French melodic death metallers Akiavel may have released their debut full-length album “V” only last year, however, as soon as the pandemic hit, the band crawled into the studio once again with a vision to record its follow-up. It seems like the band is full of ideas, and there’s no meaning in fighting their passionate, bright flames. Their sophomore album “Væ Victis” arrived on April 23, and it dives into the darkest, most twisted parts of the human psyche of some of the most brutal human monsters known – serial killers. We had the honour to discuss the album and its concept, music videos and more with Akiavel’s vocalist and lyricist Auré. Enjoy!
MG: You’ve just dropped your sophomore album “Væ Victis”. Only a year after you debut album “V”. What was your fuel during this short period in between the albums? I mean, lot of bands are struggling with this and it usually takes around 3 to 4 years to drop a new album. How do you keep inspired and motivated?
Auré: Hi! Thanks for your invitation! Yes! We released a new album recently, “Væ Victis” is the album of confinement. When we released “V”, France was confined a few days later. We couldn’t promote our first album on stage, so we turned all this frustration into creative energy! 😊
Our motivation is great and we communicated a lot, all four of us during the confinement. We thought about the next concept and everything was done naturally!
MG: The album covers a concept of serial killers. Auré, you write the lyrics, so where did this idea come from? What was your inspiration?
Auré : Yes! I’ve read and watched a lot of stories about serial killers, especially during the confinement as there wasn’t a lot to do. Each song is about a different killer. And songs are hence about fears, vices, childhood… These are also a kind of tribute to the victims of these monsters. It’s a mourning concept.
MG: Which of the songs was the most fun to work on, or who was your favourite killer to write about?
Auré: I really loved to write all of these songs. I learned a lot about psychology, history, and different vices… Where I was really shaken is for Aileen Wuornos and Andreï Tchikatilo.
Wuornos, because I know her story well, she had a terrible childhood. At first, she started killing in self-defence, she knew she was going to die if she didn’t act. After, she was caught in fear. I have a lot of compassion for her. She’s as touching as she is terrifying.
And Tchikatilo, because he’s a real monster… He killed mostly children. When I watched several reports to write the song, I was overcome with emotions. I even hugged my son very tightly. I had tears in my eyes. This song is a tribute to these poor children.
MG: You guys mix a lot of styles in your music. It’s not just a typical death metal, it has many flavors to it. How important is freedom for you when writing new songs?
Auré: We didn’t aim at playing a specific genre, we just wanted to play meta! Ha ha!
The music of Akiavel is a mix of all the metal styles the four of us love: Death Metal, Thrash, Heavy Metal, and even Hardcore! We all come from very different musical backgrounds. We have a lot of influences and different references.
MG: On the contrary, there’s this lyrical theme or concept you are kind of limited by. Isn’t that a little contradictory? Or is it only musical freedom that’s in the first place for you?
Auré: We have no limits, but we remain consistent on the theme and concept on which we agreed at the beginning of these creations. There is a certain logic about the lyrics, the graphics, the drawings… In music, we maintain our freedom according to our inspirations.
MG: As a band, what was the biggest challenge you had to face with this album?
Auré: In truth, this album was created with ease, everything was done very naturally. The big challenge was to orchestrate everything in record time, between creation, pre-production, studio, communication, promotion, video clip, etc… It was really a great organization!
MG: Almost every band aims to evolve with each album. What was your goal to achieve with “Vae Victis”, as opposed to your debut? Was there something in particular you wanted to change and improve this time around?
Auré: The goal was to reach as many people as possible. Thanks to our manager Cori, we were able to reach an audience in the United States, and it’s really extraordinary! Above all, we want to be able to meet the people who have supported us since our beginnings and those who support us today. We miss the concerts very much. And it’s a dream for the four of us to leave on tour!
MG: I really loved your video for “Frozen Beauties”. The concept, set and costumes… It turned out so well. How was the shooting process for you? Any funny story from the shooting?
Auré: Thank you! We shot the video according to the true story of Olga and Ivanova Tamarin. Mother and daughter killers and cannibals. It was our friend Michel Canavaggia who filmed the video, it is also the person who takes the professional photos of us. He has an incredible artistic eye, he understands everything we want to put forward, and adds a lot of good ideas. We shot the video in the snowy mountains, it was very beautiful on camera but we were very cold! Ha ha! With our team, we always have great times, but where we laughed a lot is the scene where I “cut” this poor boy with an axe! Jay (our bass player) was in front of me and was throwing blood on my face as I “chopped” with the axe… I was very focused on staying in the mother’s character but his comments throwing blood at me were really very funny, it made it difficult not to laugh! 😂
MG: I think you’ve already shot the second video, as well. Can you tell us something more about that?
Auré: I don’t know if I can give it away, but I will tell you, this next video gave me chills with the story… Our friends and close people also participated… 😉
MG: To get to know a little more about your background, are you from a musical or artistic family? What was the role of the music in early years of your life?
Auré: I grew up with music because my father was a guitarist. It’s always been part of my life. My identity was made in my late teens when I discovered extreme metal. I picked up the microphone when I was 20 years old. 🙂
MG: Auré, you sound so brutal on both albums. You’re truly a vocal demon. What is your ritual or voice care before going to the studio? Does it differ from your routine before live performances?
Auré: Hooooo!! Thank you so much! Yes! I have some rituals to help me be in good condition. Before, I avoid eating or drinking dairy and acidic products. I do some breathing exercises. And I practice five different vocal styles. I do the same exercises for the studio and for the stage. 🙂
MG: Lastly, what is your next step? Any plans in particular for the rest of 2021?
Auré: We just hope to be back on stage very soon. To be able to promote our two albums. We have more videos planned and other different projects throughout the year. And we’re already working on the third album! 😃