Wednesday 2 September 2015

Making A Point - Interview with Fabien from WHEELFALL

Back in 2012, today's guest, Fabien W. Furter (Guitarist/Vocalist) of Wheelfall released their debut album – Interzone. A heavy as hell collection of fuzzy, loud Stoner Metal riffs that gathered minor critical acclaim within the scene. Interzone was a concept album about an Alien Invasion. Imagine Kyuss, Monster Magnet, Sleep and High On Fire style riffs mixed with stunning sci-fi action. As that's the best description I can give Interzone.

Roll on 3 years later and lead singer – Fabien – offered me the chance to review their new album – Glasrew Point. I had seen the video for new single – Vanishing Point – and I was a bit apprehensive as their sound had taken a more industrial sound compared to Interzone.

When I finally heard Glasrew Point I was surprised at how dark Wheelfall had become. Glasrew Point is an 82 minute double album which explores very dark territory. Gone are the Kyuss-influenced riffs but replaced by a more darker and violent Industrial based Doom/Sludge/Post-Metal sound such as Godflesh, Neurosis and ISIS.

Wheelfall could of delivered Interzone Part 2 and I still would of loved it but they didn't. Wheelfall decided to change their sound altogether for one of the most darkest albums I've heard this year. I wanted to catch up with the guys and to see why did they change their sound. And what does the album actually mean.

1 – Hi Fabien. Thanks for doing this. How are things with you today. Been a long time.

Hi Steve! I’m really pleased to answer your questions, and to see that you’re still involved in the scene after your departure from Sludgelord. So, thank you !

2 – It's a very different sound to Interzone. I would go far to say its' the complete opposite of Interzone. Was that it intentional to release something different to Interzone.

Since the release of Interzone 3 years ago, a lot of things changed in our lives, it’s normal that our music evolve too. Back in the days, we wanted to make a stoner-doom album, of course marked with the Wheelfall’s personality, but we wanted to play this genre, so we did it and it was really exciting! For this album, we didn’t know what would happen musically because we let ourselves go in the music without controlling anything at first.

Glasrew Point deals with our inner selves, the way we see the society and the world that surrounds us. These subjects were already in Wheelfall’s songs from the beginning, but wrapped up by science-fiction stories. It’s no longer our goal: we deal with our themes with a brutal and raw vision… And so we compose our music.

3 – This album is more Industrial/Sludge based compared to the Desert/Stoner Metal sound of Interzone. When did you decide to change your sound and was it an easy decision to make.

As I said, it’s a natural evolution, so there wasn’t really a decision to make. We assume that Wheelfall does not have to follow the rules, what is important to us is to respect our desires and to bring our message to the larger audience possible without making any compromise.

4 – What influenced you all when recording the album as some of the themes are very bleak indeed. Why did you call it Glasrew Point, any specific meaning ? You've written a 100 page book to accompany the album. What is the book about as it's been written in French. Can you give me a brief description as I've bought the deluxe CD.

What influenced us is the era we all live in. A society turned to the past, which forgot about the present and the future, surrounded by an overflow of informations that leaves our society stunned and pessimistic. The novel takes place in this environment, where four characters are assaulted by this quiet masse from whom they try to escape. It leads them to a small island city named “Glasrew Point” that strangely seems to be a shelter…

We wrote the themes first, and then the music came. Two way to express our feelings and thoughts we completed afterwards by artworks (photography and paintings, thanks to Cha Photography, Pauline Talon, Marine Gerard and Sylvie Thouron). Blandine Bruyère wrote the final form of the novel, based on our ideas. Glasrew Point is a very personal and intimate work that gathers together music, visual art, and literature. We are extremely glad of it.

5 – Are you worried how long-time fans will judge the album. Most of your fans will know you for you're earlier sound. You could even lose some fans. Did that cross your mind when recording the album.

Of course we thought about this, but we ask ourselves: what’s our goal? To make the music we’re supposed to play, or to make the music we WANT to play? Obviously we decided to make no compromise. Music and art in general are vital for us, it’s not supposed to be only entertaining, and it has to cause an intellectual and/or emotional reaction. I think our fans know that we are not another regular band, and they will not be surprised by the fact we are evolving, but maybe more by the way we evolve! We challenged ourselves with the music we made, so we want to challenge our listeners to.

6 – I loved the album as it's good to see a band trying different things. Is this how Wheelfall will sound in the future or will you go back to the sound of Interzone.

It’s a good question, but I don’t know the answer yet!

7 – Did you do things differently when recording Glasrew Point compared to Interzone.

Yes, indeed. We think that a recording is a really creative part of an album, so we wanted to take our time. We spend a month in the studio, we dissected the songs, recorded some parts live, tried a lot of things that can only be tried when you are recording. In studio, we had an overwhelming creative trance. It’s was a journey in itself. Very stimulating. We wanted to make a very organic, dynamic and modern album and I think we succeed!

8 – Looking back at Interzone, are you still happy with the version you released. Or would you change certain parts to it.

Interzone is still a pride for us, I don’t think we could do better at that time. Now, when I look back at this album, when I listen to it, it reminds me what we were during this period and this explains why we have done things like this or that. So, I wouldn’t to change anything on Interzone! It’s a great part of our past and of what we are now.

Of course, we’ll play some of Interzone’s songs during our gigs and this is a very different thing. It will be the Wheelfall of 2015 playing the Wheelfall of 2012, so you can expect some differences in the songs obviously!

9 – How do you deal with negative reactions to your music? Do you take suggestions or criticisms on board or do you focus on your own thing.

When you do your thing in depth, it’s YOU who people judge. Not only the music, but the whole entity. So it can be very difficult at the beginning to deal with negative reactions, and maybe some would reject all of these… But you don’t have to be the one the others want you to be, so it’s really important to have a strong self-confidence. You only have to be yourself, and by this, you have to accept that you can’t please everybody.

If you accept that, it’s more constructive to deal with criticisms. It’s always important when you’re in the creation process to have someone who tells you: “yes, you’re on the right way” or the opposite. It’s not the holy word, but it makes you think and detach yourself a little from what you’re doing with so much passion. Sometimes, passion can get you lost and it’s important to take a breath by listening to the others, and so you can totally focus on your goals.

10 – Which bands and artists inspired you to become musicians? Any particular albums that stand out.

Speaking for myself, I first played classical music, so Bartok, Debussy, Ligeti, Stravinsky and Schoenberg were the first to affix a mark on me - this mark is still here, and I understand it more now. These men wanted to change something, they had a lot of thing to say and to bring to music, and they did it by follow faithfully their will. And my favourite bands are like them in my opinion: Scott Walker, Nine Inch Nails, The Melvins, Faith No More, David Bowie, Neurosis… They respect themselves in their will, they change, they try and never give up. I admire that, really.

11 – Well guys thanks for doing this interview. All the best with your new album as it's freaking superb...

Thank you a lot for the interview and your words, it’s always a pleasure to answer your questions Steve! We’ll bring this album to the maximum of ears and eyes!

Words by Steve Howe and Fabien W. Furter

Glasrew Point will be available to buy from Sunruin Records from Sept 19th 2015 on CD/DD.