Vision Éternel Interview For CenZu Zine
This interview was conducted by Kenneth Kovasin for CenZu Zine on June 10th of 2009 with Vision Éternel founder, Alexandre Julien.
For archival purposes, the interview is now presented here:
-Hey Alex, how has the year begun for you? Have you had a lot of time developing material for Vision Éternel?
The year has been great so far. Not only for Vision Éternel, but also for a lot of my favourite bands getting back together this year. But it’s also a year of re-issuing for Vision Éternel. In February of 2009, the two EPs, “Seul Dans L’obsession” and “Un Automne En Solitude“, were re-released together under the compilation “An Anthology Of Past Misfortunes” on Frozen Veins Records out of Japan. And now this summer, each of those two EPs is getting a re-issue on cassette tape on Winterreich Productions. Other than that, I have been working out ideas for a load of upcoming releases, but these mostly have to do with collaborations. The only one which I have officially announced is the split 7″ vinyl with Ethereal Beauty. That’s been in the works for nearly a year now. That will come out on Abridged Pause Recordings.
-First off, I need to say your material reminds me of bands like Dark Sanctuary, Raison D’être and like some parts of my own band [ówt krì]. How would you describe your own music and what do you think of these comparisons?
Well, to tell you the truth I had never heard of these bands until you mentioned them. For the sake of answering your question properly, I checked them out. Honestly, I see no resemblance in the music whatsoever. I would describe Vision Éternel as an emotional ambient concept. Some may go further and say it’s shoegaze, some may say its post-rock, and personally when I set out to find what it was I was doing, I stumbled on the term ethereal.
-Another thing that sprang into mind is: why this style of music?
As I started to mention in the previous answer, when I began doing Vision Éternel in January of 2007, I was still really into black metal. So I wasn’t aware of most of the effects that were used in studios. When I was working on new Vision Lunar songs (that’s my other band, very atmospheric black metal type of thing), I came across the reverb effect on Cakewalk Sonar. I had never used it, and I loved it from the first try. So I ended up jamming what would become “Love Within Beauty“, and writing an EPs worth of material. I still didn’t know what kind of music I was doing, I was just calling it “ambient” since it was the only thing that I knew came close to it. Then I did some research to try to find out what exactly was this thing that I was doing. Of course I landed on the entire roster of Projekt Records… But I don’t think that Vision Éternel is necessarily a shoegaze or an ethereal band…
-On that note I’m also interested in what bands you see as influences to your music and what do you listen to normally? Are there any records that you always return to?
As far as music that has directly influenced Vision Éternel, there is none. I have never been influenced to compose any Vision Éternel song after listening to anyone else’s music, in fact to prepare myself for recording for Vision Éternel, I listen to Vision Éternel beforehand. The only true influence for Vision Éternel is a series of heartbreaks. My favourite bands are very far off from what my musical genre and compositions are. My all time favourite band is Faith No More, then I would have to say Chamberlain comes in second and Elton John in third. Those are very alternative bands, yet I mostly listen to hardcore, post-metal and black metal. So I couldn’t tell you that those musical influences are there for Vision Éternel. It would be easier to answer that question for my other bands.
-I have to be honest and let you know that I don’t know a whole lot about your band. Could you tell me a little about Triskalyon and how it turned into Vision Éternel, but also a little about the differences in these two bands.
Triskalyon is hard to explain, and I haven’t found the exact explanation for it. It wasn’t a band, it was a group of bands, a collective. It was a very French thing to do at the time, like Les Legions Noire, Team Nowhere and H8000. What it was was just all of my bands and all the bands of my close friends grouped together under the Triskalyon banner. Vision Éternel was part of that group. Triskalyon broke up and Vision Éternel was the only serious band to come out of it, so I kept the Myspace page for it.
-I really need to ask you where the band name Vision Éternel comes from. In some way it is very suitable for this type of music, but also it seems somewhat predictable.
Since I have already explained Triskalyon, it will be easier to explain this. All of the solo projects that were in Triskalyon were named “Vision something“. For example I had Vision Lunar, Vision Solitude, Vision Sufferance. I named this one Vision Éternel because it was about an obsession that I had over one of my ex-girlfriends. I couldn’t get over her. The spelling is intentionally misspelled. It’s neither French nor English, somewhere in between.
-You’ve been working with a few record labels, can you tell me how this came about? What would you see as the positive and negative sides in your co-operations?
Vision Éternel started out under Mortification Records, which was a record label that I operated at the time (it has since folded). The first two Vision Éternel EPs, “Seul Dans L’obsession” and “Un Automne En Solitude“, were released on that label because back then, I felt that no one would be interested in investing in my new band. I also wanted it to stay very personal. I was then offered to re-issue those releases on CDs by various record labels but I wasn’t interested. Finally, I was convinced by Frozen Veins Records. We put out a compilation of both of the EPs along with some unreleased material. Yusuke Ooka is a really awesome guy and I hope that his record label will go far. Recently, I was given the chance to work with Winterreich Productions. It’s a pretty big record label in the black metal scene, having re-issued many important albums on cassette tape. I just hope that Vision Éternel will someday fit in that roster of important bands. The latest label which I have been working with is Abridged Pause Recordings. That’s my new record label and it will be putting out the split 7″ vinyl with Ethereal Beauty. I would have to say that I really enjoy having worked with many record labels. It gets you a lot of new exposure and each record label takes your band to new places.
-What would you see as the greatest advantages with the internet for a young band? How have you utilized the World Wide Web in your career?
I think that MP3s are both one of the best and worst things for a band. Of course, I am a strong believer in the MP3 download. It’s so great. But it kills the artist in the end. I know that a few years back many bigger labels didn’t have respect for digital labels and some people still feel this way. But some of those net labels are really getting somewhere and not to make publicity for them or anything since I haven’t worked with that record label at all, but Lost Children is one of the bigger and best ones out there. As I mentioned earlier, the first two Vision Éternel EPs were released digitally so it got me a lot of good exposure. But working strictly digital requires non-stop work promoting.
-One thing I’ve noticed myself is that by only dealing on the internet as a band, you get very little feedback. Have you received much feedback on your music? How has the public reaction been?
I have had a decent amount of feedback about the music, but I can’t say that it has been that much. Most people don’t really bother to leave comments, or reviews or even a star rating. Anyone who spends their day downloading music and then says “I’m too busy, I don’t have the time for that” is a lazy bum! I think that people should have more respect for the bands that allow you to get their music for free. Think about it this way; It used to be you needed a ride to get to the store, so that you could get the album. And for that you needed money to buy it. And while you worked and traveled and searched to obtain those things, you did more word of mouth about the product than you are now, sitting in your computer room, getting free music and isolating yourself. That’s all the philosophy I’m going to ramble about for now!
-Now last but not least, I want to thank you for your patience and wish you all the best for the future. Do you have any final words, requests etc.?
If you like the bands, give feedback! It’s important. And now my promo slot: check out my record label Abridged Pause Recordings. Thanks a lot for the interview, it was a pleasure answering it!