Wednesday, August 17, 2016

First Fragment Interview

1.For those that have never heard of you before, can you tell us a little bit about the band?

We are First Fragment, a metal band that formed in Quebec, Canada back in 2007 as a trio - myself on Lead Guitar / Vocals, David AB on Lead Vocals and Gabriel Brault-Pilon on Rhythm Guitar. After releasing a few demos and an EP in the 3 years that followed, we eventually found a drummer and a bass player and we played numerous gigs with a full line-up. We started recording our debut album Dasein in mid 2013 but the project was put on hiatus after our former drummer left the band. We finally found Troy Fullerton of Severed Savior to record session drums on the album and we signed with Unique Leader Records shortly after so they could release our long overdue album. Dasein was released on May 20th through Unique Leader Records and we found our full-time drummer Samuel Santiago (ex Gorod) after the album was completed. We are now writing our 2nd album and we're doing a few small tours this year.

2.In May you had your first full length coming out, how would you describe the musical sound that is presented on the recording?

An unusual, yet coherent mixture of technical death metal, power/neoclassical metal and flamenco. We play highly aggressive and relentless music, but our riffs are often easy to understand as they follow very simple
chord progressions despite of how complex they seem to sound at first. Combine that with omnipresent neoclassical shredding, some jazzy parts, inhumanly fast (but occasionally groovy) drum work, bass work in the vein of Watchtower and Augury and dual vocals entirely sung in french and you have Dasein. It's a very over the top album, and some people might find it "all over the place", but all the true shred junkies out there will find something in this album they'll like for sure.

3.This is your first release in 6 years, can you tell us a little bit more about what has been going on during that time span?

I'll just give you the short version. We had line-up problems and suffered from a long hiatus during these years, and there were a few minor delays after the album was fully finished back in summer 2015. It would take me too long to talk about everything that has happened in these 6 years. We're glad this nightmare is over. We can now focus on other things.

4.What are some of the lyrical topics and subjects the band explores with the music?

Dasein is a conceptual album. The story behind it is so detailed and complex that our vocalist is currently writing a book about it. Even regular liner notes (like NILE does) wouldn't be sufficient. His lyrics are very personal and very abstract. He writes using rhymes and enigmatic poetry. It's safe to say that only him truly knows the meaning behind each sentence as each reveal a different ocurrance or event of the story taking place within the song. Every song is connected together as a whole as if they were chapters from a book.

5.What is the meaning and inspiration behind the name 'First Fragment'?

It was just a working title that stuck. There is no specific meaning behind it.

6.What are some of the best shows that the band has played so far and also how would you describe your stage performance?

We played some of our best shows just this last month, including Quebec City that had one of the best crowds we ever played to. Our stage presence isn't necessarily as lively or bouncy as say, a slam death metal/deathcore band because we constantly have to focus on performing our already extremely challenging material as flawlessly as possible (even if it's impossible to be 100% perfect). But our performances are often extremely intense and are always an all-out assault on your senses. People like it, or they don't. There is no in-between. We don't do compromises with our music. People get hurt, necks get sore, and people often leave with bruises, but they all leave the venue satisfied.

7.Do you have any touring or show plans once the new album is released?

We did a small tour in July and we have another short tour coming this fall. We're also doing a few dates with The Black Dahlia Murder in October.

8.On a worldwide level how has the feedback been to your music by fans of technical death metal?

Heh, it was okay. The fans who were waiting for the album since 2010 were all extremely satisfied, and Dasein definitely turned some heads as almost all of the reviews we've had were overwhelmingly positive. Although we have garnered the respect of many artists and bands we love, we're still relatively obscure in our own scene. I mean, we're the only Québécois metal band to EVER release an album that's all composed in french on an American label, and almost no one from here has taken notice of that even though people here all circle-jerk over the same few francophone metal bands because they sing in french. We don't have THAT many fans in our own country compared to other areas in the world. Doesn't mean we'll stop working our asses off though. We'll continue working hard on our music so that in a few years, every technical death metal fan in the world will know about us and will either respect us or hate us.

9.What is going on with some of the other bands or musical projects these days that some of the band members are a part of?

I have been extremely active with my other projects. I play in Chthe'ilist, Serocs, Zealotry and Atramentus. 3 of these bands released full-length albums with label support in the past 9 months with the addition of First Fragment's Dasein with Unique Leader Records. Samuel has done session work with various other projects in the meanwhile and Vincent is playing shows and putting out albums with his other two bands Bisbâyé & Golden Python.

10.Where do you see the band heading into musically during the future?

In a few years, we'll be doing exactly what we're doing now, but better and better. No compromises, no core, no trends, not ever betraying our roots. Only neoclassical death metal is real. We won't change our way of doing things for anyone, EVER.

11.What are some of the bands or musical styles that have had an influence on your music and also what are you listening to nowadays?

We are greatly influenced by Technical Death Metal, 80's power/neoclassical metal, video game music and Baroque/Romantic era classical music and some Flamenco. From Joey Tafolla and Apocrypha to Spawn of Possession, N. Paganini and Paco De Lucia. And F-ZERO X.

When it comes to the music that I listen to on a daily basis, I mainly stick to 80's heavy/power/speed metal, Epic Doom Metal and Funeral Doom. I listen to some black metal bands like Grand Belial's Key and Kataxu once in a while too. I am a huge 90's death metal geek as well.

Speaking of which, my current playlist for the night is :

Utumno - Across the Horizon
Crystal Age - Far Beyond Divine Horizons
Grotesque - In the embrace of evil
Scald - Will of the gods is great power

12.What are some of your non musical interests?

Movies, video games, hanging out with my friends, etc. Nothing special. I'm a very ordinary person. But music is my life and my greatest passion.

13.Before we wrap up this interview, do you have any final words or thoughts?

Thank you very much for thinking of us for the interview (and sorry for the immense delay!!)

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