Why Pictured wants self control of their business

interview with pictured

Created in 2007 in Quimper, Brittany, Pictured releases its firstself-produced demo, “Son Of The Night”, in 2008. Already characterized by a strong musical personality, Pictured releases “The Dwelling” in 2010 at the Drudenhaus Studio (Anorexia Nervosa, Alcest, Ultra Vomit). This release gets numerous positive feedbacks. Later, the band finds other sources for creation and brings up new material, more mature and powerful and passes again the gates of the Drudenhaus for the recording of their first album, “The Strand Of Time”, during November 2011. With this brand new self-production, Pictured makes another step forward in the French metal scene, boosted by his collaborations with the Breton Label Finisterian Dead End and with the French crew “La Klonosphère” (Trepalium, Klone, Hacride…) and Season of Mist. After the positive review of their album I asked Thomas Coïc (drums) some questions about the band, the album and social life.

Please us a short introduction of yourself and the other members.
Thomas (drums): We're four guys from Brittany, France. Today's line-up dates back to one year but we've all known each other for a long time, even before the creation of the band (in 2006). I think we are all motivated by the same ambition so it's great to work try to make this all grow up together!

How was everyone's summer? Did you do something nice?
Mine was quite busy! I recorded the drums for Stangala (Breton Stoner/Doom) and Stone Wedding (Hard/Stoner) and we shot a video-clip for Stangala as well. Niko (guitar/vocals) also takes part in this project. We've made a few shows with Pictured and begun to work on the visuals for the t-shirts.

How did you come up with the name Pictured?
The foundators of the band came up with Picture and then, a few months ago, we had to chose to turn it into Pictured because the previous one was copyrighted. The first idea was to gather the concepts (don't like that word but couldn't find another one!) of imagination, representation and instropection in one word. I guess it was the one who came first!

Where is the album title referring to? It sounds like ending of mankind.
Kind of! I refers to the time(s) in life when you come to the end of something. From there on, you can move forward, find another path, but sometimes it feels like you can't. When you look at the cover of this album, I think you can understand these ideas, even if multiple interpretations can be made out of it. For example, the lighthouse who is at the back of the cd represents both hope and deceit. Light, by essence, is hope. But maybe it's only been here to attract people into the waves? Well, if we look at it that way, it's not so positive but eh, we're talking about metal (laughs).

What is your favorite track to play on "The Strand Of Time" and why?
I think my favorite is "The Dwelling", for its quick-paced Iron Maiden-like feeling. It's full of melody and the riffs easily stay in mind. I also like "Metal"for its thrash moments. Always fun to play! I think we've tried to make "The Strand Of Time" a fun album to play on! Sometimes a bit challenging on stage but challenges are good!

What do you think of today's music? Not only in metal but also other styles.
Waw, such a question! I am absolutely not able to say the usual "it was better in the 70s" story because I never quite listened to the rock bands who belong to this period (but I'm increasingly getting interested in them). And, furthermore, I feel like one does not have to feel nostalgic. When you talk to people, it always feels like it was better before. And this can go on for quite a long time (laughs). But still, according to the socio-political climate of the time (and it was the same for writing, painting etc.), it seems that music, 30/40 years ago, was much more powerful in terms of influence and spirituality. Maybe it is more intelligent to say that the roots of a style are stronger that what follows. If we look at today's metalbands, some for sure do not convey the same feeling that the first death-metal bands did. If we compare, we could say that these ones look more genuine. But today's new generation also feel like they're starting something new, they  feel that same exact excitement. That's why, when people despise new metal genres, I try to understand what leads these new bands. Well, I still can't help to mock their look but I can't be 100% coherent! Concerning the other styles, I feel pretty optimistic (does that prove I don't know them enough?). I'm not into electro music but it's great that a new expression found its place in the musical world. I feel pretty close to acoustic music and I'm quite fond of "world music" (such a terrible term...) and I truly believe that the music of tomorrow is to be found is the roots of tradition. There are still a lot of things to inspire from our respective cultures!

What is your go-to music/activity when you want to regroup or relax?
We don't really have time to gather because we're all pretty busy with our jobs or activities. So we pretty much relax when we come off the stage to party with the other bands!

Are you working on anything now? Preparing tour? Already writing new songs?
We're actually preparing for a tour in Russia. Quite exhausting to get everything in hand before the first show (it begins on the 10th and ends on the 18th) since we've been invited on the tour a month ago. Visas, rents, papers and papers again, etc. But we're looking forward to this, it's going to be great! Concerning songswriting, I know Niko is writing a few riffs here and there but we've not rehearsed anything so far.

People come to see the band on stage but what kind want to see you backstage?
Strange question... I guess it depends on the shows and the organisations of the people who welcome us! Some associations don't want to let anybody in the backstage, which is ok. You don't want to see the place thrashed at the end of the show!

Can you share some fun backstage stories? Things you'll never forget?
Backstage is quite a mythical place; I think that as long as you're not a huge band, nothing really special can happen there. For sure, at our scale, we can gather one or two stories, but nothing really interesting compared to what some rock band can have experienced in the past! Or maybe we're completely boring, I don't know! Furthermore, live DVDs only show the best part of backstage moments. A few years ago, I watched Mehsshugah's DVD. It was all made in black and white  and they frequently showed the darker sides of tours. Something, you can get a bit depressed or angry at your bandmates... I've never experienced that but one thing is sure; always being with the people you play with can be a real pain sometimes! I'm just guessing here but since we'll soon take the road for Russia, I'll be soon able to make myself an opinion. But let's not be too negative; tours also definetely look fun as hell!

Are you currently playing your favorite type of music?
This turns into a psychological test! Today in the band, we do not listen exactly to the same types of music. I personnaly have turned to more progressive music like Pink Floyd (I told you... never too late!), Radiohead, Porcupine Tree, etc. But I still have a lot of pleasure playing this kind of music. Since Niko is the main songwriter of the band and since I am not yet able to compose something by myself, we'll let this last as long as we're all satisfied by the music we play!

What is Pictured's biggest obstacle? And how will you overcome?
Right now, i think what's the most important is to find the best riffs ever (laughs). Well, obviously, we have to write good music, and I hope that the second album will be killer! But if you're talking about the obstacles within the band itself, I think we lack some rigour. When you want to set your band to a higher level, you've got to be damn demanding about yourself and everybody. Everybody's got to be on time, to be very strict with the news fees that we have to pay (t-shirts, backdrop etc.)... This is turning into a real job and we'll learn it with time!

Why did you decide to self-produce? What are the pros and cons?
Excellent transition! If you want to get out of the huge mass of metal bands playing today, I think you'd better work by yourself. The label companies can no longer afford the sufficient help to your band's growth, CDs don't sell, the bigger bands are always favorited... Self-production allows you to have a complete control of your band's business. Business is the right word and it's not very beautiful. That's not what a musician intends to do when he picks up its instrument! We're not particulary built-up for this activity but we're now convinced that, even if it's time consuming and hard, making a band an enterprise is also rewarding and more adapted to the desires of a band.

Ever though of building an own studio?
Yes, but right now, we don't have enough money to build one. That's another problem (laughs).

What advice do you have for musicians just starting out? Or scared for competition?
Something like "just do it!". You never know what it can bring you. Having a band can learn you much more that you thought. And besides, the usual "work your instrument" stuff!

What are some of your non-music hobbies?
Reading, waching movies, hanging out with friends... Music does not let so much place for the rest!

What was your favorite subject in school? Why and can use it today what you learnt?
English! I've just got my master degree in English and this is very useful, particulary right now, as I'm answering your question. Seriously, French people are huge suckers in English. Our education does not allow us to practice English in the good conditions. No oral practice, boring written exercises... As for me, I still make mistakes but I've never practised more than since I'm out from university so I hope I'll get better with time!

Is there anything you would like to achieve as a human being? And how far are you for reaching it?
Composing the best song in the world! Ah shit, I had forgot Tenacious D already did it.

That's something I've never thought about. I think everybody has a secret mission but you have to know yourself very well to get to know it. It can take some time! Let me take the example of my parents. They had to wait for their retirement to begin to express themselves artistically. One paints and the other crafts music instruments. They've never been so happy! Why does it take so much time? It' up to anybody. Sometimes we unconsciously decide to shut things off, as if we feared to realize them. Facing one's fate is not an easy thing! As for me, I'm getting more and more involved in music and I think it's good. it's a bit frightening as well but Art is beyond everything the most enlightening and exciting experience of life. If I dedicate my life to music, maybe I could become the saver of the modern world (laughs)? Anyway, I don't believe in fate. Today, you've really got to fight if you want to achieve something. Thor won't provide me with Courage or Steel; I've got to live with that.

Are there things in life you regret? In doing or not did? And what will we discuss when meeting in a pub?
We all regret things! Personally, I think I've spent too much time at school. I wish I had spent more time playing music. (laughs). If we meet in a bar, I don't know what we'll talk about but one thing is sure, you look as talkative as I am so I'm pretty sure we'd have a nice evening talking and drinking beer!

At the end of this interview, is there something you like to add? Or maybe shameless self promotion?
My fingers are a bit tired so I'll just thank you for letting me so much place to express myself! I hope it's been interesting enough for everybody and we sincerely hope to see you soon in your country!