Monday, December 23, 2013
Below is the transcript of SMN’s interview with Luc Lemay of Gorguts. For a write-up on this interview, click here.
SMN: First, a simple and meaningful thank you is in order for Colored Sands. That album is a triumph from start to finish.
Luc: Thank you very much for your words… I am very proud of the album. It was a long journey to write, but long doesn’t mean painful or unpleasant. It was a true labor of love. Also, I’m totally overwhelmed by the metal community’s generosity. This is amazing to share and reconnect with the fans.
SMN: Was it difficult for you to get back in the Gorguts “writing mode” for this record, or were these ideas you’ve had floating around for awhile?
Luc: No, it was not difficult to get back in the writing mode. As a matter of fact, two of the songs which are on Colored Sands were written back when I was in Negativa. The music from the song “Reduced to Silence” was a song I wrote for Negativa. It was way shorter in Negativa. I kept the same structure but I stretched some parts here and there. Also, just before I left Negativa I had written all the music for “An Ocean of Wisdom,” but this one never got fully arranged within Negativa, so I knew I would use this material for Gorguts.
SMN: One of my favorite aspects of your work with Gorguts is the feeling you get out of a song–each piece has a unique movement and feel unto itself. Would you say your songwriting comes naturally in song form, or do you find yourself just writing a ton of riffs, and then worry about arranging them into a cohesive song structure–has your approach varied throughout the years?
Luc: I usually come up with a few riffs, and then arrange them together. The hardest part for me is to get a song beginning. Each song’s beginning has to be very, very different from one another. For example, imagine reading a book and that every chapter would begin the same way or slightly similar, that would make the story uninteresting. With music it’s the same thing. So from there, I keep writing a logical continuation for the song as if I would write a story.
SMN: The metal community took a tremendous blow when your old bandmate and close friend Steeve Hurdle passed away, and you have my condolences. You’ve said in the past that it was actually Steeve who gave you the idea to restart Gorguts–was he in your heart while writing this album?
Luc: Well, of course I thought about him while I finished the record. One of my biggest regrets is that he never got to hear the record… since he’s the one that gave me the idea about making a new album, to me he was the first on the list to hear it… but unfortunately it never happened.
SMN: Although you’ve mainly attributed Negativa to being wholly Steeve’s project, having been in the band, do you know if the unreleased material he recorded will ever see the light of day?
Luc: No, that’s not my decision… I have no idea at what stage his project was when he passed away. I don’t know if he did any recordings after I left? We never got the chance to share on this.
SMN: As for Gorguts, your North American tour begins in earnest next week–how does it feel to be going out in support of your first new material in over a decade?
Luc: Totally amazing! I’ve been waiting for this moment for a very long time! It’s going to be awesome to perform this new material live!
SMN: With the members of your band residing so far from one another, has rehearsing for this tour been difficult?
Luc: Not at all. We’re used to the process. We are very meticulous musicians. When we get together, everybody is very well-rehearsed and ready. So it’s just a matter of playing a couple of sets and it’s right on! It’s like if we would jam together all the time.
SMN: Although you’ve expressed interest in performing the entirety of the new record live, are there any other older you songs you haven’t played in years you’d like to dust off and play live? If so, have you experienced difficulty trying to remember particular songs you wrote in your youth?
Luc: Oh yes! Back in the days, I was not writing my music on paper. It was only played by memory… so most of the songs from Erosion, Considered, and Obscura I don’t remember at all. Now it’s different; for Colored Sands, everything is written down in tablatures.
SMN: For this tour you’ve decided to bring along bandmate John Longstreth’s other project, Origin, as well as Italian upstarts Nero di Marte. The package speaks for itself, but when you were planning the tour did you always have them in mind?
Luc: Initially, it was supposed to be Ulcerate that were going to open the evenings… but there was not enough shows for them to cover all the fees for them to come over in America from New Zealand. You know, flights, working visas, etc… so when I was told it was not possible, I asked for Nero di Marte. I really like their music! Their album hit me like a ton of bricks! I think it’s going to be a great metal evening with them and Origin.
SMN: Is there any band you would still like to tour with?
Luc: Would love to tour with Ulcerate, Opeth, Hate Eternal, The Dillinger Escape Plan, Morbid Angel, Behemoth, The Ocean, Bloodbath, Carcass, Cult of Luna, Voivod, Napalm Death, Neurosis.
SMN: Aside from a handful of dates here and there, this seems to be the first longer-form tour you’ve undergone since reactivating the band. Are the shorter-run tours and one-off dates out of necessity or preference?
Luc: Yes, this is the longest one for America, but we did a similar tour length last year in Europe.
SMN: Shifting gears a bit, your passion for woodworking is well-documented. Have you ever tried your hand at making a guitar, or is that something you would like to try in the future?
Luc: No, I never built a guitar… it never really appealed to me as far as building it. If I would ever build a music instrument, it would be a harpsichord. I already bought books on the subject. There’s not much documentation available on this craft. While I was studying at the Conservatory, I would often go in the harpsichord class to play on the instrument… I find it very inspiring. Also, I love ancient and baroque music.
SMN: And finally, because your fans (including myself) can never be satisfied, is there new Gorguts material on the way, and what are the chances you would release a full album devoted to your classical compositions?
Luc: I would love to do a record with my compositions, but the costs are very high. For example, I would need to hire about 20 musicians to record the flute concerto, and that’s way beyond what I can pay. I would need to find a label to finance this. Maybe in the future. Thanks for the interview! And thanks to all the fans! I’ll see you one tour!
Interview conducted by Mike Melvin via email in December 2013.