Thursday, June 6, 2013

Who's behind the Temple ? Pt5 with the mysterious STEPH LS

So, please tell me what's the interest of interviewing yourself ? really... a bit of humility, please mister :(
oh, don't take things too seriously... again, this is just the occasion to reveal a few things about "Steph LS" (you know that guy who is mentioned at the end of each feature of (t)his blog,  as a kind of "post-man" - but never signs his own reviews or interviews, hahaha !),  share a bit of history and write on a few point of views and news !!!

Hi Steph, are you ready ? if you you're, I'm ready Steph ! could you please present yourself in a few words/lines ?

I'm 44 years old, 1m83 for 76 kgs, my dick is ... hum, well, my origins are Breton but I was born in Paris where I lived during my 29 first years... Then I've been living 9 years in Normandy and now I'm in Britanny close to family since 2008, in between there has been an (involontary) little stop of 4 months in St Pierre et Miquelon, a little french archipel nearby Canada's New Foundland  ! I live with Nathalie for about 16 years now and she gave me two nice sons, Jocelyn is 12 and Liam will be 7 in august.

When and how did you come to Metal and more especially to Doom and its subgenres ? When did you start to write on music ? Has writing in general always been something you liked and were at ease with ?

I think it was sometime in the end of 1980 when my elder brother bought "made in Japan", I was already listening quite many popular bands from that time with him - like The Police, Telephone, The Clash... He never really listened something louder I think than Deep Purple, Trust or AC/DC but those ones I quickly borrowed him and he never saw them back !!! I remember that the summer after, we were staying a week at my grandmother's and went in a bar for a babyfoot, there was a jukebox with all those bands I mentioned, plus Kate Bush, David Bowie, you know all songs who are huge classics now ! and also..."breaking the law" and  "paranoid" from who you know, those moments with my brother and cousins were so memorable... too bad when you're young like this, you don't realize and enjoy this at its real dimension. We passed all the week in that bar !!!

It's all pretty classical in fact, then followed Maiden, Priest, Saxon, Motörhead, etc... From 83 to 86, my sister had a boyfriend into Metal, I did many gigs with him and he had a friend who was very much in underground stuff, without really knowing the bomb I had in hands I bought "Kill'em All" the day of its release with him ! We were often going to a little recordshop called Juke Box in Paris, buying new vynils from New Renaissance, Metal Blade, Mausoleum, Ebony, Black Dragon, etc... it of course radicalized my tastes !
First gigs, heavy/speed, thrash, death, grind, doom, festivals, paper fanzines (did two, from 1988 to 1992), managing a band (from 92 to 96), tours with this band in Germany and Holland (among others - they played a couple of times with Mirror of Deception, one of this date was also the 1st gig of Dawn of Winter back in 95 or 96 !), follow bands in Belgium and Holland during summers (Voivoid, Morbid Angel, Paradise Lost, etc...), distribution of demos, eps and zines... all this followed within the next 12 years,  with passion and sometimes a lot of recklessness too !!!

If you put Sabbath aside, the first DOOM album I bought was the 1st Candlemass, I think I bought it almost when it came out in 86, as it was on a french label whose releases were easily foundable in Paris... I felt frustrated during 25 years not to have been able to see this line-up live, I did of course saw them with Messiah Marcolin but never with Langquist - until Roadburn 2011 which has been an incredible moment for me really.
Then a bit later I discovered St Vitus, Revelation, Count Raven, Hellhound rds bands... I remember also precisely a laminating american wave which came up in 90-91 with the apparition of bands like The Obsessed, Kyuss, Crowbar or Eye Hate God... that was so different from what we had here in Europe ! One of the best memories will always remain that Dynamo Open Air 1994 in Eindhoven with Kyuss and The Obsessed, there was also Cynic, Urban Dance Squad, Gorefest, Life of Agony, Skyclad, The Organization, Danzig and probably a couple more of exciting bands !!! Damn, Holland gave me so much, hahaha !!!

 This said, I had a serious indigestion in the mid 90's, needed to travel, escape from all this system I felt too submited to in the end and sold a great part of my collection in 97 and 98... I also gave full bags of tapes to a guy who I know did good use of them, he was crazy cause there was something like 1 200 tapes with many original demos, great lives SB, etc...
 Of course I do regret it , but the best  is to think about what I did with that money : kayak + cruise on a fjord, whale-watching, midnight-sun, icebergs, aurora borealis, etc... !  he, what else can I do now ?
buy dozens of vynils from that golden period of the 80's to get them back to my heart... ? no, I only (re)bought about 50 Albums I felt essential a few years ago, that's it !  Sure I never really stoped listening Metal but it's not until 2006 that I really came back to it, I mean THE UNDERGROUND, after almost 10 years of break - where I also had jobs who were demanding a lot more time than actually !!! (One of the numerous contradictions of our time, getting more responsabilities at work is sometimes giving more time, he !)

  I started Temple of Perdition in 2011, quite suddenly, something like "why not try ? let's go !"... I was reading regularly Doommantia, Doom and a couple of other sites; I started in french but quickly thought it would be more helpful for bands to write in english and naturally the audience got heightened with a great proportion of views from the USA (maintained to 40% for two years)...

French metallers don't have an underground mentality at all, at least for Doom and its subgenres; sure Hellfest brings now 35 000 maniacs per day but we french are almost in minority there now, hahaha ! (maybe 45%) - The Valley tent (dedicated to Stoner and Doom) can be full of 5 000 "doomsters" when there's Acid King or Orange Goblin playing but when A.K. plays in Paris, you won't get more than 80 ! If you go to a gig in Paris, Rennes or elsewhere, half of the guys here play in bands or are closely related to the scene (blog, radioshow, etc...)... luckily all are really supportive and make it surviving, if it was an individualistic scene with bands doing their own business all alone, it wouldn't be as active as it is by now.
French people aren't really interested by the latest killer demo from an obscure band called Beelzefuzz, neither by the EP of a french singing Doom band named Barabbas... French metallers have never been interested by national bands, it's not just today, it has always been like this... Why did we have to wait 25 years to have a decent (and now big) Metal festival ? Why are we nearly the only western european country not to have a regular Doom festival like Roadburn, Desert Fest, HDDT, SHOD, HOD, etc... ? because we suck hard  !

I still can not understand how a gig with Stonebirds, Stangala, The Bottle Doom Lazy Band, Northwinds and Children of Doom can bring just 70 metalheads on a Saturday evening ???!!!

Save maybe 100 guys, I think there's no REAL curiosity for this, their daily feeding just consist in old Hard Rock, black, modern Death Metal and thrash stuff you can find in magazines... I don't blame them at all though, it's just too bad for them to miss so many great bands ! 

 Well, about writing... I like to write but I'm not sure to be exactly what we could call GOOD at it, just look at my reviews and the contributors reviews, it speaks for itself... I've always been slightly above the average at school, but it's a fact that until I became adult and started working, it was easier for me to write than to speak - especially with girls, which had positive effects to catch their attention but bad ones when I had to apply things in facts , hahaha !

 I think the thing I like most is to listen and read interesting people who have something to share with passion for what they play, what they live, what they think, etc... that's why I do prefer much more to work on preparing an interview than writing a review where I clearly lack of vocabulary, plus my ear is not enough musical and I actually think I can not just rely on my feelings. 

I started a fanzine in 1988 it was called Raging Metal and written in french, I still can't imagine how can 1st issue have included an interview with Necrovore ? hahaha ! The year after I started another one -in english this time- called In My Veins... It was for the most part including Death Metal stuff, just a bit of Doom with Revelation and Forsaken. I do still have some contacts from this period with Lasse from Hooded Menace, Alberto from Forsaken, the Haug brothers from Contrive and a few more. We did 5 issues from IMV, both last issues were pretty cool for the time. I'm proud to think that I've been among the first to interview My Dying Bride, The Gathering, Vital Remains, Disembowelment, etc... 

You’ve got all other various activities related to Metal (own blog for Lucas + other contributions too - just like Andreas, Aleksey and Ulla who has also a podcast… I’m sure that Steve would do something else too, if he wasn’t studying too beside working ! Do you manage to find enough time and the right balance between this and the usual daily life (work, family, etc…) ?

I do not have any other music-related activities but the blog takes quite some time yet, largely enough in fact !!! Of course it's cool and important to support bands with a review or interview, but it's also primordial in my opinion to keep in touch and continue support them throughout time... it's not always the case obviously, it's also a question of time, but things come often naturally by simple interest and sympathy...  well, this was just to say that to post on the blog takes time but to chat on the net, feed the facebook T.o.P. page, give contacts, put people in relation, etc... all this takes lots of time too !!!
But it's cool and I'm extremely lucky to have a very cool woman at home, comprehensive and supportive, even if (too) rarely into my sounds... I try manage to find enough time for the family-life with the kids too, I need it as much as they need their father, especially the little one who's very active !    

Isn’t Steph a too tyrannic editor with you ?!!! How do you see the fact of contributing in english for a French blog with a cosmopolitan team ? ( just nothing special in this web era or pretty cool and enriching ?)
He can be a serious pain in the ass at times but it never lasted too long until now !!!

I don't know how much time the blog will continue, maybe I'll decide to end it suddenly one day and start a label or organize a serious and steady Doom festival,  but I'm honestly very proud of what T.o.P. became by now, it's growing slowly but regularly... and the most important in the end is that the proportion of readers who follow and support the bands is good, from what they say - quite many bands get new fans from the blog and this is my greatest satisfaction... Beside the quality of the reviews from the actual contributors, one reason to this is that I generally prefer to post day by day, you know one band each day, rather than 10 posts just in one time each week or something like that... Each one has his own convictions, but, in my opinion, rather than being drowned in a magma of new posts, each band has a better exposure this way !

Of course the blog wouldn't be (humbly) where it is now without bands trust and the help of contributors... Starting with Vania, Nathaniel and Laurent who were first to help me, they all have various other activities - like often, and have not contributed for a while - but I take the opportunity to remind them that they'll be always welcome in the Temple (He Laurent, btw Riccardo Veronese is still waiting for your review !!!!).
Naturally, also HUGE thanx  go to Ulla, Steve, Andreas, Lucas and Aleksey who actually bring a considerable contribution and  all took part in making the blog progressively more interesting and complete... This interviews-serie was also the occasion to let people discover all of us more personally,  I felt this could be interesting for readers who follow the blog for quite some time and are now used to our names and different tastes + styles of writing...

This is awesome to have such a cosmopolitan team, very enriching for the blog, myself and anyone composing it I think. Everyone has its tastes and way of writing with passion and talent, there's honestly a quality in the writing now that is very satisfying. One thing I enjoy a lot too is that contributors have learnt to know each otherr and exchange which can only be good for unicity and to fix an identity for the blog !

As I said last week, we shall have two new contributors (a -famous-  bearded doomster  from the States and a nice dudette  from Germany !) pretty soon and hopefully this will enrich  the diversity and overall quality of T.o.P. !!! watch out for this, there's a lot more to expect from us in the future ;)

I take again this opportunity for some more thanx, this time to people who particularly trusted and  supported the blog but also found words (and often notes too...) to motivate me to keep on - when there's been a few hard times : Dean Tavernier, Ron Rochondo, Grant Netzorg, Ronan Grall, Mike Smith, Steve Murphy, Vania Yosifova, Steve Howe, Ed Barnard, Bottle Ben, Stéphane Bourcier and Rodolphe Beuchet... \m/

SUPPORT T.o.P. (don't forget to become a google member to be sure to not miss anything on it, share the links too...) and most importantly keep on SUPPORTing THE REAL UNDERGROUND and DOOM !!!