What inspired you to first start making music? And how did you come to be in your current incarnation? Or if you prefer, a brief bio about you.
In the beginning Trancept crafted a minimalist & atmospheric “meditation pop” inspired by French artists such as Air and M83, and by some journeys in Europe. It was the anterior life of Trancept, in a way.
In the 2010’s there was a quite intriguing post-punk & new wave mood in Paris, a kind of revival. I used to go to a lot of gigs in France and Belgium (The Soft Moon, Drab Majesty, Ascetic, Veil of Light…). I “rediscovered” my guitar playing and wrote raw and riff-driven shoegaze/darkwave tracks, then played some live shows. It was like a virtuous ouroboros circle, taking me back so many years, when I was listening to post-punk & shoegaze.
Provide us with some info about your latest release…
“Observance” includes two tracks we used to play live before the first lockdown in France, and a new one, “Lustra”. The record embodies various elements: a sharp songwriting approach, shoegaze & nineties subconscious influences, new wave dynamics, and a kind of industrial minimalism with authoritarian drum beats.
Some keyboards parts have been co-written with Sébastyén D. of Opium Dream Estate. We did some enthusiastic concerts & inspiring rehearsals together, and are yearning for new ones.
The tracks have been recorded in Soyuz Studios in Paris, devoted to a lot of rising French artists. About mixing, Trancept took full advantage of the expertise and the rock/metal sensibility of Sicarius Productions.
The cover photograph has been taken by Laurent Fétis who handled several artworks for M83, Dodi El Sherbini, Tristesse Contemporaine…
Which ones would you consider your main influences both music-wise & non-music-wise?
Trancept’s musical influences now are the 90’s shoegaze scene (notably Slowdive, Ride, Boo Radleys first albums). Have A Nice Life, Dead Can Dance first albums, and the guitar works of The Durutti Column complete the picture.
On stage, we are trying to keep the atmospheres of Drab Majesty (as we are a live duet: synths/machines + guitar/vocals), the intimate black onirism of Bowery Electric, and the Wire immediacy.
Spiritually speaking, I find inspiration in the call of old church stones and in immersive, deep and distant French landscapes, near abbeys, when drinking local wines & brews, entering a kind of intense meditation or trance.
French litterature is uplifting (Huysmans and Bernanos notably, about mysticism and belief), and books on trance & meditation are useful. Paintings related to metaphysics and to architecture/geometric can inspire Trancept’s music as well (Delaunay’s “Saint-Séverin” series, De Chirico building’s shapes and perspectives, for example). The track “Europe After The Rain + Petrichor” is dedicated to the painting of Max Ernst. It was a home-made improvisation I tried to reproduce in studio, written before the 2020 crisis.
Thus, graphic arts and symbols are very important for the project. We often use on stage a nice emblem Reuben Sawyer draws for the project.
In what way does your sound differ from the rest genre-related artists/bands and why should we listen to your music? In other words, how would you describe your sound?
Our coldgaze sound evolves between rock and metal, dark wave and shoegaze, melodic pop and atmospheric soundscapes. People in the audience told us that they liked the “experience”, the contemplative & metaphysical atmospheres emerging. Our concerts are yours too, it is a collective meditation.
Please name your 3 desert islands albums, movies & books…
Soft Machine “Third”
My Bloody Valentine “Loveless”
Lou Reed “Berlin”
“2001: A Space Odyssey” / Stanley Kubrick
“Days of Heaven” / Terrence Malick
“Sunless” / Chris Marker
• + animation movie bonus: “La planète sauvage” / René Laloux
Maurice Barrès “The Cult Of The Self” (“Le culte du moi”)
Paul Gadenne “La plage de Scheveningen” (since I need to read it again)
A book on philosophy of art, or astronomy, suitable for contemplation on a desert island
Do you prefer studio or performing live and why?
Studio and live performances are two different experiences, but keeping meditation as an inherent element: during studio recording sessions you may dive into your own tracks, record many takes in order to get the perfect one, gazing at your chords as you do when aiming at a target with a bow… it is a similar hypnotic experience.
A live performance is a mesmerizing mass itself, and a celebration of your tracks recorded in studios. Something happens when stepping onto the stage, like in a theater. You can be there and elsewhere, at the same time, it is very strange.
Those are two experiences feeding off each other, we need both of them. Although exciting, studio sessions can be trying, and live experiences become their ultimate achievements (even though we do not show up too much in public).
Is there any funny-unique story you would like to share with us, always in relation to your music ‘career’?
Not necessarily funny, a friend who was very ill offered me his concert ticket (A Perfect Circle). When entering the big venue, I immediately recognized the Reuben Sawyer’s graphic identity on some… Chelsea Wolfe t-shirts in a stand, then it reminded me of Trancept artwork. I just learnt that she played as a guest that evening. It may seem like nothing but it was a really invigorating feeling to come across these artworks, like a strange omen.
Which track of your own would you point out as the most unique and why?
For now, “Wavegazing” maybe. Because it is the only track of the first Trancept era we still play on stage. Written more than 10 years ago and influenced by Air’s “Alone in Kyoto”, it still blends in well with ethereal and oneiric gig atmospheres.
Would you like to share with our readers your future plans?
I recorded other important tracks during 2020 studio sessions, and hope to give a push forward in 2021. “Observance” is supposed to be an introit. But time will tell.
Free question!!! (Ask yourself a question) you wish to answer and haven’t been given the opportunity…
What does Trancept mean?
Shortly, the transept is the transversal area in a cross-shaped church, in Romanesque & Gothic architectures, perpendicular to the main nave. The arms of the church… The name is imbued with spirituality and sounds right as well. Mentioned during a very old rehearsal, it has been distorted for several reasons, then becoming Trancept. A strange name for a strange entity…
Thank you for this interview. Hope to play new gigs in 2021 and see our friends there again.
Photo Credits: Emilie Mauger Photography
Curated by: Christos Doukakis
Connect with Trancept:
Official website: https://www.tranceptmusic.com/