French duo Yan Arexis – Patrick Lafforgue last year released the second album of their LA BREICHE project. The French musicians are still involved with multiple other projects, STILLE VOLK being another familiar name. The new album “Le Rite” released on Cold Spring is fusion between different influences like Ethereal-, Neo-Folk-, Industrial- and Ritual music, creating an intimate atmosphere. I talked about the work with Yan Arexis.
(Courtesy by Inferno Sound Diaries)
Q: You guys are involved with numerous projects so what’s the specificity of LA BREICHE and what can you express through this project you maybe can’t in others?
Yan: Behind LA BREICHE always is this idea of archaism, mineral, animal, animist. Next there’s the composition, which is featuring a different approach, it’s less determined. It feels a bit like a quest. You’re walking at an unknown path, which I must admit is pretty exciting. You know the place where you are, but you never know where’s the final point. So we’re trying a lot of things; we’re holding the ones we like and forget the others. We’re definitely not looking for an established formula as it’s the other way round.
Q: How did the transition from your debut album “Le Mal Des Ardents” to “Le Rite” happened? What do you see as the main changes and/or evolutions?
Yan: We were looking for a different approach, moving a step further, but still wanting to compose an album, which was more binary. We simply improvised with what we held in our hands and it just sounded good so we moved on, trying to get a step further.
“Le Rite” clearly sounds as the antipode of “Le Mal des Ardents” and “Survivances”. I even think some will find the album disappointing because being too much in modernism. But we give the best of ourselves on each track. We tried to surprise ourselves and of course also the listener. The album opens a different canvas, which doesn’t mean we’ll move on this way.
Q: The title of the album “Le Rite” has something pretty symbolic and I can imagine directly connected with the Pyrenees, which is there where you’re living. There’s a lot of mythology to read and to know about the Pyrenees, but what is “The Rite” all about? Tell us a bit more about the concept of the work and the connection with the artwork?
Yan: First of all about the artwork, it has been created by Dehn Sora. He got total freedom to create the front cover, which I think perfectly summarize the album. There’s a strong mystic dimension created by the uprooted mater dolorosa. It’s driven by women getting nearby the end of their walk without getting any idea what they’re doing, like a kind of rite because as a matter of fact a rite is something collective. But why this rite? Do we know it? To throw away the mater dolorosa in the void or to help him rising up again? The music sounds a bit that way. The album is into modernism; there’s no real reference when it comes to music style and yet the title is that cliché for an album of ‘Ritual Music’. The album sounds as the opposite to all codes belonging to this genre and yet it has a mystic calling.
Q: I think it’s also important to say a word about the clip you made of “Le Rite”. Tell us a bit more about the ‘making of’ and what did you try to express in the clip properly speaking?
Yan: The clip has been recorded in one day by Kevin and Robin who are the directors. It was very physical, but interesting. I read some different comments on the net; some were totally out of the question while others were really insightful. Reality is that I wrote a script, which wasn’t abstract at all, something simple and narrative with a beginning and a plot. A man, a friend pulling one of his friends or a dead brother. It’s a deed of devotion searching to help him, but also a deed of love to bring him back to life. It also is very symbolic as in the clip I’m pulling Patrick. We’re friends for nearly 30 years now so in a way there also is something realistic in the clip. The character follows an imaginary rite to get his friend back to life throughout the fire; a renaissance. That’s an item you also can find back in our proper history and our mythologies. I’ve written a story about someone who’s coming back to life, but it doesn’t matter in what the character resurrect.
Q: The use of traditional/folk instruments is a very essential aspect in the sound of LA BREICHE; it has something authentic. What fascinates you in the sound –and maybe history, of these instruments and what do they represent in the creation of your music?
Yan: Most fascinating about these instruments is they’re true; they’ve an inimitable tone. I think they’re also reveal our intention to avoid doing something artificial, which is our goal since our first band Sus Scrofa in 1991. It’s recurrent in all what we’re doing for 25 years now with LA BREICHE, STILLE VOLK ao.
I personally also compose Electronic music, but my approach is quite similar when using rough and organic sounds. They feel like erratic tools.
Q: You guys are also involved in the organization of the festival “L’Homme Sauvage”, which I think is a very particular and still conceptual event. Tell us a bit more about this particular experience? And how do you feel right now considering artistic activities have been stopped and postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic?
Yan: I think the visitors of the festival experience something really special and that’s precisely what attract us as well as organizers. The nature has a serious impact at the entire happening. Because of the pandemic we’d to cancel the festival and I think we were right to do it. Time will tell if we can organize it again in 2021, but I’ve less hope.