As the title translates, this beautifully crafted album impregnated with introspective aspects takes you on a great journey. Brimming with charismatic vocals and mesmerizing song structures, Klone is set to command the prog scene this year with this production.
Recently inducted in the Kscope family, the progressive metal group Klone from France release their album Le Grand Voyage on 20th September. As the title translates, this beautifully crafted album impregnated with introspective aspects takes you on a great journey. Brimming with charismatic vocals and mesmerizing song structures, Klone is set to command the prog scene this year with this production. Besides the album release the band is also gearing up for the array of album launch concerts in France ensuing soon after.
We had an opportunity to speak to the frontman Yann Ligner and learn more about this album and Klone…
E&D: This is the first time you are releasing an album under the Kscope banner. Do you think this will alter the future of Klone? What are the changes you are looking forward to?
Yann: The release of our new album Le Grand Voyage on Kscope will give us more visibility and influence on the progressive rock scene. The label works very well for the development of international bands. It is also a guarantee of quality. We are still in the early stages, but for the moment our collaboration is going very well and we have had a lot of good feedback.
E&D: Klone had a few line-up changes ever since its onset in the year 1995. Has this impacted the flavour of the 7 albums produced over the years?
Yann: Inevitably, because the different musicians who came into the band all had a different approach to how they thought and recorded their parts. And at the same time I don’t think it had much impact because since the beginning of Klone, it’s Guillaume who composes most of the songs, so there’s a common origin that continues as the albums go on.
E&D: This line-up has been in place since roughly around a decade now. How does the song making process work out for you guys?
Yann: As I said earlier, Guillaume is the one who composes most of the songs. We then work in pairs on the structure and details so that I can compose and place my vocal lines, then the lyrics. For Le Grand Voyage we worked with Morgan Berthet on the recording. He did a great job and he brings a real value to the pieces.
E&D: Compared to earlier productions, for example Black Days, this album Le Grand Voyage is mellower sonically. Is Klone trying to restyle its genre from being specifically a progressive metal band to more of a progressive rock band?
Yann: We tried a different approach to sound with Here Comes The Sun, where saturation was rarer. With “The Great Journey” we go further….. There is more space, reverberation also plays a very important role in the spatialization of sound. Tempos also lend themselves to the fact that sound is the time to breathe. We don’t really think in terms of style of music but rather we do what we want to hear
E&D: Le Grand Voyage has a lot of references of self-discovery and ones journey to this other unknown. How was this entire album conceptualized including the song-writing? Does it have any liaisons with Klone’s past productions?
Yann: If I talk about the lyrics, Le Grand Voyage is a theme broad enough to present many facets. We have all made ‘great journeys’. There are of course these trips in the first sense of the word… discovering new landscapes, but also encounters, having a child, building a family life. Our dreams, Life, Love, Death… all these important moments or experiences are probably great journeys. So there’s a little bit of that in our songs.
There is not really a direct link with the texts of the previous albums… but I always try to have a dreamlike approach in my lyrics, like not giving temporary landmarks… also to compose with the sound of words, and above all to serve the music.
E&D: Tell us more about the album artwork.
Yann: We wanted a powerful and relevant cover, that it be explicit while keeping some poetry and that it give the music the right atmosphere. Then we came across this painting which perfectly illustrated the atmosphere in which the songs carried us. I don’t want to give explanations because I like the image to speak for itself, everyone will make their own opinion. He was a real favorite…… But after Here Comes The Sun, we wanted to go further and higher! And this is the case with this visual by Francesco Dell’Orto.
E&D: In one of your social media posts you had mentioned that the song ‘Hidden Passenger’ has influences between Opeth and Devin Townsend. How have these elements moulded into a unique Klone signature?
Yann: It’s hard to say… We all listen to a wide variety of music… But before composing a song, you don’t think about a particular artist. We just do what goes through our heads and feel with our guts. But in this case there is indeed a bit of Devin Townsend and Opeth on ‘Hidden Passenger’.
E&D: Who are the other influences of Klone? Anyone in particular you would like to share stages with in the coming years?
Yann: As I said, we listen to a lot of different music, even if rock/metal remains to all our common base. We have already shared the stage with many bands that we like. But if I had to name any, I’d say Anathema, Steven Wilson, King Crimson.
E&D: There are some progressive rock/metal fans who feel that this genre is no more at its prime. Do you agree with that opinion?
Yann: I don’t know if progressive rock / metal is no longer at its peak, but I think it’s doing very well and it still has a bright future ahead of it.
E&D: You had recently performed ‘Yonder’ at Hellfest Open Air Festival in France. How was the crowd response?
Yann: Hellfest 2019 went very well! We played on Friday with a lot of people in front of MainStage 2. I don’t hide the fact that we had a little pressure before going on stage, but it quickly dissipated to the sound of the first notes, and we had a good time afterwards.
At the end of our set we played our new single ‘Yonder’, which was very well received. It’s a slow tempo track, where the guitar chords take time to open, which makes it easier to work on the sound. We have the chance to work with a very good sound engineer and what’s more, a very good friend, I named Chris Edrich. He’s doing a great job!
E&D: The song ‘Yonder’ has been also released as a short film from Le Grand Voyage on YouTube. How was the video conceptualized and what are its references with the rest of the album?
Yann: Yonder is the first track of our new album Le Grand Voyage and it also makes the link with our previous album Here Comes The Sun and his latest track ‘The Last Experience’. Yonder is a kind of common thread, in words and music and introduces a new chapter. It’s a kind of rebirth, like a new cycle. The music is powerful and progressive, the lyrics speak of a new beginning, a new place where the protagonist begins his journey. For the video clip we worked with Arthur Jarry and went to shoot in Spain near the Bardenas Desert. It is a beautiful place and ideal for the needs of the clip.
E&D: All the songs in your album are written and titled in English language. Contrary to any of your previous albums, why was the album title chosen to be in French?
Yann: After Here Comes The Sun we had to go further! Then the idea of the journey emerged, and the meaning we can hide behind it also pleased us. I had in mind “The Great Journey”, but something in the sound didn’t necessarily please us and Guillaume proposed to shoot it in French to give “Le Grand Voyage”… It seemed more fluid and obvious to us and we immediately validated it. It reminded us a little bit of the spirit of Jules Verne and all the science fiction that can go with it.
E&D: Do you think Le Grand Voyageis one of the best productions for Klone or the best is yet to come?
Yann: I hope the best is yet to come! But today, Le Grand Voyage is clearly our best production.
E&D: You have a long tour coming up in France. When is Klone touring for their fans in the rest of the world? Any specific country or festival you yearn to perform in?
Yann: At the end of 2019 we will be touring exclusively in France. For the year 2020 we are working on tours in Europe and beyond, but I can’t say anything until it’s validated. There will also be big festivals scheduled for next summer
E&D: When is Klone coming up with its next album?
Yann: As I am writing this interview, our new album Le Grand Voyage has not yet been released… Then the next time I don’t know. We’re talking about it, but it’s still unclear. For the moment we are especially looking forward to doing concerts