The Distrolution / Distrolution Merch team had the chance to go to the Hellfest festival from June 19th to 26th 2022. On the program, concerts, meetings… and several interviews, which you can find every week in FR version on Distrolution Merch and in EN version on Distrolution! Discover without further delay our interview with Red Mourning!
Picture by @fannooshka
Hello Red Mourning, thank you for taking the time to answer our questions. First of all, can you introduce yourselves?
Aurélien: I’m Aurélien, drummer and singer.
Alexandre: Alexandre, guitarist, lapsteelist, I don’t know how to say it (laughs), and backing vocals!
Sébastien: Sébastien, bass player and backing vocals!
JC: JC, backing vocals! No, I’m kidding. I’m the singer!
Aurélien: And harmonica player!
Alexandre: And harmonica player too, yeah!
How was Red Mourning formed?
Sébastien: Red Mourning is the result of an internet meeting between musicians. We founded a band with different lineups and we found the right one around 2006 – 2007, something like that!
Sébastien: With you? 2005?
Sébastien: And we released our first album in 2008. That’s it. With a big blues influence coming from JC, the contribution of the harmonica and then several influences from each member of the band, which are quite present in the music. And then the compositions also evolved according to the lineup. Now, it’s more Aurélien who composes, before, it was more the other guitarist. But Alex also composes a lot. That’s it, we all work a little bit.
How do you balance your professional and personal life with managing a band? Isn’t it too complicated?
JC: I think that in France, there are very few bands that can devote themselves 100% to their music. So we are part of the 99% of the bands that have something else to live on. So we make music when we can. And because we like it, of course! No but it’s true, joking aside, it’s our passion. So we devote a lot of time, energy and money to it. Then we try to balance all that and we conciliate… We have jobs that allow us to have some free time. And depending on the person, we mix more or less with our professional life too. It’s not always easy, especially with this kind of music.
Sébastien: Afterwards, it’s not an ordeal. There are plenty of people who have plenty of hobbies, plenty of pastimes. There’s an almost vital function, I think, in making music regularly and fulfilling oneself through it, so… If you work 7 hours a day, or 8 hours, or 12 hours, it doesn’t matter, there’s always some time left, anyway.
Aurélien: What’s cool is that we keep, since it’s not our livelihood, we keep a little bit the artistic freedom. If we want to do something totally offbeat that nobody will like, as it is the case… That’s what we do since the beginning (laughs)
Alexandre: Yeah, it’s been 15 years! (laughs)
Aurélien: We can afford it because we don’t have to think about “Will we sell enough?”. We have total freedom on that, we have no external pressure on what we have to do… We really do what we want!
Alexandre: I came for the money… and I am disappointed! (laughs)
Let’s talk about your upcoming news. Your next album “Flowers & Feathers” will be released in October 2022. How was your composition process?
Aurélien: We developed quite a few songs. In fact, it accelerated quite a bit during the pandemic, because obviously, we had a bit more time to perfect the songs etc., but we had already worked on the songs in rehearsal with Alex. So different composition processes. There is one that we completely composed together in rehearsal, another one where it’s Alex’s composition that we worked on in rehearsal, and then others where they are my compositions, that we worked on together with Alex, to bring and make it a bit more alive etc.
What we wanted was something organic, not something composed on a computer. So that’s it. And we also went through the… We did an acoustic EP, and that influenced the writing of the last album where there is a more important acoustic component, including three purely acoustic songs. We worked quite a bit from a distance with Covid, where JC was working on the vocals and so on. We worked on the arrangements, we sent ideas to each other and everything… I don’t know if you want to add something guys? (addressing the other members of the band)
Alexandre: I don’t have much to add. I was there, so I remember it. It’s consistent with what I experienced! (laughs)
JC: This man speaks the truth!
Alexandre: I don’t say that out of laziness… No… not at all… (laughs)
This album is the follow-up to “Under Punishment’s Tree”, released in 2018. Comparing these two albums, how much has your music evolved in 4 years?
Aurélien: Yeah. We did an acoustic EP in between that was released in… 2019!
The previous album… We still had a lot of compo from our previous guitarist, Romaric, who left the band in 2015. So there was still a little bit of his touch that was present. Now, it’s really full new. There are no more of his compositions. There are either compositions by me, or by me and Alex, with Seb and JC’s touch, always. So obviously, it has an influence on the writing. We tried new things too, so we wouldn’t do the same songs again. We explored new instruments, with the banjo, the organ, a lot of keyboards etc. JC has a way of singing that has evolved a bit with the move to acoustic. It is a little more on the emotion, on the interpretation etc.
So we are always trying to experiment new things, so obviously, because of these elements, it evolves towards new things for us, that we have never done and that we propose. People will like it or not, but at least we will have proposed it!
Sébastien: No, but even the album before, we had composed the songs with another guitarist, and indeed we were still in this kind of very bluesy movement, still influenced by the former guitarist. So it’s not just the lineup changes, it’s really the fact of starting again on a little bit sterile land, a little bit virgin. It was cool!
While waiting for the release of the new album, you have unveiled a first song, “The Coming Wind”. What are the topics addressed in this song and what inspired it?
JC: What inspired him was reading a book. I always say the same thing, I don’t like to tell too much the story behind the songs, because I like it when everyone can interpret it a little bit as he feels it, because it’s what I like to do also when I listen to music. It’s finally what I project on it. But to talk about it a little bit… it’s about the future, the choices in life and then the possible and impossible futures too. So you see what comes. And that’s it!
Why did you choose this song to tease the album? Is it a song that, according to you, represents well the global spirit of your next album?
JC : I think there are a lot of different moods on this album, so it’s not necessarily representative. On the other hand, we find it…
Aurélien: The song is atypical.
JC: Yeah, rather atypical. But we find that it is a very successful song, which we like a lot. It’s the first song of the album too.
Aurélien: And there was something to do visually too!
JC: Yeah, there you go. There’s a real story. Go ahead, explain.
Aurélien: Actually, we released a music video on Monday. Directed by Angel FONSECA, who also works on Hellfest. And there was an aesthetic and visual side that could come out of it, which was quite interesting. And we’re not disappointed with the video.
Sébastien: We are happy with the music video!
Aurélien: What did I say?
Sébastien and Alexandre: “We are not disappointed”.
Sébastien: We can’t be only negative (laughs)
Alexandre: It’s a very visual music video, which is the characteristic of the video by the way.
Aurélien: It wasn’t too much a “too metal” song either. There was a side… The song is 5 minutes long, there is a big atmospheric part in the middle, very melodic.
JC: It’s a song without screams by the way !
Aurélien: There is no scream! It’s our first song without metal screaming. So here you go for all these elements. We wanted to put it forward and it really marks a break with our previous albums.
Sébastien: I think it is representative of this album, because if you listen to it, you think… For those who know a little bit about Red Mourning, they will think… Well, this is the feedback we got. It’s “they went looking for something else”.
As a music fan, I attach a particular importance to the visual identity of a band and especially to the artwork of the singles, albums… Which artist(s) are hidden behind your artworks?
Sébastien: So there have been several in fact. The first two were with the label.
Sébastien: That’s it. The fourth one was a tattoo artist and guitarist also from Lyon. Then, well it’s ugly because it’s ruined, but the logo (pointing to his t-shirt) of Red Mourning, the head, is an artist in fact who is a real artist, a graphic designer, called Auriane, who is very talented, who does a lot of things in black and white. She’s very talented, she does a lot of things in black and white, she’s very passionate about black, especially the work of Charles Burns, things like that. She had worked on this logo, we used it, this head, to make the cover of our acoustic EP. We colored it a little differently.
Alexandre: And all our t-shirts too.
Sébastien: And all our t-shirts too, because we thought it was really beautiful. And we said to ourselves, well, we’ll try to see for the last album what she can do, because we wanted to change again and she suggested us this artwork… which mixed feathers and flowers. And it’s really… It’s really beautiful, we’re really happy with the result. You should not hesitate to go and see what she does. She has an Insta page called @capitaine_corbeau, she makes a lot of pictures where she is a model, she makes drawings… She is a really great artist. But for the interior, we did some pictures with a friend of Alex’s, her name is Fanny…
Alexandre: Storck, Fanny Storck, a long time friend who is a sure value in terms of photography. She has her own style, she works well, quickly and efficiently. Well, it’s really… Her page is… @fannooshka I think. She makes pictures that are absolutely beautiful. I had 200% confidence in her, because again, I worked for a long time with her on the photo and everything… She’s… Very good!
Sébastien: After that, Aurélien is starting to get into a lot of video graphics stuff too…
Alexandre: He just started Paint last week! (laughs)
Aurélien: (laughs) But then we also have an interest in… Well, we like to collaborate with people who will propose us a universe, things etc. Not just ask someone to do a classic metal cover. Not just ask someone to make us a classic metal artwork. We want a universe a little bit original, same for the video, Angel was very strong of proposal. We suggested him a concept, but he made it his own. He proposed his music video, with his own vision. So we also like to collaborate in an artistic way with other people, as well in photo as in video… Finally everything! That’s also what’s great, it’s a bit more than just recording music and then that’s it. There is all the visual and everything that will happen around that is really interesting, enriching creatively!
JC: The very first album covers, the first two albums, are by Fabrice Trovato, who is also the guy behind the puppets.
Alexandre: The Fernando Rock Show!
JC: The Fernando Rock Show. You see the puppets? He’s the one who did that too! This guy is very funny, it is him who had made the covers of the first two.
Sébastien: And he’s been with us since the beginning. He has always been very cool with us!
JC: And you’re right, in fact, often, one of the first contacts you have with a band, either it’s in a festival like this, in concert, or it’s through an image in fact. It’s not even so much the music often, so yeah, it’s important.
Sébastien: The last one, we like it so much that it was integrated in the music video, at the end.
JC: The Coming Wind!
Aurélien: And precisely, it underlines the fracture side, because all our covers, except the first one, until now, were in black tones, a little dark etc. Here, the idea was to do something… An angel cover, already, with colors not necessarily metal. Here, the idea was to do something… And likewise, flowers and feathers… It’s not the most metal thing, but there’s a side, yeah. It underlines the fracture side of this album.
You must be eager to see what people thought of the album and the new universe.
Aurélien: Well, already, the first feedbacks on the first video, we are quite happy.
Alexandre: The 5 people who liked it on Facebook (laughs)
Sébastien: We wrote 5 comments each (laughs)
Let’s talk about Hellfest. How does it feel to play on the Hellstage?
Sébastien: New experience. It’s great to play here. We already played in 2008 on a stage called the Discover Stage at the time. It was a different atmosphere. Playing at Hellfest is always great. Just to be there already, invited, it’s incredible. After Hellstage yeah, it’s a different experience. It’s a little different comfort, a little random. And then in 50 degree weather it’s another thing!
Alexandre: It was hard, yeah, under the temperature…
Sébastien: We had a lot of fun and I think the audience was particularly motivated (laughs). So it was pretty cool!
Alexandre: There were some good moshpits! By the way, a big dedication to my friends who were there and even acquaintances, people I hadn’t seen for a long time.
JC: Full heat wave, a crazy thing.
Is there a band you absolutely don’t want to miss on this year’s line-up?
Alexandre: Sepultura tonight at 9:35pm and Devin Townsend “By request” tomorrow. I’m a big fanboy! These are the two concerts I don’t want to miss!
Sébastien: I would like to see Korn and Ghost. Ghost, that could be really cool!
Aurélien: We saw Baroness yesterday too. Baroness and Deftones, two bands we wanted to see. And Gojira too!
Sébastien: We missed Leprous and Mastodon, that’s a shame. Then, Leprous, we saw them I don’t know how many times. And no, I don’t know. Then, what else is on Sunday?
Alexandre: There’s Devin Townsend!
Sebastien: Devin Townsend, yeah!
JC: Infecticide! Every day, 3:45pm! (laughs)
That was my last question, thank you for your time and enjoy the festival!
The band: Thank you!