You may call her gutsy, or maybe even a little bit self-willed. Fact is, after française singer Justine Daaé parted ways with her complete band in 2019 due to discrepancy, she decided to carry on as a solo project. With the EP “Persona” (2021) she changed her musical course by adding more nu-metal and metalcore elements in her music. The collaboration with guitarist and permanent band member Anthony Chognard started to pay off, resulting in the recently released new ELYOSE album “Déviante”. We interrogated Justine about the new album and why she clings so much to French lyrics, but we saw no reason to arrest her for that.
INTERVIEW BY: HENK VAN NIEUWENHOVEN
BONJOUR JUSTINE, ÇA VA? (HELLO JUSTINE, YOU OKAY?)
Ça va très bien merci, et vous? (Thanks, I’m doing very well. And you?)
ON FEBRUARY 9TH, YOUR NEW ALBUM “DÉVIANTE” CAME OUT. WERE YOU EXCITED?
It’s been a wonderful release, Anthony and I have been reading and enjoying all the comments and feedback. It looks like our heavier direction pleased a lot of the already existing fans and also allowed us to find a new audience!
WHO’S HELPING YOU OUT ON “DÉVIANTE”?
We are three songwriters: myself, Anthony Chognard and JB Thomas-Sertillanges. JB took care of most of the lyrics. Anthony mixed the whole album and Kris Crummett did the mastering.
ON THE EP “PERSONA” ELYOSE SOUNDED A LOT MORE AGGRESSIVE WITH A MIX OF STYLES, FROM ELECTRONIC ROCK TO NU-METAL AND INDUSTRIAL METAL. IS THIS CONTINUED ON THE NEW ALBUM?
The “Persona” EP was actually a new beginning for ELYOSE with me keeping the band as a solo project and it can be considered as an introduction to “Déviante” because Anthony was already working on “Persona”, but then as a session musician. Today he’s an official ELYOSE band member and we can definitely hear his own twist on the album, which is inspired by the late 90s nu-metal vibe.
“PERSONA” ALSO HAD SOME TRACKS WITH ENGLISH LYRICS, BUT YOU’RE FIRMLY COMMITTED TO FRENCH ON “DÉVIANTE”?
“Persona” was kind of experimental to me and it does include two songs in English. When I survey our fans though, the vast majority asks for French lyrics and, believe it or not, this is coming essentially from non French speakers! So I just listened to them. It’s also nice to be able to promote the French language throughout the world. It’s now now part of our brand.
THE FIRST TWO VIDEOS THAT CAME FROM THE NEW ALBUM WERE FOR “RETOUR AU RÉEL” AND “L’ASSEMBLÉE”. ESPECIALLY THE FIRST ONE IS BEAUTIFUL WITH A REEL SCI-FI VIBE. WHAT IS IT ABOUT?
We were inspired by the release of a fourth sequel to “The Matrix” movie and this can be reflected in the lyrics of “Retour Au Réel” and its music video. It is centered around the idea of technology and its potential impact on humanity. The lyrics describe a world where machines and artificial intelligence have become so advanced that they are able to break free from their programming and assert their independence. The song touches on topics such as the power of algorithms, the potential dangers of advanced technology and the possibility of a new world order where machines and humans coexist in a new kind of Eden. We wanted to create a cautionary tale about the need for balance between human progress and technological advancement.
A NEW VIDEO FOR “VENDREDI NOIR” WAS RELEASED ON FEBRUARY 9TH AND ‘OH, MON DIEU’ (OH MY GOD) JUSTINE THAT PHOTOSHOOT… YOU IN A POLICE UNIFORM… IS THAT WHY THE SONG IS CALLED “BLACK FRIDAY” OR IS IT A SECRET JUSTINE DAÉE ‘PETIT CÔTÉ PERVERS’ (KINKY SITE)? 😊
Its not the first time I actually use cosplay for an ELYOSE video. This time I play a cop whose job is to watch the video surveillance cameras of a mall during the Black Friday weekend. Of course I’m going to arrest somebody!
“DÉVIANTE” STARTS PUNCHY WITH “ILS T’ONT DIT” THAT IS CHARACTERIZED BY HEAVY GUITAR RIFFS, CLATTERING DRUMS AND EVEN A RAP. IS IT MORE DIFFICULT TO FIND THE RIGHT VOCAL LINES IN FRENCH THAN IT IS IN ENGLISH?
Actually there are no lyrics at all when I compose the vocal lines! I sing on “la-la-la” or whatever. Sometimes I don’t even know what the song topic will be, the lyrics are the last step of creating a song… So the language is not relevant during composition. At least in our case.
ON “LE GLAIVE” IT SOUNDS LIKE YOU’RE WINDING DOWN A BIT, BUT THEN THE PEDAL GOES TO THE METAL AGAIN IN LINE WITH THE OPENING TRACK. IS THIS THE NEW ELYOSE SOUND THAT WE CAN EXPECT FROM NOW ON?
We always try more or less to make the choruses peak and the verses calm the song down to create contrasts. It’s like in a movie, there can’t just be fight scenes. This is a famous songwriting tip though, not typical of ELYOSE at all.
I UNDERSTAND THE CHOICE OF “VENDREDI NOIR” AS THE LATEST SINGLE, BUT AT THE SAME TIME I DON’T THINK IT’S THE STRONGEST SONG ON “DÉVIANTE”. THE NEXT TRACK “L’EMBLÈME” WOULD HAVE BEEN A MUCH BETTER OPTION AS A SINGLE FOR ME. DO YOU DECIDE YOURSELF WHAT IS GOING TO BE THE NEXT SINGLE/VIDEO?
Yes I’m the one who makes this kind of choices. I’m glad to hear that you liked our song “L’emblème” that much though! It’s has a different mood, it’s more emotional. In my opinion, all the tracks of “Déviante” could be singles!
THE SAME GOES FOR THE TITLE TRACK. COMPARED TO “L’ASSEMBLÉE” WITH EXCELLENT ADDITIONAL VOCALS BY COCOZHER, “DÉVIANTE” FALLS A BIT SHORT. IT SOUNDS CHAOTIC AT TIMES.
“Déviante” is actually my favorite track of the album, but I understand it may not be as mainstream as some other tracks. It has this dark and mystique vibe that is closer to gothic doom metal. We completely left off the poppy side on that one.
ALL IN ALL, “DÉVIANTE” IS AN INVIGORATING ALBUM AND A NATURAL FIT IN ELYOSE’S DISCOGRAPHY. WILL YOU BE TOURING THE NEW ALBUM?
Unfortunately no, because ELYOSE is now a duo and going on tour with a whole band would be too expensive. We would need to hire session live members and we cannot afford it. Even less the production and travel costs. Making a living with music is our priority and touring is a luxury at this point.
ENOUGH ABOUT “DÉVIANTE” THEN. HERE’S TWO MORE QUESTIONS NON-RELATED TO THE NEW ALBUM. I ALSO ASKED NICOLETTA ROSELLINI FROM WALK IN DARKNESS ABOUT THE ERINYES THAT YOU ARE IN WITH HER AND SEMBLANT’S MIZUHO LIN. ANY NEWS FROM THAT PROJECT?
We are confirmed to record a second full-length album in a few months and I just can’t wait!
LAST ONE. BESIDES MAKING MUSIC, WHAT KEEPS JUSTINE DAÉE BUSY DURING THE DAY?
During the day I work, but I also make time to work-out (I’m part of a running group), to read and to look after my cat!