AntiHero Magazine photojournalist Scott Martin spoke to Arsene, vocalist for French hardcore metal band, L’Esprit du Clan.
Arsene: We met each other at school when we were like 14. We listened the same type of music, mainly metal and hip-hop music. It was an evidence.
ANTIHERO: How would you describe L’Esprit du Clan‘s sound?
Arsene: We have always been influenced by power metal band like Pantera, Metallica, or Machine Head firsts albums. Later, at the end of the 90’s, we started to listen Hardcore bands like Madball or Merauder. In the same time, we have always listened hip-hop music. Now our influences are so numerous.
ANTIHERO: I imagine you do not get to many requests for interviews from US webzines.
Arsene: Not really.
ANTIHERO: Is Parisian Walls more of a band or project? Are you currently working on any new material for Parisian Walls and/or L’Esprit du Clan?
Arsene: Parisian Walls was only a parenthesis. I built the project because we had a break with L’Esprit du Clan. I can’t live without making music.
ANTIHERO: How would you describe a live performance with L’Esprit du Clan?
Arsene: We give everything in our shows. I really need a moment before catching my breath after it. It may be a cliché, but we’re doing each gig like it was the last one.
ANTIHERO: Do you feel it’s important to step out of your comfort zone when it comes to your songwriting?
Arsene: No, it’s the opposite. We need to concentrate on the creation, so we prefer to be in a peaceful place, isolated from the world, but in a beautiful place. It’s a moment we all like.
ANTIHERO: What subjects inspire the songwriting of the band?
Arsene: I have to say I’m the only one to write the lyrics. It’s difficult to say by what I am inspired, but with the passing of time, I can say I’m really inspired by philosophy and human relationships. I think I’m looking for my self-elevation in the writing process, I try to progress as a human being.
ANTIHERO: What are some of the high and low points of your career? What’s different in the music industry today compared to when you first started? What would you do differently if you were just entering the industry today?
Arsene: The biggest difference is the internet! Everything has changed: the way to compose, the promotion, the video clip…. But I still and always thought that a good band is a good band, whatever the period and the music industry.
But I have to say that we adapted to the current era: we know it’s important to have several good video clips. But live music still the real deal.
ANTIHERO: What is your musical upbringing when you were young? Did you come from a musical family? Did your family support you in your musical decision?
Arsene: Oh no, we all came from workers families, not in artistic mood at all… But yes, they all supported us to do what makes us happy. I have to say, even our parents were not musicians, they always listened to music at home, and good ones!
ANTIHERO: In which ways do you think that the band has matured musically between the time the band was formed to the present day?
Arsene: I think now we don’t need to impress people anymore. When you are young, you want to be different, to be the best, aggressive, violent or technical. Now, the only goal is to do the music that flourished us. That’s a huge difference.
ANTIHERO: Besides France, what country do you enjoy the most playing in? Or is there any certain Festival that you enjoy more than others?
Arsene: Because we sing in French, we mainly play in French speaking countries: Belgium, Switzerland, Quebec…. But we made a lot of shows in Poland, Iceland or England and it was always great.
ANTIHERO: I know that you cannot speak for all European bands, but what is the reason that most European bands do not play overseas in the United States?
Arsene: I think it’s not because of the bands, but because of the US audience and promoters. It seems like you guys are not interested in the development of European bands, and I think it’s because you have already so many bands in the US…. But maybe I’m wrong.
ANTIHERO: What countries are you looking forward to playing, that you have not played in yet? and why?
Arsene: First of all: Japan! It has always been a dream to play in this country. And we are working on this right now. We will record a 2-song split with a Japanese hardcore band for that this year.
ANTIHERO: The greatest Frontman/Singer of all time (not genre specific)?
Arsene: James Brown.
ANTIHERO: The greatest song ever written (not genre specific)?
Arsene: “Ne me quitte pas” » by Jacques Brel.
ANTIHERO: 5 albums you cannot live without?
Grace – Jeff Buckley
Back to black – Amy Winehouse
Masterkiller – Merauder
Alain Bashung – Fantaisie militaire
Chet Baker – Everything!
ANTIHERO: Who would you like to collaborate with?
Arsene: The cinematic orchestra.
Arsene: I think it’s really a good thing when you are a listener but it’s a shame when you’re in a band, because of the distribution of our rights. But things are like that nowadays and it’s better to deal with this.
ANTIHERO: Who are your top 5 bands that have influenced you the most?
Arsene: I will try to make a mix between all of us, and I could say: Metallica, Rage Against The Machine, Sepultura, Merauder and Pantera. (And NTM, a French hip-hop band).
ANTIHERO: What is your favorite song to perform live?
Arsene: For sure one of the song on our latest album, called “Rat des villes”. It is a dedication to our city, the one and only: Paris.
ANTIHERO: Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to sit down and chatting with us. Is there anything else you would like to say?
Arsene: Just thank you for this interview.