Saturday 17 September 2022

INTERVIEW: Rouen blackened hardcore merchants Pilori discuss their genre bending new record

Stéphane Marry (c) @pixels.story

“Hell is only a word, the reality is much worse” Event Horizon 1997

Delivering a record with the ferocity and intensity of Pilori’s sophomore Quand Bien Meme L’Enfer et le Deluge S’abbattraient sur Nous,” roughly translated as Even though Hell and the Deluge Would Fall on Us”, makes me wonder whether the band themselves, have actually visited hell and brought this record back with them.

To experience “Quand Bien Meme L’Enfer et le Deluge S’abbattraient sur Nous“in all its hellish glory, is to imagine being wrapped up in barbed wire and thrown down a hill.  Today we have invited front man Greg from Pilori to discuss how this punishing record came to be.  

SL: Hey Greg, welcome to THE SLUDGELORD!! Could you tell our readers a little about yourself, how you started playing music, leading up to the formation of your band?

 Gr. (vocals): First of all, I wanna say 'hi !' to all the readers of this. Then, we're Pilori, we come from Rouen, in Normandy (France), and we're four lads in the band. As so many and many bands, the start of Pilori is simple and not so interesting. I know my guitarist, R., for years now and one day, at the release party of his other band, The Birds End, which is instrumental post-rock, he came to see me cause he wanna play something different, something more in his black metal/death metal/crust hardcore roots. I was fucking excited about the idea to play this kind of sounds that I loved, but even more excited to play with him cause he’s a fucking good guitarist and a fucking good guy. We began to write the first tracks, we began to looking for musicians to play with us... So it was, as simple as it seems, the beginning of Pilori. Nothing more. You see : not interesting haha !

SL: For those people unfamiliar with Pilori, are there any bands on the scene past and present that you would use as a reference point to describe your band, and who or what continues to inspire you and push you to try new things?

Gr. (vocals): I think that Pilori is a sum of a lot of different bands, of a lot of different influences. I think this is our print now, our style, and it's that people often write and say about us. You can find black and death influences, blend with some grind, chaotic and crust influences. So, I could tell about bands like Napalm Death, Entombed, Cannibal Corpse, Deicide, Morbid Angel, Angelcorpse, Immortal, Watain, Rotten Sound, Darkthrone, Nails, Full of Hell, Gaza, Cult Leader... For the most recent stuffs, and also more local cause they're french, I wanna also talk about Fange, Mourir, Plebeian Grandstand, Celeste...

I just talk about bands from the scene that we really like, cause we aren't listen just extreme music. For example, I'm a huge listener of post-punk shit and there are a lot of bands who inspired me in this kind of sounds. It's the same for the other members. I really think that the other genres are opening us to new sounds and allows us to try new things.

SL: What can you tell us about your latest record “Quand Bien Même L'Enfer et le Déluge S'abattraient sur Nous” and where do you feel it sits within the context of your local scene and the wider metal scene as a whole?

Gr. (vocals) : I can tell you something simple and very cliché : we're fucking proud of it ! But I mean it a lot! When you read many interviews of many bands, especially mainstream bands, they're still proud of their new album even if it sounds like shit compared to the oldest. But it's just some promotion talks. Corey Taylor is a specialist of it, but who really think that Slipknot's new records are better than the first ones? Anyway, we're so proud of this second LP, we're proud of our writing process, of the production, the way it sounds, ‘cause we worked a lot on it, even harder than we worked on “À Nos Morts”. On our first record, nobody expecting us, and even us we don't know what we can expect. We just wanna made a LP, period. Nothing more, nothing less. For this new one, we want more haha ! We knew ourselves better, what we want to do, what we can do, and we prepare it the most that we can do. I also think that we find our own sound, our “Pilori style”, and we assume it more.

Personally, there are plenty of songs in this album that I really really like, that I like to listen to, that I like to play. I like my own voice, what I've done, which is not always the case, even if I still think that here or here I could do more, I could bo better... Regarding our local scene, in Rouen, I think that no one does the same sound or the same style as us. I also think this is real for the French scene in general. We're pretty unique haha !!! But I don't like comparison, competition, so I'll stop it right now.

SL: What was the writing and rehearsal process like for your album

Gr. (vocals): Our first LP, “À Nos Morts”, was released in May 2020, during the Covid pandemic. So we were in a dynamic, we wanna make things, and in the meantime we were very frustrated, but not resigned. We try our best to take all the opportunities to play and tour when it was possible, and we also have some times to keep writing songs with the curfew or lockdown. This first album was very well-received, so it motivated us a lot. We took this dynamic and this frustration, and, in addition to “classic” rehearsals, two times we rent an Airbnb in the Normandy countryside, in the middle of nowhere, and lock ourselves during days, to write this new album. We just played music all day long between us. After that, we keep writing and make the song arrangements from home cause it's very easy now, all the new technologies allowed it.


SL: What stands out as your overarching memory from the recording sessions?
Gr. (vocals): A lot of positive things. Really. Even if I try hard, I can't remember something negative. We were very well-prepared, we made demo of each song, we went a lot in rehearsals, and we recorded in a place that we know by heart with a guy who know us by heart (La Gare aux Musiques with Bertrand Lebourgeois, at 30 kms of Rouen). When we made our first album, we were less prepared, and, except for the drum parts, we done it in some kind of DIY spirit, ‘cause we recorded it ourselves in the super tiny home studio of our former bassist.
For this new record, we took more times, in a “real” studio with better stuffs, better materials, and a “real” sound guy. Everything was easier, and every one of us was super excited to play and record his parts. If I could keep just one memory, I would say the first day of guitar takes. When my drummer, my bass player and me came at the studio, our guitarist was already there and has already prepared all his stuffs with our sound guy. There were 4 cabinets with 4 amp heads and a ton of pedals around, and nearly ten mics to record all this shit. I can easily remember the smile on all our faces, and the excitation that we all felt at the moment where we started recording the guitar and when we heard that crazy sound.
SL: Does anything spring to mind when you think about the completion of your new album and with than in mind, how is the mood in the camp at present?

Gr. (vocals): In our camp, the mood is always good, always positive! I think that is why the things goes so well for Pilori : I've the huge chance to work with great dudes who are great friends, they all have a good mentality, a good state of mind. I'm serious, I mean it, this is the best line-up and the best people to work with. So, the mood is offensive now: we wanna do things, play a lot, defend this album anywhere and everywhere !

SL: There is often very little focus given to the album artwork, which for me is an integral part of the record, can you tell us a little about the artist, how the artwork come to fruition and your thoughts on the completed piece?  Perhaps tell us about some of your own favourite album covers?
Gr. (vocals): The artwork was made by an Indonesian artist, Jois Cabe. He's also the guy behind our first album cover. It's an amazing artist and a great dude, it was a real pleasure to work with him again. I've just gave him the name of the album, the meaning of it, and he can do whatever he want and feel. Our talks and exchanges were good, he quickly understood the point. Like you, the visuals are an important part of an album for me, and I really think that this artwork is the perfect fit for this album. We're very proud of it, really, we find it awesome, more than expected! And we've very good feedback on it.
To talk about my favorite album covers, I just wanna say that I've always loved covers without artist names. When you have just an artwork, a visual, and no other infos. I always found it great, that's why we do it with Pilori haha!
SL: With your new record completed, what are you planning as far as shows in the near future?
Gr. (vocals): We plan to do a lot of shows cause we love playing and touring so much. Be on the road, it's one of the thing we like the most. So it's the plan: play as much as possible, anywhere. Till the end of 2022, we already have 19 shows scheduled, in Germany, Belgium, Czech Republic, Hungary, Austria, Slovenia, Croatia, and for sure, in France. Some shows and tour are also already booked for 2023. And, when we'll be tired about playing and touring, we'll do a new album !
SL: Finally, do you have any last words?
Gr. (vocals): Thanks to you for your interest, thanks to everyone who's reading this, thanks to everyone who support us in any way.  And don't forget to support your local scene and independent/underground bands. Go to the shows in the tiny club of your city, buy some merch, and keep listening to all the underground scene. It's always a thug time for this scene, and it's always getting worse and worse. So many independent venues are closing...
The End.

Band info: piloriband