‘Click Interview’ with Cirque D’ess: ‘Ritual Wave’

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Cirque D’ess is an Italian duo set up in 2017 by Miriam Ssam and Valerio ‘Ryo’ Nubeat. The band explained the band name as being an instinctive part of them. The French word ‘Cirque’ stands for something freak and weird just like some old circus freak legends, while ‘D’Ess’ has something in common with Freud’s unconscious and instinctive part that each human has inside. The band’s debut album “Black Synthetic And Dense” has been released by Cold Transmission Music revealing a fascinating mix of Dark-Wave, Ritual, Industrial and Trance music. Cirque D’ess sounds as a hot new comer with a huge potential.

(Courtesy by Inferno Sound Diaries)

Q: How did you guys meet and what’s your musical background?

Ryo: I was looking for a female singer, with some demos to showcase, and I randomly found her on Facebook so I asked Miriam to join. While I come from a Grunge/Gothic/Blackgaze past she’s more into New-Wave, Dark-Wave, No-Wave, Noise. We are happy about our music influences; the debut album sounding familiar with some of those genres.

Q: So did you have a specific sound in mind when setting up Cirque D’ess? And tell us a bit more about your way of working and what’s the input of each other?

Miriam: When we started playing together it was a first trial, something like ‘let’s play and see what happens’. Our first EP indeed, is a mixture of tunes and sounds, which are much different than the album.

Ryo: We always start improvising over some raw loops/beats I created on the fly with drum machines, synths/guitars while Miriam focuses on vocal lines and improvisation.

Q: Speaking about your influences, you clearly seem to be a band with an eclectic taste. You call your music ‘Ritual-Wave’! What is it all about and do you’ve specific artists/albums you’re using as a reference? 

Miriam: Something unexpected happened when we wrote what’s inside “Black Synthetic And Dense”: a sort of evocative and ritual atmosphere jumped out from those sounds, and so we decided to mix our ‘Wave’ roots with those ‘Ritual’ sounds. So we called it ‘Ritual Wave’.

Ryo: We soon noticed that we are much more influenced by atmospheres and beats rather than other artists, sometimes kinda pads/drones and whatever, some other times by rhythm and sort of dance beats.

Q: What did you try to express by the title of your album “Black Synthetic And Dense”? What are the lyrical themes all about and tell us a bit more about the song “Lydia For Frankie”?

Ryo: “Black Synthetic And Dense” is a phrase taken from a song by an Italian alternative Grunge band, which was pretty famous during late 90s in Italy. They were Ritmo Tribale and we adopted that phrase which is inside “2000” one of their songs from the album “Bahamas”.

We’ve chosen that phrase because it represents very well how we look at our music: obscure, electronic and filled with many layers. Imagine to listen to that sound while you are inside a church both eyes closed.

Miriam: I write all lyrics and vocal lines, so I put my experiences, thoughts and emotions into our songs. I often drop down lyrics based on daily experiences driven by an emotive and intimate perception of things.

The inspiration for the song “Lydia For Frankie” came  during a live show in Italy of Lydia Lunch while she was singing a cover of “Frankie Teardrop” by Suicide. While the chorus deals about her, all verses are inspired by those weird, sad and unlucky troubles that everyone can live, just like -but not in a tragic way -what happens to Suicide’s character Frankie Teardrop: he goes in serious troubles with his job, he get mad enough to kill his whole family just before killing himself. That’s a real drama. We gave a lighter interpretation of all this sad story; the wash machine is broken, the laptop is broken, the amplifier is broken, the dripping tap… and so on: no real drama of course, but when they come all together it’s not good :-/

Q: Another interesting song is “A Spooky Host”, which was released as single right before the album while you also made a clip for this song. Who’s this spooky host and what did you try to express by the clip?

Ryo: We were smoking at the window and  a huge scorpio was just aside, very close to us. He was half covered by the shadows. That’s our ‘spooky host’. The clip was recorded with a phone during some nights at the first lockdown. We wanted to do a sort of lo-fi video to give more room for the music.

Miriam: When I wrote the lyrics I remember to have been inspired by lyrics the and clip of The Cure’s “Lullaby”. The scorpio became the spider as well as my whispered verses are inspired by those of Robert Smith and a sort of horror-like atmosphere.

Q: What are your further plans and especially considering live performances in Covid times? I think there also is a new clip in the make? And what are your long term ambitions? 

Miriam: As many of us we are slowly and hardly trying to keep things and contacts alive, hoping to have some good chances in the nearly future to be part of some live shows. Anyway we already got some offers to play in Europe. But despite something is moving well there are still many uncertainties and doubts about what will really happen next months. Who knows? We partially count on collaborating with our label Cold Transmission and partially on our network of contacts. By the way we are always open minded and available to get in touch with venues, promoters and booking agents to plan and schedule live shows, gigs and tours.

Ryo: We have 2 new videos to release this year: the first will be just the “Lydia For Frankie”-clip, with footages and recordings made in Mexico by a lovely friend who lives there. The second one will be something more than just a clip: we got filmed by a crew for a real short movie for our song “Creacky Leaves”, a modern story about an ancestral conflict between witches and hunters.

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