The Sonic Adventurers of Merge
Merge is an up-and-coming post-hardcore collective from Paris, France whose sonic adventures are sure to dazzle the senses of all whom encounter their thrilling reveries. Elysion is their debut for Red Cord Records, packed to the brim with imagination and intrigue. The band has opened for the likes of Dance Gavin Dance, Touche Amore, and Funeral for a Friend as well as recently played their record release show, complete with Chunk! No, Captain Chunk in tow. Here is a recent interview we conducted with the mighty Merge to find out more about the devastating sounds of Elysion, their compelling lyrical content, signing to Red Cord, performing at the Groezrock Festival in Belgium and other spiraling topics. Read on…
Introduce yourself, tell me what you do in Merge, and how long the band has been together.
The band was founded end of 2011 by Anthony (vocals), Julien (guitar) and Kaz (drums). Then Louis (guitar) and Charly (bass) joined beginning of 2012.
Where is the band based out of and what is your local music scene like there? Are there any local bands you could recommend?
We are from Paris, France. There are many really good bands in Paris like Chunk No Captain Chunk (Fearless), Betraying The Martyrs (Sumerian), As They Burn (Victory), etc. However, the metal/hardcore scene is not as much developed as it is in the US.
How did you wind up signing with Red Cord Records?
When we got the album finalized, we were looking for a label that would be really interested by making us grow. We went through a lot of different proposals but Red Cord’s one was the one that made us feel like we would be part of a family. This is what we were looking for in the first place.
Is there any story or concept behind the title Elysion?
Elysion talks about the way people are blindly following cultures, ideas, religions, politics without really asking themselves if they are acting or talking for themselves. In the Greek mythology, Elysion (or Elysian Fields) are the place where people living in hell can go if they are reaching a certain level of wisdom. We used a lot of metaphors to express our feeling about this topic.
Select two songs from Elysion and what inspired the lyrics.
Joy Illusion is talking about Anthony’s grand father who made WWII. While we were writing this song, he found a lot of papers about him. He tried to step into his shoes and see what he saw and say what he thought: many questions about faith and god while he was seeing his friends die.
Lighters talks about all the people we met since we founded Merge, awesome people but also bad ones. People willing to do anything to get admired, ready to buy their fame and becoming actors of a life that is not theirs.
Who did the artwork for Elysion and how much input did you have on it?
It is our really good friend Alex Diaz from the french hardcore band The Prestige. We wanted something really visual and Alex got this out of his head. We all loved it as it was only a draft.
What could one expect from a live Merge show?
We are a live band. What we mean by that is this is only at a live show where you can feel what we want to express. We write music thinking about how we’re going to play it onstage. So do not hesitate to come by if we’re near your city to live the Merge experience 😉
What was the experience like playing the Groezrock Festival in Belgium and did you get to meet any of the other bands on the show?
It was I think one of the best memory we have since Merge creation. First of all, we almost didn’t get to the Festival on time because our van broke halfway. Two friends with their cars drove as fast as possible from Paris to pick us up with our gear and got us just in time to Belgium.
Then we had the wonderful opportunity to discuss with awesome bands like Bad Religion, Rise Against. I even had a beer with Geoff Rickley from Thursday, and I am such a big fan!
Has Merge ever played here in the States or plan to do so in future days?
Not yet but this if of course the main objective for the end of 2014/beginning of 2015. Everything depends on you guys, if you liked the album, spread the word, share our music with everyone and we hope that someday it will happen!
Any strange or scary happenings on the road or at a Merge show?
I guess the Groezrock episode was the most stressful!
If Merge could open up for any band either now or from the past, who would it be and why?
We are big fans of Glassjaw, Deftones and Circa Survive, it would be so huge to open for such awesome bands
What’s up next for Merge?
We are having our album release party in Paris on Feb 21st with Chunk!No, Captain Chunk. So looking forward to playing this gig.
Then we have an EURO tour planned from beginning of April.
Any final words of wisdom?
Help your Alternative scene grow guys by coming at shows, sharing and buying bands’ music. Without your help we are nothing.
Anthony Hamin – vocals
Kazu Yamane – drums
El Pimptattoo – guitar, vocals
Julien Ho-Tong – guitar
Charly V – bass
(Interview by Ken Morton)
Merge on Facebook