Friday, 5 September 2014

INTERVIEW: Whyzdom


Philharmonic metallers Whyzdom originate from France and were formed in 2007.  To date, the band have released 2 full-length albums and an EP.  They are currently working on their third full-length.

The bands current line up is: Marie Rouyer on vocals, Nico Chaumeaux on drums, Régis Morin on guitars, Vynce Leff on guitars and orchestration, Marc Ruhlmann on keyboards, Xavier Corrientes on bass.  Guitarist Vynce, took some time out from the album preparations to speak to Femetalism about the band, the album and what the future might hold.

So, how did WHYZDOM get together?

The project started at the end of 2007. At that time, I already had released 5 albums with bands in the classic progressive rock genre, with some success. But I was slightly frustrated because classical orchestration is my passion and I could not express myself clearly. Then I discovered symphonic metal bands like Epica, Nightwish and After Forever. I went to an After Forever show in Paris, and while a cello soloist was playing, I realized that the audience was sharing my passion for classical instruments and also for the power of metal. At that exact time, I knew that I would start WHYZDOM. Recruiting musicians took something like 4 months. Some I met through the Internet, others I already knew from concerts I shared with other bands.

Can you tell us a bit about each member of the band?

The most recent member in the band is Marie, our front woman.  It's no secret that we have had some changes over 2 years in this position for various reasons. But now, Marie Rouyer has joined us 1 year and a half ago. I am very confident for the future of the band. Marie is technically a classically trained mezzo-soprano. But we recruited her for her ability to powerfully sing in the rock register. Even grunts. She’s just incredible.

Regis Morin, Nico Chaumeaux, Marc and myself were at the very beginning of the band. I don't think there's much to say about ourselves, except the fact that we all were passionate about symphonic female fronted metal. It is worth mentioning, because sometimes, when you set up a band, it happens that people accept to play other styles than their favorite, which is not very good on the long run... But luckily this time, it was the exact genre that we all wanted to play.

And Xavier, our bass player came a bit later, replacing Tristan who was forced to leave for professional reasons. Obviously he is also a symphonic metal fan, more in the Rhapsody genre. He's also a cello player, which you will hear in our album to come !

Where did the name WHYZDOM come from?

When trying to find a name for the band, I had the idea of Wisdom, which I liked a lot because of the contrast with the raging style of metal music. But I also needed a more specific name so that it could be distinguished from any other. That's why I changed the spelling. At that time, I had a Scottish friend who did not pronounce it "wisdom", but "why - z - dom"... And I did like it a lot too, because it remind me of "kingdom". I must say that different people choose different pronunciation ... and that they are all right. Even inside the band, some say "Wisdom", others "Why-z-dom". So, it's up to you, really !

How would you describe your sound?

We obviously play female-fronted symphonic metal. I know that many bands say that they hate labeling their genre, or deny being part of one genre. But for us it is exactly that. So, if you like female voices, symphonic music and metal. This is EXACTLY what you'll find in our music. But wait ! When we say "symphonic", people sometimes think a static synthetic strings sound on the intro, then a simple heavy metal song, then a synthetic strings sound on the outro. No, when we say "symphonic", we mean it. The whole orchestra is here, playing dynamically. You can hear everything : violins, cellos, brass, woodwinds, harp, percussion ... And not only in the intro, but in all of the songs, all of the time. That's why we decided to use the term "philharmonic metal » instead of « Symphonic metal ».

You are currently working on a new album which might or might not be called Asylum of Eden? Can you tell us about this?

Ah, I see that you follow us on Facebook :) . That's where we sometimes unveil titles of our songs. Asylum of Eden is the title of one of them, but not the title of the whole album. We have not unveiled it yet ... But I can already tell you that there will be the word "Symphony" in it ! I think it's quite appropriate for a philharmonic metal band, and I can assure you that it is the most powerful album we have made, especially in the orchestral section !

The topic of the album is the self destruction tendency of mankind, especially through religion and its relations with what we call "God". So, there are songs about war, god, religion, death, but also hope.

All the band members participated in making the songs. So it's a very collective work. And this time, I am very happy that our lead vocalist, Marie, took part in the writing of melodies, which was not the case in the previous albums. It was a real pleasure to include her own work and her own heart in the album.

What motivates you to make music?

One day, I received an email from someone who told me that listening to "The Old Man in the Park" did help him while he was mourning for his father loss. It touched me deeply, because something I wrote could be be of some help for someone else. Sharing music with people, trying to convey emotion ... And also partying at our shows ! That's why we do this.

Which artists have influenced you?

Most of all, I'm influenced by old progressive bands like Pink Floyd, Marillion, Supertramp, Queen, to name a few. The band that got me into metal was Dream Theater. On the classical side, I like a lot of french - not so old - composers like Debussy, Berlioz, Ravel, Satie.

What do you enjoy most about playing live and which WHYZDOM song do you most enjoy playing?

Playing live is one of the most important things in a musician life. The music becomes alive and there's a real relation between the performers and the audience. Sharing these moments with the audience, and moreover, getting to know them show after show, is what we enjoy the most. The songs we enjoy the most playing at the moment, are the songs of our next album. Not only are they the most recent, and changing our set list is always something cool ... but also because they were composed with Marie, and it means a lot for us !

If anything was possible, who would you most like to tour with and why?

If anything was possible, touring with Epica or Nightwish would be just great, because I think they are the two major bands, of which fans could definitely get into our own music.

If you could travel anywhere to play live, where would you most like to perform and why?

We enjoy a lot playing in different countries. Playing in England is amongst our best memories, especially at the Dames of Darkness Festival. Playing in Belgium is also incredible, and it's no secret that we would be immensely happy and proud if we could be invited to the next Metal Female Voices Fest, which is an absolutely brilliant and incredible event.

Inspired by a recent guest article on Femetalism, I am interested in finding out more about the metal scene in other countries. Can you tell us about the metal scene in France?

I think the french metal scene is stronger in the brutal side of metal. Two bands come to my mind : Dagoba and Gojira. Other great bands well known in France but probably less abroad : ADX, Misanthrope... Anyway, Metal is very very very underground in France, much more than in any other countries, I fear. I'm not sure things will improve in the future unfortunately.

So what’s next for WHYZDOM?

So, we are very busy with the making of our 3rd album. We tried to have a release in 2014, but I'm afraid that we have to officially announce that we'll have to wait early 2015. Anyway, it will hopefully be ready for mastering within 2 months. Then we can work on our future tour for promoting it. Now that our line-up is more stable, I think we will be able to focus on bringing back what we had at the very beginning of WHYZDOM : a real choir on stage !

So thank you for this interview, and hopefully, see you very soon at one of our shows in England!!!

Huge thanks to Vynce for taking the time to answer the Femetalism questions!  We look forward to hearing more cello in the WHYZDOM songs, a UK tour and of course the new album when it is released in 2015.

Follow the band on:

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Originally posted by Emma Sheridan on Femetalism.