They have just returned from a tour through Europe and the United States. I am talking about French based metallers Betraying The Martyrs. We had the opportunity to talk with Baptiste Vigier [Guitar]. Baptiste speaks about their performances at Hellfest, Mayhem Festival, their debut album Breath In Life, Sumerian Records, future-plans and much more.
[TMR] Hello to you from´The Metal Resource’ Holland, how are things going there in France ?
Hello ! Well things are very well thank you, i just got back home in Paris 2 days ago, and the weather is beautiful, i couldn’t be happier after the Summer i just had ! We toured 2 months in the USA: Mayhem Festival with Slipknot in July, and The All Stars Tour with Suicide Silence in august.
[TMR] Will you Introduce yourself and the band please ! [name and instrument]
Of course, my name is Baptiste Vigier and i play guitar in the band BETRAYING THE MARTYRS.
[TMR] Tell us about the origin of ‘Betraying The Martyrs’.
BTM has been formed in late 2008 in Paris by our former singer Eddie Czaicki and Victor Guillet (piano, synths, clean vocals).
They were both in pretty successful french bands (for the most curious of you: Darkness Dynamite (MetalBlade Records) and The Beverly Secret.
After both their projects ended, they deceided to create a new band, with a positive message, and hired the rest of the members. Valentin and me got in the band first. After an EP released (“The Hurt, The Divine, The Light” – 2009) and a few tours, the line up changed and Aaron, Lucas and Mark joined the band, forming our actual line up.
We were all in previous bands before, that is why everything went pretty fast with Betraying The Martyrs.
Since we signed with Sumerian Records a year ago, we became full time musicians. We’re touring massively, 80% of the year, but we’re still not earning any money from our music. So we all had to find some activities linked to the band that give us a bit of money. Aaron is giving screams lessons and is working in a bar when is off tour, Valentin is a designing artworks and merch for bands, Lucas is producing some music and young artists, Victor and I are managing some very promissing french acts (check out all the bands in An Insane Management!) and Mark, our incredibly talented drummer who joined the band 2 months ago is about to give some drumming lessons in Paris and Online ! it’s basically jobs that we can do on tour, so it’s perfect for us.
[TMR] What is your musical background ?
In BTM, We’re all listening to some different kinds and genres of metal, and i think you can tell that our music is pretty complex and a good melting pot of everything. Valentin, our bass player, is a huge fan of pure death metal, Aaron and Mark are listening to a lot of very heavy bands, Vic, Lucas and I are more influenced by the modern and progressive scene. Most of us grew up with the rise of Metalcore.
But for us, as musicians, it’s extremely important to be open-minded and to listen to a lot of genres. Not only Metal. We also listen to some electro, Jazz, Blues, Rock, dubstep and rap music!
[TMR] Why the name ‘Betraying The Martyrs’ ? Is there a story behind it ?
People, everyday, everywhere, fight for their beliefs and try to make this world a better place (Christians or not). Friendship, Respect, Generosity, Solidarity… And the sad thing is that no one talks about them, no one reminds them, no one thanks them. We wanted to praise those people and try to do our part. For us, Forgetting is Betraying, when we forget, when we act as bad persons, we betray those people. So we took this name as a “Reminder”.
[TMR] Who writes the music/lyrics in ‘Betraying The Martyrs’ ? .. how do you get in the mood for writing music? And which bands/situations have influences you for writing music and lyrics ?
The lyrics are mostly written by Aaron Matts our lead singer. First of all, well, because he’s english, so it’s way easier for him to put what’s in his mind on a piece of paper, but also because he’s very good at it. Victor is writing his own lines, rythms and choruses most of the time, and Valentin is giving some main themes and subjects to deal with.
Music wise, we’re all a part of the writing process and we all have our words to say. Of course most of the songs starts with riffs, written by both Lucas and I, but Victor and Val are recording some too, Mark always has a crazy new drum pattern to add on top of those etc. We like to take our time to preproduce, change things, re-structure the song, re-record some parts again. Victor and Lucas are always willing to write on Tour, with their laptops on their knees, even if we’re on a tiny van ! I prefer to be at home, having more time in front of me to write.
Our main influences are: our label mates in Born Of Osiris, let’s be honest, those guys are incredible and extremely talented musicians, one of the best modern act out there for us. But we also love Dimmu Borgir, Gojira, Lamb of God, Emmure, and Underoath!
[TMR] How do you describe the music of ‘Betraying The Martyrs’ the best ?
We consider ourselves as a METAL band. But people love to put names on our genre… so let’s say we’re some kind of Progressive Symphonical Melodic Deathcore !! We have keys, orchestrations, clean vocals, super heavy breakdowns, fast blast beats, shredding parts… you’ll love at least one of these !
[TMR] How does ‘Betraying The Martyrs’ stands in life till events in the world, religion and politics and in which proportion stands that till your music and lyrics ?
As i said, we consider ourselves as a band. a Metal band. We’re all musicians here to play music together, and have some fun playing all over the world on the same stage. But we also choosed to spread a positive message through our lyrics. We think that Life is beautiful and totally worth living fully. We try to enjoy it as much as we can, every second of it, and try to make people realize that the people they love might not be here for the rest of their lives. It’s important to have some goals and try to reach them, no matter what other people say. We don’t want to be considered as a “religious” band anymore, we’re not here to make you believe in God, even if some of us are believers, we’re here to propose a message, and you’re free to accept it, or not. Some people love our music and don’t agree with what we’re saying in our lyrics, and we’re totally cool with that! if they enjoy our riffs, and headbang hard while listening to some BTM, we’re very happy !
[TMR] For a lot of bands the lyrics are just a accidental circumstance, but for some bands they use them to communicate ! ..can you tell us how that is for ‘Betraying The Martyrs’ ?
We take the writing of our lyrics very seriously. We know that more and more people are following us, and paying great attention to them. We’re trying to spread a message of Love and positiveness in our texts, and it’s very important to us. We didn’t wanted to talk about dead babies like Cannibal Corpse, or some metal lyrics like Slayer. It’s just not who we are in our lives. We’re focus on positivity and are trying to help people as much as we can. but attention, we LOVE Behemoth too !!!
[TMR] Name some of your favorite bands to play with live [past and future] and tell us why ?
Born of Osiris are extremely impressive live, they move quiet a lot on stage while they’re playing such a technical music, it’s great to watch and hear !
Most recently we toured one month with SLIPKNOT, and i must say that they’re more than amazing too. They have the best metal live show i’ve been able to watch! A crazy sound, huge stage presence, some pyro effects… We learned a lot from them, watching them every night during the Mayhem Festival and it’s definitely one of my favorite band to watch on tour !
[TMR] Describe your show, visual and musically.
Since the very beginning of the band, we decided to move a lot on stage. For us, Metal is a powerful music, the most powerful you can find, and we just don’t understand bands not moving at all during a show! We want ALL the crowd to move with us, so we’re giving them all the energy we have !
Sometimes i can miss a few notes on my guitar, but as long as i’m headbanging like crazy, and if the guys in the front row are windmilling or moshing or jumping everywhere, i can say that we did a good show. I’m not saying that i won’t have muscle aches after our set … but who cares ? we’re young !
To answer you, visually, we have 5 crazy headbangers and one amazing front man doing some crazy moves. Musically, we have a heavy sound, tons of bouncy riffs to make you jump off your feet and some catchy choruses if you want to sing along with us. But it’s hard to describe and explain a music show: Catch us on tour and you’ll have your own opinion.
[TMR] Currently you are on your tour in the USA. Can you name some highlights of this tour so far. Do you have any funny/crazy stories to share with us ?
We got back home 2 days ago from a 2 months tour in the US ! it was absolutely crazy, we had the chance to tour with SLIPKNOT, SLAYER, SUICIDE SILENCE, AS I LAY DYING, ASKING ALEXANDRIA, WHITECHAPEL, UPON A BURNING BODY, UNDEARTH, THE WORD ALIVE and more !
The highlight of the Mayhem Festival was probably when we played in Chicago, in front of 10.000 people. Definitely the biggest show of our lives. Let me think of a crazy story … oh yes, we played another huge show on the Jagermeister stage, in front of maybe 6 or 7k, and the power generator went off! As we only have a very short set time (20mins) we decided to keep on playing, Mark hit his drums extremely hard and played a sick solo while Aaron was screaming his lungs off ! such a good memory !
The craziest story of the All stars Tour was probably when Mark Mironov, our russian drummer, jumped on stage to play a song with Stray From The Path ! He’s a huge fan of this great hardcore band, and being able to actually play with them on stage was a dream come true ! We’ll upload a video of this very soon ! I think he did a great job haha
[TMR] Describe to us an average ‘BTM’ tour day ?
During the Mayhem festival we did in July, days were very long and tiring! First of all, we had to wake up a 8 in the morning to build our own stage at 9. When everything was done, we could have our breakfast. After this, we had to post and stick posters everywhere with our set time and our signing session time. it’s taking at least 30 / 45 mins to do all the site. After this, a quick sound check, and it’s already lunch time. Then, we can watch the first bands, or stay in the bus to write some new material. Then, it’s time to warm up! 30mins before getting on stage, and play a show for 20/25mins. Once it’s done, we don’t lose any time, pack all our gear and run to our signing session. It lasts bewteen 30 and 50mins when it’s really crowded. When all our fans are happy and got something signed, we’re grabbing our diner, 15mins to eat, and we have to run again to build off our stage. (Glad that Upon A burning Body who were playing on that stage too, were helping us, we love you guys!). When this is done, we have to pack our own trailer. and i’m telling you, you better be a Tetris master ! Go ahead and try to pack ALL the gear for 3 bands, and suitcases for 2 months of everyone! it’s not that fun.
Of course, i didnt mention that in the summer in the US, at that time, it’s 110 degres all day long. (45°c). But when everything is done, we can watch Slipknot. and everynight it was an hell of a show !
[TMR] Last June, ‘BTM’ played at ‘Hellfest’. How was it ?
For a young french band, it was a dream come true. 130.000 people in 3 days, biggest metal show France has to offer, Metalheads coming from all over Europe… Intense ! We had the chance to open the festival, on the Main Stage ! Very impressive. it was such an indredible feeling to play on the same stage as Lamb Of God, August burns red, Black Sabbath and Guns and roses ! The organisation was very nice and it was definitely one of the best edition so far, honestly if i didn’t play there, i would have bought a ticket just to watch this sick line up. It was so cool that we deceiced to stay with our good friends in As they Burn (Paris) the 3 days and enjoy the whole festival, Camping style!
[TMR] First record you bought?
The first metal record i bought was Korn – Follow the leaders.
[TMR] What makes you laugh?
The website 9gag ^_^ we’re all huge fans and are spending most of our free time on it haha
[TMR] How do you prepare for a show?
We warm up physically during like 15 / 20 mins, every muscle we use: neck, legs, arms, wrists, back, knees. and then we warm up musically, with our instruments, or some pads for our drummer. It’s very important for us and we take this very seriously.
Probably ” What would we your pornstar name” ?
[TMR] Do you have a life philosophy?
Carpe Diem. Its actually tattooed on my chest as a reminder. Try to enjoy every second of this Life, moments, people that you love, and stay positive.
[TMR] Are you visiting many gigs and what do you listen to these days?
When i’m home yes, i’m going to shows pretty often. Whereas to see a band i manage, watch some friends playing, enjoy a band i like, or discover some new stuff.
In the plane to get back home, this was my playlist: Glass Cloud, Erra, The word Alive, and the new Faceless. all sick bands, you should check them out if you don’t know them.
[TMR] Tell us about the hardrock/metal scene in your area ?
France has a great and promissing young metal scene ! Of course we have established amazing bands such as Gojira and Hacrice, but you should check some newcomers, like: AS THEY BURN, CHECKMATE, UPHEAVAL, EARLY SEASONS, THE PRESTIGE. they’re all from Paris and its suburbs, are all good friends of mine, and are all very talented and original.
[TMR] What’s your outlook on the record industry today?
It’s a well known fact that records sales are not what they used to be. Digital music is slowly becoming the new thing, but keep in mind that if you truly like a band, buy their CD’s and some Merch AT THEIR SHOW. Online companies are taking a % on every sales. If you want your favorite band to tour your country or your city, this is what you need to do. Nobody’s paying for albums anymore, unfortunately this is what is paying for plane tickets, tour buses, vans, trailers, gear, merch prints, cool websites and photoshoots, good sound and production of an album. Think of all this before you press “download” on a website. I’m not saying that i’m not doing it, i’m poor and i can’t afford all the music i would like, but i always try to buy albums from small bands that i love. Even if i’m young and totally into the internet world, i still can’t believe that in less than 15 seconds, you can have a record that took 6 months to write, 3 months to records, 1 months to mix and master, and thousands of dollars.
[TMR] What about your debut album ‘Breathe In Life’, please tell us about the songs, the recording proces, who did the artwork, etc.
Lucas D’angelo our guitarist did all the tracking by himself. But we really wanted an heavy, american production, so we choosed Charles J. Wall from the Sonic Assault Studio in Florida (Whitechapel, King Conquer) to mix and master our album. We’re very happy with the sound he did, and he’s a very cool guy to work with!
The Artwork is an actual photography, which has been transformed and edited by our bass player, Valentin Hauser. It deals well with the message we’re trying to convey, a woman is drowning in the water, but she has her head out and is breathing, which is a sign of hope, Life and freedom.
[TMR] The album is released by ‘Sumerian Records’, how did you get signed by them ?
We basically sent them an email ! haha it might sound easy and dumb but it’s the actual thruth. They really enjoyed what they heared the first time and signed us few weeks after.
[TMR] What are your dreams and goals? [for this year or the near future] ?
Keep touring as much as we do, discover new places, meet new people, and maybe if we’re very lucky, start earning a bit of money ! I’d love to play on other continents.. i’ve heard the metal scene is amazing in Indonesia, Japan, India…
[TMR] What advice would you give to fellow bands?
Practice as much as you can. It’s important to use the social networks and have some cool promo pictures, but playing together, writing good songs, have a solid live set, don’t come that easy and need a lot of work. Don’t underestimate your merch. It’s going to be your only way to pay your bills and tours, so try to have awesome designs, well printed. Tour as much as you can! if you’re not signed, it doesnt matter, book your own shows, your own tours, that’s what record labels want: some Motivated bands.
[TMR] Guys thanks for your time and the interview, we wish ‘Betraying The Martyrs’ all the best for 2012 … and enjoy the rest of the upcoming tours. Is there anything you wanna say at last? [any final statement ?]
Thank YOU very much for this interview, thank YOU for reading this until the end. I hope to meet you guys at a show, don’t hesitate to come say hi, i promise i won’t bite ! Take care of yourself and people you truly love, and make the best of the Life you’ve been given, everybody has dreams that can be reached. Stay positive.
Baptiste Vigier – Guitarist – Betraying The Martyrs
Aaron Matts – vocals
Victor Guillet – keyboards & clean vocals
Baptiste Vigier – guitar
Lucas D’angelo – guitar
Valentin Hauser – bass
Mark Mironov – drums
Sep 28 La Boule Noire, Paris, France
Sep 29 Atelier Des Moles, Montbéliard, France
Oct 20 MJC Ô TOTEM, Rillieux La Pape, France