In King Arthur's Times...
Interview with Neoclassical-music-artist Eric Roger
from Gae Bolg
This interview as conducted via Email by Marcus Stiglegger
in May 2005.
1. Could you please comment on the basic concept
of Gae Bolg - especially on the mythical background of the name and its
context for your work?
Gaë Bolg is not a concept. It’s me, or a part of me, or a deformation
of what I’m, or of what I could be… The name in itself also
reflect this idea, or lack of idea (depend of the interpretation, of the
day, and of what you’ve drunk before)…
2. Gae Bolg mainly focusses on
ancient topics on mythical and historical aspects. Do you see this in
a context pointing to the present - therefore being a kind of timeless
idea - or is this an attempt in escapism and fantasy-roleplay?
Being a timeless fool in our real world seems to be a good rule for Gaë
3. Your early CDs show a good sense of humor, while
the new CD is more serious, varied, even dark. How important is the humorous
aspect for you?
How is it possible today to be completely serious with music?
Some of people in this world have to fight against oppressors, for their
liberty, or died of hungriness, or of horrible illness. Some others have
lost an arm, or a foot, or have been tortured, just because their ideas
or religion are different, or just because of the colour of their skin,
or of the origin of their birth.
In the same time, we live (more or less) comfortably in our little easy
lives (a lot of people have not this chance, even in our countries), in
our little democracies, who work (more or less) correctly in comparison
to many other governments. And for our pleasure, because it’s finally
just a pleasure, or just a noisy expression of our own ego, we do music,
what is, in our world, simply a luxe! We can put a certain content in
it, or not, but the action of this content on the rest of the planet is
anyway very limited, not to say null. The seriousness of this pseudo-intellectual
industrial-darkfolk scene, as for many people who pretend to do “avant-garde”
art, is really ridiculous and just look like childish masturbation…
For the people who really want to change things in this world, instead
of speaking with empty words, they can engage themselves in the “confédération
paysanne” (of José Bové), Attac (for the Tobin tax),
diverse green associations, or things in the same range...
4. What are your influences besides mythical sources
- music, films, art in general?
My principal sources of inspiration are, in complete disorder:
Music: Stockhausen, The Residents, Pärt, Art Bears,
Steve Reich, Cabaret Voltaire, Cage, Morton Feldman, Fred Frith, The Lounge
Lizards, Aulis Sallinen, Univers Zero, Bax, Psychic TV, Takemitsu, Hindemith,
Schoenberg, Renaldo and the loaf, Sibelius, Prokofiev, Henry Cow.
Film: Greenaway, Herzog, Burton, Kaurismaki, Klapisch, Tati,
Books: Paasilina, Eco, Bukovsky, Nothomb.
Painting: Klimt, Kokoschka, Matta, Ciurlionis, Bacon, Bosch,
Most of this people have, I think, not only a strong personality,
but also what we can call “a vision”. Something related to
mysticism. Or better say, a life with no frontier between their art and
their life… I feel me very close to that (despite the fact that
I’ve not their genius!), more than to any mythical source…
5. You use a lot of different instruments
and sounds. How many people are involved in your band? To what degree
is Gae Bolg a 'studio band' - and how do you transfer this concept on
The Church of Fand is, amongst all, a big family and work a bit like a
hip hop collective: everybody have his own abilities, wishes and projects
(musical or not) and help the others in the realisation of theirs.
About Gaë Bolg specifically, I’m the only responsible of the
music, especially in studio (despite some friends who are playing some
instruments I’m not able to play), but Gaë Bolg live is something
different and is more a show than a pure concert, due to the real involvement
of the others (musically and visually) and can not be considered as only
a “transfer of the studio”.
6.You played as a member of the
british neo-folk-band Sol
Invictus. How did you come to know Tony Wakeford? How were your experiences
on the recent tour which seemed to be overshadowed by a lot of misunderstanding
I met him around some years ago through Yann Farcy of the French label
Noise Museum, who organised at the time a very nice festival in Nevers.
Tony needed for the concert someone to do orchestrations, arrangements,
scores and organising rehearsals with classical musicians, what I did.
It was the beginning of an around 10 years collaboration.
About the recent tour, it was a bit strange. Musically speaking, it was
very satisfying, the new line up worked very well I think. About all the
rest… well… what can I say… So many things are to considerate…
On one side, I definitely don’t understand the fact of “doing
denunciation”, which has more to do with the attitude of the “collaborators”
during the WWII than with the attitude of people who pretend to defend
In the other side, I absolutely agree that people have definitely the
right to protest, especially with a scene which is well known to vehicle
many dodgy ideas, topics, imagery and ambiguity and which seems to be
a good place for the rebirth of ideas we would like to see definitely
engraved in the past. Personally speaking, I don’t want to have
anything to do with right wing, fascism or all this form of stinky ideas
and smelly ambiguity, and I absolutely understand that some people protest
against bands which can defend those ideas, or who’re hidden in
the shadow of ambiguity. I just think that Tony is not the good target
and that anyway “denunciation” is not a democratic attitude!!!
Personally, if I think that a band is dodgy, I just boycott it!!!
7. For a tribute to Sol Invictus
you covered "Death of the West" in a very monumental way - do
you consider this a kind of parody?
I’m clearly a humanist and a pacifist. I strongly believe that the
future of human race is in friendship and exchanges between all the different
cultures and people of the world, and not in ultra-liberalism, individualism,
extremism and nationalism of any sort. This is what I’ve tried to
transcribe in this “free interpretation” of this song, more
than anything parodic.
8. You recently decided to skip
a performance at the very recommended Wave-Gotik-Treffen in Leipzig.Could
you comment on the reasons for this decision?
Many reasons conduct me to take this decision. The first one was the unacceptable
contract I received!!! I never seen that before!!!
The second reason is linked to the first one: many unanswered questions
(about by example such important things like technical list and soundcheck),
we’d to pay 1 night of hotel, and despite we were not paid for playing
(we just recover our transport fares), we should have to pay to sale our
own merchandising at the end of our concert!!!
If it has been only that, It should have been an enough good reason to
But it was another reason, which is probably the most important to my
eyes, and it’s related to what I said earlier in this interview:
I don’t want to be programmed with bands which could vehicle a certain
ambiguity, or who sign on labels which could vehicle ideas or ambiguity
not conform to my opinions and ethic.
9. How important is a political
aspect for your work? Do you think art and politics should be held separately?
Personally, I don’t want to mix art and politics. You can just find
in my music a certain background of humanism and ecology, but it’s
again just a personal attitude and a reflect of what I am, and absolutely
not a dogma.
10. Are you in contact with your
fans? What kind of reactions do you get?
Some of my supporters seem to be at least as mad as me! It’s good
to see that I’m not alone!!!
11. What are your future plans?
Actually, we’re rehearsing for some live dates next
October. I’ve begin to work on a new Gaë Bolg album temporary
called “Requiem”. I will also finish soon “Le cri”,
the next Seven Pines cd. Not to mention a new project with Karl Blake...
Very few time for sleeping in fact!!!
Thanks for your ansers and all
the best for your future plans.