript
This is an interview I made with Kalisia in Montpellier, France in a local pub. Brett Caldas-Lima (Vocals, Guitars, Programming) and Thibaut Gérard (Bass) were the two persons I had the honour to interview. All the answers come from both of them unless specified.
What is the concept, the goal of Kalisia?
The goal of Kalisia was for us to write and play the best music possible. Also, we wanted to make the music we wanted to listen to. Moreover, in our songs we wanted to transmit some emotions and images to make the listener imagine in his own way the songs he’s listening to, the story he’s listening. In the lyrics, we try to point up some interrogations in life, but we do not try to impose our view. The listener has to make his own mind.
Where this name comes from?
This is an invented name. We wanted to come up with something different, original. There were some specific things we wanted for the name, like no more than two syllables, less than two words, etc. The name was meant to be universal and not to be stuck in a concept.
Speaking of Concept, don’t you guys fell stuck in a concept because of Cybion?
Not at all! We have made one concept album, but this doesn’t mean we are obliged to do any others. We don’t have any limitations since we don’t really have a specific image. The demo Skies doesn’t sound like Cybion, so the path is open for anything else.
How did you guys formed?
Brett, Loïc and Laurent were the first members to start Kalisia. To read the complete bio of each person and how the band formed go to this link (www.kalisia.com)
There has been 13 years between the release of Skies and Cybion, why?
There has been a lot of complications during those years. We had problems with everything, technical problems, making the concept, the recording was very long, etc. Since we did not have any label signed, we didn’t have any deadline, so we took our time to make it right. Everything was made by us, making things by yourself is always longer. Over that we missed money, so we were doing it as we were able to get some money for it.
You have created a new language for Cybion, the Kal. Why?
The language was meant to be a universal one, spoken and understood by everyone (in the story). In the beginning of the album, there’s a choir singing it and later in the album there’s a character speaking it. This language has taken some bases on Japanese, Russian, Arabian and French language and a lot of others. I took some rules already made by them and invented new ones for it. It took a lot of time to create this, as the story and the language were created both in parallel. In all it took almost ten years to do.
You have incorporated French in your songs, feeling a little bit patriotic?
Not really, there’s a Belgium character in the story and he speaks French. I just sounded pretty nice in the album, there’s nothing special about it.
How did the Hellfest go? Was it your first live performance?
It was pretty chaotic but it ended pretty well. The crowd was pretty happy to see us and there was a nice ambiance. At start there were about 400 people but in the end it almost went to a thousand, but it was hard to count because people came and go. It was raining, we had technical problems like an amplifier that was not lighting up, sound problem in our earphones, etc. There’s a curse upon us, we seem to always have problems when we do something. It was the first concert we have played in 13 years, since Skies, people thought we could not play this live, but we did! The songs played during the show were : A1 to A3, Lost Soul and the final part D1-D5. We only had thirty minutes so we had to do our best to maximise the time.
Which band did you like during the Hellfest?
Well we liked among others Behemoth, Swallow the Sun, Eluveitie and Loudblast.
Do you have any plans on doing any live show soon?
Well we might have one in Avignon by the end of the year, but this is not 100% sure. We will do one in May 2011 in Montpellier. That’s about it but we are hoping to find some other places to play too.
You have collaborated with a lot of people during the writing of Cybion, with who did you like to work? With whom would you like to work?
We liked to work with everybody. We were grateful for everyone who was kind enough to accept to work with us. A special thanks to Arjen Lucassen with who it was a pleasure to work with. There are so much people we would like to work with, like for instance Sean Reinert from Cynic.
What were your inspiration sources during the writing for Skies? And for Cybion?
Our inspirations sources for Skies are mostly the covers we did on the second disk of Cybion. We are speaking of Cynic, Dream Theater, Loudblast and Emperor. For Cybion, it was more of a personnal writing, we wanted to do something that cames from us, not an inspired story from something else. The bands that influenced us for this CD were the four named before and a lot of others. We had different inspirations from a variety of genres, like Morbid Angel, U2, Pink Floyd, etc.
What are your plans for the future? Another CD?
We want to make some live concerts for now. This is the main priority. We don’t have any plans right now for a new album. Cybion was just release a year ago, it’s still soon.
Is it hard for a band in France to pierce the market?
Yeah it’s pretty hard. France has a bad reputation over the world in regard of metal. It took time before France became professional in metal music. The local scene is somewhat strong, but it is limited to this. Can you name more than 5 good French metal band? It’s pretty hard eh?
Do you have any recommendations for starting bands?
You got to be passionate. This is the most important thing, if you don’t have the passion, forget it. You got to get the right people around you to support you and you have to believe in what you do. Trying to find some money is really important. This is the major problems of all bands, even us. Be original, making a copy of popular bands won’t help you. Write songs that you can play live. Nowadays, with all the technology it’s easy to compensate for people who are not good at playing music. It’s in a live show that we separate children of men. And be careful of what you do.
What is your favourite album of 2009? And 2010?
Brett: I really liked the last release of Ramstein in 2009.
Thibaut : For me in 2010 Dark Fortress –Ylem and Soilwork –The Panic Broadcast
Can you describe us your process of song writing? Is there anything special about it?
We are 3 to write the songs, there’s me (Brett), Laurent Pouget and Loïc Tézénas. We each bring a part of a song, example a 30 seconds part, but with all the instruments for it. We bring “blocks”of songs together that each person writes. There’s nothing special except this.
Do you have any side projects? If yes, can you talk to us about it?
Brett: There’s my recording studio, Tower studio.
Thibaut : I’m playing in two other bands Hegemon and Eyeless. Hegemon is a black metal band former in Montpellier, I’m the composer of the group with a guy from Your shapeless beauty. I’m a big fan of black metal so this project is like my little baby. The other band, Eyeless, is a metalcore band. It is mostly to do live show, I’m like a mercenary for this band.
Brett, can you talk more about your studio?
It has been created about five years ago. The reason it was created was because we were lacking funds for the recording of Cybion. So I decided to do everything by myself. This is where my studio started.
With who did you work for your studio?
I worked as a sound engineer for Cynic and Devin Townsend Project on their tour with Between the Buried and Me. (I, Mat, was at this show, pretty good!) Those bands are the biggest with whom I’ve worked with I guess. I have mixed CDs for bands like Xerath, Ram-Zet, To-Mera and many more. For all the info go to this site : http://www.towerstudio.net/
A word to conclude?
I wish we could go to Canada or the USA to make a live show. It would be pretty nice!