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Interview with Décembre Noir | Darkness and atmosphere combined with lyrisism and emotionally fulfilling sound

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Décembre Noir are a Melodic Death/Doom metal band from Germany formed in 2008. After some coming and going of members the line up was finalised with Lars Dotzauer (vocals), Sebastian Görlach (guitars), Kevin Kleinschmidt (drums), Martin Ortlepp (guitars) και Mike Schubert (bass).
Their debut album “A Discouraged Believer” was released in 2014 and they quickly became famous for their melancholy and the dynamics of their music. In 2016 they released their second album “Forsaken Earth”, with a great production and wondeful balance between slow and faster tempos as well as a heaviness in their sound. Their third album is released in 2018 titled “Autumn Kings” and they remain loyal to their genre without being afraid to include elements from other styles and to experiment.

Décembre Noir are a band that will keep us busy with their music, they are stable without being still as they evolve and produce sounds and lyrics that are of the highest quality. We definitely recommend them to the fans of this genre.

 

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We are rather impressed with the band's name. How did you come by with it and is there a secret meaning?

Hi Eleni and Black Velvet Radio team. It’s Kevin, Décembre Noir drummer, answering your questions. Thanks for being interested in what we do and sharing it.
There was no specific reason for the name “Décembre Noir”. In the beginning, 2008, there were some ideas in discussion and somehow we had a feeling of how a name should support the music. At the end we chose the name that transports an idea of the music without listening to it, accompanied with a slight touch of poetry and tasteful language.

 

What are your musical influences and how have they changed through time?

This is a two-sided story for us. On one hand, personally, we have a lot of musical influences, some are mutual, many are individually very different. Our common musical interests are, for example, Anathema, Katatonia and so on, but our individual interests are spread across all the “alternative” music landscape. From The Cure to Tool to Behemoth - we like all the good music out there!
Furthermore, the influences didn’t change a lot. Of course within 20 years there are indeed changes, but no remarkable ones within the past years, since we started creating and releasing music with Dècembre Noir.
The other side is, those influences aren’t really a conscious thing when it comes to creating our music. We don’t directly refer to other music we listen to. Everything is a mix of what we feel and like in that moment and what we heard and liked in the past decades.

 

How has your music changed with every new album? Do you believe that you have reached a more personal sound?

First of all, in terms of sound, for all albums, we found with Alexander Dietz (Chemical Burn Studio, Bad Kösen, Germany) and Eike Freese (Chameleon Studios, Hamburg, Germany) strong partners with great visions to support our ideas.
We are not sure about how, but we are sure about why our music and sound has changed. At the time of entering the studio for the first time with Décembre Noir, we thought, “oh yeah, we’ll manage, no need to worry”, but then the reality hit us hard. For example, the producer told me to come back in a few month, after decently practicing the songs we planned to record. And I did, we all did.
That way we were able to record “A Discouraged Believer”, the first album and to set a new starting point for our approach to songwriting and sound. We took that experience and the new skills into the creation of “Forsaken Earth”, our second album, and also tried some changes of the sound towards more rough and natural appearance. I would say, “Forsaken Earth” became the base of our “personal sound”. From there, we started exploring the possibilities for the sound of “Autumn Kings” and we are really happy with the result. Density, atmosphere and heavy elements have become far more intense than we expected in the beginning of the sessions.

 

 

In the last album, there are some black metal elements in your music. Is this something we can expect in your future work?
Referring to an answer above, I can say, that we just do what sounds and feels right. We love the feeling of unexpected turns in the writing process for a song. Those kind of elements and turns keep the contrast and push the excitement.
To be honest we ourselves don’t know what to expect in our future work. It’s like a boat in a storm without navigation. I definitely love all kind of elements differing from the main concept. Poetry, black metal, “space” sounds, dynamic surprises, progressive rhythms, etc.

 

 

Do you accept the Melodic Doom Death label? Would you describe your music differently?

On one side, we don’t like to be put in prelabeled boxes, because those labels can’t describe the variety of elements we try to incorporate. But, on the other hand, a certain reference helps to create an image and vision of what people can expect and also guides us in how we approach the creating process. So, yes “melodic death/doom metal” is a well established base we can refer to and avoid getting lost in exploration and experimenting.

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“Autumn Kings” has a heavy side but also a sentimental one. How did you manage to balance both these sides so well?

We aren’t really planning to give it a certain balance. In the songwriting process and demo production we just incorporate what feels and sounds right to us in that very moment and to support the flow, dynamics and atmosphere of the songs is our main concern. After all those years we developed a pretty good feeling for each other’s opinion and taste and have an smooth and easy-going positive progress during that stage of the production. In addition, I think we are all more or less sentimental personalities and love to express and explore melancholia.

 

What inspires your lyrics?

This is, what Lars answered to this: “The biggest part of it reflects my own life and the life of my beloved ones and friends. Autumn itself played also a role. It’s all about decay, evanescence and the struggle with inner demons. The loss and sickness of beloved people is influencing me a lot and makes me ask about my existence. In my mind I’m surrounded with waterfalls made of tears.”

 

My favourite track in the album is “Hymn Of Sorrow". Is there an interesting story behind this song? Do you have a favourite one? Or a song that means something more for you?

Unfortunately, there’s just the usual Décembre Noir story behind. During the demo production, I also took some care about the arrangement of the songs. One evening, at close of day I was raging against the dying of the light *Dylan Thomas smiley* and I took the guitar version, which was 8 minutes or so and dived into it for some enhancement and at 4 or 5 in the morning I wrote message to the other band members: “Hey, sorry I did it again, Hymn Of Sorrow is now 11 minutes.” Again, because, the 14 minutes of “Waves Of Insomnia” from our second album, I created also in raging night in 2015, diving into the arrangement until daylight showed up at the windows. Back then, I wrote in the middle of the night: “Hey guys! Sorry, Waves Of Insomnia is now 11 minutes, but it’s not finished yet.”
Regarding Dylan Thomas, on one point I had the feeling the song should calm down for a moment to charge up some excitement, before the last melancholic wave hits the listener. With that poem I found the cherry for this dark cake.
Our favorite song always depends on the mood of the day. One day it’s “Hymn Of Sorrow”, another day it would be “Waves Of Insomnia” or “The Forsaken Earth”. Especially “The Forsaken Earth” is always highly appreciated by the live audience. I think the song that means the most to us currently is “Barricades”, because it has everything Décembre Noir stands for. I like especially the contrast and dynamics. From soft elements to extreme parts and an epic ending.

 

 

Which words would you use to promote your album to a new listener?

Darkness, Emptiness, Ruthlessness. The opening words of our first album are more valid than ever. The new thing that has arrived in our work, is the raised level of density, atmosphere, songwriting and Décembre Noir sound.

 

What are your plans for the next few months?

Step by step we spread our focus on playing more shows outside of Germany. Some plans are on paper and if it comes to something confirmed it will be announced via Facebook or our website, www.decembre-noir.de. Furthermore, songwriting for the fourth album will begin soon.

 

 

We would love to see you play live in Greece. Please send a message to your greek fans.
Thanks for all the great support that reaches us. For sure, we’ll stop by in Greece one day. Hope to see you soon. Please stay strong for democracy and for yourself. Don’t believe in the bullshit that is rising in the world that is about to lead us to the past. Support what supports you. Keep culture appreciated. Keep friendly and open-minded communication as a standard, even if it is not a standard for too many people out there. Be different. Be good. Be metal.

 

Thank you for your time.

Thank you for supporting us. Good luck with Black Velvet Radio.

 

Facebook Page: Décembre Noir
Instagram Page: Décembre Noir

 

Eleni Ktisti

 

Black Velvet Radio

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