Interview: Clan Nordag

Hello. We adore your song “Solstice d’été”. What is the story behind the song and how did you create/write it? Also, what inspired the song title?
Frank: The composition of this song is special, it was done in 2 times: I had composed an instrumental piece with Celtic sounds in 2005, then in 2017/2018, I reworked the composition of this title and the writing of the lyrics to make a sung piece (new variations were also added to the song). As the melody reminded me of a warm Celtic festival, I chose to write the lyrics about the summer solstice with in particular the Celtic myth of the Holly King fighting the Oak King (this symbolises the clash between the cold and warm seasons). Indeed, the Celts divided the year into two periods.

You’re a French band that have recently released your debut album “Triade”. How did the band form and how did you bring your musical tastes together to create this neo-medieval sound?
Frank: In 2017, I posted the track “In utero” on the internet, then Hermine offered me to record backing vocals on this track (I was already friend with Hermine before our artistic collaboration). Hermine stayed in the band to record other tracks.

I met Irene in 2018 because we had a friend in common, I proposed her to join the band because we both had a mutual crush on our artistic creations: Irene’s track “Le bouclier de Freya” had already made a great impression on me. Later, Hermine started to compose too (“Brocéliande”, “La caravelle”, “Bae an anaon”). In the end, most of the tracks were composed separately: it’s a three-dimensional album, which explains the variety of the tracks. On the other hand, I did all the arrangements (electro-folk-rock) and Adrien Thore did all the mixing/mastering: this allowed us to obtain a harmony and homogeneity on the album.

We’ve heard that there is a music video for the song too. What ideas went into making the video?  What was the experience like making it?
Frank: We recently released the video “Summer Solstice” with the lyrics. The ideas are simple: you see the sun rising, then the sun setting, and finally the video shows the band walking in procession at the end of the video.

The part where we see the band was recorded in Brittany in 2020. Hermine had the idea to shoot the procession scene. A drone was used to film us, it’s a good memory.

If you had to describe your sound, how would you do so? Furthermore, what artists (or other sources) do you cite as influences?
Frank: I would say we have an ambient/folk/rock sound. The album is contrasted: some tracks are meditative while others are more danceable or energetic. We are influenced by both traditional music (Cécile Corbel, Faun, Laïs, Malicorne…), the gothic scene (Qntal, Dead can Dance, Arcana…) and Celtic/Nordic rock (The Pogues, Fejd…). The list is long!

What have been career highlights so far? And what is on your bucket list that you’d want to achieve?
Frank: Our band is recent… I would say that our first album is our main strength for the moment: it’s a good calling card to get known. The second strong point I would mention is that we have successfully crownfunded the production of our album, so we can count on a core group of supporters to realize our projects. Concerning our objectives, we would like the release of this first album to be a success (reviews from journalists, record sales, increase in our audience…) and we wish to play in well-known festivals…

If you could be the main support for any living artist, who would that be for and why? Alternatively, what would be your dream live booking?
Frank: To answer your question I would say Luc Arbogast because I appreciate both his music and the man who defends heritage (for example, he did a charity concert to restore the ramparts of Dinan).

Concerning my dream concert, I have already seen the main bands/artists that made me dream when I was younger: Rodger Hodgson, Justin Sullivan, Depeche Mode, VNV Nation, Apoptygma Berzerk, The Cure, Clan of Xymox, Lacrimosa, Myrkur, Arcana, Faun, Qntal, Dead can Dance… With my other band called Myselfson, I even managed to share the bill with former small bands from the French touching pop scene that I loved (Little Nemo, Babel 17). After reflection, I would say that my dream gig is to see Lindy-Fay Hella, her album is very dreamy, I would love to see her live. In another style, I would like to see NIN and System of a Down in concert.

What artists have you been listening to? Additionally, who should others be listening to?
Frank: I listen to both Celtic artists (Loreena McKennnit, The Pogues…) and Nordic artists (Gjallarhorn, Garmarna, Wardruna…). I listen to both early music from different periods (Hildegard von Bingen, Bach, Mozart, Camille Saint Saëns, Debussy…) and modern alternative music (Aphex Twin, Kompromat, Woodkid, Nine inch Nails…). Generally, I don’t like mainstream music, which I find too commercial and artistically weak. I advise others to listen to authentic music: local traditional folk bands, alternative music (Indie folk, Post-rock, Dark wave, Trip hop…) and of course ancient music (medieval music, classical music…).

Clan Nordag: Bandcamp | Facebook | Instagram | YouTube
Original Photo Credit: Mireille Beclere

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