Igorrr visionary Gautier Serre is a true artist and a lucky man. He’s been able to quit his job and tour the world with his unique, unhinged experimental music that is often terrifying and destructive. Gautier unlike his music was a lovely man and a pleasure to interview, we talked about his musical upbringing, the new album Savage Sinusoid, working with Metal Blade Records, UK Tech Fest, his upcoming tour and his most surreal moment with Igorrr.
Jack: Hey Gautier, thanks for taking the time to answer my questions. How are you?
Gautier Serre: I’m doing well, thank you, we just return from playing at Hellfest and that was awesome!
Jack: What made you want to start Igorrr?
Gautier: Igorrr started when I was a teenager looking for a band or an artist destroying all the limits of music, a band able to bring what all the boring mainstream bands could not bring. I didn’t find any band like that, so basically, I juste wrote the music I wanted to listen to. This is what inspired me, I love metal, baroque music, electronic or traditional Balkan music and I wanted to have all the music I love in one place, without segregation. I guess the result is very specific but I didn’t write the music in the purpose to please anybody, it was more something personal, making my own “ideal music.”
Jack: Igorrr is famous for having no boundaries, do you set yourself any targets or objectives when writing or do you just go with the flow?
Gautier: Actually, the music just flow, I have no special target, I just want to make the music I love and I want to hear. I don’t ask myself if it’s out of the boundaries or not, if it sounds good to me, I’m doing it.
Jack: What bands inspired you?
Gautier: Many bands or artists had been a part of my musical culture, like Meshuggah, Chopin, Cannibal Corpse, Bach, Taraf de Haidouks, Mayhem or Scarlatti, in any style of music, there are bands or artists over the top, I have been drinking all this music for years and years, now I guess my music is still influenced by all of them, all what I loved, mixed together.
Jack: Has growing up in France inspired your music direction?
Gautier: I was starting to answer that I don’t think it has had any kind of influence on my music, but then I thought about all the accordion and the musette tracks I’ve created so I guess at the end, yes, the cliché of the French kitsch ballades had some influence on me I guess. To parody this music on tracks like Double Monk or Cheval and to have fun of it is so much fun.
Jack: Savage Sinusoid came out last week, are you happy with the response? Do you pay attention to reviews?
Gautier: I’m extremely happy of the response. I get use to facing haters that react to my music as something that shouldn’t exist as it’s “out of the rules” and for Savage Sinusoid, they are not as many as I would thought. By signing this album on a popular label as Metal Blade, I wasn’t expecting so much open minded reactions. I even saw several reviews with 10/10 as notes, some of them on major magazines and webzine such as Metal Injection or It Djents. It feels a bit unreal actually, my personal music that I’ve started to create alone in my experimental studio at home some years ago, now being understood by such high quality journalists is something quite unusual and very nicely surprising.
Jack: To me it seems Igorrr has gone in a more metal direction. Would you say that is accurate?
Gautier: I noticed that fact at the end of the album indeed, Savage Sinusoid is a bit more metal than the previous albums, this hasn’t been made it purpose, I guess I was just a bit more in a metal mood for this one. Some people asked me if I made this album more metal because the label, Metal Blade, asked me to, but in fact, when I presented the album to the label, it was already finished, and like with all the previous albums I’ve made, during the creation of the music, I’ve no idea where it’s gonna be released. Even more than that, I don’t think about it as I want to be sure the music won’t be influenced by anything else than if it sounds good or not, without restriction.
Jack: What was it like working with Travis Ryan?
Gautier: Travis is definitely an incredible guy, very talented, very positive and a great person. Working with him was exactly how he is. We had fun doing it, and the voices he has done made me laugh so much, it’s working so well. Listening the Travis voice for the first time on Cheval was an incredible moment, I was laughing so much, having a French accordion going on and being joined by the Travis growls is priceless.
Jack: Were there any other collaborators on the album?
Gautier: Yes, many actually. On the first track, Viande, Teloch (Mayhem) is playing the guitars and the bass. Also, almost on all the album, you can hear the bass of Erlend Caspersen, he did a stunning job for this album, incredible bass man, same here we had so much fun doing music together, specially at the end of Houmous. You can also hear the harpsichord of Katerina Chrobokova, the classical guitar of Nils Cheville, the accordion of Adam Stacey (Secret Chiefs 3) and Pierre Mussi, the strings of Benjamin Violet, the sitar of Antony Miranda, the saxophone of Yann Le Glaz etc…
Jack: How long did it take for you to make the album?
Gautier: This album was the longest in the work I ever made, it took me a bit more than four years to achieve it. So many different recordings, so many styles, so many guests and so many months in the studio polishing the mix. Damn.
Jack: Did the current political elections in France influence the album in anyway?
Gautier: Absolutely not.
Jack: What is it like working with Metal Blade Records?
Gautier: Metal Blade is a label which have released many bands that I love, including a major band in my metal culture which is Cannibal Corpse, so it’s a bit unreal when you see your album in the middle of what are the albums you’ve been listening as a teenager. It still feel a bit strange actually. Also, when you send an album with an accordion and a guy saying in French “o fuck, shit…” at the beginning of Cheval, to a label that singed Metallica or Slayer, you are sure to hear something back, I was sure they would ask me to change something or just they would have talked about it. In fact, they are incredibly open minded people and they never ever asked me to change anything to adapt in such popular label. They let me 100% free of anything and it’s a real pleasure to work with them.
Jack: Are you looking forward to UK Tech Fest?
Gautier: Yep, definitely, now that I’m answering this interview, the Tech Fest will happen in 2 weeks, we’re really looking forward to play there.
Jack: What can we expect from your UK tour in November?
Gautier: It’s always hard to answer this question as I have never been attending any Igorrr gig in front of the speakers, so I don’t know how it feels. I guess you can expect baroque, metal and electronic music very loud in your face.
Jack: Is music a full time job for you?
Gautier: Yes, now I’m doing Igorrr full time. Before I had a job, I was a sound engineer in the studio I now record my own albums. Improve Tone Studios. I also have a side project called Corpo-Mente, with the same singer than with Igorrr, Laure Le Prunenec.
Jack: Did you ever expect to be touring the world when you released the demo in 2004?
Gautier: Almost all bands say that they didn’t expect so much while they were all actually looking for that all the time. In my case, I have always done music not in order to please anybody but just to try to make my personal ideal music as good as possible in my little studio, so no, I didn’t really expect touring the world, either having an album on Metal Blade or anything that is happening recently.
Jack: What’s been the most surreal moment with Igorrr?
Gautier: I guess, the first time when you see people covered in tattoos with your album covers, but also when you play on the other side of the planet and you see people with home made printed Igorrr t-shirts knowing all your tracks by heart. More recently, the most surreal moment was seeing a so crowded audience at Hellfest enjoying your music.
Jack: Finally what are your upcoming plans?
Gautier: We have a big tour this Autumn in Europe after all the summer festivals, that’s gonna take us almost two months being on the road. After this Autumn tour, I believe we gonna keep touring for some months, but I have no idea in fact, it will all depend of how the public will react to the new album. Also, last year I did the soundtrack of the new Bruno Dumont’s movie, called ‘Jeannette’ and it will be released I guess in September/October.
Jack: Thank you for your time!
Gautier: You’re welcome!