ADX… A name that will strike a chord in the heart of the old French metal fans. Being reunited once again, the band was billed to play on one of Hellfest's main stages this year. As an old fan, I couldn't pass up the opportunity to watch and enjoy the show, and then do a little chatting with them. And Phil did prove to be a very nice, talkative and interesting man...
from left to right: Klod, Phil, Dog, Betov, BY
Darkside Momo: So, here we go! For all Metalstorm readers, could you first present the band, its history, as you are clearly not newbies?
Phil (vocals): No, no! ADX has been complete in March 1982, and the first album was released in 1985, February 1985. So we followed on with shows and writing songs for the second album, La Terreur, which was released in 1986.
DM: And it was a concept album...
Phil: Hum, yes, let's say the lyrics were all dealing about the same topic, history... Post-medieval history, I'd say.
Then we followed suit with Suprématie, released in 1987, and with a live album shortly after; it was recorded in Paris. And after that... Weird Visions. An album recorded in Berlin for... I don't remember their name, but who cares, as they still have to pay us anyway.
DM: Oh! OK...
Phil: (laughs)... So it's an album that was originally planned to be both in English and in French. This means that we first wrote all the lyrics in French, and then we made adaptations - and not translations! - in English. We did take a lot of time to do this, we wanted it to be credible and also to be a reflection of the band. Sadly, we were only able to do the English version... I said sadly... Not that we weren't happy, buuuuuut seeing that the album was distributed a bit haphazardly...
DM: It was Noise, wasn't it?
Phil: Yeah, yeah. And so it was well received by the fans... Even in Germany, at the time, but there was no monitoring backing us. We did a tour after Weird Visions, and it went well, but the album... We can't say it didn't sell, but as I said there was no monitoring about it. So it went a bit 'poop', and it brought the first dissention within the band. We were still together, but there was no fire, we were just rehearsing...
After Weird Visions... There was Résurrection.
DM: That was the first return, at the end of the 90'?
Phil: Yeah, so Résurrection... I'd say 'good album', as we like all the songs we write, but yes it was a bit more in the trend of the time, a bit more dark, even lyrics-wise. It was well received. Er... In the band the mood wasn't great; we didn't find the vibe we had before, so there were conflicts. Once again it wasn't a split-up, we were a bit pissed-off, and the band was put on hold. That is to say there never was any dissolution of ADX. The goal is to have fun, so when there's no fun, we stop, and if it comes again, like now, well... With Division Blindée, we found the vibe again, and we rehearsed with... I wouldn't say two new members, as we've known for 25 years...
DM: They are old buddies!
Phil: They are old buddies, we played together, Klod [bass] was the one who did keyboards and backing vocals on La Terreur, so he's not a new guy...
DM: He's a part of the family.
Phil: Yes. And all went well, good mood, and good laughs too! THAT is really important! When you don't have fun, it's not even worth it. And so Division Blindée was released in May 2008, and we've been touring since that moment. It's going well, audiences are great, it has nice reviews in the press… It was well received at all levels, and we're following our own way… And now today, the Hellfest, which is something quite bigger!
DM: So, what's your opinion about the show?
Phil: Good, good! Too much dust, however! (laughs) It's horrible for singing! (rires) Yeah, it's not great when you sing, but whatever… The audience was good, the sound was good, the mood on stage was good, we had a blast. So, really, it was a great pleasure!
DM: It showed you were having fun, you were smiling all the way.
Phil: Yeah, we're always trying to smile.. But no, no, we are always smiling! (wink) That's because we all agree on this: the day we're fucking bored on stage, we stop, you see. The show is the final purpose; it's the finality of the songwriting, the finality of the studio work… So, during the show, you just let go, that's about it! And so, we don't care about the mistakes we make!
DM: I don't remember any...
Phil: (laughing) oh yes!
DM: Maybe there were, but I didn't pay attention...
Phil: Bah, there were many! But the goal is to party with the spectators, that's it!
DM: Who did react well...
Phil: Oh yeah, really really well. Really, really well. A wonderful audience! And this is not that easy when you play in a fest like this, you never know how many people there'll be in front of the stage, you never know how it'll proceed, so those who say they have no stage fright, well it's bullshit. It is a challenge; a fest like Hellfest is a challenge, and so we were a little anxious, like many people (even those who don't say so)… But the outcome is positive on all levels.
DM: Visibly there were quite a lot of fans who were here only for you, and Satan's Jokers just after.
Phil: Yes, yes…! So, you see, that's why metal can do well here in France. It's always the same dilemma 'can it work here in France?' Yes it can, if people promote the French bands!
DM: Yes, do the promotion, but actively, because it's true it only stays in its own parts and, and...
Phil: Yes, it does, but we have the chance, I do say chance, to have fans somewhat around the world, and this is where it gets paradoxical because the language has no importance. It only bothers French people!
Phil: The French singing only bothers French people! Not the Canadian or the German… We even have good reviews in Japan, in England…
DM: In England too? Usually they're quite critical with the French bands in general!
Phil: Yeah but, I mean, singing in French is a false reason of non-distribution. You can go everywhere in the world and sing in French, and it won't bother anyone!
DM: ...except French people, as you said.
Phil: Except French people, who say 'oh that's X who sings in French, so no!' So that's it, we've met with many people, we receive mail from quite a lot of countries, even countries where French is not spoken at all! And it doesn't bother them, the rhythm is good (well we hope there's a good rhythm in the singing), and after that one likes the song, or not. But the language has never been a barrier! it would be typically French to say 'humpf this is a French metal band, I don't want it!' I think it's a pity. (laughs)
Phil during the Hellfest show
DM: Hum... About the reunion, you said that it happened because you wanted to come back, but how did it happen exactly?
Phil: Well, there was a website about ADX based in Switzerland (http://www.a-d-x.ch/), made by a fan who did a very good job, it's a very nice site, and he contacted us because on his website a lot of people asked for us… So well, er, we told ourselves 'yes, why not, but in a relaxed way'.
DM: Kinda 'let's do just a show, to see'?
Phil: Yeah! We rehearsed, we played, and well it worked! I'd say… There's no age limit to play music, but we're not twenty years old anymore! So no need to work it up; we have opportunities to do things, we do them; if we don't, well… We're serene.
DM: And so, doesn't this reunion infringe on your daily life? 'Cos I suppose you're all forced to have day jobs?
Phil: Jobs yeah well jobs, because music in France… You know as well as I that very few musicians make a living off their music, even if some say they do… I demand to see! It's revolting. We know very nice people like Patrick Rondat, and he has due to musical mercenary work to make a living, even if he is really talented… I mean, stop the bullshit, we don't have contracts with huge distributors as the Americans can have… It's not a negative comment against Americans, it's just that they have the organizations, in which the musician is treated as an employee with said conditions and then they play! But sure, no need to be blind, there are bastards and profiteers too…
DM: Yeah, there are... (laughs)
Phil: But at least there's a monitoring of the musical activity, but not in France. I tell you, the blatant example of this is Patrick Rondat, who's an incredible musician…
DM: Yeah, he's a god for sure!
Phil: We invited him to play with us at the Loco (diminutive for the Locomotive, a famous venue in Paris) two years ago; he's charming, who has a good sense of humor… He's a very simple, unpretentious, with a ready smile…
DM: He isn't big-headed and on top of it he has such an awesome talent.
Phil: Yeah, and that's the kind of people I like… And yes (back to topic) he makes a living out of it. But he doesn't drive a Porsche, I assure you! But I do hope for him that he will! So, see, stop the nonsense! But some things are going in the good way.
DM: True, the scene is growing and evolving...
Phil: Yeah, no need to bite the hand that feeds, as the scene is moving, some people are finally doing stuff…
DM: It seems that France is finally waking up as a metal country, in fact...
Phil: Yeah, we had some feedback about Hellfest, and well there are English people that prefer to come here at Hellfest rather than attending a festival in England! Because of the price, organization, the whole stuff! Not only the price, I mean. I take my hat off to Hellfest, because when you see the mess it can be… And that's awesome! (he whistles admiringly)
DM: Did you see any bands today, or yesterday? Er, I don't when you arrived...
Phil: Well we arrived yesterday, but for us it was quite messy because… because it was a mess, let's say it that way! (laughs) But now, we have played, so we'll make the most of it now! I hope to meet Queensrÿche, Europe…
DM: Another question now. You were speaking about Weird Visions' French recording earlier... Do you still have the tapes?
Phil: We don't have the tapes, but we still have the lyrics.
DM: So you could do it again, but you haven't the original recordings?
Phil: No… But we can get them back, I mean we can still use what we call 'true playback', in other words we can put a 'singing' tape over an 'instruments' tape... But, for now, we're working on La Terreur.
DM: You're recording it anew?
Phil: We will re-release as it is, and we will re-recorder it, to have a more modern feeling, I'd say. Back then there wasn't any metal culture in France, so this album had a sound… It's good, but it's a rock sound. It might be interesting, so we'll re-record the songs, and the guy who'll buy it will have both versions.
DM: Great! And what about the other albums? I'm thinking especially about Suprématie and Weird Visions, as I was unable to find them?...
Phil: Ah, Suprématie… Well, I don't have it myself either…
DM: What?? You don't have your own copy?
Phil: There are some albums I don't own! I've got stuff you won't have, such as engraving tests…
DM: Yes... (laughs)
Phil: But I don't have the album itself! I moved quite a lot in my life, so some stuff went away here and there... Well, shoemakers' wives go barefoot and doctors' wives die young, as they say! (laughs)
DM: Yes, I can see that… And about Weird Visions?
Phil: Weird Visions… well, we don't really know because, when I told you earlier politely that we've been fucked up… You see, they didn't even tell the French SACEM that it was released! No declaration at all!
DM: In a way it's an album you haven't done…
Phil: Yeah, we don't know… But people know it, and that's cool!
DM: I discovered you with this album!
Phil: Well thank you! Moreso it's a very good album, we put a lot of efforts in the songwriting, as it's true that, at the time, our songs were heading everywhere, we had to reduce some parts because…
DM: you were becoming prog, in fact?!
Phil: Yeah yeah, a bit, yes! Apart from this it's a good album, even if we were a bit disappointed not to do it in French… In my opinion it wouldn't have changed anything, but the fan side would have been more important. The lyrics were great, there was a lot of stuff, there was… But well, it happened that way… The problem was that, as soon as we came back from Berlin, we were let completely loose!
DM: And so right now you don't have the rights, so you won't be able to re-release it or anything...
Phil: We don't know what the situation is, and this means it's… er…
DM: ...it's shit! (laughs)
Phil: It's shit! (laughs)
DM: Well... I've finished my questions... any last word to say to the Metalstorm readers?
Phil: Come numerous to the shows, as we have quite a few planned… So I hope there'll be some readers from your webzine that will come to see us!
DM: Do you have planned shows in foreign countries?
Phil: Yes, there is the Keep It True fest in Germany…
DM: When does it happen?
Phil: Errrr (laughs)… Don't ask that to me! (laughs) 'When is it? Tomorrow? OK, I'm coming!' (laughs) I'll tell you a day and make a mistake, so there's no point… But, the Keep It True is in 2010, next year. And there's also the Raismes Fest in September, and we also wait for an answer for the Sweden Rock, so let's hope…! And so there are a few shows here and there, and that's great!
DM: Thanks a lot!
Many thanks are due to Phil of course for his kindness, and also to their manager Phil and Roger Wessier for making this interview real!
Posted on 25.07.2009 by
Once your regular Hellfest reporter, now retired. I (strangely enough) listen to a lot of metal. And enjoy good beers, comics, novels and role-playing games.