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Interview with Ddent at Hellfest Open Air 2019

Opening the very last day of a festival, especcially at 10:30 AM, isn’t an easy job.
It’s even a tour de force when you’re an instrumental band whose atmospheric titles are extended over 10 minutes !

Ddent, that released his second LP, “Toro”, about one year ago, took up the challenge with panache !

Here is an interview with Louis Lambert, the mastermind behind Ddent, one of the most promising and already well known in the french kingdom of Post-Metal and instrumental “Industrial Doom”.

Ddent - Louis Lambert. © Sébastien Tarridec
Ddent – Louis Lambert. © Sébastien Tarridec

1. You’re playing most of time on intimate stages, so, how did you get prepared for this show and how do you feel on “the Valley” Stage ?

Yes, for sure, it’s our biggest stage. It’s also our first big outdoor festival.
And also the largest audience for which we ever played.

We worked our sound with our sound engineer for few days before the show. We prepared this concert seriously, without asking too many questions.

It was quite unusual to play so far away from each other on stage.

2. With such long track formats, you had to make choices, and even adapt some titles?

Yes, I knew what titles to play from our usual set that we have been playing for almost a year since the release of Toro.
For example, we shortened a title from 10 minutes to 6 minutes, cut the intro of another.
We preferred to shorten and edit our tracks, rather than play only 3 ten minutes songs.
This allowed us to deliver every possible aspects of our music, especially to a large audience who discovered us for the first time, for most of them.

Ddent - live at Hellfest 2019. © Meoz
Ddent – live at Hellfest 2019. © Meoz

3. With the line-up that seems now stabilized for several years, can you tell us more about the writing process of the tracks? Is it solo work or now collective?

The writting process is exclusively a solo work for a period of one year. When everything is written and arranged, I then go to record the album at Sky Hammer studio ( Conan’s Chris Fielding’s studio, UK). The tracks are not modified for live performance at the structure level, while leaving some freedom of interpretation to the musicians.

Ddent - live at Hellfest 2019. © Meoz
Ddent – live at Hellfest 2019. © Meoz

4. Can you tell us about your other NNRA project, which operates in a register quite close to Ddent ?

How is the composition for this project going and do you approach it in a different way than Ddent?

That’s an excellent question. Sometimes I wonder, but it quickly becomes obvious. I usually spend a year on each other. I could do two Ddent albums in a row, but it turns out that alternating between the two projects has worked well for several years. Each album influences the next. I started putting electronic sounds in Ddent because I worked on this aspect in NNRA. Ddent brought some heaviness to the sound of NNRA in return, and also some blast beats. Nevertheless, I would like to keep the concept of the “one track album” for NNRA, with different themes, which come up again, as in classical music and movies soundtracks. This is obvious because we play with video projections created by Sébastien Mathieu, aka tattoo artist SM Bousille, with whom I created the project. We exchange a lot at the beginning of the musical writting process to find the feelings that should be transcribed into images.

So, Ddent therefore remains a solo project while NNRA is a duo work on sound and image. We are also four on stage with Ddent and height with NNRA, which necessarily brings a difference in the musical aspect and sets the limits of the writting and arrangements, in order to be able to transcribe all the music on stage.

5. Can you explain to us the concept behind Ddent’s last full-length, “Toro” ?

It is a more “universal” concept this time. It starts from the first full-length “آكتئاب” which means melancholia.

Each album I compose is based on personal experiences. When I released “آكتئاب” and the first NNRA album, I wanted to tell and bury part of my own story. For “Toro”, we’re on a more exalted album, including the visual, which is very colourful. This really marks the end of melancholia. I wanted to express what I felt in my life at that moment, but through the prism of Federico García Lorca’s pan. who is a poet whose work I love. At a conference, he also discussed the theme of the « Duende », which can be translated clumsily as the “spirit” that inhabits an artist, personnalised by a bull. He explains that the quality of a work of art is linked to the intensity of the artist’s struggle with his “toro”. Sometimes it is the “toro” who wins against the artist. We all know a large number of artists who were overwhelmed by their toro and went mad at the task. The toro is what gives the artist energy, but it can also destroy him. Each track of the album is illustrated, in French, by an excerpt from a poem by Federico García Lorca. The album therefore tells the story of a young artist’s released from his state of depression, mentioned in the first EP, “Chien noir”, then from his melancholia (” آكتئاب “), and « Toro » is all about his fight and defeat, against his « toro ». Releasing this album brought out a lot of things buried in me, but in a healthy and thoughtful way, bringing many positive things.

 

Chien Noir (2014 – EP) آكتئاب (2016 – LP) TORO (2018 – LP)

6. All Ddent’s releases were made in a total independant self-production way. Is it an artistic or material choice ?

It’s a choice until it’s no longer a choice. The day I have a proposal that suits me, that may change. In the meantime, I personally finance my project in all its stages: recording, mixing, pressing and merchandising.

For the moment I’m mainly looking for a label that will allow me to release my full-lenght on vinyls.

I also like the possibility to be free about my choices, such as throwing CDs at the crowd at the end of the show like this morning, or organizing my schedule as I wish, without constraints.

Nevertheless, I have the help of Chris Fielding from Skyhammer Studio who knows me well how Ddent should sound, a press agent, a live sound engeneer and a booking agency to support me.

7. Finally, what the upcoming news for Ddent ?

The writing of Ddent’s third album is over. I’m taking a break this summer after this concert at Hellfest and I plan to enter Sky Hammer Studio in November or December to record it. We can hope for an release in September 2020.

And if a label is interested in releasing “آكتئاب” and “Toro” on vinyl, don’t hesitate to come forward.

About Seb Tarridec

I've been involved in bands since the early 2000's and have been releasing records and touring since then, as bass player in instrumental Post-Metal band The Lumberjack Feedback. I'm working for more than fifteen years in graphic design, artwork & merch industry and as also a solid background as concert promoter, sound guy and stage manager.

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