Interviews

Jennifer Gervais (Dust In Mind): “The stage gave me self-confidence.”

Hailing from France, Dust in Mind is an impressive experimental industrial metal group that is constantly raising the bar with imaginative videos and dynamic songwriting . We had a chance to talk to lead vocalist Jennifer Gervais about her processes as an artist, the band’s recent music, and much more! Check out our interview below.

MG: Hello Jennifer, thanks so much for taking time to answer some questions with me! Your recent single, “Lost Control” is fantastic. The music video is a perfect visual representation, with such an interesting use of dance. How does the band continue to come up with such striking videos?

Jennifer:
Thank you so much ! 🙂 Yeah, we thought dance is a form of art that is quite rare in rock / metal music, but it’s so efficient to share emotions with dance, actually! So, we thought “okay let’s break the metal rules and let’s try this”.

Actually, we love to create videos and we find inspirations everywhere. We just try to stay open minded, and with the band we have a chat fully dedicated to video ideas only. It can come from a movie, or just a place, or even just a person. But every time we just try to develop ideas as much as we can. I think that’s the key. Perseverance in the ideas 🙂

MG: Your two recent releases, “Break” and “Lost Control”, are both incredible songs. Have you been happy with the reception of them, thus far? 

Jennifer: Thank you! Yes, they are two totally different songs. With a composition and a totally different approach. And yet, it seems people like it a lot! Obviously, the videos are helping, today the fans need pictures more than ever, and the realization of our music videos adds something more. But the reactions of the fans are so so great ! We are very happy about that !

MG: Dust in Mind is  one of those bands that brings forward a blend of heavy and beautiful within the music, melodies and lyrics. What is the song writing process like for the band?

Jennifer: Damien is at the origin of the composition of all our songs. He has this need to write, to let go.

He writes the instrumental parts, and then we all talk about them together to make sure everyone likes the song. But in the end, everyone often trusts Damien. He is the locomotive and his artistic choices fit totally with what inspires us.

And I write the lyrics and the singing vocal lines 🙂 I write the lyrics after having the instrumental song finished. I need to have the music, the theme of the song to feel inspired and to feel that what I want to talk about sticks to the theme.

MG: The band has now started a Patreon. Could you tell us more about that, and other ways fans can show support in these times? 

Jennifer: We started the Patreon adventure a few months ago. Because we had so many backstage pictures of music videos, etc. We wanted to show more without flooding our social networks, and at the same time during the lockdown, a few fans suggested this platform to us. And we have no regrets, we do regular livestreams with our fans. This contact that we have with them is priceless. We have a private chat, an Instagram page where we post exclusive content etc. Patreon is a platform dedicated to fans looking to support artists. And this community is very  important to us !

MG: With much of your music often focusing lyrically on issues of humanity and nature, has the last year with the pandemic been a source of inspiration for you? Or has it been more of a topic you’d like to avoid? 

Jennifer: Indeed, on our previous album “From Ashes To Flames”, we talked a lot about the environment. But on the next album, everything is focused on the human, and on the way to tame, to deal with our emotions in general.

And, strangely enough, the Covid had a “toxic” effect on my inspiration. I had this famous blank page syndrome. I had a million things to say and yet no words came out. Everything seemed uninteresting, empty to me. While what I was feeling, I was feeling it for real. It made me doubt about myself a lot. It was really weird and frustrating.

And after a while (several months without writing a sentence), I was overcome with anger on a subject that was close to my heart. And that anger released everything I had kept. I could then write, but I needed this trigger first. I just had to find what it was. It was a very interesting period. Very frustrating, but I still learned about myself in the end.

MG: With you doing the clean vocals and Damien doing most of the harsh vocals, how do you find a balance in writing singing together? 

Jennifer: It is very natural in the end. I start to sing and then he just follows the energy. He really knows how to adapt, how to develop, how to tame a song.

MG: What does a day in the life look like for you as a vocalist? On a show day or studio day do you have any rituals, or special care you do in preparation?

Jennifer: Honestly, I don’t work enough on my voice. I’m working on my voice now more than ever, but still I should be doing more. But before going on stage or recording in the studio yes, I warm up for 40 minutes, then I let my voice rest a few minutes before the show. And if I have time, I do some breathing exercises also 🙂

Several years ago, I was so anxious before going on stage, I took essential oil drops, herbal medicine etc. to calm myself down. I was way too stressed, I was terrified. Really. But now I have gained self-confidence, I realized that the stage was my playground and now I go for it!

MG: What is something you have learned about yourself through performing? 

Definitely, confidence in me. I remember my first show, my voice was shaking, freezing. The only way to calm down was to turn back to the audience, not to see anyone, I was hiding on stage. I think I had a bit of “imposter syndrome”. I wanted to, but I didn’t feel capable. I felt judged, naked. I have always doubted myself.

But I held on and I’m extremely proud of it because the stage gave me that self-confidence. It also taught me how much you can convey emotions with the public, and that is priceless for me.

MG: Looking back on everything you have accomplished so far, what would you say is one of your favorite or proudest moments? 

Jennifer: There is A LOT. But right now, our 3rd show ever was in support of MACHINE HEAD – which is one of my favorite bands, especially when I was young – and playing before them was huge. And also awful because I was so scared. Now that I think of it, I was terrible on stage. But I still cherish this memory. It was one of the goals of my life !

Also, when we played in Minsk in 2017, in Belarus. I’ve never seen a crowd like this. They exuded the joy of being there. They shared what they were feeling. And being in front of an audience that lives the moment to the fullest … I will never forget this.

Finally, when we were support for Arch Enemy on several French shows, and we played at home, in Strasbourg. It was magical. The public was incredible!

MG: In an alternate universe you are a deity, what 5 things do your friends put in a summoning circle to call upon you? 

Jennifer: Hahaha very interesting. On a full moon night, an invocation circle with a little sage, of course, because I use it regularly to purify my house, minerals – turquoise or aquamarine or malachite. My friends singing a song and, for the joke, I’ll add a bunch of pretzels and a bottle of Club Mate. My two weaknesses 😀 

MG: If you could talk vocals with any singer of all time, who would it be and what would be the one thing you’d ask?

Jennifer: VERY complicated because I am inspired by several vocalists from several registers. I would say, of course, Cristina Scabbia, because she is the one why I am here today. My biggest inspiration since I was 15 years old. But I would also love to talk with Eivor, Alissa White-Gluz, or Sam Carter from Architects.

MG: Lastly, what can fans expect next from the band? Any summer plans? 

Jennifer: We are currently working on our new album which will be released this fall, but in the meantime, we are working on another project, totally different. And we will be shooting two new music videos very soon 🙂

MG: Thanks again, I appreciate your time! Take care.

Jennifer: Thank YOU very much !

Stay in touch with Dust In Mind
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