Rock Impressions

by Giancarlo Bolther

Can you tell us the history of the band?
Well, Stille Volk was created in 1994 and aims at a music of celtic and medieval influence as well as adorned with modern elements. That's why many instruments from all origins and all ages are played : hurdy-gurdy, arabic lute, violin, bouzouki, bagpipes, chalemie, mandolin, portable organ, bombarde, various flutes, and other stringed instruments.
We signed up with Holy Records after the demo "Ode aux lointains souverains" (1995) which was very successful, and released our first album "Hantaoma" in 1997 : this CD offers an acoustic music of traditional and medieval influence whose concept is based on Pyrenean mythology (pantheon, spirits, legends,...). The second album "Exuvies"came out in 1998 and presents an obscure music which is more electric while still keeping acoustic bits and some bewitching laments. In this record, we apprehend paganism as an intuition or something surreal. "Le satyre cornu" is released in June 2001 and rests on a very energic and medieval style, an orgiastic and mystic atmosphere punctuated with the language of 12th century troubadours revived thanks to a most unusual music. In june 2003, the 4th album is out: it’s called " Maudat". According to the artistic tradition of the band, this is a conceptual album about a sorceress who travels into a phantasmatical universe full of myths, visions and legends. This is a fantastic ride into a universe of various instruments which declaim their madness, a tragic and festive nocturnal dance, a mythical past filled with incredible melodies, overexcited ambiances jumbled wtih emotional moments, a Middle Ages and celtic music recreated . A lot of spells are ready to take your souls while listening to these telluric songs. Maudat is our new album, bewitching, a mix of lively tunes and dark laments

Can you tell us about the songs and the making of the new album? Is Maudat a concept album?
Yes, Maudat is a concept album : since the beginning of the band, we like to write only concept albums because we think that music and lyrics go hand in hand. Most of the time, I create lyrics before the music and after we put the words on the music. Maybe our music is influenced by words and helps us to give a particular atmosphere to the songs.
This name refers to an old language from the south of France which is called Occitan. It's really difficult to explain because we mix reality and phantasms. Maudat means "spell that is given": it’s about sorcery, but a sorcery known in rural areas. Some people think that a person can give a spell to another person. We talk about a sorcery but there’s nothing to see with Satanism. This is a sorcery coming from ancient ages and coming from the Earth. So, I’ve imagined a woman born from the elements who has the possibility to travel into a mythical world. So, I write a lot of situations about this concept.
About the songs, heres come a little description of each title :
"Maudat" is a traditional song which we play really tragically.
"Cassandre Sylvestre" is about the powers of the sorceress : from the moon, the earth and the Primordial Mother : musically tragical and festive.
"Orgasme Tellurique" is a pagan hymn, a scream coming from the heart of the elements and the ground: an orgasm between the sorceress and Mother Nature. Musically, it’s a very hypnotic, schyzophrenic song.
"Corps Magicien" is about the birth and the youth of the sorceress. Musically, this a complex song with a lot of different rythms and a "Baroque" break.
"Le Roi des Animaux": medieval , medieval, medieval!!!
"La Meneuse d'Ours": emotionnal song about an old legend : the mystic love between the woman and a bear which is a really important figure of our mythology.
"Cart Dera Armas": speed song with an ethereal break. The title is in occitan and refers to a belief in the dead souls met by the woman.
"La Mort des Hommes": medieval song for dancing.
"Le Chant des Faunes": complex song with a lot of breaks : the words are about the mythical travel during a transe.
"Calenda Maia": medieval song from the 12th century written by a troubadour: festive, festive.

What do you want to say with the story behind the lyrics?
There’s no message behind the lyrics: I like to tell histories maybe like the storytellers of the ancient times. It’s only imagination, dreams, fantasms...

Listening to Maudat i've remembered two artists from the past: Comus a very obscure english folk band from the early '70 for their dark vibe and Malicorne for their love for traditional music, do you think to continue their tradition?
I don’t know nothing about Comus. About Malicorne, this is a band I love (even if the leader is not really a cool person) which gave us the envy to play traditional music. But this band played only traditional tunes contrary to us who play too tradi tional songs but most of songs are created by ourselves. So, I think we continue their tradition even if we think there’s a lot of differences betwen our musics.

Which artists have inspired you most?
A lot of bands of course: medieval music (Carmina Burana, troubadours songs, ars music), traditional french bands like Malicorne, Tri Yann, irish music (The Pogues, The Bothy Band...), Corvus Corax, Estampie, scandinavian music (Garmarna, Hedningrana), artists like Angelo Branduardi, medieval rock bands like the Merlons Of Nehemia. I think our music is a mix of these different kinds of music.

How do your records differ one from another?
I think that Hantaoma is the record I prefer because this was our first album, the recording sessions were a great moment of pleasure even if there’s a lot of imperfections .

Why did you choose to play celtic music, an ancient style?
Our music is not really celtic because we mix a lot of diffrent elements. We're inspired in particulary by medieval music (from 12 to early 16 centuries) and European traditional music (from Galicia to Scandinavia). We create our songs in a spontaneous way: we find one tune and after we think about the arrangments. The originality is coming from the sound of our instruments and our musical eclectism : we like a lot of different music ( traditionnal, metal, early music…), so our songs are a mixture of these different influences and reflect our "bizarre" personnalities.

Celtic music is every day most popular, but you choose to play a very darkest tipe, why do you are so gloomy (i like your attitude!)?
Well, I don’t know: in day life we’re not gloomy persons. Maybe we put in our music our gloomy feelings even if on stage we play a lot of festive songs. But in celtic music you can hear a lot dark feelings but it’s not really commercial. We hear metal music music since 1982 (cult bands libe Venom, Hellhammer...) So, this is maybe our metal past full of obscure feelings which is transposing in our music.

How was the audience's response to your new kind of celtic music?
We don’t have any audience among the traditional scene in France. Most of them are really sectarist people and Holy doesn’t have the possibility to make a lot of promotion in this scene. Our audience is only metal listeners.

Nowadays there is an important folk scene, can you tell me more about that world, are you in touch with the other bands, there are some that you like?
Like I said, I don’t have any contacts with this scene. All letters and records I’ve sent didn’t have any answers: fuck them!!

Do you feel to be a part of this musical movement?
I’d like!!!

What does it mean for you Paganism and to be a pagan and do you consider yourself as pagans? Do you have a philosophy?
We're interested in paganism but only in a historic and intuitionnist way. We don't believe in any gods and we consider paganism more and more as a fuckin' trend often evoked by fucking nationalist people. It's, of course, important, to know your own identity, your own culture but I can't stand people who use these roots to hate the other who doesn't share the same culture as themselves. We like paganism because of its symbols, myths and others irationnal images. So, the symbol of Pan is really interesting because it personifies Earth as a living being. I don't know if I believe in this point of view but in an artistic way, it is fascinating. So,

You came from Pyrénée, can you tell us more about your land and its traditions?
We don’t have a particular vision of our world: it’s getting worse!
"Hantaoma" offers an acoustic music of traditional and medieval influence whose concept was based on Pyrenean mythology (pantheon, spirits, legends,...). Well, we come from the Pyrénées which are mountains in Southern France. It's really beautiful and of course, all these visions influence our way of thinking and of playing. There's a fantastic mythology all over: so, when you walk, you meet all these places of magic (personaly I live in Lourdes but I can't stand this great catholic swindle!!!). We wanted to evoke the mythological world of our region because the mountains are really fantastic. Our aim was to understand how people in the past apprehended their world and how they used mythology to understand and explain the problems of existence. So, our music tries to evoke this atmosphere: we love think about old legends with fantatsic persons, deities... For example, I like the legend which evokes the arrival of the Christianism which is assimilated to the first snow. The giant Milharis is dying and says: "this is the end of the world" because the snow wasn't known before that.
Of course we’re inspired by the mountains because mythology goes hand in hand with the landscape.

What are your projects for the future?
Playing live : but we don’t have propositions so...

A salute to your italian fans?
I remember that Hantaoma had got a lot of audience in your country: So, I hope that it will be the same thing with Maudat. So, hello to our italians fans.


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