On April the 9th Les Chants Du Hasard will be releasing their new album, titled Livre Troisième. DutchMetalManiac’s Henric van Essen already reviewed it here, now he also interviewed Les Chants Du Hasard’s sole member Hazard.
Bonjour, ça va? I hope you are safe from COVID?
Hello, everything’s fine here. A little tired of the successive lockdowns, like everybody I guess.
First of all many thanks for this interview opportunity. No matter where I search for information about you, it is always shrouded in a cloud of mystery. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
There’s nothing worth of interest in my private life. Regarding my musical background, I played in several bands over the years. Now, I mostly gave up on guitar and only play piano, I find it much more satisfying, and it’s also the instrument I use when composing for Les Chants du Hasard.
In all honesty, up until the review I wrote about Livre Troisième I hadn’t heard from you, probably because your music fits in a genre I do not often explore. How did you end up making this type of music?
I’ve had this idea of making dark and violent orchestral music for a long time. As a teenager, I began to write a symphony. Needless to say, it did not go very far and I kept that for later. In the meanwhile I did some metal bands but always felt frustrated with only using guitars and drums. I could not properly bring life to the ideas and I ended up putting the blame on my compositional skills. So I took five years of proper classical composition classes the old way, by writing canons, fugues and chorals with a pen and paper. Little by little, this idea of “black metal-inspired chamber music” came back but I was still not sure it would work. The real trigger was when I saw the opera Elektra from Strauss, the most violent piece of music I’ve seen. I was then convinced this approach was a good idea.
Les Chants Du Hasard is and has always been a solo project if I’m correctly informed. What is the reason you play solo?
It’s not possible to do otherwise. The music is written for the orchestra, so either I spend a lot of time trying to gather all the players I need or I pay a given orchestra to record the music. The third option is to rely on digital solutions for emulating the orchestra sounds, which is what I did. In every case, there’s no band that could be involved.
Second, the thing I’m the most interested in is writing music. That’s what I do every free hour that I have. I have little interest in rehearsing or playing live so I also got tired of wasting energy and time working with other musicians. Guitarists spend a lot of time working on their guitar skills, I see myself as a composer and as such I spend my time working on my composition skills.
Congratulations with Livre Troisième, I really enjoyed it. Did it come out the way you envisioned it to be?
Yes, I had a clear idea of what I wanted to do on this album and everything fell in place rather easily. Of course, there’s been a lot of work. The sound engineer who handled the mix also did a wonderful job.
Can you tell us about the creative and practical road to a new release? What inspires you, how do you compose a new masterpiece and how does the recording process take place?
At the beginning of the process, I spend some time thinking about the direction of the new album, its structure, the general mood, how the voices will be used and how the songs should be linked together. Then come the first part of the composition where I do a rough sketch of each song at the piano with the main melodies. The last one is the orchestration where I translate those sketches for the full orchestra. There’s a lot of back and forth between the piano and the orchestra when new ideas arise or some things to correct.
When all the instrumental parts are done, I then record the voices.
I guess it does not look so different from the process of a regular rock band, there’s “just” one additional step which is the orchestration. Roughly speaking, It’s where you decide which instrument (or combination of instruments) will play which melody. But this is where you have to be very careful, because a poor choice can ruin a good idea or make it dull. But, a good orchestration can dramatically enhance an idea, given all the different instruments that you have at your disposal and all the possible combinations.
What instruments do you use?
Orchestra only, but all of it.
How do you see LCDH’s future?
In the near future, I’ll concentrate on making more music. Orchestral music in a metal context is almost a new genre and as such there’s so many ideas to work on, so many possible directions that it’s overwhelming, but also very exciting.
In a more distant future, I’ll first have to see if this appeals to an audience wide enough that it allows me to consider more ambitious projects, like playing live for instance.
Being a solo band comes with, sometimes severe, limits, especially when it comes to playing live. Do you have plans on playing live, when COVID allows, and if so, how do you see that happen?
Although I would like to have my music played live, I don’t see it happen anytime soon. The thing is, I would need an orchestra and besides the huge amount of time needed to edit the scores for each instrument and the rehearsals, it would be far more costly than what I can allow at the moment. So I would say it’s better not to count on that.
To wrap it up I like to ask you something that is not related to music. What, apart from making music, do you fill your spare time with?
All my spare time is filled with music. Composing, listening to music, studying scores and working on my piano skills.
Merci pour l’interview, hopefully you’ll stay safe from COVID. Is there anything else you’d like to say to our readers?
No guitars, no bass, no drums, orchestra only? Give this album a chance, you might be surprised.
Bonne chance à vous
Here you can also read our eighth part of Promoting Bands, which includes Les Chants Du Hasard.