Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Ion Dissonance Interview

An old interview I published in TheSharpEnd issue # 3. Some nooby questions, but still okay I guess. I lost interest in this band after their original singer Gabriel (whom is the interviewee) left the band after their first full length. Following material also took more of a professional 'studio' sound, which is what not I was keen on. The bands first album was just pure technical death metal glory, and rough at that.

First up the basics: who's in the band and what are your roles?

I, Gabriel, am the vocalist and lyricist for Ion Dissonance. Sebastien and Antoine are on Guitars, Xavier on the Bass and  is on Drums. Who's doing what now, well, mostly Antoine, Sebastien and JF are writing all the ideas for the music itself, then mainly Sebastien is coming up with an overall structure for the riffs. I am in charge of everything that is Media related, the lyrics and the imagery, as well as everything that is graphic related for the band, such as Merchandising.

When did you guys first form? What made you want to create such brutal music? Since forming what fundamental elements of the band have changed? Do you still love to the same thing you were doing back then?

Well the official lineup has been rounded back in 2000, we created ID for the sole purpose of making extremely brutal Techcore, something that was far remote from what we did before and also something that would put us into a new musical scene and crowd, which was a bit more hardcore. To make music that possess certain skills of course but also some kind of sinister vibe, even if you will mosh and headbang, so basically, to put everything we love about extreme music and make it a cohesive whole. And were just getting closer and closer to what we want to pull out of this band, the new ideas are always better so yeah, of course we still enjoy very much what we do. There are some unpleasant aspects to the life we live in Ion, but they are mainly due to the "business" and "corporate" aspect supporting the passion. The passion is very much still there tought. We experienced a couple of lineup changes here and there but since we’ve only gotten stronger, they`re irrelevant to mention.

You have just released your new album 'Solace' on Abacus Records. It has been quoted as one of the heaviest albums of 2005. Would you agree? Did you go into the studio hoping that when released the album would garner such reviews?

Surprisingly no, this album we did to prove ourselves, to acquire maturity as a band and also to realise what we wanted most, which was to top and make a more violent album this time around. And I truly think we did it. The whole thing breathes more easily now and its just so goddamned vile...  if I would change anything to that album it would be on a mixing and mastering level, cause I think we’ve outdone ourselves as far as recording goes. Still, I always eternally thankful to see that a lot of people are connecting to the same level as us and if it can garner incredible reviews that all the merrier I guess.

The album has been mixed by Pierre Remillard famed producer of other tech metal bands like The End and the legendary Cryptopsy. Being that Ion Dissonance share so many similarities to Cryptopsy (both being from Canada, sharing the same producer, both playing crazy, technical death metal, sharing the same record label) are you often compared to that band?

You might think like it but again no hahaha, actually we`ll be compared to our Toronto brothers from The End way more often than Cryptopsy. Its true we all grew all listening to Cryptopsy but apart from the fact that most Montreal band tends to surpass themselves technically, I think we have very few tendencies alike to Cryptopsy. We are extreme, and they are too, and that`s about it really. We recorded the entire album in a week with only our guitarist Antoine Lussier behind the board. Pierre came for the mixing only. With all the respect due to Cryptopsy, we are a different new wave for the Underground, and we are just trying to pave our own way. 

When writing what other bands do ID rate as influences?

Anything really, we take our influences from so many bands and so many individuals, we are entirely open to whatever music, and as soon as it can be interpreted in an intense and crazy way, we`ll try to incorporate the element to Ion Dissonance. It might not be Metal or even Hardcore, but it can be some type of music that will generate a crucial emotion that`ll help us create our unique sound. Trying to be original is one thing yes, but first and formal the idea is to make enjoyable music, well as far as making the soundtrack to each and very homicide goes.

Being that your label Abacus records is a imprint from the huge metal label Century Media home to such metal greats as Shadows Fall and Arch Enemy do you consider the band more of a metal or metalcore band? What do you think the future holds for the metalcore genre?

I guess you could say we`re metalcore but tending toward the metal side way more, since we`re all from that background (and you can tell by the aggressiveness displayed in our albums). Without being a dick to all the bands out there doing the "Swedish "At the Gates" with breakdowns type of Metalcore", I think those bands that made it with this are gonna stay, otherwise there is very few hope for those trying to emulate that sound. Let`s face it, it was a total rip off from the beginning anyway. 

At least one other band on Abacus that I know of (Turmoil) has spent time on the mother label Century Media. Do you hope that with good enough sales of 'Solace' that ID could get a promotion to full time Century Media? Would such a move be possible?

That would be a first. But that's not the way it works. Abacus is a perfectly distinct entity, a company on its own, only owned by Century Media's owner and working with the same money and power basically. So unfortunately I don't think we would upgrade to CM, if upgrade there is, cause is the same thing really. Just think of Despised Icon, our comrades from Montreal, they`re on CM, so we can entirely witness the difference.

How does knowing that you have a fanbase in a country as far away as Australia make you feel? Would you ever have dreamed for distro so far away?

Shit yeah, this is more of a dream like you say, but it also mean that working this hard as paid (in a way). I`m so overwhelmed with pride when I hear about fans that we have over in Europe, Asia or even Australia, you gotta be humble but man this shit is so rewarding. I mean, distro is sometime even bad in your own country (Canada for us, for instance), so to know that people are listening to your things overseas is really something special.

Technical metal really seems to be blowing up as of late with the emergence of a host of other bands. Often I read that it can be put down to the rise of bands like The Dillinger Escape Plan and Converge etc. Do you guys draw influence from more hardcore orientated bands such as these? Do you think that they are really the reason for the rise in popularity of technical metal?

Totally, since those guys initiated the merge between technical metal and hardcore first.... then spawned a whole new way of seeing how extreme music could be played, which is amazing as an eye-opener. Now they have to make way also to those that wanna keep this style sick and depraved. And just more and more insane instead of going more mellow.

The new album is perhaps the most technically insane I have heard for quite a while. It is so extreme that it comes to the point where some potential fans could be discouraged from actually really getting into it because it takes so much patience. Do you guys deliberately go out of your way to write such musically perplexing material?

Of course with that type of music is not for the common hear, but see it that way, back in the days, Suffocation (as one of the few examples) was the most technical fucked-up death metal band out there and it wasn’t`t for everybody to understand but after a while, it became a standard in death metal and things evolved to more extreme ends and nowadays is all-of-control tech/fast craze. So if our shit seems confusing, maybe this only means in need more attention, and eventually you develop an ear for it. Like me back in '92 with Effigy of the Forgotten!

Do you ever worry about alienating certain groups of people and only being immediately accessible to a select few?

We`re underground metal, which means, we are not accessible to all, that's a proven fact and it does`nt bother us the least.

I am largely unfamiliar with your work prior to 'Solace'. What would you say is the biggest difference now in relation to song structures etc from the days of your previous album 'Breathing Is Irrelevant'?

The sound of the recordings plays a great part. The first one is pretty raw and digital and filled with stuff we might not have needed on second thought. It was put together under a lot of pressure and very little time. It was our way to make an impact on the scene from the very beginning, to warn people that we were about to shake things a bit with our corrosive entry. Now that we had the time to develop our sound, Solace came as a far more intricate and well-put-together morbid piece of art.

Do you still play songs from those days? Do you still play stuff from your very first demo '357'?

Yeah, well both songs from the ".357" demo we`re re-recorded for the first album "Breathing is Irrelevant", kinda what we did with "She's Strychnine" on Solace. Off the demo and the first album we still play "The Bud Dwyer Effect" live, a couple of other songs we cant avoid from "Breathing..." and that's about it for the old stuff since we need to promote the new album. Plus its a breath of fresh air, I mean, we’ve played around 250 shows with the old stuff, it was time for us to move on.

Do you worry about the prolonged future of ID? Do you think that a good reason for your new found popularity is because of the explosion of such extreme forms of music in recent years?

That I don't doubt, but the difference with us might be from the fact that we were amongst the first one to do it. Us coming from Canada, made it hard to hit the States for a long time while our American counterparts were growing bigger, due to the easiness of them touring the states and getting signed etc. But I know that our way of playing this genre is entirely different and we`re gonna mark our passage this way.

What bands are you really excited about at the moment? Who do you think is really on top of their game?

Alright, since this is always very hard for me to say, since I'm into so many genres of music I'll just go by particular styles.

In Death Metal = Nile (will always be the kings).

In Black Metal = 1349 (there new album Hellfire is completely sick and what black metal should’ve always been).

In Metalcore related = The End and Despised Icon (both Canadians comrades, check out they`re newest stuff).

In Avant-garde Music = Ulver (probably one of the highest influence I had over the years).

In Hip-Hop = Jedi Mind Trick (I dig Legacy of Blood, that album reminds me a lot of Non-Phixion which I like a lot also).

In Smooth music = Sigur Ros (they`re entire discography is amazing).

In Neo-Classical Ambient = Puissance (they have something more about they`re sound, very interesting). That`ll be it for now, I could go on forever.

Who do you think is the band that is massively underrated and deserves more recognition?

Ulver; I wont say it enough... and Alias, for those that are into electronic music. And metal wise... hum, Us hahahaha.

Any last words for your fans in Australia. Thanks?

The day we'll get the chance to fly out and see all you guys face to face, and play for you live. You wont believe that shit, we'll tear Australia apart and you'll like it, I cant wait! Eternal Hails and Respect to all of you!

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