Whyzdom is a French band, mixing genre’s and coming for the second time to the Metal Femal Voices Fest in Wieze (Belgium). Time to ask some questions and introduce them …
First of all, what’s the philosophy behind the name and why with a z?
Vynce: I don’t know if we can call it « philosophy », but we wanted to have a contrast between the name and our music. Contrast is something very important for us, because it is what makes the difference between a monotonic music and an attractive one. So the concept of wisdom in contrast with the roughness of metal was very interesting. But we used a different spelling to make it more unique and to draw attention. That’s when the z came in action, along with a y and a h.
Marie: Yes, actually, it is because of a scrabble game in French: W 10 points, H 4 points, Y 10 points, D 2 points, M 2 points! (no, it is a joke).
Whyzdom is the word wisdom with « why » inside of it. Our lyrics are about philosophical questions we all ask ourselves all around the world.
Can you tell us something about your history?
Vynce: The band started in 2007, more than 8 years ago. We wanted to blend symphonic music with metal. But we wanted to push the concept as far as we could, with compositions that really make use of the philharmonic orchestra as instrument of the band. Not only a few synthetic strings sounds coming from a laptop and guitar power chords! After the release of our first album, we had the opportunity to tour with Delain and to open for Tarja, and year after year, we could play in many festivals throughout Europe. Marie joined the band more than 3 years ago.
Marie: Yes indeed. I joined the band in 2013 for the « Blind? » European tour: Germany, Belgium, United Kingdom and France too. Then, we made a music video Dancing with Lucifer and we recorded our latest album Symphony for a Hopeless God. We work with an amazing team: our label Scarlet Record, Lionel and Mathieu our sound engineers, Florent the photographer, Vultus Magali Bécart who creates all the dresses and the Dark Whisper Choir, Camille, Ségolène and Carole. They all contribute to create an original and intense atmosphere on stage. To be true I think we build our history all together on stage.
In the past you worked together with Xandria, do you think it can happen again towards the future (on stage or in the studio)?
Vynce: To be exact, we had the great honor to welcome Lisa Middelhauve, the first singer of Xandria, in Whyzdom as front woman for two very important gigs at Raismes Fest and as opener for Tarja in Paris. It was a great experience. Lisa is an incredible person and we are still immensely fond of her. We don’t know yet what the future will bring us… Maybe in our 4th album? About Xandria, we know Dianne, whom we met at a gig in the Netherlands with Ex Libris. Metal world seems to be very small, so sometimes we meet musicians in one band at a certain moment, and in another band later. For example we had the privilege to share the stage with Floor Jansen in the UK with ReVamp a few years ago. That’s really cool.
You are from Paris, did you ever played in the Bataclan? It must have been shocking? Is a song like tears of a hopeless God not a bit reflecting what happened after you wrote this song or referring to other bad things that happened?
Vynce: Yes, we played in the Bataclan for that concert with Tarja, and with LisaMiddelhauve as lead vocalist. Probably people out of France don’t know exactly how legendary this venue is in Paris, but it’s probably amongst the 10 top venues in the heart of Paris. Just like I said before, music world is very small, so we did know several people who were at the Bataclan this night. It was definitely a real shock. Freely making music, freely expressing our feelings, freely sharing joyful moments… We should never forget that some ill-minded people hate us for that freedom. That’s really sad. But I don’t think that responding to hatred with hatred is a good thing. What I fear the most, is that those criminal actions exarcebate racist behaviors, and feed the hatred between people. That’s what terrorists are trying to do… Unfortunately with some success. We must remain united. Music can be an incredible instrument of peace, because it talks directly to the spirit, with no words, no misinterpretation. I think metal has fans in all continents, metal has no color, no religion. Music is about heart and spirit. It might sound naive, but that’s what I really think. I hope a better world is ahead.
About Tears Of A Hopeless God, you’re right. This is a very special song for us. It frightens me that the lyrics were quite a bit prophetic because it was written even before the shootings of Charlie Hebdo. When I wrote it, I wanted to express my fear as we witness such fanaticism rising in the world. Thinking about it, it’s not really new and fanaticism has been the cradle of violence, crimes, persecution since the birth of human kind - and not only for religious reason. Since there’s a mystic and mythical aspect in Whyzdom, I imagined a god looking down at his creation, and how sad he must be when he sees all the atrocities perpetrated in his name. That’s the song topic.
Marie: Yes, this song is so important to us that we chose it for our music video. The band is playing in war and devastation scenes. I sing in an oneiric temple surrounded by god immense statues. War is raging down on earth and it finally propagates to Olympus, where it destroys the gods themselves… and finally the earth.
Who decides about the artwork of the albums and logo? Who does it?
Vynce: Images and overall atmosphere is very important in Whyzdom. We are not only making music, but we propose stories in a whole universe. Les Créations Vultus are a great partner. They provide us fantastic dresses for Marie and the choir and we often discuss about the concept. All graphics and artworks of Whyzdom have been made by X-Nihilo designs. But actually, I think it is time now to reveal some funny secret: X-Nihilo is … well, me.
You will launch soon a live bootleg DVD, one part has been taken from The FemME (Female Metal Event) in The Netherlands, how was it?
Marie : We want to thank again Ton Dekkers for inviting us! People at FemME were all so kind! The organization was incredible. We enjoyed this fest a lot because we were on the main stage, with the Dark Whisper Choir, and with a fantastic audience. It was really a fantastic concert for me. Probably one of my favorite memories as a singer! The DVD is almost ready and we are eager to present it to our friends and fans: we did it for you!
How was it to have a duet with Jamie-Lee Smit (from Azylya) at Kraken Metal Rock Fest?
Marie: Jamie-Lee is a professional singer and a very nice person. It was a pleasure to sing with her at the Kraken Metal Fest! We enjoyed a lot playing at this festival. Jamie-Lee and I hadn’t the possibility to rehearse together before the D-Day and she was perfect, with nice and funny head banging action! You’ll see that on the DVD as bonus track.
Belgium has also a female fronted festival, called The Metal Female Voices Fest, you are now selected for the second time. How was the first time?
Vynce: Yes, that’s absolutely fantastic. the Metal Female Voices Fest is the most important event for lovers of female vocalists in Metal. It’s the already the 13th edition and it’s the place all fans of our genre need to be! We were at the previous edition in the audience, and it’s always great to feel the unique overall atmosphere of friendship there. It’s something everyone wants to experience. Our first time at MFVF was in 2009, right after the release of our first album. It remains one of our greatest concert memories. The audience was so incredible, the stage is so great. Another great thing is the light show which is awesome for all bands, even the openers. Well… everything… We can’t wait playing there for you!
Marie: And for me, it will be the first time. I’m thrilled at the idea of singing at this event. It’s one of my dreams coming true, actually!
Will you do something special for this second time or will one of you join on stage another band? I ask this as its pretty common to invite people during this festival and thus creating special bounds and offering the fans unique duets.
Vynce: We will do one thing that is only possible with such large stages: we’ll bring choir vocalists with us. It gives the real symphonic feel that is associated with Whyzdom. And after all, it is very well suited to the « Metal Female Voices » ! For the rest, nothing is certain for the moment.
If you could add one more band to the MFVF, who would it be and why?
Vynce: Oh, that’s a tricky question! We have many friends amongst bands all over the world, so if we say 1 name, the others will hate us, ha ha! No, seriously, maybe another band from France, since there has not been many on the MFVF stage through the years, or a band from the UK? We have many British friends who travel to Wieze for the MFVF, so they would probably be pleased to see a band from their country.
Can you tell us if it’s hard to play a lot of gigs in France or are you lucky dogs and do you get a lot of proposals?
Vynce: Well, it’s not easy, but let’s say it’s ok. There are some people in France who work very hard for the Metal scene, and we want to thank them all. For example we played at the Mennecy Metal Fest in Mennecy, near Paris, 2 years ago with Crucified Barbara, and the Rock Metal Camp Fest near Limoges too - by the way, they have Cadaveria to play next May (with whom we shared the stage in Italy). Those are great metal festivals, opened to a wide range of metal styles, and that blend they achieve is really fantastic. And there’s also a guy called Kermhit who organizes great shows, in the heart of France, putting his heart at work for us and the metal scene. You see, with such festivals and individuals, things are somehow working… though I’m hoping more and more people invest themselves for that metal scene, especially the melodic metal scene. For Paris, in which it is soooo difficult to set up a gig, we work with the Access Live company, which is definitely of great help, and very open-minded.
I know a few good bands from France like Herrschaft, can you point out some other great bands?
Vynce: Oh yes, sure. We have some friend bands that you need to check (in no particular order): Bel’O’Kan, Kerion, Naos, Dreamslave, Penumbra, Benighted Soul, Midnight Sorrow, Wildpath, Elyose, Amethys, The Way I Am… I’m pretty sure you heard all those names before!
I really love your clip for Dancing with Lucifer, where did you film it? Who was the director?
Marie: Oh thank you! Vynce gave all his time and energy to record and then produce this video clip.
Vynce: Yes, thank you ! It was filmed in a studio with green screen actually. As I said a few questions ago, I also work on the graphics and video aspects of the band, so I have all necessary equipment to shoot music videos. I’m also a 3D graphic designer, so the cathedral is fully computer generated. Anyway, I doubt we could get the authorization to make a video called « Dancing With Lucifer » in a real cathedral…
Is there a new album coming up soon?
Marie : Yes we are working on it, we have tons of ideas and Vynce has to work hard to choose the right ones!
Vynce: A lot of work ahead ! Actually I think that we have enough material for 2 albums, ha ha! We are aiming at a release midst 2017.
Is there something you want to talk about to close this interview? (something you want to spit out or share with the world)?
Vynce: Oh, yes ! First, we want to warmly thank all our fans who pre-ordered our bootleg DVD. It’s an invaluable support you offered us and it exceeded by far the help that we hoped. So, really, thank you, dear friends. And secondly, we want to thank the team of the Metal Female Voices Fest for offering the occasion to play again at this fantastic event. A special thanks goes to Val who is doing an exhausting, stressful, and absolutely awesome job ! We can’t wait to see you all there again !
Marie: Yes ! Thank you very much and see you soon at MFVF 2016!
Click on MFVF for more info