Eryn Non Dae: Exploring the Human Psyche One Emotion at a Time: A Conversation with Mickael André
Eryn Non Dae’s first album for Metal Blade Records, Hydra Lernaia, sounds like a vast undertaking at first glance. Honestly, what could be more time-consuming and more comprehensive than writing a concept record as nine separate human emotions? Well, if you were to ask the band (and I did), they would tell you it’s not big a thing. As a matter of fact, you’ll find as you keep reading (yes, a spoiler, but keep reading, please!), that the band didn’t even envision Hydra Lernaia being a concept record before they started writing it. Now, that’s saying something.
Hydra Lernaia is an album, a concept, in which questions and preconceived notions abound, and in order to get to the bottom of all things Eryn Non Dae and Hydra Lernaia, I was able to track down bassist Mickael André and hammer out a few things regarding this album, the band and, of course, the possibility of the band scoring horror movies. Movie producers, pay attention.
Get eXposed Music: For starters, it is safe to call Hydra Lernaia a concept album, correct? Could you briefly summarize the story arc?
Mickael André: The Hydra is the symbol he choose to put an image to the nine human feelings he describes in his lyrics, and sometimes these feelings seem to grow back stronger despite our will to destroy them, exactly as it's written about these nine hydra's heads in the mythological episode. The number nine is also very present in many ways in this record, but you have to figure out where and why.
GE: What made you think of writing an album as nine separate human emotions? And was it harder to put the album together with that concept in mind? Or did it just flow naturally?
André: The concept thing wasn't something Mathieu (the singer) did on purpose but more something which appeared to him during the writing process. As he went through some important personal experiences, his lyrics were quite related to what he was going through so he looked for a strong visual idea to sum up his lyrics and the hydra thing was perfect to create a whole thing with music lyrics and artwork.
GE: Hydra Lernaia is expansive and mountainous, yet not wandering. It doesn’t sound like much else out there. How much attention does Eryn Non Dae pay to originality while in the studio?
André: Thank you! In the studio I think it comes from our will to make the album sound a bit different from what we're used to hearing now.
GE: For as dense and aggressive as this album is, the guitars, bass, drums, everything comes through in the end. Do you take the time to make sure that each instrument, each member, is represented to the hilt?
André: I guess it's more a result of each member personality; we're all very involved in the composition process so there's no reason for us to let an instrument sounds less important than another. And one more time I think that the pre-production thing helped a lot as everyone could work on his parts more precisely than in rehearsal before go to the studio. Maybe it’s also because all of us have strong personality? It's a possibility.
GE: What could have possibly influenced the writing of this disc?
André: Hard to point a precise thing some of us could answer “life!” I remember about a strong will to build something invading and intense. But to speak about musical influence we were looking for a less usual sound than the standard big metal sound that we heard on every record now so we had in mind bands like Neurosis or Breach but with our metal side I think.
GE: Hydra Lernaia is also vastly described as ‘scary.’ Is that something the band was going for when recording?
André: Not very consciously I think, but I remember when I first listened to the finished album and I felt this kind of scary feeling, something very, very dark and frightening. It’s a weird thing about trying to figure ourselves why this record is so dark, but as happiness or sadness it's very important for a record to make the listener feel something and more generally the scary feeling is something very interesting, I mean when I watch a frightening movie I often wonder why this scene or this image frightens me, especially because what frightens us is most of the time something that doesn't exist. Personally I'm still more afraid by a monster hiding under my bed than about someone that could stab me in the street, pretty weird isn't it?!
GE: Have you given any thought in recording scores for films? Your music would seem to fit in nicely with a suspense/horror movie.
André: It's pretty personal but it's a kind of dream to be honest! Since I'm really into fitting music with images it could be a really interesting experience, but no one has called us yet! But it's a truly interesting perspective to write music without dealing with the problem to make it playable onstage after, like focusing even more on noise, atmosphere and composing songs more as some “movements” could be a great experience with a kind of dark contemplative movie! Maybe some directors will hear us!
GE: Anything else you care to add?
André: Since we never stop with Eryn Non Dae we're writing new songs for the next record and looking for gigs everywhere we can.