Antihero Magazine had the opportunity to chat with French musician and eclectic composer Igorrr – the main musical project by Gautier Serre. Known for combining genres such as black metal, death metal, baroque music, breakcore, and trip hop, Igorrr released their third album, Savage Sinusoid, on June 16, 2017 via Metal Blade Records, after spending four years writing and recording the material.
From an early age, Gautier Serre listened to Domenico Scarlatti, Cannibal Corpse, Chopin, Meshuggah, Jean-Sebastien Bach, Aphex Twin, Taraf de Haidouks, and Jean-Philippe Rameau, which inspired him to join several death metal, experimental and electronic bands in the early 2000s, before launching Igorrr. During that time, Gautier waited for an artist to bring together different musical genres and influences, to create one new sound – but he was disappointed with what he heard in the scene. Gautier began to create his own music – naming his project Igorrr – and self-released two demos: Poisson Soluble (2006) and Moisissure (2008). Following the underground success of these demos, Igorrr signed with an electronic record label and released two full-length albums to critical acclaim: Nostril (2010) and Hallelujah (2012) – the latter of which includes guest appearances by Mayhem’s Teloch (guitars), Secret Chiefs 3’s Adam Stacey (accordion), as well as the original musicians Igorrr had been working with for years: Laurent Lunoir and Laure Le Prunenec as vocalists. In a live setting, Gautier Serre, Laurent Lunoir and Laure Le Prunenec are joined by Sylvain Bouvier, who also recorded the drum parts of Savage Sinusoid in the studio with them. Together, this group of artists has already performed in France, all over Europe, the Middle East and North America.
ANTIHERO: For the people that are not too familiar with the band Igorrr, how would you describe your sound?
Gautier Serre: Igorrr is always hard to describe as it’s a project with many elements and many different influences, from baroque to death metal to electronic music to Balkan music. We all are metalhead in the project but Igorrr is not a metal act and it has no clear or known style which would make it easy to label it. Igorrr is a project where I try to reach my musical ideal, it doesn’t correspond to any specific style of music but more to my personal musical tastes. I like Chopin or Bach as much as Cannibal Corpse or Meshuggah, as much as Aphex Twin or Taraf de Haidouks, that makes the whole thing a non-mainstream music.
ANTIHERO: Is Igorrr, more of a band or more of a project?
Gautier Serre: It’s a kind of project, even though now, some guest instrumentalists are coming so regularly that it looks like a band. A band or a project, the music will remain the same, we meet to make a music we love, with no constraint.
ANTIHERO: Describe how Igorrr was started?
Gautier Serre: Igorrr started when I was a teenager looking for a band or an artist destroying all the limits of music, a band able to bring what all the boring mainstream bands could not bring. I didn’t find any band like that, so basically, I just wrote the music I wanted to listen to. This is what inspired me, I love metal, baroque music, electronic or traditional Balkan music, and I wanted to have all the music I love in one place, without segregation. I guess the result is very specific, but I didn’t write the music in the purpose to please anybody, it was more something personal, making my own « ideal music ».
ANTIHERO: Do you feel it is important to “step out of your comfort zone” when it comes to your songwriting?
Gautier Serre: I think the important thing is to be honest with yourself when you write music, not to try to reproduce the exact same music that you like from your favorite band. The base of expressing music is a non-commercial action, it’s just the fact to express yourself by music, having this logic, I guess writing music is pretty comfortable. Of course, before that, it needs a lot of work to reach the ability to express what you really want and not to copy another band because it looks like they do what you want to compose.
ANTIHERO: Describe the songwriting process for your recent album Savage Sinusoid.
Gautier Serre: Music is coming by itself in my mind, I just have to write it down. As I got synesthesia, I see the tracks as paintings. In order to create the painting, I need different colors, which means for me different instruments. Since I know what to record and where to place it, I can start the recordings.
ANTIHERO: Describe the recording process for Savage Sinusoid.
Gautier Serre: This record took me a bit more than 4 years to make it real. It was a challenging album to make, actually.
I wanted to work without any sample while keeping a complete variety of all the styles I love. I also wanted to reach the « live feeling » of this music, which is a very personal vision of it, kind of my ideal personal music.
As there are many musical universes I love, and wanted to include everything on this album, I had to find the perfect instrumentalist per style and per instrument in order to make it as good as I could, I didn’t want to play all the instruments myself as I think a guy spending all his life playing a specific instrument in a specific style would sound way better than me playing just a bit of each.
ANTIHERO: Who are some of the musicians and/or bands that influenced your sound?
Gautier Serre: I would say Chopin, Meshuggah, Taraf de Haidouks, Cannibal Corpse, Bach, Mayhem or Scarlatti.
ANTIHERO: Who is currently in the band and what instrument do they play?
Gautier Serre: As Igorrr is not exactly a band, it’s a bit hard to answer.
Basically, I do the music, Laure Le Prunenec and Laurent Lunoir are very often singing on this music, and Sylvain Bouvier is also very often drumming on it, we are touring with the 4 of us.
Also, there are many more people involved in the band, some guest instrumentalists. You can see on Savage Sinusoid Teloch (from Mayhem) playing the guitar and the bass on Viande, also Travis Ryan (from Cattle Decapitation) singing on some tracks, but also the bassist on almost all the album is Erlend Caspersen, there is also Katerina Chrobokova playing the harpsichord, Nils Cheville playing the classical guitar, Antony Miranda playing the sitar, Benjamin Violet playing the strings, Pierre Mussi & Adam Stacey playing the accordion, Yann Le Glaz playing the saxophone etc…
ANTIHERO: Did you have any guest musicians play or lend their vocals to Savage Sinusoid?
Gautier Serre: There is Travis Ryan, singing on Cheval, Apopathodiaphulatophobie and Robert, but there is also Pedrou Lacasa and Yasmin Barra singing on Cheval. These are the guest vocalists, but the main vocalists on this album are Laure Le Prunenec and Laurent Lunoir, respectively Baroque and Metal singers.
ANTIHERO: It took you 4 years to finish Savage Sinusoid, what were the biggest challenges you faced during the recording of the album?
Gautier Serre: I guess, what makes it so difficult was the whole thing, not something in particular, but learning how to record specifically each style, compose and writing music for each different style is also very challenging. Then, mixing all those universes together also needed lots of time and lots of new knowledge to get in order to make it properly.
ANTIHERO: What is your opinion of online streaming (such as Spotify, Pandora and Google Play)?
Gautier Serre: I don’t know much about how those platforms are working.
ANTIHERO: If I was to go to a live performance and see Igorrr, what can I expect?
Gautier Serre: I’m not sure what you can expect as I have never been front of the speakers during a Igorrr show, but I guess you can expect metal, baroque and electronic music very loud in your face.
ANTIHERO: After the release of Savage Sinusoid, what are you plans for the remainder of 2017 and beyond?
Gautier Serre: For now, we are playing at the summer festivals, like Hellfest, Dour, Brutal Assault and Motocultor, then we will be on the road, we have a European tour this Autumn, almost 2 months on the road in October and November, actually, that never happen before such a long touring!
Also, in September or October, the new Bruno Dumont’s movie is going to be released, it’s called « Jeannette » and I did the soundtrack of this movie.
ANTIHERO: When it comes to touring, have you ever played overseas in the United States before? If not, do you know if you will?
Gautier Serre: I’ve played once in Montreal, but we wish to play in United States one day, some ideas are already on the way, but to bring so many people across the ocean with such apparently weird music is not an easy thing.