The black metal of Monarque is full of so many contrasts: rawly recorded, yet played with an extreme level of technical finesse and, especially, emotion; filthy and ugly and intimidating in that rawness, yet shot through with a certain beauty or least melancholy within those textures, traditional on the surface, yet so defiant of the artform's norms beneath that surface. Are you aware of these contrasts, and are they something you've consciously explored and developed from the beginning?
Actually, it has never been my intention to develop my music the way you describe it, I just tend to follow my feelings, and it flows naturally. I'm working on songs until I'm satisfied with the result. It can take half a day, or a year (I mean, I can leave a song unfinished for months, and then get back to it later with new ideas that puts all the pieces together). I'm trying to explore diverse forms of obscurity, with ambient tracks, or classical black metal tracks, it just goes with the way that I felt at that specific time.
What, then, would be your conception of "black metal"? Like, what does it mean to you?
It is to many the reason why we are still alive today, and to others why they've already died. This particular form of art have such a special aura. For me, it's the most spiritual art form that exists. Also the most philosophical genre of metal. It breathes negativity, hate, despair and chaos like nothing else, and those sentiments are probably those that are living the longer in the individual. It is imperative for me to express those sentiments, and I chose black metal to do so. Otherwise, depending on your personality, it can be dangerous to keep those feelings inside, for you and the people around you, never knowing when all that hate will explode...
Is Monarque your ideal form of BM, or is Monarque simply an extension of your inner self? And what about of your other bands like Sui Caedere, Carrion Wraith & Blackwind? Please comment the mentioned 3 bands in few sentences.
Those projects have all been / are very important to me. They all permitted me to express different feelings in different ways, and evolve artistically. Monarque is my main project, where I am leading everything. I've been a session guitarist for Blackwind, and I did my first live BM appearance with them, which was a very “enriching” experience for me. It proved me that I had this envy of going onstage and channel this dark energy with those others passionate persons in the crowd. I'm doing vocals in Sui Caedere, and I am experimenting a lot with my voice, which is artistically very stimulating. The Carrion Wraith album has all been improvised in short period of time, and this as proved to be a very interesting result as well. I'm mainly exploring the black metal genre, but trying not to repeat myself too much. I have also a dark ambient project called Monarkh, which is based on noises and atmospheres only, and I play bass in Pestroyer, a band we could call “true” black metal, with a “back to the roots” approach.
Thus, what can you reveal about your personal life and how it relates to Monarque's music?
Of course, I am observing the world around me and it can easily be a source of inspirations for a lot of dark matters. I've lost faith in humanity, and many other things a long time ago. It can be well felt in my creations, I think.
All that said, is one goal of Monarque's to have the music reflect back upon the listener - meaning, seeing/hearing themselves within the contrasts you present? or, ultimately, is Monarque entirely selfish and for yourself only?
It is for myself in the first place, but if the listener can relate to the music and enjoy it, I have no problem with that. Sharing all those dark pieces of art, is not what has been happening since the beginning of the scene with the tape trading, and concerts?!
From the beginning, you've kept Monarque a fairly clandestine affair, but are at last finally granting a few interviews. Is some degree of secrecy necessary to give the music the proper mystique and, more so, allow it to communicate on broader, myriad levels? Or, is sometimes dictating to listeners/readers that "This is this and that is that" necessary to keep things defined and not allow motivations/intentions to be confused or distorted?
Yes, I am selecting a few interviews lately, to make sure that my message is well understood. I might stop for another time when I got bored of answering the same useless questions. I tend to pick those with the more original worthwhile questions.
Because I’m not too familiar with French language, I’m very curious about the lyrical concepts of your albums. And if I'm to ask for yet more clearly defined terms, what are the lyrical subjects on “Fier Heretique & Ad Nauseam”? I'm guessing there's an overall theme or themes, yes?
Blasphemy is the main theme behind most of the songs I've wrote for Monarque. Quebec as been a religious country for many centuries. People have been exploited, robbed and raped in the name of religion. I have also written about various dark matters, perversity, and the beauty of our natural landscapes. It all depends on the mood of the songs, since my lyrics are always done at last.
What do you prefer most: playing live or recording some new songs?
I like both.
What is the story behind of your label called Les Productions Hérétiques? Why did not release Monarque albums through your own label?
I started this project to release the music of friends of mine, since I had a few more contacts in the black metal scene than they did. I am mostly releasing limited material, numbered copies of tapes, Pro-CD-r. I have also co-released a few CD with my friend of Mankind's Demise Records. I am planning my first pro CD release, the Chasse-Gallerie full-length this autumn. Be sure to check it out! As of releasing Monarque material on my own label, it's coming. Limited items only. The thing is I don’t have enough money to release all that I wish I could, so I have to be selective.
Monarque was scheduled to playing on (in)famous festival Matchitehew Assembly in Chicago this year, but your concert was cancelled. What’s happened?
2 members of the band left me just a few days before the event. I felt so back stabbed. They are not working with me anymore. It was a huge deception for me, not being able to make it to this event.
What is your opinion/connection on/with Monarkh from USA?
I don't know any Monarkh from USA, but one from Quebec, and it is my dark ambient project, haha.
How got in touch with Shatraug to making one of the best split 7” Eps from the last few years with Mortualia?
We got in touch for a trade with our labels, then I asked for a split release, because I have a lot of respect for his black metal projects. Shatraug was working on some new Mortualia material a that time, so he agreed on working on a split with me. I think the result is great, and I am very proud of it.
The Canadian Black Metal scene is stronger than ever before, especially the French speaking Quebec region. What is your opinion about the mentioned scene? Are you in contact with other great bands like Forteresse, Gris, Sombres Forêts or Utlagr?
I'm in contact with all those. I think our scene is finally taking the place it deserves, and quite a few interesting bands have been releasing stuff in the last few years. It is good to be able to show the world we have nothing to envy to other countries, we can do our own thing.
I have read in the last issue of Convivial Hermit magazine a very interesting interview with the guy from Forteresse. He talking about the autonomy or a separated state of Quebec region inside Canada. Ok I know this is an utopistic vision, but what is your opinion about independent Quebec state?
I think it should be a natural thing to do. Move on our own. We are so different from the rest of the Canada, the language being the first issue. I wont elaborate too much on this question, since I have not the habit of mixing politics with my music, but I consider Quebec as a country of it's own, even if it is not the case in the books.
Closing question: after 8 years of total silence, the originators of war metal, the Canadian gods of war, BLASPHEMY returns with some live gigs to celebrating the 20th year anniversary of the legendary Blood Upon the Altar demo. Did you seen on stage this great band? Will you be on the Montreal gig at 3rd October?
I have never seen them, and I will not miss this event. I already have my tickets for this exclusive ritual. I think this is a moment that wont repeat itself in extreme Canadian metal history. Don't miss this! Thank you for the interview, I hope it might be of some interest to you and your readers. - Monarque.