Monday, January 14, 2013

Interview: Jean Beaulieu of Gorelust

Despite having recently announced signing to PRC Music and unveiling plans for an upcoming album, Gorelust are a brutal death metal group that started in the underground in the early 90's. After releasing their debut album in 1995, Gorelust soon disband and disappeared from the metal scene all together until reforming in late 2012. Fortunately, I gained the opportunity to correspond with Gorelust vocalist, Jean Bealieu, after reviewing the reissue of Reign of Lunacy (read the review here). Jean and I sat down to discuss both the past and the present of Gorelust, and he provides some detailed insight on both Reign of Lunacy, the band's career and what future plans hold.

The interview is done between Villi Thorne and Jean Beaulieu.

Greetings, Jean and thank you for taking the time for this interview with Volumes of Sin! Hopefully you and the rest of the Gorelust outfit had a great New Year.
Thanks a lot! It is my honor and pleasure to talk to you about Gorelust.

First and foremost, congratulations on signing with PRC Music for your upcoming second album! What made you decide to land the deal with PRC Music, or did the label approach you first?
Actually we did the first album back in 1994-1995 with New World Symphony. Rémi Côté was behind the first album back in those days and he is now owner of PRC MUSIC. He is a friend of the band and live not far from the city where Francis (drums) and Martin (guitars) are presently living; Rimouski, in the province of Quebec, where Gorelust has been created.
So when we decided to do this, I contacted him immediately. He was really excited and happy about the news. He handles distribution very well for a small underground metal label. He made a lot of contacts over the years and has gained a lot of experiences since the New World Symphony days. It was the first and best option for us. The band is reuniting to do the album. This is the goal. We are not reuniting for touring or doing a lot of gigs. The plan for now is to do the follow-up to “Reign of Lunacy”, 20 years later. Trust me this is what we call a challenge.

How are you and Gorelust as a whole feeling about reuniting after seventeen years and releasing a brand new album? Excited, nervous?
Actually there is a lot of different emotions involved. This is quite a challenge for us. You got to understand that I had not seen the guys for years now. I saw Francis (drums) and Pascal (Bass) maybe 2 years ago but as for Martin (guitars) we have not seen each others for years. Almost ten years. I think that the last time that I did death metal vocals was in the last days of Gorelust back in 1996. This is kind of crazy. I just re-started recently, to prepare for the album. It is quite intact actually.
I know that there is a lot of bands that reunite and this seem to be a normal situation among musicians now. But our situation is really a special one. We never thought that Gorelust would come back to life. Now we are preparing the songs. The cover art is already done, distribution deal is with PRC, we found where we’re gonna record it. So everything around the music has been taken care of. Now we can concentrate on the most important part. The songs.
Actually we will use and upgrade some songs that we were suppose to record on the second album back in the 90’s. As we know this album was never recorded. We had a few songs ready at the time. They are actually pretty strong I think. I even found my old book where the new lyrics were hand-written in 1995-96. The guys are working with these songs and also will create others new ones. I just received 2 songs and I will put vocals on them soon. They really sound great and the Gorelust sound will be intact.

It is a pretty smart move to re-issue your initial album, Reign of Lunacy, so that the metal community can familiarize themselves with your music before dropping a new album. Was this your intent for giving this long out of print album a current re-release, or were there other reasons behind it?
Actually we’re not that smart. It is a coincidence. Really. I learned about the re-release in November 2012. Rémi (PRC) contacted Francis (drums) and Martin (guitars) and they gave him the ok to do it. The album always had a cool underground following and a very limited pressing. So re-releasing it was a good move for PRC.
As for the reunion, I had talked to Francis (drums) 2 years ago about the possibility of doing a second album. We were excited but since we don’t live in the same city and are quite far from each hour (5-6 hours drive) we did not talk about it after that. Except sometimes via internet… But everything was taking form in my head.
When I saw the news about the reissue it really gave me a boost. I was receiving some great positive feedback about the first album by email, Facebook or by reading different reviews. So it really was the right moment. I contacted the guys and we started this new album project. 

Gorelust was only active for about a year (after the debut album released) before you guys decided to call it quits, what were the reasons behind this? I've heard that the band was considered one of the best live groups at the time you were originally active.
The band was actually active between 1991 and 1995. 5 years. They first released a demo in 1993. I was not part of the band at this moment. Really an underground tape with a bad sound quality. But it was the beginning. Members were like 16 years old. After that, they changed the vocals guy and recorded a 2 songs split/tape with a other band called Morkeum. It was released on New World Symphony.
So I joined them after this split tape, around march 1994 I think. We recorded “Reign of Lunacy” in October 1994. Did a lot of gigs after that . We broke-up in 1996. We were still very young, 17-18 years old and every members were planning their own future. The preparation for the second album was kind of slow and we lost interest in all this. We had recorded an album and played a lot of gigs with big death metal bands so we had accomplished something for a band from a small city in Quebec, Canada. I decided to move to Montreal to study sound engineering. They first tried to replace me but the band was losing is identity. The band called it quit. Each members went their own way. They built their lives. As for me i’m working in audio for television for 15 years now.

So, lets go ahead and jump to the question that is probably on everyone's mind, what made you guys decide to reform after laying dormant for so long?
Two main reasons! The fans and the love for brutal music. It’s always been really gratifying to read about the band, to see that peoples from different parts of the world has interest in Gorelust music. We can’t wait to give them the follow-up to the first album!!
It is quite a great challenge for us! To make those songs and to record them. It will be an amazing accomplishment for us. We still loves brutal music!

I noticed that out of the original line-up, the only member that isn't making a come back is guitarist Jeff Olivier. Is there any reason that he decided not to reunite with Gorelust?
Jeff Olivier had left the band in 1995. A few months after the release of the album. After that he was not around any guys from the band. I think that he moved to a other city with his girlfriend. We had some problems with the second guitarist position in the band. We had 2 others guys after him. So when we decided to do the second album we did not contact any others members. It is actually quite challenging to fit everyone agendas to do this project. At first we were not even sure to have Martin (guitars) with us. When he confirmed that he was in we were so happy. To have re-unite 4 of the 5 guys that played on the first album was already an amazing thing. So we decided that we would use only 1 guitarist for the album. Since the goal is not touring but to record an album, to have only 1 guitar is cool for us. Martin was actually the main songwriter in Gorelust and he is in, so we could not be happier.

Lets talk about Reign of Lunacy for a moment. At the time, Death Metal was reaching its peak of popularity with bands like Death, Obituary and Autopsy, while Brutal Death Metal had been around for a few years but was not widely popularized yet. What were the initial ideas, influences and thought processes behind this album?
We were fans of many death metal bands. Some bigger ones but also the more underground acts. We were always buying new discs and discovering new brutal music every weeks. So we were really influenced by all these bands. We were listening to them all the time. I remember the goal was to play catchy, technical brutal music. Before I joined the band they already had taken the “gore” lyrics direction. So when I joined I continued on these themes. Adding also some others themes. I had a lot of ideas in my head. I always been a horror movies fan.

While Reign of Lunacy is ultimately considered a Brutal Death Metal release due to the style and composure of the instruments, it's easy to hear that your vocals had a more Death Metal approach above all, having used growls versus using gutterals which are associated with most brutal records. Can you tell us more about your vocals on this album?
Reign of Lunacy is the only studio recording where you can hear my vocals. Before that I had never been in a recording studio. The 2 others guys before me that did vocals for Gorelust had more guttural voices.
As for me, this is just how I do it. I remember back in the days they were “character” vocals. I mean you could identify a band by the voice of the vocalist. Glen Benton was really unique at the time, Barney Greenway from Napalm Death had is distinctive voice. Same for Chuck Schuldiner, Frank Mullen, Jeff Walker and all those classics death metal vocalists. This is only my opinion but for me the vocals should be unique and should have an important place in the band. I like death metal with dynamics, expressions. I don’t like under-used, monotonous vocals. So I tried to have my own style. Sure you can hear all my influences, they are all blended together and they are part of my performance.
So this was just the way I did it. No effects. Just my real voice. I remember recording all the vocals in maybe 4 hours. For all the album. It was just like recording them “live”. I did 1 other track for the higher pitch vocals. But that was it. Most of the songs were done in 1 take. Maybe did 2-3 “punch-in” for the whole album. I know that no one does that anymore… But this is how it was done for Gorelust. I was recording song from beginning to end in 1 take. When I listened to the album now sure it does not sound perfect but I like it this way. It is true, raw, no edits. Like death metal should be.
It was the same thing for the others instruments parts. They were not digitally modified. Everything was done on analog tape. All in real time. No drums edits. It was way before the pro-tools studio coming…

Since we've revisited the roots of Gorelust, I'd like to ask you about the upcoming album. Should the listeners be expecting a style change, maybe something heavier or more aggressive? How are you moving forward as a band in terms of musical progression? Is there anything else that you can say regarding the forthcoming release? 
This will be the logical follow-up of the first album. All in the same style. There would be no point of doing this with a different sound or a new style direction. This will be Gorelust. All fans of the first album will be pleased!! We go back to the 90’s death metal!! All in furious Gorelust intensity!
The goal in to record this late summer 2013 and releasing it before the end of the year. I would say that our objective is just to do a better album in every ways. The main difference will be that we were 17-20 years old back in the days. Now we are grown-up mens and had a lot of experiences in life. We’ll do this with passion for brutal music. You’ll see that the drummer is now a complete freak on drums. And from what I have heard the guitars riffings will be quite brutal but still catchy!
The album themes will be based around resurrection of the dead. A theme that goes well with the current state of the band. Cover art will be done by Andrey Kroms. Excellent graphic artist. All lyrics will be from me. We just can’t wait to do this and peoples to hear this!

Again, thank you Jean for taking the time to answer these questions. Volumes of Sin wishes Gorelust the best of luck on your upcoming release, which is anxiously being awaited!
Thanks a lot for this great interview! Thanks to everyone who support our music. Don’t forget to “like” the Gorelust Facebook Page. Any official news about the band will be posted there. 

Thanks to all!
Stay brutal,


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