Progressing Into the Future
CoC chats with France's Kalisia
by: Drew Snow
Kalisia is a band that you can probably expect to hear a lot more about in the near future. Extremely melodic, very progressive, yet still with a definite death metal edge to their sound, this French outfit, after recording a four-song demo tape in 1995, were almost immediately signed to native label Adipocere for release of the demo on CD as part of Adipocere's Demo Series. Although it took nearly a year to come to fruition, the MCD was finally released last November, and is quite a piece of work. When one thinks about the high quality of this release in comparison to most others out there, and the fact that it is, in essence, only a demo, the future could not be brighter for Kalisia.

CoC: There has been quite a delay since the recording of _Skies_ and the present time. What have you occupied yourself with since then? Maybe writing some new material?

Brett: Well, that's right, _Skies_ was recorded in September 1995. We are all students, so this takes us quite a lot of time. Concerning the musical activity, we have done several gigs (we've played with My Dying Bride, Eldritch, Samael, Sadist, Misanthrope, The Blood Divine), prepared the re-release of _Skies_ on CD, and of course worked on new material, on which we are still at work!

CoC: How was the writing process for _Skies_?

B: It's hard to explain our method of composition since we haven't defined it yet. In fact, our method of composition changes according to the ideas that come to us. Each idea can't be developed in the same way. That's why each song has a different structure. When we start to compose a song, we are unable to foretell how the result will sound. It looks like a jigsaw puzzle. We stick the pieces that can be put together, and when several parts are developed enough, we link all of them while trying to get something coherent. That is how we composed "Tower of Vanities" and "Chimera". The composition of "The Mental Frames" and "Lost Soul" was a little more logical; that is to say starting by the introduction and finishing by the end. Each member took part in the construction of the pieces even if the main ideas came from Loic, Laurent P., and Brett. In the band, everybody composes, and [composes] for everybody. That is to say, a guitarist can create a drum part, the keyboard can create a bass line, and so on. We don't only create our own part, but also the ones of the others. All our parts are the result of the work of five distinct individuals, and not only of one. But there's nothing of a dictatorship in this, each musician should compose for the band, at the service of the music, not for him.

CoC: Were you satisfied with Adipocere's handling of its release?

B: Well, not really. We have very good contact with them, they are really nice and we are good friends, but there were some problems very annoying in their work. First, they are very slow! It took them one year to re-release _Skies_ after asking us to. You can ask them something, you won't have it before three months, if you have it! I think that they are overwhelmed by work, they have organization problems. For the cover, they were such in a hurry that they pressed all the copies without checking if the result was good. I spent about a hundred hours working on the cover, and all my work has been fucked up because of that! The result is too dark, you can't see anything! We were really angry!

CoC: Have you been approached by any other labels to release a full-length album? Will you be staying with Adipocere?

B: For the moment, we don't worry about that. We want to concentrate on the composition, and we will think about that only when our album will be finished. But we are confident.

CoC: What is the meaning of the band's name?

B: Nothing, it is just the name of the band. It has no particular meaning as we created this word. We were searching for a name for the band that wasn't already used, that sounded good, not too ridiculous (name of a disease or of a demon), and that could fit with our music. We then created this word, Kalisia, which pleased us immediately, so we kept it. It's strange: why should we always use already existing words to refer to new things?

CoC: Kalisia definitely aren't very "destructive" or nihilistic death metal, as in fact the lyrics are fairly spiritual. Where do you see your place within the scene?

B: I don't know. The more important thing is where the audience sees us. We consider us more a progressive band than a death metal one, even if we certainly sound more like a death band than like a progressive one.

CoC: It seems Kalisia has risen fairly quickly in the scene (not to say you are "big" in any sense of the word), seeing as you only recorded one demo and were immediately signed to have it released on CD by Adipocere. Were you rather shocked at these occurrences?

B: To be honest, not really. We were aware that for a first demo, _Skies_ was a good product. I don't think that a lot of bands work on their first demo as we did. We really worked hard on our songs, and we are happy to see that people appreciate it.

CoC: Will you continue to write new material in the same style as the _Skies_ MCD?

B: We will continue to evolve and to progress. There is a great difference between "Chimera", the first song we composed, and "Tower of Vanities", the last one on the demo. We write more mature and more progressive music now. For some people, it will appear to be the same style, but for us, it's really different. There are many passages on the demo that we wouldn't include in our songs nowadays. We are more fastidious, more perfectionist, more difficult to please.

CoC: Obviously, at this point, Kalisia doesn't earn enough money to provide for its members. What do you guys do for living?

B: No, Kalisia doesn't earn enough money to provide for us, and in fact, Kalisia doesn't earn money at all! We are all students, and almost all live with our parents, or at least with their money!

CoC: What kind of reaction have you received to _Skies_ from the public?

B: It's very good. We have incredibly good reviews in magazines, and the public also seems to love us a lot. We have been elected 10th best French band in two great French music magazines, with bands like Trust and Loudblast. In fact, we thought our music to be quite anti-commercial: too violent for the progressive audience, and too progressive for the death metal audience. But in fact, everyone seem to like our music, seeing in it anything they want to.

CoC: Certainly, there are some French death metal bands, but definitely not as many as other European countries. How would you explain this fact?

B: There are a lot of French bands, but very few of them are known. Many of them are very good, but I think that the foreign audience has a bad opinion about the French scene without knowing it. I don't really know why. I hope that things will change.

CoC: How big a part of your life is Kalisia right now?

B: In our heart, I can tell that it represents about 95%. In our time, it's very hard to tell, knowing that we have other activities, but none of them as important as Kalisia.

CoC: This may seem an odd question, but no one ever seems to ask it, even though I think a lot of people are curious. How do your parents and relatives feel about your music?

B: Well, it's really an original question! What they think about our music? Usually, they like it, but they don't understand why I sing like that! Ha, ha! They are quite surprised. They don't know this style of music. They are also surprised to hear some melodies in a music they thought to be noisefull.

CoC: What are some of your major influences, musically?

B: We are influenced by a lot of bands, from different horizons. Our major influences are Dream Theater (#1) and Cynic. But we are as well influenced by death metal bands (Carcass, Death, Loudblast), progressive bands (Magellan, Ivanhoe, Yes, Rush, Angra, Vanden Plas, Eldritch, Symphony X, Toto), black metal bands (Cradle of Filth, Emperor) and others (Paradise Lost, Edge of Sanity, Coroner, Watchtower, Atheist, Amorphis, Dark Tranquility). Every band we listen to inspires us in the sense that if we like what they do, we try to understand why, and if we don't, we try not to make the same mistakes.

CoC: When can a new Kalisia release be expected?

B: Not before one or two years! We are working on a concept album, composed of a sole and unique song subdivided in many parts. It's a very hard and very long work. We are very enthusiastic about it. But for the moment, we are far from having finished it. It's very hard! So if you have ideas, help us!

(article submitted 7/6/1997)

4/9/1997 D Schinzel 9 Kalisia - Skies
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