Jérôme Reuter never stops releasing new productions under his sonic alter-ego Rome. Reuter is a prolific artist who never stops releasing new master pieces. His newest opus “Hegemonikon” (Trisol) however reveals a little evolution in sound, the Dark-Folk sound getting injected with elements of Pop. I’d a new chat with Jérôme Reuter, talking about the album and the war in Ukraine.
(Courtesy by Inferno Sound Diaries)
Q: In a previous interview you expressed some doubts about how live performances and tours would evolve because of the pandemic? What’s your answer and experiences two years later and how important was it to you to be back on stage again?
Jérôme: Playing live has become almost essential to my well-being, to be honest. And also, it is the only way to survive financially. Though it remains to be seen if that will still be true in a few years time, the way things are going… I don’t have any answers, but let me tell you (and most of the colleagues I have talked to about this so far agree): the pandemic was a joke compared to the war and inflation. The situation is much more severe now.
Q: One of your most ‘special’ and ‘emotional’ concerts must have been the one in Ukraine, right? How did the concert -which I think was a charity concert, happened? How did it feel and what did you keep in mind from this event and the contacts with citizens?
Jérôme: Yes, this was a charity concert I did to raise money for the refugee shelter in Lviv that we have been supporting since the start of the war. We did a first online stream (from my homebase, Fort Nera in Luxembourg) in March. And we decided to do the second one on Ukrainian soil to show support. We will of course continue to support our European brothers and hopefully be able to bring the full band for shows in Lviv and the capital in February ’23. As to what I witnessed there… Well… How to even begin to describe a war-time concert? To be honest, my last shows in Odessa and Kyiv (17-18.02.22) just a few days before the invasion were extremely intense and emotional. And this one in July was certainly no less impressive. Playing through air raid sirens to people who have lived through so many hardships… I lack the words. Anyway, I have never seen such strength and resolve in the face of possible annihilation. I am with the Ukrainian people all the way and I admire them for their courage and their tremendously inspiring fighting spirit.
Q: You for sure must have a fan basis in Russia. Are you still in touch with people over there and could you imagine playing there again one day? What would you say to Russian people and music lovers?
Jérôme: Yes, we had some amazing shows in Russia. In fact, some of the best audiences we have ever had. Some of them were in touch when this all started, but it’s gone all quiet now. I have seen too much of this war and people very very close to me have lost friends in the fighting. Some are back from captivity, others are still unaccounted for. Maybe if all lands are returned, all prisoners released and the Russian leadership bears a completely different face I will think about going there again… but I don’t see that happening anytime soon.
Q: The new album “Hegemonikon – A Journey To The End Of Light” has a strong philosophical taste while I think it also appears to be a reflection about the current world we’re living in. What did you have in mind when writing this album and what does it exactly reflect?
Jérôme: I wrote it around 2020/2021, so the references to Ukraine and its capital in “No Second Troy” were… let’s call it a happy accident. But of course, there is a particular mindset, conflict or aesthetic at the heart of this album that deals with the notions of empire -which are all around us now.
Q: I noticed passages of the album with an explicit ‘Wave’ and ‘Pop’ touch on top? It reminds me to Echo & Bunnymen and even Depeche Mode. Is this an aspect you recognize and was there any specific focus in the writing process?
Jérôme: Yes, that is quite deliberate, as a matter of fact. We have finally discovered analogue synths for us in the meantime and wanted to incorporate them into our sound which, in my view, is an interesting and rewarding musical enhancement to our sonic universe. You gotta keep re-inventing yourself to a degree.
Q: You’ve released an impressive number of productions and remain a true prolific artist. How important is music to you and more explicitly Rome as your sonic alter ego?
Jérôme: Rome is everything. Literally everything. It’s my life’s work and everything revolves around it.
Q: You already did a lot of things so what are the further plans and achievements?
Jérôme: Only time will tell. I am currently working on an album on Ukraine -not a big surprise, I guess, but it promises to be quite an interesting album, to my mind. Apart from that, I hope to be able to play live again more and more now…
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