Mnemic – Shock-Injected

Friday, 29th March 2013

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Anytime an emerging metal band like Mnemic makes a not-so lateral career move, it’s bound to draw mixed reactions. One on hand, you can’t fault the band for trying to scale the underground ladder in a quicker fashion with sugary-sweet choruses and simpler songs. Then again, it causes old fans to fall off the bottom rungs and forget why they liked the band in the first place. And that first place was probably 2004’s throttling Audio Injected Soul. Such decisions are tough, so for this Denmark-based quintet, the jury is still out on their latest, Sons of the System,

Part of the cyber metal movement fronted by Fear Factory and Meshuggah, the Danes do have the pre-requistite technical modus operandi to make things go, even though they’re toned down. Tracks like “The Erasing,” “Fate” and “Orbiting,” do nothing to dispel where the band wants to go, so we figured it was nigh time to catch up with singer Guillaume Bideau, a man who since his 2006 induction into the band, has injected this much-discussed commercial vibe into Mnemic’s sound… What prompted the move to work with Tue Madsen [The Haunted] for Sons of the System? Was it made out of the need for someone to understand the new direction of the band?

Guillaume Bideau: Yeah, I’d say so and we wanted someone with their own signature sound and Tue definitely has that. We co-produced the record with him, but he’s great because he provides an outside view. We don’t want to go in the wrong direction; we have to stay inside of what direction the band wants to go in. If there was one thing that truly stuck out with the new album, it’s how big the choruses are.

Bideau: Well, that’s personally my preference. I need clean vocals [laughs]. I’m not a huge fan of regular death metal vocals, I like a lot of rock music and that’s what I’m always listening for. That’s the first thing, “Where’s the hook!” It can be super-heavy, but has to be catchy and I think we achieved that this time out. That’s the magic of music – you can be really heavy, but also have these big choruses. Considering where Mnemic started last decade and where the band is now, were you at all concerned as to how Sons of the System was going to be received?

Bideau: So far it’s been cool. It would have been easy to just go back to our old sound or do what we did on Passenger and that’s what some people would have expected. Everyone’s position is different, but so far, the reaction has been really positive. People know we have to progress. It’s evolution. Warm. Wider. We did the album for selfish reasons, though. We have to be happy with what we produce and in the end, we have to be happy with it. That’s the main thing. Why the three-year delay in between albums? I’m guessing a lot of that had to tour with your heavy touring load fromPassenger.

Bideau: With Passenger, we toured and toured. Some were short, but some were really long. Along the way, we made some bad choices – we went out with the wrong bands and we weren’t fitting with the audiences. Plus, we were tired and it wasn’t worth it. With touring, you feel happy when you leave and happy when you go back home. So, we wanted to stay away from touring for a couple months. Also, we just weren’t creative. Stuff wasn’t good; a lot of it was crap. The ideas weren’t interesting, so we decided to wait until we were creative again. Speaking of touring and its consequences, I saw you perform with your knee busted up in Pittsburgh during your 2006 Soilwork support slot. You just sang the show while sitting on a chair. That’s some dedication for ya.

Bideau: [laughs] Why not perform? It’s just my knee [laughs]. I was like, “What the fuck else am I going to do?” To me, it was boring and most people probably wouldn’t have done it. A lot of people came up to me after the shows and were freaking out. It was cool. That whole year (2006) must have been a whirlwind for you coming from Scarve into Mnemic.

Bideau: Scarve was a band where we all friends, so it was tough. We didn’t have one particular metal style, so that made it tough to get signed to a bigger label. Toward the end of it, I started to get more frustrated vocally because I wanted to do more clean vocals. People wouldn’t have understood it because Scarve was mainly a death metal band. It could be said that since you’ve joined, Mnemic has been more focused on clean vocals than ever before. Is that a fair assumption?

Bideau: Sure, it could be. Perhaps what I bring to the table is a more simple approach. I can play guitar, bass, and drums, and can write, so maybe I bring in a little different perspective than the other guys. I just see it as the more diverse, the better. I’m sure you’re getting this a lot: how did the whole Metallica thing go?

Bideau: [laughs] It was amazing. Chino [Moreno] from the Deftones got sick, so the tour was stuck in the UK and it was one of the biggest shows of the tour. We got a call from a promoter in Denmark asking if we wanted to do it, so we were like, “Fuck yeah!” That was our first time playing in front of 60,000 for just one particular show that wasn’t a festival. It was very cool and the Metallica guys were super-nice. They’re famous, but you wouldn’t know that from just talking to them. You also figure they don’t listen to music or even have time to, but they knew a lot of our songs. I see you have a bunch of Russian and Czech Republic dates coming up. Does this tie into how selective you’ve been with touring?

Bideau: Yeah, like I said – with Passenger, we were just tired of touring. This time, we even had to refuse a couple of tours. But if the right opportunity came along, we’d definitely take it. We like going to exotic places like Russia because we know what we’re getting into. We’ll probably do at least one long European tour and one North American tour for the new album. We just won’t tour as much as did with Passenger.

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