Cede Dupont of Symphorce and Downspirit
Interview by EvilG
Cede Dupont will be most known to fans of Symphorce, and of course Freedom Call (a band he was a part of from 2001-2005). Cede is also launching a brand new band called Downspirit in which he explores his hard rock and blues roots a little deeper. In this interview we discuss his new band and get the latest from him on what’s happening with Symphorce.
You have a new band called Downspirit whose sound may come as a surprise to people that know you from Symphorce and Freedom Call as this is more of a bluesy hard rock thing. What inspired you to start this band in this style of music?
It’s something that I wanted to do for a longtime now. It’s not like that I’m only into metal music, even though obviously it’s what I have done for the last couple of years. But I just simply consider blues music as one of my main influences what concerns my guitar playing, so I just wanted to try to combine the two worlds. The heaviness of heavy metal and the feeling and emotions from blues. It never seemed that I had time to start a new band, but since Symphorce is on some kind of break now, the time was right to get the songs I’d had already written for Downspirit out of the boxes
Is Downspirit a "band" or a "side-project"? By that I mean, is one more of a priority than the other or do you have time to make both a priority?
It’s really important that people know this is a real band and not just one more side project. I did a couple of side projects in the last couple of years, but those have just been some jobs on the spot. Downspirit is a real band, with all its ups and downs, all the fun, all the crap and the unity that will make our debut album a real kick in the face!
How did you find the players for Downspirit? As mentioned, since many know you for a slightly different style, how did you find people who were on the same page musically and wanted to play more bluesy hard rock?
Basically I’m lucky enough to have quite a big network with all the people I got to know through my other activities, so obviously some of the members in Downspirit I have known for years. And the ones that I haven’t known before, and made it to the line up, they make me feel like we’ve been friends forever. It’s important that we have quite a similar taste for music and work ethic, since we need to be able to pull on the same strings. So, we basically are just a bunch of guys who wanna go for the rock n’ roll train and make Downspirit the next big thing, haha! Hell yeah!
Do you expect fans of Symphorce to be into Downspirit or do you think this music is aimed at an entirely different category of music fan?
I wouldn’t consider it as a totally different thing, I think here and there you might hear some Symphorce influences (obviously as I am one of the main songwriters in SP), but in general it’s a much more blues/hardrock oriented thing in Downspirit, combined with the heaviness of the metal kinda style we have in Symphorce too. It would be great if Symphorce fans would give Downspirit a listen as well, I’m sure they might like it too.
If you had to name a few bands that you think are in line with the downspirit style, who would you pick? I’ve only heard the one song sample and Badlands came to mind, but I was probably reaching since I don’t listen to much bluesy hard rock.
That’s a tricky one ;-), …..I think if you pick up a little Skid n’ Roses with the Pantera Hendrix Phorce, then you’ll probably have the main influences.
How many songs are written and will be recorded for the debut Downspirt album that you’ll be recording this November?
I think at the end of the day there’s gonna be something like 11-13 songs on the album. At the moment we are rehearsing a lot and started to play some smaller clubshows just to see how the material works, and the fact that we’re jamming a lot on the songs will help us pick the right songs for a killer debut album. I have so many things on the side, since I’m writing music all the time, it’s not that easy to pick the right ones, maybe we should do like a double album. “Use your Downspirit Illusion 1 & 2”, hahaha
Where are you recording the album and do you have a producer or will you be doing this yourselves?
We’ll be recording in southern germany at a smaller studio where we can take our time and make sure the album is going sound like we want it to. Since I wrote like 95% of all songs by myself I have a pretty clear vision of what this record should sound like, so I guess we’re gonna produce it by ourselves. I’m saying “we” because everyone in the band is involved, has great ideas and surely can contribute in making this album unique sounding. Mostly, when you write a song you have a certain vision, but other cooks in the kitchen might bring some salt to your soup that makes it much tastier, although you think it’s good enough to be served
Is there any label interest in Downspirit yet or do you expect that to rise once you have a CD available?
We have some smaller labels that might want to work with us, but at this point it’s kinda early to say that we have a business partner that is right for Downspirit. I think we are going to make a great record, and then see which label is the best for this band.
Do you have any longer term plans for the band after the recording is done and the album is out – a tour in 2010 maybe?
Of course we’ll be playing as many single shows as possible and some of the festivals around summer 2010. It depends when the record’s finally going to be released, but I sure hope that we’ll be able to get our feet on a real tour and do what we do best. Looking good on stage and convince people we’re the best thing they have ever heard, haha!
Is Symphorce still signed with Metal Blade? If not, why, and do you have any news on what label might release your next album?
We’re not with MetalBlade anymore and are currently in negotiations with a new partner that will release our album in 2010. Things are looking quite good as what I have been told, so let’s cross fingers and get the machine get going again! ha!
Speaking of the next album, 2010 has been given at the release date. Originally it was mentioned it would be out in late 2009, what pushed the release off until 2010?
The situation on the business side of things is complicated at the moment, and we wanted to give ourselves a little more time to make sure the next album will be the best we can offer as a new release. You know we’ve been doing this for 10 years now, it’s unbelievable! We experienced a lot of cool things together, shared a lifetime on the road, did a lot of great records and now, after the break, we feel like we need to come around the corner with a real burner! Of course we have had the goal to do so with every album so far, but this time there’s something even more special about it. Maybe because we haven’t had played together in a while now.
What more can you share about the new album: has recording started, do you have an album title, song titles, a release month?
We cannot come up with such details so far, I know it sucks, but on the other hand I can assure you that the next Symphorce album will be what you all think it was worth waiting for!
The songs have already been written, and we are very very excited about the material!
What are the new songs sounding like and what previous Symphorce material would you say it sounds most like?
Speaking for my own contributions to the new album, my songs, I think they obviously have the character of tunes like “Nowhere”, “Inside the Cast” or “Towards the Light”. More and more I’m coming back to the simple structured songs with strong hooklines and melodies. Catchy, groovy, melodic, …..well just frigging awesome in general, haha!
I thought your last album BECOME DEATH was your best. Do you think it’s the best Symphorce or do you not have a fav Symphorce album?
Production-wise I like “GodSpeed” better I have to say. If I’d be able to pick out songs from every album, like doing a “best-of” then I’d probably have the best Symphorce album together. I like the heaviness of “Become Death” a lot though. I think it’s good that we progressed with every album, tried out lots of different things, so it’s kinda hard to pick just one album because all of them have something unique for me.
Sort of a touchy question here…ha
With members of Symphorce being in other bands, do you think this has been a factor in why Symphorce hasn’t become HUGE? Would you all ever focus 100% of your musical energies on Symphorce or do you think that everyone giving 100% for 50% of the year (for example) is enough to do justice to the band, fans, and material?
I see where you wanna go with that question…ha! It’s hard to say actually, but one thing I know for sure is that everyone in the band gave more than 100% for Symphorce. It depends on shedules of course whether it’s a Symphorce-based-time or not. It wouldn’t be fair to our loyal fans if we’d just released a record that was made heartless in between other band’s shedules. If we’re doing a band, we try to do it as good as possible.
I’m trying to recall…has Symphorce ever toured in North America? I know you played at a ProgPower, but I mean have you traveled around the USA and Canada playing a string of shows? If not, what barriers to such a tour has there been? Have you tried getting an opening slot on a North American tour? I’d really like to have a chance to see Symphorce live here in Canada!
We played in Atlanta for Progpower that is right, but unfortunately we never had the opportunity to do a real tour in the States. It’s a big dream for everyone in the band, and I know that we have lot of fans over there who would want to see us come over. All we need is the right support and a promoter who wants to bring the band over. I’m still sure someday it’s going to be possible for us to do a tour there, but unfortunately it’s not just a band’s decision.
FOR THE GUITAR NERDS
Do you use different amps, guitars, settings etc for Downspirit as compared to Symphorce? Can you give us a rundown on what you prefer to use?
Basically it’s more or less the same setup that I use except for guitars and some effects. In Downspirit I play a lot on my Gibson Les Pauls on a downtuned level, where in Symphorce we have used 7-string guitars so far. It’s pretty cool to use some slide-guitars and dobros in Downspirit as well, here and there they give a good color to the songs. I might work with a talkbox in the studio too plus I have some vintage amps and effects that I want to use for the record.
How old were you when you picked up guitar and did you start out right away with lessons or just by emulating your heroes?
I started working on my posing when I was about 9 years old. I had this tennis racket and thought I’d be Slash, jumping around my room, going from bed to table and the other way around, hahaha First the posing, THEN the playing! Haha I took a couple of lessons, but soon found out I’d be better off learning it by myself instead of playing some creepy folk tunes…
How in depth into music theory did you go or are you strictly an ear player?
I’m not a real big fan of too much theory, but of course there are some things you just have to know for proper playing. Still to this day I’m picking up a theory book here and there but, I’m more into jamming and learning it by doing. Through the years of playing I found out that you’re better off with a well trained ear, instead with the talent of reading sheets on stage. Besides, there’s no blues if you don’t have the right feeling and a good ear.
Who were your early guitar heroes and have they changed over the years?
Not so much, basically I was, still am, will be a fan of Slash, Paul Gilbert, Dimebag and Zakk.
Are there any players out there that you hear and wonder how in the hell they play the stuff they are playing?
Of course, there always are. I’m a big music fan, so whenever I see someone doing the impossible possible I just think I have to work more on my stuff, haha It’s a normal thing, there’s always someone who challenges you, but as long as you know that you have your own thing going on well then the challenge is welcome. It’s good to hear other players, because you can learn from them. You just go out to youngsters and tell them it’s your own lick after you’re able to play it, hahahaha
Do you play guitar every day and follow any specific practice regime? If so, tell us a bit about it.
I try to play everyday. Basically I just have to because I’m a guitar addict. It doesn’t really matter if it’s 10 minutes or 5 hours, as long as I could touch it, haha Sometimes I work on some techniques, sometimes I just hang around and jam around with my fave albums. Both is good, both is important.
Bonus question (ha): You were in Freedom Call from 2001 – 2005. Can you recap the reasons why you left the band?
It just got too much for me at that point, I felt worn out, because the shedules were quite heavy for both bands back then, and I hated the decision to either let one band go or continue being stressed out, because I couldn’t please both parties. In the end I listened to my heart and felt that Symphorce was more the sound I wanted to go on with in the future.
But there was absolutely no drama or fights about it. I’m still having a great memory of my time in Freedom Call, still talk to the guys now and then. It’s been awesome what we experienced in that period of time, and still I think I learned a lot and had a lot of fun being on the road with them. Good girls come, good girls go. It’s the same with a band sometimes
Thanks man, any closing words?
Thanks a lot for this interview! And thanks to all people who took their time to read my crap.
Hey why don’t you give us a visit at www.downspirit.com?
2010 is gonna be a busy year, for both bands…so get ready!