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Written by Béa   
Sunday, 20 April 2008 18:11

Hello, I’m Beatrice and you’re doing this interview for Metal Heart Webzine.
Would you like to present yourself?

My name is Nicolas Chapel and I’m very proud to present you the Demians first album, "Building An Empire".
I’ve always played music in a manner or another one, and I was waiting with a lot of patience the release of this album which means a lot to me. Beyond of being simple music for me, it is really an experience as a whole. Demians has besides become a group during the recording of the album, and we are eager to present these songs on stage.
I do not really know how to present or speak about myself, listen to the album will probably give you a better ideas of what I what to tell.
DemiansI presume that you have read what says Steven Wilson about Demians and « Building An Empire » what does it makes you? Does it encourage you to continue what you’re doing?
I do not have yet realised. I began to listen Steven’s music more than 10 years ago; I have followed his career through projects such as Bass Communion, Porcupine Tree, Blackfield and many others, and I’ve always have a most deep respect for him and his manner of managing his inspiration and his career. I would compare him to artists such as Peter Gabriel, Neurosis or Tool, who have, to me, made all that they wanted on the musical level. It’s not artistic compromise or a mode, but surely their personality which have allowed people to enter into their universe, and it is persons like them who have allowed me to cure myself with my hang-ups, to tell me that communicate through music was maybe the best way to exist for me.
So I can tell you, that even if I haven’t yet realize all that, I really feel honoured to know that he gave an attentive ear to my record, and somewhere find himself. Now I am eager to listen what people of the entire world will have to tell me after the listening of this album, and I hope they’ll also find themselves.
What is your creative process?
This album, like all the songs I’ve wrote, is born from a true personal process, a true introspection, but it is really hard, even impossible to explain this process.
All has been done naturally. I’ve always been curious, I’ve always observe and it happened to me one day in my life where the envy of sharing this vision of things has become too strong.
I’ve always listen a lot of music, as far as I can remember, and I’ve always associate song or sounds to my feelings. It is naturally that one day I’ve wanted to see what I had inside, and I began to compose totally spontaneously. Ideas were coming for instruments that I did not control. Very precise ideas, very strong melodic lines, and rivers of strings which would cross a refrain, walls of guitars which would harm. I wanted to transcribe the most faithfully this music and that’s why I choose to compose everything, to interpret and to record myself. Beyond themes, lyrics and songs, the recording process and the realization have taught me a lot, moreover the more I moved forward the more I discovered. I’ve always been very introverted and to write with this very personal manner has really opened me to others. I think continuing in that sense for a long time, and to take out my own evolution in my music without any interference.
Can you talk about the lyrics of the songs of the album?
This album is a mix of a lot of things, on the musical level as well as on the lyrics level. The lyrics and the music are besides very linked and born at the same times. A little like automatic writing, my texts are very spontaneous, and rare are the corrections made, precisely to keep this spontaneity. In general I sing them at once by closing the eyes, then listen to the tape to note what I’ve said. I learn a lot by doing it in this manner, and the all of it stays much vivid.
The relations between people, the place that each of us has in the life of others, these are subjects which obsessed me. I can really feel this through this album. I’ve always been introverted, and it is only when I’ve began to write these songs some years ago that I reveal myself. I’ve been long submerged with a feeling of living in a world where personality and identity are more and more drown, all make us thing that individual is not important. What made me ask myself how I arrived there and how this idea has made me forgotten of the good sides.
I was very curious when I was a child, and like a lot of people though little by little that I die not have anything to tell, to bring to others, and at one moment I even have lost every respect for me own envies. One morning, I’ve realized… so, I do not blossom myself in this job, neither I recognize these clothes that I wear today, and I do not even know where I would like to go tomorrow. Demians was born that morning. It is from this feeling of having lost everything that was born my envy to rebuild everything.
The album is not a concept album properly speaking, in the sense that there is no narrative line, but if concept there is it is in its realization. Not counting on anyone, advance, to give you the means.
All the album has been realized with nothing else than determination. The technical means were ridiculous, the budget did not exist, and I didn’t ask anyone any support. Not to have glory of it, simply because it was the only way of going to the end of my ideas, and to have a coherent purpose.
I remembered of what I promise myself to realise when I was a child, and most of the songs are born from this dialogue between the person that I was long ago and the one I became.
Songs like “Shine” or “Sapphire” are directly inspired of this feeling, to feel stranger to one. Along I was composing, I learnt on me and on the others, I was looking little by little my place. The learning of the instruments and the sounds that I could get from them gave me other ideas, and was getting out little by little of my silence. Songs like “The Perfect Symmetry” or “Empire” are also inspired from the fear of losing all that. My little world had already collapse once, why could it not arrived once more?
Once again, all these things are not the starting thing, the themes are not approached in a so evident manner and each of you will find something to cling on in these songs. Each of you is free to interpret them as they want, or simply let you transport.
« Building An Empire » is a rather calm album with the exception of « Naive » which is a little heavier than the other ones, do you thing rightly going toward something a little « harder » ?
First of all, I don’t thing that “Naive” is heavier that the other ones. I do not play on words but I even think that it is the “lighter” song of the album. It is very linear and evident, easy to understand at the first listening. Besides its title suits it perfectly, a big catchy refrain, lyrics full of good intentions which go come from the envy of going forward. It happens in a time of my life where I needed to write such a title, this title helped me to take out the head of the water, it’s it which has given me its energy at that time. I can understand the remark on the sound level, the guitars wall in always here, all that can give the feeling that the title is heavier, but for me I really see it more as a flight and lightness.
I would answer the same thing about the term “calm”, because this title is a kind of naive, and somehow a kind of serenity, that the other titles of the album do not have. For me this album is not “calm”.
The heaviness could rather be feel in the corner of “Sand”, the crescendo of “The Perfect Symmetry”, in the final of “Sapphire”, in the sound as well than in the atmosphere. The songs do whatever they want, this album is not calm in the feelings that it gives, and all this is maybe less evident and will ask several listening to be appreciated.
The heaviness and the changing in ambiences are a whole part of my music and of my humours, and I think that songs such as “Sand’ and “The Perfect Symmetry” are much more representative of what could be things in the future…
Even if I have write and done a lot of songs that I would like to produce and some day released, I think that the path that will go through the group in the forthcoming months and all these things that I will still discover, I will rather be very inspired to compose a next album by beginning with a white page.
You are what we call a « one man band » why this choice? To control everything or just simply because you prefer this way of working?
For both, and for a lot of other reasons.
I will answer two things on this subject, because this choice is very important for me.
The first thing is that I am maybe consider as a "one-man band" in studio and at the moment of the Demiansconception of the songs, but Demians has become a stage group, and each musician has its place and will develop it with its personality but we are going to evolve together. I just wanted to precise that in gig you will not just see someone surrounded with its musicians, but a family, a group in which each member is important. Michael, Antoine and Tony have realised a huge work to play live the instrumental parts of this album, and I wanted to talk about.
The second one, purely on the songs level, it is the result of a lot of factors. I’ve already been in groups, and even if it does bring me good things, I’ve also find a lot of disruptive elements, parasites, during the step of creation, which stays for me the most important. In Demians, it’s not me who give the conductive line, but the song. I did not want to impose me barriers, just write good songs.
In a group we often have to occupy everybody, make with elements which, even in an unconscious manner, give frontiers to the original idea. Think to what is “realizable” rather than to think of what could make us stirred.
For example I did not played piano neither drums when I begun to compose these songs, and rather to forget the idea, I began to play them because the lines that I had in mind were very clear and precise for these instruments. No ego story enters in line by doing it that way.
I do not feel at ease in this “leader” role, to say to people what they have to do or loose by energy in justifying my choices. If I would choose to collaborate with a musician to write songs, it would be to bring its personality and its visions of things. Besides the Demians’s case, all the ideas are coming like this to me and I do not want to loose this original vision and ambience that it comes.
I see the instruments like colours and tracks like paintings. One painter can have the complete vision of what the painting will give, and accept the risks that it can have.
You have already played several times in acoustic, how were received the tracks?
Demians’ songs have a lot of arrangements and details which are very important to their developing, but I find that they also work pretty well simply, in acoustic. I do not try to hide these ideas that I would find weak behind the production, and to play them in acoustic allows me to see right away if the roots are sufficiently solid.
The tracks have been very well received, and a lot of listeners have shared their feelings at the end of the concert, which I think is releaving. I had the feeling that a link has been created between the songs and people who have listen to them. A lot of them have stayed to talk about them at the end of the concert, which is very touching for me, and show that the same time of something very strong.
It is besides the impression of community and link that I keep in these talking which have partly inspired the title of the album. To tell yourself that you’re not alone, and that letting speak sincerely its emotions will always allowed you to find someone will will share them.
How the album « Building An Empire » has been received by the professionals? Are the reviews positive?
From all the relative echoes coming from the professional, I get pleasure of true encouragements. Most of them seem to adhere to the approach and to the music, and it is truly a part feeling to feel support like this. The reviews are from here very positive. The opinion of professional as well as the one of the listeners will open doors to the group, will allowed us to play a lot, to progress, to tour, and it is of course that which motivate and support all the members of the group. We really want to go everywhere, meet people, and tour; so, so many good reviews will allow us to go forward in good conditions, without have to do compromises.
I won’t hide you that on the purely personal level, however, I do not pay a great attention. I’m convinced to do my music the most honestly as possible. I have to admit that I will be judge, interpreted, noted and sometimes even people will go aside it, but it is not all that which will make me change neither which will send me to another direction rather than another one.
After having lived so much with this album which means a lot for me, it is really an incredible feeling to know that people pay attention to it and want to talk about it around them.
What are your projects for the future ? Gigs to come ?
A lot of gigs, an awful lot of gigs! I really believe in this group and I’m really eager to play live every day.
I do not hide you the fact that I have really have good time writing songs, I do not know where my imagination will bring me so I’m eager to discover the following, to create again songs and to bring people very far with a next album.
The word of the end is for you, what would you like to add ?
This album is the album for people who, even if they are sometimes forgotten where they come from; know where they want to go. Of those who feel concerned, take their life in hands instead of letting it take for a walk. When you will listen to it, it would not talk about my story but rather yours. These are people that I’m eager to meet when I will be on tour.
It is with them that we can build an empire.
Thanks for this interview and good continuation to you.
Thanks to you Beatrice, and see you soon. :-)


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