Les Discrets – “L’échappée”
Just when I'm beginning to think that the black metal-meets-shoegaze sound is played out, Fursy of Les Discrets drags me back in. Not surprising, since he was one third of French outfit Amesoeurs who, though they only produced a single album, produced maybe the finest songs in the style. That band is done, but Fursy continues with Les Discrets, who are about to release a live recording of their 2013 set at Tilburg's annual Roadburn festival, the group's last set with members of Alcest as part of the group.
We've got the first cut from Live at Roadburn below, as well as an all-too brief interview with Fursy discussing the live record, the song he left off, and the futures of Les Discrets and Amesoeurs (or the lack thereof).
Roadburn, and the live vinyl series that you're now a part of, has become an event held in some esteem. What, now that it is done, do you remember about playing Roadburn?
Yes indeed I remember it. I keep a special memory, not a nice souvenir actually. I was away from home and my mother got a serious surgery in France. I had news from my family just 30 minutes before playing the show and they told me everything went fine. So just at this moment I felt reassured and calm. Otherwise we rehearsed a lot and I was confident with the performance. I just knew it was the last show of Les Discrets before a while and I also knew we’d gonna stop playing together with [drummer] Winterhalter. So I enjoyed it a lot on stage, I think we all did. That was very great. Short setlist, but very nice one, we removed all the songs that were too complicated to play or the boring ones.
Was there anything in particular about this set that you recall?
The venue was full of people I think. And also the response from the audience, that was quite incredible. The venue was very nice, with a wooden roof and very nice structure; the sound on stage was great for once and we could hear that the sound in the venue was super great. I guess the live engineer did a very good job. We also played "Gas In Veins" from Amesoeurs. But it’s not in the Live Recording, I removed it from the release.
Oh no! I love that song. The song we're premiering is "L'échappée," a song from the first Les Discrets album. What is this song's personal significance to you?
I like that song a lot, because it’s really a rock song in an album which is tainted by post rock and metal music. It’s one of the first I composed for Les Discrets too and I think it’s a song people like.
In the studio, you play every string instrument and keyboard in Les Discrets. What instrument do you play live, and what is your gear set-up?
Yes. Everything except drums! When I played live I played guitar. But considering how the next Les Discrets album sounds, I might play synths too in the next live performances. My gear? I usually play two guitars (two different tunings), one is a FENDER US Strat from ’88, the other one is a CUSTOM77 Lust For Life (french brand who do great guitars). Guitars go into various effect pedals and also a BOSS RC-50 sampler which is a very complete and great tool to me. Concerning amps, I have a very rare Stevens bass amp that I use for guitars, and I like to use single speaker open back cabs. But usually, I don’t bring my amp live, it’s too old and too fragile to be on tour.
I know this is going back to your split with Arctic Plateau, which we are not focusing on, but, why did you decide to cover the theme song to "The Persuaders"?
Because I absolutely adore this theme that brings me back to my childhood. I think it’s a very beautiful piece of music. I am not fond of the series, but I love its theme. This theme inspired me a lot for Le Mouvement Perpétuel and inspired me even more on the third Les Discrets album. Those tones, melodies, arrangements… that is the '70s OST to me.
The style of black metal and shoegaze fusion you began to work with in the last decade and still work with, has now become somewhat popular, especially in the United States. Deafheaven, a band that has become a critical darling here, would not exist without your work, I don't think. What are your thoughts on where the "blackgaze" sound has gone since you began working with this sound?
I think Neige [Alcest, Amesoeurs] is mostly responsible for it. I’m associated to post black metal. When I listen to Les Discrets, I mostly hear folk metal or post rock, but not really what post black metal sounds like. But I maybe don’t listen to my music the same way people do. Amesoeurs certainly had more to do with it? So I don’t have any thoughts on that. The truth is that I don’t listen to black metal at all (I almost never did) and I don’t listen to anything that has guitars with distortion anymore. I don’t even listen to post rock anymore. So, I’m a bit away from this scene to give my opinion. But, if our bands inspired other bands, well, that’s super great. I’d be very honored.
I hate to ask, but I need to: Is there any chance, do you think of playing any more Amesoeurs material at any time in the future?
You hate to ask it, but still you do eh, eh? I hate to say that, but I’d love we start again. I’m trying step by step to connect the members together again, it’s long work and I’m not sure I’ll succeed one day. I think I’m the most interested in that, because I really miss what we created once and I’m not sure we have said everything we could have said. But one shouldn’t have hope. I’m just the first Amesoeurs fan hoping for a reunion which will certainly never happen.
It's been some years since your last record. Are you working on new material? and if so when can we expect it and how does it seem, to you?
Yes I spent three months this winter in a house in the french countryside. I bought gear and built my home studio where I recorded the third Les Discrets album. I wanted not to be forced to record from 9am to 6pm etc, where I don’t necessary have the inspiration to do so. I wanted to record at night if desired, take rest for 3 days, to hike or do homework in between two takes on the same song, etc. I wanted to be free to record this album and that was so great. Recording is over, Audrey and I are doing vocals at the moment, and mix should start soon.
I think the album might be released early 2016, something like that. The funny thing is that when we mixed Live At Roadburn, I was in studio recording the third album, and that made me notice that really, Les Discrets took a brand new direction in music with this third album.