1. Can you give us an update on what is going on with the band these days?
Stéphane L. : 2011 has been a very active year. We've released our new album « Elysian Magnetic Fields » in Spring, then we toured eastern Europe, played in different countries such as Germany, Portugal, Switzerland, Belgium, a lot of roads... And besides those concerts, we even took the time to make a remix for a french band called Picore. So we're currently taking a small rest. Then we'll have some gigs in early 2012 in France and Germany and surely other things to come.
2. How would you describe the musical sound of the new release and how it differs from previous releases?
There is a logical evolution through our discography. We've always tried to make evolve our sound from an album to another and « Elysian Magnetic Fields » results of this process. Obviously, it is still a typical Dirge-sounding album, but in the other hand we've tried to move towards something new (I think every band in the world try to do the same with its music), in comparison with the previous one « Wings Of Lead Over Dormant Seas » (2007), which was very progressive, hypnotic with very long pieces. The tracks on « Elysian Magnetic Fields » are not so long, the structures are less progressive and the songs tend to more melody. Also, the machines are maybe less harsh and corrosive, more ethereal and powerful in the same time. This album represents perfectly what Dirge is about in 2011 after more than 17 years of existence.
3. What are some of the lyrical topics and subjects the band explores with the new album?
The Slumber is the figurehead of this album, with all the symbolic that comes with it. This is not a concept album about the sleep in itself, but rather a gathering of impressions, angsts, bliss and a lot of other mixed and paradoxical feelings. To me, this is a really fascinating topic.
4. What is the meaning and inspiration behind the bands name?
Although we're not playing a kind of « funeral doom » music, we think this name perfectly fits with our music. And it has always fit, even when, back in 1994, Dirge was playing a more robotic and industrial music. We like the sounding of these 5 letters and the powerfull meaning that hides within.
5. What are some of the best shows that the band has played so far and how would you describe your stage performance?
It is difficult to pick one or two shows among others as each of us, musicians can have very different feelings about a same performance. Personnaly, and to talk about recent gigs, I would remain about the the Rock Altitude Festival in Switzerland or our last show in Belgium at Magasin 4. But the quality of a concert depends on so much different elements like the sound on stage, the sound in the venue itself, our own performance, if we're tired etc etc. Plus there are also all the technical aspects of the live thing (amps, guitars...) that can have an impact on our own behaviour, our own concentration on stage if things go wrong. To describe our stage performance in a few words, I'd say : crushing, mesmerizing and intense. According to me, if one of these 3 elements is missing, this won't be a good Dirge set.
6. On a worldwide level how has your new album been recieved by sludge / doommetal / experimental fans?
We really don't know. All the feedbacks that we had have been very enthusiastic, so I think people who aren't impervious to this type of music may love « Elysian Magnetic Fields ». But we're not that famous, the album can be hard to get if you don't know the band, so a lot of potential connoisseur might miss this album. Sadly...
7. Currently you are singed to Division Records, how did you get in contact with this label and how would you describe the support that they have given you so far?
Actually, our new album is a co-production between Division and our own label Blight Records. They bring us their distribution network and help us on several structural points like promotion etc. The contact between us and them was really easy as some of the guys running the label are playing in a drone/doom band called Rorcal with whom we shared many stages. We became friends and when our previous label Equilibre Music stopped all its activities, they asked us to join them. And we did it.
8. What direction do you see the music heading into on future releases?
Impossible to say. The same dynamics will drive the next releases for sure, but the sound itself can change, like it always did. We haven't really started writing new stuffs so I can't tell you ?
9. What are some band or musical styles that have influenced your music and also what are you listening to nowadays?
Godflesh, Neurosis, Pink Floyd are some of our main influences, that's for sure. Each of these bands had have an impact on our way to create music, even though their influence is just the basis of our music. But as each of us in the band always had really different musical tastes and backgrounds, it's difficult to tell which bands Dirge is listening today. To sum up I'd say electronic, industrial, progressive, brutal, doom, atmospheric, cold, even poppy stuffs. From Einstürzende Neubauten to ZZ Top, from Pitschifter to Black Sabbath, from The Cure to Pan Sonic etc.
10.Outside of music what are some of your interests?
Movies, videogames, travels, food, football/soccer (for some of us).
11. Any final words or thoughts before we wrap up this interview?
Thank you very much for your support.