1. Hello! How are you? Since you are a new band, tell us a few things about you. When were you formed? Did you play in other bands before and which are your targets with HURLEMENT?
My goal is to play heavy metal.
François (guitars): The band was officially formed in the end of 2003. Before, I played in a heavy metal band from Paris: AKILONNIA. Alexis joined that same band before we created HURLEMENT.
Pierre (drums): HURLEMENT is my first band. Well, I did play in AKILONNIA before Alexis joined, but it was very, very short.
Alexis (vocals): I joined my first band in
’98 or ’99 as a complete beginner on vocals. After a few other bands that
I either quit or got fired from, I joined AKILONNIA where François
was playing. That’s where we wrote our first songs together, some of which
became HURLEMENT songs. When François left AKILONNIA to take a heavier
orientation, we formed HURLEMENT and recruited François’ brother
Pierre on the drums. HURLEMENT is the first band with which I ever released
François: Yes we did record tracks for a demo in 2005. But we lost the takes due to computer problems, and that doused our motivation for the demo. Instead of losing courage or wasting any more time on a crappy demo, we decided to go straight to the next level: the album!
Alexis: I think maybe we should have recorded 7 or 8 demos. Then maybe we would not have got every possible technical problem on just that one recording, but only one or two issues for each. That would have been nice.
Alexis: We wanted a French name, in the wake of bands like SORTILEGE or BLASPHEME because we are all fans of the 80’s French metal scene and we want to carry on that tradition. We really like what MALEDICTION did with their own name, for instance. We stayed without a name for months, maybe even one year or more. And one day, we just thought of “HURLEMENT” and it fits our style perfectly.
François: The subjects of our songs
in French are pretty simple.
Alexis: We did not plan to add English translations of the songs. Actually, we just never considered it. If we ever get enough people asking, I will try to make English versions (even though it should be François’ task because he’s the one that wrote those lyrics! Get to work you bastard!)
More seriously, French is a beautiful language and can fit music as well as English does. Millions of metal fans around the world have no clue about IRON MAIDEN or ACDC’s lyrics in English, and still those bands are selling tons of CDs, so is language really a problem? I don’t think so, not one second. I think singing in French is actually an advantage, and such originality can open doors that English would not. Furthermore, French is perfect for building a following in our own country. In France, bands like KILLERS, ADX, BLASPHEME, SORTILEGE, TRUST remained very popular. French heavy metal fans still have a special spot in their hearts for songs in French.
François: And anyway, the choice of language has never been (and never will be) based on such considerations. We do not aim for this or that market, we do not care who likes it or not. Language is part of a larger process that comes with songwriting. Some songs will sound better with French, others with English. We have chosen not to limit ourselves to one or the other language.
Alexis: I have always enjoyed non-English bands
that sing in their native languages. Be that Spanish, Russian, French,
anything, it gives a special edge to the music and often brings more conviction
in the vocals. You know, BARON ROJO, ARIA, ORPHANED LAND, POKOLGEP… Recently,
CRYSTAL VIPERr release a Polish version of “The Last Axeman” on their last
EP, and I much prefer it to the English version, I’d wish the whole album
was in Polish (even though I don’t speak a word of it)! And of course,
I am a huge fan of SORTILEGE, KILLERS, ADX and that whole scene, and trying
to recreate some of this 80’s French heavy metal vibe just satisfies me.
François: Yes, RUNNING WILD is indeed a big influence… So it shows that much? Wait until we start belting out songs about pirates!
Alexis: One other very obvious influence is MANOWAR. Both on the purely vocal side and for songwriting. Another big one is JUDAS PRIEST, though I think it’s less obvious, more underlying.
François: They should have played that farewell show ten years ago…
Alexis: I think it sucks that they announced
it only after Wacken was sold-out. That’s one final disregard for their
hardcore fans. I wouldn’t have gone myself anyway, because Wacken is too
expensive and, for a classic heavy metal fan like me, the billing has become
much too poor for the price these last years (and I’m saving my vacation
days for better festivals). But I’m sure a lot of nostalgic RUNNING WILD
fans would have loved to see that show. Rolf obviously does not like
touring, and RUNNING WILD is very hard to catch on stage if you don’t happen
to live near where they play one of their rare dates. So I’m sure a lot
of fans would have loved to seize that one last occasion to finally see
the band live, even if it is not up to its past glory, or to pay their
respects. But they can’t.
François: We are already in contact with some Greek metal fans, and we cannot help but thinking that the Hellenic Warriors could really like our music. Playing there would be awesome! The LONEWOLF guys have nothing but praise to say about the Greek audience, and we’ll do everything we can to make that happen. Germany is the classic temple of heavy metal, but next to that, Greece, Italy and Spain have also become major countries. When you think of festivals like the Up The Hammers, the Play It Loud, The Pounding Metal…
Alexis: I think I first realized how crazy the Greek audience must be when the ICED EARTH “Alive in Athens” album came out. And I often wished I could easily fly there, like when BROCAS HELM played in Greece. On the bootlegs, the atmospheres sound incredible! Of course, we cannot begin to compare ourselves to those great bands, but, still, Greece seems to be an incredible country for heavy metal warriors, and we really hope to get a chance to enjoy a taste of this madness. At least, I’m sure our style fits this. We wear the same patches on our vests, we play the same style. Now we have to get lucky and have a chance to get invited there.
Alexis: When we decided to contact him, we never expected he would come out with such a great painting. I’m really proud to release a first album with such a killer cover. Nowadays, many bands are just doing a fast Photoshop rendering, because, well, it’s cheaper and easier. I can understand it, of course, because most bands (like us) are already struggling hard to release anything. But still, I’m a bit conservative there. I keep a soft spot for hand-drawn covers, so I’m really satisfied we went for that solution. This is the first visual impression many people will get of us, better a killer painting than our ugly faces!
Alexis: The easiest one must have been “Dernier Combat”. It’s a very simple song, which does not mean it’s less good… For me, complexity and song quality have absolutely nothing to do with one another. As for the hardest one… “Screaming”, maybe, because we had stupidly overlooked some technical details in the heat of rehearsals and had to panic-rewrite some guitar parts that did not fit when recording. Also, we had some really crappy equipment, and I had to do about 3 million takes (at least) to get the vocals right, because our microphone and sound card just could not handle the amount of screaming that goes on there. It sounded either too crunchy because of the volume, or too weak when we took it lower to avoid the crunch. It took quite some trial and error to find the middle point. On one or two days, I was getting headaches in the evening, just because I spent hours screaming and screaming on and we still couldn’t keep those takes.
Alexis: For me, a band’s country of origin is not very important. I mean, it is of course interesting to know that and link it to their personality, but I do not have one favorite scene or anything. I will just take what is good, and I’m actually always happy to find a good band that comes from an “unusual” place. As for your question… Well, we are fans of epic metal, and you do find a lot of American bands in the founders and shapers of the epic or warrior style. I’m just citing some as they come to my mind, but early MANOWAR, OMEN, MANILLA ROAD, JAG PANZER, TITAN FORCE, SAVAGE GRACE, all these incredible bands and more came from America. They were of course not the only ones at all, but they did leave a major mark on the underground heavy metal tradition. Maybe then it is in a way natural that people will turn in that direction when looking for more.
Pierre: Do not forget that time when a guy compared Alexis’ vocals to Inspector Clouseau!
Alexis: Our style is quite clear in all its good metal brainlessness and immaturity, so no one has been drunk enough so far to call us something completely far off like prog or disco or anything. You know, we are a very small and unknown band, so we did not get enough coverage to have read that much crazy stuff about ourselves. And since we do not buy advertising pages, bigger magazines will not mention us here. So most people that would talk about us in the first place are informed enough to identify us at least vaguely well. Of course, the occasional idiot will bash us for playing old-fashioned and outdated music… But that’s not “weird”. Only stupid.
François: We wrote until we had enough good songs complete to make an album, then we recorded them. No fillers, no trash.
Alexis: Recording was already hard enough and
took quite a lot of time and sacrifices. So we didn’t record one second
of music that did not go on the album (if you don’t count Didier’s snoring).
Some bands will record a lot of stuff, then select what they will keep…
We do not work like that. That’s too artificial for me. A song has a life
of its own, and we don’t copy/paste parts around in the studio to fit the
producer (of course we don’t have a producer).
François: Thanks a lot for that interview! We really hope we can play over there one day!
Pierre: And for anyone who hasn’t heard of us, I just want to remind you that you can listen to some songs on our site http://hurlement.metal.free.fr.
Alexis: See, Pierre is the brain in this band.
He thinks of the important stuff. One brain for four is not a lot, though.
Nick “Verkaim” Parastatidis