Band Interview: Insolvency

French metal outfit Insolvency released their sophomore album ‘Illusional Gates’ on February 21st, 2022. Insolvency’s latest offering sees the band look at the ever-changing, technological world we live in today, analysing a society addicted to technology and instant gratification.

We loved it and described it as:

Insolvency passionately expressing themselves with a heavy metal album that blurs the lines of the ‘core’ sound. Across twelve massive tracks, Insolvency showcasing a brutal style of riffing, energetically chaotic percussion, massive melodies and vocals that are as contemptuous as they are comforting.

You can read our full review here or watch a video of our review below.

A few days before release, we had the pleasure of speaking with guitarist/vocalist, Valentin Gondouin and guitarist/backing vocalist, Bruno Blackstard.

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Gents, thank you for taking the time to speak with me.
2022. How has it been treating Insolvency so far? Has all the focus up to this point been solely on the build to the release of Illusional Gates?

Yeah, we spent last years working hard on this album and the lockdown gave us more time. We were forced to restrict all movement and everything else. So, we just took advantage of the situation to improve everything we could on this album. So yeah, that’s a lot of work on this album for sure.

How have Insolvency, as a group held up over the last two years? In this pandemic period, do you think you’ve coped as well as possible?

We are used to working with distance because we lived in different cities in France. We sent music over the world and it’s very difficult to do something like that. But we grow up as a group.

Do you think you’re stronger for it?

Yeah. Because if the lockdown is not happening, I think we don’t have this album. We don’t have this much detail on this album. We added song during the lockdown. We evolved most of the songs during the lockdown. So, we have a lot of time to work on our music. And I think it’s a pretty good thing. I think it was an opportunity.

Maybe because of our situation, we were still writing, so it allowed more time. Maybe if it was during this period, maybe that would be worse for us. But for our schedule, it was an opportunity to have more time and focus on every detail and improve everything to get it the best we could.

There’s a therapeutic essence to the album, something that obviously comes across quite strongly. You’re touching on a lot of subjects here, depression, anger, anxiety, mental health in general. Expressing yourself so strongly on this album… was it a form of release for you guys?

The main inspiration of all the writing comes from Pierre (Challouet – bass/vocals). All of us (Insolvency) can relate to the lyrics because we all have the same vision of things and we felt things altogether about the working world, personal life etc. That’s something we can share.

It’s a feeling. Connect with people. We want people who listen it think they are not alone. We can have depression; we can we have bad times in our lives and we want to share this with people because it’s important for us.

Is it easy for you to open up about these personal subjects?

It’s not easy because it’s like if you go naked, you are showing yourself naked. That’s not easy. But we are speaking another language, we are French people, so it’s easier with music. With another language, but that’s not easy. So, we find words, we find ways to express it. It’s not easy. So that’s why it’s better through screams, music and everything. That was like a therapy for us and mainly, again for Pierre, who also had struggles with separation. That’s a lot of things all put together.

Considering your thoughts and feelings on addiction to technology, social media, the world we live in around us right now, how do you guys balance the fact that it exists and you have to play by the rules, using these tools to get your band name out there, put your music online and so on?

Let’s say we learned everything by ourselves, by experience. We tried things, we thought of things, and then we were confronted by reality. We have hopes, events, people, some new songs, anything we can share. But yeah, we need to face reality. So, we just have to face it and maybe to adjust our vision of what we thought it would be possible or not. So, we just need to adjust. Maybe that’s more difficult to dream. We need to dream, but we need to be careful about reality. That’s it. Dream. But keep your eyes open.

Also, we are not the kind of people who are on our phone every day. We chose our things. We create social accounts just for the band, just for community management and to show the people our work.

There must be a level of frustration though, because of course, these days your success isn’t measured in album sales to the same degree. It’s measured in likes and follows.

We’re just working with people who are into it. We’re working with people who are connected to the reality of metal music and with real media. We’re just doing what we like and with trustful people and that’s it.

As hands off as you can possibly be. You’ll do what you need to when you have to.

Yeah, that’s it.

So, I’ve said a couple of times, Gents, that I think Illusional Gates is an excellent album filled with a lot of imagination. Blindness, The Endless Maze, Last Call, Smothered the Candle and even Mirage. These are just a few personally that I find quite thrilling and varied on the album. Picking out The Endless maze to begin with. How did the collaboration with Ryan Kirby of Fit for A King come about?

We sent Ryan an e-mail because we love his voice and we wanted him on one of the songs that we love. We wanted to put his very loud voice on it, so we sent him The Endless Maze and he was happy to work with us. And that’s a huge chance for us.

It is an incredible track. It is an incredible collaboration. It sounds fantastic. The other guest is CJ. McMahon of Thy Art is Murder on Smother the Candle. Tell us about this collaboration.

Both collaboration are crazy to us and it all happened during the lockdown. To be honest, we’re looking for ways to collaborate with people we love and we just had nothing to lose. So similar to Ryan, we sent him a message just asking if you would like to work with us. We sent a demo. We had everything already written but we were open to ideas and, same story, he liked our music and so he was okay to record. All was made by distance and we love his brutal voice on the song. It is perfect and we love the lyrics also and we feel lucky to have these two on the album.

I love that the collaborations for both Ryan and CJ are so simple. They came down to sending a message and that was that.

It is crazy.

Finally, what’s the hopeful long-term plan for 2022?

We hope people will like our sound. That’s the main work we are into but we hope to play more live. Local shows at first but we hope we’ll be able to play more as the year goes on. Until then, we will just keep on promoting the album.


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  • Carl Fisher

    Owner/Administrator/Editor/Writer/Interviewer/YouTuber - you name it, I do it. I love gaming, horror movies, and all forms of heavy metal and rock. I'm also a Discworld super-fan and love talking all things Terry Pratchett. Do you wanna party? It's party time!