I had the chance to chat with France’s post metal kings MEMORIES OF A DEAD MAN who took a moment to talk about their new album Ashes of Joy, their beginnings, love and loss and everything between.
TMF: Hello, please introduce yourself:
Ben of MOADM: I’m Ben, guitarist, songwriter and founding member of Memories of a Dead Man. Currently , the band consists of five members: Pierre on vocals, me on lead guitar, Tony on rhythm guitar, Jef on drums and Hervé on bass.
TMF: How did Memories of a Dead Man form?
Ben of MOADM: The band beginnings started with a collaboration between Julian, the original drummer and myself on ambient songs and ideas that I had written in 2005 Then members were added to the story and we developed the group, while keeping the direction that I had desired from the beginning.
TMF: How did you come up with the band name?
Ben of MOADM: We wanted and were looking for a name that would be talking about psychology, about introspection and the duality of a Human. I wrote texts around faults or disturbances of man and it was necessary that the name is related to these ideas. After many proposals, the most original was Memories of a Dead Man so the name stuck.
TMF: How did the idea of fusing genres come into play?
Ben of MOADM: We all come from the various backgrounds (metal, rock and hardcore) so the mixing of those styles came naturally! I’m not really comfortable by being constrained into a single genre and the original idea was to do an atmospheric, soaring music, interspersed with large bursts of rage and metal intensity.
TMF: What are your influences?
Ben of MOADM: Bands that we all enjoy and are some of our influences are Tool, Deftones, Gojira and Neurosis. Personally, bands like Alice in chains, Opeth and Underoath mean a lot to me and influence me more than others members.
TMF: I hear sounds of doom metal, death metal, post-hardcore and sludge in the new album, how did the process start for mixing sounds?
Ben of MOADM: There’s no really conscious process as you think, it all comes naturally to us. I am guided by the feeling and the desire to develop different things on this album.
TMF: How did the writing process for Ashes of Joy begin?
Ben of MOADM: After the first major part of the V.I.T.R.I.O.L tour I started writing some riffs and songs that really didn’t fit in the universe of Memories. Those ideas were more progressive, more technical and different as I wasn’t capable of immersing myself in a more melancholy and dark mood. But after one month, inspiration was back and I could get back into the world of Memories, so the music for Ashes Of Joy was written in 6 months and lyrics in 4 months .
TMF: What inspired Ashes of Joy?
Ben of MOADM: A tragedy and my desire to pay a tribute, a final tribute is the origin of this new record Ashes of Joy. I pushed myself to write this album only for my girlfriend Tatiana Desous, who died towards the end of 2011.. This was my main motivation to write the music for Ashes of Joy. The lyrics are more like introspective thoughts by Pierre, our singer.
TMF: What is the meaning of the title to you all?
Ben of MOADM: Ashes of Joy could be a contradiction! Ashes, and Joy are two words that seem to be the opposite for me! Pierre: My idea was really “Touched with pensiveness,” a phrase taken from the book Confessions of an Opium Eater De Quincey, but this expression spoke to me especially me. The title of the album was found at the last minute after an exhibition on artists under the influence of psychotropic drugs. Below an opium pipe were inscribed these words: “Ashes of Joy”. The interpretations are numerous and it seemed like the perfect title for the album.
TMF: What is the theme of the album?
Pierre of MOADM: The inspirations for this album are mostly literary. Texts from Baudelaire to De Quincey through Artaud or Sartre … All these authors have managed to transcend the sadness and melancholy at the risk of madness. There are also more practical lyrics, including the massacre of Wounded Knee, in reference to this historical episode where the U.S. military has killed a tribe of 350 disarmed Indians. Pure and simple murder, which is the wild. Just like VITRIOL, the new album also includes lyrics on religion, or rather a revolt against what religion has become, against the hypocritical illusion. Religion has lost its meaning and instead of uniting people, it divides without names of different gods.
TMF: What metal bands are your favorites?
Ben of MOADM: Tony and me are really fans of Down, Pantera, Opeth, Machine Head, Mastodon… Jef and Pierre love Watain, Amenra and darker sounds, but Tool, A Perfect Circle and Neurosis are the best ones for all of us.
TMF: How did you get into metal music?
Ben of MOADM: We are between two movements so it’s always a bit difficult to find a stable position. But at the same time it allowed us to play with very different groups like New Model Army / Devil Sold His Soul or Tesseract , or Canadian thrashers Anonymous .. And to have an open-minded audience . Metal is a great and authentic family 🙂 We are proud to be part of this family .
TMF: What is your favorite song you’ve written?
Ben of MOADM: On this album it’s Melancholia, which is very intimate to me, and Touched With Pensiveness for its emotional growth and surprises at the end.
TMF: How did you come into connection with Season of Mist?
Ben of MOADM: This connection exists since our first record in 2007/2008. Season Of Mist started following the group with close attention since that date, David Lefur loved our first release and have been really supportive since then.
TMF: Any tour plans?
MOADM: Not yet, we just some isolated shows scheduled at the moment.
TMF: What bands would be ideal to tour with?
MOADM: Tool, Deftones, Neurosis or Cult of Luna.
TMF: Any chance of a trip to America?
MOADM: Maybe and we hope so! Canada was a possibility last year so we can make it happen this time and the US at the same time.
TMF: What else is planned for 2014?
MOADM: Promotion of this new album, we just released a special video clip for the song “Melancholia ” check it here: https://www.youtube.com/user/memoriesofadeadman We’ll also record the first and possibly only acoustic version of a classic song of Nancy Sinatra.
TMF: How is the music scene in France?
MOADM: The French scene is very good at the moment. Many very good bands appear and they don’t follow the American or Scandinavian scenes which dominate Europe. Bands like our friends at Mass Hysteria / The Arrs / Hell of a Ride / Mur /Lokurah.
TMF: Any last words?
MOADM: Thank you for the interest in the band by you and your readers.