GORELUST – Past, present, future
- by Remi (PRC Music)
- Posted on 22-10-2014
Remi from PRC Music conducted this interview with GORELUST vocalist Jean Beaulieu. Well worth reading.
So Jean, the first question I absolutely need to ask you is what have you guys been doing in the last 20 years?
We were dead!! Haha! Actually, back in 1996, i was the first one to leave the band. I moved from Rimouski to Montreal to study in audio. So i live in Montreal since 1997. Francis (drums) and Martin (guitar) both stayed in Rimouski. The hometown of the band. As for Pascal (bass) he left Rimouski, moved to Montreal for several years and now he is back to his roots. He live at Îles-de-la-madeleine in Quebec Canada. Which is located at approx 875 km (543 miles) from Rimouski and 1375 km ( 854 miles) from Montreal!! I’m telling you all of this to let peoples realized how far we are from each other. Pretty far actually!!
As for our jobs, i’m working in television audio broadcasting for 16 years now. Pascal is working for Hydro-Québec. Which is , among others things, the Quebec’s electricity supplier. Martin is hunting and fishing for a living in the Rimouski region and Francis worked in a music instruments store and he is now doing painting jobs. He loves his paint brushes as much as his drums sticks!!
So as you can see we are not eating corpses or robbing graveyard for a living!!
Lets go back a few decades ago… You are not one of the founding members of GORELUST, when exactly did you join them? Were you a fan of the band before joining them?
I remember seeing Gorelust for the first time opening for Incantation during the Onward to Golgotha tour. I knew Francis and Pascal a little bit, we were attending the same high school. As for Martin and Jeff i knew them only for seeing them in shows in the Rimouski area. I was playing with others peoples! All great peoples. The Rimouski’s scene was really amazing and many bands were forming. We all knew each others. A small city with many death metal bands.
I was part of a band called Mortualist. Martin (guitars) was coming over often, checking our practices. After the split EP, they decided to make a vocals change. Searching for a more distinctive vocalist:
They asked me: "Do you want to open for Gorguts? The gig is in 8 days…." Erosion of Sanity era….They also told me about doing an album. Recording it in Montreal. Man i was excited… I was already playing for a few years in bands. I’ve tried guitars, drums, bass. Now i was on vocals. It was the time for me to step up. I accepted. I’ve learned all the songs in a few days. But now i can confess that since the songs had not been recorded yet, nobody really knew them. So in some parts in just barked some words…Hahaha…. More like some words that i just invented at this moment…Hahaha!
If I recall correctly, Reign of Lunacy actually was your first recording experience… In the studio for the first time working with Pierre Remillard, with guests vocalists Luc Lemay and Steeve Hurdle around, it must have been nerve wrecking! I was there myself and I re member that we were all amazed about what was coming out of the speakers when you were recording your parts!
As for the vocals, we were all surprised. Because we were always rehearsing with a small vocals kit and it was the first time that we were hearing my vocals as clean. With a professional microphone. I wanted to have a distinctive voice. A kind of "character" voice. With expressions. I remember that my favorite vocalist were Scott Reigel (Brutality), Jan-Chris De Koeijer (Gorefest), Luc Lemay (Gorguts) and Mike Van Mastrigt (Sinister).
It was indeed really amazing to have Luc Lemay and Steve Hurdle in the studio for 2 songs. I remember i was explaining them how the vocals patterns were gonna go for the Kreator’s cover and also on our song "Infant Devourment". I was singing the parts to them. They were like "Ok that’s cool…" I was only 17 man…That was something.
Francis (Marmen, drums) going all "one take" on us was also something hard to believe!
Yeah i think that Pierre Remillard freaked a little bit when he saw Francis coming in the studio with his little drum kit. His kit was a total mess… One of his bass drums was coming from the Sears catalog!! Can you believe that? And when i say "one of his bass drums…" it is because both were not the same… I remember he also borrowed a extra tom from the drummer of a other local band called Lord Mortis. Pierre was relieved when he heard him played. We were ready to go. We were practicing 2-3 times a week. We knew the songs.
Concerning "Reign of Lunacy", Who the hell came up with such an idea for the album cover?
Ok, i will make you remember some memories i think… In the recording week, in Montreal, at some moment i explained to you the concept that i had in mind. My first idea was to have the classic image of the Christ last supper. With all the apostles at the table. But Jesus would have been actually in front of the table. Doggy style. Being Sodomized by a demon. Man…At 17 we are always fresh of new ideas! hahaha!
You decided to not use this idea. It was tempting you but you were aware of the censorship that was happening with the death metal cover arts. Like the Cannibal Corpses cover and others… So we had to use a different idea and i’m happy that we did. I must give credits to our ex-guitarist Jeff Olivier. I remember one day Jeff came at me with a small newspaper article that he had cut from the news. It was a real event that happened in Germany or somewhere in Europe. A piano teacher had killed his own student and hid the body in his piano. The corpse stayed there 3-4 weeks before the police discovered it. I wrote the "Reign of lunacy" song with this concept. So i imagined this song into an art. I decided to give the album this same title "Reign of Lunacy".
Holy fuck… I just don’t remember this AT ALL… drunken days they were! We are now (both of us!) waiting for the mastering of the new album… so its not a joke, there is a second GORELUST album coming out… but why was this follow up not released like, I don’t know, 17 years ago? What happened?
I think that Gorelust had to broke up. We had to do something else, try new things, learn things and live differently. We build our lives, two band members are father of 3 and 4 children. As for myself i wanted to live some others special moments so my career in television gave me some amazing opportunity. Build up confidence and learned many things in life. With facebook i discovered many Gorelust fans and we decided to live again the thrill of making an album together. Because when we look at the Gorelust’s era, it is a period that we all enjoyed… These memories are the best of my pre-20 years old period. It was also a opportunity to reunite with old friends. I had not seen some of the guys for 15 years. This is amazing.
You told me there is 5 old songs that were written before you guys called it quit… and the question now is what are your fans allowed to expect from the new material?
On the album there is 5 songs that were ready for a new album. But they were never recorded. We also did 3 new ones. All coming from the mind of guitarist Martin Fournier. All in the Gorelust’s style. So you can expect death metal with a few thrash elements. We don’t analyses our style. The songs just comes as they are. We call it death metal. I don’t like to call ourselves "old-school". We play death metal. Like we did in 1994-1995. On the album there is also a cover song from a Rimouski local band from the 90’s. "Wretched life" from the band Cervical Slot.
Which I saw live and they were fantastic! Ok, I know you like saying out loud there is no samples or triggers or cheating in GORELUST’s music… so I guess you are following the same path on this new album?
Yes. For us it is not a contest of being the louder, the more technical or the more brutal. We just play death metal like we used to. Sure we could have used triggers. Replaced drums beats and many others tricks but we decided to do it like we did Reign of Lunacy. Its true that this real method gives a product less perfect. With imperfections. But we tried to stay away from the mechanization of the death metal music. We are not in competition with no one so we just do what we want. Anyways, all the 90’s death metal records are full of imperfections and we like them that way. So the drums were done without samples, triggers and the most amazing thing is that we did not replaced one single beats. Sure for the vocals i did it in parts and used some layers. I always wanted to do that. To build some more complex vocals parts.
So you guys just came back and re-did some old songs, just like that… must have been a challenge just to remember this unreleased material, no?
By chance we have Francis(drums). Since his most heavy-abuse substance is actually beer, his brain is pretty intact. (LOL! – R) He remembered mostly everything. So he sang the guitar parts to Martin, helping him to remember his own riffs that he did compose in 1995-96. The guys met up and rebuilt the songs and changed a few things along the way. They did a pretty good job at it. As for the texts and songs titles they were changed. Except for "Farewell to the flesh". For the others songs i had to change them…I still have the old texts but these were not brutal enough.
I know Martin (Fournier) is an outstanding guitarist, so is Pascal (Chevrier) on bass… still, writing new material for a new GORELUST album must have been a litle tricky… After all, people are expecting the follow up to "Rein of Lunacy"… How painful was the process?
Honestly, making the songs was not that hard. But the process was so long. Because of the distance between us and the schedule. Martin built the songs with Francis in Rimouski. They sent the demo to Pascal who put a track bass over it. Finally he was sending me the result in Montreal by internet. I was placing vocals and made the demo in my kitchen. The process was long, mostly because of the winter in Rimouski. Many scheduled practices had to be cancelled and others events occurred. During the process 2 kids were born and Pascal even moved from Montreal to Les îles…Many things happened.
After listening to a couple of songs myself (And now the entire album!), I must say MISSION ACCOMPLISHED… and to be honest, I am a bit surprised but Its genuine 100% pure GORELUST… from the first note to the last one… it feels like you guys never actually disbanded! The production on this new album fits the GORELUST sound like a bloody glove… tell me more about the recording process this time around! The only thing I know for sure is that Pierre (Remillard) was not the engineer…
Back in the days, we were always rehearsing and lived all in the same place. So we did everything in one week. This time it was really different. We had to schedule everything. I would finish my 40 hours/week job and go to Rimouski, a 6 hours drive from Montreal. With the situation of the band it would not have been possible to bring everyone in Montreal at the same time. So we had to deal with everyone’s schedules. A real hell…haha. Everything was done in a small studio in Rimouski. It was done in a more underground vibe than Reign of Lunacy. We are aware of it. But this is what we are. An underground band. We don’t try to be trendy and we accept our situation as an underground death metal band. Simon Durette who produced and engineered the album did an amazing job working with our situation and everyone’s availability. Its been mastered by Alan Douches at West West Side Music.
For the record, Simon did an awesome job! Now something worth mentioning is that you guys are reforming with the the original band members minus Jeff… what happened to him? Are you guys still in touch with him? Is he aware of the band’s reformation and new album?
At first, when we started the project we had no idea where he was. We finally found him via facebook when all the songs were finished. He was cool with it. He is just at a different place in his life. I think that he is happy for us. Jeff has played a really important role in the band. He had the guts and a leader attitude that was really lacking in the band when he left. I don’t think that Gorelust would have been the same without him. This guy was a real death metal pioneer. And his stage presence was amazing. Having him on one side of the stage and Martin at the other was a real vision of terror for the audience!
The album cover is just phenomenal… tell us more about the general idea, the concept, if any, behind the artwork of the new album
Everything for the artwork comes from my mind. It is a throwback to the Reign of Lunacy years. The same room. With many others details still there. The Belorussian artist Andrey Kroms did an amazing job for us. I really recommend him to everyone if you like his style. Really a nice guy also. The hanging priests brings us "Rape the rapist". The corpse back to life obviously represent the band. Everything is there…
We are the Undead… so in 2014-2015 the guy came out of the piano, alive / undead, and is causing severe damages… is this how you see GORELUST as a band 20 years later?
Uhm… We’ll see about that! We’re not that cocky actually. It is a concept from my mind that we all liked. We don’t pretend that we will kick everyone’s asses! But be certain that this album was made through perseverance and for all our fantastic fans. Many will like it and some will not. It is normal. But this is real honest death metal coming from a band of 4 passionate guys.
Are you surprised with all the accolades and general buzz surrounding the band after 20 years? Are you feeling any pressure to go all in with this new album?
The more you get expectations the more you’ll feel good and bad things coming from the reviews. But you know what? We don’t have any control over that. Back in the days, reviews were in the fanzines. Now they are everywhere. Everyone now says his opinions on facebook and many of these people don’t play music. They just compare everything. Not as heavy as this, not as heavy as that… Its cool, but for us this can be painful. So at some point you need to detach yourself from that.
Now people will want to see you back on stage… you know that, right?
Yes we know…hehehe… We’ll see about the response to the album. We would have to arrange practices and everything and it could be tricky since we are living so far from each other. But since the production of the album is now behind us…We’ll see about that….
Would you ever, like if you’ve had that dream line-up of bands and time on your hand, go out there and do a full worldwide tour? I am telling you man, I am all in myself… lets do this! Martin can always bring his kids with him!
Haha ! Nice try Rémi. We’ll see. We are grown mens who all have jobs and obligations. Honestly i don’t see myself in the back of the bus for 20$ Haha… But in all this the things that pushes us to think about this bands is the fans. We adore our fans and this is why we do this. First step is the album.
I know you guys were all avid metal fans… So 20 years later, what are you guys listening to?
Many could be shocked. We are between 37 and 41. Martin is a Randy Rhoads fan. He actually have a Ozzy-Sabbath tribute band called Warface. He plays guitars and sing in it. I know that he is still a big fan of Exodus and Forbidden. Paul Stanley is still the hero of Francis (drums). As for myself i listen to a lot of melodic rock, hard rock, heavy metal. I’m still fan of the 90’s death metal period. Pascal is also into Exodus, Forbidden, old death metal but on a smoother side also like Peter Gabriel, Cream and Harry Manx.
Ok, Jean, this is the last question and this is serious fucking business… I did release your first album when I was about 25… I am releasing the second one and i’m almost 45 now… Are you really fucking saying I will be 65 before I can enjoy a 3rd album from GORELUST? I know its early but is there hope for a follow up to We are The Undead?
It is not impossible in a few years maybe!! But we would have a problem for the 4th album because i would be like 77… We’ll see….
And I’ll be Dead myself! Thanks Jean, anything else you’d like to add for the GORELUST fans, old and new, worldwide?
I just want to thanks everyone who understand what making music is and will help us by buying the cd instead of downloading it. Respect to all of you. Its been a long ride. Almost two years. What you will have in hands is a proof of true dedication from us to you. We love you all and respect you. This is an underground product. This is what death metal is for us.