"All About The Album - 15 Questions" - the Q&A section at the RockUnited site where a recording artist with recently released CD is confronted with the 'album' questions (15 of them, duh!). If you'd like to have your material here, email: urban "at" rockunited.com (simply replace "at" with your standard @ )
LEST is a French prog rock trio which started back in 1995. “Odysseus” is their debut and the guys were so nice to answer the questions about their debut album for Rock United.. [editor's note: yeah, we noticed that Martien, who conducted this interview, decided to drop a few questions, so this one's actually "All About The Album - 13 questions"... these things happen.]
How long did this CD take to make from start to finish, recording-wise?
It took us a year and a half to get through the recording.
What kind of 'sound', production wise, did you have in the back of your mind, prior to entering the studio?
We wanted to obtain a cross between what was done in the seventies and what you can achieve nowadays. But we wanted to avoid sounding too loud because nowadays productions seem to end up in a very similar way which is everything at the same level; no real dynamics. We wanted to preserve a natural effect; the very same thing you can hear while listening to Genesis first album.
What kind of input did the producer have during the process?
To tell you the truth we were the producers of the album and the recording was done with our recording equipment which is part digital and part analogue. The key thing was to keep everything “organic” and therefore to avoid ultra hip state of the art machines. Most takes were taped with an analogue multi track recorder.
And are you pleased with the final outcome?
Yes, we are pleased with the overall atmosphere we came up with. And as it was our first album recording we have managed to learn many things and we are eager to get back in the studio to work on our new songs.
How did you go on about capturing your 'live sound' in the studio, or perhaps you didn't?
For some songs we did capture the live sound, but some other songs actually got written and finalized in the studio as we had to work to get as close as we could to the album sound on stage. “Odysseus” is among them, we had the three parts and the overall idea of the song, but the sound and atmosphere was shaped in the studio, which was a really interesting process.
Please inform us about your favourite songs and lyrical highlights and why?
Hard to answer, because we love all of our songs! That’s why we play them in fact to get this pristine feeling of falling in love with the music every time we pick up our instruments to start playing. About the lyrics “Innocence And Experience” is among our favs because the song is about growing up, leaving the state of innocence you have in your childhood behind to rise to a new state of consciousness while becoming an adult with all the bitterness it sometimes implies. We feel like kids at the beginning and reaching the inside our own experiences we get to the end with extra strength gathered from a mix of hopes and disillusions.
Any overall theme of mood that you're trying to capture while writing songs?
We wanted to capture a kind of truth, not necessarily a message about the truth of life, but a truth about us, being true to ourselves. There is truth about us in every song, truth we wanted to share with others because we are sure we are not the only ones feeling the way we feel.
Does your vision for coming up with music get affected at all by time?
It does in a positive way. Time is a friend, it enables us to understand who we are and what we want and how we want to connect with others without being imposters.
Did the record company interfere with anything on your "sound" and songs?
Not really, they were pleased with what we had to offer. We were a bit scared at first because we thought they might want more in every way. But when we talked about the album they did not criticize our vision; they were very supportive and we appreciated that very much.
Are there any 'crazy' behind the scenes anecdotes from these sessions that you can share with us?
The most bizarre thing about the recording was the place we used. We recorded in an old bunker full of strange sounds and shady corridors. We felt detached from the world like everyone else had disappeared and making music was the only thing left to do. A dream and a nightmare at the same time.
How would you describe the sound of your new CD to any potential new fan?
We would say that it is one of a kind. Not modern, not old as it reflects who we are. We were not trying to impress anyone we just did our thing.
Who are your influences and heroes? (music-wise)
We very much like Genesis (with Peter Gabriel), Camel, King Crimson, Rush, Eloy, Marillion and many other bands. But not only progressive rock bands, we also like Supertramp, Radiohead and Led Zeppelin.
If there's anything you'd like to add, say, please do:
First of all, thank you for taking interest in what we do. We hope that many people will listen to our music and enjoy it.
Interview questions by: Urban "Wally" Wallstrom,
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