Gautier Serre, otherwise known as Igorrr, has been creating a captivating and diverse amalgamation of electronic, death metal and classical music (as well as incorporating bits of everything in between) since 2005. After spending years as a solo artist, since around the release of 2016’s Savage Sinusoid Igorrr has become more of a collective of musicians with Gautier at the helm of the project. Having released the engrossing Spirituality and Distortion on Metal Blade Records on 27th March, Gautier sat down to answer some questions from France’s lockdown about the album and Igorrr as a whole. Many thanks to Gautier for providing such great insights into the project.
How are you doing with everything that’s going on just now?
I’m doing like every touring musician right now I guess, I mean pretty bad. We were really excited to tour in March, we were setting up everything and were full of energy to hit the road like we never did. Actually, the singer, Laure, departed already from home when the lockdown started, she was meeting our drummer at his place for some last checking, and she is now stuck at his place for more than one month. Once the concerts will start again, it’s gonna be really crazy, we are getting pretty mad at home, so once we will be released from that situation, we’re gonna enjoy a million times more being on stage playing this music.
Congratulations on the release of Spirituality and Distortion, it’s a fantastic and very intriguing album. Can you please tell us a bit about Igorrr as a project and describe Spirituality and Distortion for those not familiar?
Thank you! Well, describing Igorrr is always difficult as there is no ‘already made’ label to explain it. We are not a metal band, we are not an electronic band or any baroque formation. Igorrr is like my personal project in which I got free of any commercial or popular rules to do the music which I really want to listen to, some kind of my personal ideal of music. There are musicians/friends with me on stage and in the studio, to play this music as strong as possible, but Igorrr is like a place I create to escape from the musical ‘norm’ which I find very boring, and to create anything which makes sense musically to me.
The album Spirituality and Distortion is about two opposite concepts that fight each other to find a balance together. It’s a bit like the Yin and the Yang, but extreme music version. In this album, the ‘Distortion’ is the part which symbolises what’s wrong, what part of our life we should get rid of, and the ‘Spirituality’ is what we need to face it, full of nonsense and injustices. This title represents the hard balance to find between both of them and it represents a really important concept in Igorrr: the contrast. In Spirituality and Distortion, you have a beautiful contrast with two opposite things, two opposite feelings that articulate each other very well, look at “Downgrade Desert”, “Overweight Poesy” or “Himalaya Massive Ritual”, you can experience profound and spiritual music there with the middle east and Tibetan traditional instruments and voices. In those same tracks, together with this traditional instruments, you also have very brutal drums and guitar riffing. This is the contrast I mean. Same with “Nervous Waltz”, there is this very light and jumping baroque melody at the beginning, which is completely killed by the death metal coming right after. What I mean, is that the noise will never feel so noisy, only if you contrast it with its opposite: the silence – and the same on the other way around, the silence will never feel so silent, only if you contrast it with noise. The title Spirituality and Distortion express this idea that is really strong on this album, but also on the whole Igorrr discography.
Your sound is eclectic, to say the least. Has it always been a goal for Igorrr to be non-mainstream and possibly inaccessible to many people, including many metal fans? (I mean this in an entirely positive manner!)
Well, I never had any goal like that, in fact, I don’t really care if the music I do might be accessible or not. Not that I want it to be inaccessible or the opposite, too accessible. I focus instead on what is for me the very best music that can be done, and I focus on this 100%. There is no other goal than that. Apparently, what I’m doing is quite inaccessible for some people who are not into extreme music so much, but that’s not in my plans to change that. I don’t plan to make this music popular, I plan to make the music I love the most.
Here either, I didn’t make this album more or less accessible on purpose. This album is what went out of my mind in the most natural and sincere way possible. Indeed I heard some people seeing this album is more accessible than some others, that’s good, and I also heard feedback from people who found this album quite extreme compared to the other ones, I guess it’s a matter of sensitivity and point of view, for my part, I see this album as the closest music possible to make to express how I feel and what music represents me the most, today.
Even with so many styles and broad-ranging influences, your overall sound is consistent and Spirituality and Distortion is certainly cohesive. When bringing in new and old guest musicians for the recording how did you explain or break down what you were looking for?
That’s a tricky part as nobody is in my head and sees exactly what is needed. Basically, it’s all written when the musician is coming in the studio, he supposes to know exactly what to play, but I’m always here to guide every little intention, every little detail which makes the recording fit with the overall sound. Mixing genres is very tricky and might be very complex sometimes, one little intention out of topic may ruin the track so I have to explain and talk a lot with the musician all the way long, in order to guide him as far and precise as I can.
Personally, I would love for an Igorrr and Mike Patton collaboration, but is there anyone in particular that you dream of working with in the future?
I have nobody in mind right now. You would ask me the same question one year earlier, I would answer that I would love to collaborate with George Fisher, but we did a track together for Spirituality and Distortion, the track “Parpaing”, and that was a real dream come true for me. Doing a collaboration makes sense when it really serves the music, I mean, I don’t want to make a collaboration just because a person is cool, it has to serve the music, like George Fisher is definitely pushing “Parpaing” one step heavier with his voice.
Has Igorrr progressed and developed as you imagined in the beginning as a solo artist? Have you always held onto the same vision for the project?
I always had the same vision of the project, Igorrr is a kind of ‘fuck you’ to the commercial music business that proposed anything but something interesting back then when I was a teenager. I have always been searching for music that fits my mind 100%, and back then, the diversity of what the media were proposing us to listen to was very poor and without any courage. Igorrr is the place in which I express freely and I have fun musically. I mean I focus completely on the quality of the music, my own subjective vision of perfect music quality, nothing connected with the business matter. This thing has never changed in Igorrr, as this is the essence of the project itself. Having this point of view on Igorrr, and knowing how I rule Igorrr, I’m blown away to see what proportions this music has taken those last years. I liked the idea at the beginning of imagining my music becoming popular, but I didn’t imagine that much, I mean in such proportions. I’m conscient that this music is not for everybody, and I don’t make this music to please anybody, in fact, so seeing such an international impact this music has today is blowing me away, it really
Yes, everything. The music I compose is like a very detailed picture of how my mind is at a precise moment of life, like now, Spirituality and Distortion feels for me like an absolute perfect HD picture of my mind, but I’m not sure it will still be in a couple of years. I know that Nostril, Hallelujah or Savage Sinusoid would be very, very different if I would do them now. They would actually be more connected with how I am today rather than how I was back then, which doesn’t mean better or worst, it really is a matter of feelings, but today I would change a lot of things.
You must utilise a lot of different instruments and gear for Igorrr, what is the one piece of kit or instrument that you couldn’t live without?
Finally, depending on the ongoing pandemic which has already meant you having to reschedule a tour, what would your ideal plans be for Igorrr going forward?
We can’t wait to go back on tour, this is the only thing which matters for us now, the only thing we have in mind. We want to tour, as soon as possible.
Spirituality and Distortion is out now