Fading Bliss's Despair is No Longer an Illusion

Gothic doom metallers Fading Bliss took some time to discuss their latest album "From Illusion To Despair" as well as the new album in the works and shows they have lined up for the fans, their an act you do not want to miss!

1. Can I get a backstory on the band/ band biography?

Dahl: The history of Fading Bliss started in November 2009, when Olivier (Dewback, Redrum 4) decided to start a new project combining gothic and doom metal influences, and paying somehow tribute to the early 90’s bands Paradise Lost, My Dying Bride, Theatre Of Tragedy and alike.  Within a few days, a full line-up was build from scratch, featuring Mélanie  (vocals), Florian (keyboards, Innerfire), Arnaud (bass, Alibido), Michel (drums) and me (vocals, also in Innerfire).  Hailing from the same area, we soon started to rehearse covers and compose new songs.  In August 2010, we entered the Noise Factory Studio with Gérald Jans (Channel Zero, Machiavel, Epysode…) and recorded our first self-titled demo. Featuring 4 tracks, this demo showed the personality of the band, ranging from aggressive and melodic  songs to slower and darker tunes. The response from both the fans and the press was quite overwhelming.  The following months, we played a few shows and kept on writing new tracks, further developing our sound trademarks, and adding more depth and darkness to the music.  Over these new tracks, 8 were chosen to be featured on the forthcoming debut album.  The recordings happened between March and June 2012, again in Noise Factory studio, resulting in “From Illusion To Despair”.  In August 2012, Stéphan joined the band as second guitar player, using his 20 years of practice to bring a heavier and even more massive sound to the music of Fading Bliss.  More recently, 2013 started with full force, as Fading Bliss and Mighty Music / Target Distribution inked a deal and joined their destinies...

2. How did you guys come up with your band name?

Dahl: In order to find the right musical direction, at the very beginning of the band, we did some kind of poll to decide which cover songs we would rehearse.  One of these songs was actually Katatonia’s “Right Into The Bliss”.  With a music filled with sad moods and melancholy, the bliss could only fade away...  ;-)

3. Where is the band based out of and what is your music scene like there? Are there any local bands you could recommend?

Dahl: The band is based in Liege, in Belgium, a city usually better known for its beers and wafers than for its metal scene.  Most of the bands here are playing metalcore, deathcore or whatever you could call it.  Among those, the best is probably Spitdown. Anyway, beside this –core scene, we have a few good death metal bands in the area, like Pestifer or Excavated.

4. What lyrical theme do you guys use in your music? What message do you want to send?

Dahl: There is no real concept or message behind the band so to say.  Of course, our lyrics remain focused on the darker side of life, and on the feelings we all have to deal with someday: sadness, loss, melancholy, nostalgia...  Music can be an outlet, for those who play it, but also for those who just listen to it and try to get into it.  I know it could sound cliché, but it works (at least for us!).   I’ll not give you a boring detailed track-by-track overview, but some hints about the themes maybe: “Illusion”, “Fading Bliss” and “The Pretender” deal with some personal feelings or experiences; “1462 – Part I” refers to the ‘romantic’ version of Vlad Tepes’ deceit and damnation; “Chant de Ruines” is about a world in ruins waiting for rebirth; “She Evil” tells the story of a very destructive relationship, but with a unexpected approach; “1462 – Part II” tells the ‘real’ story of Vlad Tepes, from the broken alliance with the Ottoman Empire to the epilogue of the forest of pals in Targoviste; and finally, “A Walk Through Despair” is the most positive track, bringing the idea that there is always a spark of light, even in the darkest void.

5. What bands have influenced your band and its sound?

Dahl: Most of us have been involved in the scene since the early 90’s, which was the time of the release of a few milestone albums in the doom / gothic genre.  To name but a few, we all agree on the influence of the early works of My Dying Bride, Paradise Lost, Tiamat, Theater Of Tragedy, Anathema, Katatonia, The Gathering, Celestial Season, Morgion, Novembers Doom...  Paul Kuhr performs some guest vocals on the track “A Walk Through Despair” by the way.

6. Is there any story or concept behind the From Illusion To Despair title?

Dahl: Well...  “From Illusion To Despair” could be some kind of fading bliss indeed...  But the reason is not that one.  It’s easier by the way.  The album opens with “Illusion”, and the last track is “A Walk Through Despair”.  So listening to the album in a whole would mean going from “Illusion” to “Despair”.  There was no better or more logical choice.  The connection with the album is obvious, and it also reflects perfectly the meaning of it all.

7. Who produced From Illusion To Despair and what was it like working with them?

Dahl: This time again we decided to work with Gérald Jans.  His studio, the Noise Factory, is probably one of Belgium’s finest and best equipped studio, and Gérald is really easy to work with. We have entered the studio with a very accurate idea of the kind of sound and production that would fit the album.  We have tried different amps and cabinets to reach this goal, and thanks to Gérald, I think that the result is up to our expectations.  Gérald took care of the engineering, mixing and mastering, and I think he did an amazing job.  Hopefully you, as well as your readers, will like it...

8. Who did the cover art for From Illusion To Despair and how much input did you have on it?

Dahl: I did it.  Mighty Music gave us a total freedom concerning the visual aspect of the album, so we had the opportunity (chance?) to really make it our way.  As you maybe know, the demo EP ends with the sound of rain and thunder, and the album starts with the same stormy atmosphere.  We intended to have a similar red line on a visual level.  First, we kept ‘our’ beloved purple / violet combination.  Then we worked on a patchwork of old stones and monuments, like the ruins of the Franchimont castle, where we did the promo shooting.  These crumbling walls have witnessed many centuries of human tragedies and deception.  You can feel it everywhere, and hopefully in the artwork too.

9. What are your expectations for this release?

Dahl: Honestly, we really don’t know what to expect.  We have released a YouTube / Facebook teaser, and we got many positive comments.  So it seems that we are not the only 7 fans of the band. We know that our music is not trendy or commercial, and that’s nice because it was not intended to be trendy or commercial.  We just play the old school gothic / doom we like, with dedication and authenticity.  Give it a try, who knows, maybe could you like it...

10. Will you be shooting a video for any of the songs off From Illusion To Despair?

Dahl: We have a few ideas about it, but there is nothing scheduled right now...  Let’s see what the future brings.

11. What are your upcoming touring/show plans?

Dahl: Of course, we would really like to tour in order to support the release of the album, but it is hard and / or very expensive for a ‘young’ band to join a tour.  But we are currently booking shows, so all opportunities are welcome!  Feel free to check out our website, and to contact us!

12. Where can we listen to your band and where can we buy your stuff?

Dahl: “From Illusion To Despair” will be released worldwide on June 24th, 2013, through Mighty Music / Target Distribution.  The digipack will be available through Mighty Music’s web store as well as most of the European mail orders.  The digital version will be available on iTunes, Amazon, etc at the same time.  And if there are collectors among you, the EP is still available from the band, so feel free to drop us a line if you want it!

13. What is it you’d like a listener to remember the most when hearing your music for the first time?

Dahl: We all have a different approach to the music, depending on our expectations and the way we really feel the music.  I guess some listeners will remember the melodies, the heavy sound and the more catchy songs, while others will remember the melancholy and the more slow and oppressive tracks.  And all of them will be right.  And all of them will maybe change their minds when hearing the album for a second time.

14. What can the fans expect to see from you in the future?

Dahl: We already started to work on the next album, and three tracks are taking shape.  Like most metal bands around, we’ll try to play as many show as possible.  New merchandising is about to be released too, so stay tuned!  ;-)

15. Any final words of wisdom?

Dahl: We would like to thank you for your support and for this interview, and to thank all your readers who will try to know more about Fading Bliss’ universe.  And to all the metal fans out there, keep on supporting your fave bands, keep on buying their CDs or vinyls, keep on attending their shows and festivals, keep on reading magazines and webzines!  If you need the metal scene, keep in mind that the metal scene needs you!

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