ZT INTERROGATION: THE NEGATION STILL LEADING THE FRENCH RESISTANCE
The Negation guitarist Agarash gives ZT an insight into the band’s ferocious new release Memento Mori, a journey so black you’ll require a torchlight to navigate its potent path.
Congratulations on the new album Memento Mori. It’s a punishing listen! Does the final version live up to the expectations you set yourself before recording began?
We are quite satisfied with “Memento Mori”. It follows the initial concept created on our first album “Paths of Obedience”. Musically, most of the songs are more complex in structure and execution.
Your debut album in 2013 Paths of Obedience was well received too but do you feel Memento Mori surpasses that?
It would be a good thing, for my part, I think this album is more successful to the extent that it is more compact and has fewer weak points. This time we have taken more time to create this allowing us to erase certain defects. Given the youth of the group at this time, Paths of Obedience had a more experimental side and was more defined as the sharing of pieces of two musicians.
Is there a theme or concept behind the songs?
Yes, there is a central concept that branches thereafter. This original concept is based on factual observation of the early 21st Century and the turn it could mean for the human race. Very macroscopically, there are two serious facts that threaten us structurally and biologically in facts:
The human population continues to grow exponentially and somehow proliferates. This almost uncontrollable growth generates ever greater food needs, resources and, of course, of energy.
The depletion of terrestrial resources is a reality: the available stocks of oil, gas, coal, water, minerals, farmland, fisheries resources … are all short or medium terms due to falling overexploitation or physical exhaustion.
These two interconnected phenomena induce a situation intellectually very simple to understand but difficult to conceive because of the complexity of human organization. Vital resources per capita are declining and will continue to decline unless technological miracle happens. Literally as globally, we become impoverished. Moreover, this depletion will be particularly resented as we follow a century-old Worship, personal, social and political progress of growth and enrichment.
The non-understanding, non-acceptance and all the frustrations caused by this phenomenon will necessarily lead us to financial, economic, social, political and geopolitical states of chaos. Obviously, climate catastrophe inducing many heavy migrations of population would worsen these conditions. In this context, the survivors will try at all costs to take advantage of the remaining resources (the human being is by nature a predator).
What form will the resultant violence take? Rather the form of high-intensity interstate wars ? Or rather as a civilizational collapse similar to the period after the fall of Western Roman Empire? More optimistic scenarios such as acceptance, reorganization or even a saving technological leap could be they be considered?
Only time shall tell. This was my mood when I wrote three songs of Memento Mori.
For someone who has yet to discover The Negation what one word would you come up with to describe yourselves?
For me, this discover must remain intuitive, thoughtless, immediate. A comprehensive description therefore seems to me superfluous. I think the visual, the concept, must suffice for themselves.
Can you give us an insight into who does what within the band, in terms of songwriting and music arrangements? Does everyone contribute to the process?
The pieces are entirely composed by Thanatoath or myself.
When the album was recorded at Hybreed Studios did the process run smoothly or were you presented with any unexpected challenges?
We have consciously chosen to return to the Hybreed studio to keep some continuity with “Paths of Obedience.” This first capitalized experience has served us refine certain aspects of the recording process but so altogether marginal.
Although you frame your music around a black metal soundscape you chose not to go down the obvious leather studs and demons route? What drew you towards a more nihilistic path?
Intuitively, I would say the conceptual aspect is central and acts as a powerful director stream. I think the themes used in a more traditional black metal are generally worn by dint of being reused. Moreover, many of these themes seem to me meaningless.
Is there something about the French psyche that veers away from more ostentatious displays, preferring more toned down visuals to keep the emphasis on the music alone – I’m thinking Gojira, Monarch etc.
I do not think that this kind of artistic choice of a larger visual neutrality to highlight the musical aspect is specifically French. The Negation made a choice in which the visual, the concept and the music will always be deeply nested.
As Parisians what impact did the Charlie Hebdu killings have on you as people and has it in anyway touched your music?
This case is very complex and interesting.It can be analyzed with multiple angles whether social, political or psychological. Personally, I have never been pro Char|ie because I consider, first, that every man must bear the consequences of his own actions even when they are indubitably aggressive (teasing, insults), “who lives in the fire dies by fire. ”
Socially, this event will remain a powerful marker for the French people. Many analysis filters have been considered. One of my favorites is one that was designed by a well-known sociologist (Emmanuel Todd). I am very sensitive to the arguments concerning the replacement and irrational aspect to the religious vacuum in our society today.
The intrigue and political recovery are evidence for the widespread impoverishment generates voids and frustrations that power must learn to channel and use it wisely to continue to persist. A strategy along an axis “divide and rule” seems to me quite relevant here and legitimize the safe use of the state also. Here like in Europe, many people are old, they would not be against a new kind of Patriot Act (at least early… ).
When you go about your daily lives do things feel different to you in Paris now since the killings took place?
At first a really seemed palpable apprehension but routine habits quickly regained the upper hand. But, I don’t think the “Power” would approve my opinion.
Is your stage sound very different from the one you create in the studio?
Playing live necessarily adds an extra dimension but the execution of the songs must remain consistent with albums. There is currently no reason to do differently.
Have you built up much of a fanbase in France over the last couple of years?
We toured a lot mainly in the northern part of France, this allowed to gather an audience that follows us with some interest. Our artistic approach will always include a prominent scenic value Above all, our music must be alive.
How tight a group are the five band members in terms of friendship? Do you all see each other regularly?
The Negation certainly works as a cohesive and disciplined group. The quality requirement imposes a regular job at any level.
Many thanks for your time in talking with Zero Tolerance readers. Finally, are there tour plans in place to promote this new album and are we likely to see you in the UK soon?
Our new label (Kaotoxin) allows us to reach an important milestone at all levels. Our current objectives are indeed to participate in European tours. We will tour as much as possible to spread our music, probably in the UK.