I can’t keep emphasizing how fun it is to discover new bands and what great tool internet can be in that search. French SOLEIL VERT came to me when I surfed Myspace (yeaH, it is still worth something) and I knew that I had to interview them. Anders Ekdahl ©2012

Since I don’t speak French Soleil Vert are just words without any meaning. Can you please explain your band name to me?
-First of all, thank you for getting in touch with us! We are pleased taking part in this interview! SOLEILVERT (we like to spell it this way) take its name from Richard Fleischer’s 1973 movie “Soylent Green” entitled in French “SOLEIL VERT”, which could be translated into “Green Sun”, which has no connection to the original title. We liked the sound and concept of this name and we liked also the idea behind this movie, a thriller leading to a horrific discovery, with a 70’s touch to it. We also wanted to use a French name, even if we sing in English, to get rid of the rock/metal scene standards. And don’t get us wrong, there’s no connection with Charlton Heston or the NRA.

I want to say that you draw influences from this or that band but I can’t think of any bands right now to compare you to even if I have them on the tip of my tongue. What influences you?
-We all have different influences and we try to mix them to give a specific colour and flavor to our music. With basic metal/rock influences shared by all four of us, each one has a “specialty” that he adds to our music. Romain (guitar) is really into the so-called doom/stoner rock scene with bands like Kyuss, Fu Manchu, Electric Wizard, Clutch to name a few, Charles (drums) is more into the hardcore/emo/punk scene with bands like Suicidal Tendencies, With Honors or Agnostic Front, Nico (bass), more into inde/noise/indus that helps our music having some atypical “melodic progressions”. Sheby (vocals) is influenced by punk and metal scene and is a big fan of Prong, Killing Joke, and more recently bands like Red Fang for example. With these influences, we mix heavy, down tuned and groovy guitar riffs with melodic and while distorted progressions from the bass, fast attack rhythms and catchy & aggressive vocals.

Judging by the description on your MySpace page you don’t want to limit yourself to just one genre. If you where under the threat of a gun how would you like to describe the sound of SoleilVert?
In this way, we like to define our sound being simply stoner rock, as this genre is not really well defined and combines lot of different sub-genres under one banner. It is sometimes close to metal, to punk or doom (not in our Dear Domineering EP but in the other songs). Why don’t we call it “urban stoner rock”? as this could be simply stoner rock or desert rock mixed with urban influences like punk, hardcore or indie rock.

To me the French metal scene has always been a rather secluded one with bands singing in French exclusively. But that has changed and more bands are being heard worldwide. How much do you look to the French scene past/present for inspiration?
-In each country, there are bands singing in their own languages, and I think that’s great. Maybe we will do some songs in French but that’s not easy to sound great with French lyrics. A lot of band have turned using English in their songs, as this is a standard for rock and metal songs, combine it with a better average level in English in France, and you will have more and more bands singing in English. I remember not listening to French bands in the 90’s, but the metal scene here as pretty much evolved since then. A lot of bands have appeared offering quality and innovative music to the global scene (Gojira, Klone, SUP, Kickback…). There’s also Internet and digital music that has allowed a lot of bands to get known worldwide. To support our local stoner scene, there are a dozen of bands in this scene that really rocks here (check out Psychotic Reactions V1 compilation) and that are supported by dedicated initiatives (Stoned Gatherings, Glad Stone Fest…).

Does it mean anything that other French metal bands are getting known worldwide for your desire/motivation to make it worldwide (if others can, then we can too)?
-Hard rock/metal bands, even if they existed before since the 80’s, used to be pretty confidential, as it was difficult to expand their fan base outside of our borders. Today, more and more French bands are getting known outside France, and of course, that’s great to have this trend as a backdrop. Our music is meant to be shared worldwide, and the Web is helping for that, but for us recognition for our music has to be at a local level first, because it’s the only way to solidify a strong fan base.

How far can you take it on your own before the burden becomes too heavy to carry?
-We will be able to continue making some shows in France as we have developed some connections to play live music. We will continue writing our songs without boundaries in term of style and will continue trying to promote our music the best we can by ourselves. One key point for being able to continue will be the money available: we want to produce a full length album and we have identified our sound engineer, the songs we want to record, but recording in a professional way is a process that costs a lot, and along with creating our visuals, our promotion, and our booking in a professional way, that will cost money. We also have our day work and we will have to cope with that as you don’t make your living with the kind of genre we’re playing.

When you do things on your own (releasing albums, having promo shots taken etc.) do you look for talent only within the border of France or do you look elsewhere to?
-In fact, we didn’t even think of that, we are looking in our close network, people that can help us. There would be no problem to work with foreign talents, but for now we are building our thing up with people we can easily see.

How do you build a network for setting up tours and things when you have no label backing you?
-That’s a good question! We keep on connecting to people that are organizing venues, or other bands in the same genre. We know people that know people that… Things are really uneasy in Paris as this is not the rockest city in the world. There are plenty bands that are willing to play which represent a large market for stages/scenes. In order to play with good conditions you have to secure the selling of an increasing number of pre-sold tickets, and we are pretty bad at doing it ! We would be pleased to be supported by a label, this would help us going one step further.

How important is it to present a unified image for SoleilVert? Or does anything go as long as the music doesn’t suffer?
That’s very important for us to get along with each other. When we formed the band in 2010, we all had previous experience in other bands, most of the time with long time friends. We got to know each other and I think we get along very well, which was a big challenge when you got to start from ashes. Now, I can say we’re pretty much on the same phase so being united or looking united is not really a challenge. Not being united would affect our music as we do it mostly for having fun all together.

If you were to predict the future for SoleilVert, what do you see?
-A big bright Green Sun? In the near future, we would like to release our first full album this year and maybe interest a label that could help us in this project and to defend it on stage on a national level, maybe as opening acts for bigger bands. Then, we would like to play in Europe, maybe in some festivals.
Thank you for your interest in the band, see you maybe one day in Sweden !!
You can download our EP “Dear Domineering” on Jamendo at this location, listen to it and share to your “real” friends !

AVENGER “Bohemian Dark Metal”

“Bohemian Dark Metal”
(Deathgasm Records)
There are so many bands in the World that it is hard to keep track of them all. I’ve been aware of Czech Avenger for some time now but never got round to checking them out. Now that time has come. And I like what I hear. There’s a slight Swedish death/black metal touch to this but mostly it stands very well all on its own. If you like your extreme metal fast paced and with a slight symphonic/epic touch then this has all that. There is a groove to this that adds to the overall impression. There is so much going on in the music to keep it from going stale. I’m reminded of bands like Algaion, perhaps a bit of Norwegian Hades Almighty – not so much in tempo as in atmosphere when I listen to this. All these impressions leave me with a feel-good state of mind. What more can you expect. Anders Ekdahl

DARKNESS BY OATH “Near Death Experience”

“Near Death Experience”
(Cyclone Empire)
I can’t help wondering whom all these bands that keep releasing albums are aiming for. We are just so many that are into metal that someday we’ll all overload/dose on metal albums. Until that day comes I’ll just keep on discovering new and cool bands. Don’t know how cool Darkness By Oath are but that they have overdosed on At The Gates is clear from the word go. Listening to “Near Death Experience” is like listening to the follow up to “Slaugther Of The Soul”. I’m not complaining. I love that album. I even saw At the Gates very last show before they broke up the first time. Don’t know how well Darkness By Oath will go down with the hardcore ATG fans but among us that don’t care too much this will be liked for what it is; a cool Swed-death album. So for all of you that like screamy vocals, galloping guitars and a thunderous pounding this is da shit. Anders Ekdahl

DERELICT “Perpetuation”

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Some geographical locations are more interesting than others. I find bands from South America more exciting than another one from Germany if the choice had to be made. The same can be said for bands from Canada. I take extra notice of any band that calls Canada home. Derelict might be Canadian but they are new to me. Not knowing what to be expected from them it was with ears open that I approached this album. Expecting the worst kind of metalcore, hoping for the best of death metal I kinda ended up with the latter. This is pretty intense music in the borderland of death and thrash metal. There is enough aggression for both styles to meet in a dark alley. I’m a sucker for a punch like the one Derelict hands out. It feels like being down on 9 from the first punch and with no chance of ever getting up again. This turned out so much cooler than expected. Another point to Canada. Anders Ekdahl

ELVENSTORM “Of Rage and War”

“Of Rage And War”
(Inferno Records)
I have a very soft spot for Belgian Acid. Have had so ever since I first heard them in the 80s. The first time I heard Elvenstorm I had a flashback to that very first time I heard Acid. Not only because they have a female vocalist that doesn’t sound like all the other song birds we get in metal but because the music has that up-tempo and active feeling to it. This is metal, call it heavy, power or speed, that is just that; metal. Nothing fake or fancy here, no sir. Just pure unadulterated metal in the best possible way. I like it that same way I liked Iron Maiden or Saxon the first time I heard them. Or how Helloween made me feel when I heard them the first time. You get a sense of freedom and strength listening to Elvenstorm. That to me is what heavy metal is all about. And that it makes me think of Acid, probably my most fave band of all time, just adds to the overall positive feel I get. Anders Ekdahl

ENTHRONED “Obsidium”

(Agonia Records)
I remember the first time I heard Enthroned back in the late 90s. I wasn’t too impressed by their black metal back then but times have changed. I’ve moved on and so has Enthroned. From being that little band from Belgium to being one of the bigger black metal acts. Enthroned to me are true black metal the way Immortal is true black metal, or the way Dark Funeral is true black metal or Marduk is true black metal, if you get my drift. Black metal at its very core. Just pure aggression, hate and misanthropy. Just the way I imagine my black metal to be all about. No fussy about, or pussyfooting around, just big and bad. Like an elephant in a china shop. You don’t know how to deal with it but you like its presence. I like to every now and then be totally blown away by a full on black metal assault and this week that came down to Enthroned. Anders Ekdahl

EREVOS “Descensus Ad Inferos”

“Descensus Ad Inferos”
(Orkestral Promenade Productions)
I know that it might seem a bit repetitive to keep mentioning how high a standard I hold the Greek metal bands to but so far I haven’t been let down by any Greek band. So why should I change my mind about the standard of the Greek bands? Erevos is a black metal band, there’s no doubt whatsoever about that. That they have that Dimmu Borgir symphonic touch too is clear from the first note. It doesn’t have to be a negative thing being compared to Dimmu Borgir. After all they are one of the biggest black metal band in the World. Erevos manage to stand on their own pretty well. The Dimmu comparison aside this is atmospheric and somewhat melodic (as melodic as black metal gets). Maybe not my preferred style of black metal simply because it takes time to take it all in but Erevos still manages to keep it pretty focused and contained. No grand excursions into the more progressive side of things. For that I thank them, at least today. Don’t know what I feel like tomorrow. Anders Ekdahl

IMPIETY “Ravage & Conquer”

“Ravage & Conquer”
(Pulverised Records)
From that first moment when I heard Impiety back in the day I knew that this was something special. I haven’t spent too much time with them since then but they’ve always been in my conscious, lurking somewhere deep inside. But now in 2012 it is time to re-acquaint myself with them. And what better way to do it than with a brand new album. If you are not familiar with this band they are best described as a maelstrom of intensity. Anybody into extreme metal will be scattered across a vast area after having heard the furious blast of metal that Impiety displays. This is the true force of extreme metal distilled into a manageable entity. “Ravage & Conquer” manages to do just that; ravage and conquer. Take heed as this will be the equivalent of being caught in a tornado. There’s no escape from its clutches. Anders Ekdahl

MANIPULATOR “Voudbound + Unearthed”

“Voidbound + Unearthed”
(Soulseller Records)
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. There are so many bands out there that it is impossible to keep up with everyone if you want to stay sane. Manipulator are a blank slate to me. I have never heard of them or their music, which apparently should be some sort of death metal. To my ears this sounds like that old Mayhem demo “Pure Fucking Armageddon”. Or is it Hellhammer that I’m reminded of. This is any which way very basic and to the point. And I like it. There is an undeniable charm to it that brings up emotions in me that only older records manage to do. I’m not one for nostalgia but this goes deeper than that. It’s like old muscle memories. I react on pure instinct to music like this. It speaks to the more basic genetics in my body; the Neanderthal in me. But it takes its man/woman to stomach a full album of metal like this. Anders Ekdahl

SVARTSYN “The True legend”

“The True Legend”
(Agonia Records)
Svartsyn was one of the first black metal bands that I got to review when they released “The True Legend” the first time in the late 90s. I don’t remember what I wrote back then. Don’t even remember if I liked it. Since then I’ve built a relationship with Svartsyn through several albums. And now we are back at square one with the re-release/rerecording of “The True Legend”. Honestly I have no idea why bands want to go back and mess with something already done. Why not leave it as it is and instead keep moving forward. But be it as it is there is an un-denying charm to this album, old or new recording, that somehow makes up for re-doing it. This is black metal in the more simpler school. Call it Necro if you like but there’s more of a Venom/early Bathory feel than a Dimmu Borgir if you know what I mean. More rock’n’roll than opera. This wasn’t as half-assed as I worried it would be. Anders Ekdahl