FRÉD LECLERCQ OF DRAGONFORCE AND SINSAENUM: "WHO KNOWS WHERE I'LL BE IN TWO YEARS?"
Luke 'Loki' Milne
Breaking away from his work within British power Metal giants Dragonforce, bassist Fred Leclercq has teamed up with Attila Csihar, Sean Zatorsky and ex-Slipknot drummer Joey Jordison to create Sinsaenum, an extreme Metal act currently enjoying the success of their debut release, ;Echoes Of The Tortured'.
The album is already in physical and online stores across the globe, so you can grab your copy of this 20+ track album right now. In the meantime, MetalTalk caught up with Leclercq himself to find out a little more about his latest addition to the extreme Metal genre...
The concept of Sinsaenum is one that you've apparently been holding onto for quite some time, engaging in various discussions whilst on tour and sharing some demo tracks with Jordison that originate as far back as 1998. How does it feel to finally have this side of you creativity brought to life?
"Its great! I indeed wrote some of the riffs back in 1998, but most of it has been written from 2010 on. We started to talk about it with Joey in 2008, more like 'we should do this someday'. Then I asked Stephane first, in 2010. We've known each other for more than 20 years now. But yes, its great to finally hold the album in my hands. Hard to realise its really happening!"
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What were your primary inspirations behind the creation of the band and your debut release?
"Death Metal from late 80s till mid 90s, as well as 90s black Metal. That's the form of music I find the most convenient to express the dark 'me'. Also classical, prog... it's the result of everything I'm listening to, mixed together to serve the purpose of unleashing dark feelings."
You've been tied into Dragonforce for over 10 years now and I expect that you've developed a working groove with each other over time - how did it feel to jump into the studio with an entirely new group of musicians? What were the main challenges you faced as a group getting the album together?
"We recorded separately because it was easier that way, and that's something I've been doing with Dragonforce as well, since we don't live in the same countries, just like Sinsaenum. There were no real challenges because there was no bullshit, no egos, just everybody with the same intention - to do something intense, real, brutal, spontaneous in a way.
"I wrote the music, then emailed with everyone back and forth to fine tune things, and well, working with such amazing musicians, it was very easy. I wrote basic drum tracks and Joey made this 1000 times better, same with everyone. So I don't recall any challenges, apart from renaming files, you know, boring studio stuff that Stephane and I had to go through. It's not really challenging, just boring!"
Speaking of the album itself, 'Echoes Of The Tortured' features over 20 tracks yet a fair chunk of these are short instrumental transitions between songs. What was the thought process behind using this format in lieu of a standard 12-track album template?
"I wanted this album to be conceptual without an actual story. I think it creates a cinematographic approach and forces the listener to listen to the whole album, something people are not used to anymore. It's 'skip-skip-skip, remote control change, quick-quick'. I want people to listen to the album from start to finish, to go places, to create their own story. Also the interludes give time to breathe after a song, and build a tension until the next 'real' song starts."
The music video that accompanies 'Splendor And Agony' features a lot of red gooey stuff and the footage looks like it was torn straight from the belly of a particularly gory horror movie. Could you tell us a little more about the thought, planning and execution of this video?
"I love horror movies, we all do, so it was an obvious choice to have a horror video. It was made in Hungary by a company called Independent Film. They made an amazing, amazing job when they are not used to doing Metal but I hope people are gonna get in touch with them because the quality is way higher than most of the Metal videos you see these days. The main make-up artist worked on the set of World War Z. The filming was intense and we had a great time."
From your perspective, the content of the album moves quite far from the territory marked out by previous Dragonforce releases that you've been involved with. Do you think it will be easier for fans of, say, Jordisons work with Slipknot to jump on board with Sinsaenum than it might be for Dragonforce fans – or are you looking to cater to an entirely new target audience?
"I don't really do this to please anyone so while I respect Dragonforce fans I don't expect them all to enjoy this time of music. It's closer to Joeys previous band music, perhaps, definitely close to Stephane, Attila and Heimoth music but really we are Sinsaenum because we love this kind of music and we find it the best way to express, like I was saying earlier, our dark feelings, hatred, anger, sorrow... so I do this because I have to. If I wanted to please a lot of people I would do pop music and that'd be nice too but that's not the idea here."
Far from being hailed a side project many media sources have pegged Sinsaenum as the next supergroup to hit the Metal scene. With members of Chimaira, Mayhem and Vimic thrown into the mix it's not a term that's being used lightly. In the potential event that Sinsaenum overtakes your work with Dragonforce, could you see yourself moving away from Li, Totman and the other guys to make Sinsaenum your 'day job' within music?
"We consider ourselves a band. Supergroup implies negative things such as 'one off' or 'studio project' and that's not how we want Sinsaenum to be perceived. We are a band, we are working on a second album already, there is a strong connection between us all. As to leaving Dragonforce? I can't see why I should right now. I'm happy to have this schizophrenic career at the moment where I can be smiling with Dragonforce and screaming with Sinsaenum. Both are me. Right now I need both. Who knows where I'll be in two years?"
I understand a tour is currently being planned so could you tell us a little more about what we can expect from this and when it's likely to hit? Any indication of bands you're looking to team up with in the future?
"Yes and no. We want to tour and when we will it will be intense and evil because we have precise ideas of how it should be done. Now the problem is that we are all very busy with our other bands and Sinsaenum arrived last, so we cannot go 'alright, go fuck yourselves, we embark on a Sinsaenum tour no matter what!' so we need to have everyone free and that's not the case at the moment unfortunately. It will take time and effort to make this happen, and it won't be now. But it WILL happen, this I can promise."
To close this interview, do you have any final thoughts, words or messages you'd like to deliver to your fans and followers?
"Thank you people for taking a bit of your time to read this interview. I hope you enjoy the album. Listen to it from start to finish and let us know (via Twitter, Facebook etc) what you think! Support death and black Metal, support the musicians, buy albums, go to concerts. We will see you all soon!