Interview with Belore

Interview with Belore

- in Written interviews

Hi! What inspired “Eastern Tales,” and how does it differ from your past works?
Hi! On this album I had a more cinematic approach. I wanted to push the mix between the storytelling and the music further than before. There are more immersive intros and interludes in the tracks, with some new orchestrations and sound design. I also wanted to move away from repetitive and classical patterns, although there are still a few, and work on the layering of sound with more realistic instruments than before.

How does nature influence your sound and storytelling?
Nature is a huge part of my life. I always have landscapes and vast spaces in my mind when I compose. The story and characters come later with the lyrics, but first I always picture big mountains, fields or plains in my head to set the tone for the track. This is the first time I have composed a song with a part that involves sea journeys and ships, it has allowed me to try new things, in the Belore style of course. I have the chance to live between the sea and the mountains, so it’s easy for me to walk along the water’s edge or on the cliff of a mountain and keep that inspiration for music later.

How has working with Northern Silence Productions impacted your music?
It’s a real honour to work with such a great music label. When I started Belore, I didn’t even think for a second that any small label would want to sign me for my first album. So this one? With a lot of bands that inspired me during the creation of the project? I was more than happy. It also allowed me to make some great contacts all over the world and especially in Germany, where we love to play now, it’s always amazing! So now, with all the benefits that this label has brought me, I am more picky than ever about what I can produce. Being able to have a lot of different physical formats is also a great motivation to make the most epic album you can. You want to keep up with the other big bands on this roster.

Any memorable experiences or challenges while recording “Eastern Tales”?
For the first time I recorded the vocals on a professional studio production. On the two previous albums, doing it on my own was no fun and my vocals suffered as a result. I’m very proud of what we did with the help of Jean-Michel from Nameless Studio! We recorded all the vocals (harsh, clean, spoken) in two days, it was fantastic. I also love working with Charlie on drums. He always brings a fresh vision to my songwriting, doesn’t hesitate to tell me “this, it’s not working, we need to do better on this part, etc”. If Belore sounds like this now, it’s because of his helpful work and advice.

Which bands influenced “Eastern Tales” the most?
It depends on the period, for the first album I was mainly influenced by Summoning and Caladan Brood. But now Moonsorrow and newer progressive bands with a touch of dark folk music are more influential than before. But I don’t want to “copy” any band or style of music, I prefer to listen to the composition, the way a song is structured, rather than the melody itself. That’s more meaningful to me. And of course I listen a lot more to orchestral, film or video game music. You’ll understand this when you listen to the intro of the album’s song “The Hermit Awakens”.

What’s your songwriting process for epic compositions?
Most of the time ideas come to me when I’m doing an activity where my mind is free: walking, hiking, driving and so on. I have a melody that starts to take shape in my head, I work on it and give it shape. Then I start composing the other melody lines, still in my head, until I have a result that suits me and that I can repeat over and over again. I then use the Dictaphone application on my smartphone and sing out these different melodies so that I don’t forget them. Other times I find inspiration by browsing through different soundbanks. For example, the introduction to the track ‘Storm of an Ancient Age’ came naturally after I discovered the synth sound that illustrates the very beginning of the track.

What drew you to black metal, and how does your music evolve the genre?
I’m not sure that my music will change the genre. I’m inspired by a lot of traditional black metal from the 90s, but I’ve brought it up to date. I’m not afraid to take a more modern approach to a culture that can sometimes be a bit too rooted in a glorious past. Black metal came to me as a teenager with bands like Cradle of Filth, Emperor, Dissection, Furia (FR) and Dimmu Borgir. I was fascinated by the epic atmosphere of these old albums. I was lucky enough to have a friend (Sophia) who helped me discover a lot of bands through the Adipocere Records catalog. I’ve always listened to a lot of different styles like prog, folk, deathcore and other music far away from the metal world.

Can you talk about the significance of the French black metal scene?
The French Black Metal scene has developed a lot since the 2010s. I think it’s become one of the best in Europe. There are so many great new projects coming out every year. This year alone, you can look forward to Griffon’s new album, which is a marvel, and watch out for the release of the next Houle, which I’m sure will please many. We’re also preparing a 6th album with my other band: Darkenhöld. We have a land rich in history and castles, which gives us a lot of inspiration for the ‘medieval black metal’ genre. Aorlhac are also very good representatives of this genre.

How does your music reflect or challenge black metal traditions?
The essence of Black Metal is dark, tortured and violent. I try to bring some light into this darkness, while keeping that dark side patiently waiting to emerge at the right moment. I always say that I make luminous Black Metal! Some people don’t like Belore because of that, but it doesn’t matter, I can understand them. I’m a positive person in everyday life and I want to write music that I enjoy listening to. This probably goes against some of the black metal traditions of the 90s. I try to take what I like best and adapt it to other influences. Battle for Therallas” is probably the most black metal song I’ve written so far. Because I maintain a constant tension throughout most of the song, which is quite dark, and let some light appear at the end of the track, while remaining melancholic in general. I think that’s what black metal is all about.

How do folklore and mythology inspire your lyrics and music?
I love tragic stories. Which is complicated because on the other hand I try to make music that is epic and luminous. It’s not easy to combine the two, but I think I’ve succeeded with this new album. I’m not a big fan or connoisseur of mythology. Be it Greek, Roman or Norse. I’m more inspired by 20th-century fantasy novels that appeal to my imagination. On a more recent note, I really enjoy the books of Andrzej Sapkowski: The Witcher. In the first two, there’s no real continuity; it’s a succession of different stories, both beautiful and sad, in the form of individual adventures. That’s what I emphasized in the first two albums. But as I progressed in Belore’s lore, it became important to have common threads and real characters.

Tell us about the artwork and visual aesthetics of “Eastern Tales.”
As with the previous album, I wanted a cover in the style of concept art found in certain films or video games. I’ve always liked paintings from the Romantic period that manage to reproduce magnificent landscapes, such as the famous Albert Bierstadt. But unfortunately, it’s become a bit too ‘cliché’ and can quickly lead to a loss of identity for those who use it today. With the rich history created for Belore, I have the opportunity to highlight very specific moments. That’s why, for Eastern Tales, I enlisted the services of a talented artist (Aleksandra Klepacka) to bring to life the journey of Erethor, a mage from my world who has been reclusive for centuries, to Therallas, the capital city taken over by his former compatriot (now enemy).

Any upcoming projects or collaborations?
I recorded the vocals on a Falkenbach cover for a Colombian one-man band, which I think will be released later this year. But I’m concentrating on performing the new album live in 2024/2025. I’m already in negotiations for some festivals in Europe, but nothing official yet!

What emotions or messages do you hope listeners take from “Eastern Tales,” and your future aspirations for BELORE?
With Belore’s music I want the listener to be able to escape. To be able to close their eyes and let themselves be carried away by the moods and melodies of this album, without necessarily being completely immersed in the lyrics and themes that I write. I also like people to be able to make up their own minds, to imagine what this music inspires in them personally. I’ve had feedback from people who like a particular track because it reminds them of a strong, personal memory, but it has nothing to do with the lyrics. I find it touching that listeners can make my music their own in such an intimate way.

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