Guillaume Corsale, Nicolas Griette, Phil Wax & Thomas Coulaud

Deafening Silence

DEAFENING SILENCE come from a fervent French metal scene, veterans so to speak as they've been recording albums at this point for well over a decade. Their third album "Scapegoat of Ignorance" made a great impression on my Power / Speed Metal mind, and so I felt it was necessary to get to know all that I could about this group. Here is the interview answered by Phil Wax (bass), Guillaume Corsale (guitars), Thomas Coulaud (drums) and Nicolas Griette (vocals).
By Matt Coe
May 1, 2014
Interview - Guillaume Corsale
Tell us about your own personal journey into the realm of becoming a musician: what were your first memories surrounding music, and how you made the move from being a fan to picking up an instrument and forming your first band?

Guiome: Well, when I was young I used to play with my father's guitar, unpretentiously, but I could already play the riff from "Smoke on the Water". It didn't go farther than that at first. Later on, my interest for Hard Rock and Metal grew after I heard bands like GUNS 'N ROSES and METALLICA. And it never stopped! Naturally, I picked up the guitar and used my fingers on it, until my parents bought me my first electric guitar. At the same time, I was in school with Phil and the idea of playing together came out because of our common influences.

Tom: My father is a huge music fan so I've always had music in my ears from a very young age. The good thing is that he was into all the iconic rock bands from the 60's and 70's, especially LED ZEPPELIN, DEEP PURPLE, PINK FLOYD, THE WHO and THE ROLLING STONES. I used to take his old tapes for myself. Later on, he also was the one responsible for my start on the drums. He is a drummer himself and he gave me my first kit when I was fourteen. In addition to that, "The Trooper" by IRON MAIDEN and "You Could Be Mine" by GUNS N'ROSES were the very two songs that made me want to give it a shot.

Nico: The first band I was really into was QUEEN, Freddie Mercury is definitely a god to me. It was in the early 90's, just after Freddy died. A few years later, I discovered METALLICA, MEGADETH and, above all, IRON MAIDEN. That was when I became a musician, by accident, because two friends of mine had got a bass and a guitar as presents and they joked about me joining them as a singer in the band they were about to form. I took up the challenge, being foolish enough to think that was going to make things easier with girls, ahah. Then I saw MAIDEN on stage for the first time. This concert changed my life because I understood right on the spot that I wanted to do that.

What were the first feelings you had taking in hard rock/ heavy metal? Did you have many friends who shared your love for the genre? What were some of the initial album purchases you made- and do these bands / albums still stand up well today for you?

Guiome: My best memory is a tape recorded by a friend, where he had put his favorite songs from his favorite bands. I remember particularly the songs "And Justice for All", followed by "Painkiller" and "Murders in the Rue Morgue". This memory will always be with me. The first record that I bought probably is the Black Album by METALLICA.
Phil: Well, the first time I heard hard rock, it was The Final Countdown and Rock the Night by EUROPE. I was a 10 years old boy and I liked it. A little bit later, a friend of mine gave me a copy of IRON MAIDEN's "No Prayer for the Dying". I think this was the real trigger. That sound, man! A week later, I asked for more and my friend gave me a copy of AC/DC's "Blow Up Your Video". It was a revelation for me. I knew I would love this music forever and it's still the case. Today, most of my friends listen to Metal music.

Tom: I started listening consciously to Hard Rock in September 1990, that was the year when AC/DC was coming back big with "The Razor's Edge". So I was really into them. By the end of the year, a friend from school lent me "Piece of Mind" by IRON MAIDEN, then "The Number of the Beast" sometime later. And I couldn't stop listening to those two tapes. Each time I was blown away, I had shivers down my spine. From that moment, MAIDEN has always been my favorite band. The first album I bought was "Back in Black" by AC/DC, it was a cassette! My first CD was "Piece of Mind".

Nico: The first time I heard Metal was in my brother's car. I believe it was MEGADETH and I was instantly hooked. This mix of aggression and melodies was all I had been looking for without knowing it. Many of my friends were into this music as well and it wasn't long before I was given lots of recordings on cassettes. I discovered MAIDEN on television in a special broadcast which consisted in many of their music videos and I remember falling to my knees when I heard "The Trooper". I listened exclusively to Maiden for a year after that, night and day. Besides, the first original album I bought was "Somewhere in Time". I heard JUDAS PRIEST a few years later, which was the second musical shock of my life. Today, these two bands are still my favorites.

Deafening Silence formed in 1997 – what can you tell us about those early years and the three demos you worked on between 1998-2000 "Tales from the Seven Stars", "Between Two Worlds", and "Muse"? Looking back what are the pluses and minuses concerning your recording time, performances, and songwriting abilities?

Guiome: Determination was the key word from the beginning. Playing Heavy Metal in France at the time, you had to be completely crazy! Everybody was playing Nu Metal ala KORN in those days. We kept our direction, playing gigs and learning together. Our very first demo was not good, we only had one day to record it, I'll let you imagine the result... For the two other demos, we tried to work more professionally. Sometimes I listen to those records so that I can realize the path that we have gone through, and they have some good parts and a few good ideas.
Phil: The early years remain great memories for me. We did not ask ourselves too many questions. Nothing was calculated except becoming rock stars, ha ha! During this period, Guiome was writing most of the songs. Now, we have five songwriters in the band with lots of ideas for arrangements.

Local French record label Brennus Music finally signed the band – how did this deal occur and were there other offers on the table or did you prefer to work with someone within your own country so you could keep in better touch/ contact?

Guiome: At this time, we were trying to reach the next level, and we got in touch with Brennus with our demo Muse. Alain Ricard, who is the head of Brennus, told us that it was possible to have a deal but that we had to do some corrections. When "Edge Of Life" was written, he came to our rehearsal room where we played all the songs just for him, and that was it! I think that that day we gained his trust. To be honest, we hadn't looked for anything else, we were too happy!!

Phil: It also needs to be noted that we first sent our second demo to Brennus but we forgot to put the CD inside! More seriously, we didn't have other good opportunities. There's no use for us in signing with a German or an American label if the conditions are the same. But if an important label is interested in our music, why not?

Your first full length album "Edge of Life" came out in the spring of 2003. Consisting of 10 original songs, how do you feel the composing and recording process went for this effort? Why did you decide to re-record "Strong We Are" from your previous demo "Muse"?

Phil: It was a painful recording, really. For the first time, we were in studio together, each member recording his parts as the others watched carefully.  We were on a tight budget and every mistake cost money.  It was a hard but good experience that made us stronger.

Guiome: We decided to re-record "Strong We Are" because it was a song that had a strong impact during our shows and the first version was not good enough for us.

Were you able to do much touring in support of the record, or did you pretty much stick to headlining slots locally with opening slots if available for international acts?

Phil: At this time, we were younger and we could tour more in support of the record. We shared the stage with Mister Jeff Scott Soto in 2004 and it was a great experience. Unfortunately, we had line-up changes and we were not able to react quickly. Today, we would like to tour more but we all have day jobs. It's not easy but we are able to adapt to the situation. If we have the opportunity to tour as an opening band, we'll do it. A tour manager has offered us a Spanish tour a few months ago but it was really too expensive for us. At this time, we had to save our money for the pressing of "Scapegoat Of Ignorance". In April, we will have the honor to share the stage with FREEDOM CALL and we hope that we'll have other opportunities like this in the near future.

The second album "Backlash" came out in 2007 – any particular set of reasons why there was a long break between albums? Are you the type of band that takes its time composing versus writing and recording at a quick pace?

Guiome: The main reason is that we had to face the departure of members that we had to replace. At our level it takes time. In return this allows us to offer very different albums every time.

Phil: Yes. Songs were written and ready to be recorded for a long time. Our former singer left in 2005 and Nico entered the band some weeks later, but we decided to write new lyrics for all the songs.

Nico: I must say that my voice is pretty different from Julien's and that I completely changed the vocal lines to the songs which weren't recorded yet to fit them to my voice.

The newest album "Scapegoat of Ignorance" is a power/speed metal juggernaut, appearing on the scene again after a lengthy recording break. Did you put more thought behind the fact that this is your third record and often represents for most bands one of their peaks in terms of establishing their style on the scene?

Guiome:  Sincerely I haven't thought about that during the songwriting. We had to face the departure of two drummers and a guitarist. So we asked ourselves: what do we do now? We came to the conclusion that this was the time to write something more personal and intimate. Then came the idea of making a concept album. We are living in a country were millions of people have died during the two World Wars, so that was our main inspiration for the songs.

Tom: This is my first album with the band. Some of the songs were already written when I joined in 2010. The main reasons why it took so long for the album to be made and released are the line-up changes as well as personal issues faced by some of us. Plus we had to go back to the studio to re-record two songs (including our long piece "The Last Stand"). But I don't think we worked on this one with the thought that it was our third one, we just wanted to try and finish it.

Nico: Indeed, we've had our share of rotten luck over a period that goes from the release of "Backlash" until quite recently…

Tell us more about the striking album cover and the concept that went into this- was it the band's idea or did you collaborate with the artist to flesh this out?

Guiome: Yeah I also think that the artwork is awesome!!

Phil: The cover has been made by JP Fournier who is known for his work with EDGUY,
AVANTASIA, IMMORTAL… We must admit that he had some difficulties to paint it because the topic wasn't familiar to him. He usually does covers looking like heroic fantasy and we asked him for something a bit different. We had some talks to explain what we were expecting and the result is just great.

Whose idea was it to record a cover version of Iced Earth's "Burning Times"? Is this a bonus track available in other territories or something that fans can find and download for free?

Tom: We currently have nine covers ready to be played live. "Burning Times" was my choice. Recording it came out of opportunity. As I said earlier, we had to re-record two songs for the album and, as I had some studio time left, I decided to record the first two covers that we had worked on, which were "Burning Times" and "Metal Gods" by JUDAS PRIEST. Those are not bonus tracks for the album but we indeed plan to make them available for free in the near future.

How would you describe Deafening Silence in terms of your performances live? Which types of shows do you enjoy more: the smaller, intimate club gigs or the larger outdoor festivals?

Guiome: After all these years, I can tell you that our main quality is the energy, as well as precision and power. Like a steamroller ... My preference goes to smaller venues, outdoors is really special if you're not a big band with a big staff…

Phil: I'd like to play big outdoor festivals like Wacken Open Air or Hellfest, in front of a big audience of crazy Metalheads. If someone hears our call, we are ready to do it!!

Tom: The main focus has indeed to be the energy, we play Metal and we're here to kick asses! I much prefer club gigs, the sound is usually better and there's no gap between the band and the audience, which is a good thing.

Nico: I like both, the key word for me is pleasure. My greatest memory on stage is that of a small pub gig. I was dreadfully sick and voiceless but, luckily enough, the pub was packed, we were like at home, the audience knew the songs and sang the lyrics for me, which was great.

How do you feel about the French metal music scene at this time? Are you happy with the support from fans, the press, promoters, record labels, etc.? Who are some other future artists we need to take notice of (doesn't matter what genre of metal)?

Phil: It's all about money. I guess it's the same in every country. The press, promoters or record labels are going to watch how many views you have on your You Tube channel or how many "likes" you have on your Facebook page. But today, everybody can buy views and "likes". If you have money to put in it, you will have more exposure. Some bands are overrated and some others are underrated, but it's the rules of the game and we accept it. I don't know many French bands, except local bands, and I can't give any names.

Tom: The French Metal scene has exploded in the last ten years. We've had a few iconic bands over the years, like SORTILEGE in the 80's, LOUDBLAST in the 90's or SCARVE in the 2000's but, to my opinion, there's a before and an after GOJIRA. Who knew that a French band could become that big around the world? France has been considered as some kind of Third World of Rock and Metal for a long time but now, with the rise of bands like Gojira, I really do feel that our Metal scene is ready to expand internationally. There are lots of good bands now, like ADAGIO, TREPALIUM, DAGOBA, GOROD, BENIGHTED, NIGHTMARE, LYZANXIA or HACRIDE for instance. Those are not new bands but they are among the best in the country.

What worries you most about the world that we live in today?

Guiome: To fall again in the horror of war, to see civilian people being killed by weapons controlled by mad politicians, and to see mankind destroying mother earth.

Phil: Overpopulation. We continue to diminish the planet's resources faster than they can be replenished. We are warned but the elite doesn't seem to care. One day it will be too late.

Tom: To see that people definitely never learn. I won't get into details, it would take too much time and place. But if you consider, for instance, what is happening in the Ukraine or Venezuela, the ever-growing power that is given to financial speculators or the decisions that are made concerning the protection – or should I say the destruction – of our planet, it seems like mankind is doomed to make the same mistakes over and over again, all in the name of money.

Nico: In my opinion, the dictatorship of money and finance is the cause of the majority of the problems in our world.

Name your five favorite albums of all time- as well as the best concert that you personally attended and why this concert stuck out in your mind?

Guiome: IRON MAIDEN – "Somewhere in Time"; BRAINSTORM – "Ambiguity"; GAMMA RAY – "Powerplant"; ANNIHILATOR – "Never, Nerverland"; JUDAS PRIEST – "Painkiller". The best show that I've seen was HAMMERFALL during the "Legacy of Kings" tour. Everything was perfect: sound, power, energy, the audience…

Phil: HELLOWEEN – "Keeper Of The Seven Keys"; METALLICA- "Master Of Puppets"; IRON MAIDEN – "Seventh Son of a Seventh Son"; VOLBEAT – "Guitar Gangsters And Cadillac Blood"; ANNIHILATOR – "Alice in Hell". The best concert I've seen was RAMMSTEIN, last year at W.O.A. It was blasting to see and hear 75000 people singing every word with the band.

Tom: LED ZEPPELIN – "House of the Holy"; IRON MAIDEN – "Powerslave"; BLACK SABBATH – "Heaven & Hell"; DEATH – "Symbolic"; SYMPHONY X – "V". The best concert I attended was IRON MAIDEN in Nancy, France, in May 1993. I was fourteen and it was my first concert ever. I've seen them ten times by now, but this first one really sticks out because I was quite young and I finally had the chance to see my favorite band. Plus the context was special because Bruce Dickinson had announced his departure at the end of the tour so I was feeling really lucky to see him at least once.

Nico: JUDAS PRIEST – "Screaming for Vengeance", "Nostradamus"; IRON MAIDEN – "Seventh Son of a Seventh Son"; SYMPHONY X – "The Divine Wings Of Tragedy"; DIO – "Holy Diver". As I said before, the best concert I attended was the first time I saw IRON MAIDEN, on January 28th, 1996.

Are you able to make a living off of your music, or does most of the band have to work day jobs to support themselves? And what do your immediate family members/ relationship partners think of your band?

Guiome: I have to work, music cannot support my life style My family is really open-minded and understands my choices. It's important, otherwise I could not do it.

Phil: Yes, we all have to work day jobs. I have the chance to have a wonderful girlfriend that supports me and the band. It's not easy every day because I spend lots of time to promote the band on the internet.

Tom: I used to make a living out of music, touring with local bands and being a drum teacher. Now I try to go back to a more classic path. Anyway, my parents have always been patient and supportive regarding my choices.

Nico: I don't make a living with music, I have a day job, just like my bandmates. By the way, I'm answering this interview while at work… ahah.

Have you already started work on album number four- and if so what type of direction are the songs shaping up in?

Phil: Yes! Five songs are already finished. It's a bit different than "Scapegoat…" The songs are more direct because there is no concept to follow. There will be some mid-tempos and some speed stuff. But it may change, who knows?

Tom: The new songs are shorter, it's a more "in your face" approach, which I like. However, I'd love to play more speed and aggressive songs in the future, to add some Thrash or even Death Metal edge to the melodic nature of the band. We'll see.

Nico: I finished the vocals for the fourth song this afternoon and I'll work on the fifth as soon as I can. Like Tom, I wouldn't mind to have the band go more aggressive on the next songs.

What does the rest of 2014 hold for Deafening Silence in terms of activities, live shows, other products, etc.?

Phil: We play with FREEDOM CALL in April and we have a couple of dates after that. We will finish the songwriting and probably start the recording by the end of the year. We don't want to wait 5 years before making another album. We still have some things to say.

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