Band of the Day: Hecate

We may be heading into spring with all the associated sunshine, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t celebrate a bit of darkness…

Simple things first – where are you guys from?

We may all have different origins, but initially, we are all from the city of Tours, located in the center of France. Things are a bit changing now, because some of us have moved into other French areas (Tours, Paris, Montpellier…), but our roots run deep in the town of Balzac and Rabelais.

How did you meet?

Concerning the very first Hecate’s line-up, we all met during high school, university or through friends affiliated with these circles. Since then, with the leavings of some of our members and their replacement by new ones, it was more the relationships between different bands in the region or even ads posted on music sites that have been decisive for our encounters.

How long have you been playing as a band?

The Hecate’s ancestor, Soulmourne, was founded in 2007. Due to the leaving of one of our former members and a will to change our way to make music, we changed the name into Hecate. It was at the end of 2009. We have celebrated our 10th anniversary few times ago.

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

Hecate is a Greek deity who constitutes, with Selene and Artemis, the lunar Triad. She is often associated with the new moon or the black moon, that is to say with death or shadows, but she cannot be taken independently of the two other goddesses that complete her ; hence the fact that it is often depicted with a triple body. But even in herself, she bears a kind of bipolarity: she is as much goddess of fertility, wealth and wisdom as the goddess of shadows and dead souls. This bipolarity perfectly illustrates the chiaroscuro we wish to embody in our music, solar and lunar as well.

What are your influences?

We can’t really talk about well-defined influences for the band because in fact, Hecate has never claimed to fit into this or that particular lineage or to follow a trend that works particularly well at a given moment T to run out of steam later: the goal remains to make music with our guts; even if there are undoubtedly multiple unconscious influences that have forged each album as it is. We think it clearly depends on the steps we’ve gone through: at the very beginning, we were more influenced by bands as Dissection, Immortal, Naglfar or Lord Belial, bands that mix Black as well as Death or Heavy with their music. We have crossed a very short period in which you could find more Sludge or ritualistic roots (in particular on our EP from 2017, Apeiron). For the last two albums, we can just as well base ourselves on totally experimental bands like Krallice or on much more traditional and efficient schemes, coming from the Quebec Black from Forteresse or Csejthe, as well as bands like Mgła, Plaga, Misþyrming or Naðra. We can even find influences in western movies, or OST from videogames and Japanese animation. There is absolutely no limits.

Describe your music. What makes you unique?

Probably the fact that, even if we don’t revolutionize the style of Black Metal at all, we try to take a lot of liberties towards it and extend our influences everywhere. We don’t really try to correspond to a definite genre, but much more to inject the plurality of our desires into our compositions. We try never to create something too standardized and artificial and we never give in to the easy way when we elaborate our songs. We are extremely demanding with ourselves to make something as accomplished as possible, while refusing a too serious and pretentious Black Metal elitism. All in all, we would say that our music tries to invite the listener on a journey, constantly surprising him or her, by not locking him or her into any continuity, just as much as it presents a musical chiaroscuro alternating between melancholic and tortured phases and more luminous and aerial ones.

Do you have any particular lyrical themes?

Originally, we had a very romantic way to write our lyrics: influence of Baudelaire’s poetry, themes revolving around myths or literary figures, et cetera. But the more time passes and the more our lyrics are influenced by contemporary poetry, although they are still written in rhyming Alexandrines. About our lyrics, we try to focus more on formal beauty, plays of sonority or explosion of the meaning of language than on well-defined themes; but some of them can be recursive, as the flow of time, the matter of human desire and body, loneliness or oniric dreams.

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

Our shows remain very regular, there’s not a lot to tell about them! We sometimes try to experiment with specific sets or costumes, but it really depends on the capacity or regulations of the venues. In general, we focus more on the effectiveness of our performance than on formal details, although we have established certain regularities (for instance, our singer is always dressed and made up in white, whereas it’s black for other musicians). Honestly, we have played dozens of shows, we can’t give an exact number!

What’s the wildest thing you’ve seen or done at a live show?

Recently, in the North of France, a member of the audience asked our singer to scarify him while we were playing on stage. Earlier, in Paris, a member of the audience (we knew him by the way) arrived on stage and improvised a vocal featuring by collapsing all over the stage, throwing bottles at the drummer and ending up dropping a painting hanging on the wall. Another time, we replaced a band for a pirate metal gig (our bass player was playing for the headlining band): the audience, mainly composed of guys in pirate cosplay, refused to attend our performance by staying outside, and we played in front of only about fifteen people, but all of them were totally caught in the atmosphere, that was crazy. There are a lot of little memories like that.

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

Concerning our guitar players, F.V. uses an Engl Powerball and a Jackson DK6 on the one hand, and Nox L. uses a Bugera 333XL and an Ibanez Halberd on the other hand. Our bass player, Libra, plays on a Mark Bass and an ESP/LTD F404. Silence, the drummer, plays on the same Yamaha Gigmaker he has from the very beginning, with a kit of Sabian cymbals and a Pearl P3002D Demon Drive for double-kick.

What, if anything, are you plugging/promoting at the moment?

At the moment, we are focusing, with our label, on the release of our next album and we are also preparing some upcoming shows. Further information will come soon.

What are your plans for 2020?

Promoting our last album, Ode au désert suspendu, by playing gigs all around France (and maybe out of our borders). We have very humble desires!

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

We would love to open for bands like Agrypnie or Harakiri for the Sky. Recently, we had proposals to play in France as opener for Miserere Luminis, which we would also have wished with all our heart, but we had to refuse because of scheduling problems. Regarding a band we would choose to open for us, that’s a bit more complicated ; but twice, we asked for Devilspit, a band which plays a very thrashy and efficient Black’n’roll and which is made up of friends of ours: we love each of our collaborations with them. Actually, we are also thinking to plan such a three-bands formation for gigs to come, with two excellent french formations, A/Oratos and Étoile Filante. We deeply recommend you to discover both of them.

Hecate: facebook | bandcamp | spotify

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