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19 2023

Heartlay Interview

"The best sounds for an album from basements and the subway"

French metalheads from Heartlay recently presented their fresh full-length album. The album was released in English again and includes songs in the classical style of the band, filled with a dark aesthetic. A good reason for our second interview with the musicians, isn't it? the lead singer Aaron kindly answered our questions about new ideas, technical solutions and influences in creativity.


Recently you released a new album. What was the moment when you realized that "yes, this is the right time for a new record"?

My protocol is a bit different than that as I am more or less constantly writing. Someday I wake up and I realize “oh so I have enough material for a new Heartlay record”. I don’t feel alright if I don’t write for too long, it’s in my DNA.

I was under the impression that the new record was a bit darker than the previous that true?

Yes the overall mood on this album is darker, more intimidating than before. It has been years since I was willing to - someday - make an album that would feel very compact, thick and agressive and it felt like it was the right time to build this project right after “We Are All Awake”.

What new techniques did you discover when recording the new songs?

I’d say the sampling method is what I’ve changed the most for this one. A lot of sounds were manually taken by me using a recorder, catching sounds from utility equipment, subway trains, doors, room ambiences... I experimented things such as leaving the recording device alone in the dark for dozens of minutes in the cellar of my childhood, trying to catch the eeriest sounds possible, and then edit, mix all that to turn it into something musical. Another experiment was about using ancient sample banks from the nineties or even before that time, destroy them into pieces in my sequencer and build something new out of it. There’s something uniquely gritty about these sounds that would be difficult to replicate on current sound devices.

Which song from the new album would you say is the most challenging for you?

It depends on which part in creating the album. I’d say “As The One I Am” was the most challenging on a musical level because we’ve never done anything more musically agressive than that. The lyrical part on this one was also tricky as I wanted it to be very specific about a certain moment of my life when I was a teenager, rather than a more metaphorical writing that I often prefer to employ.


What's the main difference between the French dark or heavy scene, in your opinion, and scenes in other countries? What do you need to be successful in the French market?

I actually don’t know much about the French alt scene itself, but it feels like it is kinda secluded from the rest of the world. I don’t much identify with it anyway, every place and person where our music connects in the world is our home. Regarding how to succeed in the wider scheme of France’s musical market, I’d say singing in French could be a good start, don’t be too deep also.

Are social changes, events and pressing issues in your country and the world reflected in your music?

World social changes and events always play a role in what I do, each album has a couple of songs inspired by that.

Can you name a song that changed your life?

Probably “Where Is My Mind?” by The Pixies. It was my first time listening to a song completely by myself, without the influence of parents. Still my fav song to this day.

What would you say is the biggest challenge for "young bands" right now?

The same as anybody in the industry right now, how to stay relevant in the scrolling generation, how to deal with the rise of AI also. But I think it’s a good opportunity for artists to push towards what makes them unique and remarkable.

How do you think it's possible now to do something that will go down in music history?

It’s interesting because it implies to define what the music industry really means right now in a context of viral content and fast media consumption. It feels like it’s easier to build some kind of success and fame but in a way that is more short-lived. Some band creates a particularly heavy breakdown and it goes viral, some band has an eccentric look in a video and it goes viral, but you can witness that it also quickly fades in time. But I think it makes it a good reason to focus on the art itself and on what pushes you to do it.


I saw that you've started to master TikTok. Should we wait for some funny short videos about the life of the band and the hard life of musicians or is it "too mainstream" for you?

No goofy content in sight but there are quality things to wait for. Talking about the musician life, it’s hard to some degree, but since I know that my mission in life is to do what I do then I remain thankful for having the opportunity to do it, like every member of this band. Many people I came across in my life didn’t have that chance. We want to focus on the creative content and vision we want to share.

As far as I know, you're an artist/designers. Should we expect any original merch from the band? Anything like T-shirts with your own unusual artwork?

Absolutely. There’s new merchandise with original designs coming soon, follow us on social medias to not miss a thing.

You live in a very beautiful and interesting country. But most of your videos are shot in a studio. Have you ever thought of shooting a video among the sights of Paris? As far as I know, France have a lot of mystical and unusual places.

We’re definitely on the way to making more content outside of the studio, not necessarily in our native country.

And a word or two for music fans....

Thank you for being part of this family, we are one. There are amazing things coming soon that we’re so excited to share with you.

Jenet Bonishi

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