Fractal Universe's Vince Wilquin Interview
Vince: Hi Feind! First of all, thanks a lot for your time and interest for the band! Well, a few months ago, you did a review of Scarred's Gaia Medea, after the release of their music video, and it turns out that I'm also their live guitarist when Yogy's on tour with Satyricon, so that's how I first discovered your work! And what got me hooked was that unlike many webzines, you really take the time to explore the music in details and also the background of the band, so I decided to drop you an E-mail and to see what would come out!
TDBS: Well thank you it’s always nice to hear what we do is appreciated. It was Scarred bassist Jeff Jonas that brought that about. He saw the piece I did for the video and sent me the link to the album and I'm so glad he did. Can you tell us how Fractal Universe came into being? Did you meet through your touring with Scarred or did it come about some other way?
Vince: Actually, this is something I wanted to do for many years. The song Boudaries of Reality for example is about 4-5 years old, it was written when I was 15 or 16, but until now, I never really had the chance to do something out of this project. Hugo and I have been friends and playing together for quite a long time, I met Valentin at the music college we were both at, and I also knew Clement for quite some time, but there always was something that held us from realizing it. In late 2014, I thought that was enough, let’s just record something and see what comes out! It's funny because what was meant to be a little demo just to bring a little bit of life in Fractal Universe turned out to become more and more serious, and finally I think we earned the right to call us a real band, and I can't tell you how happy we are about it! It was a long long way to get there!
The French metal scene was once considered well really not considered at all until Gojira broke out so that now some others are being recognized like Hacride, Dagoba, Gunjah, Crusher among some others, have you found it a little easier to gain some recognition now that some of these bands have put the French metal scene on the map? And in that same vein are there some French bands you’d like to tell our readers to check out?
Vince: Yes, starting is always the most difficult thing to do, and the more you wait, the harder it becomes. Glad you did too, by the way! I definitely think that Gojira opened the way, and gave credibility to the French metal scene. I'm happy to see that more and more French bands, like the ones you've listed, get the chance to play around the world, and I do think that it's all thanks to Gojira! One band everyone in the world should know, to my opinion are Gorod. These guys are just beyond this world! I could also list Trepalium, Hypno5e, and Hugo's other band, Slatsher, to name only a few, these are definitely worth checking out!
TDBS: Very nice! Gorod and Trepallum I'm familiar with but I'll have to look up some of the others, thank you. I'm an absolutely huge Gojira fan!
Who would you say are the biggest influences on the Fractal Universe sound?
Vince: I would say that the biggest and most obvious influences are bands like Gorod, Obscura or The Faceless. But as I'm also a big Jazz-Fusion and Classical fan, I think somehow, artists like the Brecker Brothers, Guthrie Govan or Moussorgsky must be unconscious influences as well, be it in the harmonies, or the phrasing or the guitar solos for example.
TDBS: I always find it interesting that metal sucks in so much from other genres that people would think are completely unrelated. You say jazz influence and I can't help think of Atheist as I know jazz is a huge influence for them as well. Cult is a natural born Brit so if you can put your hate aside, HAHAHA, any favorite Brit bands aside from metal’s originators Sabbath, of course? Don’t worry we listen to a lot more than just metal so name drop as much as you wish.
Vince: I'm a huge Atheist fan as well, always loved that band, and I recently read your review of Jupiter by the way! Hm.. I can't tell that I know that much British bands. I like Tesseract a lot, although I'm not that much into Djent, I think their approach to it is really unique, focused on groove and melody. Other British artists I can think of are Guthrie Govan, that I already mentioned, guitar prodigy Jack Gardiner, if you don't know him, go check him out, and Allan Holdsworth of course.
Vince: I'm not very familiar with this style, I should check some of these bands out! Yeah, forgot bout Sylosis, awesome band! I think from the moment I heard Death's Individual Thought Patterns for the first time, the first Death Metal Record I ever heard by the way, I knew that's the music I wanted to do. Then I quickly found out about Cynic, Atheist and Necrophagist, and that lead me to start composing seriously.
TDBS: You're striking right at my heart there though Death's Leprosy was my first real introduction. Huge Cynic fan as well. I’m sure you guys haven’t done a ton of touring yet but do you have anything coming up? And along those lines where would you most like to play if you had the choice, be it a country or just a particular festival you’ve dreamed of playing someday?
Vince: Actually, we never played a show as a band yet! The first one will be our release party on February 20th. After that, we'll have a couple shows already booked and currently being booked in April/June and later this year, forming a little tour through France and Luxembourg that will be announced very soon! A festival I'd love to play on would be Neurotic Death Fest in the Netherlands, as I've been there almost every year for quite a while now!
TDBS: Awesome! Someday I'd love to get to Europe just to do a festival hike. You guys have so many great ones it’s insane. I swear I'll get to Wacken Open Air before I die! While we’re talking live shows, if you could choose your dream tour line up who would you like to tour with (alive/dead doesn’t matter)?
Vince: Never been to Wacken myself actually! Hellfest or Grasspop are insane as well! I think this tour already took place, haha! 2012 : Obscura, Spawn of Possession, Gorod and Exivious. I don't think it could get much better than this to me!
Vince: I'm not that much into horror movies or books myself. I'm a big fan of Lovecraft, as any metalhead I suppose, and Philip K. Dick, whose book A Scanner Darkly was also adapted to one of my favourite movies ever
TDBS: Phillip K Dick has had a few great adaptations, Blade Runner is a personal favorite but A Scanner Darkly is certainly awesome! That's also a perfect segue into what I was going to ask next... Obviously you have an interest in science from the band’s name to lyrical themes running through your music, as a bit of a science geek myself what would you say is the overarching message of your music if you have one? I imagine I’ll have some follow ups based on your answer.
Vince: Although I may be fascinated by modern science, quantics, astronomy,... I think I know much too few about all that to really tell something of interest about it here, haha! I think what we try to express with this music are more abstract feelings and emotions rather than concrete ideas that can be described through words, so it's up to the listener to decipher whatever the music has to tell. The lyrics to the tracks are actually written by our good friend Arthur Massot, whose writing style I liked a lot and perfectly fitted to the songs. Actually, he had a lot of stuff written, so I sent demo versions of the songs to him, and asked him what would fit.
Vince: That's a very nice way to picture our music! Thanks a lot! Actually, we're already quite busy composing for what will hopefully become our first full lenght album. As I said, some of this stuff was written quite a long time ago, so there's no time to rest, haha! So, our goal for this year would be playing our music for as many people as possible, and after that, we're hoping to be able to put an album out in 2016 already.
TDBS: That sounds fantastic. I know it can take some time to get your work out there. I've been trying to get published for a while now so hopefully we'll have a big year together! Science geekdom and comic books tend to go a little hand in hand, do you find any influence from that world or perhaps just some favorites you’d like to share?
Vince: That's all I can wish you! I don't think I've been influenced by that world in any way, perhaps because comics aren't as much present in our culture, here in Europe, that they are in yours.
Vince: Haha! I think I'm kind of a straight forward beer guy too! Being half german, I also enjoy that thing called "Apfelsaftschorle", apple juice with sparkling water. Not very metal 'though!
TDBS: If you throw the horns and yell "SSSSLLLLAAAAAYYYYYEEEEERRRRR" it’s all metal! I'm half Irish hence the tendency to Guiness
I think that should do it for now, I wish you all the best of luck with the new Ep which is awesome! The floor is all yours if there’s anything you’d like to tell our readers before we sign off here and we look forward to doing this again sometime!
Vince: I'll think about it next time I'll have one!
Thanks a lot for your time and interest! I hope we'll be able to do that again sometime!
I'd like to tell them that to me it's very important to keep an open mind and always to be curious. Be it in art, in culture or whatever, the world has so much to offer that's to be discovered.
TDBS: Words I live by! Seriously thanks for taking the time.