In April, French metallers Karma Zero released their second full-length Monsters. DutchMetalManiac’s Tim van Velthuysen spoke with guitarist/vocalist Ben and vocalist SaYmon, read it below.
Hey guys, how’s life in France?
Ben: Hi, not too bad if we forget the fact that our new president will take away some of our freedoms in order to “fight” against terrorism.
SaYmon: Hey, here in France life is just like every other European countries, with our problems of unemployment and financial crisis, we live in a quite pessimistic period but even though those things we are here and trying to do just like any others, and live the good part of life! Maybe to talk about music we can regret the fact than metal scene here is still seen as an underground scene and it’s quite difficult to organise gigs or events for this kind of music!
Why did you name your band Karma Zero?
SaYmon: At the time we didn’t have a name for the band, or maybe something not definitive like WaitShiva or something like that (we used to put ethnic samples in our tracks, inspired by Indian music etc…) and all our friends told us that it wasn’t really easy to pronounce (for French people anyway…!) so we were searching something else, and we had a song called Karma Zero (again all was about Indian mythology) and everyone in the band agreed about the fact that it sounded great and was easier to remember, so we decided to take that track name for our band!
For people who don’t know you, yet, how would you describe your music?
Ben: We make metal modern with various influences like hardcore, djent, death and even black metal. We write without barriers by simply trying to make a violent music turned towards the live.
SaYmon: Let’s call that KarmaCore XD !!
In April you released your second full-length album called Monsters. What are the responses of press and public so far? How do you feel about that?
Ben: For now we only have positive feedback from our new album, people who follow us are very enthusiastic about the new songs, especially live.
We hope that this momentum will continue and attract more and more people to listen to Monsters and come see us on stage.
When you compare Monsters to your first full-length, Architecture Of A Lie, what do you notice? In what way Karma Zero has grown?
Ben: Our sound has changed, it is more accomplished, more personal than before.
We have completely revised our way of composing, everyone is involved and everyone brings a touch.
We’ve all progressed since Architecture Of A Lie and thanks to that today we know where we want to go.
SaYmon: As Ben said, during composition and reheasals, everyone put his influence into the tracks and we tried to mix those different styles. The point was not to forbid anything, like we could have done before. If a part in a song sounded more like black metal or something that we aren’t used to do, we made it and that’s it! We just tried to have fun and make great music! Maybe that’s why we have grown musically, by composing this way we have found our music and the way we wanna sound.
Your press release stated that, with Monsters, you’re back, angrier than ever. What makes you angry nowadays?
Ben: What makes me angry is the injustice in this world, for example I am sick of seeing that we are able to raise billions of dollars to make war and at the same time leaving people starving to death.
I try to be a little more optimistic but each day brings disastrous news …
SaYmon: Quite difficult to answer questions like that, what Ben said is so true! I would add the idea of being manipulated everyday by the medias, everything that we are told in newspapers or on TV and on the internet is always a part of the truth, you always have to compare many sources to find out what’s true or not. It’s like information is some kind of an advertisement for someone or something! Every problem in our society (unemployment , financial crisis…) makes everyone more individualistic or leeds them to radical right and xenophobic opinions, that’s really scary. It’s just like people forgot history…
Can you tell us a bit about the story behind the songs on Monsters?
SaYmon: The idea was to make sort of a concept album base on old monster movies from the 30’s to the 50’s, each song talks about one of those classic monsters and makes a parallel with everyday life, in most of the movies, monsters are called that way just because they are different, and not understood. People are scared by what they cannot understand most of the time, and first reaction is reject in many times. The album and the lyrics talk about that, and classic monster mythology was also a way to give a particular atmosphere to Monsters with samples taken from old movies, that was great to create some kind of a word, and tell a story more than a ‘classi” metal album with 10 violent tracks that come one after another without any global idea…
Who are the real monsters in this world for you?
Ben: The real monstrers in this world are us.
Humanity has reached such a level of violence that today generally everyone looks away in order to preserve himself or herself. As long as we are not directly affected we do not react.
I generalize, there are obviously people who move their ass off but I expect above all a reaction of the elite of this world, those who have money and power.
And these people only react in the face of public opinion, so we must all without exception express our indignation against all this shit, boycott and consume differently to finally be heard.
Which track on Monsters is your favorite?
Ben: My favorite song is Buried Alive, it’s the last song we wrote for the album and it’s also the most violent. It is always a pleasure to play it live, people are very receptive and war breaks out in the pit every time! XD
SaYmon: Like Ben Buried Alive is one of my favorite, but I would say that the one I prefer is the one called Monsters, maybe that’s one of the less violent in the album, but I love the end of the track, and lyrics summarize the big idea of the album: basically we are all Monsters because as I said before, everyone in his life had to live this moment when all the people around don’t understand you and makes you feel like a monster, just because you are different or you simply have different idea.
You also have one cover track on it, Blind by Korn, why did you choose for that one?
SaYmon: We did not have a precise idea of this cover, the thing is that I had this idea about the intro and the drums that comes with this more energic and rock’n roll vibe, juste before this famous « Are you ready ?! ». So we just started with that and composed together how the track could sound if we started it this different way! We made it for fun and put in it some of our musical influences we spoke about with your first question!
We didn’t expect so many reactions about it, that was really cool to receive messages about how people liked it! There were also negative reactions, but when you cover such a legendary track like Blind from Korn, you cannot expect everyone to like it, but we made it just for fun and to turn it into a thing that we like with our influences and the sound we make and like. We are true Korn fans and we support them since we are kids, we were those ones with baggy jeans and dreadlocks in the 90’s, so we never tried to do better than them, that’s just impossible!
Let’s call it a cover for fun ! 😉
You have two songs with guest vocalists on Monsters, Julien from Deep In Hate and Emilie from Gravity. How was working with them?
Ben: They are friends, we shared a lot of scenes together and so it was all natural to ask them to sing on our new album. Especially we appreciate their voices and they complement well with Simon’s.
SaYmon: Julien and Emilie who make the featurings on Swamp Things and Horror Films are friends of us since 2013! We met them with our first album Architecture of a Lie, and toured with their bands (Julien in Checkmate/Emilie in Gravity), with that tour we had so much fun and they became true friends, and at that time we already spoke about a collaboration for our upcoming album! So when we had the tracks we contacted them, and they said yes! That was great to work with them, they are really great frontmen!
If you haven’t checked their bands just listen to it! Emilie is the frontwoman of Gravity, they will release their 3rd album Noir at the end of this year, and Julien is now the singer in Deep In Hate and they are about to release Disobey their second album soon!
At this time, you have one show confirmed, are more of them coming soon? Maybe somewhere in The Netherlands?
SaYmon: We are actually booking shows in France for the end of 2017, and we are trying to make a European tour, maybe in Netherlands that would be great to play in your country, so if promoters want to book us, don’t hesitate and contact us!!
Any other future plans for Karma Zero you can already tell?
Ben: We are looking for a European tour at the moment and we’ll start working on new songs very soon.
SaYmon: New tracks, new clips, and many more… To be continued as they say!!
Thanks for your answers, is there anything you would like to say to DutchMetalManiac’s readers?
Ben: Thank you for reading us, check out our new album Monsters and tell us what you think. I hope you’ll enjoy it!
SaYmon: Thank you very much for reading this, listen to our new album and if you like it, download it legally or illegally and give it to your friends!!! Party hard, have fun, and support your local scene!!
I’m Tim van Velthuysen and I started DutchMetalManiac back in 2014. I’m 27 years old and I live in Nijmegen, The Netherlands. Of course, I like metal, but I can also appreciate other musical styles. However, metal is what I mostly listen to. I also like going to concerts, meeting with friends and watching movies (especially arthouse).