Hacride are taking to time travel. The four-member French experimental prog metal act, who started with a loud bang in 2001, over the last decade have slowed down. Their music has experienced a literal paradigm shift from the pummeling death metal (debut album “Deviant Current Signal” 2005) to the brutal power monger (“Amoeba” 2007) and a beastly experiment (“Lazarus” 2009). Now Hacride are “Back To Where You’ve Never Been.” Their third album, four years after “Lazarus” is a slow-moving beast. Progressive, philosophical and plundering inspirations from their own lives, while dealing with change. In September 2012, two of the four founding members, vocalist Samuel Bourreau and drummer Olivier Laffond quit the band and music altogether to return to their day jobs. Vocalist Luis Roux and drummer Florent Marcadent took their places. over the next three months, the band finished putting together “Back To Where You’ve Never Been” that released in April, 2013. We spoke to Roux a few days before they embarked on their first India tour that kickstarts today with a drum workshop by Marcadent at Full volume, Secunderabad. The band will go on to play gigs in Hyderabad, Nasik, Mumbai and Kolkata over the coming week.
Roux opened up about the constantly changing sound of the band, their hopes of having a successful India tour (the last time they were here, Hacride ended up playing an impromptu set at the now-defunct underground metal venue B69 by Bajaoo in Mumbai after a canceled set at Indian Music Conference in 2010), the surprise they’ve prepared for India, their upcoming festival sets and what all he packed for his big tropical India experience and why he thinks all French folk are Hobbits.
Q-1. The last time you were in India, you ended up playing an impromptu gig which to this day has gone down in metal history as memorable. This time, you’re coming for a nation-wide tour. What all are you packing for your big India experience?
I am packing some clean clothes of course and most importantly my Ipad so that I can watch some movies, play online poker, listen to music and answer emails. This stupid electronic device means more and more to me these days and I’m afraid that I’m turning into a geek! I miss the good old days without cell phone and the internet but it’s too late, I’m hooked now. I am also bringing basic hygiene products but I’ll spare you the details because it’s boring. I am bringing some anti-mosquito lotion and some sun screen because I heard it’s extremely warm over there right now. Thankfully I’m not a goth and even though it’s not cool to say that in metal: I actually like the sun! I am looking forward to meeting new people, discover a different and fascinating culture and of course taste the food! I think French people are very similar to Hobbits because we are obsessed with food and drinking!
Q-2. When Hacride last came to India, the band was different. Now of course there are new members, there’s a comeback album. Is Hacride going to be taking stage with a different sound? What setlist have you planned for the Indian audience?
It is still Hacride’s sound but the energy is a different. Having a new drummer like Flo Marcadet gives the band a groovier approach and he is as steady as clock, so it’s comfortable relying on the beat. Having a new front man is also affecting the sound, but I cannot really comment on that since I am this new singer. The setlist that we have is the same that we have in France but we added a little surprise. It’s actually a very long surprise. Our new set features four tracks from “Back To Where You’ve Never Been,” three from “Lazarus” and two from “Amoeba.”
Q-3. Talking about “Back To Where You’ve Never Been,” it’s is sonically more progressive than “Lazarus.” What was the songwriting process on the new album and how was it different from your previous works?
As usual Adrien (Grousset, gutiarist) wrote most of the music back home but this time a very special thing happened. He had a son. Going through this amazing experience definitely had an impact on the music and you can hear this lullaby kind of sound on some songs. The album was also intentionally more straight-to-the-point than previous records. The idea was to combine tricky progressive riffs with more traditional structures and to clarify the music as much as possible.
Listen to single Overcome, of the album:
Q-4. What are the band’s some current music influences that affected Grousset while writing “Back To Where You’be Never Been?” What is the concept of the album?
Our musical inspirations are bands like Meshuggah, Tool and Deftones. The kind of bands that are not afraid to go beyond metal. It’s important to be in love with music in general and we feel that these bands are very curious and inclined to experimentation as well. The album is basically telling the story of a guy who wakes up one day and realises he has missed his entire existence. It deals with the dilemma that we face between passion and the adult world. It stresses the fact that it’s necessary for a person to identify what’s truly important in his or her life in order to be accomplished. Like I said in the CD booklet, you need to define your own meaning of success and fight as hard as you can to get where you wanna get. It’s all about making the right choices and keep on working towards your ultimate goal. As the saying goes, “the only limits that we have are the ones we set ourselves.”
Q-5. Any reason why “Back To Where You’ve Never Been” came four years after your album?
Four years is a long time but it just happened that way. It’s better to do things when you feel like it and it’s not good to rush artistic matters in general. The truth is that we have other things apart of music because we need to work to make a living and we also need to spend some time with our respective families. In other words, we live on very tight schedules these days. The lineup change did not really have anything to do with this. I was actually contacted by the band after the music was recorded, which means that everything went real fast for me. To give you an idea, I got in the band at the end of September 2012 and by early December the lyrics were written and recorded. The drums were recorded at a friend’s studio called Fabiche, and the strings were recorded in Franck Hueso’s (producer) studio. Franck engineered and produced the whole album. He’s been working with Hacride since the very beginning and he’s like the fifth member of the band.
Q-6. What prompted the lineup change?
Playing metal requires a lot of time and dedication. It’s like a professional job but it does not pay enough to make a living out of it. It is great to live for your passion but it became impossible for Sam and Olivier to combine work, music and family.
Q-7. After India, you are also slated to play Euroblast.W hat are some of the new things that Hacride are looking forward to?
I’m very excited to play at a music festival called BN Fest in Barcelona. I really like Spain and it’s always good to hang out there during summertime. Playing at the Valkhof festival is also going to be a lot of fun. The truth is that I never played music outside of France so all this is very new to me. Right now I’m just focusing on singing/screaming well, and also I try to entertain the audience in a more articulated way. I’m earning my stripes you see. My goal right now is to do be as professional as I can be, while having as much fun at the same time.
Q-8. On your India tour, you will be playing alongside Maldivian band Nothnegal. Have you heard their music. Any expectations from the band?
Yeah I did check Nothnegal out and it’s really good. The music is dark, technical and very much on the modern side of metal so I’m sure we’ll get along very well. I expect the band to be very professional because there music is highly technical.
Q-9. Have you heard any Indian metal?
Unfortunately, I do not really know any Indian metal bands apart from Nothnegal. I just went on the internet and listened to a bunch of bands and I have to admit Third Sovereign was the one that caught my fancy. It’s pretty extreme death metal stuff but it’s very well executed, I dig it a lot. I’m very curious to discover new Indian bands and I’m sure you guys have lots of good stuff in stock for me to hear.
Q-10. Any words for your Indian fans ?
Thank you for your interest in Hacride and I can’t wait to see you guys in India. These shows are going to be memorable. Cheers.
Hacride India Tour Dates:
June 7, 2022 : Guitar and Drum Workshop at Full Volume, Hyderabad
June 8, 2022 : Deccan Rock III at 10 Sports Bar, Hyderabad, with Skrypt, Nothnegal, Perpetual Void.
June 12, 2022 : Decan Rock III at Niwec, Nasik, with Nothnegal and Reptilian Death
June 13, 2022 : Bombay Asylum in association with Deccan Rock III at Club Escape, Mumbai with Nothnegal and Reptilian Death. Buy tickets.
June 15, 2022 – The Festival in association with Deccan Rock III at Nazrul Manch, Kolkata, with Point Of View, Nothnegal