Interview by Miriam “NocturnalConcerto”
Transcription by Luisa Mercier
Type on Google the words “The Devil’s Blood” and you’ll enter the magical, diabolical world of this mysterious act. I’ve started to listen to The Devil’s Blood thanks to an friend’s advice and I never stopped since then. I have had the chance to meet in person the mind of the band, Selim Lamouchi, during their second Italian gig of the The Devil’s Blood Special Release Tour on the 18 December 2011. Now I don’t want to play the exclusive cart and trying to tout the readers but I believe that I can say that is one of the rarest interviews that the band give, they prefer being mysterious and in some ways it’s one of the aspects because I love them .
First of all, thank you for the interview! For me it is an honur. Congratulations for the album, I really enjoyed it. So, would you like to introduce us the project?
The Devil’s Blood is a band that was started by me, mainly as a way to express certain revelations and certain insights I have gained. What I am trying to do is to re-create the journey, the things I have experienced, that I discovered about myself, about where my blood comes from, where the inspiration for the music comes from. All of this combined together becomes Devil’s Blood. Me and my sister are in this together. I am the main writer, but when comes to lyrics, it’s me and my sister combined. We started in 2007 and released a couple of demos, a seven inch and an EP.
“The Thousandfold Epicentre” really enchanted the media, you got a lot of fantastic reviews. So about this album, how was born, what was its genesis?
When we released our previous record, I was convinced that musically speaking I had nothing more to say, that there was no flow of ideas. In the months following the release, we did a lot of touring to Europe, America, Canada, and when it was finished, in 2010, I started thinking again of making music again. And very soon the genesis of this album came in the form of three songs I wrote which are the backbone of this record. The rest followed. It became very clear. After some months of writing, it became very clear where verything was going, more or less what was supposed to look like, to feel like. And the lyrics came too. So, the genesis is always the same, what is going on in my head needs to be translated.
We can say that you use The Devil’s Blood as a catharsis, is it right?
Perhaps, yes. There are a lot of better descriptions.
You have changed the line-up since the previous record, why?
It just happens, our drummer decided to quit because of family obligationd and a similar situation arose for our guitar player, But without sounding arrogant, I can say that the only people in the band we couldn’t play without are me and my sister. Everyone else just helps us to do what we do. And if they are not able to do this anymore, then they should be put aside. It’s not something that you want to happen.
Can you tell us something more about the title, what you wanted to express?
Not too much. I think it’s better that the people try to find out by themselves. The lyrics and the titleare as close to explaining myself as I can get , it’s very hard to find different words.“The Thousanfold Epicentre” is like a paradox, an impossibility, something that in our universe cannot exist. What I believe is that everything shall return back to the chaos, the darkness before time. In my opinion, that is a way to look at the title, but also at the entire album and the lyrics. But everyone is free to disagree with me. It’s not up to me what to say what they mean for you.
Everyone has his own interpretation of the album. I have with me a copy of your album, and I was curious to ask if the art of the booklet is related to the lyrics.
Most definetely, the artist was presented with demos of the songs and with lyrics. He listened to the music, read the lyrics and was inspired to create art. I never gave more information than those that were in the music and the lyrics. This is a very good example of someone who is able to channel the music into his psyche and express it in a new way. This is what happens when a person looks and listens with the right kind of eyes. Something that is hidden can become visible.
On the cover there is this inverted triangle with the omega inside. Can you explain a little?
It is the symbol of The Devil’s Blood, it is our seal.
A logo, as you see in most companies, is some kind of symbolism attached to what they are doing, to what they want to sell, it is expressed in a graphic form. It is something old as the world. The Pope in Rome has a seal, the keys. So this is our seal; there are certain components of what The Devil’s Blood stands for, why was created and it was translated into a graphic image. This image is used to focus all elements because it symbolizes not only our link to our music, but also symbolizes the music link to where we come from. That is chaos. We have it on the back of the stage, and all the energy that is directed to us gets pushed back to that. What we receive from you, it is immediately sacrificed to that. We are just people, we are part of the ritual as anyone else.
In the last years there’s a certain revival of psychedelic music, for example you and Blood Ceremony. Have you an idea about this revival?
To be honest, I never considered us psychedelic, we play rock and roll.
I don’t agree with this definition either, but magazines label you this way. For example Nightwish, Epica are labelled as “femme metal”, but for me that is not a genre. It’s only a way to say that there is a girl singing. It is ok to say that they play symphonic metal.
I understand the point, but I think that for journalists is easier. When I was younger there was this explosion of music from Seattle and people were talking about the Seattle sound. I listened to Nirvana, Soundgarden to Alice in Chains and they were talking about grunge, the Seattle sound, but those three bands had nothing to do with each other. Music is music, there are only two kinds of music: music that you like and music that you hate. There’s nothing in between. I understand that for journalists is easier to put The Devil’s Blood and file them with Blood Ceremony and I don’t care. We don’t hang out, we don’t even know each other. I know that what I am doing is what I am doing. There is no connection. I have much more in common with bands like Watain, because they are brothers, I know what they are doing, why they are doing and we don’t make the same music. If for journalists is easier to put everything into the same category, go ahead, I don’t care.
Sometimes a band reputation can be ruined by categorization but mine is just a fan point of view…
I think that in the end only a person can decide, the fan, the fan point of the view is the one that only really matters. The problem with the way some journalists work is that they create an atmosphere where you can be trendy or not trendy. The Devil’s Blood is not a band that was created to become trendy. Not even in a million year, I expected to become what I am today. When we started, nobody cared, so this gave us the motivation to continue or work hard, to be professional and to become better at what I do.
I think that journalists act in a wrong way…
Usually they act in a wrong way.
For example, when I listen to a Theatre of Tragedy record from 1996, one of my favourite, is not because it is the trend. Music is music. We are not stylists…
Unfortunately this is the way the world works.
Yours is a pretty little lovely label. So I have noticed that there is a new “trend” to print again in vinyl…especially among the small labels.
It is very simple, if the label does not work with vinyl, I do not work with the label, because I hate CDs. CDs are a bad products, they useually end up broke. Vinyl is always very nice. It sounds better, it feels better, there is a better chance to get a good artwork. More chance to engage people, it is a ritual. It is a small thing but it is an important thing.
I was surprised when I asked tour merch girl if she sold more cds or vinyls, she said me more vinyls.
I think people want a good product. Something that you can enjoy in every aspect, something that makes an impact and this tells you that the label cares about the music as the band itself. This is the reason why we are with them and not with others.
You manager told me that you are requested by all labels, but I think that The Devil’s Blood need a small label because the music needs to be worked in the smaller details. Maybe a larger label can give you a lot of promotion but in a small label you are the focus.
To me is not a matter of small or big, the point is that I want to work with someone that is interested in doing something that is worth. When we started, I had been in the music business for a while, been dealing with labels and sharks and sometimes even the smaller labels are complete assholes. Not only Nuclear Blast, Roadrunner or Century Media will fuck you, trust me, I have been there. We will never pay for one day of studio time, if you want to release our record, so give me the money. I have invested years of my life into reharsal, study, not only musical study but also spiritual study. I have sacrificed my blood for this music, my life, everything. If you think it is something that you want to work with, you make the sacrifice too. Van records sent me an e-mail out of the blue becuase they were working with a black metal from Holland, fan of ours…anyway they told me: I know there is no way I will keep you as band because one day you will be signed by a big label , but just give the chance to work with you for a seven inch. I thought: this guy seems sincere. So we went to him, drank a beer. I told him. We have no money, no plans, we have nothing, we have songs and if you can work in these circumstances then we can work with you. Since that day we become friends, brothers at war, without him nothing of what we do would be possible. Everything he has is in this record.
Any plans for the future, DVD, live album, things like that?
Not really, I have the belief that you should never plan. Life is too short to plan too far away. Now the record is finished but two years ago I would have told you that there wouldn’t have been a new record. So now I can tell you that there will be a third record, maybe yes, maybe not. At least now we are touring for this one, we are doing our best to spread our word as far as we can retaining our self-respect, our principles, I am pretty sure we will succed at whatever we do. We are open to all possibilities, never say never. It is a cliché but it is the truth, I am young but I have already learned that life has a way for fucking all your plans. If you are not able to deal with that then you go under. One of my favourite author, Hunter Thompson, who wrote “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas” said he spent a long time of his life fighting the system which is a noble thing to do in any case. It only gave him scars so maybe it is better to go with the system and use it for your advantage. You have to fight your battles and learn what are worthwhile. Make sure that your opportunities are there and you are able to take them.
Band photo by Sandra Ludewig