Weend’ô is a French band that made a big impression on me when I was listening to their new album ‘Time Of Awakening’, the record was rewarded with a great score. I had never heard of the band before and, after doing some online searching, found out that the band is pretty young and unknown. ‘Time Of Awakening’ is only the band’s second album, the first being ‘You Need To Know Yourself’ which was released back in 2012. Since I really liked their last album, and like to support talented but unknown bands, I decided to reach out to the group for an interview. Singer Laetitia found herself willing to answer some of my questions with regards to the band and the latest album.
By: Leon | Archive under prog / sympho metal
Salut! Before we begin I would like to say congratulations on the release of ‘Time Of Awakening’. I liked the album from the very first play but it has grown on me even more over time (also, my dad is now a fan of your music). Have the review been to your liking so far?
Hi Leon, first of all I would like to thank you and your e-zine for your interest in Weend’ô, It’s our first interview for “Lords Of Metal” and we are very honored for such positive reviews received so far! Indeed we worked hard on this second album because we knew that Weend’ô’s existing fans and hopefully new ones would be looking for us to move to the next level. There are a lot of young bands with a highly technical approach in their music, music is evolving and we felt the need to insert such an approach into our music too. It seems that it has worked! We are very proud of this album, and it seems to be on many reviewers favorite of 2018 as I can read in many reviews. We will see at the end of the year if this remains the case.
Personally I feel that this album shows tremendous growth compared to your previous record ‘You Need To Know Yourself’, what do you consider the main differences between the two records?
Yes, you are right! When we recorded the album, we felt deep inside that something new from us was emerging. What you feel is certainly the fact that we incorporated more our feelings, we are more mature, we don’t want to hide these influences. The first album drew on our younger life experience, it was more personal. But this second album is definitely an album aimed at humanity!
As part of what we created together, there was a great performance from our drummer Nathanael; you can hear that on the album! And the Bass from Maxime is also more powerful. We know each other much better now since we have been together 8 years. Terence also worked a lot on the guitars parts! I remember the nights spent in our studio to record all of his solo’s for each song, He played around fifteen solo’s in total! He wanted to find THE special solo for each part. Nathanael recorded the drums in his studio with a great deal of care and for this new album I did my first solo on keyboard and created all the keyboard parts (except for Elea, where Terence created all the music, and Nathanael helped with adding some loops at the end). I also developed my vocals a lot. Another big aspect of the recording that makes the difference is that we recorded in our own home studios with our own sound engineer Jérémy Mazan (who used to work for metal bands in Toulouse). That makes a big difference when you have someone who already knows your sound very well and knows what kind of sound you want to step up to. He also sang his “grr” vocals on Elea at the end of the part one. We always wanted to combine his voice with mine and the result is really nice! If you add to that, the voice of Alan Reed at the beginning of Elea, and this song is absolutely amazing! For the mastering we worked with Acle from Tesseract, He congratulated us on our songs by the way and he was absolutely fantastic. The band added our wishes and ideas into the final mix, but it was Terence who made the final decision and chose this or that idea for the mix as he composed most of the parts for each song. As he is a demanding composer, he wants the result to be closer to what he “hears” in his head. Finally, it is clear that the main difference on this album is the powerful sound as we worked with guys who have been playing in metal for a long time.
On ‘Time Of Awakening’ the songs are clearly part of one story, yet you’ve decided to split them up into three pieces. I guess the same goes for the last two songs on the album ‘Elea’. Can I ask why you didn’t group them together in a single song?
To make it easier to understand and to enable people to feel and understand when there are changes and to help them go straight to a section if they like it particularly. But when we play them live, the songs are not disconnected.
I would like to know more about what the song lyrics are about, from your perspective. Could you give us a short explanation per song?
I’d like to specify how I write the lyrics before detailing the meanings. I need the music to work from. So first we created the music. Guys were playing their parts at high volume and I was sitting in the sofa with my paper and my pen – I need to be entranced by the sound -and suddenly I start to receive images that I have to translate into words. Sometimes it is a very strong feeling that comes out and I have to write immediately. Then I need to be alone to work on the lyrics again, still with the music at high volume, to see if other images will to come to me.
‘Time of Awakening’: it is an awareness of what is around us and inside us, what is visible and invisible. Because the total human power depends on those connections, all is one and we have all the knowledge inside ourselves. It is no more question of thinking but acting, to change our world and make it better! But the awakening has several steps:
‘Part one’: Accepting the invisible and being thankful for the beauty of the Creation. That guides you to the second part. Part two: you start to think a lot of why you are here, why you incarnated in this or that country, in man or woman, what is your mission…and you start to doubt , you start to question all the time, you want to reach the wisdom because you know that it is the end of the path, and part three comes, really painful. Part Three: unfortunately as you have started this awakening path, you could NEVER go back to your former “you” and you would feel lonely, you would develop more sensitivity, it is very hard to live at the beginning but once absorbed, you come back to life , you have the freedom to BE what you have to live for. For that, no chains are allowed. Keep faith in the universe and dare!
‘Angel Dust’: I put into this song a real and personal experience; I have been “visited” into my dreams by a very high being, absolutely magical and very beautiful! He knew all about me, it was incredible and he did not speak, he used the telepathy. He showed something in my dream, a warning, someone I had to avoid. The next day, what he showed me in my dreams was real! I discovered the truth in the “real” life. All this short story to give hopes, we are not alone, we are always carried by an Angel, we need to believe in them and ask them for their help.
I really like the artwork of the album (the water ‘splash’) and the paper inlay (the elf), how does this fit with the music on the album?
The water ‘splash’ as you call it is not only water. There is a shape, an animal. Can you see it? I wanted to put a symbol of a High Spiritual Energy: the Dragon. Because they are the guardians of some special lines on Earth and they have been back to help us for our actual evolution. The water is the memory and Life.
The Paper inlay, is a painting by a friend of mine, Mathieu Fappani (from Paris), who created what he “saw” when thinking about me and my lyrics. He comes from the French Brittany, well known for its mythical tales. I have French Brittany and Irish roots. We do feel both the visible and the invisible worlds I think because I was very impressed to see how he was connected to my inner feelings. There are a magic & mystic aspects to Weend’ô.
Right after ‘You Need To Know Yourself’ you’ve released a live DVD ‘FairytalAcoustic’, with stripped-to-the-bone versions of the songs on the album. What made you decide to do a live DVD and specifically with acoustic versions of the songs?
It’s very simple. In France, prog music is not so well recognized as abroad. In France there are a lot of festive music, acoustic music, even if there is a big ROCK audience!! But as the prog is not well broadcast, we need another angle to seek programmers who would be ready to let us play in their venues. To get more places to play, most people advised us to play acoustic songs and they were right, we played in Restaurants, in small Culture Centres, in Theaters, in a Castle, even in a Golf Center! And each time people discovered Weend’ô in acoustic form, we told them that we had an electric version and many of them became fans of the original version of Weend’ô .
Can we expect a live DVD following ‘Time Of Awakening’?
Why not? We have a project with a painter and mapping designer on a stage soon. So we could maybe use this opportunity for a live recording.
I read in an interview somewhere that you have stopped your day jobs to fully focus on music, is that still the case?
Yes that’s still the case and I am glad to say that we are officially recognized as musicians in France as there is a status for professional musicians. That’s great! We are lucky to have that status in France. But we need to enlarge our influence. We have to undertake several projects at the same time as either musicians or technicians, it depends on what we are offered That gives us time to build our own big studio and start creating new musical projects…and new songs for Weend’ô of course!!
There is a question I ask to everyone in every interview. The music industry has drastically changed in the last years. More and more people switch to streaming services, such as Spotify or Deezer, but because most of those people aren’t buying any albums anymore it means that artists are financially impacted. On the other hand it makes the artist’s music more accessible to people worldwide, which can lead to more fans. What is your take on all of this?
With Spotify and Deezer, there are so many artists we can discover, that is great. However, if you want your band to be discovered, we need to get reviews, from my own experience, Weend’ô has been discovered in many different ways – by word of mouth / via gigs /via reviews / via Facebook / via Twitter. It is harder to check how Spotify or Deezer have been useful for Weend’ô. We will see… For the albums, it is really different. Our album has been completely paid by the fans through Indiegogo, and thanks to reviews we got many orders. The one hundred cd’s we brought with us at our last tour in the UK in October 2017 were sold out within two days. At the Summer’s End Festival, we sold nearly all our stock of albums. To sell a lot of albums, it depends on playing live now. We need to perform a lot on stage if we want to sell more. And our label, Sonicbond in UK, is a real great opportunity to spread the word about Weend’ô !
What’s next in your agenda? Any plans of touring, perhaps even visiting the Netherlands?
In our agenda, we have projects for Weend’ô in acoustic this summer in our area, and the big project with the painter in August and in October. Then we will come back to UK next Spring 2019, at the Winter’s End and hopefully in other towns. And yes, for sure, we really want to play in The Netherlands! We have been in contact with Arne from Mr Bowler Agency to help us with that.
Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions! Do you have any last words for our readers?
It was really a pleasure to answer your questions, and I would like to says to your readers to enjoy Life, and LOVE! We hope to share our music on stage with you soon! From Terence: “keep listening to the real good music and make it known to your children”.