- Hello, Chris! Tell us, who introduced you to the metal music? What were the first Metal bands your hear of?
- Hi Dima, first of all let me apologize for my English (I’m French !) and thanks for your interest in MASSACRA story.
When I was young “metal music” was called “hard rock” ! I was a “hardos” kid in the 80’s. I spent all my time listening to AC/DC with my cousins. Then I followed the NWOBHM movement with MOTORHEAD, IRON MAIDEN, SAXON, JUDAS PRIEST, DEF LEPPARD, ROCK GODDESS etc… I listened to “Heavy metal” and “Speed metal” music with German bands like ACCEPT and HELLOWEEN. I remember that I bought MOTLEY CRUE import album because of “Live Wire” song. But the first Thrash Metal bands influence were the first albums of METALLICA, SLAYER, ANTHRAX and the famous Black Metal of VENOM !
- Why did you decide to play drums? How old were you when you got your first drum-kit? And how did you learn playing blast-beats, double-bass and other tricks?
- I always dreamed of playing drums and my dream came true when I traded an acoustic guitar for a Dixie drum kit. I was 17 years old. My first band was METAL STORM, it was already thrash metal and I had to play double bass. In 1986 we played in a metal festival, Jean Marc, Pascal, and Fred were in the audience and they congratulated us.
Only MASSACRA played blast-beats at this time, influenced by a band called MORSURE. Fred was the drummer/singer and he was amazing! No one understood their way of music.
- In the late 80s, what was the French metal underground like? Did you have any local fanzines? How did you discover the new bands?
- In the beginning of 80’s there was no metal media in France, only rock magazines. Fanzines were distributed from hand to hand after band’s shows. François Mitterrand was the President of France and it was the birth of free radio channels and media. I discovered new bands through radio shows or friends.TRUST was the unique French metal band. This band was the big brother of our French wave of heavy metal with bands like SORTILEGE, DEMON EYES, H BOMB, KILLERS, ADX, WARNING. In 1986, my first band shared the stage with EVIL POWER, the first line up of NO RETURN !
- How often did you have metal shows? Did you have to go to Paris every time? Do you remember any show or tour you witnessed and that impressed you a lot? What was your favourite club?
- Yes I went to Paris 3 or 4 times a year. At this time, ESPACE BALARD was the best place for metal shows. JUDAS PRIEST and IRON MAIDEN hypnotized me! MOTORHEAD was brutal because of skinheads in the audience… Later I was impressed by DIO and METALLICA at THE ZENITH. I saw KREATOR at ELYSEE MONTMARTRE but strangely I don't really remember it… May be I was drunk !
- How did you meet the guys from MASSACRA? You joined them already after they released the first demo, didn't you? Did you have any audition or so?
- All headbangers knew each other in our city and we were all friends. At first, MASSACRA was a powerful trio and I went to see them in their rehearsal room some Saturday nights. When I came back from my military service in January 88, I received a letter. Jean Marc wrote me that Fred had moved to the US and the band was looking for a new drummer…It was a chance to play drums and make my dream come true.
- How often did you practice and what your rehearsal place was like? Still being new to the band, did you face any difficulties with learning the new songs?
- We practiced every day, 6 days a week, in a rehearsal room rent in a music shop. Blast-beats were new for me but I met the challenge. Pascal gave me music to listen to, like CARNIVORE, DESTRUCTION, THE EXPLOITED, KREATOR, MORBID ANGEL, DEATH, OBITUARY, DARK ANGEL etc. We practiced with guts and nothing could stop us.
- Your first common records became the "Final Holocaust" demo, released in 1988. What do you remember about the recording sessions? How did you distribute the tape?
- I remember that we recorded during the week-end in a studio near the cinema “LE GRAND REX” in Paris. Then we copied a thousand tapes with a bicolor jacket. It was not common practice!
- "Nearer from Death" demo was the following release. Where did you record it? Was it your final step before going to the studio for your full-length? How did you get the deal with Shark Records?
- We recorded this demo in the suburb of Paris, in the city of Ivry I think. We carefully printed a full color jacket because we travelled to America in order to meet music labels. You can see an apocalyptic show on Youtube “MASSACRA live at Foufounes Electrique, Quebec 16/02/89”
Finally Jean Marc found the deal with German label Shark Records, known for its distribution of SEPULTURA first albums all over Europe.
- So, your debut album came out in 1990. First of all, do you remember your first thoughts and feelings the moment you received your own copies? What did it mean to you?
- I was proud of our merchandising but not satisfied of my way playing the drums. It was my first real experience of recording sessions and I was impressed.
- Tell us a bit about the recording process. What kind of experience was it for you? How long did you spend in the studio?
- We recorded LIVE ! No click track, all together man ! Pure energy only !! Two weeks in Germany, living and sleeping in a kind of squat above a factory. We ate all kinds of pizzas in a Turkish restaurant.
- As I understand, you took a couple of songs from the previous demos, but did you rework or update them anyhow? And why did you decide to use the same cover from "Nearer from Death"?
- We were in a maturity process. Apocalyptic warriors (chapter final) means that we reached the last version. The demo picture was a copy of a comics cover… Then we met Gil FORMOSA and we had a deal.
- What was the response from your fans and overall from the people around the world? Did you have any following tour or a series of concerts?
- People from eastern countries loved us and we traveled over the Berlin Wall to play in Poland and Czechoslovakia. We toured Europe and we built our reputation.
- In 1991 you released "Enjoy the Violence" full-length. What can you say about this album now? How did you progress in both, song-writing and recording processes since your previous album?
- I had a brand new drum kit, a Yamaha Rock Tour Custom, and I was more prepared. We recorded one by one with a click track and we had 3 weeks. We knew what we wanted. I remember that I broke my Chinese cymbal and I should have bought another one. We slept in a hotel but we still ate all kinds of pizzas in the same Turkish restaurant!
“Enjoy the Violence” is a master piece of brutal deathrash metal!
- For the last time you cooperated with Formosa artist. Why did you choose him being in charge of your covers? Did you discuss with him the concept or did he work on his own, after his own vision of your material?
- Fortunately, Formosa lived in the suburb of our city and we used his comic’s covers (la légende du chevalier Cargal) that he customized for us.
- "Enjoy the Violence", was it in any way some sort of allusion on Depeche Mode's "Enjoy the Silence"? How did you come up with that title?
- You are right, it’s a parody of Depeche Mode’s title but it’s also a revolt against “Enjoy” from a well known soda. It‘s a cry of anger about the dark side of human race. It’s a nihilistic and misanthropic point of view.
- That was your last album you took part it. Why did you leave the band? And what do you think about their performance after your leaving?
- As you know, legend has it that I followed a satanic sect… This is partly true because I came in the world of work ! The overall working conditions is a kind of hell !
I bought Sick album and my favorite song is “Ordinary people”. I love the guitar sustain in the back ground. After that I broke off contact with them and didn’t follow their performance.
- What you've been up to afterwards? Did you participate in any other band? Are you still in touch with the other guys? Are you still into metal music? Have you ever discussed the possibility of your reunion?
- I have a family now, I have a daughter and I stopped playing drums for 10 years… In 2004, I taught drum lessons and I decided to go back to the rock roots. Then I spent 7 years with a rock cover band called TIME MACHINE. In 2006 and 2011, I wrote to Jean Marc because I felt the need to try a reunion but he had no news of Pascal. Anyway, without Fred, Jean Marc didn’t want to get back up on stage. He is, with Century Media Records, the guardian of MASSACRA’s myth now.
- Thank you for this interview, Chris. Would you like to add anything in the end?
- I couldn’t imagine that I would talk about MASSACRA 25 years later but this band is a huge part of my life.
Of course I‘m grateful to all the fans around the world without whom nothing would have been possible. Nowadays I have a brand new project with ORIONYS band and I expect to talk about it in 25 years as well.
ORIONYS doesn’t target the same audience because it’s a lyric metal band. From hell to heaven, I’m in the light side of metal now and I wish we can help in forgetting world’s atrocities.