INTERVIEW | Gillaume Bideau (Mnemic, One-Way Mirror): „All that matters to me is the result, not the way we get to it“


BR: Outside your interests for music, you like photography very much. How would you describe your style of photography and what is the most important thing you are trying to achieve artistically?

Well, I’ve always been interested into photography. But when I was younger I didn’t want my parents to pay for this interest because it was quite expensive and I didn’t know how long my interest for photography would last. So I’ve put that aside for over 10 years and when I was around 20 I started looking into that again. But it was still very expensive and I could not invest my money in both studio gear and photography gear. So I waited a little more until I was 25 and I invested into a good Canon bridge to see if I was still up to that and I was so I could finally start having fun discovering photography, hehe.. Since then I always bring a camera with me everywhere I go. With time I bought way better gear but the gear doesn’t make the photographer. It helps a lot though, hehe.. But it’s only 2 years ago that I decided to become a real photographer on the side of my musical activity. I now have a company for that matter. I’m pretty much interested into any kind of photography.. It’s hard to give a few favorite genres.. I don’t think I’m trying to achieve anything artistically. It’s just a need that I have to get something nice that I see and then improve it visually wether it is a landscape, a person or a dish. To add a value on that thing for my eyes. Everything can be beautiful, even a big dried out dog turd. It’s just a matter of angle, light and point of view..

BR: On your Facebook page it’s written that you studied on music academy in Nancy, France. What were you studying and on which subject you graduated?

I did this school as a singer to meet people because it’s the biggest rock school we have in France. I was living by the sea on the west coast but there were not enough good musicians out there. I had to meet more good musicians in order to fulfill my musical needs.

I wasn’t really going to the courses because I hate pedagogy in music. I have a problem seeing honesty in music teachers. To me 80% of them do that to make money because they failed at being professional musicians. And everyone is different and a truth to someone is more likely not to be a truth for someone else when it comes to art. Actually there’s no truth but they wanna impose theirs to you most of the time. So I was going there to play with people and not to learn things through the courses. And to be honest the teachers out there almost didn’t have anything to teach me. I was practicing my voice on my own in my apartment. There was only one old classical teacher who was great and he would show us some good warm up exercises  with an URBNFit Exercise Ball which I actually had to by later on to have one at my house, it was just to comfortable for my back and to do a few movement I never tried before, now I feel with a better and healthier body thanks to him, he was a great human. Eventually I was graduated as professional singer despite I can’t read or write music. It doesn’t interest me to read or write music. But on the side I play drums and a little guitar and bass and I have my own studio with which I produce some of my projects and other bands too.

BR: You are and were a part of many bands like Scarve, One-Way Mirror, Manu Livertout band and Mnemic, of course. How do you see all of these music projects and what are the differences in internal dynamics in every band/project?

I see a music project as a need. I have some stuff in my head and I need different musical projects to be able to express everything I have to say wether it is musically or vocally. I don’t like to compose with more than one person because I hate concessions. So it’s either I make the song myself on my own, or with just one other person or I don’t participate in the song composition at all. Musically I mean because I of course compose all my vocal lines. So I don’t really care in dynamics or stuff like that. All that matters to me is the result, not the way we get to it. And it’s always different from a song to another or from an album to another. There’s no magic formula.

BR: Mnemic’s sound is very much technologically oriented and has a very digitally processed sound. Do you ever see it as a problem in terms of performance, because you can’t fully create the whole power of studio sound?

Actually Mnemic is not that overproduced at all. We just need samples on stage to reproduce the keyboards and other sounds we can’t make with our instruments (like 90% of the metal bands) but in studio it’s actually very natural. We use no triggers on the drums. It’s all natural. Very compressed because it’s metal music and each instrument has to cut through but very natural. Many people are surprised about that and have a hard time believing me when I tell them that. No drums programing or digital drum sounds. And the guitars and bass are made with real amps and no emulations. So there’s no big difference between the studio and the stage in the end. And vocally as I grow older I try to use less and less vocal layers. It’s just loud as fuck on stage and very often I can’t hear shit. And it’s very hard to be in tune with our very low tuned guitars…

BR: You had a chance to travel all around the world and it is known that you like to cook. How was influental for you as a cook to visit many different countries?

I have the luck to be able to eat anything in the European food culture. ANYTHING! I consider myself lucky to be able to eat when I want to so I don’t allow myself being picky. So it means that I can try any local food specialities and that’s something I looooove! The world is so rich regarding food so I’m really lucky to be able to travel that much to „taste“ the world. Of course when I come back home I try things that I ate on tour but it’s never easy to find the right ingredients… But even if you can’t find the ingredients it changed a little bit your approach of cooking. It’s very enriching. I love asian food and luckily it’s easy to find a big variety of asian ingredients in Europe but when you go to China there are so many things you eat that you have no idea what it is, hahaha!! That’s just great.. That’s one of the magic aspects of touring!

BR: For you, what was the most unusual food you ever tasted?

I love everything but insects, spiders and stuff like that are still weird, hehe. But I try anyway! So in China there were these big beetles on a beijing market. That was weird.. But we have weird things in France too. But we are just used to them.. It’s just a matter of culture and how and where you’ve been raised. Normality is very subjective. They also have this Hakarl in Iceland. Some shark meat buried in the ground for half a year or so and then dried out for a month or two. Basically rotten shark meat. I had a problem finding something good in it because it’s very „special“. Fucking disgusting for many foreigners..

BR: Since you’re part of Mnemic since the „Passenger“, is there any song from earlier records that you particularly like?

I really like Liquid, Dreamstate emergency, The naked and the dead.

BR: Which songs are the most challenging in terms of performance?

None of them are very hard independently actually. The hard part is to play these songs one after the other during an hour and 15 minutes on stage, hehe..

BR: How hard is it to make the distinction between your life on tour and outside of it?

It was hard when I was younger. Coming back from tour was a very sad moment. Life is so intense on tour that back home feels depressing. And you can party everyday with a court of people around you telling you how great you are. That’s not the real life. But when you get older this becomes just one side aspect of touring. And not the most important at all. Many young musicians have a tendency to forget that touring is maybe a good time but before all it is promotion for your band and partying everyday doesn’t help giving the best on stage. I’m a party dude but I also wanna be fresh as often as possible to go out and take pics now and discover the local culture.. And with the small time you have to do that on tour you’d better be fresh. Now I’m happy to go on tour but also very happy to come back home. Both are complementary.

BR: What are the most serious injuries you had during performances?

Destroying a knee ligament on the last hit of the last song, haha! It was around 2003 or 2004. I had a band on Sony music in France back then called The Cube. We were on tour and it was during a festival. I jumped from a very high platform and exploded my knee when I landed, hahaha!! Knee injury has always been my fear when I was young because before music I was a sportsman. I was in national team of handball and you can never really fully recover from a bad knee ligament injury. But I stopped handball for music so it was ok, then, hehe.. But still. I got a surgery but even today my knee is still not great.

BR: „The one who works gets the money.“ Are you working a lot and do you think that you can be financially supported enough by working on many projects?

Well, I work as much as I can and I’m doing fine. music provides financial ups and downs but I like it. I could not be a state employee.. It would mean that my life is over. Some people need security. Personally it scares me.

There are many jealous people everywhere and I’m really not jealous at people who succeed when they work hard for it. Many people in this internet era think that posing is enough to get noticed and get money. They don’t do shit and wanna be famous. The problem is that they don’t have anything to be famous for! That’s the world now.. If you don’t work you make no money. It’s as simple as that but some people don’t really understand that in 2014. Weird humans..

BR: Aside guitarist Victor-Ray, who left the band, in the statement you can read that there were „bad vibrations“ inside of the band which resulted in hiatus. Can you tell us something more about that?

It’s simply a manager problem. He tried to steal money from us and we busted him but he would never admit it using some phony excuses. If you put a shit under a person’s nose and that person keeps telling you that it smells like roses.. How can you convince him? You can’t cos he’s too stupid, proud and stubborn to admit he’s wrong. Last option is physical violence or the court. But we didn’t want any of that. It’s hard to explain the whole story and I won’t but trust me when I say that a bad management can fuck up a band pretty bad even if there’s no bad feeling between the band members.

BR: With bands like Gojira, Dagoba, Sybreed, Mnemic, do you think that France gave a lot of new musicians in modern metal scene and why?

I don’t know why, hahaha!! But in the bands you mentioned everybody can speak english. That’s very important. Many French musicians can’t speak English and that’s a big handicap. There’s always been good musicians in France. There’s just, I think, a complex with Scandinavia and America. For years France metal musicians have just been following the scene but now they create without looking what Scandinavia or America do. They define their own style instead of following a trend. That’s one of the things that changed.

BR: On official Mnemic Twitter page was written that November of 28th from last year was perhaps the last time we heard from Mnemic. Are we gonna have the opportunity to see/hear the band again?

I can’t answer that question now. Simply because I don’t know.

BR: Do you have any musicians with who you’d like to collaborate?

Richard Patrick from Filter.

BR: In a couple of interviews you said that you don’t like concepts and conceptual albums, so you write spontaneously? In that sense, are you more oriented towards writing music, while lyrics are something that is not so important to you?

I used to not give a shit about lyrics. I write lyrics that have a meaning to me of course but it’s very subjective. I don’t care what other singers have to say. That’s their life and I don’t care what they think unless I ask them so I don’t wanna bother the people who listen to my music with what I think, hahaha.. I used to be like that. So yeah, the musicality is for me way more important than the message. I don’t care about a message in a song. It really doesn’t interest me. I’m a singer but I’m more of a musician on that matter. But the older I get the more meaningful and expressive my lyrics get. Less subjectivity and more straight forwardness in a way. I can’t imagine vocals on a song before the song is 90% finished. These days I’m forcing myself to change my working methods and I’m happy I do because I find more interactivity with myself or the person I compose a song with. It’s a little debate inside myself.. I always change my point of view on that matter and that forces me to comfort the idea that there’s no magic formula. Again. And that’s great cos when it works it remains a bit unexplainable and that’s what I love about music. As you can see my answer is a bit unstructured.. It’s simply because I don’t have a structured answer, hehe..

BR: What can we expect from Gillaume and Mnemic or your other bands in the near future?

For Mnemic we’ll see cos I really don’t know. We want to make some more music but we need the good time and good energy. We’ll see if we find that. One-way Mirror is releasing a new album around october through the American label Pavement record so we’ll soon be back on tour and you’ll soon hear about us again! I’m also working on some song with a Ukrainian guy called Robar and what we do is pretty cool, hehe.. We will release an EP somewhere this year of at the beginning of 2015. Personally I’m also working on two other projects. One pop with Brian Larsen, drummer of Mnemic and one more rock called Stereobastards with my friend Manu Livertout. These should hopefully be released next year. I will also be the main singer on the next Melted Space. It’s some kind of a French metal opera concept. In English though, hehe.. I’m also part of many other projects as guest. Next to all of that I often mix and master bands in my studio. Photography wise I’m preparing a book for the end of the year or so. And I’m having a lot of fun, hehe..