Neo-zine December 2006
Neo: Please introduce yourself.
7: I am 7. I am Diable Amoreux. I stand between this world and that inhabited by the Gnomes.
Neo: Do you go by the name "7" in your day-to-day life, or is it an artist name?
7: '7' is the numerological value of my name. It is also a number that has cropped up repeatedly throughout my life. In real-life you can call me Cyril, though that's not my real name either. My parents did not believe in names, consequently I did not have one until I was five and a half years old.
Neo: Tell us why you chose to call your project Diable Amoreux?
7: Originally the project was titled 'Lamentum,' and the first album –
For Her Requiem – was released under that name. I changed it to Diable Amoreux with the release of the second album – Love Songs For The Devil. This was because someone was bound to start using a name like Lamentum, if they weren't already, and because the music was starting to move away from being 'sad,' and becoming 'weird.' Diable Amoreux, which translates as the Devil in Love (there are several spellings, so don't write to tell me I've spelt it incorrectly), also expresses my sympathy for the figure of Satan.
Neo: How would you explain your sound to those who have not heard your music?
7: That's a hard one, as my music (unlike a lot of other bands who merely think they are) really is quite original. I always think of myself as writing apocalyptic folk music, but there are really only a couple of DA tracks that could be labelled that. I get round this somewhat ambiguously by calling it 'gnomic folk.' Also the 'style' keeps changing, which makes it even more confusing. So far I guess I've done: ambient, dark ambient spoken word, goth, apocalyptic folk, goth rock, and black metal. If you were to call it a bizarre goth folk band I think you'd be pretty near the money.
Neo: What really separates your music from that of other people playing similar styles?
7: First of all I don't pretend that I don't write silly music. All gothic and metal music is rather ridiculous in its own brilliance. The Wizard of New Zealand once said of DA that "without the silly the truly transcendental cannot be achieved." I think he's got a point. What separates my music is that (for the moment) it hasn't been accepted. Think of some of the really 'out there' music that you love. Take a step back and see how absurd it is. One of the things I'm trying to do is point this fact out. As soon as a band starts to take itself really seriously they turn crap; it's a simple action and reaction formula.
But apart from this I really don't know what sets me apart. I write odd songs, that's just how they come out. I've actually tried to pen 'straight' tunes (I admire people who can do it), but it always comes out twisted despite myself. I guess, though, that as I can actually see that my music differs from a lot of other stuff, I mustn't have (as yet) left the planet completely. And there are people out there writing stranger stuff than I. The thing is that you don't get to hear it because those people get committed to institutions.
Neo: I've seen bands that write goblin music and troll music, but I've never seen one that writes 'gnome music.' Are gnomes as mean as they sound on your CD?
7: I'm sure some are. But it's very hard to know just what they are like, being the elusive misanthropic human-hating creatures that they are. (I deliberately didn't write 'man-hating' because that implies that they don't hate feminists, but they do, very much.) I'd say in actual fact that the gnomes write their own music; they just use me as a medium to connect from their world to this. And I'm sure that there are some nice ones over there.
Neo: Do you anticipate anyone mocking gnomish folk music because of the lawn ornaments?
7: Tacky lawn ornaments certainly are at the kitsch end of the gnome phenomena. But these are not the victims of human entrapment, as some people (such as www.freethegnomes.com) believe. It is all part of the Gnomish plan. Certainly the lawn ornaments will put some people off the study of gnomes, and indeed listening to the music, but then there are also those who will be brought into it from an interest in such things. It matters not to me. When the gnomes finally come, then we shall see who is laughing.
Neo: Is costuming or any particular type of dress part of the Diable Amoreux image?
7: Not really. The only goal I have ever had in mind is that the costuming and imaging of Diable Amoreux should separate me as much as possible from the music. This of course is impossible to achieve 100%, but if I can get someone looking through the CD artwork to forget for a few moments that there is actually someone behind that mask, then I shall have succeeded.
The next few releases will not feature images of myself. I used to like walking into a music shop and looking through some of the more obscure releases. What I liked the most about these was that there was no contact information, no photos of the band, nothing to tell you who or what created the music, or even where it came from. This was always one of the key ideas behind DA. But in this day and age when any idiot with a computer is able to release music, such an approach is not possible, and I have been required to become a media whore in order to simply fund the next release.
Neo: What sorts of things do you like to write about? Any lyrical examples?
7: For the most part I write about the humanity of Satan, as after all he/she/it is a human notion: evil on legs if you will:
I'm one of them, oh that I am
A satanic heart from boy to man
The Devil shouts back but oh so quietly
Will it all be in vain, just wait and see
Then there are gnome:
Varnished and tarnished
It's life chipped from stone
That is why they are
A-prostrate and prone
But painting and powder
Is not what they're about
There're real live fleshy
They bend and they pout
I also write about things that come my way that I think ought to be written about. For example I'm currently working on a track about the West Memphis Three (www.wm3.org); three teenage boys imprisoned 13 years ago, the victims of an idiotic 'satanic' scare:
But that day we failed
And we lost our claim
We riders from Hell
We were not to blame
Neo: Any personal philosophies blended into your composition, or maybe your song titles?
7: I am a Satanist of the LaVeyian kind, and I'd say that this influences my work more than any other. I'm also somewhat of a Spiritualist, though I don't think this comes through in the songs much. Some people might find the mix of Satanism and Spiritualism rather contradictory, but there you go.
Neo: Do you play much live? What's the show like?
7: To date there has only been one Diable Amoreux show. This was with Sin-Nanna, the man behind the black metal band Striborg, and the writer and musician Paul C. This was done in front of a very select group performing tracks off the Elizabeth album. I'm hoping to start doing a few shows some time soon. These will be striped back distorted guitar and vocal affairs, but as my guitarist keeps getting himself hospitalised the song learning process is taking a long time.
Neo: What's a day of recording like?
Pretty varied, as I tend to record where and with who ever I can get. Most of the time, though, I spend in my darkened studio composing on a keyboard and then programming it into the computer. I find this method quite useful as even when I'm going to be recording with real instruments the sequencer lets me hear what the different instrument lines sound like side by side. I have been able to do more and more of the recording in my own studio as I continue to build up equipment. To date only the first release has been recorded entirely in a professional studio.
Neo: What kinds of instruments do you use?
7: I myself play bass guitar, guitar, drums, piano, flute, and clarinet – all badly – and some not for a very long time. Some of these crop up from time to time, though I usually prefer to get a proper musician in to play them.
I prefer the more organic 'real' instruments (acc. guitar, violin, cello etc.), though I often use sampled versions of these sounds. Some of the professional samples coming out these days are really quite good, but it's still very hard to get the right feeling. In fact I'm working on songs for an upcoming release at the moment to be performed by a string quartet.
I find I'll give most sounds I come across a try, however. The only stuff I don't like is the 'techno-esc' sounds that have crept into a lot of goth music these days.
Neo: What can you tell us about "Horns used for Butting."
7: Horns used for Butting is my most recent release, and is also the most 'organic' sounding album so far. I'd say it's one of my favourites. Certainly it's the type of record I have wanted to make for a long time.
Its recording was the most varied yet, with sessions held in many locations around the city of Melbourne and the state of Tasmania. The vocals were all done at a project studio on an isolated farmhouse in Northwest Tasmania. Some of the vocal takes actually have sheep in the background.
The most interesting parts, however, occurred after the recording. Since its release one of the session members (we'll call this person 'D') had another session member ('W') charged with domestic assault following a psychotic incident. When it finally went to court the case was dismissed after D's own psychiatrist testified that D's statements could not be believed. More recently D has charged W and myself with homosexual sex acts involving the plaster garden gnome who lives in my front room. (This is all completely true!)
Neo: Have there been many reviews?
7: For Horns used for Butting there have been quite a few. Some of these can be found on the website: www.geocities.com/diableamoreux. Most have been quite positive. Though as the majority of the review copies have gone unreviewed it seems to me that most of the press find it too crap/original to bother with. Certainly the dominating theme in all the reviews I've had is that Diable Amoreux is unlike anything they have heard before.
Neo: Do you think that some people will have some trouble with the style? How many people probably give up while listening to the first track?
7: I think a lot of people will have problems with the style. Why this is exactly I don't know. There are certainly many things one might not like about the songs, but I have experimented with changing many of these elements around so there is never a song that has all of them at once. But the responses remain the same. So I'd say that it's a mixture of several elements. I find it quite funny, actually, because although goth music is supposed to have this big reputation for being deferent, nonconforming and generally 'out there,' most goths are no different to people who listen to the top 50. Look at mainstream and goth dance clubs. One group dress up in expensive tight cloths, go out to be seen by other people and get laid, buy expensive alcoholic drinks with silly names, and dance to techno music. The other lot go to mainstream clubs. I'd say that DA is slowly becoming more excepted, however.
Neo: How do you get your music out there to the rest of the world? Do you trade?
7: Yes I do trade, mostly for folk, apocalyptic folk, black metal, ambient, and some goth rock.
Promotion isn't done through labels or distros, that's for sure; I've had very little interest shown for the amount of promotional material I've sent out. This is rather ironic I think, as the better known I become the less I actually need such people. I'm not going to pay a promoter to promote my music when everyone already knows about it.
Most of my sales have been through word of mouth, someone reading a review, or just picking an album up from a music shop. Given the massive amount of music being put out these days most people are very reluctant to spend money on something they haven't heard before. I know I'm like that.
I've found www.myspace.com a very useful website, not really for selling my stuff, but for discovering other musical acts and trading albums. There are some very, very good acts to be found, and actually a lot less crap than I first anticipated. Some of my best finds are: www.myspace.com/sharronkraus, www.myspace.com/filipring, www.myspace.com/slideshowplayers, and www.myspace.com/singingsadie
Neo: Any other merch you want to advertise?
7: All merchandise can be found on the Diable Amoreux website. There are some rather fetching DA gnome t-shirts, my two latest CDs, the whole back catalogue before that on CD-r, and you can even become a member of the DA fan club. Really, I don't see how you could throw up such an opportunity! And all at such low, low prices!!……..
Neo: Who did your cover art?
7: Most of my cover artwork is done by a Tasmanian artist called Bill Dean. Amongst other groups he has also done covers for the Tasmanian death metal band Psycroptic, which some of you have probably heard of. The Horns used for Butting cover is a photograph of myself taken by an associate A. Ulvhagen.
Neo: Anything else you would like to talk about?
7: Yes. I have recently been informed that ants dislike walking through talcum powder, and that this is a way to keep them out of ones house. I'm about to test this statement, so please wish me luck in my venture.
May the gnomes be with you all.