The first ever completed interview for Technical Music Review was conducted with Canadian Technical Death Metal wizards Augury. The band is promoting their upcoming release “Illusive Golden Age”. The band has had two prior releases to their upcoming release…..”Concealed” in 2004 and “Fragmentary Evidence” in 2009.
TMR: How was the songwriting different for Illusive Golden Age compared to Fragmentary Evidence or Concealed?
(Patrick Loisel- Vocals and Guitar) It wasn’t that different. We used the same ingredients and strategies, but perhaps in different proportions. We mostly write arrangements over each other’s riffs, that unless the composer has a specific harmony in mind or else. We don’t come with sheet music and go “Play this!”. Each song had its own modus operanti when it comes to composition. Some songs were written live in rehearsals, some others were studio work, you really have every way possible.
TMR: What is the meaning behind your band name?
I was inpired by some texts about the Salem Witch Trial, and then people with unusual insight or knowledge would be rounded up and accused with the “felony of augury”. Basically it means “forbidden knowledge’ It also means foreseeing the future from signs in nature but the prediction side of it came by accident; still it fits nonetheless. On previous albums, I hinted at the fact that history repeats. I went full force with this one. I happen to be a historian, and it’s a bit like a weather forecast but for human behaviour. We have patterns that keep returning, so we can sometimes predict how thing will go.
TMR: There were huge gaps between your albums….you guys didn’t have a drummer for a while. Did any of you feel down or felt like the band may have been done?
We all had our downs and everybody once left, but not simultaneously, and everybody ended coming back. We simply love this band too much and, most important, we were friends prior to its inception. The one thing that was harsh was the pressure to tour circa 2008-2010 and the ensuring financial and personnal recovery. We all moved several times, re-located the studio many times, lost data, got anything beside a nuclear war! We are also extremely busy.
TMR: How tough is it to carry on artistically and chemistry wise as a band with many lineup changes? It took a while to find stability in your lineup.
We kept rebulding it relentlessly, and it wasn’t that much of a problem since we stayed within the same bunch of friends. We only ditched the opera vocals after the first album;if you take a look at the rest, it’s the same instrumentalists, only Antoine recorded the drums rather than Etienne on this one. Antoine and Etienne are friends; when we had Seb and Chris on bass in 2010, Forest helped them with the songs, family stuff. What gave this impression is that we had a different touring rhythm section for each of our 09-10 tours, but that was the situation then. The three original composers are back together, so everything resumed naturally.
TMR: There’s a very original sound here…..some bands in the technical death metal and progressive death metal genres tend to sound similar. How do you guys keep on that path of originality? It’s very unique.
Thank you!! Well, it’s funny, and perhaps it’s the actual reason…we play what we like and don’t do it on purpose to sound “technical death metal”, and I actually don’t listen to it much. I am a black metal freak, I love Portal and post-black metal and some ethnic stuff. On the other hand I love Babymetal and Banghra pop music from India! The other members exhibit a similar dichotomy in musical choices, and each of us could go for long with contradictory tastes. The technical death metal we initially listened to the most when we started was French band Symbyosis, Anata and lots of local bands such as Obliveon , Gorguts, Cryptopsy and Martyr.
TMR: How did you score one of the best bass players in the scene in Dominic? You guys know you have a tech death prodigy in your band…..right? Haha
Forest is a founding member of Augury and our original bass player since the beggining back in 2002. We actually met 20 years ago and I remember seeing him live with one of his old bands in the mid 90’s. He came back, but everyone talks like if he joined for the very first time. That is hilarious! We did score him…before everyone else!
TMR: What feels different this time around with “Illusive Golden Age” compared to your first two albums in general? Writing style, production, producers, different recording style or technology…..anything applies.
(Patrick- Vocals and Guitar)
We wrote pretty much the same way than with the two others ; I would say that ”Illusive” sits halfway between both since we wanted a more organic production and perhaps more gloomy ambiances. One big difference is that we recorded it ourselves. Antoine recorded the drums at his studio and Mat recorded everything else with me handling the comp while Mat was recoding his parts. Thus I learned ”space bar…3”! But actually I couldn’t turn on Pro-Tools. Mat had to show me.
Mat and myself even built an isolated booth to prevent my vocals from scaring neighbours!
TMR: Have you guys learned anything from your first two albums and recording your latest full length?
Personnaly I would say that we learned to turn our backs from pressures and standards, and do things our way. It is the first album where I am fully satisfied with every detail and have no regrets. And I mean it’s like my 10th recording and I am in my late-40’s!!! We once got imposed a mastering that we disliked, and image that wasn’t us, covers that had nothing to do with the lyrical content. Another thing was that being realistic, and stopping to pretend we could live off music one day was kind of liberating. I feel bad for those bands who have to pump out new songs in order to have new material because a tour is coming, or who have to alter their songwriting to fit into a trend. Those days are over.
TMR: You were on Nuclear Blast at one point I saw…..big metal label. What happened? If you feel comfortable answering this….if not you guys can skip this question.
Well the American side of it treated us very well and did their best to help. Sadly, the main entity in Europe saw us as lesser priority. When we started with them it was all about being squeezed in a mold and getting pressures to drop everything in order to tour all the time. I was shopping for a house, I was about to get married etc. and got told to forget all about it since I will tour all year long. My other commitments were disregarded as childish tantrums and everything crumbled… I still pay debts from the 2009 tours. Luckily I was able to start over and resume my teaching career. Lots of people would have quit being in this situation in their 20’s, I was 40! The fact that I still do music nowadays have people scratch their heads. Stubborn is my middle name!
TMR: How do you guys like The Artisan Era so far? I wrote a feature on them recently and I love a lot of the bands they signed…..and you guys are no exception.
Well, this is like night and day. Specifically, I am an artisan myself (build custom guitars at home) and I just dig the overall attitude and values. The staff and associated bands are cool and funny, whatever I can glimpse from that bunch makes me want to take a plane and go party with them. They are into content rather than pompous gimmicks. I am out of words to say it properly but it’s like that label was made for us.
TMR: Do you guys have any shows coming up to support Illusive Golden Age?
First we do Eastern Canada in April and May. Then we will see what is within reach for short stints since we are not available for long tours since we are still solidifying our professional situations. We will see if in the future if we can make ourselves available a bit longer. Fact is : The less pressure we put on ourselves over this, the more likely it will happen.
TMR: If any of you have any other projects or art you want to promote feel free to link them here and chat about them here.
Mathieu is about to finish a new Humanoid album that took him years to record. It’s like a monument of a billion tracks. Forest and Antoine are involved in enough band to fill a top 10. As for myself, I wrote a small book to explain the obscure references behind the lyrics. I am also training on drums and intend to record a few solo albums in the next few years. I save my guitar ideas for Augury, so whenever I play with someone else it’s always on drums. I also wrote a few drum parts on ”Illusive” and filmed myself with a cellphone to show them to Antoine. He took it to another level, like you give him a kite and he makes a space shuttle out of it. BTW Antoine also plays additionnal solos on the album. He totally outshines me as a soloist!
Here are a few tracks the band have put online before Illusive Golden Age is released. If you haven’t preordered already, you should stop slacking and get on it. Enjoy these killer tracks. This album is set to release officially on March 30th.