Les Discrets – Final Thoughts

Saturday, 30th March 2013

(This content originally appeared on Blistering.com)

By definition, Les Discrets mainman Fursy Teyssier is a real (cue French accent) “art-eest.” A well-respected animated film director in France, as well as graphic designer, Teyssier’s work has adorned the likes of recent merch for Agalloch, stretching to album artwork for Alcest (more on them in a moment), Drudkh, and Woods of Ypres. A cursory glance of the man’s website (www.lesdiscrets.com) is a mere snapshot of how far-reaching his work is, with snippets of his outstanding film work and artwork filling up the pages. It’s no wonder Teyssier has any time to sleep, let alone pump out one of the year’s best albums. 

The album in question is Septembre et ses dernières Pensées, a glorious combination of dark acoustic metal (ref. Agalloch, late-90’s Anathema) and melodic metalgaze, not terribly dissimilar to Alcest, the band in which Teyssier is also a member of. In what is quickly becoming synonymous with French metal, there is a desperate, yet optimistic atmosphere to the record, something of which is exploited on otherwise magnificent songs like “Une matinée d’hiver” and “Septembre et ses dernières Pensées.” 

We initially tried to track Teyssier down prior to Alcest’s North American tour this past spring, only for several logistical snags to come into way, but we finally got our man, and picked his brain, which was probably already swirling with a million thoughts and ideas…

Blistering.com: Septembre et ses dernières pensées is your debut album and has been in the works for several years. Has some kind of burden been lifting considering how old some of these songs are?

Fursy Tessyier: What happened when I started considering the idea of making an album was first to gather every song that fit to my mood and needs at the time. I have a lot of remaining songs and the choice was very difficult, as I had to choose within good songs, but also songs that made sense together. Some of them such as “Effet De Nuit” are quite different than the rest of the album, but I wanted to keep them in their original shape, not to forget who I was when I composed it. To answer your question, no, I do not have made any changes, or if I did, it was because some riffs were bad. I almost composed new arrangements in studio, for every song, and I think that is what makes the album homogenic.

Blistering.com: The album title translates to “The Final Thoughts of September,” so I’m curious – what type of significance does this month have on you?

Tessyier: First, I’m born in September, on 22nd, the day of Autumn. So this is already very special to me! Also, I love autumn because it’s the most beautiful season to my painter eyes as the nature has its best colors and shapes despite it is about to sleep for winter. It is exactly what Septembre… is about.

Blistering.com: Thematically (and musically), themes of death appear apparent. How does this concept intertwine with your lyrics?

Tessyier: This concept does not only intertwine with the lyrics but above all with life and all my existential questions. The fear of the void, emptiness, death inspires me music, pictures, films and lyrics of course. I’m not that much focused on the lyrics as I think Les Discrets could be instrumental and it would work the same. I just prefer to have vocals because it’s also a good way to keep the listener into the music and to feel connected to it. It also helps me to add some nuances to my pictures and music that cannot explain everything I want.

Blistering.com: Most likely, you’re going to have a fair share of Anathema, the Gathering, etc. comparisons lobbed at you. Are you comfortable with this? Some musicians hate having their music compared to anything…

Tessyier: Ha-ha! How couldn’t I be happy to read such compliments! I’m not a big fan of Gathering, but I love Anathema. I’m not a genius and I have influences, my music doesn’t come for my brain only. I definitely accept when people say it reminds them that or that band. That’s very nice! Thank you!

Blistering.com: On the same level, even being tagged as a metal band might do you some injustice. Would that tag bother you?

Tessyier: That’s just a tag. I’ll be disappointed if one day I read the “pure crap” tag ha-ha. But reading “metal, shoegaze, hip hop, rnb” or whatever does not bother me. That’s just words, and music must be felt, not tagged.

Blistering.com: I know you have a heavy hand in the visual aspect of Les Discrets, so explain how important this is to you and how in ties into the overall concept of the band/album?

Tessyier: Making everything on Les Discrets allows me to tell the most what I want. My ideas, concepts and feelings can be conveyed towards music, lyrics, paintings. Music can describe atmosphere, smells, when a drawing will describe them in a different way etc. That’s really important for me to do this “whole self-made” concept, as it is the best way for people to see MY vision of MY music. But it’s just my point of view and I would understand if people have other pictures in mind than mine.

Blistering.com: Describe the amount of work that went into putting together the 56-page booklet and short film “Tir Nan Org?”

Tessyier: Wow… Describe? Cannot been described. With numbers, I can tell you that I spent one month and 15 days on the artbook making (paintings, design, layout etc). That is a HUGE amount of work but I chosen it! I am happy because everybody who received the artbook is happy with it and most of them notice the work which is behind. That’s great and it makes me very happy.

Blistering.com: With the exception of “Une matinée d’hiver,” the album is mostly dark and foreboding. What prompted you to end things on such a reflective note with “Une matinee d’hiver?”

Tessyier: The album is based upon my fears and angst’s. But the overall message behind Les Discrets is that there is a life after death. The last song acts like a ray of light and hope. The lyrics answer the “Septembre et Ses Dernières Pensées” that tells there is no hope of a second life. “Une Matinée d’ Hiver” tells the opposite. This album is a whole reflection, you must consider it as a whole.

Blistering.com: The moments in which you and A Hadorn share vocals are some of the most fascinating on the record. Even on “après l ombre,” which was on the split, was intriguing. Will you explore more of this down the road?

Tessyier: Ah! Thank you very much. We are really happy with these songs together. In the absolute, I would love her to sing more, but I think we must keep her voice for special songs, otherwise it’ll become recurrent and the freshness of her vocals will be lost. Anyway, I do not decide when she sings. She usually tells me “I like this song, I feel inspired for writing and singing.” So I let her do what she wants!

Blistering.com: Per your work as an illustrator/artist, is Les Discrets more than just another outlet for your expressions?

Tessyier: Exactly!

Blistering.com: Invariably you’re going to be tied into Alcest thanks to your involvement with Amesoeurs. Are you comfortable with this? Can a thing like this only bring positive attention to your band?

Tessyier: Definitely and I am very happy with that. Neige and I are best friends for decades, and we are happy to share the same scene, some common listeners, although we are making different music.

Blistering.com: Finally, what’s in store for the rest of 2010?

Tessyier: A new album finished, a studio booked, some shows with Alcest, at least two new animated films, the next Drudkh album artwork. Good, isn’t it?

www.lesdiscrets.com