French band Foudre!'s new experimental and innovative fifth album Future Sabbath is an experience to be had. By exploring soundscapes of medieval pasts and surreal futures, merging electronic acoustic and classical, they are unafraid to push their music to exciting, often disturbing and undiscovered territories. It is through improvisation that these new territories can be uncovered as the band show us what the spontaneous energy of a live performance can create sonically.
Congrats on the new album Future Sabbath! Could you tell us a little bit about how this group came together and if there was a shared ethos from the beginning?
Romain: I met Frédéric via the photographer Stéphane Charpentier. Quite naturally, we decided to jam one afternoon Frédéric was visiting Toulouse. Magnum Chaos actually stems from this first musical exchange. If there has been a leitmotiv from the beginning, it is to plan nothing and let yourself go.
Frédéric: There was clearly an initial desire to play together, but I think we were immediately surprised by the natural fluidity of the process without really needing to define beforehand what we wanted to 'create.' Perhaps this is the credo that has linked us from the beginning: to prioritise spontaneous pleasure in order to motivate us constantly to try new things. Like a ritual to be (re)invented at each of our new meetings/incarnations, and whoever the members who make up Foudre! are: under variable horizons and forms. 
Future Sabbath is your fifth album; how would you describe this one in your own words? I read that this album was constructed around a live show from Paris, what was the story behind that?
Paul: Yes, indeed, five already albums! Firstly, it is the most ‘produced’ one and probably the one that represents the most all the different facets of our music. It's also the most festive one!
Romain: We approached this album like the others, with a melodic scale and no roadmap… everything was improvised, nothing was planned. This concert/album represents a turning point in our project as it has been a long time and we’ve been wanting to go further in the expression of our various facets. It was during this concert that we really set ourselves free. I experienced it like a journey, an initiatory rite. And I see this record as an open door to the future.
On this album there are these very high and powerful waves of dread that build up throughout the music, especially on the first couple of tracks Liberation of the Mystics parts I & II, is there a ‘goal’ to create a particular mood or tone for the album or does it come from more of an organic place and then build from there?
 Paul: This album, like all our albums, started from the recording of a live show, in this case, the one we did at Instants Chavirés in Paris in January 2019. We had just started to organise events under the banner of the Nahal Recordings label and it was a great evening with Aaron Moore & Erik K Skodvin who rewarded us with a fabulous live show mixing humour, experimentation and emotion...
In short, during the first lockdown, we took advantage of being in a kind of break from each of our respective projects to delve into this recording and edit an album with it. The live concert went on for a good 90 minutes so we had to condense all this into 40 minutes. We simply compiled the best moments! Then we recorded a lot of overdubs, each one at home, which we didn't have the habit of doing before this project. We also had a lot of fun during the mixing with our sound engineer Camille Jamain, which we also took as a moment of composition by playing with post-production effects.
Romain: Because of the lockdown and the seven hundred kilometres that separate us, I couldn’t participate in the album mixing with the others. However, I find that it remains very faithful to the concert and to what I experienced there. So the tone of the record imposed itself on us. If there are a lot of add-ons because of the transition from a live concert to the album format, there are almost no edits inside the pieces.
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I’m really interested in the way the songs on here are able to hold our attention by having these moments where the music pierces you, and other times the music leaves you spinning and distorted. Now at your fifth album as a group, what kind of music or art generally inspires you to find new ways of expressing yourselves?
Frédéric: We invent our music by playing it, like a sculptor who imagines his piece by modelling his clay, without any preliminary sketches. Perhaps this permanent 'exquisite corpse' allows us to stimulate our unconscious in a very immediate, very impulsive way... It is even more inspiring than 'wanting' to do something in particular. All cooking recipes should be twisted!
The two Black Swan Theory songs move seamlessly into one another, and blends this sense of electronica with maybe a medieval or classical ritualised element to it, was the music trying to echo music from way back in the past?
Paul: What an interesting vision of this track! We also love the idea that today's instruments blend with the spirit of an ancient ceremony. Indeed, we have this sensitivity for repetitive music that sometimes twists the mind and body. To be honest, we like to light up incense before each concert. So yeah, we fog people's minds to help them follow us.
Romain: Joining the past and the future to the present moment. To forget oneself and let oneself be carried by the current. These are things that can be found in both ritual and traditional music, as well as in drone or techno. As I said earlier, with Black Swan Theory we managed to open this door where our various facets could shine with the same fire
Even the album cover was reminding me of something Boschian, something of the medieval making its way into the music. Could you tell us about the artwork and why you chose it?
Frédéric: Indeed, there is a little something of Hieronymus Bosch and his chimaeras in this artwork by Faye Formisano. Androgynous figures, hands raised towards the sky, gathered like a troubled Leviathan moving in a kind of ecstatic trance. These drawings by Faye that we have chosen to illustrate Future Sabbath also remind me of the Kecak, the Balinese ritual rooted in the Sanghyang, an exorcism dance that induces trance. What could be better for our Future Sabbath?
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I also want to talk about the array of instruments present here, it shows the wealth of sounds that can be produced and experimented with. For example, there are moments where I hear something that sounds like a gunshot, or a knock at the door, and sometimes moaning and wailing sounds. What was the process like creating this blend of sounds and was it the intention to create noises that we may not hear in music so often?
Paul: We love experimental music and the new sounds it can produce, so we also like to do sound research in addition to just playing instruments as they should be. What is beautiful is that these sounds sometimes arrive by chance. We must always be listening to what can happen, that's why we like to improvise too because we surprise ourselves each time and the emotion is only multiplied tenfold!
Frédéric: The good thing about Foudre! is the ability of each of its members to bring an arsenal of new instruments at almost every concert. The rarity of our performances, the great excitement of playing together every time, forces us to surpass ourselves and get out of our comfort zone.
We are an electronic music group where everything is played and sequenced live from analogue synthesisers and modular systems, but also acoustic instruments, percussion, baglama (a kind of saz), voices, extra-western flutes... It is within this orgy of possible sounds that we make our way, hoping that it will transport us to an unexpected place.
There also seems to be a sense of improvisation in your music, which can be expected from a live gig, is that when the band feels most creative?
Paul: As we don't all live in the same place; we are a bit obliged to improvise during our concerts. Because it is impossible for us to rehearse. But it is also a way of doing things that suits us because it allows us to let go, but also to listen carefully to what each member brings and to let ourselves be guided by the emotion of the moment. It is the emotion that truly guides us.
Frédéric: Improvisation is a full member of the group. As is the energy that the audience can send back to us, encouraging us to go in this or that direction.
This live excerpt from the Visions festival, from the bygone era when concerts and big collective parties were still happening, bears witness to this.
What is next on the agenda for the group?
Paul: We would have loved to tell you that there will be more concerts but, unfortunately, it's not the case... So, for the moment, we have a lot of work with our other respective projects, and then there is the management of our label, Nahal Recordings. But we have the recordings of our last concert at the Visions festival which I'm sure will be our next release!
Frédéric: “Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery.”