DECEMBRE NOIR – No Discouraged Believers About
There are so many bands out there in this day in age. With the sheer number out there, some can manage to slip through the proverbial cracks. Enter Decembre Noir, a band who nobody should miss. Not even for a second.
This isn’t really your standard doom/death fare. No, these guys do it with a certain grace and craftsmanship that a lot of bands don’t possess. Sweeping melodies perfectly accompany the abundant biting riffs on offer, with each song sucking in the listener like a good novel.
Also considering they’re on their first full-length, "A Discouraged Believer," these guys are ahead of the curve. It hasn’t come without struggle, however, as founding guitarist Sebastian Görlach tells us. However, that struggle has resulted in a hell of a band – one to keep a keen eye on.
So listen, enjoy, and dive a little deeper with us to learn more about a relatively unknown gem of a band. These Germans are ones to not take lightly!
To start off, tell us a little bit about the band, for those unfamiliar with your music.
"Hey, I am Sebastian Görlach, guitarist of Décembre Noir. We are a melancholic death/doom band form the middle of Germany. We started in 2008, two by two, and are a full band since 2010, which is also at home, on the stages of Germany. After some switches in the band – and some delays – we now are presenting our first album with FDA Rekotz."
You have bands like Before the Dawn, My Dying Bride, and Anathema listed as primary influences. In what ways have those bands – and any other – inspired the style of Decembre Noir?
"Our first musical experiences have only been fast black and death metal. The music of those listed bands has been played at home as well, and fascinated all of us. The emotions, which are set free by this style of music, were very noticeable for every one of us. At this time, we all were active in other bands, where we couldn’t create those songs we perform now."
How difficult of a journey was it getting to the formation of the band to the recent release of your first album?
"It was not an easy way. I started in 2008 with our former drummer to write the first songs. There, songs like "Stowaway" and "Décembre Noir" were created. After the band was completed, we started to work directly on the recording. But, we also were performing live at this time. Injuries because of car or sports accidents of our former guitarist forced us to take breaks, again and again. When he left the band because of private causes, Martin started playing with us. I was active in different bands with him many years before. When Martin was ready to perform, our drummer left us, and we had to search for a new one. Our actual band was born and every member constitutes our sound as it is now."
Your music has a lot of interesting tempo changes, twists and turns. What sets your music apart from your peers?
"We don’t write songs accordingly to a scheme. We have a lot of ideas, of which appear from everyone in the band. Our music is created intuitively. We often stay together and warm up – then we create melodies and riffs, which are the beginning of a new song. The variation in the song is very important for us. One song always contains different emotions. To bring them to the people is what we want to do. It’s like a thought, which also contains a lot of emotions – sometimes sad and complaining, sometimes angry and hard. We want to reflect this in our music."
Describe your songwriting process.
"We’ve had a long and difficult way to our album. There are a lot of old songs, which are now added to and shaped by every single band member. At best, we create the songs while playing. Unfortunately, this is not always possible. We are living far away from each other, and so we’ll have to send prospective riffs per mail."
What was it like working with Alex Dietz (Heaven Shall Burn) throughout the production process?
"We were more than glad to choose him for the production, and we will surely make the next one with him. He absolutely wanted to produce us, and nearly urged us to work together. We like Ali a lot, and are even missing him very much. We had a lot of fun, but also hard work. Ali wanted the maximum, and made us feel that for many hours. But, the work in the studio also formed us as a band. We came there with everybody on their own, but we left it as a real band. It was the right step, and an experience that we needed. You can feel it in our live performances."
How did you guys enjoy making the video for "A Discouraged Believer?"
"It was completely different to our imagination. Even for the smallest one or two second scene, you have to rebuild so much light and other stuff. It’s a lot of time of waiting. Then, from one second to the other, everything has to happen very fast, because the sun sets and the light doesn’t work anymore. It was more than interesting to look behind this style of art, and to watch the people behind the camera. There has to be so much sensibility for details to reach the goal. We recorded for four days, and got a lot of support from people in front of and behind the camera. We are very thankful for this. The next video is already in our minds."
Who did the artwork for the album and what does it represent?
"Mike – our bassist – is also a highly-talented photographer and provided the images. We decided to do the artwork on our own. We also wanted to build up the connection to the lyrics, so we wanted to show a person at the front cover who is not able to break down the self-constructed walls around him – breaking under the burden of his own hopelessness."
Do you have any touring plans in the near future?
"We want to be on stage as often as possible. Unfortunately, the album was published back to late May in order to get into the actual festival season. The next months will be used for creating new songs and performing some concerts in autumn. The first dates are confirmed."
I know you’re a relatively young band, but have you heard of Maryland Deathfest in the United States? Either way, that’s a festival you should look into trying to play in the future. Best real festival here, and would be a perfect way to break into this market.
"Oh we not so young any more ;-). We’ve heard and read of it. It would be more than fantastic to perform there. We want to make our applications for the next festival season and hope to be there."
Is there a band that you’d like to tour with more than any other?
"Last year, we had a lot of gigs with Dicentress, the band our drummer is also playing in. They create brilliant music, but without vocals. Because of our friendship, it would be fantastic to tour together. But, with Katatonia would be the top of the iceberg."
Do you have a favorite song off of "A Discouraged Believer?"
"We don’t have a common favorite song, and even the individual ones change from time to time. I think "Stowaway" and "The Forsaken Earth" are the preferred ones."
"The Forsaken Earth" starts off with a nice dose of melancholy, and then really builds with some fine and heavy riffs. How important is it to the band to mesh the softer and somber stuff with the heavier sounds, and is it difficult to maintain the perfect balance between the two?
"The Forsaken Earth" is developing all the time, until the song gets back to the theme. This happened automatically during writing the song. It felt good. Both are important – the hard and soft passages – and the contrast between them make both so interesting. When you are listening, you are waiting for the next change all the time."
"Stowaway" is the most full-on doom song on the album, and it definitely has an early era My Dying Bride feel to it. Was this any sort of a tribute to them? No matter what, well done! This may be my favorite on the whole album.
"Oh yes, "Stowaway," and also "Décembre Noir," have some parallels to My Dying Bride. "Stowaway" was our first song. At this time, we were only two by two, and met up the first time only for jamming. After one hour, the song was finished in its then version. We could define the parallels to My Dying Bride very fast, but it was never our goal to sound like them."
"Escape the Sun" closes off the album, and is the most varied track for me. How important is it for Decembre Noir to establish a unique and engrossing style like which is portrayed in this track?
"We like the changes in our songs, and it is important for us to have emotional and hard passages in the songs. This could be a kind of our own style. A big German fanzine called it the "New melancholic hardness." That fits perfect."
Other than music, tell me something you like to do for fun.
"Mike is a fantastic photographer, and he spends a lot of time with it. I do skijoring with my two huskies, and spend a lot of time in the forest with them. But we all also have to work, and also have families, and our music. There is not much time for other hobbies."
To close, is there anything else that you’d like to add?
"Oh that’s not so easy for me. We are wondering about this and the next year. We are really overwhelmed by the amazing response to the album, and are very thankful for it. We are glad to have these good times on stage and in our rehearsal room."