Band of the Day: Dirge

Ahead of their upcoming album, Dirge told us a bit about themselves.

Simple things first – where are you guys from?

We are from Paris.

How did you meet?

It’s hard to recall. As for me, I met Marc through a common friend. After some time, he asked me to join the band while we were hanging together in a club back in 2001. I met our drummer Alain and the then-other musicians when I first came to see Dirge rehearsing and I remember being very impressed by the power emitted by these guys (with just one guitar at that time).

How long have you been playing as a band?

The band was formed as a duet, back in 1994. Marc remains today the only founding member, whereas Alain joined the band in 1999, myself in 2001 and Luz in 2011. In the meantime, Dirge went through a lot of line-up changes.

Before you get sick of being asked… where does the band name come from?

There is no other reference and significance but the original meaning and symbolism of this word, which speaks for itself. A sombre and weighing word for a sombre and weighing music.

What are your influences?

There has been some influences that infused Dirge’s music during its “formative” years, some obvious (Godfesh, Neurosis), some less manifest (Sludge, Einstürzende Neubauten). Then at the turning of the 2000s, we started develop more progressive and atmospheric elements, inspired by Pink Floyd or Godspeed! You Black Emperor. But beside these common primitive roots, other influences worth mentioning are more about the artistic self-development and personal creative path of each of us. These are less influences than real stamps, real seals.

Talking for myself, bands like Lycia, Fields Of The Nephilim, early Cure or early Cocteau Twins have forged, many years ago, a big part of my way to comprehend and to work the music. Same goes for the lyrics, since I have been quite haunted by artists like Simon Hue Jones (And Also The Trees), Robert Smith (The Cure) or David Tibet (Current 93).

Describe your music. What makes you unique?

Our music is moving. She sometimes has to be intense, deep and crushing, sometimes she needs to calm down, play with silences and void, sometimes she unfolds in long epic waves or noisy chaos… Dirge’s music is simply multifaceted, she’s the way we are. We don’t follow any movement, any fashion, we’re not involved in any network or scene. We do what we want, when we want and the way we want, without expecting anything from the external world. That gives our music a definite freedom and identity which makes it unique, at least in our view. But there’s nothing astounding or original with this vision of things; to us, every artist, every band should follow these kinds of rules, in order to keep creation in its purest form. It is very much a question of simple honesty.

I know this can sound pretentious but believe me it is not. We just never talk about our music mainly because we are not really comfortable with this. And to be honest, putting words on this doesn’t interest us that much!

Do you have any particular lyrical themes?

There are recurring subjects that dwell in the very heart of the lyrics: time passing, nostalgia, loss, absence, fear, the swim against the tide, infinity… But it is rather the points of view, the hindsight, the way to express and write things that tends to shift and evolve with the years and the albums. Which thus may lead me to grasp other new thinkings, other visions. Like our music, lyrics are a moving field, without any strict rules or method to follow. It flows.

What’s your live show like? How many shows have you played?

There has been several years where the live exercice was quite a rare thing for us. Then, at the turning of 2010, we suddenly began to multiply shows, everywhere in Europe. Too many to recall any precise number.

What kit do you use / guitars do you play / etc.?

Musical equipment is just a medium, something down-to-earth we have to work and deal with inevitably, so to reach more intangible goals. This is a means to an end. We had some specific needs in terms of power, textures, impacts etc, which obliged us to work hard on the sonic matter we were seeking. And so we slowly came to the most appropriate gears and instruments, the ones which would fit the best with the universe we wanted to express.

Brands, technical specifications, tuning, all of these things are an important part of our sound, of course but at the end of the day, it is most of all a matter of vibrations and colours. Musical equipment didn’t show us the way of how to build our sound. This is the ideas and the concepts of sound (our sonic identity) that led us to some specific musical equipment.

What, if anything, are you plugging/promoting at the moment? What are your plans for 2018?

Nothing is planned for now. The album shall be released in December, this is our current focus. We’ll see what will follow.

If you were second on a three-band bill, which band would you love to be supporting and which band would you choose to open for you?

I’d say SubRosa, Lycia, Chelsea Wolfe, Isis, Bohren & Der Club Of Gore, but that is just a quick off-the-top-of-my-head choice. It would depend on so many things.

A chance to plug someone you’ve toured with, or a mate’s band we’ve not heard of before!

We’ve recently toured with polish Hegemone and french friends O V T R E N O I R and Throane. Excellent bands, which concerts are definitly worth to experiment!

Dirge: facebook | soundcloud | youtube | bandcamp

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