A la suite du concert aux 4 écluses de Dunkerque, Axoria a pu échanger avec Sylvaine, et lui poser quelques questions sur la sortie de son dernier album « Atoms aligned, coming undone ». Version originale en anglais.
Thanks a lot to answer a few questions for our webzine. So first of all, can you introduce yourself for the people who don’t know you yet ?
Hello all readers of Valkyries Webzine – my name is Kathrine Shepard and I am the sole member of the project Sylvaine. I’m born in the US, raised in Oslo, Norway and now live in Paris, France most of the time. Music has been my life since I can remember, but it was around age 14/15 that I got into it more seriously. Since then I went thru a lot of musical education, was a part of many different smaller projects and bands in Oslo, before I finally felt the need to create Sylvaine. I wanted to make something 100% personal, without having to compromise, which is how the project was born.
A lot of people who just discover you told it’s a feminine Alcest ! Do you think that qualifying is good to describe Sylvaine ?
Both projects definitely have a lot in common, and I learned that we do speak about similar sentiments within our music, but I think it might be selling my music a tiny bit short to just classify it as a female version of Alcest. There are similarities of course, and the comparison is a huge compliment seeing as Alcest is a fantastic band, but at the same time, there are a lot of differences between what I am doing in Sylvaine and what Neige is doing for Alcest. I hope people can feel just how personal my music is and find a value in it on its own, without having to compare it to something else.
You just release your 3rd album Atoms aligned coming undone. Can you tell us the story of the creation of this album ? Do you think you also pass a new gap of progression with this album ?
For once, I’m actually still loving this album. I am so proud of the result in the end, and can honestly say that every single piece of myself went into the creation of this record. I’m very pleased with the journey the album brings the listener on, from the beginning to the end, the story it tells, but also the production and the sound of it. I think it takes a step up from my two previous records, if I may humbly say so, as it feels a bit more mature somehow. “Atoms Aligned, Coming Undone” wasn’t an easy album to conceive for me though, as I was constantly fighting a lot of self-doubt up until the moment it was recorded. It took my longer to make than my two first album as well, due to all of the pressure and negativity I brought upon myself. I rejected a whole bunch of songs during the process too, to ensure only the fitting ones, the ones who deeply expressed the emotions I wanted for this record, would remain. The recording process however, was an absolute dream, as I was lucky enough to work with a team of people who 100% understood the music and what I was trying to say. I look back on this period from summer 2017 to spring 2018 with a full heart and warm memories. Can’t wait to go back to this magical place called Drudenhaus studio in the future!
What are the emotions you want to share with us through that album ? What were your principal sources of inspirations for this album (for lyrics, melodies etc..) ?
With that being said, the emotions behind the album are greatly related to that of the two previous ones. As always, the music tend to be very introvert, serving as a manner to digest and work thru all the difficulties I face in my life, without necessarily offering final answers or solutions, but being more of a therapeutic catharsis. Something unique to “Atoms Aligned, Coming Undone” though, was the fact of drawing inspiration from the outside world for once. Looking at the state of the world today, it’s hard not to be affected by it, which is why I brought a touch of that within the music. “Atoms Aligned, Coming Undone” holds the duality between watching everything fall a part in the human society and at the same time, feeling like you are falling apart yourself at your origins, due to the constrictions, limitations and the impurities of the human form. The feeling of not belonging to this place.
You have some tracks in many different languages (saudade = portuguese, toska = russian, l’appel du vide = french, morklagt = norwegian). Why did you choose this ?
The written word has always fascinated me, as well as languages and in particular these words that you can find in almost every language, that are not really translatable into only one word. When making my first album “Silent Chamber, Noisy Heart” I found this Russian word “Tocka”, that perfectly explained my state of mind at the time. After, I quickly decided to always include at least 1 of these untranslatable words into my song titles, as they intrigue me. On my second album “Wistful”, it was “Saudade” and on “Atoms Aligned, Coming Undone”, it was “L’appel du Vide”. I also started to include a bit of Norwegian into my music, since this is the language I have been speaking the most in my life. I think I avoided using it before, as it felt too down to earth in a way, too real. It does bring a different timbre to the voice though and a different emotional quality, which I might explore further on future tracks.
What is your favorite song in this album ?
It’s always very hard to pick a favorite, as each song represents something very personal to me. They are all my babies, so to speak, haha. I would however say that each album contains at least 1 song, that makes me feel something so profound every time I play it. On “Atoms Aligned, Coming Undone” there are actually 2 songs like this, which is “L’appel du Vide” and also “Mørklagt”. Every time I play or listen to these songs, they bring me right back to the raw emotions I felt while creating them some time ago and make me want to write something further. This is also why it feels so good to play “Mørklagt” on stage. I really feel like I’m handing a very intimate pieces of myself to the audience each time we play it. I really do love each track on “Atoms Aligned, Coming Undone” though, as I think they all offer something unique to the story of this album.
You made a wonderful videoclip for Abeyance, which really let us enjoy your universe ! Do you have another video projects for other titles of this new album in the future ?
It was an interesting change to work in an audio-visual media for “Abeyance” and I must say I am super happy with the outcome of this first Sylvaine video! Grégoire Orio did an excellent job and made it an enjoyable process. A process I hope to repeat as soon as possible. Who knows, maybe something will be released in not too long!
The band Clouds just released their new album and you are a guest in their project. Can you tell us how was that collaboration ?
Clouds are a band I met thru mutual friends, and that we played with earlier this year in Belgium. They arranged a very special event in the Amuz Cathedral in Antwerp, which we were so kindly were asked to be a part of. After meeting Daniel at this show, we really hit it off and agreed we should do further work together in the future. One day he reached out to me, with a beautiful song he had composed for the upcoming album and asked if I could put my touch on it. It was a real pleasure to work together and I truly hope the vocal layers and lyrics I added to this piece could reflect the strong emotions within the music itself.
After that 3 shows in France and Belgium for the release, do you prepare another tour for 2019 ?
We are working on further dates in Europe behind the scenes, so we will surely be back on the road again in 2019! We truly can’t wait to keep playing these new songs live, bringing “Atoms Aligned, Coming Undone” alive on stage, as it has felt super great so far.
You played in many countries before (Russia, Ukraine, Greece, Romania, Germany, France, Belgium, Netherlands etc..), what was your best moment on stage ? If you have also some crazy, interesting experiences to tell us ?
Every show has its own special feeling to me, since I’m always presenting the audience with something that is so personal. Seeing people in the audience react directly to something that was created so humbly, is just the most fantastic thing I could ever have asked for. I feel incredibly grateful to have experienced this in my life…. I remember it was a huge deal to me to do our first show ever in Paris, at Le Klub in 2017. That was one intense night! I was so overwhelmed by the enthusiasm and never-ending support of the crowd this evening, that I couldn’t help but break out in tears after it was done, haha… I also remember it was an honor to play at the Wave Gotik Treffen, also in 2017. Being a part of the goth scene since I was a teenager, this was a festival that I always dreamed of playing. To actual do so was really a dream come true. Now, for more crazy experiences, I could mention the two gigs we did in Russia in March 2017, as we absolute had no idea we even had fans in this country! It was so surreal to play in Moscow for an almost sold out venue, and even hear people singing along to our songs… That was beyond cool.
To conclude, do you a have some few words to tell to our webzine viewers ?
Thank you ever so much for taking the time to dive a bit deeper into the Sylvaine universe, and I truly hope you enjoy the new album “Atoms Aligned, Coming Undone”. IT has been a great pleasure to speak to you guys – hopefully, I’ll see you all at a show somewhere during 2019! Until then; take care.