No fashion, No kvlt, No trend!
Just purely from the heart!
This is what THE AUSTRASIAN GOAT is all about – whether it’s black metal, doom or neo-folk he’s playing, it has some a special feeling, it has it’s own atmosphere, it has something you will hardly find in the DIY underground.
Plus, Julien is a very interesting person… so check him out:
What was your drive to start a “one man band”? Which seems like a stupid thing in some ways, as there’s no chance to tour or even play live… there is no one to exchange with, to share things with…or is this the only way to express yourself, to play the music you want to, write the lyrics you think of, get the artwork you like …
In the past, when I was a teenager, I recorded stuff alone when my bandmates couldn’t practice. I recorded different kinds of stuff, acoustic, industrial, etc. I recorded demos for a few friends. To be honest, I’m always recording alone through spite.
In 2006, when SHALLNOTKILL (a hardcore band I was involved in) disbanded, I just wanted to try something different, darker and less “groovy”. I probably wanted to prove something to myself. So, I recorded the first AUSTRASIAN GOAT songs in a week or so. I planned nothing. I made 13 CDRs for friends. And friends offered to release this album. I was honoured, and I had the pleasure to record, write and experiment through the years.
It’s completely different from a band’s work. I prefer to play in a band. But I just want to play with friends, people I like, I can confront my opinions with. Human relations are really difficult. And the main problem in a band is the collision of egos. I’ve discovered that AUSTRASIAN GOAT has been a way to distill my ego.
I don’t really want to play live shows. I played two shows in the past as “AUSTRASIAN GOAT”. The first show was in the castle of Austrasian kings, the context was absolutely fabulous. I played acoustic songs – mainly from “Paved Intentions” – with two friends. I also played at the Aïnu Fest in france, in a “rock” mood, but without guitar. I used a kind of personal hurdy-gurdy. But these experience were just snapshots. I don’t want to play anymore. I realized my songs are just snapshots. It’s absurd to play these songs times and times again.
Since you mention the difficulties between bandmembers in “real” bands, is there some certain message or some idea behind what you do with THE AUSTRASIAN GOAT that you couldn’t communicate or make real if it wasn’t just you alone? And what is it that makes you write such intense, gloomy music and lyrics? Whatever it is you play – black metal, doom, folk – always has a special atmosphere, a special, dark and sad feeling. What are the influences, what inspires you, what’s your engine?
Thank you for the nice comments in the question. I’m honoured you feel intensity in my music. I don’t know if it has something “special”. This is me. I try to be honest, nude, and more and more, to free myself from codes and stylistic compartmentalization. The first idea when I began THE AUSTRASIAN GOAT was to play my own vision of black metal. But am I “black metal” or not? I don’t give a fuck about it. It’s music. Not a gimmick.
My influences are everywhere. The music I’m listening to, the movies I’m seeing, the books I’m reading, the people I’m meeting, the lands I’m walking on… I’m like a sponge. I note that most of the things I like are dark. That’s a fact. I can’t explain it.
In a band, I always refused to write “I”. I wrote lyrics for a band, I wanted to represent the band’s opinion. It’s a form of consensualism in a way… THE AUSTRASIAN GOAT was my first selfish experience. I chose to speak about the things I wanted to speak about, without restriction. Initially, it was a misanthropic postcard of the area I lived in. Then, I spoke about myself, my feelings regarding the world. The second album is more “conceptual”, a reflexion about the notion of doubt.
What’s my engine? Mainly anger and scorn. It’s not really original. But it’s deeply true.
I don’t think the reasons for doing things must necessarily be original…what is it that makes you angry? What are the things you want to speak out about? What’s inside you that has to be set free by screaming/singing it?
And another question – you had an enormous change in your musical style, what was the reason for this? What drove you to turn your back on black metal? I know you’re not a typical metalhead, and that you have a punk background, is that part of the reason?
Many things make me angry. Mainly the impossibility for men to live together. We’ve got the ‘verb’; we’re supposed to be the top of the evolution, but we’re probably the most stupid mammal, and definitely the most destructive. Our relation to our environment makes me angry, our mistrust of difference makes me angry. Blind faith and the need to control and to be controlled makes me sick. I think that there is just one way to salvation: knowledge.
I’m not a “universalist”. I think we’re too many on this planet. But we’ve got brains and the ability to structure our environment, to develop solutions. But we’re just doing shit. Imagination is reduced to a “fantasy”. The artist is a dreamer. The utopias are born dead.
I haven’t chosen to turn my back on “black metal”. Black metal is a framework, a stylistic posture, a sound I wanted to question. Maybe I fit in this framework for a day or so. But I don’t feel comfortable with compartments. Now, you have to be able to be identified with few words, tags, etc. It’s not my cup of tea. I appreciate the black metal emergency, the rawness, the anger and the visceral and primitive expression. It’s the kind of thing I found in punk rock bands, new-wave seminal artists, or improvisation. I love “scraggy emotion” – without make-up, without masks. I’m not an actor, I don’t like the rock’n’roll iconography, the cult of the personality, the conceptualized images, etc. I like spontaneity and honesty, even if it’s “wonky” or weird to others. My emotions are my first gauge, not the social-cultural acceptation.
And still you chose to live between people, and you’re even moving to an even bigger city now (Lyon) – did you ever think of leaving society? Of separating from it?
And, do you have other ways to let out these emotions? I know you study art-therapy, so there must be other things that interest you beside music? And, I know you also play in “real” bands, how does this work out for you?
Though I’m often disappointed by humanity, I’m a part of it. I am not different from the rest of us. I’m a monster of mistakes, injustice, intolerance and pride. I can’t take pity on human nature without questioning myself. Jesus Christ died for it. But I’m not the son of god, I am a sinner, and I just try to live free. But freedom can have consequences for others.
I have to admit I’d often like to limit this influence, to isolate myself, I feel the temptation to leave the civilization. But it’s just a temporary solution; the world is globalized, and you can’t hide from yourself. We’re social animals. And I am a product of the society I’m living in. So, what can I do? Act. That’s why I began to study art-therapy. Because art is an instrument of well-being.
Our ability to imagine, to restructure our environment, to give form and materiality to thoughts is phenomenal. Our thoughts define the frame of our possibilities. Rationalism is a two dimensional view. We’re retained in ignorance.
Art-therapy implies transversality, an eye on different mediums and techniques. Art can’t be the cure or the solution. But it’s a key to understanding, to helping.
It’s not an analysis, based on your past and remembrances, but a therapy based on your abilities, here and now.
I’m interested in all forms of art. Art is a key. I don’t want to be an expert, I just want to try, because I want to know how it feels.
Playing in bands is a fantastic experience. You can experiment with the collective creation. The process is really a major lesson in my life. I’ve learned tons of things about human relations playing in a band. You have to share ideas, to accept suggestions, to discuss, to compromise or not. With DEATH TO PIGS, we’re four guys and we just play. We have no habits, and we refuse to. We’re not the fastest band in the world, our records are not perfect, but we do what we really want to do when we want to do it.
I joined MALAISE a year ago. It’s a little bit different because the two others are living together, are in love and they wrote the songs together. I was just a player at first. Now, I’m a part of the band, I think. I mean, we’re creating together.
And YRSEL is a bicephalic entity. CJ and I are connected.
So instead of running away from society, you choose to stay and change it from within? At least, the small part you can reach? Do you see some responsibility for all of us to act? To recognize the things going wrong and fight them? And is this sometimes frustrating for you, seeing so many others who do not take a stand, even in the punk/diy community? Being a part of the black metal world f.e., don’t you suffer from the ignorance within this scene? From it’s apolitical or even wrong-political consent?
I don’t claim to change the world. I try to change MY world, and it’s hard enough. I think we all have responsibilities, even if we consider ourselves the smallest common denominator. Unfortunately, the biggest fish are the least concerned. I think that everything is political; I mean, each of your acts has consequences for others. So each act is political. Even if your choices are are insidiously suggested.
My philosophy is probably not the best, and I don’t pretend to claim the Truth. But I act on a small level, within my abilities. The microcosm impacts the macrocosm.
I’m not a « warrior», I’m a victim, just like all of us. But I don’t want to accept this condition. I want to be free, even if I know it’s an ineffable goal. If I use my reason, I’m pessimistic. When I listen to my heart, I’m a dreamer and I sometimes see lights and hopes, behind the shitstorm of consumerism and overcrowding. Theses lights are knowledge, a different look at the world.
The punk/DIY community and the black metal scene are not really different. They are just postures, caricatures and dogmatism.
The punk community had difficulties reinventing itself. The public is older and older, the political initiatives less and less ambitious and radical. The resignation and the suspicion contaminated everybody. At the same time, I have the feeling that I’m seeing fucking hippies masturbating on the same music for decades (I’m talking about punks and metalheads). It’s discouraging. Most of the music is brainless. It’s a choice. The choice of consensualism and aesthetic statement.
Am I different? Probably not. And maybe CRASS was right: Punk is dead in 1977.
Is it possible for you to change your world? Or is it just an endless fight? You seem to question yourself a lot, does this slow your effort, or does it push you? You really seem to have a negative view of things, but still you’re there playing music, doing art, going to shows, staying active and dealing with things. You’re also working on some sort of movie you told me, what’s this about?
Negativity isn’t a response. It allows you to justify passivity. We change our world each time we have to make choices: to leave a job, to make children, to go to the doctor, to cross the street, to speak with your neighbors…These acts are not insignificant. I believe in chaos. I believe that every action trigger another action. This is just natural. And humanity is considering behind the nature.
That’s the problem. If I hadn’t hopes and few things that make me appreciate life, I’d kill myself. I live, so, I try to enjoy this moment, even if my environment isn’t perfect. The perfection is ineffable, but dreams offer horizons. “What man can imagine, man can do” said Eliphas Levi.
I’m working on an experimental movie with my friend Nocturno Motoculto. It’s a documentary about a magister, in our area, in the north of France. In 1968, he lost two children (and speaking statues). He said they were kidnapped. Nobody knows what happened. This story is really interesting, cause it’s the “head of seamonster” in a way. This area, the Seille’s valley in Moselle, is covered with a permanent fog, and an occult mood. Here, Stanislas de Guaita reinvented the “mystica rosa” in the end of the XIX century, and became one of most influential esoterists of his time. Pagan legends are still pregnant, and the salt, one of the three elements of the alchemistic trinity (cultivated in this area since neolithic ages) spices up the occult aspect of the place.
We’ll probably be finished with it before the fall. We’re doing everything by ourselves, with old analog cams. Producers think we’re stupid. But we don’t care.
So, are you interested in paganism, occultism or anything mystic? Or is this something connected to local politics? How did this idea come up? And do you think people will care about it? How will you distribute it after it’s finished? You also did a video for your song “nizkor,” what’s this about? Since, from simply watching it you can’t tell the meaning.
What is paganism? Non-Abrahamic traditions. So, I’m really interested by the development of the monotheism on the ashes of these traditions. They are deeply interconnected. A lot of Judeo-Christian traditions were developed in reaction to pagan rites, etc. The Abrahamic traditions designed the world we’re living in. But the history of humanity didn’t begin 3000 years ago. Should we consider pagans as savages or brainless populations? I don’t think so. When you take care to learn about all that, you see that before the globalisation of monotheism, people thought. Greek philosophers are a good example of this. The mystical thought was closely connected to philosophy and science. Disciplines were less divided. Alchemy, for example, is a philosophical, aesthetical and chemical quest. Today, we oppose materialism to spiritualism, science to philosophy or to spirituality. This is the result of history. What’s the fundamental difference between philosophy and modern science? The names of the gods. These concepts embrace a complete cosmogony, and lead us to figure out a place in this world.
Occultism is the “knowledge of the hidden”. I don’t think I’m wiser to express an opinion about something I just can’t figure out. Anyway, I have interest for some esoteric groups or concepts, yes, and it’s not necessary in relation to my area or politics. It’s more in relation to the spiritual context of a period I’m studying, just like for the movie I’m working on. We didn’t want to do the movie before we entered the house of the magister. When we saw it, we immediately knew we wanted to film.
I don’t care about the public reaction. It’s not a “universal thematic”. It’s just a strange documentary about a strange story in a strange area. Nothing is planned yet concerning the distribution.
As I said before, I am doing this film with Nocturno Motoculto, who made the “Nizkor” video. Nizkor means “we will remember” in Hebrew. It refers to the WWII Holocaust, clearly. The images of the burning book in the video came from a negationist video: a guy who wanted to prove that the Nazis couldn’t burn corpses in the open air uses a dictionary and gasoline to “prove” the non-existence of open-air genocides. The demonstration is absurd, and it needs no further explanation. We decontextualized these images, and in a way, we tried to invert the original purpose. The absurdity of the demonstration, the flames and the ashes flying becoming a tribute. In a way, there’s no meaning in this video, originally. The context and the story around it give a meaning to the images.
Thank you for being so honest and open in answering my questions! One more thing I, as a fan, need to know: what plans do you have for THE AUSTRASIAN GOAT? Any new recordings, new records? I know you had some minor changes in your life, does this affect you? Push you towards doing more, or maybe slow you down?
Thank you very much for your attention and interest. I’ll move soon, to live outside the Austrasian for the first time. Changes are necessary evil. I’ll probably record a new album before 2015. I have some stuff, and an idea is growing, though I have to admit I give advantage to my bands: DEATH TO PIGS, YRSEL and MALAISE. I’m a social animal.
Note: the goat and me, we’re both non-English speaking people, so please forgive our mistakes…