Interview avec Corine
Excès Nocturne – Interview with Corine
- Nattsol: As I know, the band began to exist in 1984. And you joined two years later. So what was ‘Exces Nocturne’ in that period? What were the band’s origins?
Corine: It started when Rémy (guitar player) was 16, with Thierry, who played the drums. At that time, Rémy never imagined that Richard (Thierry’s younger brother) would become Excès Nocturne’s bass player…! They used to rehearse a bit everywhere, including Rémy’s Mum’s bedroom or in their living room. 4 years later, they became a more serious band: they met 2 other musicians (bass and keyboard) and they found the name… the title for a porn movie ! Then I joined, the same day as Richard. And the keyboard left….. And in the end, just before we released the ..12”.., Thierry left the band.
- Nattsol: Now tell me, how did you join the band?
Corine: It was more like a coïncidence, in fact I was running a rock-bar, then, and Rémy used to come, and one day, he told me they were looking for a new male singer. I don’t know why, but it just felt like “that’s your chance, go ahead!” So I said “I know one” and when he asked who, I just said “me”. He looked surprised but then suggested an audition. I don’t remember that he was particularly enthusiastic at the time, though …:) So I auditioned one afternoon and I was scared to death cos they played one of their new songs and asked me to improvise on it. I ended up using a sentence from one of Siouxsie’s songs and singing it for a long long time! This song eventually became “Il disait”. And it’s one of my favourite!
- Nattsol: Next my question is common for bands which were/are close to coldwave. Tell me about that coldwave era. What was that actually? Do you think that it’s over?
Corine: I’m surprised to see it’s not over : bands like « No Tears » or « Guerre Froide » for example, are very successful today… and the fact that a label like Infrastition is releasing all the old stuff from bands from the 80ies… it shows there is a real interest today for what cold wave represents. Now, back then, it was different : you see, without the internet, it was difficult to feel we were part of a « French cold wave movement » : I didn’t feel there was such a movement, then… which sounds really weird, now ! I was into Bauhaus, the Cure (until Pornography) personally, and I felt I was part of a whole new sound, but nothing more, in fact. And it was hard to know if people actually listened to our music ! It’s easier today :)
- Nattsol: So you weren’t in contact with other ‘coldwave’ bands in 80′s?
Corine: No, actually… we had a few friend/bands, but they split before they managed to do anything… It seemed so hard to find new friends!
- Nattsol: The band broke up in 1989. What were the reasons?.
Corine: Misunderstandings, ego problems, side projects that were not so well accepted… Maybe the end of a cycle and we didn’t manage it properly… Today, I feel I wouldn’t react the way I reacted then, but you grow up, hopefully! I realised when we met again in 2006 that it was a complete misunderstanding, it felt stupid we didn’t clear it up then… we never had the opportunity to talk about it before…
- Nattsol: …and you had the reunion in 2006. How did it happen? What the band members were doing for that period when the band didn’t exist?.
Corine: Remy was contacted by Alex from the Infrastition label. The track « l’echo des lumieres » was selected, to be featured on the Transmission compilation and Alex wanted the band’s agreement; and later, Cauchemars blafards, our video, was on the RVB Transfert DVD….. So a coldwave fan from our region, Emmanuel, managed to get us in touch (I mean, Rémy and me) Emmanuel is running the www.nordwaves.info site, dedicated to ..Northern France.. cold wave and is very influential in the world of French cold wave. (He has also founded the Brouillard Définitif label and they will release our 4 track) So I knew it was not a hoax, and I agreed to contact Rémy. And then, I started looking for Richard’s contact, but although I knew for sure he was a musician and still living around ….Lille…., in the North of France, it took me a very long time to find him. But then, he works under the name of Doobig, and I didn’t know that, so ……. Richard had become a professional bass player and is touring with Brisa Roché, and also plays with other bands. Rémy had started a family, and had given up playing in bands, and I had started a new job, and turned to graphics arts rather than singing.
- Nattsol: Tell me more about your videoclip «Cauchemars blafards».
Corine: We had recorded a demo tape (the first one) with a big national radio that used to run local programs, and they had that big studio where they would record demo tapes for local bands… free! After we recorded the demo, the local branch for a national TV channel (they shared programs/ideas) offered to film a video for us : they had this rock program and they played our vidéo. That was like we were becoming famous… A little :) We filmed it on the location of an old coal mine that was being destroyed.
- Nattsol: What live performances of ‘Exces Nocturne’ actually are? What has changed since 80’s?
Corine: Personally, I enjoy it more today, just because I feel okay with my life, more … cool :) but I’ve never been very keen on being on stage : I like being in the dark, in fact !But concerts today are more intense, just because a lot of people have not seen us on stage in the 80ies, so they are very happy to see us now… (which always surprises me, but it’s great !!!) so we get a lot of positive feedback.
- Nattsol: Do you have bands – friends, or bands with which you would like to share the stage?
Corine: I would love to share a stage (and a song why not!!) with Castrati, a French band I love. I think they belong to the same family as Cinema Strange. Very good band !! …. And I also love deVolanges, a Belgian band who sound a bit like Modern English/The Chameleons : lovely guitar and sad voice. Very good too ! And, if I may be very very pretentious… Siouxsie, my all-time favourite :)
- Nattsol: Now let’s speak about your CD ’86-..06’.., released by Infrastition records in 2006. The stuff of the CD includes songs from your ‘Evacuation immediate’ (1985), ‘Exces Nocturne’ (1988) and ‘L’echo des lumieres’ (1989). Is that all the band’s stuff of 80’s or there’s something which wasn’t included in this compilation?
Corine: There was older stuff, yes, and they’re not on the compilation, but those tracks were the very first tracks we composed when we all got together, and they were not so representative… they were on our first demo tape. And then, we couldn’t include our cover version of « Ziggy Stardust » because of copyright. But apart from that, I’d say it’s quite complete ! I was even surprised that very old tracks such as « ….Nikopol…. » and « trop belle » were on the compilation : the recordings were quite poor, initially !! But I was happy cos I really like Nikopol :)
- Nattsol: Now let’s speak about two songs, dated 2006 – ‘Mots Dits’ and ‘Et du bleu’. In comparison with 80’s the sound really changed. The music stays cold, dark and mysterious, but it has other energy. And it stays the ‘Exces Nocturne’ music as well. So what’re the reasons of those changes? 17 years of experience or something else?
Corine: You’re right, those two songs are quite different, for several reasons : first, Mots Dits was composed on keyboard by Rémy at the time we were still playing together, and when he played it to the band, we were not so keen, so he kept it for later ; and then we split. Et du Bleu was also written on Keyboard by Rémy. So there was no other musician involved in the creation of these songs, and they are keyboard-based. And second reason, at the time, I didn’t compose any lyrics or add any vocal to them. I did that in 2006. With other influences, of course, and other things to speak of, another spirit… It was strange too, because I didn’t think the band would play again together, then. So it was like my last songs for Exces Nocturne, and I had the feeling they had to be powerful to me. With intense lyrics, like everything I wanted to say, in 2 songs. I spent hours on them :)
- Nattsol: I also wanted to ask you about the texts. All of them are written in French – why didn’t you ever wrote in english? And who you’re influenced by as the text writer?
Corine: You see, in fact I didn’t really know why I started to write in French… And it was quite strange as I usually didn’t like bands who sang in French! Today, I think it was partly because I use English in my job, and so it is more like a technical tool, to me. And also because it has always been very important in my family to speak French and respect this language (my grand parents were immigrants). So I guess, inconsciously, writing in French was more «valuable» to me. And my dad loves Baudelaire and Verlaine, and lots of French poets, he reads a lot and he made me discover them very early, explaining how they play with sounds, and so on. So my favourite poet became Baudelaire, because he mixes sounds, colours, perfumes… this is my perception of the world too. That’s why I chose «Correspondance» as the basis of l’Echo des Lumieres. And I decided to read it throughout the chorus. And when I sing this song, obviously, I cant read the poem at the same time but, I can hear it sometimes :).
- Nattsol: As I know, you’re going to release the new vinyl 4 track 12″. Tell me more details about it. And about the music there…
Corine: The idea of the vinyl was suggested by Brouillard Definitif, the label run by Emmanuel. I was thrilled because a vinyl meant a large sleeve to design and that’s what I love above all ! Richard, the bass player had come up with the idea to entirely remix our songs and he gave a new life to our set for our concert in March 07 in Lille, our hometown. I love what he did and then we decided to release 3 of our old tracks, completely re-recorded and remixed, with new arrangements. And one new track called « Moi dans le silence » So there will be new versions of « le soleil s’est noyé », « Mémoire », and « La vie peut être cruelle »…. The originality of this vinyl will be the sleeve : the first hundred sleeves will be original items as I will redecorate each of them personally, so each will be a different and unique sleeve.
- Nattsol: You took a part in recent tribute to Christian Death’s ‘Only Theatre of Pain’ with the song ‘Dream for mother’. Tell me more details about this tribute and about your cover version there.
Corine: The project was launched by Hélène, from AloneProd (label of Jacquy Bitch).… we had to choose a song and cover it, the track list would be the same as the original Christian Death album. …. I chose Dream for Mother … at the time we had to choose, Remy was on holiday and Richard on tour… but when I listened to this song, I could hear their guitar and bass, so I felt this was the right one to pick. And then, Richard came with that sort of jungle rhythm, and I loved it immediately. Remy sent his guitar tracks (he lives 1200km away, in the South of France !) Then Richard suggested that weird effect on the voice, and I loved it too, so that was it ! He’s very easy to work with, he always comes up with brilliant ideas !
- Nattsol: So at the end of our interview tell me something about yourself…
Corine: What could I say about me, I mean, outside Exces Nocturne. I love autumn, because of the smell of earth lingering outside, the colours… I always wondered why Baudelaire felt so anxious when autumn came… I love it and love to think, like in one of his poems : « bientôt nous plongerons dans les froides ténèbres »… But I also love spring for the smell of flowers…I also love writing, but not writing texts, not at all : I find that very difficult and painful. It often takes ages before I find the right idea for a song… and I can be stuck on a word for days too…What I love is calligraphy… beautiful letters… (that’s why I think your alphabet is so beautiful!!) pens, nibs, ink…I always think the most thrilling moment in releasing a new record is… making the cover :) I write everywhere : on my clothes, my bags, my walls… It feels like I was born with a pen in my hand :)…. Thank you for the questions, and I hope your fanzine will be very successful :)
Questions: Pall ‘Nattsol’ Zarutskiy “Grave Jibes Fanzine” http://gravejibes.ru/archives/y2008/zhurnal-1/exces-nocturne-interview-with-corine/