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Belgian Marche Funèbre put out their first full-length last year. Diversity is key for the band: shifting from funeral-esque atmospheres to epic doom moods, even borrowing from the Heavy Metal scene the more uplifting moments. An original band doom-metal wanted to know more about.

Interview with Marche Funèbre.
1. To open this interview, I’d would like to give you the opportunity to introduce Marche Funèbre to the readers of this interview that would not know you.
Arne: We are a doom death metal band hailing from Mechelen, Belgium. After having found a suitable line-up early 2008, we got to write our first songs and immediately did some cool gigs in the Autumn of 2008 (with ao Ataraxie, Syrach, Faal, Insanity Reigns Supreme, Hooded Priest, …). That Winter, we recorded our EP ‘Norizon’. We proceeded with some real touring in 2009 to promote our debut. After these live adventures (with The Eternal, Isole, Evoken, …), we did 2 acoustic gigs (one with November’s Doom) and continued writing new songs for our first full length ‘To Drown’, which was recorded at the end of 2010 and released in June 2011. So, again, we did a lot of gigs (with ao Saturnus, Pagan Altar, Pantheist, Thurisaz, …) in Belgium and abroad. Now we are writing new songs…

2. What goals does Marche Funèbre try to attain?
A: Since we’re all pure music lovers, we write and perform music in the first place for ourselves. And of course some recognition is nice, as it helps to get us on cool stages with cool bands, which is another strong reason why we do this. And finally this kind of music is a great way to deal with all kinds of negative emotions and give them a place out of ourselves: negativity that is transformed into something new, something dark, but beautiful.
Peter: Our primary goal is to write music where emotion is prior to technique. Technique is always a means to an end. Marche Funèbre is a very expressive band, whether it's an aggressive or a slow mournful passage. We try to challenge ourselves in that creative process. The evolution in writing and performing is important to us.

3. Where does the band name come from? Chopin’s masterpiece or the Candlemass song?
A: Actually it’s Until Death Overtakes Me’s version that caught our attention. But, meanwhile, we adapted the name and gave it a meaning that works for all of us. In fact, some of the new songs will tell you more about what this ‘funeral march’ means to us. In short: the life we all live is essentially a life-long march towards our grave… so you better enjoy every minute of it, no?
Dennis: Damn Right!!
P: Yep, every minute of this miserable life no one asked for. In the rehearsal room, we do tend to focus on the walk to the grave and leave flowers alongside the road out of the picture.

4. I like Marche Funèbre quite a bit myself. Two elements stand out for me. First, the variety of styles that the band is able to combine in the songs. The reviewer of “To Drown” on Doom-Metal.com points this out as well: “an interesting band with considerable potential in their eclectic approach and an obvious understanding of how to implement their favoured contrast of styles”. Second, and I have seen this as a point of controversy in some reviews, the clean vocals of the album. I particularly enjoy them – as they have an intense melancholic power and sadness in them. What are your views on these two facets of Marche Funèbre?
A: Thanks for your kind words, Lawrence. We always feel grateful when experienced listeners of the genre compliment us. Anyway, both facets are pretty important for us. We love all kinds of metal and music in general and never actually discussed what kind of music we should make. The music you heard from us, is mainly the music we write when you put us together – long enough – in our rehearsal cave. That’s probably one explanation for this eclectic approach. Most of us have been playing in other bands with other metal styles as well, and this experience is also audible in our works. In the end, you try to write music that appeals to everyone in the band, hence the diversity in our approach of doom death metal.
As for the clean vocals, you put it right when pointing out that not everyone likes them. They are indeed not your average clean vocal lines. I have been thinking about this for a while and I guess I found some explanations - not excuses, as we all like the way the vocals are used in our songs: first of all, I only use this kind of vocals since the beginning of this band 4 years ago, while I’m a black and death metal singer for a much longer time. So partly it’s just (lack of) experience. My technique is also based on screams and grunts, which is slightly different then ‘normal’ singing, right? And finally I’ve been a fan of this kind of more-emotion-than-technique vocals for a long time, as my favourite vocalist in that department is for sure Jan Transit of In The Woods… (RIP): very emotional and original, and also a monument in black metal (fuckin’ awesome screams). So to sum it up: this clean vocals are not a gimmick or a bad copy of Aaron (MDB). They are my way to express our lyrics on our music. Time will tell how they will evolve, but I’m quite sure there is still a lot of room for enhancement ;-)
P: Well, variety in the arrangements and the vocals make up our identity. It makes it harder to fit us in one category. We adore doom music in its many forms, but we don't want to copy paste anything. And again, the more we write and perform, the more Marche Funèbre sounds like Marche Funèbre.
A: I like that last sentence.

5. The first full length “To Drown” has received mostly favorable reviews in the press. What has the band been able to get out of the meaning of the press reactions?
A: I guess that our music has some ‘love’em or hate’em’ going. But mainly, that we have written some really nice music so far as we got a share of really good reviews.
Peter: We're proud of what we have done so far and even reviewers that were critical on some points, recognize us as a promising band.

6. Another strong point of Marche Funèbre is their live reputation. You have been on stage with a wide variety of well-known doom acts (among others November’s Doom, Evoken, Pantheist, Isole, Officium Triste, Ataraxie, Before the Rain…). I saw you myself in Ghent, last year. How has this been for the band?
A: Marche Funèbre love the stage, that’s for sure. In 4 years time we have done 40 gigs, in 4 different countries and with a lot of other bands, some of them have become real friends meanwhile, after all the doom scene is not that big!
P: Performing is an essential part of this band. We love doing this and it's like bringing our music to life. It's totally different than just pressing play. It's about creating the right atmosphere and sharing that with the audience who are an essential part of the performance. We love the amps blowing in ours backs and an audience absorbing the vibes. And it takes us to different places. We're sharing stages with bands that have been very influential to us.

7. What was your most memorable live undertaking so far?
A: Our appearance in one of Belgium’s finest concert halls for metal: Biebob, alongside Saturnus last year! Incredible good sound on stage, perfect lights, great audience and reactions…
D: Our appearance on the Doom Over Vienna bill was memorable as well, when I think about this, we already did a lot of awesome things.

8. Are there members of Marche Funèbre active in other metal bands?
A: I also play in Natan (www.natanhorde.be), which is a progressive modern black metal band. We are about to release our second full length album Às in the coming months. From time to time, I lend my voice to some projects as well: Astovidatu (black) and Aberat Orbus (doom). Previously I played in Ecliptica, Gurthang (both black metal) and Herfst (melodic black death).
D: Since 1997, I play in a band called Self Inflicted. This started out as an Old School Death Metal band, I think we still are in a way, but we found our own twist we like to call Biest Metal. [Translation: Beast Metal]

9. What does the future hold for Marche Funèbre? Have you already been writing new material?
A: We are always on the lookout for cool gig opportunities and hopefully we can announce some new dates soon. When it comes to writing… the beginning of 2012 has been very fruitful! We have written basically 5 new songs so far. One more and we can head towards the studio again! But first these songs need some more time to ripe and give us their full potential.

10. What are your opinions on the current Belgian metal scene and the doom metal scene as a whole?
A: Looking at the always filled to the top concert agenda, the metal scene in Belgium is doing great, with some bands standing out as they try to get to the next level in their genre (fi Thurisaz, Gorath, Herfst, Lemuria, Saille, ...)
The doom scene will always be small but of high quality. The logical names are Insanity Reigns Supreme (active for 20 years or so), My Lament and the new name in our scene is Akem Manah. All being death doom bands.

11. What music has Marche Funèbre been listening to lately?
A: some old Anathema and MDB actually, alongside my permanent collection of strange out-of-the-ordinary bands ;-)
D: Haemorrhage, Biohazard and the new Paradise Lost where in my CD player this week. P: Before the rain, Helevorn, Mournful Congregation...

12. I was wondering whether you would like to give your opinions on these statements:
Let us first state that below answers are purely personal, as we can’ t answer these as ‘band opinions’.

- Sartre: Hell is other people. -
A: Over-simplified statement, I guess hell is only a metaphor that I use for my own demons, so it's not other people, but inside me... However, other people could trigger my hellish parts of course.
P: I respect Sartre and his existentialism but the problematic relationship with other people I find somewhat odd. Sartre says that your world when you're alone is totally different from when someone steps into that world. For example, sitting on bench by yourself without anyone in sight is fundamentally altered when someone else steps into that situation. Sartre thinks of this as a problem, as an infliction on your freedom. To me this isn't an infliction but the basis of our living world. Me and this world – and other people are an essential part of this – are two side from the same leave (I'm quoting Merleau-Ponty here), whether you like it or not.

- Schopenhauer: Every nation ridicules other nations, and all are right. -
A: as an historian I think a nation is a fiction, but other than that, there's truth in this statement
P: Well fiction sells. I don't know Schopenhauer that well and I don't know the context of this quote, but I think it's a dangerous attitude. Nations might be fiction, but between those fictional actors we create allies and enemies. A nation declaring another nation as an enemy is the basis of all war (Carl Schmitt), so ridiculing another nation can only go so far.

- Nietzsche: I cannot believe in a God who wants to be praised all the time. - A: Check! I don't believe in any so-called ‘God’ at all. We only have to pay respect to our own values and be able to look ourselves straight in the eyes!
P: No god praising here either. Not a lot praising outside of god as far as that goes. I cannot believe in mankind who wants to be praised all the time. To me, mankind isn't the centre of the universe. We're 'in' this world and we better start living 'in' instead of exploiting it as if we owned it.

13. The last words are yours.
The March is coming with the Sound of Dead Like Doom!
Thanks Lawrence for this nice interview and to those of you that got to this last sentence: thanks for reading and check out our works on our official site.


Click HERE to discuss this interview on the doom-metal forum.


Visit the Marche Funèbre bandpage.

Interviewed on 2012-06-29 by L.V.H..
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