Hanna Tsepesh: Salut Tony and Vince! Thanks so much for accepting this interview and Welcome to THE GATES OF METAL! For those who do not know Qantice could you tell us a little how it all started?
Tony: Salut Hanna! Well in the early nineties, I started an instrumental metal band called Now-Lëdge with Cyril Verez on bass and co-composition, and we did some wild tunes full of shredding and classical orchestrations. After few years, Cyril stopped the project to make different things, especially jazz. (though, many years later, he had the kindness to play on some Qantice songs as a guest). So, since my determination to fulfill my symphonic metal dreams wasn’t extinct, I started to make some new songs, to develop a science fiction concept, and to gather a new band: in 2002 Qantice was born, featuring the violinist Yosh Otias, and the drummer Ephrem Charmois. And since I was able to play bass and keyboard for the album, all we needed now was a good singer…
Vince: In 2005, I found Tony’s add in the French metal magazine called “Hard Rock”, I’ve called him and jumped on the bandwagon.
Hanna Tsepesh: I make a little research about you 2 (laugh), and I see that you guys have also other bands… For example Tony, you have two bands calls Naheulband and Belyscendre and in the past Tornaod, right? This bands has a different style so I ask you when you start to feel to make this band? I know you like a lot symphonic heavy metal, did you miss that? Or you start to feel little bit bored and you want to start a new thing with new challenges? And also you Vince you have another band calls Lands of past, I already listen some music’s and is little bit different about what you do in Qantice, did you feel the same thing that Tony feels? (Go to another different project and start new things, etc.). Finally, I ask if you can tell to us about your other bands for our readers know little bit about them…
Tony: First, you have to know that all I do or did besides power/symphonic metal has always been secondary for me. And though these parallel bands have been bringing a lot to me, I pretty much joined all of them by accident (laugh). Here’s another story: in the time when Now-Lëdge splitted, I was also part of a metal band called “Mindrage” (heavy thrash) and Tomaz (singer/leader) suddenly wanted to play celtic music and I found the idea interesting so I picked up a banjo and followed him in the Irish and Britain pubs of Paris. That’s how Tornaod started, a very enriching experience that allowed me to play up to 3 or 4 concerts a week for many years, gaining money and musical skills. During all this time, Qantice was still growing in my head. The same situation occurred later with Naheulband and Belyscendre, but less intensely as we only play once a month. Everytime, these concerts are like a breath of fresh air, a party among friends.
Vince: I’ve enjoyed Qantice for the concept; as for Lands of Past, it was a practice run. But my real felling and principal project is Agone Angel www.myspace.com/agoneangel. This band is composed by MAI (Music Academy International – a music school in France) students in which we found a lot of hopes. It’s a strong and spell building music, who, I believe, will bring heavy metal towards others tones.
Hanna Tsepesh: What are your favorite bands? You guys have any musician that you admire the most?
Vince: First, Sebastian Bach for his charisma and his voice of course. Also HIM for the Gothic atmosphere, In flames for the Nordic sound, Adagio, Linkin Park, Pain, for the fusion and research of new tones, Devin Townsend for the genius and the creativity. And a lot of others bands through different styles and times.
Tony: Here’s some bands that have counted a lot to me: Angra, Symphony X, Iron Maiden, Rhapsody Of Fire, Gamma Ray, Helloween, Stratovarius, Scanner, Rage, Sortilège, Riot… And the musicians I admire the most are those who have what I call the “magical spark” in their compositions: the urge to express something deeply cerebral and emotional through their music, the ability to catch those melodies and progressions that have a taste of eternity and seem to preexist before they are found. Of course this is all a very subjective judgement, but I consider that John Williams, Ennio Morricone, Tchaïkovsky, Schubert, Listz, Chopin, Mozart have this capacity. And among the metal composers I would quote Peter Wagner, Kai Hansen, André Matos, Luca Turilli, Timmo Tolki, Michael Romeo, Uli Jon Roth or even Malsmteen whose first album “Rising Force” has completely changed my life…
Hanna Tsepesh: I would like to know if you had or have any singing lessons or any other preparation? You have fantastic voice for this kind of style I hope you never give up on this because if you do is incredible lost! I think you have a great future as a singer…
Vince: First of all, I’ve learned guitar. Next I had a liking for singing and I worked and took lessons with a personal teacher who had knowledge in lyrical singing. Eventually, I was a MAI student. Today I give some singing lessons and I still work on my voice. But you’ve never heard me under my shower: I promise it’s gorgeous!
Hanna Tsepesh: and you Tony, when you start to play Guitar? You also play bass. So, if I ask you what instrument you prefer to play what will be you answer and why?
Tony: I started to play the guitar at the age of eighteen and this is indeed my favorite instrument. Like I suggested earlier, Yngwie is the guy who triggered my decision to become a neoclassical guitarist. Now, I also enjoy playing the bass or other instruments like acoustic guitar, banjo, or mandolin. In fact, I like so much to make orchestrated music that I wished I could play every instrument! But there’s already a lot of work to do on a guitar so I’d better not spread myself too much.
Hanna Tsepesh: About Qantice: What are the inspirations to create the lyrics for Qantice? The band writes the lyrics first or first the band creates the riffs and the melody to comply with the lyrics?
Tony: The lyrics of each song are painting events that takes place in a sci fi/ fantasy world called… Qantice ! - easy to remember, isn’t it (smile)? Now what comes first between lyrics and music ? I’d say it’s the music. I seek for good melodies first, and after that, I ask to myself: “What am I seeing here ?”. It’s like focusing on a blurry image and slowly discovering what it’s about. After that, all these elements are put together in a story and a first sketch of lyrics is written. Then Vince shows up and we discuss which words can be kept or which ones should be replaced or even suppressed to let him find the best voicing result or simply find a place to breath !
Hanna Tsepesh: Qantice have a new album call “The Cosmocinesy”. In my opinion about this album is: I liked a lot the melodies, they are very beautiful and I think that brings a little bit what you learnt with Tornaod, Naheulband and Belyscendre, right Tony? Also, the voice is great and the lyrics are amazing, I think when we listen with our heart and mind this album we feel in different World (somewhere in another galaxy or something). For people who don’t listen yet can you talk about “The Cosmocinesy” and what the band want to accomplish?
Tony: Indeed, more that once in this album, you can find celtic and accoustic elements that were inspired by what I play in all my other bands. And I think there’s nothing like celtic instruments to portray some wide and lovely green lands, or to bring us into a “Braveheart” state of mind.
As I said before, Qantice is not only the name of the band but also the name of another world, so we’re glad to see that you felt this way about it! To get more into details, it is a kind of flat and infinite land from another universe, a big strange land where you can find oceans and planets hanging in the sky among the clouds, some of them carrying different races and civilizations… And thanks to some crystals called “Ergolys” a technology has been invented that allows anyone to reshape matter and create anything at will. But things aren’t so simple, because there are pirates that steal those crystals, Megantrops who have these powers without the need of any device, and some other people who think it’s all a sin to control matter like this.
“The Cosmocinesy” is only the fisrt part of this epic saga. The word means “Movements of The Worlds”… a huge program starting with the quest of a Megantrop for a stolen planet. Now, to summarize what the band wants to accomplish, I’d say that in the vein of the Never Ending Story’s Fantasia, Qantice is an hymn to the endless wonders of creativity. (sounds pretty much like something Luca Turilli could have said, I know. (laugh) )
Hanna Tsepesh: The cover album is very cool! Who was the person behind this work? Did you feel that transmit what “The Cosmocinesy” is?
Vince: It was Neil Maccormack, a very good English 3D artist who did 90% of the work. Then a nice post production has been done by ZeMial, a graphist from Belgium. He added many filters to warm up the scene, some grass in the front, and the cute little lightning strike at the back of the CD.
Tony: And yes it really fits with the concept: Neil did the starship from a bad drawing I had done and all the rest has been conducted via email instructions, during once month. And I’m gonna salute here the extreme patience of these two guys because I can be very picky about details sometimes…
Hanna Tsepesh: The band feels proud with the final result or you think that miss something? This album has some important guests, right? Can you tell to us about it? Everything went well at recording studio? It was an easy process for you guys and the others?
Tony: Well the recordings were all made at my home, in Montreuil (a city next to Paris). And since I really wanted to take my time, I could gather lots of interesting guests, indeed, especially some celtic musicians that were part of my other bands or just friends that came and see me. So the easy part was that we could take our time, but since, I’m not the best sound ingeneer in the world, I can say the general sound could have been slightly better if we had done it in a real studio. Anyway we’ve been lucky to have Kevin Codfert (keyboard/producer from Adagio) make a wonderful job on co-production and mixing... So yes, I’m happy with what we got!
As for the difficulties, well I admit it’s been tough sometimes because the technical conditions were not at their best. And Vince is probably going to tell you what an annoying perfectionist I can be… (laugh)
Vince: Indeed, Tony is an annoying perfectionist and that’s the reason why I think this album is really fulfilled, even if Tony would like to carry out more and more modifications (laugh).
Hanna Tsepesh: How has the response been to the album by the media and fans?
Tony: Some fans had been waiting for this album for so many years and I can say they were happy to hear it at last and a large majority of them have reacted with an incredible enthusiasm… I think they’ve all realized how much passion and work these songs contain and we’ve received some very touching messages from our fans from all over the world.
Regarding the media, we have three categories:
- there are some who really had a big crush on our stuff, and made some incredibly positive reviews. “The Cosomocinesy” has been “album of the week” or “album of the month” in lots of them and I’m so grateful to them! As an example, the Raven’s Eggs And Kegs Radio show from USA has been playing our music in all its shows, for more than one month now!
- then you also have a small amount of reviewers who are not really into that type of music, or they’re just tired of it, but all of them acknowledge our album is at least very well done.
- finally, you have the major medias, like the big magazines, who still haven’t even noticed that we existed. But I won’t blame them because the market is overcrowded with new albums being released everyday, so they can’t hear every production. Also, most of them received our CD just a couple of weeks ago, and some still haven’t… So let’s be patient. And I guess that what will make the difference is time, concerts, and the support of our fans…
Hanna Tsepesh: what is your favorite music in this album and why?
Vince: My favorite song is “Megantrop” for the power of the melody, and “Burial Waves” cause emotion in it is really deep.
Tony: Like I already said somewhere else, I refuse to choose which of my children I prefer… Though I can say that Pirates is probably the richest of all, and Megantrop has the best melody. But I can also say that Ocean Eclipse is the most beautiful, and Burial Wave the most intense and dramatic… And could go on like this with each of the other songs. So it will all depend on my mood: today, I would answer “Head Over Worlds”: the super power metal opening song, full of life and crazy breaks.
Hanna Tsepesh: If our readers want to buy your new album, what they can do to have it in a safe way?
Tony: Oh every way is safe, but it’s like when you buy eggs or goat cheese: it tastes better if you get it directly at the farm where they’re produced (laughs). In other words, go to the online shop of our official site www.qantice.com and remember you can ask for a signed copy. Or you can also get our CD on our label’s site: www.brennus-music.com , or through itune and other digital shop, or ask your local store, wherever you are in the world… There’s an ever growing list of foreign distributors featuring on our website.
Hanna Tsepesh: The band is thinking about a European tour? You guys have plans to include Portugal in your tour or something?
Tony: Well before thinking of a European tour, we’ll think of doing some concerts in France, and before this, we’ll think of making intense rehearsals… And before this (!) we need to find a bassist and a keyboardist… So I’m afraid it’s still a long way until you see us in Portugal, but this leaves enough time to Gates Of Metal to promote Qantice there and convince thousands of people come to our shows. Right ? (laughs) Anyway, we’re very serious when we say we’d love to come and play in Portugal!
Hanna Tsepesh: Right (Laughts)! What is the future plan for Qantice? You guys are thinking a next album or something? I hope you guys don’t give up on this…
Tony: No way I’m giving up on this. Qantice is all my life and during those last ten years, I’ve started to compose a lot of other songs that don’t feature on “The Cosmocinesy”… So the epic story of the Megantrops is far from being over and you can expect to see some future albums rise up in the coming years. All I can’t predict is “when” because I’m a slow and meticulous worker and I prefer to make one good album every five years than something of mediocre quality and inspiration every two years.
Vince: I enjoyed working with Qantice members and why not another journey with them!!!
Hanna Tsepesh: What is your opinion about heavy/power metal in our days? There are always many criticisms in this kind of music’s styles… did you think people don’t understand this kind of music styles? There is a lot of death metal, trash metal, etc., in our days and I don’t see a lot of heavy/power metal bands to. What have this music style that you guys liked so much?
Vince: I believe that today in France there is not real possibility to express this kind of music style and this is so sad! The radios and events stress on rap and r’n’b music save some metalfest who are so rare. Maybe the situation could change thanks to Hellfest. What I like in heavy/power metal is that it’s not compartmentalized and gives the possibility to research new tones and inspiration with an evolving aspect.
Tony: I’d say that most of the criticisms come from people who don’t like it. They don’t like high pitched voices, or happy melodies, or these kinds of things... If what they seek is extreme aggressiveness, or despaired atmospheres, well heavy power is just not for them. I’m not sure it has a lot to do with “understanding”, except maybe with the most technical bands that require brains that can process fast notes and scale changes. Now if we talk about true heavy/power bands, I see lots of them on myspace every day and a lot are quite good. But to me, the thing that makes the difference is what they have to say through their compositions and I sometimes find more passion and magic in a young passionate band than in the last big production of some super band that’s obviously tired of doing this job…So to summarize, what I like in this genre is the spiritual and passionate melodies that make me feel like I’m gracefully flying in some other dimension. And that’s pretty much all I need to feel good.
Hanna Tsepesh: Last question: Do you want to send any message for the people who going to read this interview?
Vince: Thank you to listen to this kind of music style cause it’s very important to give more room to metal music in this fucking world. We need readers, listeners and fans to continue doing ours tracks.
Tony: A message? Ok, here we go: don’t believe in what the mainstream media say. Their goal is just to entertain you and to send all forms of critical thinking to sleep. Learn to think for yourselves. And slow down with hyper consumption: not only that’s not where you’ll find happiness, but it’s killing the earth. I know this has nothing to do with Qantice, but that was my message.
Hanna Tsepesh: Thanks o much for your answers and time. THE GATES OF METAL wishes the entire band a great success with “The Cosmocinesy” album! We hope to see Qantice very soon in here…
Tony: Thank you Hanna. This was our first interview in English, and it was a great experience, especially with an interviewer who’s so supportive of our work. We’ll keep you in touch with you when we have some news, and of course, especially when we come to play in your country!
Vince: Hanna, thank you very much and I’m so glad to be doing this interview with The Gates Of Metal because it’s always important to share our music and our liking for metal with other people around the world .
Hanna Tsepesh: Thank you so much for your words Tony and Vince, it was also great to interview you two! Thank so much and all the best...
By: Hanna Tsepesh
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