Cecilia::Eyes started out in 2004. Did the band or the sound change much in those 10 years?
Christophe: In 2005, we recorded our first EP Echoes from the Attic in a studio in the countryside, in nature. We were young and carefree and undemanding at that time, our goal was to release an EP and do some concert dates without really knowing where we were heading to. All we knew was that we were heaving fun playing together every week in my attic and most importantly, there was no need to add a voice on our compositions …
Things then quickly evolved and we wanted to go in long format and compose and make new songs with more conviction for our project to become more professional.
Then in 2008 we recorded our first long album Mountain Tops Are Sometimes Closer to the Moon in a big studio in Brussels. Our goal was to obtain a pure and gross sound, and we had them both, and we recorded a lot of guitars in stereo with tube amps. A large mixing work was done to give it that unique sound.
Our second album Here Dead We Lie was preceded by the integration into the band of Gauthier (guitar). The sound of his guitar, his technical knowledge of the effects, of computers and samples (in addition to our musical bond) have contributed to breathe new life into cecilia::eyes.
After a few months of rehearsal and a great inspiration (some pieces of Here Dead We Lie have also been composed during the studio session recording for Mountain Tops), the album was recorded at the same location and under the same conditions as Mountain Tops … but that was mixed completely differently by Rudy Coclet who gave it a more floydienn key with a muffled drum and a less crystalline sound.
Finally, Disappearance was meanwhile composed and produced differently. The new songs have been proposed mainly by Gauthier (guitar) and myself from samples and melodies of our two guitars (Loreta, Bellflowers, Lord Howe Rise) and other instruments were grafted naturally around these initial ideas. The album was difficult to deliver, because of its lack of cohesion and inspiration, besides the difficulties in scheduling rehearsals due to our professional and private life (family, children), which is why it took four years to compose.
The album was then recorded in Rubens Studio (Brussels). We gave a lot of specific guidance to the sound engineer when mixing because we already had in mind a very clear idea of the final result, which is why the recording, mixing and mastering have lasted for almost a year.
Today Disappearance is the album that looks the most to ourselves, emotionally, and it’s the album I’m most proud of artistically, because finally it makes a returning to our teenager musical and sonic first love.
Christophe: The danger is that this kind of music can quickly become boring and you sometimes feel like all the post-rock bands just clone themselves. Personally, I'd rather listen to old albums of Mono and Hammock that are rough, without arrangements and strings but it's just subjective.
How about influences. Bands like Godspeed You Black Emperor, Mogwai or Explosions In The Sky seem pretty clear but are there others?
Christophe: Not post-rock in fact. I listened to my first Godspeed three years ago and I bought my first Mono album about seven years ago. Journalists make quick shortcuts immediately associating cecilia::eyes to familiar post-rock. Today, after four albums, the public finally realizes that our musical influences lie elsewhere than in the post-rock, sometimes in Pink Floyd for some of us, sometimes in the new wave for others, and for myself exclusively in the shoegaze movement. It is strange that no one has noticed that before. When we were teenagers in the 90s, we rather listened to The Cure, Cocteau Twins, My Bloody Valentine, Slowdive and Ride. Only after that we arrived to the first pieces of Mogwai and the like. and today, each of us has a wide range of musical influences that are not at all found in the post-rock. The other members of cecilia::eyes listen to many different things, from drone to progressive rock, from math-rock to new-wave or from experimental to dream-pop … We are not completely closed to other musical styles. The classification does not matter to me as long as what you listen inspires you and allows you to live or relive emotions or pleasant sensations.
Living in Flanders, I rarely hear about bands from the French side of Belgium. Do you know a lot of Flemish bands? And do you have an explanation for this lack of communication between Walloon & Flemish music-promotors, bands,…? And second, can you give us some good bands from your side of Belgium?
Gauthier You know there’s a very good “post rock oriented” label in Flanders called Dunk!Records, and each year they organize one of the biggest “post rockfish” festival in Europe. Some good bands are on it you should have a look here: www.dunkrecords.com
I don’t think there’s a problem between Walloon & Flemish promoters, the problem is that promoters want to make money, and people only listen to POP/ROCK and radio-shit music (Pure FM, the number one radio in Wallonia, is so boring, to stay polite). So today post-rock and shoegaze are completely underground music even if lots of people like it. You know, some years ago we were invited to Pure FM for a live interview with Jacques de Pierpont (Ponpon). This was the only “underground” show that still existed on this channel and it was a very good one… They have removed it from the programming a few time ago…… so stupid.
And there was a time were MTV used to be a Musical Television (with even some good stuff like 120 minutes, headbanger's ball,…). Maybe we are getting old, like our music...?
It’s great then to meet some people like the ones behind Merchants of Air who appreciate same stuff we do, and try to tell people. Thank you. Hopefully we still have good reviews coming from everywhere…