Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Lilium Sova Interview

1. Can you give us an update on what is going on with the band these days?
Kim Makombe (Guitar): Since late 2012 we released "Epic Morning" on Cal Of Ror Records, did a small tour and played a couple of gigs. Now, we're taking advantage of the downtime by working on new material, then we'll hit the stage again.

Cyril Chal (Bass/Samples): With Michael (Saxophone/Synth - founding member) leaving, then Loïc (Cello/Guitars) and Kim joining in, we needed to rethink our working method. But at the beginning we primarily wanted to play shows, so we didn't really take time to do it. Now we're finally so far, and it's very stimulating for the future!

2. How would you describe the musical sound of the new album and how it differs from previous efforts?
Tim Cervi (Drums): "Epic Morning" is a tale about a nightmare. As such, each song represents a step of it, so it switches between intensive, brutal, soft, and ambient parts, depending on the tale's needs. It's really different from the first album "Tripartite Chaos", which is more primitive and instinctive, a collection of songs without any real concept behind.

C: And "Epic Morning" takes more time to settle a mood, contrary to "Tripartite Chaos". The later one was extremely intense, with very short songs. The new one is more ethereal and more melodic as well.

3. What are some of the concepts the band brings out in the music?
C: The concept behind "Epic Morning" could be summed as follow: The eight first hours in the morning are represented by it's respective song. The tracks titles are there to guide the listener through the journey, while leaving it open enough so he can use his own imagination.
The song "8.00 a.m. - Epic Morning" is a particular one though, since it's a 22 minutes showcase of what the previous line-up could do (a bassist, a drummer and a saxophonist/keyboardist). The only guest on the song plays at the very end: It's the acoustic guitar thing that closes the track, and it can be considered as an omen to what the future line-up would be.

4. What is the meaning and inspiration behind the bands name?
C: The band's name is based on a concept of symbolic dualities: "Lilium" (latin word for the lily flower) stands for the purity. While "Sova" (russian word for the owl), depending on the culture, is usually associated with death, night, sadness or sorcery. We liked how the association of this two words in a different language sounded, it's a very rich symbol and yet opposed. It's relatively abstract and open to interpretation, so it suits us very well...

K: And "Lilium" is both a plant and a Hungarian female first name. "Sova" is the Swedish word for sleep.
So it has something to do with plantophilia as well, as you might guess (sleeping with female plants)...

5. What are some of the best shows that the band has played so far and how would you describe your stage performance?
C: I've got plenty of good memories... If I'd pick randomly, I would say the last show we did with the previous line-up. It was in Basel (Switzerland) and it was incredible, it had such a mad atmosphere! More recently, we did a show in Leipzig (Germany) in front of a crowd that was there to see crust and grindcore shows... and we didn't scare them away, on the contrary, some of them even bought merch! So it was really cool!
Otherwise, I don't really know how to describe us on stage... we just try to give our best and put some energy into it.

K: Personally, I think our best show so far was the one we did with TIDES FROM NEBULA (Post Rock/Poland). We where just back from touring, so we where pretty honed. It was "fast'n'brutal" (inside joke)!
There's also a cultural place in Switzerland, Le Pantographe, that's in a small town called Moutier. We played there with our buddies from YOG (Switzerland, Division Records). There were a handful of people but we both played all balls out,
and then we ended up jamming and drinking 'til late at night! Nothing really original, when you think about it...

Regarding our live performances... I think they are less "suit and tie" compared to the albums (specially "Epic Morning").
They're rawer, more frontal and we sound bigger. External sources consider that the albums don't really reflect the energy and the particular atmosphere of our live shows, and I can't really disagree with that.
"Explosive", "visceral", "hallucinated", this are the sort of things that came into my ear...

6. Do you have any touring plans for the future?
K: We've been discussing it since late 2012, so the desire is there. But our day jobs and private life haven't really enabled us to align schedules. There's an attempt to do something late 2013, but nothing official at the moment...

7. On a worldwide level how has the feedback been to your new album by fans of underground music?
C: So far we've had really, really good feedback from a bit everywhere, we didn't expect them to be so unanimous!
There's this incredibly long russian review where the guy is amusingly trying to figure out all the references and possible interpretations of the album. After a google translation, I'm under the impression that he pretty much figured it all out!

K: Though there seems to be a bit of a confusion regarding the band, due to the line-up change that occurred during the "Epic Morning" process. But we don't blame them, as long as they buy us merch and give us the bribe money back...

8. What direction do you see your music heading into, on future releases?
K: Well, actually we already have newer songs, written after the "Epic Morning" sessions. While it's unsure whether or nor they hint the future direction, I feel that they're more live oriented, heavier, noisy... and perhaps more "conventional"! Generally speaking, people are more used to stringed instruments (guitar, cello) than twisted saxophone sounds.
According to the feedback we've got so far, it's still as "weird" and "unfitting", and even noisier. So maybe I'm wrong!
I guess Loïc's unorthodox approach to cello plays a significant part in that. Naturally, listeners will have their own preference in the end...

And as I mentioned before, we're working on new musical ideas. Despite the restrictions, this new set-up gives us new possibilities that everyone seems is eager to explore. I've been taping everyone lately, and some of the stuff coming out is truly inspiring! A certain direction seems to sketch itself out, so the gap between releases could be shorter then previously this time, at least on the writing side. Though it's too early to disclose exact details...

9. What is going on with the other musical projects these days?
C: Since 2008, me and two friends have have a stoner trio called SIX MONTHS OF SUN. It works pretty well on stage and we should release our first album this summer.

K: Besides "episodic" musical projects, the last two years or so I've had this "solo-acoustic-thingy" under which I have performed mainly in Switzerland, but a bit in Europe as well. It's called THE HEIROPHANTOM, and I've been obsessionally working on the first full-length, which is already written. But I've gone through some trials and errors when recording it...
And I've already gathered the material for a second release, so it's really a matter of recording things properly (and not loosing takes, for example). I hope I can release the first one some when down this year...

T: I've got another band as well. It's called TEN SECONDS ERA and we play classic rock/metal stuff. The line-up has been completed recently, so we just started looking for our first gigs!
Actually, Kim almost ended up in the line-up, but we finally ended up working together in LILIUM SOVA.

K: Myeah... The fee wasn't as high, at the time...

10. What are some or musical styles that have influenced your newer music?
And what are you listening to nowadays?
C: It's a bit hard to tell... The beginning influences are REFUSED, KNUT and THE DILLINGER ESCAPE PLAN ("Calculating Infinity" era). From there on, I don't really know what to say... we just developed our music without really thinking about it. The math-core/rock, post-rock/metal and post-hardcore influences are probably the most obvious, I think...
Otherwise, I'm at a period where I'm listening to all sorts of strange bands from the 70's.

T: Recently, I discovered a french electro DJ called Kavinsky. With the latest Jimi Hendrix, it's actually my playlist at the moment. Nothing aggressive!

K: I've had the humbling luck to cross roads with some talented people. They're not all necessarily "well known", but they sure had an influence on me, one way or another. Of course there are the classics, but here again: There's too many different stuff! It ranges from acoustic to extreme distorted stuff, with some machines in the middle (World music, electronica, rock, film score, metal, trip hop, etc). Lately a printer inspired me a riff, so daily stuff I'd guess...
LILIUM SOVA probably happens somewhere in the crossroads of all our influences.

The band's previous material plays a role as well. There's fundamental differences in terms of tone (sax'n'synth vs. guitar'n'cello), but still, I want the songs to sound "LILIUM SOVA" (or at least refer to) while adding our new identity to it. And at the same time we can't pigeonhole ourselves with that legacy, so sometimes it's tough finding the right balance...
I obviously don't play saxophone and am not half as skilled as Michael, I took his work as starting point and added my own twist to it. Lucky enough there were already similarities, like some of the jazz stuff, which I'm happy some people recognized (while not necessary connecting the dots).

11. Outside of music what are some your interests?
C: I like science, culture... but music is the most important and it takes lots of time! It would be nice to have many lives...

K: I'm a walking paradox, sort of "reclused no-life geek". Most of times I do music related stuff, be it going to shows, helping out bands, promoters, jamming with other musicians, talking music (management, logistic, technical aspects, etc.), writing idiotic stuff that will probably never see the light of day... But I have a particular interest in philosophy as well. And I like watching movies, when I get to it...

T: Sex, music, motorbikes and scotch whisky!

K: Yeah, whisky for me too!

12. Any final words or thoughts before we wrap up this interview?
C: Thank you for your time and interest! And thanks to those that support us as well! Come check us out, if we're around!

T: Stay rock and fuck the star system!

K: I wanna thank anyone who supported, discovered, bought, booked, hanged out and/or stuck with us! Thanks to those that did nothing, as well: without you, we wouldn't appreciate those that do things as much!
I want thank everything actually, water, pandas, kittens, potato chips, sexual emancipation, absolutely everything!

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