Interview with Akiavel
Chris – guitars
Butch – drums
Interview by Kira Levine
Hi there! Thanks for your time, hope that you are keeping safe and well. Please state your names and positions in Akiavel.
Chris: Hey I’m Chris, guitarist in Akiavel!
Butch: Hi everyone, I’m Butch, the drummer!
How old were you when you began learning to make music and what helped you to decide that this type of career was for you?
Chris: I was young when I realized I wanted to become a musician, maybe around 11. I had to wait for several years before actually learning the guitar. Music has always been a passion, but it’s unfortunately not yet my day-job. From the very beginning, I never stopped trying to achieve my goal, even when I struggled on my first Metallica or Iron Maiden tab books (laughs).
Butch: I first began music when I was 5 or 7 with violin, and then switched to drums at the age of 10. It was at that time that I discovered metal music, and this instrument was way more convenient to play such styles, at least to my opinion… (laughs).
What advice would you give those at the beginning of their music career?
Chris: Do not trust anyone but yourself.
Butch: Play for your pleasure first, work hard, just be yourself, and the rest will follow!
Having formed in 2018, Akiavel is only a few years old. How did you all meet?
Chris: At a barbecue party, after a few beers, the idea popped up between Jay (bass), Auré (vocals) and myself to create a new death metal band that would be different from all types of bands one was used to see and hear around: we wanted a genuine melting pot of all our musical influences, we wanted to remove all the boundaries that existed between all the types of metal we love. The idea of Akiavel was born, and we quickly recorded a self-titled EP.
Butch: And I joined the band a few months later to begin the writing process of our first album, V, that we released in February 2020.
How and why was the band name chosen?
Chris: Akiavel is a word derived from the name of the famous humanist and political Italian thinker Nicolas Machiavelli, mainly known for what certain might call “cynical” or “amoral” political theories… We loved the ending in “-el”, because it reminds of the archangels. We wanted to recall the half-angel / half-demon side of our music: aggressive and violent on one side, melodic on the other side.
Butch: Also the “el” sound means “she” in French, which was funny for a female fronted band (laughs)
For those who haven’t listened to Akiavel yet, how would you describe the band’s music?
Butch: Akiavel is death metal band, some would say ”melodic” death metal band, with a lot of influences from many metal genres.
Chris: Our goal was to create and play the music we liked and wanted to listen to, a powerful music with melodies and the brutal vocals of Auré, one of the most crazy death metal woman singers. We wanted to create our very own universe, a style which would incorporate all our different musical backgrounds, thrash metal, death metal and hardcore.
Your second full length album “Væ Victis” is due out this year, following up your debut album “V” from early 2020. Was it difficult to finish the upcoming album with the ongoing pandemic situation?
Chris: Not really, we have always been used to playing remotely, so that was not that different for us.
Butch: we all had a lot of time to practice our instrument and to go deeper into the process of composition. And with the Internet, everything was made possible, even during lockdown!
What would you say inspired the creative output on “Væ Victis”?
Butch: Vae Victis is a concept album about serial killers, each song is about a different serial killer.
Chris: We must say that our first album, V, was also a concept album, about the 5 wounds of the soul, which is a concept by a Canadian therapist. For this second album, we also wanted a concept album, and Auré told us she was inspired by the stories of these 10 serial killers, so we had our concept!
Who did you recruit to create the “Væ Victis” album cover?
Chris: It is an artist who goes by Raf the Might or @too_many_skulls on Instagram. He did the beautiful album cover for V as well. We gave him the concept, roughly, and he translated it into the beautiful artwork you see on the cover album.
Butch: Basically, the artwork is about time, as you can see from the hourglass and the scythes. Since time is the biggest of all serial killers.
What gear was used on “Væ Victis”?
Chris: I used my Darius guitars, a French brand of custom-made guitars that I really love.
Butch: I played on my Lalite drums, also a French custom-made drums, with a Ludwig Coliseum snare and my beloved Paiste cymbals. And, of course, my ProOrca drumsticks, also French, of which I’m an endorser.
You guys have chosen to independently release your second album. Can you talk a little bit about the positives and negatives of self-releasing?
Chris: We are fully independent with our record company, Akia Records. We can only think of advantages of being independent, we can decide on everything, from musical choices to imagery…
Butch: We thought we would be better off on our own, without ties or bonds. Especially since record companies are not always really proactive for emerging bands like us… like this, we are sure that the very best will be done for our band!
Death metal is a heavily male-dominated arena. As a band with a female vocalist, how do you feel Akiavel has been received? Do you think your lineup has an impact on your popularity?
Butch: It’s not uncommon nowadays to see female fronted metal bands, so I don’t think this makes that much a difference.
Chris: And I must add that when people first listen to our music, most of them do not realize that a woman is actually singing! (Laughs) For sure, we don’t want to do like those bands who take too much advantage of their front woman by showing them half-naked… Auré is just our singer, and that is already a lot!
Aside from Akiavel, have you been a part of any other bands or projects?
Chris: None of us has other serious bands or projects aside from Akiavel.
Butch: Of course, this is not actually forbidden, but Akiavel takes so much time that we cannot afford other projects. We wouldn’t have time!
Do you have any creative endeavors outside of music that you would like to talk about?
Chris: We try to be creative in terms of music, that is already a lot, haha.
How would you describe the current metal scene in France?
Butch : The scene is very active with many talented bands, but we must say that this style of music is not really popular in France, so it is hard to emerge in France, and even more abroad.
Are there any emerging French acts that you admire?
Chris: It is hard to tell… let’s say that Akiavel tries to be the main one!
When it comes to widely known musicians/vocalists, are there any that influence you as an artist?
Chris: I would name many old bands like Metallica, Iron Maiden or Sepultura
Butch: I would answer Testament, Slayer, but also Pantera or Iron Maiden.
Can you pick three of your all-time favourite albums?
Chris: I would say Arise (Sepultura), Master of Puppets (Metallica), and Seventh Son of a Seventh Son (Iron Maiden).
Butch: To me this would be Power of Inner Strength (Grip Inc.), Demonic (Testament) and Burn My Eyes (Machine Head)
Personally, do you listen to any non-metal music?
Chris: I listen to non-metal music in private, all the mainstream shit, and my favorite, and no shit at all, are the 80’s music from USA and France.
Butch: I like to listen to softer styles like Blues or Hard Hock, from Buddy Guy to AC/DC.
What do the next twelve months look like for Akiavel?
Chris: I really hope live shows.
Butch: And also finish the third album we are already beginning to compose!
Thank you so much! Do you have anything else that you wish to add?
Chris: Thank you so much for your time!
Butch: Hope to see you soon, and live!
Væ Victis is out now, get it from Akiavel’s Bandcamp!
1. Frozen Beauties
2. Bind Torture Kill
4. Needles From Hell
7. The Lady of Death
8. Pentagram Tattoo
9. Mommy I’m Capable
10. Matrimonial Advertisements