.......INTERVIEW
. with Sébastien Fillion and Samuel Maurin from French Progressive Rock Band THORK
.                                        by Sergio Motta, Rio de Janeiro - Brazil

Sergio Motta - As far as I could understand Thork has been to the front of regional scene 
of progressive music for two years; Such as it generally happens to other bands, did you
also experience some changes until to reach the current line-up?

Sébastien Fillion: THORK has been existing for more than three years now. The band was born from the meeting of Sébastien Fillion (keyboards) and Antoine Aureche (vocals, guitars), soon rejoined by Claire Northey (violin), Michel Lebeau (drums) and a bass player replaced by Samuel Maurin (bass, stick) a few weeks later.
This line up remained the same, until a short while after the recording of our album "URDOXA". Then, at the end of 2000 Antoine had to leave the band because of his studies. A few months later, David Maurin (guitars,flute) and Samy Cyr (vocals) integrated the band to form the current line-up….
The music proposed by Thork is denominated as being somewhat of the kind as ‘’Dark
Progressive Folk’’.  Did you feel under the influence of any other band to make your way
toward this trend?
Sébastien Fillion: From our first rehearsals, we have strived to create our own original sound. The brand we have named our music with (Dark Folk Progressive) seemed very appropriate to us (even though our music can at times go far beyond this denomination). "Dark" stands for the gothic side of our music (there are no major chords in our songs), which tend to be sad and introspective."Folk" stands because we have some celtic and medieval influences, and at last "Progressive" for the structural side of our pieces, far from the cliche verse/chorus/solo. Nonetheless we do have some common influences (when I say influences, I mean music we do listen to and not bands we would like to sound like), which are very varied and go from classical to jazz/jazz rock, to metal/fusion and pure progressive and so on...which explain in the end why Thork's style is paradoxically far from our individual influences.
Quite a few musicians in your country generally have a strong attraction by the medieval
themes, and as far as I can see in your musical proposal you also feel inclined to that.
 By the way, do you also take this theme as an inexhaustible inspiration source?
Samuel Maurin: Not really ! We are inspired by a lot of different things and middle age is just one of them amongst others.We wrote a song  called "TaediumVitae" and we used a musical theme wrote in the fourteenth century, and also, we sampled a bell from a "Dead Can Dance" album for the introduction, that are probably the reasons why this song has such a medieval feeling! The reason why one can find that we are inspired by medieval themes is the use of violin which brings some lightness to the songs and counterbalance the heaviness of all the other instruments.
On reading an interview with you, I could perceive your band’s music is grounded on
some classic works. How does it technically work out the transformation of a classic work
into a musical format?  Is there any  care for not averting from the author’s original
proposal?
Samuel Maurin: Well, there must have been some misunderstanding... Claire (our violin player) and Antoine (our first guitarist) have a classical formation. Sébastien has a formation more jazz  and me and Michel (the drummer) have learned music by ourselves, but we have never used a classical piece nor have been inspired by one for our own compositions (just maybe on an unconscious level!)..
In your view, what’s the main affinity between the music of Thork and the literary work
‘’Dracula et la Diablesse Rouge’’ by Béatrice Lungulesco?
Samuel Maurin: We had some lyrics written for the song "Taedium Vitae", which dealt about vampires, but some parts were missing...so we used the first sentence of this great book as well as a Nietzsche's quote to complete the song. We generally write the music first and then the lyrics, so we don't use books or poems as guidelines in the writing process. But then, when this is done and when we have chosen a theme we want to evoke in a song, if we find a text that fits really well with it, then we just quote it (that's what happened also with the song "l'enlèvement de Psyché" where we used a Victor Hugo's poem to introduce the song).
For too many listeners your music sounds entirely around an enigmatic or even shadowy
sphere obviously caused by the gothic direction that you opted by introducing it into
your musical proposal. Do you then think the music is the true image of a musician’s
personality, or does it just reflect the state of the composer’s spirit in the very moment 
of his musical piece’s creation?
Sébastien Fillion: That's a good question. According to me, it is before all the individual's personality which will guide his creation, which will colour it emotionally and technically . A personality can't construct itself  up on its own, it is the result of numerous influences (cultural, geographical). I do believe that music has been created in order to exalt feelings that couldn't be expressed in words, and then became a support for various activities, like singing or dancing.
Nowadays, we can sense the geographical influences on countries' cultures: the further south we go, the more lively the music is. Full of heat in Africa, rhythmically festive in South America, whereas the colder Europe produces pieces much less colourful and much more mathematical (excepted maybe for Andalousia, highly marked by its muslim occupation). If North America produces the same kind of music as in Europe, that comes probably from the fact that it was one of its colony. If Christopher Colombus were a muslim instead of a christian, no doubt the music in the "land of freedom" would have been different.
When we turn the radio up here in Annecy and in Malaga as an example, one can be struck by the difference between what we are going to hear. In Malaga, the music is very generous, you can feel the warmness of the social relationship listening to it.
Most of the music we hear here in France are colourless products based on trade notions.
The climate here is more rigorous so people tend to remain locked up!
The less social contacts we have, the colder we grow, and so our music.
To summarize, let's say we can't fight against our own nature, and that THORK's music is a mere reflection of it.
I have read some reviews about your first album titled ‘’Urdoxa’’ where most of the 
reviewers have unanimously come to the conclusion that it is a very fine album in fact,
however they also say the songs’ complexity has brought the listeners anyhow a bit of
hardness to get its beauty at first listening.  Did you expect already that it could happen?
Sébastien Fillion: Yes, we were expecting this kind of reaction, because we saw people having  problems in understanding what we were doing on stage when we played our songs live!
Once again it all has to do with the cultural level of each individuals: if someone has listened to all his life to three minutes long songs based always on the same pattern, he will certainly have difficulties to appreciate a fifteen minutes song full of changes.
I'm extremly happy when someone tells me he didn't like "URDOXA" at the first hearing but only after a couple of them. It's like looking at a Claude Monet's painting, you can't distinguish anything at the first glance, but then if you really look carefully, a lot of details appear...There's always something that you haven't noticed before or understood.

Samuel Maurin: On the same token, people have enjoyed our shows because what we were playing was very different from what they could hear usually. So, even if people don't see where we want to lead them, at least they are puzzled by what they hear and want to know more.

You have recently told me that one more album by Thork will probably come out, seen 
that you have hence been working upon it.  Can you let me know something about it
beforehand?
Sébastien Fillion: We have started to work on our second album a while ago. The songs are written, and we have already recorded a few synths tracks. One thing is sure: it won't be before mid 2002 that the CD is going to be released. We would like also to find a label that could help us to promote our music and widen our audience...The band has evolved, and so are the songs. The THORK's sound will still be recognizable, but some new components are going to be added to make an honourable sequel to "URDOXA".
Sergio Motta
is a friend and partiner from the Progressive Rock And Progressive Metal Site

Discography:
01) Urdoxa
02) Weila
03) Nula Jedan

Antoine Aureche
Guitars
Sébastien Fillion - Keyboards 
Michel Lebeau - Drums 
Samuel Maurin - Bass 
Claire Northey - Violin

Thork Home Page
http://thork.chez.com/

The group proposes original compositions consequently, with the influences progressive and medieval blends giving a style baptized like "Progressive Dark Folk".

Thork is a French group which was born during the summer of 1998, in Annecy: Sébastien Fillion sees Antoine Aureche playing guitar and asks him if he’s interested to form a band. He also knows a violonist, Claire Northey, and they start to work on compositions of their own. Soon, Michel Lebeau, a drummer will rejoin them and a first bass player who’s going to leave shortly after some rehearsals.

Winter 1998: Samuel Maurin joins the band. “Taedium Vitae”, “Arche d’ébène”, “Exil” and “Requiem” are quickly written.

2 December 1998: First concert of Thork.

1999: Thork gives several concerts during this year and keeps on writing on new songs : “L’enlèvement de Psyché”, “Danse du soleil”, “QWRZG”.

Christmas 1999: Thork starts to record the drum parts of their first album “Urdoxa”. It lates four months to record the rest of it and to mix it.

Summer 2000: Release of “Urdoxa”. Antoine leaves the band to follow his musical studies.

Autumn 2000: Sébastien, Samuel and Michel keeps on writing songs for the next Thork album.

Winter 2001: Samy CYR, new singer, joins the band, soon followed by a new guitarist, Samuel’s brother : David MAURIN.

Spring 2001: First concert with the new line-up. Thork plays old songs as well as new ones: “Golgotha”, “L’origine”, “Immanence”, “Danse de la Terre”… The public is enthusiast.

Autumn 2001: Thork starts to work on the recording of their second album.

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