A man who wears many hats at once (musician, filmmaker, visual artist), Les Discrets mainman Fursy Teyssier has taken what essentially is his hobby (music), and turned it into one of dark metal’s most enthralling entities. The band’s 2010 debut Septembre et ses dernières Pensées opened a new door for French atmospheric metal, pulling together an array of hauntingly played acoustic guitars and hauntingly-sung French vocals. In essence, it was haunting. The same applies for this year’s Ariettes Oubliées, which might not have the over-arching width of its predecessor, but still has piles of cloaked-in-darkness moments, including the title track, “Le Mouvement perpetual,” and “Après l' Ombre,” which according to Teyssier, is his favorite composition to date.
Speaking to Teyssier via telephone proved to be an effortless task, for the man is never short on creatively and projects it seems. In the span of 12 months, Teyssier popped out artwork for Morbid Angel, Old Silver Key, and Alcest, and somehow managed to squeeze out a new Les Discrets and other film projects. And while the promotional push for Ariettes Oubliées trucks along, Teyssier has his sights set on some rather full-scale French film productions, which are the equivalent to American major box office draws. Either way, the self-assured frontman was all too kind to submit to Blistering’s queries, and here’s how it went…
Blistering.com: Let’s go back to two years ago after you released Septembre et ses dernières Pensées. The reaction was positive across the board, so your first musical output, what was your take on it?
Fursy Teyssier: I was very, very happy, and very surprised. When you have all your friends saying “It’s very cool, it’s very good,” that makes you happy, but you just think that those guys are just nice to you, but when so many people write good reviews and so many fans and people around the world are not just being nice, of course, I felt very happy.
Blistering.com: With that in mind, how did that play into the writing of Ariettes Oubliées? Were you more motivated, or better yet, were you scared?
Teyssier: Actually, I had a lot of pressure for the second one. I think it took a little less pleasure to make it because I was always thinking that if I did something that was good at first, but then it’s not good. Like with the first record, no one heard any of my stuff before and during the second one, when you have so many good points and reviews, so you start to think about the second one, like you have to do a very good album once again. So there was a lot of pressure on my side and it’s something I want to get rid of for the third one. I need to take some time for the third one, to compose the music for the third one so that I can really take pleasure again in composing music without stress.
Blistering.com: You just mentioned about improving after the first album, and one of the things that instantly sticks out is that your vocals are better on the new album.
Teyssier: Yeah, I think I’m improving. For the first album, I never really sang [before]. I thought singing was singing into the microphone with a little bit of notes. I found it to be much more than that, and when you’re in the studio, you have to do it with the music that is perfectly recorded with the perfect sound and your vocals have to be that as well. If you sing bad, it completely spoils the album. That was something I wasn’t really aware of, so I had to take additional days to learn how to sing for the first album. For the second album, I decided to put a lot of work into the vocals and I took a few singing lessons. I practiced a lot…I wanted the new album to be focused on vocals.
Blistering.com: “Le Mouvement perpetual” is great example of how your vocals have progressed.
Teyssier: I know and I feel that I’ve improved. Many people are saying this to me, so maybe it’s something that obvious that when people listen to the second album, the vocals are better than the first. I don’t know which song it’s especially [noticeable] on.
Blistering.com: What prompted you to include “Après l' Ombre” on the new album? You originally had that on your split EP Alcest.
Teyssier: I put it on the new album because it was only on the split, yes. To me, not enough people knew it. It’s a song that has a very strong and deep meaning to me. It’s a song I composed together with Audrey and she wrote the lyrics and we worked together to make the song. So to me, this is the song that I prefer that I’ve composed. If I had to say one song for Les Discrets, it would be this one.
Blistering.com: You had your first music video foray for Les Discrets for the title track. What was that like?
Teyssier: It was basically Audrey [Hadorn, female vocals] who came to me and said, “I’ve been listening to the album and I have a very good idea for a music video.” She explained it to me and she was really interested in directing it because she had written the story and had very precise idea of what she wanted, so she directed it, so I was just an actor and nothing more. It’s her film, and not mine. It’s really interesting to see her express herself this way with not just the lyrics and vocals, but also the visual side. It was her first film and I was very surprised at the quality. I think it’s very smart and original. I’m very happy with it.
Blistering.com: You’re normally on the other side of the camera, so were you uneasy being filmed?
Teyssier: I’m comfortable with it. There were only three of us – me, Audrey and the guy who filmed it. I don’t mind being filmed, but I was uncomfortable doing the editing because I had directions to make my scenes shorter [laughs]. There was too much of me [laughs]. At the very beginning, we didn’t want to be ourselves, we wanted someone else, but we couldn’t find somebody that fit and could wake up every Sunday at 5 a.m. We wanted to shoot in the cold and the wind, so we did that for two months, so we decided to make it together.