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Comrade Aleks talks to Guillaime of Sludge/Doom/Grunge band Clegane about their steady but low-profile journey through the French underground.

Interview with Clegane.
"The sound of this trio is rooted in Doom, Sludge and even Grunge, which is a curious combination. Clegane are pretty underground representatives of the Paris scene: their album 'Funeral At Sea' was released in 2018 by a label named Almost Famous, but I learnt about the band due to their split release with slow Trad Doom band Father Merrin. If you're open-minded enough to mix influences like Mammoth Storm, Bongripper, YOB, Monolord and Alice In Chains, then Clegane may interest you. With the help of Guillaume (guitars), I'm going to take a brief excursion to the French underground."

Clegane: Laurent (bass, vocals), Rudy (drums), Guillaume (guitars, vocals).

Hi Guillaume! How are you? What's going on in Clegane's lair?

Hi Aleksey, we are very fine thank you. We are hitting the road for our fall tour next week, so we are very excited!

What's your schedule, and how many venues do you plan to visit?

It's a French tour of 7 dates between 15th and 23rd of November. We'll go from north to south west.

What are the features of touring in France? Do you have a short rider for places where you play? Do you ask for anything? Special equipment, vegan meal or something?

Our sound engineer is vegan. Otherwise we travel with our own gear (sound and lights) so we don't have to bother with special demands. Besides that, we're kind of punk, we can sleep almost anywhere. Of course there's always a minimum wage for gas money! But France is a doom band friendly country!

Clegane's story didn't start that long ago, so how did it happen? What drove you all to gather in the name of low-tuned vibrations?

Rudy (drummer) and I (guitar) know each other for more than 15 years now, played in a couple of bands together and wanted to form a doom band since a while. We started both of us and Laurent (bass/vocals) came out of an internet search, completing our sound identity. We immediately chose the name by this character in Game of Thrones that has a cursed background, a deep personality and a twisted shape. In one word you could picture the music we wanted to incarnate!

What formed your vision of the band? What kind of ideas and sound did you want to fulfil with it?

We are strongly influenced by old roots like Black Sabbath as well as the actual scene like Mammoth Storm, Bongripper, YOB, Monolord and such but we add a grunge dimension formed by our love for '90s bands like Alice in Chains.

So how is it from your point of view? Would Sludge/Doom be a fitting definition for your music?

Hmmm although I kind of like the sound of that picture, we more often present ourselves as a doom/grunge band. It's not yet dirty enough for sludge, I think!

Live, Lembarzique-Café, 2019.

You released a self-titled EP in 2017, and next year the album 'Funeral At Sea appeared. It's diverse, sometimes melodic and relaxed, sometimes heavy. Did you aim for this multifaceted sound consciously?

It came very naturally although we weren't aiming for it in the first place. We just wanted to play what we liked and it happened that mixing it all together gave this music. The idea is to blend these sounds of our two faced influences in a unique fashion. We see our music like a trip that brings you from low to high, but always in desperate painting. Laurent (bass/vocals) has a lot of credit in that, because of his special voice.

How did you spend this recording session? Where did you record the album?

ODM, is the guitarist of a well known French post-hardcore band (Point Mort) and kindly helped us by recording, guiding and mixing our first album. It took some time, because we where searching for the best parts and he was willing to do perfectly.

Weren't you limited with your time in the studio? Usually underground bands have a tight budget and have to work fast and hard recording their stuff.

Nah, for this one we had all our time (except for recording drums), because of the friendship ties. I have to admit money had little to do, so it lifted a big weight off and ODM gave us the best work!

I didn't find any lyrics for 'Funeral At Sea': do they play a big role in Clegane? Do you feel you need to carry a message?

Lyrics play a role but are not fundamental to our music. We do not carry any message. Laurent writes pretty stunning stories, abstract and dark. Very intimate. They might move people and get them to identify to their own situations/issues. You're right, we should share that!

Hangman's Chair seems to be one of the real French bands with their own authentic vision, their songs soaked with the special decadence of the big city, and this wicked culture is in their veins. How much of Paris is in Clegane?

Hmmm… that's a good question… And I'd say: none! Well almost. A song like 'Wild Pigs' speaks of the shooting in Bataclan (2015) for example. But that's quite it. Clegane roots more in the intimacy of each one, in the dreams, in nature. Paris is where we live but our music dwells in a cave on a cloud, on a rainy day of fall, lol!

Is it a sort of escapism then?


Live, La Comedia Michelet, 2018.

Guillaume, you also took part in a split release with Father Merrin, and this collaboration - as well as the French tribute to Cathedral, and a few more extreme doom releases this year - makes me think that the French scene is in very good shape nowadays. How do you see it from the inside?

The whole Clegane band took part in that split, but we didn't manage enough time for the Cathedral tribute, unfortunately. But you are right, French doom scene is at it's zenith nowadays. Lots of people from all ages discover or rediscover what this music can offer. And loads of festivals give a special place to this genre. What I like the most is discovering new stuff every day and how kind all the community is. I hope it stays that way, it helps you breathe outside of daily routine and a world gone crazy!

Do you meaning Clegane was about to record a song for this tribute?

Yep, Sleeping Church Records asked us, but we did not have the right timing.

Do you feel that this scene has support from local Doom-heads? Or does it rather exist on its own?

Hmmm… well, it exists on it's own, but the growing support from everywhere creates better opportunities to play and listen, to gather around a quality time.

How often do you play live? Do you feel yourself a part of the Sludge scene or more just Doom in general?

We play quite often. A lot in 2018, a bit less this year since Rudy was hurt and we were composing new titles. We feel ourselves more part of the general doom branch since we have grunge influences too, taking us sometimes on a more loose end. But labels are superficial, what counts are guts;)

What are your plans concerning a new album?

We are supposed to record a full length album next year!

Do you already have any ideas for the next album?

Too many! We have 8 songs that could be recorded and we definitely would like to press a vinyl. Some new kind of sounds, some experiments ,and strong rooted tunes. Thing is we are gonna lack budget and time for this one. So we are kind of sorting it out, whether we take a leap of faith or split it in two editions

Guillaume, thanks for your time! I wish you good luck with promoting Clegane. Do you have anything more to tell today?

Oh well, thank you very much for the interest. We are always very happy to see how much the doom scene is curious and kind. We hope it'll stay that way. Let's just all chill, listen to good music and have a good time together!

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Visit the Clegane bandpage.

Interviewed on 2019-11-23 by Comrade Aleks Evdokimov.
Rotten Copper
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