SCARVE – The history so far (Retro)
When I did a little research on the French underground scene for nearly ten years ago, I came in contact with a gentleman by the name of Dirk Verbeuren. He is the drummer in bands like Soilwork and Scarve and it was when I e-mailed Scarve our contact occurred. He offered to send me the discs Scarve had released until then. The discs arrived and I was slighly surprised, especially over the band’s third release entitled "Irradiant". I was actually so impressed that I had to send some questions to France to find out a little more about Scarve, which for most people here in Norway is a relatively unknown band. I hope and believe that some more people will take notice of the name Scarve, and maybe check out what they have to offer.
Hello Dirk. First of all, a little late, let me congratulate you with an excellent album in "Irradiant". It’s been a while since I have had the pleasure of reviewing such a great album. You have to tell us your own opinion of the album and how the responses have been from the press and fans.
Thanks a lot, man! Personally, I can only say I’m very satisfied with how "Irradiant" turned out. The reactions have been very encouraging; it seems that both the press and fans really got into it. Most of our shows this year have been amazing, and we keep on receiving enthusiastic e-mails from all over the world, so yeah, overall we’re very happy with how people react to the album!
Tell us a little how you came up with the idea of mixing all these styles and made it your own style.
The basic idea when guitarist Patrick Martin and myself formed Scarve in late 1993 was to play extreme metal our own way, without any boundaries. From there on, our sound has developed to what it is today, and I believe this is mainly because all six of us are open-minded musicians and music-fans. Mixing styles is not really something we think about: what really matters to us is to try and write the best possible songs we can, and to create albums that develop their own dark atmosphere.
Influences from Death, Coroner, Atheist and Cynic is what it says in your biography. Is this bands you and the rest of the band listen to a lot?
Those were bands we listened to back in the early nineties. The whole "technical death metal" scene kind of kickstarted our sound back then, that’s why we feel it’s fair to mention them. But I don’t think you can really compare Scarve to those bands musically. Nowadays, we all listen to a lot of different things: for instance, I’m currently listening to the new Björk; a lot of old grind- and hardcore bands such as Sore Throat, Extra Hot Sauce, Filthy Christians, Unseen Terror; an atmospheric band called Endura; and also the latest EP by Meshuggah which kicks ass severely. Our tastes are generally very eclectic, and I suppose that shows in our music.
Let’s make this an interview the story way, starting with when the band became a reality and up till today. Let’s start with the time when you and Patrick met and decided to start the band and also a few words on your demo.
Patrick and I met at a modern music school we were both attending here in Nancy (North-East of France) in October 1993. Our common interest in bands such as Coroner brought up the idea of playing together. We started writing our first songs, gathered a line-up and entered the studio just a few months later, in April 1994, to record the "Scarve" demo. This happened so early simply because we had an occasion to record for free at that time. Of course, the demo is very primitive and different compared to what we play know, but given the circumstances it turned out rather cool. And it allowed us to make our first step and progress from there on.
Then a few words on the "Six Tears Of Sorrow" MCD. What did the press say about that one?
The mini-cd was definitely much more prepared than the demo, but even though we chose to work with some well-renowned French producers, it suffered from a very short recording and mixing time: 6 days in total. Musically, it was more mature than our earlier stuff in great part thanks to the arrival of Sylvain Coudret on second guitar. He definitely brought a new dimension and feeling to our sound and has been a very active songwriter in Scarve ever since. "Six Tears Of Sorrow" was well-received in the French underground, and our name started spreading. Internet was still rare, so it was all about xeroxed flyers, handwritten interviews, underground distros and gigs in obscure metal pubs!
You released your debut album "Translucence" in 1998 on a small label called Furtive Records in France, War Music in the rest of Europe. A few words about the time before you released the album and your own opinion about it.
"Six Tears Of Sorrow" first earned us a deal with another small French label, which went bankrupt shortly thereafter. Our first vocalist Fred Bartolomucci got disillusioned and left, and we struggled to find a steady bass-player; needless to say, things looked pretty bad for Scarve at that time. Not that we thought about quitting, but something had to happen. When singer Guillaume Bideau joined and Furtive offered us a serious deal, "Translucence" could finally be recorded and released. That’s when things started to really develop: we played more and more shows and both press and fans became really interested in Scarve.
You recently re-released Translucence?
DIRK – In fact, it will be re-released by our current label Listenable in March or April 2005, mainly because it was very poorly distributed outside of France. War Music disappeared only months after the European release. We decided to renew the whole artwork and add a bonus-DVD showcasing one of our recent live-performances. I think it’s a good occasion for people who discovered us with "Irradiant" to hear where we come from and see what we have to offer on stage.
Then Listenable Records became a part of Scarve’s world. Tell us what happened?
Once "Luminiferous" was recorded, we decided to shop it around because Furtive Records’ politics were evolving in a totally opposite direction from ours. Listenable had already shown interest in Scarve before, and once we started discussing things, we happened to be on the same wavelength, so the deal came together pretty fast. Listenable have always given us great support and pushed Scarve very hard, so we’re extremely happy to work with them, even if Laurent Merle looks like a French version of Stephen King, haha!
I feel that "Luminiferous" was more grind than anything else you have made, including "Irradiant". What is your opinion on that?
Hmm, it does have some very fast songs indeed, and quite a lot of blastbeats, so maybe you’re right! "Luminiferous" is probably our fastest album, and also maybe the most extreme sound-wise because it embodies our idea of "aural chaos". I find listening to the whole album to be an exhausting experience, because it fills up the whole sound-spectrum without leaving any space to breathe!
And finally we have "Irradiant", the album that clearly is your strongest album so far.
"Irradiant" is definitely a step ahead for Scarve. We’ve learned to develop our ideas in a better way, instead of putting 30 riffs in every song. Both Pierrick Valence (vocals) and Loïc Colin (bass), who joined right after the recording of "Luminiferous", have brought a lot of talent and energy into the band. Also, the production is very different from the first two albums, which were kind of oppressive and chaotic: "Irradiant" sounds way more warm and open, which is exactly what we were aiming for. It’s kind of a more "naked" version of Scarve, closer to what you’ll get when seeing us live.
That concludes your work so far, and one name is coming up on all 3 albums, Daniel Bergstrand. How did Scarve end up working with him?
When preparing "Translucence", we decided that since there were no exceptional metal producers in France, we’d go abroad to find one. I remember talking to Peter Tägtgren on the phone, but the Abyss studio was booked something like one year ahead! Daniel ended up mixing the record, and he was in fact our first choice since we all loved his work with Meshuggah and Strapping Young Lad. We got along very well too, and ended up flying him over to France to set up the mics for "Luminiferous", which he also mixed. For "Irradiant", we finally gathered the budget to do everything at Daniel’s Dug-Out studio, which was a major step ahead both sound-wise and artistically since he really pushed us and invested a lot of energy in the album. He’s the perfect producer for us; it’s as simple as that!
Do you have any new material written and when can we expect the next chapter in the history of Scarve?
To be honest, all we have right now is some riffs and a few song-ideas. We’ve been on the road almost constantly since "Irradiant" was released, and when we weren’t touring, each of us was busy with other things: Sylvain has become a father, Patrick, Pierrick and Guillaume have been involved with other projects, and I’ve toured extensively and recorded with Soilwork, on top of doing several session recordings and teaching the drums. But we will definitely get our asses together and write and record the next album sometime next year, for a release in early 2006.
Scarve has been touring a lot lately. Can you tell us about your biggest moments on the road? And what is coming up on the live front for Scarve? Is the any possibility to see you in Norway in the near future?
There have been a lot of exceptional moments! I’d say playing at both Graspop and the Fury Fest in front of 8000 people has been a real blast, especially when fans started singing our lyrics louder than us! But we also had loads of fun playing clubs in France, and the shows abroad (most notably in Denmark, Spain and Switzerland) were fantastic as well. As for Norway, believe me man, we will come and play there anytime! I was lucky enough to do three Norwegian shows with Soilwork last February, and all I can say is your country has some of the most breathtaking landscapes ever!
Is there anything else you want to say to your Norwegian fans?
Make sure to check out the French scene when you have the chance! You won’t be disappointed! Feel free to visit www.scarve.net and keep on blasting!
Thanx a lot for your time Dirk, and good luck in the future for you and Scarve.
Thanks to you for your interest and support. Long live Eternal Terror!