Fist Of Satan: As always I try to do my homework on a band before conducting an interview. It seems like in a short time Croc Noir has received a lot of positive buzz.
‘Resounding Footsteps’ said “Froid and Croc Noir is a breath of fresh air (metaphorically) in a scene that’s been chocked with pretenders and clones.”
When you finished recording your debut “Froid” did you think “Yes, we’ve done something very good!”?
Croc Noir: As a matter of fact, we didn’t really think about it. This EP came together quite naturally. We mostly tried to make something that we would enjoy, not imagining getting positive feedback.
Our first goal wasn’t to get known, but to create a Black Metal fitting us. One we would want to listen to without necessarily sharing it.
However, people liked it and this is surely encouraging for what is next.
FOS: Let’s take a step back and talk about the band name. As a Canadian we have to take French classes in high school. For me that was over 25 years ago! I know enough that ‘noir’ means ‘black’ and ‘froid’ means cold. ‘Croc’ is lost on me.
Can you explain the meaning behind the name ‘Croc Noir’?
CN: ‘Croc’ is the sharp tooth of a carnivorous beast (fang). It is what we see in our music, somehow.
A wild nature feeding on blood and flesh. We wanted to illustrate the opposite of White Fang, a figure representing the kind, soft and friendly side of nature.
Croc Noir is its hostile, wild, strong and frightening side.
The very nature that cannot stand to be brutalised by mankind anymore, and that is waiting for the right moment to wake up, revolt and take back what’s its.
FOS: Croc Noir as a band came together rather quickly (created in July 2016) with a tape being released a mere four months later. Often when new bands release material so quickly the quality can be fairly low. This is not the case with Froid.
It’s seem there was a ‘raison d’être’ for both Croc Noir and Froid that let you move so quickly.
What happened in four months that resulted in such a great album?
CN: Our EP was out quite quickly because it consists of many riffs that Morgue had already composed. Those were made in a rather dark period of his life (the passing of his father and other things). He felt in need of a release, the kind that airing them would satisfy.
Geist had also been writing for a long time and he wanted his texts to take shape in black metal compositions.
Morgue’s riffs and Geist’s texts being perfect matchs, the first songs came together very quickly.
Croc Noir is a self-created entity. Everything appeared fast, naturally, as if it couldn’t be otherwise. It is difficult to give a rational explanation to that sort of meeting. Such an connection of artistic nature happening between individuals is fairly rare.
The result of all this is felt on Froid. It sounds simple but true. Somewhat like the feeling of old Isengard albums.
FOS: Whether it’s music, painting or sculpting most artists agree that “Art is never complete it’s only abandoned.”. Would you say this applies to ‘Froid’?
CN: Good saying! In fact, Froid is only a first step. Croc Noir is very far from having become its true self. We need to see the whole thing as an eternal path with an unknown destination. Future Eps will be nothing but the metamorphosis of Froid, as if Croc Noir had its own free will.
FOS: You’ve told me that ‘Croc Noir’ was born when the band members met at The Ragnard Rock Festival 2016. Had you known (or known of) each other before? What was the spark that said “Let’s form a band”?
CN: Abyss is in fact the cousin of Morgue, and Geist is a friend of Abyss. It is the meeting between Geist and Morgue at the Ragnard Rock Festival 2016, by Abyss’ intermediary, that gave birth to the band.
As a point of interest, we were so astonished by the performance of Monarque that we swore to ourselves to do something together. And we did, despite the high level of alcohol in our blood!
FOS: Very little is known about the band members (Morgue, Geist, and Abyss). Is this intentional or can you talk more about other bands the members are part of?
CN: It was initialy intentional. We like the mysterious feel of bands like Mgla and Batushka, that hide their faces during concerts. We think that only art matters and not the humans standing behind. As said earlier, Croc Noir is living its own independent life.
As real passionates we wanted to make music, not be recognised for it.
Concerning Morgue, he has been part of a few metal bands in Alsace. He played as a second guitarist in Sacred Hate (Deathcore), participating in concerts in order to promote the Innocent Dead Child EP released in 2007.
Concerning Abyss, Croc Noir is its first band. He is nevertheless a passionate of Black Metal and has been for years. Without him, Croc Noir would not be.
Concerning Geist, he took part to musical improvisations in pagan reunions and worked on a few projects between folk, doom and ambient without bringing them to fruition. Croc Noir is his first serious formation, where he is fulfilled by singing, what he had been aspiring for a long time.
FOS: France and Quebec, Canada seem to be spawning a high number of very good black metal (and other extreme metal) bands. Is there something about the French language or culture that gives you something special to take black metal to a different place?
CN: We are great lovers of the Metal Noir Québecois scene, and we find the use of french in music interesting as well as appropriate. We see too many french bands singing in english and forgetting their roots. The idea was indeed to pay homage to our tongue and culture.
When you listen to Drudkh or Kroda, you expect to hear ukrainian and not english. It’s similar for Croc Noir. You expect a french group to sing in french. Otherwise, you should better listen to american black metal (which is by the way a very good scene).
Plus, it was obvious to us that it was worthier to write interesting french texts rather than mediocre english ones.
FOS: Many black metal bands are secretive or solitary by choice. But many seek to spread their word to as many people as possible. Croc Noir is very active online (Twitter, Facebook, Bandcamp, etc.).
What are your thoughts on bands who strive to be as enigmatic and secretive as possible?
CN: Everyone is free to do what he wants and convey the image he desires! We find the secretive aura of Batushka quite cool. They can allow themselves this as we all know there are very talented musicians involved, eh! However, we still have the feeling to control our image on those networks.
We are indeed quite active on the social networks because we wanted to support and promote the underground! There are many unsung bands of great quality that deserves more praise!
We think especially of our friends from Mort Aux Gueux, Some Happy Thoughts, Ifernach and Melancholia.
Not forgetting the black metal broadcast Infernal Obliteration that offers its listeners quality content!
FOS: Other musicians will (hopefully) be reading this so I always ask about the gear bands use. Tell us about your musical equipment and how you achieve your sound.
CN: The singing is recorded thanks to an basic old ribbon mic in order to get a sound a bit rough. The mixing console is a basic Behringer.
Concerning the guitars, Morgue is playing on a LTD EC1000 BLACK VINTAGE with a Peavey Bandit 112 amplifier. But for the EP guitar recording, he used instead a virtual ampli in order to get a sound close to one of a recording studio.
The bass guitar is a Harley Benton.
We also used drums, a jew’s harp and a piano for both intro and outro.
FOS: ‘Froid’ is a very well recorded (in the context of black metal) so it’s clear someone knew what they were doing. What were the recording sessions like?
CN: Thank you for the compliment! Every aspect of the recording is home made. Geist recorded the singing and the folk instruments individually and provided the tracks to Morgue.
It is Morgue that handled guitars, bass, battery and piano. He also took care of the mixing of the tracks and of the EP mastering. Everything was made with a Behringer sound card and a lot of open source softwares like Ardour, Guitarix and LMMS. He is an informatic developer, which quite helps!
On this EP, Abyss provided the writing of some texts. He will handle the bass full time for the EPs to come, as well as continuing writing, along with Geist.
FOS: Getting back to how quickly Croc Noir progressed ‘Froid’ was released on Canadian label Corde Raide Productions. Did you have a relationship with them before Croc Noir? How did they come to hear about Croc Noir?
CN: Not at all, we didn’t know each other! Actually, François from Corde Raide Productions found us by chance thanks to twitter. He enjoyed our work, contacted us and we immediately sympathised. We quickly came to the conclusion that we were on the same page and shared a vision of what black metal should be. Thanks to him for having found us!
FOS: There has been a huge resurgence of labels and bands releasing on cassette. Why do you think that is? It’s quite the step away from Spotify, iTunes, etc.
CN: We are essentially witnessing the death of the CD format. What is the point of buying a CD when you can access the music online?
For those who still desire to buy an interesting object, there are vinyls and cassettes. Those two formats are able to bring a particuliar sound to an album. The resulting sound is completely different from cd or mp3.
Listening to Froid on cassette doesn’t feel the same at all compared to mp3. It is way more raw, cold and dark.
FOS: Your musical influences are quite clear (Darkthrone, Drudkh, etc.) but what influences you outside of other music? Books? Nature? Movies?
CN: The texts of Geist are greatly influenced by the nature he strided across days and nights since he was a child. He sees them as a tribute to her. We also agreed on our misanthropy and our common tastes.
In addition, we are admirers of authors like Lovecraft or Bram Stoker, as well as horror films of any kind. That can explain some ambiances of the EP.
FOS: What are the plans for Croc Noir in 2017? Live shows? Another album?
Surprise! There are many things planned, but we don’t want to reveal it all for now, sorry!
FOS Final words are yours!
CN: We brought a monster into the world. Croc Noir is thirsty for blood and tears. Its insatiable hunger will last until the end of times! The beast is still num from its brutal awakening. It teared up its chrysalis in its immemorial rage and shall spread across the world like a wolf pack. Nothing will be able to stop it.
Anyway, thank you very much for this constructive and interesting interview!
Big thanks for Croc Noir for agreeing to do this interview!
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