Ladies and gentlemen! It is with great pleasure that I bring to you the next installment of Fistful of Questions with death metallers Aure and Chris of Akiavel. Bon Appetit.
What is your full name?
Auré: Hi! I'm Auré, singer to Akiavel!
Chris: Hello, I'm Chris, the guitarist!
Do you have any aliases?
Chris: No, it is just my name, Chris
Auré: Yes, Auré “Jäger”, since it is my favorite drink, by far!
What bands are you actively involved with?
Chris: We are both playing in Akiavel, a death metal band from the South of France. We don’t really have time for other bands (laugh)!
What was the first instrument that you played?
Chris: Guitars, always and forever
Auré: My father showed me the guitar, but I preferred singing when he played...
Tell me about one of your first musical memories?
Chris: I can remember listening to Iron Maiden in the car of a friend. It was the first time I heard metal. That was crazy, not to mention the artwork of the album in question, which was No Prayer for the Dying.
Auré: I was a little girl. I went to see my father and uncle in a rock concert they were playing with their band.
Later, when I was a teenager, I saw my first extreme metal concert, I found it so extraordinary! I discovered the style that I loved and in which I wanted to evolve.
What was the name of the first band you were in?
Chris: Our one and only band is Akiavel (laugh).
Auré: Of course, we all had previous experiences, but no need to recall the past, Akiavel is the only band that matters now!
Tell me about the genesis of Akiavel.
Chris: In 2018, at a barbecue party, after a few beers, the idea popped up between Jay (bass), Auré (vocals) and myself to create a new Death Metal band that would be different from all types of bands one was used to seeing and hearing around: we wanted a genuine melting pot of all our musical influences, we wanted to remove all the boundaries that existed between all the types of metal we love. The idea of Akiavel was born, and we quickly recorded a self-titled EP. Butch (drums) joined us a few month later to begin the writing process of our first album, “V”, released in February 2020.
What inspired the name Akiavel?
Auré: The name Akiavel comes from the famous humanist and political Italian thinker Nicolas Machiavelli, mainly known for what certain might call cynical or amoral political theories… and the name was modified so that it sounds more "metal", plus keeping the "EL" sound at the end of the word, which means "She" in French.
Chris: It's a mix between half an angel and half demon. It’s just like our music : extreme and melodic at the same time.
How long did it take you to write and record Vae Victis?
Chris: We released our previous album, V, in February 2020, and since our tour was fully cancelled, we had time to concentrate on the next album. And here it is!
If you could insert yourself into any one band what band would it be and why?
Auré: It's going to sound weird, but I don't see myself anywhere else but in Akiavel... I don't think I find anywhere else such osmosis, friends as fabulous as Chris, Jay and Butch.
Chris: This will be Akiavel until the end, there will probably be no other band.
Have you ever heard a song and immediately wished you had written it? If so… What was the song and artist?
Chris: Sleeping Stars from Wintersun!
Auré: Excuse me while I kill myself from Sentenced
Do you have any non-metal musical inspirations?
Chris: Yes, I have a lot! American and French music from the 80's
Auré: I love the 80’s and 90's music too… Like Billy Idol, Scorpions...
Non-metal song that you'd like to do a cover of?
Auré: ahah, it's a secret!
Chris: I’d answer the same as Auré. You'll probably hear something about this later this Summer.
What band have you played with that has really impressed you with their live show?
Auré: Unfortunately, we were stopped by the pandemic at the very beginning of our tour. So we haven't had the opportunity to play, as Akiavel, with fabulous bands.
Do you have a favorite venue to play at?
Chris: It’s the same, we only played a couple of concerts as Akiavel prior to releasing our first album, so it is hard to answer. But we know we are ready to tour, and would especially like to tour the US, where we have very positive feedback on our 2 albums, and a growing fanbase.
Do you have a pre-show ritual?
Auré: Yes, kind of. I walk around backstage to do some breathing exercises before going on stage.
Chris: I must stay concentrated and focused, but I have no real ritual as such.
What’s the weirdest experience you’ve had at a show?
Chris: Someone threw their bra at me while I was playing guitar (laugh)
Auré: During a concert, I was at full strength and collided with my bassist... My forehead has bled a lot… Haha!
The year is 1996. Where are you at and what are you listening to?
Auré: In 1996! I was 11 years old. I lived with my mother in the North of France. And I was a great fan of Michael Jackson (laugh)
Chris: 1996… Wow… That's melancholic for me to think about that, at my former house while I was listening to Sepultura, Slayer, Megadeth and Metallica, like a lot of young metalheads at that time.
What advice would you give young musicians that are just starting out in the music business?
Auré: To stay passionate and motivated all the time, even if it's hard sometimes.
Chris: In terms of business, I’d say that if somebody asks you for money before even beginning to work for your band, run! On a more artistic point of view, I’d advise always to do what you love and ignore the mainstream attitude. Do what you want, not what you imagine will be the most bankable.
What is an absolute band killer?
Auré: Misplaced egos!
Chris: When opposite lifestyles and different conceptions of life render conversation and musical exchange actually impossible over time...
What’s the longest time you’ve gone without bathing?
Auré: At a festival. I now plan to bring a 5 litre bottle of water… Haha!
What’s one thing that most people don’t know about you?
Auré: Even though I am very energetic every day, I am a quiet person. I do personal development, meditation…
Chris: I hate noise and love silence (laugh)
Is the Fistful of DOOM show in the top 10 of your favorite music podcasts?
Chris: We must admit we do not really listen to music podcasts, but we surely will, and Fistful of Doom will be one of the first, for sure!
Do unicorns sleep standing up?
Auré: Haha! And do unicorns poop in rainbows??
Chris: Yes, they sleep standing up, but they probably have to stick their unicorn into the wall to stay upright
You’re driving cross-country and you can only listen to one album the whole time. What album will it be?
Auré: "The Bleeding" by Cannibal Corpse. I could never get enough of this album.
Chris: It’s hard to tell, but I’ll probably answer Metallica’s Black Album.
You are writing a book about your life thus far. What is the title of that book?
Auré: I think "How to go beyond your own limits". I always made a point of surpassing myself (sometimes too much!) and fighting for what I wanted to accomplish.
Chris: “Trust no one but you”
What are five French metal bands that I should absolutely check out?
Auré: Number one (and only?) is Benighted! It’s by far my French favorite band!
Chris: There are too many excellent bands and picking five means forgetting a lot of them, so I’ll just answer Akiavel, this sounds safer for me (laugh)
What are two things that people need to know about France?
Auré: We eat well here! Haha! And we have beautiful historical sites.
Chris: We are really friendly people, our reputation of being somehow dirty and unwelcoming to tourists is not always accurate (laugh).
Describe Cori Westbrook in fifteen words or less.
Auré: Cori is an exceptional manager. Clearly the fifth member of Akiavel.
Chris: She’s the fastest person I have ever worked with, nice, talented and willful!
What is your favorite song by ABBA?
Auré: I'm still single, so I chose "Gimme, Gimme, Gimme" Haha!
Chris: Mamamia (laugh)
Cattle Decapitation or Pig Destroyer (if you had to choose)?
Auré: Without hesitation Cattle Decapitation. I love their music!
Chris: Same for me!
Doobies or Boobies (if you had to pick one)?
Chris: Boobies, for sure!
Auré: I’ll go for the same (laugh)
Waffles or Pancakes (if you had to pick one)?
Auré: Crepes! We are French!
Star Wars or Star Trek (if you had to choose)?
Auré: Neither of them, since I don't like futuristic movies… Apart from Alien, of course!
Chris: Star Wars, the Sith are the best (laugh)
Favorite band t-shirt you own?
Auré: Very difficult to answer... Like all good metalheads my wardrobe is full of t-shirts! I love them all without exception! They all come from different concerts or they are presents from friends. These are my memories!
Chris: Sepultura’s “Arise”
Auré: I love Indian food.
Chris: Lasagna, for sure!
Auré: "L'Encyclopédie du savoir relatif et absolu" by Bernard Werber.
Chris: “The Art of War“ by Sun Tzu
Auré: Fight Club!
Chris: There are too many! For instance Chainsaw Massacre, Psycho…
Auré: "Swansong" by Carcass.
Chris: “Vae Victis” by Akiavel (laugh)
Huge thanks to Aure and Chris for taking the time to answer my questions. I appreciate it. Run! Do not walk and grab yourself a copy of Vae Victis by Akiavel. This pleases the gods of heavy metal and they will smile favorably upon you.
~El Pedo Caliente (aka Uncle Jameson from the Fistful of DOOM show)