Fractal Gates - 20/07/2009

In 2005 Stéphane Peudupin and Sebastien Pierre (both of French doom act Inborn Suffering) decided to create a band that emphasized more on rock, Scandinavian metal and catchy tunes. And so “Mislead” was born. The band had been active for two years when it was disbanded. In August 2007 Stéphane Peudupin and Sébastien Pierre decided to create a new band built on the ashes of “Mislead”. After some line-up changes, FRACTAL GATES found a solid formation with Antoine Verdier on bass guitar, Arnaud Hoarau on rhythmic guitar, Vivien Dumont on drums, Sebastien Pierre on vocals and Stéphane Peudupin on lead guitars.  

This marks the birth of FRACTAL GATES, a band that brings us Metal and Dark Rock with grooved catchy tunes and screams. The band emphasizes mainly on extra terrestrial life forms, ancient civilizations, planets, esoterism, science fiction etc .. Energy could be what describes Fractal Gates’s music best. The band released a 4-track demo CD at the end of 2007, this received surprisingly good response over the world which greatly motivated them to compose more songs. FRACTAL GATES was greatly inspired during the composition process and in four months’ time they had all the material ready for a full length CD.


In August 2008, the band entered the Hybreed studio and recorded and mixed the songs with Andrew Guillotin (7th Nemesis, Glorior Belli, Carnal Lust, Temple of Baal..). They were very satisfied with the result and they decided to master the works at Jacob Hansen’s studio (Volbeat, Pestilence, Non-Divine, Prey for Nothing...). The result is 49 minutes of explosive energetic metal on the debut album entitled “Altered State of Consciousness” which was released June 2009 through Rusty Cage Records.



It seems there is much to talk about and so we tracked down Sébastien Pierre (vocals / keyboards) to give us some answers for the following questions.


Congratulations on the release of your new album ‘Altered State Of Consciousness’ which will be out soon, of course we’d like to ask you a couple of questions about it.


First of all, could you start this interview off with a short introduction of the members, the origin of the name of the band and how this band got together?


Sébastien: Steph and me, also members of Inborn Suffering, wanted to play something a little different, more rock and catchy. So first we created the band Mislead, which split up. We reformed the band but changed the name and line up, and began to research which concept would serve for the lyrics. Science and science fiction used with metaphores, that was the general idea for Fractal Gates music, lyrics and artwork. Since the studio recording we have a stable line up.


How did you launch into writing material for ‘Altered State Of Consciousness’ and how much time did you spend on the songs?


Sébastien: After finding the direction we wanted to follow, we started with some melodic death dealing with SF. We had various subjects to explore, and they became a sort of concept album in the end. This was done quickly, I went to Steph's many times to compose together, often managing to have one or 2 songs written in a weekend. This process lasted some months, until we had enough choices to select the best tracks.


What were the goals you had in mind when you started to record ‘Altered State Of Consciousness’, any elements you definitely wanted to include on the album?


Sébastien: We only wanted to have fun with the writing and recording process, playing what we liked at this time. Also, we desired to give it a special atmosphere, linked to SF. And we wanted the production to sound like Swedish melodic death.


Could you please describe the implications of the title ‘Altered State Of Consciousness’, what does it stand for and is there a special meaning behind it?


Sébastien: The ‘Altered State of Consciousness’ is something one can discover while practising meditation, trance, hypnosis, Near Death Experience, lucid dreams, etc. As some of our songs deal with A.S.C., we found that this was the perfect album name to attract the curiosity.



What about the lyrics, where do you get your inspiration from and can you tell me something more about them?


Sébastien: We talk of abductions, ancient civilizations, decorporations, planets, etc... We got our inspiration from some SF movies, and some recent scientific discoveries.


How important is it to you that people pay attention to the lyrics apart from listening to the music?


Sébastien: If people want to understand the growls and to fall deeper into the universe we propose them, it would be a good thing to read them. But I understand that one can just like a general feeling and music without paying any further attention to the lyrics.

Can you give us a little background about the songs on the album, is there a story behind them?


Sébastien: In fact we left 3 studio recorded songs out of our album, cause we thought it was too long. The old tracklist was more a step by step story, now a little less so. The listener will face an apocalyptic future, while leaving his body to escape from a cruel dimension. His mind will travel through some unusual emotions, before discovering the beauty of galaxies, nebulas, unseen stars. Then he'll find out that he's not alone... and that he never has been.


What is the most important ingredient for a song according to you and is there any typical way that your songs come into being?


Sébastien: I think that there are at least two moods for listening to a song. The first one is when searching for some deep emotions, to live the music. The second one is more in the need of a background music, during any activity. In both cases, I like when the simplicity of the structures can make you remember the melodies easily, and when a track has cohesion, not too much prog, for example. Mid tempo is the best way to achieve those goals. Mixed with some more technical riffs, this is the way we prefer a song.


About the song writing, how can we imagine you work on new songs, what's the typical writing process like for Fractal Gates?


Sébastien: As said before, Steph and me take some time during a weekend, to focus on what we have in mind for a new thing to compose. By jamming in the beginning, we manage to "feel" something emerging from it, a silhouette of a song. Once this is done, we try to complete it with other riffs to finally arrive at the end of the process. We are very sensitive to the cymbals used for each riff, and to the way a chorus appears. Transitions are important and are what takes, maybe, the most time. Generally, vocals are placed afterwards, as are the keyboards. But sometimes the order is not the same... It all depends on the alchemy between us during the writing process.


What comes first, lyrics or melodies? Is it like you sit down and write a new song because you need more material now or do you wait until you get an idea?


Sébastien: We are used to composing music before writing any lyrics. But we had the opposite process for Inborn Suffering for one or two songs, in the end it doesn't influence the result that much. We just find it easier to place vocals and lyrics once melodies are done. Other musicians prefer it the other way. Usually, we prefer to meet in order to compose when we think that we have some inspiration, cause we know somehow it takes more time or more chance without it, to be productive. As we composed a lot, we had far more songs than the ones present on the album.


How did the recording process proceed and how much time did you spend in the studio?


Sébastien: We recorded the lead, rythmic and clean guitars, bass guitar and keyboards at Steph's. Then we recorded the drums and vocals in the studio, before mixing and mastering. It took several weeks to find the right sound and to have the album finished musically. The recording and mixing was done by the talented Andrew Guillotin, who had also done the Inborn Suffering album sound. We mastered A.S.C. with Jacob Hansen.



Which element of the CD are you most proud of?


Sébastien: That would be the speed at which all this happened. One year earlier we were just at the beginning of it all. And we think that the quality of the production is quite good for a first album.


Can you tell us a little about yourself and the kinds of things that motivate you in your writing, your poetry, and your lyrics? What are you personally into?


Sébastien: As said before, we're into SF, Science discoveries and new technologies, also in the field of mythology, esotericism. More simply, we're curious and open minded.


Could you react to the following terms in just one word or sentence:


Metal : elite music

Underground : METRO, work, METRO, sleep.

Internet : freedom of information

Religion : sometimes useful

Politics : clowns

Metallica : not my cup of tea

The Netherlands : chocolate

USA : 9/11

France : Food, what else?


What makes Fractal Gates different from the other death metal bands out there?


Sébastien: Why would we want to be different from other bands?


Are there any particular bands who’ve been a big influence in your song writing, metal or otherwise? Which album has been your biggest musical influence, one that made you think “this is what I want to do!”?


Sébastien: We like the bands Insomnium, old In Flames, At the Gates, Ajattara, Rapture, Amorphis, etc. Most of our influence is from Sweden and Finland. No particular band though.


How would you describe your own music and what are your musical influences?


Sébastien: Fractal Gates could be described as melodic doomdeath with a groovy rock feeling, a French band sounding more like a Swedish one.


What can we expect from Fractal Gates in the near future, any touring?


Sébastien: So, we are rehearsing to prepare future lives, and at the same time we are working on the second album, which should be a sequel to A.S.C.


Where do you see the band going within the next couple of years, and where do you see the band’s musical direction going for the next album?


Sébastien: We don't know if we'll still be active in the years to come, for the moment we are just having fun and that's the most important thing. People seem to like it so that's a plus. We hope to record the second album as soon as possible and to be ready for sharing it live.


Anything left to say to our readers?


Sébastien: Concentrate on your presence, open your mind deeper, feed your life with empathy.


Thanks for your time,

Eugene Straver




Antoine Verdier - Bass

Arnaud Hoarau - Guitars

Stéphane Peudupin - Guitars

Vivien Dumont - Drums

Sébastien Pierre - Vocals



(2009) - Altered State Of Consciousness