Achard, Cyril (February 2002)

Cyril Achard (© Cyril Achard) Recently France has been viewed as a kind of hotbed for a prog band's success. Dream Theater, Ark, Vanden Plas ? a lot of groups have encountered a lot of enthusiasm and big crowds around Paris, so it's natural to go a little deeper beyond this situation and see if there are also French bands who are capable of offering great shows to the prog audience. For example, here we are with Cyril Achard, a great musician who has just released his second album under the moniker Cyril Achard's Morbid Feeling. Combining odd prog textures with a huge variety of melodies, his album is clearly suggested to every one who loves new challenges. But now let's hear what he tells us?

Igor Italiani: Hi Cyril. First of all, can you introduce yourself and the brilliant musicians that play on ...In Inconstancia Constans to the audience?

Cyril Achard: Yes, there's no problem at all. OK, my drummer, Eric Lebailly, and keyboard player, Jean-Marc Layani, have been playing with me since four years ago; they joined the band after my first solo CD entitled Confusion. Frank Hermanny, the bass player, arrived in 1999. He was a fan of my music for a long time. He also recorded a CD with the band Adagio. Instead I have played with a progressive band called Arrakeen in 1993, this before my solo adventure ... I recorded their second album, then I decided to start to work on my music.

II: Speaking about the album, what's the meaning of the title?

Cyril Achard's Morbid Feeling - In Constancia ConstansCA: ...In Inconstancia Constans is a way used by Benjamin Constan, a French writer, to explain the Tao. The Tao is impermanent, like every phenomenon in life and universe. The title means that only the inconstancy is constant. Well, that's pretty simple, isn't it?

II: Can you also tell me how you had the idea of bringing in Tony (MacAlpine)? You think he could be a guest also in the future (albums)?

CA: Tony has been a good friend of mine for a very long time, and I have a lot of respect for him, because he's a great talented musician. You know, I wanted a special guest to increase the interest for the album from the very beginning, so it was natural to call him. Concerning the future ... mmh, I think it will depend on his schedule, because I already know that Tony is a busy guy!

II: Going to the songs ... why did you choose to include only a part of the lyrics in the booklet?

CA: Well, maybe you won't believe it, but I decided to do this because I don't think they're very interesting!!! Well, I know it's an unusual decision, but that's it.

II: Well, I don't think so ... however can you tell me something else about the lyrics of "Alone Among My Friends," a song that seems to fit well in today's world?

CA: Yes, you're right about this one. The song talks about a rich guy, a person with a lot of money who can buy everything he wants in life ... girls, cars, people ... but who will always feel lonely 'cause he hasn't any real friends. You know, I really believe that friendship can't be bought [Well, I believe it, too! - II].

II: Do you have some songs left from the sessions that could be in your next record? When are you planning the new CD?

Cyril Achard (© Cyril Achard)CA: I have a lot of songs on tape, songs with only my voice and a guitar, and you know what? That's the original (starting) material for all songs I compose. But I don't think I will make a new CD in this (acoustic) style one day; I'll do it only if a label who believes in the band helps us. It's very sad to admit this, but today if you don't have a strong label behind you, you inevitably lose the battle?

II: Well, are you planning a tour soon?

CA: I think that in France we may have some opportunities to tour, but in the end I think it's not enough. We'd like to play also in Germany, Italy, Spain, etc. ... that's why we are always looking for promoters, managers who are willing to give us a chance. Let's give us a chance and I'm sure we won't disappoint you!

II: Cyril, you are from France, and I've heard a lot of good stuff (articles, etc.,...) about the prog market in your country. Can you tell us some more (for example I've heard that Vanden Plas and Ark have had good press and fan reactions)?

CA: I'm sorry to tell you this, but I'm not really into the market of progressive music and heavy metal, so I can't tell you exactly about it!!! Sounds strange, huh! However I think that a lot of kids here seem to be interested in complicated metal more than basic hard rock, so maybe that's the reason why those bands sell well. And I see that there are a lot of new good bands playing prog metal, I think it's very in fashion here. About the market ... well, NTS rules in this style ... "NTS rules" means that only bands from NTS really play here, or have good reviews on magazines, etc. ... the others just survive! That's why I make a lot of my business with people outside of France.

II: What are the bands or musicians you like the most in today's music?

CA: 15 years ago I listened to Metallica, Exodus, Anthrax and a lot of the other Bay Area trashers, but today I like different stuff like Sting, Jeff Buckley, Noa, Steve Wonder, Frank Sinatra, U2. I also love pop ... but I love Dream Theater, too ... of course!!!

II: And what are the guitarists that inspired you in the beginning and today?

Various - Jason Becker TributeCA: When I was younger I listened a lot to Jason Becker, Greg Howe, Ritchie Kotzen, but also Pat Metheny and Wes Montgomery 'cause I love jazz among the others. Today I don't listen a lot of instrumental music anymore; I only listen guys like Frank Gambale, Sylvain Luc ... I also like Vincente Amigo...

II: Cyril, I know you are a guitar teacher in Bordeaux, too ... what's the first thing you teach to a young musician?

CA: I talk a lot about rhythm, because it's 80% of music in my opinion. I also tell them to listen to a lot of different kinds of music styles. Believe me, it really helps. But first of all I often tell them that to be a good musician, you have to be a good human being first! That's really important.

II: Are you for/against technology in music? I mean, the old war about analog versus digital?

CA: I'm for computer and digital only if you use it in a musical way. I can hear when a song was written directly on a machine, because there's no feeling inside. Personally, I only open my computer once the base elements of the song have come out. That's what I like to do.

II: Cyril, I think that's all. Have you something left to say for the Italian fans of progressive?

CA: I've always heard that Italy was/is a great country for this kind of music, so I hope that our CD will have a good distribution there ... who knows, maybe a lot of people will like it! Well, I really hope this happens, because I'd love to come there and play for the Italian audience.

II: OK, thank you and goodbye Cyril. So I hope to see you on stage here in Italy as soon as possible.

CA: Thanks Igor for giving me the chance to talk about my music!!! A big hello to all the Italian people as well.

Cyril Achard's Morbid Feeling (© Guitar 9)

Confusion (1997/2003*)
...In Inconstancia Constans (2001)
Cyril Achard Quintet - Essensuel (2003)
Cyril Achard Trio - Trace (CD/DVD) (2007)
Violencia (2010)
*remastered w/bonus tracks

Added: February 23rd 2002
Interviewer: Igor Italiani

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Language: english

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