BEYOND CREATION has been one of the fore runners of the Canadian Metal scene. Having been active for over a decade and with two albums under its belt, Beyond Creation is now scheduling another exclusive tour. I am now speaking to the drummer Philippe Boucher, who talks about the scene back home, how his influences descent towards the old school way and lots more. Excerpts from the interview-
MJM. Beyond Creation’s music is characterized by a lot of Progressive and Technical elements. What was the idea behind this form of Death Metal?
P: The idea was to create something ‘’Death Metal’’ without losing grooves and feelings. We focus on feelings more than on speed in our music. Every member put his touch on it and we like to vary a lot our playing style.
MJM. What inspired you to pick up the drum kit?
P : As a young child, I think I was a little bit hyper active haha! My mom bought me my first drum kit at 7 and I took private lessons over 10 years (I continued to learn on my own after).
I play guitar and bass too, but drums is the only instrument that gives me real control of my mind and body. It’s good for my soul, drums makes me feel great. That’s why I chose this beautiful instrument.
MJM. Coming out of a place like Montreal, Canada, how different is the scene back there, compared to the European/ Asian scenario?
P : I don’t know how it works in Europe/Asia but I know that we have a special vibe here in Montreal (or Québec, our province). We all know each other and we have a bunch of bands/projects in common. In Montreal, we have a big building called ‘’Cité 2000’ where more than 100 bands are rehearsing regularly. It really helps to create connections with other musicians in my opinion. Also, we have a lot of very nice venues here, small or big, with good promoters for each genre of metal.
MJM. Is there any particular thing that you are very careful about, when it comes to recordings/live performances?
P : Yes sure, a lot of things! First of all, I think it’s very important for a musician to be well prepared before his show, especially drummers: We are the biggest part of the band and everyone counts on us. I’m really careful about getting my stuff on stage quickly and when it’s time to leave after the set. I do a lot of warm up exercises before a gig, it’s important to be ready and comfortable before the show. For studio recordings, it’s practically the same, I’m practicing a lot before a studio session and I need to be fully concentrated.
MJM. When you write down new music, what are the things you start with? Who starts off with the primary song structures? Also,who pens down the lyrics?
P : For Beyond Creation, Simon is writing the riffs first and also a big part of the structure. After that, we try it with drums; this is where I put my touch in the composition. Then Kevin brings his parts and solos and then we do it with the bass. Simon is the one who writes down the lyrics. We are a good team, each one of us puts his own touch in it and it’s working perfectly!
MJM. You play for a number of bands such as, Incandescence, First Fragment, Chthe’ilist and Décombres. How do work on your time management?
P : I don’t play in First Fragment anymore but I can talk about my other projects. Beyond Creation is taking a big place in my life. I’m not always working full-time on Incandescence or Décombres. My guitarist ‘’Philippe Tougas’’ in Chthe’ilist takes care of the majority of the booking, promos and etc. My singer in Incandescence helps me a lot with everything and I usually deal with the booking so in all my bands we’re all a good team. Décombres is more about a low-profile project, I didn’t do any live performance yet and it’s good like that. When I’m back from tours or shows with Beyond Creation, I’m into my other projects especially Incandescence, it’s my main project and accomplishment. I’m in my mind, I can do whatever I want, Black Metal gives me freedom.
MJM. Where do you take your inspiration from when you guys write a new song?
P : For the song writing process, of course we had some new influences. Simon has been listening to a lot of jazz music for the past few years and he also discovered a lot of new techniques that he could play on the guitar, so this is something you can hear on the new album. We all listen to different kinds of music so each member has put their own feeling in it.
There’s many themes that inspired us but I think one theme that could tie each of them together is “nature and spirituality.” We need to change the way of seeing life, seeing how we destroy ourselves and planet for money and power. In almost every sphere of life, we have the power to create and build things that will help people and our environment.
MJM. Tell us about the early days of Beyond Creation.
P : Beyond Creation was created by Simon Girard in 2005. He already knew drummer Guyot Bégin-Benoit so he asked him if he wanted to join his project. After that, guitarist Kevin Chartré entered in the band too. Beyond Creation played their first show without bass but shortly after, Dominic ‘’Forest’’ Lapointe joined the rank. After the Aura, I joined Beyond Creation and then after, Hugo on the bass.
Picture by On Stage Review
MJM. How did you develop that sound over time? And any particular warm up routines you take?
P : I’m always warming up before gigs or practices, even at home on my free time I like to practice my techniques. I do para diddles and dynamic fills on my practice pads every day with a metronome.
MJM. How different do you think is ‘Earthborn Evolution’ (2014) from ‘The Aura’ (2011)?
P : I think The Aura is more straight forward than Earthborn Evolution, which is more progressive, groovy and natural. It still sounds practically the same but with a touch of maturity, in my opinion. I really like how my kit sounds; Chris Donaldson made an awesome job on it. On the drum parts, there’s absolutely no trigger, so it’s all natural from me. Also Kevin and Simon play passive pickups on our guitars, with more dynamics and sounds so that way it’s pretty different to what we’ve done before.
MJM. You guys are signed up with Season of Mist. Tell us about how it’s like working with them.
P : We’re really happy with Season of Mist and we thank them for making business with us and signing us. The label takes bands that they like musically and work with them and this is good for us because they really love what we do. We’ve also developed a friendship with them and it makes us feel good! They’ve helped us out a lot!
MJM. Do you listen to any other modern metal bands?
P : I’m a fan of the old school as well as the new. I genuinely like some of the new stuff that came out these recent years. However, I must admit that I take my inspirations mostly from old school music. I am majorly inspired by old school guitar riffs, but I like to mix it up with some new school drums parts. I work like that for both my black and death metal compositions. I think it’s important to make a good balance between the two styles. I’m not a mega fan of technical death metal; but there are some bands that I think they developed something, a sound that I like, I have my exceptions!
MJM. A lot of bands have deviated from their original sound over the years. Do you think that it’s necessary or does it give more scope for musicians to understand their potential?
P : I don’t think it’s necessary to change your sound but the band has the right to change…and I like that. I like bands who try different things album after albums. Sometimes it’s better and sometimes it’s worst, it really depends on the band. For example: some people may like the old Enslaved (from Norway) and hate the new one. For me, I like both! It’s all about your taste as a listener. Every musician or band do whatever they want with their music, it’s the beauty of this wonderful passion, you’re free to do whatever you want. It’s impossible to be liked by everybody…
MJM. What are some of the biggest moments of your life as a drummer?
P : There are a lot of big moment haha! One of my first special moments was when I discovered blast beats in extreme metal. I was like…what the fuck are the drummers doing?! It was a show in Montreal with Obscurcis Romancia, Ghoulunatics, Unexpect and Neuraxis. It was the beginning of everything…I bought Skinless ‘’from sacrifice to survival’’ the week after and it took me a long time to appreciate blast beats, I hated it at first haha. Another big moment in my life was when I first played in Japan and Australia; it was an amazing experience for me.
MJM. Tell us about your fellow band members from Beyond Creation. Are they full time musicians or do they work, to make both ends meet?
P : For now, I think I’m the only one who has a full time job. It always depends on what we have planned for the upcoming years, tours, shows, recordings, etc. I am starting drum lessons; I’m taking studio contracts too. Simon is doing photography and Hugo is very good with recordings so he did a couple of play through videos. We hope to be able to play music and do it for a living!
MJM. How often do you meet up for a jam or record?
P : We usually jam once a week. We record only when we are ready to do it. When we plan to go on tour or do a big show, we like to practice a little more to be ready, maybe two times a week.
Picture by- Myriam Francoeur
MJM. Will the Indian fans see Beyond Creation any time soon?
P : Yeah I hope so! We’d love to tour India for sure, it’s in our plans!
MJM. Thanks for your time! I wish you all the best.
P : Thank you very much for this interview! Keep supporting Metal!
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Harsha Vardhan (Metaljesus Magazine– Owner/Chief Editor)