Interview for POWERMETAL.de  (Germany)
Answered by : Syriak, October 2011

Hi Syriak, this Jakob from German online webzine POWERMETAL.de! How are you?

I’m doing great thank you ! Couldn’t be better as we’ve just been nominated for “best metal/rock album of the year” at the GAMIQ, which is the independent music award in Quebec. This is a nice mark of appreciation and we’re thankful for that!

Congratulations on your new album “Fables Of The Sleepless Empire”! It’s absolutely insane and beautiful at the same time. What do you personally think of it?

It’s pure rubbish. ;)
Haha…No…really…. well we’re extremely glad that the album has been so well received and gets such great reviews all over the world! We worked very hard to release the album and it seems we’re rewarded with quite an amount of praises! I’m very proud of FOTSE and think we grew towards a more balanced and focused result.

How did you manage to write such progressive-complex album? And can you elaborate on the process writing an UNEXPECT-Song? What are your influences, also when writing the lyrics?

Since Unexpect is a collective project, everybody has his say when comes the time to compose, so naturally, the blend of so many strong minded individuals can only results in something out of the ordinary. Most of the time, a member will come up with a structure and instrumentation parts on which we’ll then work all together to add our personal touch. We also often compose for each other’s instruments, giving ourselves hard working goals to reach and challenges to achieve. When you compose only for your own instrument, there are natural and instinctive barriers along the way which don’t exist for someone who don’t play it. But in overall there’s no unique recipe for our creation process and it’s quite different for each song. What’s important to note is that we all participate actively.
As for influences when writing lyrics…I don’t think I have anything special in particular, but I do put myself in another state of mind where ideas and images can flow freely without the restraints of reason. So there’s sometimes a part of controlled automatism…controlled in the sense that I give myself a theme and try to blow around with it. I then rework everything and choose more carefully my words and restructure the whole canvas.
I like to start with a very concrete/social theme and transform it in poetic series of images and surreal metaphors…making it, I agree, quite hard for the readers to understand my deepest meanings, but my main goal has never been to be completely clear and direct…I love it that so many people can all have different interpretations of my writings and follow their own instincts.

What sets “Fables Of The Sleepless Empire” apart from your former release “In A Flesh Aquarium”?

It was definitely the “logical” next step of where we were already going. Without diluting the madness, I think we managed to make the controlled chaos a bit more stable and subtle, so this album can grow a bit more easily on someone but there’s still as many details and probably even more layers than before. Only, everything is more focused and we let ourselves play longer with some themes, letting everybody enjoying them for longer than our extreme sharp turn pattern we had on IAFA. That said, that’s exactly what we wanted at this time, but now we wanted to try something else and that’s what came naturally out of us.

Can you explain the cover-artwork-concept from “Fables Of The Sleeples Empire”?

I loved the weird yet serene feeling I got from that picture and that’s what convinced us that this should represent FOTSE. The general impression is of calm, yet you can feel the turmoil and organic texture of the character, standing in this zen equilibrium. Chaos and clarity dancing together…just like our music.
It’s been created by a very talented Spanish artist named Mario Sanchez Nevado.

The music of UNEXPECT is full of odd times, unconventional harmonics and complex structures. Did the members of UNEXPECT enjoy a (classical) musical education?

That’s right for some of us, yes. Exod ( who’s not in the band anymore but who participated as much as any other members composition wise ) and I studied piano at classical school together when we were very young and stayed on the musical path since. I also have had a short jazz formation on guitar/piano at the same time/school Chaoth was following it on bass.
We didn’t stay too long as they were more focused on making us interprets instead of creators. Borboën studied violin and composition at Montreal’s Conservatory of Music so he’s been into this for a long time too. All the other ones are mainly self-taught.
Leïlindel for her part, alongside her incredible voice and natural talent, also studied at the ADMMI, a renowned modern dance school in Montreal.

What was your personal motivation to start playing music?

Personally, it was completely random and a pure stroke of luck ! My parents subscribed me in a classical music school when I was 7 years old so I just fell into this early in my life. I do thank them for that! So I’ve learned piano until I got in my teenage years and started to take interest in electric guitar. That’s when I did the switch…and later on in my life kept on practicing the piano as it is still one of the most incredible instruments to my eyes.

What are you doing if you are not playing or listening to music?

I love to read pretty much every kind of books, from Frank Herbert to Jack Kerouac, Bernard Werber, Lovecraft, the Dalaï Lama and so on… I’ve also always been a video gamer at heart, as I was born into the Atari Generation…nursed by Q-Bert and his kind.
Cooking suppers with friends and sharing abundant drinks…thinking a lot…in a natural environment if possible…and of course managing the band and doing what a label usually do takes the major part of my time.

Why are UNEXPECT still unsigned? What are the advantages and disadvantages being an unsigned band?

Well, one of the advantages would be of course of getting a bigger part of the pie when you sell your music. The fact that there are fewer intermediaries between the band and the fans also makes it more personal and transparent…we know everything that’s transpiring in our name.
I think the future shall see a lot more bands doing the same, but since it’s quite new, some distributors can be a bit frisky at the idea of working with an independent band, but that’s going to change eventually. The fact that it’s taking a major part of my time to manage everything is also a bit hard, as I’d like to have more time for music, but since it’s our first release, we learned a lot and if we do decide to do the same for the next album, everything will be easier.

Will we be able to see UNEXPECT in Germany?

Maybe in 2012 ! We’ll be coming for the Hellfest in France and will try to work out some other dates on the European territory while we’re around. Can’t wait to come back and visit all the cities we visited while we toured with Dream Theater and Opeth in 2009 !
See you then my friends !

Thanks a lot for your time and take care!