Singer Laure Laborde – Silent Opera
Interviewed by: Anders Sandvall
Thanks to Tom Hack for setting up the interview.
Thanks to Massacre Records for providing the promo pictures
Live pictures of the band taken by: Thierry Loustauneau a.k.a Lolito de Palermo
Silent Opera is a melodic metal act from France and I hooked up with singer Laure Laborde a while ago in order to talk to her about the brand new album REFLECTIONS. We talked of course about the album, the band and what the future has in store for Silent Opera. Enjoy.
Let’s begin to talk about the brand new Silent Opera album REFLECTIONS and the work with it. It’s your second album, how long did it take to write and record the album?
Laure: It took us about 2 years to compose and record “Reflections”. We started writing new material right after our 2011 French tour. The recording sessions started in April 2012 and it took us about 8 months to reach the final results!
Who in the band writes the material and what are the lyrics about?
Laure: Every material is written by Romain Larregain (guitars). He brings new compositions to the band, and then, every member is free to play with his own feelings, to add his own parts!!! About the lyrics, every song deals with introspective feelings, mental diseases, inner duality…
Did you put out a teaser of any of the songs online? If so what did the fans think of it?
Laure: We put out several videos. Before the release of “Reflections”, we put out a teaser to introduce it. We also put out 3 music videos to make people interest grow before the album to be available. You can also find live footage on our Youtube channel. We had really positive feedbacks about our videos.
Who has done the cover art-work? What do you think of the album cover?
Laure: The artwork has been realized by Anais from Barbariskunst. I like it because it’s uncluttered, far from metal clichés, like black covers with skulls and blood^^!!!! I also like it because, when you really pay attention to it, you can find lot of hidden details. I think it won’t let people indifferent.
Do you think that the band have gone through any musical changes if you compare REFLECTIONS with the debut album? If so in what way?
Laure: I think that Silent Opera’s sound really has come on a great deal. Our songs sound deeper, more mature than before! About Act One, even if we’re still proud of this album, we were a young band and we were learning to know each other. So, it wasn’t as consistent as “Reflections”.
How come it took the band so long to follow the debut album ACT ONE? What have you been up to in between the release of the debut album and REFLECTIONS?
Laure: After the release of “Act One”, we went on tour in France in 2011. Then, we started to work on our new record and, as I told you earlier, it’s been finished in late 2012. Actually, the more difficult was to find a label. It took us several months to sign with Massacre Records. Then, we had to wait to be included in their promotional plans. During this time, we continued to play gigs in clubs or festivals all around France.
How would you like to describe what kind of music Silent Opera plays? Personally I think your music is goth metal influenced by extreme metal.
Laure: I disagree with the word “gothic” because it represents a kind of metal aesthetic that doesn’t define us anymore.
Some of the songs are really long like the 8 minute track “Nightmare Circus” and the 11 minute long “Sailor Siren and Bitterness”. What can you tell us about those songs? What are they about?
Laure: These 2 songs are the most prog influenced in this record! They have a particular dimension and are really evolute, as movie soundtracks. These 2 songs really tell complete stories, with different characters. I think they have a cinematic dimension.
Even though the album only includes 9 songs it clocks in on about 50 minutes. Was the songs meant to be long?
Laure: Not really. It was not really pre-arranged! When we are composing, a song’s length depends on its atmosphere, on its story…
SILENT OPERA Fight Or Drift Videoclip
You shot videos to two of the songs “Dawn Of The Fool” and “Fight OR Drift”. When and where was the videos shot and are there any special theme in the videos?
Laure: These videos were shot in September 2012. About “Dawn of the fool”, it’s been shot in Saintes Arena. It’s was more an aesthetic matter. We also shot scenes with an actress for this song. It took place in a dark room that represents well this song’s theme. About “Fight or Drift”, we just wanted to make a promotional video, with the band playing the song as in a rehearsal.
SILENT OPERA Dawn Of The Fool Videoclip
Are there any plans on shooting more videos?
Laure: You can already see other videos on our channel, like “Sailor, Siren and Bitterness”, that is a kind of studio footage. We also have several live footages from different gigs. All I can tell you is that we have lot of video material to publish, as soon as possible.
Have you read any reviews of the new album yet? What have the media to say about your work? Do you and the band care about what the critics have to say?
Laure: In general, we have really good feedback from the Medias. They usually are surprised to hear a French band playing that music and they appreciate the contrast between Steven’s voice and mine. We learn a lot from the reviews we read.
Did you throw a releasparty for the album? If so when and where was the party?
Laure: We did a release party at home, in Bayonne, with about 200 guests. A very special night for us because we did it the day of the release! We gave a special gig, we lot of visual elements, videos.
You inked a deal with Massacre Records which released this album. How come you chose to sign a deal with MR?
Laure: We really wanted to sign with a professional label with international reputation. We knew that they would do a really good job with our album and let me tell you that we are not disappointed! Thank to them, we reached a new level of exposition and people consider us more seriously!
Were there any other labels that showed interest in the band besides MR?
Laure: Olivier (Sentenac, bass) and Virginie (Contet, manager) would be more able to answer because they worked hard on the label researches. I just know that other labels showed interest but signing with MR was much more interesting for us.
Are you happy with the outcome of the album? I have to say that I loved your work as well as guitarist Larregain and drummer Erviti.
Laure: Yes, of course! We worked very hard on this record and we worked with professionals to reach the results we expected! It spent a long time, a lot of money but now, we are fully satisfied and proud of it!
Studio and production
The album was recorded in Conkrete Studio, where is it located?
Laure: Conkrete Studio is located in Bordeaux, FR
Who has produced the album?
Laure: “Reflections” is a self-produced album.
How was it to work with Mobo who I understand also mixed and mastered the album?
Laure: Mobo is a great engineer but he is also a great musician. So, he was able to give us precious advices, but he always respected our own choices.
How come you wanted to work with Mobo?
Laure: We had heard a lot about him because he used to work with really influential bands in French metal scene (Otargos, Minushuman, etc.). Some of us already knew him personally and told us that he was a great guy, opened-minded.
Was any of the band members part of the mixing/mastering process?
Laure: Not really, even if Mobo sent us several versions of the mix that we listened during band gatherings to give our opinion, ask to change some elements.
Were all of the band members in the studio recording their parts together at the same time or did you show up one and one?
Laure: We didn’t record together. We started with drums, and then came basses, guitars, keyboards and finally voices. Every member recorded in different place.
The debut album was recorded in Laguna Records Studio, why didn’t you want to record REFLECTIONS there?
Laure: Actually, we recorded voices in Laguna Studio again because we liked to work with Xabi Pellarini and though he can make voices sound very well. But he doesn’t have a real metal background and this time, we really wanted to work with somebody who knows this kind of music very well!
Do you think that you’re going to work with Mobo in the future?
Laure: I hope so^^
Up close and personal with Laure Laborde
You have got an amazing voice, are you classically trained? When did you first start to sing?
Laure: Thank you! I was born in a musical middle so I always sang. I just have some lessons but I can’t say that I’m classically trained. I just work with my voices every day, making singing exercises.
Do you have any singers that have inspired you or that you look up to?
Laure: I feel very inspired by singers like Floor Jansen from After Forever. But I also love Daniel Gildenlow’s (Pain of Salvation) voices, and, in a different kind, Gojira’s singer voice. Even if their vocal style is far away from mine.
Can you play any instruments as well?
Laure: Just some chords on a piano or a guitar…
Have you been involved in any other bands before Silent Opera?
Laure: I used to be a main character on a musical during 3 years.
Do you write songs or material to the band?
Laure: I would like…but no, I don’t^^. Maybe one day…
Could you tell us a bit about when the band was born and who are the founders of the band?
Laure: Silent Opera was born in 2007 in Bayonne. The former members are Olivier, Romain and I!
Was it hard to find members to the band?
Laure: It took a long time to complete our current lineup. The most difficult was to find a good drummer.
Was it given that Silent Opera was going to play this kind of music from the start?
Laure: Right at the beginning, we already knew that we wanted to play music that mix extreme metal influences with progressive and symphonic music.
You have pretty much maintained the original line-up. It’s only keyboardist Laura Nicogossian that’s new. How have you managed to stay pretty much intact?
Laure: We all expect the same things concerning the band, which is primordial to maintain a line up! We also know each other well now, and there’s a good feeling between us.
Your debut album ACT ONE was released 2010 but I’ve also read that the first thing you released was an EP. Which came first, the EP or the album?
Laure: Actually, we never released any EP. Act One is our first release!
What did media and fans think of ACT ONE?
Laure: They thought it was a good debut album, with its qualities and defaults. But we had really encouraging reviews from all over Europe.
The band toured throughout France in 2011 how was the tour?
Laure: It was a good experience for the band. It was the first time we could meet our audience and make others discover our music. We had great meetings and a lot of pleasure playing our music out of our hometowns.
Have you only toured in France or have you toured in Europe as well?
Laure: From now, we only played in France.
Which label released ACT ONE?
Laure: We released it all by ourselves!!!
You have been performing with bands like Trepalium, Sticky Boys and In Arkadia. Did you perform with them as support acts or at festivals?
Laure: We played with them at festivals.
Your website isn’t that informative, who runs it and are there plans on update it soon?
Laure: Actually, we have a brand new website designed by Pimp my Band. You can also follow us on Facebook.
We don’t want a complete website for the moment. We prefer using social networks to increase our popularity, maybe later.
Do you think it’s important to be active on Facebook, twitter and the other social forums?
Laure: Yes, of course, because nowadays, music is more consumed on internet than in record store.
I know that you’re heading out on the road in May, how does that feel? Are you exited to meet fans?
Laure: As I am answering your questions, we’ve just finished touring. It was so nice to meet fans and promote “Reflections”. Shows were really great and the new compositions seem to be effective on stage!! It was exciting because some people already saw us and we couldn’t wait to show them our evolution.
Are there any plans on heading on a longer tour through Europe or Scandinavia in the near future?
Laure: We are planning gigs on November with more important headliners. Right now, I can’t tell you where we’ll play. We’re also looking for some tour supports to play all around Europe. We have lot of projects.
Do you have any festival shows booked for the summer?
Laure: No, we don’t. It’s a little difficult for us because the album came out a little bit too late to permit us to be included in 2014 summer festivals.
How would you describe what people can expect of a live show with Silent Opera?
Laure: Our shows are intense, with a lot of visual elements. We really try to establish a particular atmosphere during our gigs.
What would you like to say to the ones who haven’t discovered the music of Silent Opera yet?
Laure: They’ll have to break all the prejudices against female voice metal! They can find in our music lot of different elements: melancholia, aggressiveness, melody, strength…
Is the band working on any new material for the next album?
Laure: We’ve just started to work on new songs. Nothing ready to be published of course but we’ll start to work on it seriously this summer.
Finally, do you have any words of wisdom you’d like to share with the readers and fans?
Laure: I would like to thank everybody for your support! Go & buy “Reflections” if you still don’t have it !!! Hope to see you soon on stage!
Thanks so much again for taking the time doing the interview. I wish you and the band all the best!
Laure: Thanks to you Anders!