The Rebirth of Meyhnach
Willy "Meyhna'ch" Roussel is a mystery exposed to light. Throughout my time obsessively following bands and musicians associated with the French "Black Legions Circle"/LLN, Roussel is the only musician whose name is fully known. Though there are rare live shows, music videos, drug abuse rumors, stories of antics, and endless new projects, I can't really say I know all too much about the ever-mysterious Meyhna'ch. Now entirely removed from his long-running and now-defunct solo project Mütiilation, Meyhna'ch finds new life in further obscurity. In this interview, I tried to see if I could "crack" this persistent enigma and find out about Willy Roussel the man instead of Meyhna'ch the entity, but I only left with further questions, and I feel like they will go unanswered forever. Mask or no mask, pseudonym or no pseudonym, Willy Roussel will always bask in his own mystery.
Though the majority of your body of work has been defined by you working alone, what drove you to create music under a separate, eponymous solo project?
Just wanted to separate my new project Meyhnach from my previous work with Mütiilation, wanted as well to have more freedom concerning my musical exploration instead of being chained with a black metal style that all Mütiilation fans would expect...
What sorts of freedom did you want to embrace? I certainly hear elements of projects you briefly had over the last decade or so (the oddity of Od Sanctus especially).
It's just that I expect Meyhnach to be different from Mütiilation. I used another name, then. I didn't want to be categorized in a style that forbid any musical change, concretely, the adding of electronic parts, more ambient atmospheres... Artists evolve in time with their creations as typical black metal seems to be frozen in the old way as it should be, then was more honest to everyone to abandon the name of Mütiilation.
Does this spell the end for the somewhat-recently revived Mütiilation? Or is it something which will exist in parallel?
Yes, Mütiilation is dead and has been for 10 years now, [with the exception of] the live session in 2015.
Since this new project carries your long-time nom du plume, is it meant to be an all-encompassing artistic pursuance?
[Like] if i'll do other albums with this new project? Well, it's a bit early to tell, but I guess yes... and probably will go further on detaching from my former music.
I guess I meant to ask if it was meant to be something more definitive regarding your previous works (taking influence from the variety of older projects), but I see this is more of a rebirth. Do you feel compelled to fully separate yourself from your former musical exploits?
A rebirth for me, indeed, meaning the definitive death of Mütiilation…
I think projects must have a beginning and an end. Look at all those old bands who recorded like 20 albums, everyone agrees to say that it was better and more authentic at the beginning of their career... I decided to stop Mütiilation before it repeats itself and become shit. Now it's time for a new era with Meyhnach. I'll never deny what I recorded all my life long but I felt the need to create something new...well once you'll listen to it maybe you'll judge it's not so different.
I certainly hear an embracing of the more primitive elements and nightmarish atmospheres which defined your earlier recordings, but with an undeniable modernity of an industrial backbone and harsh, mechanical ambiance.
You said it....so did you already listen to it?
I'm actually on my fourth or fifth listen right now. It is most certainly a "grower," and there is still the undeniable "Meyhna'ch character" to it, but it is much more complex and covers a very wide timeline. Like, I could say there are harmonies and exercises in tension which could resemble stuff like Satanicum Tenebrae, but those could easily just be hallmarks of your own inherent style.
Do you feel people (like me) who hear those very early works of yours in this new project are valid, or would you rather they try to listen to it without context?
Well, I have a background and can't blame people who consider it...but I think if you want to judge this project objectively, you should listen to it like if you've never heard of me... Who cares, anyway? Most Mütiilation fans will be curious to discover it. Some will like, others will hate... I always had extreme reactions toward my music.
It sounds like this is a more personal endeavor when compared to the superimposed, romantic vampirism of what people have grown to expect, Like this is more about Meyhnach the artist and person rather than Meyhnach the "mythical being."
Yes, absolutely. As I didn't want to follow something expected from Mütiilation… I turned the project to my own name, as a travel in the depth of my twisted soul… an exhibition on my being
How has it felt digging into your own soul for artistic expression?
I always did, but this time it was more personal. I wanted to say all the things I never told with Mütiilation… Time have passed, as well, and I have (maybe) a more objective vision of what I am.
Did you discover anything new about yourself with this more overtly personal focus?
Some dark experiences in my personal life made me grow up and get another look at my own life and death.
Could you go further into that?
Well, it's all about finding the point to what you have done, what you have been [and] the consequences.
Asking yourself about the absurdity of existence and what the result is after all… People pass by and disappear, but their art will be remembered and studied… sometimes. All that and for what? Probably feeding my own ego.
Does ego play a large part in the music you make?
I guess, yes, considering the principal topic is myself and my own feelings.
Is there any single feeling you could ascribe to this new project?
There are many feelings, but the main one is probably introspection.
Did you explore these feelings before making the music, or did the music inspire this introspection?
I think it was my feelings inspiring my music and lyrics simultaneously.
In this process of reaching out, reaching back, and meditating on deep, personal thoughts and issues, how do you feel the more practiced, experienced Meyhnach of 2017 differs in artistic approach to when you started creating music almost three decades ago?
Sure, time has passed and my musical evolution did follow my spiritual one. When I started [making music] years ago, my creations were more brutal and impulsive.
So you take more time with composition now?
Yes, it was about one year of work to create and record this new album.
You cited your spiritual evolution, could you describe your current spiritual state, or the spiritual state which fueled the album?
It is hard to describe or explain, concerning the album... I could say it's liberated from any external influence.
Public expectations from you as an artist?
Of course. Anyone releasing an album expects that the public will appreciate it. At the same time, I don't have too many illusions. I know my art is widely criticized, and it will be probably denied by some purist black metal aficionados... I still expect some evolved people to get interested in it.
Do you feel these sorts of aficionados/highly critical people who have such high expectations are detrimental to progression in art and music?
Well, most of them expect that black metal should sound like back in the early '90's. Actually, it's what I believed for years, too, but the old black metal is dead for me. I explored a lot in this style and came to an end.
I don't really want my music to be labeled as black metal now, but I think it just sticks to me
Is there any way you would prefer this new album/project to be labeled?
Not really. I didn't think of being categorized in a particular style [when I made this album].
Is there anything you'd like to directly say to the naysayers, those who stubbornly view your music within the prisms of Mütiilation and Internet posturing?
Back off, my music is not for you.
Non Omnis Moriar, the debut album by Meyhna'ch's new eponymous project, is slated for a November 17th release through Osmose Productions.
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