INTERVIEW: Fallen Joy
After giving my thoughts on their 2010 EP Order To Die, French melodic death metallers Fallen Joy were kind enough to take some time off
video games playing music and preparing for Spread The Metal Festival to answer some questions in their first ever English interview. So I decided to grill guitarist/vocalist Victor and drummer Leandro on the band’s current line-up situation, their influences/love for Dark Tranquillity, cover songs and the upcoming album Inner Supremacy! With some fun along the way of course…
Bonjour! Thanks for taking some time to answer these questions, how is everything going with Fallen Joy at the moment? What are you up to at the moment? And how did you begin interacting with Spread The Metal Records?
[Victor Gallot-Lavallée, guitar & vocals] Bonjour! We are doing quite well at the moment, moving forward on new great songs and all that! The mix and mastering of the new album are ? finally ? done and we are satisfied with the results. As for the loss of our lead guitarist, we do not have a permanent replacement for him but we found a really great session guitarist for the time being, so we will not be slowed down.
[Leandro Daloi, drums] Hi there! That was quite simple with Spread The Metal Records, Matt Day contacted us on his own initiative, he already knew Fallen Joy with our first EP Order To Die released on the web! The deal with him was simply great, so now we have a label for the Canadian/USA Market.
Where does the name Fallen Joy actually comes from? And do you see the recent line-up changes as having an effect on the band’s sound?
[Victor] It came from a title Leandro gave to one of his very first compositions, “The Fallen Joy”. We thought that was interesting and original, and we chose it as the name of the band. As for the ‘recent’ line-up changes I suppose you mean changes between our first EP Order To Die and the upcoming album Inner Supremacy? The fact that I became (once again, actually) lead singer certainly is a big change, also the arrival of Julien Rousseau on bass guitar and secondary vocals brought us a lot, he clearly is one of the most talented and creative musicians I ever had a chance to play music with! While I have always been the main composer in Fallen Joy, Julien Neulat brought a lot to songs in Order To Die, but we are pretty confident of what the new release is worth, it?s a bit more ‘in your face’ I would say! Julien Rousseau is also writing music material along with me and Leandro, but that will be for a next album.
[Leandro] The main composers and arrangers of the EP Order To Die were Victor and myself (I wrote instrumentally the first two tracks of Order To Die) and as you can see, we’re still in the band! (laughs) So don’t worry that much about Fallen Joy’s new line-up!
What kind of influences do you take musically? For example, I can hear some folk metal in the guitar of Order To Die, and definitely Gallery-era Dark Tranquillity along with the ones I mentioned in the review.
[Victor] Present and past members of Fallen Joy all like Dark Tranquillity I think, Character being by far their best album in my opinion with Damage Done and Fiction. The spirit was there with The Gallery but they did it better afterwards. I think their very last album We Are The Void is crap though.
You’re probably thinking of the song “Hoisting The Black Flag” when you say ‘folk metal’! There will be another two songs on Inner Supremacy that can be related to this sub-genre, maybe not as obviously. We all like Swedish melodic death metal bands such as At The Gates, Dark Tranquillity, Amon Amarth or In Flames. (Good choices!) There are also the thrash metal influences of Slayer, Kreator, or early Metallica, also black metal with Gorgoroth or Immortal, and other bands like Dream Theater (much with the drumming style), Decapitated, Judas Priest or Stratovarius, some video game like the Final Fantasy and movie soundtracks. We are musically open-minded people and it is not always easy to know what the major influences in our songs were, but that is something like that.
[Leandro] Personally I’m a big fan of video games soundtracks and movie sountracks, composers like Nobuo Uematsu, Joe Hisaishi, Hans Zimmer, Hitoshi Sakimoto, Masashi Hamauzu…They are all incredible! But when I saw Dream Theater and Amon Amarth performing on stage, I knew I needed to create and play drums in a fucking Metal band like Fallen Joy!
Speaking of your upcoming release Inner Supremacy (due on STM soon!), can you give us some information about it? Will “Hymn To Silent Soldier”, one of the recent live tracks, be on it?
[Victor] How do you even know the name of that song?!
[Leandro] I think he knew because of those crappy live footage on Youtube dude!
Yeah, I did some research!
[Victor] Hell yeah it will be featured, that is one of our favorite songs! Inner Supremacy is a highly varied album, with songs based on lead guitar melodies like in Order To Die and more aggressive songs with few lead guitar parts and more technical guitar riffs. Joyful songs, dark songs, and destructive songs!
[Leandro] We hope to announce you a release date very soon!
Cool, looking forward to it!The lyrics of the Order To Die EP seem to blend both an epic fantasy-related interpretation from mythology and also something more modern, which was the intended approach? And what was the reason behind using English as the main lyrical language?
[Victor] It depends of the atmosphere of the songs, all songs in Order To Die make characters of different stories speak: the song “Order To Die” is about a paranoid tyrant seeing his own end come, “Hoisting The Black Flag” is about pirates, “Seeds of Tyranny” (its lyrics were written by the bass guitarist Rudy at the time, I wrote the others) is about the Nazis, and “Voyage Au Bout De La Nuit” is directly inspired by the first part of Louis-Ferdinand Celine’s book of the same name, about WW1 with an anti-heroic point of view. Those songs are actually inspired by real history facts more than fantasy/mythology, but we will surely take inspiration in those in the future. In Inner Supremacy come also a lot of songs based on my personal life and thoughts.
The choice of English was natural to us, there is a musicality in this language you cannot find in French. French is a really interesting language though, with its own soul, I just don’t think it fits the music we make, at least for now.
Is the last song, “Voyage Au Bout De La Nuit”, taken from a different era of the band’s history? It sounds heavier and more somber, along with the excerpt from Louis-Ferdinand Céline you mentioned, and I read you used to play a heavier style of music…
[Victor] You could think that but no, “Order…” and “Seeds…” are older songs, and “Hoisting…” was written after “Voyage…”. I just wanted to write a darker and more black metal-oriented song as it is one of my favorite sub-genres in metal, and it is still one of my favorite Fallen Joy songs.
If you ever take a break from your own material, what kind of cover songs do you like to perform, either live or in the studio? Apparently Gul also sings well as well as screaming!
[Victor] As I said before, I took back the role of main singer in the band, that was after Gul left maybe a year and half ago, and he is not featured on the new album. There is a ton of songs I would like to cover with the band like songs of Death, Kreator, or Final Fantasy instrumentals, but we always have new songs to work on! Eventually we will surely do one of those someday.
A Death cover would be very interesting to hear! Would you consider any collaboration, either local or famous? Do you have a dream list of people in mind?
Not for now, this is an exciting experience but it is often a problem when you play the song on stage afterwards, which can be disappointing. That being said, my dream list would be something like Tony Iommi, John Petrucci, Vogg (Decapitated), and Mille Petrozza (Kreator).
[Leandro] A drum solo with Neil Peart or Mike Portnoy!
Haha nice one! Now, it’s no secret you guys are gamers, so what do you play and wh’?s the biggest geek? The lead guitar sounds a bit like video gaming sounds, but definitely avoiding a comparison to DragonForce!
[Victor] Haha thank you, we are not really fond of Dragon Force’s ‘masturbation’ indeed! And yes we are gamers, I don’t know who the worst is, but Julien Rousseau is not a particularly big geek. Leandro and I played a whole lot of (mainly 2D) fighting games together, otherwise I’m a fan of survival horror such as Silent Hill or Forbidden Siren, tower defense games like Gemcraft or Kingdom Rush and of course I like Japanese-style RPG like Final Fantasy or Chrono Trigger, but for this last genre Leandro is the most manic fan.
[Leandro] You are exaggerating so much about me! (laughs) Yeah he is right I love RPG but now I spend much more time practicing with my drums!
There’s been a rise in bands and labels using sites such as Bandcamp and Reverbnation recently, and almost every band has a Facebook page. What’s your view on such social media promotion, do you see it as a good thing or are you more skeptical?
[Victor] Yes, I think Facebook is really useful along with those websites and I am glad they exist, Myspace was quite good before because of the possibilities, but soon there were only bands on it and no more ‘common’ users, lastly it even became completely obsolete with all the silly updates and limitations.
What kind of music has been keeping your iPods/CD players warm recently? Any bands we should be listening to?
[Victor] At The Gates (the album ‘Slaughter of the Soul’), Kreator, YOB (one of my favorite doom/sludge metal bands), Saint Vitus (doom metal), and the last Nile album (brutal death metal). I recommend all of them because they are good at what they do, depends on your taste!
[Leandro] Flying Colors (best album of the beginning of the year in my opinion, for sure).
This is naturally the last year we have on Earth given the apocalypse is coming near, so what are Fallen Joy going to be doing during it?
[Victor] Headbanging, mostly.
I’ll be joining you on that front. Well guys, thanks very much for your time, hope you enjoyed the questions and I wish you all the best!
[Victor] You are very welcome, that was a pleasure! That is our very first interview in English, thank you for giving us an occasion to practice!
[Leandro] Thank you so much for this honor! Stay in touch with us with our Facebook fan page! Cheers!
Thanks to Spread The Metal Records for setting up this interview.