Sunday, June 21, 2015

Denizen Interview

If you're a regular reader of RWTD, you probably caught our recent review of the new Denizen album, Troubled Waters (and if not, you can click that link to catch up).  We liked what we heard from the French group, and they were willing to share some time with us for some questions; the following interview is the result.

Ride With The Devil: Hi, thanks for giving us the time to ask you a few questions about the band!  First off, why don't you tell us how Denizen came together, along with who all is in the band and what role they play?

Colin: Hi.  Denizen is a band of friends above all.  I've known Fabien (vocals) since primary school and Ludovic (guitars) since high school.  We met Andréas (drums) when he played in a band we knew before starting Denizen.  We started playing together in 2003, as a cover band, like many others!

RWTD: So your first album, at least as far as I can tell from BandCamp, was Whispering Wild Stories back in 2011.  Did you have the same line-up then as now, and what was the process of making WWS like?

Colin: We released two demos and an album on CD-R before Whispering Wild Stories, but we consider it as our first 'real' album.  It was the first professionally pressed by a label and we are still proud of it.  The line-up has been the same for a long time now, we only changed our drummer and the second guitarist left, both after our first demo.

RWTD: What was Denizen up to in the four years between WWS' release and the making of Troubled Waters?

Fabien: We tried to promote ‘WWS’ with gigs in France and by doing a tour in Spain and Portugal.  After 10 years jamming together, we needed to be on a hiatus and thinking about our future. We finally decided to play again because most of all, we are friends who like spending time together.  To me, it’s definitely impossible to play music without these guys!

RWTD: How did the making of Troubled Waters compare to making the first album?

Colin: I think we worked just about the same way.  I recorded and mixed it.  It was done the same way as WWS (mastering by Nick Zampiello and Rob Gonella).  We just tried to remember the critics and flaws which bothered us on our previous material and tried to improve the songs and their arrangements.  For example, we have worked harder on the effects on the vocals.  After all this time playing together, I think we have more confidence and we took more risks on our music.  We tried to experiment with different tones and to integrate more diversity between the songs.

RWTD: There's a big variety of styles coming across in Troubled Waters, were there any albums or bands you can point to that might have had some of their flavor leak into the final product?  On the other side of that, was there anything specific that you tried to avoid getting into the music?

Fabien: I think Denizen has always showed what we were listening to.  At the beginning, we played Hardcore Noise.  That’s what you can hear in our former demos.  But when we started listening to Heavy Rock or Stoner Rock, bluesy and 70’s influences appeared spontaneously in our tracks.  That’s why people can feel this variety of styles you are talking about.  I can say we are interested by riffs in music, whatever the styles.

Colin: I think everything is a natural process.  Like Fabien said, we make songs with our current desires.  We never say: “Let’s do a song like this band!”.  One of us brings some riffs and we jam until it sounds good for everybody!  Above all, we try to keep catchy and in-your-face tunes with some subtleties which avoid monotony.

RWTD: Were there any tracks in particular that you had a great time putting together?

Fabien: I like “Whoresmoker” and “Teddy Bear”.  I think these tracks sum up how Denizen sounds today.  Even if it was difficult to record it, especially because it was a short acoustic track, “Time To Leave” was a challenge for me, but people seem to like this track.  So it will probably help me take more risks as a singer. 

Colin: I like each song on the album, obviously some more than others.  I had a very great time writing and recording “Enter Truckman”, mainly due to the bottleneck parts.

RWTD: What's in the future for Denizen and everyone in it?

Colin: Troubled Waters has just been released on CD by Argonauta Records and the LP is coming soon on Stone Stallion Rex.  We can’t wait to have the vinyl in hand, it will be our first one!  We are currently booking gigs for September. We will tour in Belgium, Netherlands and Germany at the end of October, with our mates of Beardmore from England.

RWTD: Anything else you'd like to say to our readers?

Fabien: First of all, thank you Gabriel for your support! Hope you people will enjoy Troubled Waters and can’t wait to see you at the gigs!

Colin: Thanks a lot for the interview and long live Ride With The Devil!

RWTD: Thanks you, Denizen, for your time and for sharing your great music with us!

~ Gabriel