ENTREVUE / INTERVIEW
WITH: Pascal, Nicolas & Rémi
ALBUM REVIEW HERE
Richard Hawey - July 2017
First of all, thank you for participating in this interview, it is a real pleasure.
Profil – "Signal 9" is your ninth album, the title expresses it well! You've been working on it since 2015? Have these two years been devoted solely to the preparation of this new opus? How does your composition process unfold?
PG : Well, the work probably started somewhere in 2014, but the bulk of the work was done in 2015 and 2016. As most bands, Miriodor is not the main occupation for its band members, so we can say that we worked on it when it was possible to do so. Much of the time, a band member will bring a sketch of a piece that he wants the band to explore or adapt. In the case of Signal 9, there has been more than ever improvisations that were used as canvas for pieces. Most of the small pieces on the album are improvs or derived from improvs.
PR – Tell us about your album? What should your fans expect?
PG: People who know us are aware that we went in some new directions with the previous album, Cobra Fakir. On Signal 9, we explore a lot deeper these new directions. Some have told us that it’s our weirdest album! I don’t know for myself, but I think the more adventurer listeners will enjoy it tremendously.
NL- Twisted, intricate melodies and counterpoint, kaleidoscopic effects and some contrasting sweet melancholic moods to heavy, abrasive rocking riffs.
PR - What are your musical references and do they influence your compositions?
PG : Our influences are quite diverse, from rock, prog-rock, RIO bands, jazz, classical music, etc. It sure did influence us at one point or another, but the idea is to assimilate them completely to express yourself in your own style. When a piece or a section of a piece makes us think too clearly about something we heard before, we discard it.
RL : When creating a piece, we’ll discuss of some ideas we have and refer to a specific musical style or sometimes think about works from others artists we like (or not!) but in the end, we expect that our music will be expressing its own identity.
PR – A colleague wants to know if you think you have had any influence on other groups, (Ex: The band Mr Bungle who released his first album at the time of "Warning 3")?
PG: I really have no clue about this! I never heard or read someone from another band saying that we’ve influenced them. We’ve been compared to other bands and other bands have been compared to us.
RL : I don’t think so.
PR – You are back as a quartet for this new album with the arrival of Nicolas Lessard as a full-time member. Are there any specific reasons for this change? Can you introduce Nicolas to us?
PG: We started working on our previous album, Cobra Fakir, as a quartet, with bassist/pianist Nicolas Masino. But we ended up finishing the album as a trio. New bassist Nicolas Lessard arrived in the band in 2013, helping us for the live rendition of Cobra Fakir. Since we were pleased with what he’s done (on top of being a nice fellow!), we decided to keep going as a quartet for the album (Signal 9). Nicolas is a double bass player, he plays in baroque and classical music ensembles, has played recently with Tim Brady (BradyWorks) and is also a piano tuner!
NL- Playing with Miriodor is a privilege and a pleasure in which I like to express myself, with the background and language I know.
PR- What attracted you to the RIO style?
PG: I started listening to progressive music in the early seventies. Beginning of the 80’s, I was having the feeling hat the genre was stalling, not evoluting anymore. And I was really lucky to be introduced by a friend to what is now called Rock In Oppostion music (Henry Cow, Univers Zero, Aksak Maboul, Samla Mannas Mama, Présent, etc.) And I discovered all these bands that, to me, were pushing the boundaries of music furthermore that «prog» bands were doing. These bands were truly inspiring for us.
NL- the idea of electric chamber music. A space where it is okay to defy forms, use compositional development, timbre exploration and refinements. A style where there is room for the unexpected.
PR – Precisely speaking of this style of music, many people are hesitant or reluctant to try the RIO or avant-garde music. In your opinion, what are the arguments that could convince these people to change their views?
PG: I’ll use my answer to the previous question and say to them that if they have the impression that the prog music they’re listening to is going in circle and that it doesn’t really satisfy them anymore, they should give it a try with RIO bands or today’s RIO bands that are carrying the torch right now, since original RIO bands are not active anymore (they were mainly active in the 70s and 80s).
NL- It is such a fertile, creative space.
PR – Miriodor was created in the 1980s. Was there ever a time when you asked yourself the question «do we stop everything or keep going on?»
PG: Oh yes, several times! But since Miriodor is mainly a hobby for us, it survived. Has it been a main activity for us or something we depended on to pay the rent, it would have stopped long ago. Our survival or longevity was possible also because of our long-standing relationship with Cuneiform Records (our label since 1986) and because of the grants from the Conseil des art et des lettres du Québec that we got along the years (either for composing or touring).
PR – Is Quebec a fertile place to host your music?
RL - Well… yes and no. Montreal is very open minded and eclectic and lots of things are happening on the cultural scene but it is also a rather small market, compared to other countries, like in Europe. Miriodor depends a lot from our fans spread all over the world !
PR - If you had an album to suggest to a new fan, what would be your recommendation?
NL- This latest issue, Signal 9
PR - Has there been a significant moment since you started? A nice souvenir?
RL- There’s many ! One day we gonna write a book about that… Maybe the most significant moment was meeting Henry Cow’s drummer and friend Chris Cutler in Montreal and having him encouraged us to self-produce our first vinyl album from a modest homemade recording made on a cassette in my parents’ house. This became « Rencontres » (our first lp), which got us to be contacted by Steve Feigenbaum, from Cuneiform Records!
PG. : I think it’s impossible not to mention our participation to NEARfest festival in 2002. To our own surprise, We were one of the highlights of that festival, witha stellar performance, which ended up being on our Parade album (as a bonus second disc). Also when we headlined one of the two evenings at the Gouveia Art Rock Festival, in Portugal in 2005, with the great late Lars Hollmer and with Univers Zero famed Michel Berckmans, on bassoon. Being the opening act for Van der Graaf Generator, at the Festival d’été de Québec, in 2009, was an out-of-this-world experience for us!
PR – What are your plans for the near future? Any shows? If so, have you any dates to give us?
PG: We will be touring in Europe this fall: we’ll be part of the Rock In Opposition festival in France (Sep. 16th); we’ll be in Milan (Italy) on Sep. 22nd, sharing the space with a wonderful italie band, Yugen); and the day after, we’ll be in Germany, at Wurzburg, participating for the first time to the FreakShow Art Rock festival. But most importantly, for your readers, on Sep. 28th, we’ll be a the Maison de la Culture Mont-Royal, on Sept. 28th. So our fans or people willing to discover us can do it on this date and location!
PR – You have the final say…
NL : It's nice to put out the work of several years as a quartet, devoted to that poetic way of music making, and sensing the enthusiasm from all over the world about the final results!
Thanks for everything.
Richard Hawey (Profilprog)