Anthony Hérigny, Cindy Sanchez, and Michaël De Almeida make up Candélabre – a self-described cold wave, shoegaze band from Toulouse, France. They recently released their self-titled EP via the independent record label Solange Endormie Records. ‘Candélabre EP’ features five tracks, each being better than the last, excelling at minimalistic darkwave.
How did Candélabre first come into existence?
We met two years ago at a small venue where we were playing with our respective bands at that time. We got along pretty well and on a musical level we felt we had a lot in common. Then later on when we were trying to start another project it just felt like a natural thing to try something all the three of us. Indeed it was a good idea, it worked immediatly.
How does being from Toulouse effect your artistry? Does it have a direct effect on you sonically? And what is the scene like in this region of France?
It doesn’t really matter to us or our music being from Toulouse. It’s a big student city, with a human face that’s very pleasant to live in, and musically quite active for some years now. There isn’t a real coldwave or shoegaze scene, but lots of bands we really love and that we feel connected to, on a musical and human level (To The Moon And Back, My Imaginary Loves, Orme, Aquaserge, SAAAD, Plebeian Grandtstand, Black March, Deathbell). There’s a garage and a psychedelic scene but we’re not really into that kind of stuff. And you also have a dynamic metal scene for a long time now.
You’ve previously referenced the Cocteau Twins, Slowdive, Ride, Dead Can Dance, Cranes, The Soft Moon, Chelsea Wolfe, Tropic of Cancer, and Black Marble as influences. Can you further expand this list any by adding other forms of art, such as books or films, that’ve broadened you artistically?
So many things. In terms of literature and art, surrealism had a huge influence on me, as a teenager it really had a deep impact on me. Same thing for David Lynch and John Carpenter movies: when you watch “Lost Highway“, “Twin Peaks” or “The Thing” in your teenhood it’s almost a physical experience. Besides Lynch or Carpenter were very concerned about the sounding aspects, the soundtracks of their movies. It has left an indelible trace too. Moreover it’s an influence you can find in Vaughan Olivier’s artworks for 4AD: you can easily feel the imprint of Man Ray, Breton or Bellmer. It’s that kind of works where you have this nebulous combination of onirism, violence, sexuality and innocence. Incidentally those kind of works leaves much room for its viewers, everything is not clearly defined and everyone can grasp a Lynch movie, a cover by Vaughan Olivier or a Man Ray photograph as he wants. Everyone can have its own interpretation of it. You don’t understand everything, you don’t get all the allusions or the symbolism but it deeply affects you, without really knowing why it affects you as much as this. It’s probably something you can find in our music, this mixture of extremes and also the nebulous and dreamlike side.
What was the zeitgeist you were trying to put out with ‘Candélabre EP‘? For people who have yet to listen to it, how would you describe it’s thematic cohesiveness?
The coherence of Candélabre maybe comes from its paradoxical aspect. I mean the fact of combining aspects that don’t necessarily get along. The fact of proposing a music sensual and bleak at the same time, and also mixing innocence and darkness, romanticism and morbidity, electronic sounds and organic textures. That’s something you can find in the lyrics: the contrast between pagan and Christian imagery for example.
‘Ceremony Of Shame’ is like a Cocteau Twins meets ‘Power, Corruption, & Lies‘ era New Order track in my opinion. What’s the story behind this track?
It’s one of the first songs we composed with the band, and also the first we recorded. All started from the main guitar riff, then we built on it little by little. Cindy’s singing added a lot to this track: the melody and the vocal harmonies bring something very lighted to it, when the music and the general dynamic is creeping.
Using ‘Lone Wolf’ as an example, how did you construct songs for this EP? Lyrics or melody first?
We usually start with a first draft during our rehearsals, an embryo we will try to sharpen together and then Cindy will lay her vocal parts on it. We quickly feel if it works or not. If it’s the case then the song can be finished rapidly, otherwise we drop it and move on to something else. The advantage is that we don’t find ourselves void of inspiration, so if a draft riff doesn’t work we don’t force things.
Your cover art is simplistically pleasing, how did you go about choosing the imagery?
We wanted a visual that would be romantic and dark, something that would reflect with the spirit of the music and that would also be delicate. We wanted to avoid lapsing into gothic clichés such as crows, cemeteries, skulls or whatever, like carnival morbidity. Remember that time with The Smiths when Morrissey arrived on stage during Top Of The Pops with gladiolus ? It was magnificent and it was a bold thing to do: there was a flamboyant side to it, a romanticism fully assumed. It wasn’t even ironic, the guy dared to act like this on stage and it was in total harmony with their music. Then flowers are cool!
It’s Geb LM who drew the cover, all the artwork, our merchandising stuff and our stage banner. He’s a real talented artist and he have adapted very well to our expectations: he has understood what we wanted in terms of aesthetics and it’s pleasant to be able to rely on someone so gifted.
How was the Discipline Festival this past May? Do you find it easier or more likable to perform at a festival than in a club setting?
It went quite well, we had good feedback and comments. It was great to be able to play in a beautiful venue, with such great technical conditions, an interesting program and a lot of people. Clearly, we had more pressure than usual regarding the context but the conditions were very convenient and we had a lot of friends that came to support us then it was a great experience. To be able to play in such proper conditions is always rewarding.
To get to know the band a bit better: social media or online avoidance?
We have Facebook, SoundCloud, YouTube and Bigcartel pages. There you can find the first EP, the events for our gigs, news merchandising and all that concerns the band.
Wolves or carrions?
Both of them! After all we’re all predators.
Best concert you’ve attended?
Personally and without hesitation a concert by The Czars: the former band of John Grant before he started his solo career. They were signed on Bella Union and their first real album was produced by Simon Raymonde from the Cocteau Twins. It was at the Bikini (a legendary venue in our hometown) in June 2000. For personal reasons it’s probably the most beautiful and intense concert I’ve ever attended to. The band was at that time unknown in Europe and they were opening for the 16 Horsepower European tour, it also was their first tour on the old continent. I stepped into the venue drained and drenched to the bone after walking during an hour under a pouring rain. They were playing the intro of ‘Val‘ the first song of their first album. The venue was plunged into a purple light and the stage was full of fog. We could only see their shapes and John Grant’s impressive silhouette, and I couldn’t guess before he began to sing that this silhouette could host such an angelic and delicate voice.
What can fans expect from Candélabre in the near future?
We’re in the process of recording right now. We’re playing some new songs live for some time now and we just published a live video for one of those songs (“Men & Beasts”). So we’re gonna put out a new EP in 2019. And we’ll continue touring and composing of course.
Photo credits: Franck Alix (1st one), Chris Rod (2nd one)