QUICKIE OF THE WEEK: A short interview with Martin Hamiche (AEPHANEMER)

written by Marko Jakob

Pix666: Hello Martin. Thanks for your time. How are you doing these days, are you alive and well?

Martin: Hello there! I am very fine, alive and well! Of course this is a very busy period as we just released our new album but everything has gone well so far.

Pix666: Please introduce your band to the readers in a few short sentences. How did you meet as a band and what kind of music does Aephanemer make?

Martin: We are Aephanemer, a French band founded in Toulouse in 2014 and we play symphonic melodic death metal. This means that the core of our music is melodic death metal inspired by Scandinavian bands, mixed with symphonic elements inspired by various influences such as baroque music, Russian classical music, and many others.

Pix666: You’ve been on the road with Aephanemer for more than seven years now. What inspired you to become a musician and what have been the best experiences and milestones with your band so far?

Martin: I think everyone in the band would have a different answer to that specific question, but for me, what I love most is writing songs. I wanted to become a musician to write songs like my favorite bands. The second best thing is sharing those songs with the world, through shows or releasing an album. That’s just great!

I think a first milestone would be when we played Wacken in 2018. It was the first time we played a big event and we found out that we loved it! Then we had two milestones in 2019: signing to Napalm Records, and doing our first tour with Alestorm in Canada. That was a great year. And finally, I think the latest major milestone is the release of our new album “A Dream of Wilderness”. We got great feedback and we feel that something is working, that something great is happening. Now we just hope to get back on stage as soon as possible!

Pix666: So now your third album is ‘A Dream Of Wilderness’ was released. What can fans expect on the album? Are there also special versions of the album, bundles or similar?

Martin: Well we still make the same kind of music as on our previous albums, but we added some new elements and strengthened the “symphonic” component of our sound a bit. In this new album, we have included two bonus tracks: the first one is a version of “The Raft of the Medusa” with French lyrics, and the second one is a metal cover of the song “Old French Song” by Tchaikovsky.

Pix666: You’ve released a new video clip for the song ‘Antigone’. You are there in a beautiful scenery – where did you shoot the video and were there any funny moments during the shoot?

Martin: Thanks, I’m glad you liked the scenery! We shot this video in a place called “Les Lapidiales” in France, which is an abandoned quarry that has been transformed into a magical place by over 80 sculptors! There were a lot of funny moments during the shooting but they are hard to explain unfortunately haha!

Pix666: About two years ago you signed a contract with well-known Austrian label Napalm Records. How did the contact come about, who made the first step? What do you think will be the advantages of working with such a strong partner in the future?

Martin: When our last album ‘Prokopton’ was ready to be released in 2018, we sent it to many labels including Napalm Records but unfortunately we didn’t receive any feedback from them. So we released the album through our own label Primeval Records, and we were very surprised to receive an email from Napalm Records in June 2019, saying that they wanted to sign us, re-release Prokopton and also release our future albums. It’s obviously a great thing for us to have a partner like them, because we don’t have to manage everything ourselves like we did before, and we can now find our albums in stores all over the world, which was something impossible when we were an independent band.

Pix666: I’m a fan of statistics of all kinds. What about you, Martin? Do you know, for example, in which countries the people who listen to your music live?

Martin: I’m also a big fan of statistics! Our followers come from all over the world. Currently, 10% of our followers are French and 90% are not. In addition, about 60% of our followers are from Western or Eastern Europe, 17% from North America and 20% from South America. And only 3% of our followers are not from any of these regions!

Pix666: Where do you get the ideas for your songs, which topics do you mainly deal with?

Martin: Marion (Vocals, Rhythm Guitar) is in charge of writing the lyrics so I won’t be as precise as she would be, but our main topics is ethics – which is the part of philosophy focusing on how to behave to be a good person. And then we usually work on that in different contexts – through ancient stories, Greek stories for example, through current world problems, or through more recent stories like “Strider” in our new album which is inspired by the Tolstoy novel.

Pix666: How do you generally create your songs? Is there a certain plan? Who in the band is responsible for what?

Martin: I’m in charge of writing the songs, which means that I write all the “musical stuff” – guitars, bass, keyboards, drums, and other instruments. When I finish writing a song, I send it to the rest of the band. Marion (vocals, rhythm guitar) then writes the lyrics and vocal lines, while Lucie (bass) and Mickaël (drums) will sometimes tweak their parts.

I’m used to writing music alone, that’s what I’ve been doing since 2014 when Aephanemer was still a solo project, and so far we’re all really happy with this process!

Pix666: Did the Corona pandemic influence or even change the work on your new album in any way?

Martin: Yes, because we had many shows planned for 2020 and 2021 which were cancelled or postponed. So we had much more time than expected to work on our new album, and it was pretty nice!

Pix666: Do you already have plans for concerts around the time of the album release?

Martin: Unfortunately not really, because it is still complicated to plan shows in France and in many other countries because of COVID restrictions. So we have planned some concerts but only for 2022 – festivals in Europe and also a French tour which is in preparation.

Pix666: Social media and music streaming are both a blessing and a curse for bands. From your point of view, what are the advantages and disadvantages of this development for your band. How much do Aephanemer use social media and where are you represented?

Martin: For us, social media and the internet is clearly a great thing because without it, we would be a very underground band right now. French Metal is a very specific genre of music and we don’t sound at all like most French bands, so it would be extremely complicated for us to succeed in the French market specifically. Fortunately, we are now in 2021 and we are able to reach melodic death metal fans all over the world. We are a very active band when it comes to online promotion, we try many different things and do what works best.

Pix666: As a musician, you certainly spend most of your time creating music – but what else do you do in your free time when you want to get your mind off things – are there any interesting hobbies that you pursue?

Martin: In fact, I only write music when I write an album, which means it only happens for 9 months every two years. It’s a good balance for me, because once an album is written, I need a lot of time to listen to new music, experience new things and develop new musical ideas for the next one. And that’s great, it feels very natural to me. I would hate to write music all the time without being able to live my life and fill up the engine!

When I’m not working on the band, I have very simple hobbies. Nothing really special: I like walking, reading, playing sports, playing video games, teaching my students… I’m naturally curious and rather contemplative about everything, so I really don’t need much to be happy.

Pix666: Do you have any other news, that you would like to share with the fans?   

Thank you much for this great interview! We hope you will like our new album “A Dream of Wilderness”!

Pix666: Thank you very much for the interesting answers – Good luck with the new album and stay healthy!!!



photos © by Aephaemer & missbuffetfroid