The Great Old Ones and the literature of Lovecraft

The Great Old Ones (TGOO) is a recent phenomena in France’s Dark Metal world regarding their debut ‘Al Azif.’ Twisted and beautiful, it reflects the Lovecraftian concept in a new way that doesn’t repeat the wheel that so many have tried to follow. Few Metal fans will have probably heard music as enriched in the literature of H.P.’s stories as TGOO with such a clear sound that for once isn’t Funeral Doom Metal. I got a chance to discuss the band’s upbringings with guitarist Xavier, as well as influences from some of the best in Lovecraft’s stories.

Hello from BRUTALISM. How are things going for you guys; what have you been up to lately?
Hello! We’re preparing the release of our debut album “Al Azif,” which will be out on April 27th. We’ve just did a release party show in Bordeaux for celebrate that! Beside, we’re writing new material.

So I guess the first question would be… how did you come up with the idea of The Great Old ones? I know it’s a Lovecraftian concept but I’m sure our readers would love for you to expand on the idea?
Benjamin started the project alone in 2009. When he started writing, he felt that his music could really describe the atmosphere and the universe of Lovecraft’s work. He wanted to transcribe the dreamlike and disturbing side. Now, we follow this way, and we consider each song as a short story inspired by Lovecraft’s writings.

For your debut album were there any particular stories by Lovecraft to where you got your inspiration from, and are these songs expansions or companion pieces that would go great with the stories themselves?
Of course, we’re inspired by “The Call of Cthulhu” but also by many others like “The Music of Erich Zann” on our track “Rue d’Auseil” for example. Sometimes lyrics are some kind of expansions of the stories themselves, yes, but Benjamin also writes original stories where he uses some elements of this universe.

Would you say you are all ‘Lovecraftian Efficiandos,’ or did you just recently stumble upon the stories, inspiration struck, and bam- The Great Old One’s debut album was born? How much time did it take for you to really soak up the literature, explore it, and translate it into a collection of dark, but beautiful music?
Benjamin, Jeff, and Sebastien read Lovecraft a lot, ‘specially when they were teenagers. So, the writing process is quite natural I guess. For each track, we try to transcribe a particular atmosphere, or a character’s point of view, but sometimes, we also write without thinking about Lovecraft. We just make the link later.

When creating the music, what influences did you feel brought out the best in The Great Old Ones, be it other bands or just things in general?
We all listen to different kind of music. Each member brings his sensibility in TGOO. The main influences come from this new wave of Black Metal with bands like Wolves In The Throne Room, but also from post rock, post hardcore and doom bands like Cult Of Luna, Neurosis, Year Of No Light… In general, we love music that makes our minds traveling. And that’s also what we’re trying to do with TGOO.

Did you guys know each other from long before you started the band or was it just an audition person by person that slowly brought you all together to a now stable (hopefully) lineup?
Benjamin knew Jeff for many years. They were playing in different bands of the local scene and they did some huge parties together. Jeff knew Léo and proposed that he join the band. Then they auditioned Sébastien and I at that same time and the lineup was ready to play. I think it took 3 months from the moment Benjamin decided to start the band to really get things going.

Going back to the album, are there any tracks that deserve special mention, either in how they relate to Lovecraftian literature or just the creation of the music behind them? Every songwriting process has a story to tell!
Well, “Jonas” is kind of special for several reasons. It’s the first song we wrote together, in about 3-4 hours in a row (and beers, lots of beers). The lyrics tell the story of Jonas, you know, the guy who was eaten by whale! But in fact, you will learn that he was eaten by Cthulhu himself, and he saw unspeakable things inside him! We really love this track, but each song in this album has a particular story.

Would you consider your music ‘Dark Metal’ or ‘Atmospheric Metal?’ There are so many elements in Black Metal involved with the music as well but at the same time slower passages like Doom Metal… it really goes out on a limb to create this dark, underworld sound that is difficult to wrap one’s ear around but at the same time incredibly intriguing, while at the same time not being too cliché either.
Well, we like Dark Metal enough. To be exhaustive, we should say Dark-doomy-post-Black Metal with post-hardcore influences… So we simplified! We’re very influenced by all these genres, so it’s hard to sticking us a label, and that’s great!

Is there anything that you prefer The Great Old One’s NOT to be considered, either by Metal subgenre or anything in particular?
People can consider us the way they want. We just write the music we love.

Creating such a dark piece must take a lot of toll on the members, so how do you guys like to unwind and ‘get back to earth,’ so to speak, when after the long process of writing or touring?
Why the hell do you want to ‘get back on earth’?

Speaking of touring, anything in the works for the fans to enjoy so they can see you live, near or far?
We really hope we will have the opportunity to play more shows, especially outside of France. We have some contacts for gigs in Europe, but nothing is sure yet. BOOK US! (thegreatoldonesband@gmail.com). For now, we only have some gigs confirmed in France : Nantes (30/06) and Paris (01/07).

Hopefully BRUTALISM will hear more from you soon! Very cool stuff and thank you again for your time to answer all the questions!
Thank you!

Interviewer: devilmetal747

May 7, 2012

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