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Our meeting with Theraphosa at Hellfest 2022!

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 the french metallers Theraphosa!

Picture: Denis Goria

Hi Theraphosa. First of all, would it be possible to introduce yourselves?

Matthieu: I’m Matthieu, I’m the bass player of the band and I do the back vocals, and I also write the lyrics.

Vincent: I’m Vincent, I play the guitar and do the vocals, and I write the compositions of the band.

Martin: I’m Martin, the drummer, and I do the arrangement on the compositions.

How was your band formed?

Vincent: It was formed a very long time ago! I mean… A very long time ago. What was it? It was in 2007! It was formed a bit… Very naturally, in fact! I wanted to form a band. This is my biological brother, I mean (pointing at Matthieu) and this is my brother too, but not biological (pointing at Martin). We were 4 years apart, well, we still are 4 years apart (laughs), and I was… I can’t remember how old I was…

Matthieu: 17 and I was 13!

Vincent: That’s it! And I already wanted to make a band for a little while. Matthieu started playing bass, or I don’t know…

Matthieu: Vincent had been playing guitar for two years, he was looking for a band but he couldn’t find one, he couldn’t find people who were reliable. So I went to see him and I said “Listen, do you want me to play bass?” He said “OK” and I started playing bass. We needed a drummer and I thought of Martin because he told me that he had played drums when he was young. I said to myself “Well, that will do” and Martin accepted!

Vincent: In fact, we started like that, very simply. And then, we started to play a little bit quietly, between us, in the attic. We started to write our own compositions. And it progressed until then! We evolved musically all together, over all the years, and that’s it!

Martin : And in the first year, we had our first music festival! That was our goal!

Vincent: Yeah, it was our first!

Matthieu: It was a few months after the formation.

Vincent : We formed the band and right after, we did a music fest. It was fun! It was already our goal!

Martin: Because we were very small at that time!

Vincent: It was incredible!

It remains good memories!

Vincent: Oh yeah, definitely! I remember it very well. The first one, I remember it very well!

Let’s talk about your album “Transcendence”, released in 2020. How long did you work on it?

Vincent: When you say working on it, do you mean recording, or everything?

The whole process!

Matthieu: It’s quite difficult to situate the composition process, because Vincent is always composing. He is constantly composing. He can sometimes use songs that he composed years ago for the album. In general, we start to prepare an album, to work on the songs, to choose them, to learn them, to write the lyrics, to choose the theme and to record them. In general, it is a process of 6 months, approximately?

Vincent: I trust you!

Matthieu: Between 6 months and a year, to be broad!

Vincent: The recording didn’t take that long, per se. It took us what, a month I think! “Transcendence” was a month in Paris. But before that, there was a lot of work upstream over several months. But it’s true that as he says (pointing at Matthieu), we select the songs, we learn them, we write the lyrics and that’s it!

Theraphosa - Album artwork - Photo Denis Goria

Picture: Denis Goria

Is it a team effort, or does everyone have a more or less predefined role?

Vincent: Now there are really predefined roles.

Matthieu: Which was not the case on “Transcendence” totally. It started to happen on “Transcendence”. Vincent is almost 100% in charge of the composition. I’m now 100% in charge of writing the lyrics, but on “Transcendence”, it’s 50%. And Martin does a lot of the arrangements, especially for his drum parts. And for the arrangements, it can happen that we all discuss again, but in general, Vincent and Martin are the ones taking care of it.

Vincent: Yeah, we do it together.

Matthieu: It can happen that we compose (pointing at Martin), but it’s really anecdotal!

For this album, you worked with Francis Caste. How was your collaboration?

Vincent: Honestly, it was great!

Matthieu: It was great!

Vincent: Francis, it matched on all levels, that is to say humanly and musically. So it was perfect! He was recommended to us by our editor and he had seen that he was the right person to work with us. On top of that, we were very happy with the result. Really, it was a perfect. Nothing to say!

I’ve been following your socials for a while and I noticed that you started a teasing phase (time spent in studio etc), until you announced, a few days ago, that a new album was in preparation. Can we talk about this future release and the evolution of your music between Transcendence and this new album?

Vincent: So, I’m going to talk about the music and Matthieu will talk more about the text and the idea behind it, the philosophy behind! Basically, the music will be a logical continuation of “Transcendence”. It’s going to be something quite similar, maybe a bit more aggressive at times. A little bit more technical too, at times, without going into extreme stuff. But otherwise, it remains in the straight line of what we did with “Transcendence”. And then, the thematic and the lyrics, Matthieu will elaborate.

Matthieu: It’s a logical continuation of “Transcendence”, it’s a deepening of what we’ve already discussed. In the album “Transcendence”, we had approached the transcendence in a rather general way and there, we are going to specify, we are going to deepen the things. The album is called “Inferno” and the support of this album is the book the Divine Comedy of Dante. The first part of this book is the hell, with the 9 circles. And each song will represent one of the circles. There will be 10 tracks because we also have the vestibule.

Vincent: We did the introduction if you want… The entrance!

Matthieu: That’s it! In the book, we call it the ante hell and we call it the vestibule.

Vincent: It’s called the vestibule too!

Matthieu: That’s it, and then we have the 9 circles which take up the vices, so lust, gluttony, heresy, treason etc. The goal is to develop these vices on a philosophical level. Because what is very interesting with Dante, it is that his work, it passes by the hells, the purgatory and then the Paradise. It’s a spiritual path to beatitude. So we are really in a very catholic context since it was written between 1306 and 1321, so it is in a catholic world. But the transcendence can as well touch believers and non-believers, it is a theme which is very broad. And the vices which are approached in this work are timeless, in reality. We can approach them differently with the time in which we live. And so we tried to approach these vices in relation to our time.

Vincent: And moreover, we can approach them as well from a believing point of view as from a non believing one, that’s what’s good! It’s something very universal.

Matthieu: We’ll talk to both, believers and non-believers.

Is it an album that you composed during the pandemic?

Vincent: No! I mean… Yes and no! There are tracks that were composed a few years ago, because I’ve been wanting to do this “Inferno” project for years.

Matthieu: Vincent has been wanting to do it for a very long time!

Vincent: So I’ve already started working on…

Martin: The idea!

Vincent: Yeah, the idea and then the style of the music that goes with it. It’s an atmosphere! So I had already prepared some stuff. I said “It would be good for the Inferno project”. And in the end, when we said “Let’s do it, let’s do this one”, well I took some of these songs that I reworked and then there are others that were composed from scratch recently, that’s it! So it’s a process…

Matthieu: The lyrics are written very shortly before the release of the album… before the recording, rather! The lyrics were not prepared in advance.

Is it an album that you recorded again with Francis Caste, or in your own studio?

Vincent: Well, this is the first time we’re doing this. We record ourselves in our home studio. There, we have finished the taking of drums. On the other hand, we will mix… It’s not us who will mix, we’ll have someone else mix and master it. But we are on a recording process that we make ourselves. That’s it! So that’s what’s going to be different. After that, we would have loved to do with Francis, really, nothing tells us that we won’t do other projects with Francis because it was great. But it’s true that for this one, we wanted to try like that!

Who had the idea of this home studio ?

Matthieu: I would say that it was Vincent! Let’s say that we always wanted to have a studio at home, for the practical and economical side, but…

Vincent: And then, you also want to learn how things work. It’s true that when you’re in the studio and you see the engineers doing their job, placing the microphones, mixing… Well, I’m like: “I’d love to try to do that, I’d love to learn how it works”. And so you learn, you learn by yourself and at some point, you say to yourself: “Now, I think I can do it”. So yeah!

Martin: And the difference with a studio is that in a studio, it’s in a limited time. But when you’re at home, it’s really… You can take your time.

Vincent: You have time to try things out!

Martin: You do what you want, in reality, so it’s different, as a working method.

I saw that you had also started to create DIY acoustic panels!

Vincent: Yeah, oh the madness! (laughs)

Martin: Yeah! (laughs)

Vincent: We do everything, all alone. Well, we do a lot of things by ourselves. It’s a form of pride, somewhere. I’m very happy to say to myself “we did it ourselves”, because each time, you learn things. Because before I made the acoustic panels, I read all the documentation, but for weeks! What thickness do you need, what size…

Martin: The glue! (laughs)

Vincent: Glue! How do we do it? The nails, what do we use? A madness!

I feel like there’s an anecdote with the glue! (laughs)

Matthieu: We glued acoustic panels on the ceiling, and the glue doesn’t stick! So we stayed like that (with our hands on the ceiling) for 10-15 minutes! (general laughter)

Vincent: In the end, it was a mess! (laughs)

Martin: Every time we woke up the next day, there were things that had fallen down!

Vincent: We were going crazy, this story made us crazy!

We can say that you have a little bit of a handyman side!

Vincent: Yeah!

Matthieu: Especially Vincent! Especially Vincent!

Vincent: Martin is very willing, he helps me every time!

Matthieu: Martin helped the most! I was there from time to time, but Vincent…

Vincent (talking about Martin): He sees that I have a saw and he says “Come on, let’s cut” (laughs). He also enjoys it! It’s also true that financially it’s an abyss, if you start to want… Because we had inquired a long time ago to make a studio in the rules of the art, the price was just not within our reach! So we said “Well, we’ll do it ourselves, as we can, trying to be as professional as possible”. We didn’t do too badly, in the end.

What made us want to do it ourselves was that we were interested in doing it ourselves, the satisfaction of doing it ourselves, and the price. We don’t have an extensible budget, we do what we can! We prioritize, even if it means spending money… I said to myself “Well, maybe we’ll buy microphones to have a good quality for the drum, to record the drum, and then the acoustic panels, we’ll do it ourselves”. That’s it! That’s how it was done!

Pictures: https://www.facebook.com/theraphosamusic

We save money, but there is necessarily a big investment of time!

Vincent: Yeah! But it’s good, because the whole family is involved. If I need a tool, I call Grandpa! And that’s funny! It’s good, in a way it’s cool, because everyone is involved. It allows you to be in contact with everyone, to always see everyone… That’s cool!

Let’s talk about it since we are at Hellfest. How does it feel to be in such an emblematic festival?

Vincent: Honestly, it’s great! First of all, it’s a bit of an honor for us, because… being here is… As you say, it’s emblematic! This festival, it’s still… Now it’s good, it’s worldwide recognized. It’s true that when we arrived, we were impressed by the logistics, the organization! It’s incredible! It’s true that to be able to be here, to talk about our album, it’s a huge chance. And it is also a huge honor! So we are really happy! It makes something, too. It does not leave indifferent! (laughs) There is a little pride. It’s in France! Frankly, it’s impressive.

Will you have time to see some concerts?

Martin: Yes, we’ve already seen some!

Vincent: We’ve seen some, yes. Some of them already! After that, we say to ourselves that we are mainly here to do the interviews and to do what we have to do, what we came for in the first place! But it’s true that we try to see as many concerts as possible as soon as we have time to do it.

When you discovered the program, was there a particular band that you really didn’t want to miss?

Vincent: I did! Ghost!

Everyone tells me the same thing! (laughs)

Vincent: I’m a fan of Ghost! I saw them recently in Paris, not long ago, they came by, but I had to see them again! As soon as they pass, I see them! So Ghost was my number 1. And now, tonight, Gojira! I have to see Gojira too! That’s it! After that, there are other bands that interest me, but mainly yes, if I had to choose one, it’s Ghost!

Martin: I had never seen Ghost, Vincent often talked about it, because he is a fan of this band. And I had never seen them live. I went to see it and it’s true that it’s very impressive! It’s a real show! It’s not a concert, it’s a show! So yeah, it was really great to watch. And after that, I would really like to see, like Vincent, Gojira!

Vincent: Gojira, yeah!

Matthieu: No, I’m not… I’m not really a concert person, so…

Vincent: He’s different! (laughs)

There’s got to be a concert you’re going to see… Isn’t there?

Matthieu: Well, I’ve seen a few. I watched Rotting Christ with Vincent, Opeth, a band, I didn’t know the name, I don’t know the band, so I’ll go check, because it was nice what they were doing. It was the first day… What time did we arrive Martin, the band we saw? The guy was in sweatshirt, short hair, in sweatshirt!

Vincent: On the mainstage!

Martin: Ah, on the main! Well… I don’t know!

Vincent: Yeah… But it was cool!

Matthieu: It was nice! But otherwise, no, there’s no…

Vincent: But we don’t know what it was! (laughs)

Martin: It was Wednesday, in the afternoon. Uh, Friday, in the afternoon!

Matthieu: Actually, I listen to metal, but it’s not the style of music I listen to the most! What I’d really like to see live is more Gregorian chants, stuff like that! I like that!

Speaking of concerts, when can we see you on stage again? Do you have any upcoming dates?

Vincent: That’s a good question!

Matthieu: No, for the moment, no dates… We hope that the release of the album will bring us some! Oh yes, yes! We have a festival!

Martin: A festival in Clermont-Ferrand!

Matthieu: Yeah!

Vincent: Is it in Clermont?

Matthieu: Are you sure? Isn’t it in Savoie or in Switzerland?

Vincent: We don’t really know where it is. It’s the New Blood Festival, I think. Next year!

Martin: Which was set yesterday!

Matthieu: And we clearly know what’s going on! (laughs)

Vincent: You’ll forgive us…

If it was yesterday, you’re excused!

Vincent: Yeah, except that which is planned, for the moment we don’t really have any dates planned. But we hope to have some as soon as possible and as much as possible.

Martin: We had some things planned before the Covid, but we hope that it’s just postponed and not cancelled. So, we are still waiting to know the confirmations and all that!

Vincent: That’s it!

Martin: But we don’t know more!

That was my last question, thanks for taking the time to answer it! I leave you the last word for our readers, if you want to promote the future album, now is the time!

Vincent: First of all, thank you for the interview, it’s a pleasure! And for those who are going to read it, we invite them to follow our news a little bit, because Inferno, it’s going to be really nice! It’s something we wanted to do for a while, and I think it’s going to be…

Martin: It’s our project!

Vincent: Yeah, it’s a project we really wanted to do and I think it’s gonna be fun! So frankly, if they like this kind of delirium, the musical representations, well represent some, how to say…

Matthieu: Concepts, let’s say!

Vincent: Concepts in music, there’s a bit of a cinematographic side to it, really. So if they like that, frankly, I invite them to follow! That’s it!

Interview by Valentine KLIPFEL for Distrolution / Distrolution Merch.
Thanks to Theraphosa for their time.
Thanks to Roger WESSIER from Replica Promotion for the opportunity, as well as to the press team of the Hellfest Festival (Elo, Romain…).

About Valentine

I've been writing for various music websites since 2011 and joined Distrolution in 2017. Huge fan of pop punk and punk rock music.

About Distrolution Merch

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