Decline of the I

When we deal with extreme Metal subgenres in France, we must have in mind that, in the 90's, the country gave birth to an ideological movement called LLN (Les Légions Noires) that would be seen as the mark zero from Black Metal on the country. Of course this made a way for extreme Metal bands arise in the future; turning French lands a fertile soil for Black Metal. And one of the good names on the scene is DECLINE OF THE I, from Paris. It's a project from A. K., a multi-instrumentalist involved in underground of Metal scene for more than 15 year. But we got a chance to interview him, so, we are pleased with the chance.
February 21, 2015
A.K. (Decline of the I) interview
First of all, I want to thank you a lot for the chance, A.K. And to start, can you speak to us what means the band name?

There are a lot of significations behind this name. Some are very personal. If you translate it to French, it's the anagram of something very close to me. It's also the name of a song from the last album of Love Lies Bleeding, my previews solo project.

We live in a world that comes to an end. An early end. And it's obvious that the vision of what the self is, is one of the reason of our end. Unable to feel any real empathy, we are just preoccupied by who we can get more and more pleasure, faster and faster. It's just fucking sad… So here is one signification of this decline of the I.

But, in another perspective, it can be seen more optimistic. One of the few soteriological issues would be to accept a solubility of the self to escape from individuality. I'm not talking about hippy things, like connecting with the love of Earth or shit like that. Just to feel the link to a greater energy, to Life, as Nietzsche describes it. What go through us, all this wave we have to accept. Amor fati, in other words…

Of course, we now that the band's name is related to the works of the biologist Henri Laborit, and for this, do you think that science and other academic aspects could make a way into extreme Metal, or even to Metal as a entire musical style?

As an entire musical style ? I doubt it. I guess everything in the world, every aspect of reality can be catalised by the music. I considere music more powerfull to describe reality than language. In music, we are not trapped in the prison of conception. It can give you more than that : you don't learn with your reason, but with your feelings. Something far more deep and primal that the language. So that, I think it's not a mater of metal or extreme metal genre. Music can deal with everything, academic or not.

You're involved on Metal scene for many years, working with bands as Diapsiquir, Vorkriest, Neo Inferno 262, Merrimack, and Malhkebre. What happened to those bands, and when you thought for the first on Decline Of The I? What were your ideas back then?

I'm not in Diapsiquir anymore but they are still active. Neo Inferno is still sleeping but it may wake up one day or another. The other are still very active.

Apart from the bands, I have always worked on solo project. To be more precise: I had a solo project (Love Lies Bleeding) even before my first Black Metal band. When I stopped LLB in 2006, after 5 albums, I wanted a new personal approach of dark music.

I didn't have a very sharp idea of what I was goint to make. But something more mesmerizing, heavier… I was reading Laborit at this time, and I was in a strange point of my life. And, naturally, all met and so was born Decline of the I.

Decline Of The I has two works, the albums "Inhibition" (of 2012) and the recent "Rebellion". Looking for both of them, what are the main differences between both of them, musically speaking? Was there something that you would change on "Inhibition", if you were to record it nowadays?

As I follow the different kind of reactions to aggressions, the albums has to be different. Their core is quiet the same, as it's still a reflection of myself, but the first one is apathetic, heavy, slow and Rebellion is much more violent, epileptic, fast…

I wouldn't change a thing to Inhibition. Of course, it's not perfect, and I see, here and there some points that could be better. But it's the exact witness of a time, with its strength and weakness. I never look back with regrets. It's like a tattoo, you know. Even if years after you think that it can be better, he is an authentic link to your past. So admit it. This is where you come from. Nothing could have been different.

One striking feature of "Rebellion" is that the same lineup is present, even with a difference of three years between both albums. What the reason for that?

Actually, it's not the same line up. Only one of the singer is the same. But the main singer, the drummer are not the same.Decline of the I is not a band. It's a manifestation of being. It's selfish, narcissistic etc. But I need to do it that way. So I work with the people I feel close to myself and think that their skill can fit with my visions. I can't say for sure that the line up will be the same for the next release… Who knows….

When I was reviewing "Rebellion", I was really astonished due the diversity of musical influences. And in some manners, it's not an easy album to understand for many. What are the main musical influences on the album? And did the other members put some contributions on the composition process? By the way, I became addicted to it.

Glad to know that you're addicted ahah ! As you can see, there are no main influences. It's a combination of the diversity of what surrounds me and is filtered by the prism of my ego. I go through a lot of things in my life, I met a lot of different people, I listen to many types of music etc. etc. All these things have an influence on me, of course. It's doesn't mean I will copy them, but they have effects on me. And I use my music to express all these affects.

The other members didn't take part of the musical composition process, but V. wrote some lyrics. And, in the studio, we tried different arrangements, and tried different experiment on vocal, altogether..

You worked with Khatchik Hovikian (L'odeur Du Tchaman) and Xort (Seth, Alcest, Vorkreist, Anorexia Nervosa) on recording and mastering. So, do you think they really got and understood what were your ideas and musical goals for "Rebellion"? And how much time took for the entire process to come to life (recording, mixing and mastering)?

It was very important for me to work with people I know. I know these guys for years, and I was sure that the link between us wouldn't have been for more than just professional. It's sometimes not that easy to work with me as I have some "feelings" that are difficult to communicate. With the sound, I just try to have a correlation between what I composed, have in mind, and how it has to be released. But I don't always have the right words or the right sense of technical aspects. So, best way is to talk a lot for these guys to understand how has to sound this album. A mix between violence, filth, resentment, hysteria… and they really did well the job, and were very patient with my "mh, it's great but it's not exactly THIS sound I need"… I can be a pain in the ass, sometimes…

Well, as I told above, France had LLN back on 1990's, and after they appeared and project some bands, it seems to us that an invasion came from France in terms of extreme Metal bands. Do you think the same way, or have another vision of the whole thing? And by the way, do you had or have some contact with people/bands that were on LLN?

To be honest, I wasn't really moved by LLN. I found them interesting, and thought that their approaches were very unique and personal, but I felt different ways at that time. In fact, I prefer listen to them now than back then. I met Meynach when he joined Hell Militia, but I don't see him very often…

Well, I have to confess that I don't have a clear idea that Decline Of The I would be a live band or a studio project, so, do you have plans for some live shows?

It's hard to tell. I've had some proposals, but up to now, I don't feel ready to do it. It has to be special, and for now I've to much work with my other bands that play live. But maybe, later. Never say never !

This is a different question: we have seen that Black Metal came out of the underground in the middle of the 90's. And there is a great number of fans that are complaining for this explosion, saying that it destroyed the old Black Metal spirit. Do you agree with their vision, or you see things from another point of view?

I understand both points of view. The fact that Black metal is now something less hidden, mysterious, killed a part of its aura. But in the other hand, I can understand people involved in this scene, tired of recording demos in a cave, and play shitty gigs… There are still sincere people who keep the right spirit, anyway.

Well, we want to thank you again for the interview, and the space is your for your message for our readers and Decline Of The I fans.

"La vie ne suffit pas".

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