Alan Swan

Interview: DVNE – Victor Vicart “We create new worlds, we create things, but they have to make sense, they have to follow some kind of linguistic history.”

We caught up with guitarist and vocalist Victor Vicart from Dvne who sat down with us to speak openly about the band’s new album ‘Voidkind’ which is out now on Metal Blade Records.

We’ve had the album on heavy rotation. It’s a fantastic collection. How are you feeling about the record? 

“Yeah, amazing. And first, thanks for having me and thanks for reviewing or just featuring the album. It means a lot to us, and we’re delighted about the album. We’re very, very happy about it. It’s been one of those where we didn’t have to sit on it for too long as well. The album was recorded, and we finished the mixing in November and the mastering was done in December. You know, it’s just been all systems go, you know, making videos, getting ready. So, we haven’t had time to reflect on it, but it’s an album we are particularly proud of and absolutely we are buzzing to tour it.”

It’s your third album release, your second for Metal Blade; how does that feel?

“Things keep on changing, it feels like a different experience again. It’s good stuff, yeah, for sure. We did get a lot of more exposure since we started working with them.”

You’ve got a new full-time keyboard player now, haven’t you? Maxime Keller. We saw you at CultFest in Manchester. It was a really fantastic show, and the keyboard really fills out the sound. It can also take you to different places texturally. So, was that the thinking behind the inclusion of a full-time keyboardist?

“Yes and no. It’s something we had in the works for about three, four years now. We’ve been wanting to do keys. I’ve been playing piano, harpsichord and keys as my first instrument. Then I picked up the guitar after that. But when we were writing Etemen, our previous album. We talked about it with the guys we knew we wanted to put synths in the album. But since, as much as it fills a space it is, I think, a very difficult instrument to include in a live project. Because when you start mixing it live, either you don’t hear the things you’re trying to put in or it covers everything. Or it’s not very nice to hear sometimes because sometimes you hear for some of the leads, it just, it pierces through quite a lot. So, it takes a bit of tinkering and time to get the levels right. So putting keys in the band has been something we’ve been working on for the last album, I wrote the keys then we got people to jump on tour with us to play the keys live. It took a bit of changing because sometimes, you know, it didn’t work out with some keyboard players. We had a few people that were really good players, but either personally wasn’t ideal, or we just didn’t feel like writing music together. That stopped as soon as we met Max. He was playing with the band called Deluge and he met us. First show he did was Desertfest London at the Roundhouse; it was a good one!”

It’s a big one!

“Yeah, totally. Plus, he had like, three weeks’ notice and right, you need to come and this is happening kind of thing but since then it’s been amazing man! Max has really helped a lot. We wrote the keys together, he’s also doing a lot of back vocals, some main vocals as well on the album which helps because the guitars are busy and the synths are busy so we can help each other in good ways.”

We’ve noticed on the album that the vocals, especially the clean vocals, are beautifully done. The album as a whole is just very layered. There’s a lot of stuff you won’t hear the first time you listen to it. One of the things that struck us on the third or fourth listen was the vocals, specifically the clean vocals, the harmonizing, and those quiet parts. It’s fantastic. It’s terrific to hear that side of you.

“Thank you so much. I think everything has been a step up musically. We’ve recorded the album in a way that, although it’s a more dynamic album and it’s a bit more in your face, we didn’t layer as much and you say it’s still layered, it is. This is what we do, there’s five instruments, and you’ve got two hands, two different keys happening at the same time, two noise guitars. So it’s busy for sure. But we’ve removed a lot of layers compared to our previous album to make things a bit more dynamic and clearer and closer to what people will hear live. It’s something that we learned when we started prepping Etemen for the live version. We didn’t want to have to do the same type of work and ended up with what I think works best for the music. But because of that we freed space for the vocals and we were able to run the vocals a bit better. I think you hear the individuality in the accents a bit better in the vocals as well, because there’s more space. Like there’s a lot of moments where we wanted to hear the vocals feel a bit fragile, other moments where we wanted to feel a bit more hectic”

We believe less is more. You’ve got to give everything room to breathe, as you say, within those layers so that those layers have definition.

“For sure it just becomes a bit flat, you know, it just becomes flat, you sacrifice something, you sacrifice everything for the sake of putting more, so yeah, I agree with you.”

Absolutely. We spoke to Sleepmakeswaves a couple of weeks back, and they quoted this great phrase just about this: if everything is heavy, nothing is heavy.

“Indeed, yes”

It’s such a simple phrase, but it makes so much sense. So, this is the follow-up to Etemen Ænka; I read that it follows a previous narrative; do you have an overarching story to all of your records?

“It depends on who you’re asking in the band. To me, yes. And to Dan, actually to the two guys who write lyrics, yes, they are like stories. We’ve created our own little world, really, our own little universe. We enjoy science fiction, fantasy, and in all forms and shapes. Because of that, we just always really enjoy writing concept albums. It allows us to like, you know, give an identity to an album and have a specific thematic we might want to approach.

So, we have, in all the different albums, we have different stories built around the thematics of something we have to say. And then we kind of have fun with it as well. It might be a serious subject, but we have fun in the sense that, we escape a little, we just make something quite creative and create a universe that we have fun creating, and then it gives us opportunities as well when we start performing and doing all these vocals to get a feeling, so you’re not just screaming about something that’s, I don’t know, if you’re screaming about something, it should probably be something that’s pretty, epic or like, you know, dark or whatever. And same with the clean singing. So, with this album, Etemen was about society, hierarchy, and power within society, like social classes and this kind of thing. The album before that was about the environment. And then this album is about religion. Organized religions and even individual experience of religion and many different elements of religion in general. Because it follows a multi-generational story, we go through the phases of the creation of this religion, how it spreads through martyrdom, through pilgrimages, and then other elements which are a bit more like fantasy, unreal, let’s put it this way, where there is travel to other dimensions and this kind of fun psychedelic vibe, it’s a lot of fun doing this. It’s a lot of things to get inspired by and you know, having fun with this is really what we’re trying to do.”

This songwriting method is fascinating because you’re almost writing a book and an album, which must be challenging.

“Yeah, it’s good fun. Just creating any kind of universes. If you look at a good classic fantasy like Lord of the Rings or you know, Dune right now you’ve got so many really good interesting universes. They even go through the extent of creating languages and creating new worlds and stuff like that. Which we’ve done a lot on the last album and this album too. We create new worlds, we create things but they have to make sense, they have to follow like some kind of linguistic history you know. You pick from that, you make your own world, and then it helps build the album, you know, like a real universe.”

Like with a good sci-fi movie or something, you can leave those Easter eggs, as we call them in film, you know, little reference points that like real fans who really dig music can find on repeated listens, something that we came across when we listened to the album was, there were parts of the album that you might miss the first time around because it was deeply complex and then you hear it. Then you get the reference; it’s fantastic; another thing we noticed on further listens to the album is that it’s a very physical album. Hence, it gives you that wow factor first, and on repeated listens, we noticed an element in one of your tunes that reminded us a bit of Tool, actually, vocally. Are you one of those bands that wear your influences on your sleeve and say, “Yeah, I meant to do that”?

“Yes, very much so. I think it happens naturally at practice and sometimes we are like, that’s maybe a bit too much. But I think if you manage in a way, there’s a couple of parts on the album I think, especially the vocals that remind us, like the second track, I’m doing this like a low chanting thing, it happens over a build-up, that feels very Tool. Definitely more about the perfect soul where there is a very Tool like vibe riff towards the end. And again, same story, we managed like I think having the second guitar helps going away a little bit from it as well. But you know, like and building with synths and stuff like that. But yeah, we steal like all artists but it’s an homage man it’s part of the homage and you know we just really enjoy it. I think it makes for a really interesting moment if you manage to mix that with your own identity. I think it’s pretty cool.”

We don’t think there’s a musician on this planet who can say they’re not influenced by someone else; we’re all standing on the shoulders of giants. At the end of the day, there are 12 notes in the world; how you put them together is up to you. 

Seeing your Slow Crush T-shirt, I’m really curious about your music taste. The new generation of shoegaze is making quite a mark. Is that a significant influence for you?

“I listen to everything, absolutely everything, and not anything, but I like a lot of things in most styles. Pretty selective about that, though, but yeah. So yeah, I just saw them live not so long ago when they were playing with Deafheaven. We played with them a few times, like playing at, festivals. And so, I picked up the long sleeve, it’s a cool band, for sure.”

Talking of listening to lots of different stuff, we’ve noticed that your band is one of these elite few bands that can fit onto a wide selection of festivals. Everything from ArcTanGent to Hellfest to things like Cultfest Resurrected. You’re flexible like a band like Conjurer is, where you can fit on most bills. Is that something you think about when writing, or is that just a happy accident?

“Not really, you know when we started we were more on the Stoner Doom kind of scene, I was playing in a doom band before that and that wasn’t really the thing. When we started really, the idea was like we were massively into Mastodon and Opeth and these kind of things and we wanted to make that kind of music, more expansive, and I think all the bands you’re mentioning that my favourite bands usually they are like umbrella bands, they just kind of go between styles and they are pretty fluid when it comes to what they are doing. Some moments are going to be maybe slightly feel like death metal moments, some other moments might feel like more electronic things, they might have folk moments, you can do everything, and you can touch on all of that because you’re building songs really. Building for like build-up climaxes, maybe coming back from it and maybe you’ve got something else to work with. Because you’re doing that and also because even, maybe your album is doing that, your albums can actually range on many, many, many different things as long as it’s done cohesively, you know?

And in a coherent way, that’s what I’m trying to say. I think a lot of modern bands, and my favourite modern bands anyway, are like that.  Because they are like that, you sometimes scratch your head on what it is that they are doing. But at the same time, they kind of are relevant in most cases. So we don’t think about it. It’s just the way we write music. Yeah. And it’s probably why we end up in all of these places.”

Yeah, it’s funny because it takes us back to an interview with Rick Rubin, where he said his approach is that he writes for him first, and generally, the audience will like it. He doesn’t write thinking, oh, I’ll write this so they like it. It’s why we think the best music and the reason why this music can take so many different influences and still sound cohesive. If you’re writing it for yourself as an individual, what would you like to hear? So that’s a bit of a hallmark as well.

“Yeah, I think so too, yeah.”

Good friends of ours, Hidden Mothers, will be supporting you on the Leeds tour date. So that’s quite a big thing for them. They’re another one of these bands who, if you had to describe what sort of a band they were, it’s difficult. They’re an everything band. The post (insert genre here) scene at the moment is great for that, in the fact that it’s encouraging bands to think outside the box, and gatekeeping seems to be a thing of the past these days. Do you think so?

“Yeah, I think with any scene, you’ll have bands who are, like the post-metal scene might be better for that, because post-metal, in its own way and form, is you’ve got so many different types of post-metal, and within that, you’ve got things that are a bit more sludgy and some other things that may be a bit more progressive, you might have some stuff that may be more within like the hardcore side of things or whatever. So I find the post term, a big umbrella term, and within that you can do so many different things. I don’t think that stops sometimes a part of the scene. You know, I think in any music, in any style of music, you probably have like 80% of things that’s maybe a bit stuck and then 20% that’s like, you know, people will really actually scratch their heads on trying to do something different, whether you like it or not. And Stoner at some point had that, you know, you had all the bands who wanted to be like a Stoner band and you’ll be like, here’s a stoner riff, it could be on, they could change a riff and put it on another song. Yeah, swap between bands and stuff like that, it would be the same stuff. I think in post-metal you still have that. Sometimes I’m getting like, Russian Circles are an amazing band. They’re so good that I’m trying to do what they are doing and I’m like, don’t, don’t do it.”

Yeah, that’s why they’re so unique.

“Yes, and they are instrumental and there is so much individuality you can get from just the three trio instrumental band and they are so good at what they are doing that they get away with it. Sometimes you’ve got also to… I don’t think I would be able to be in a band like that. I’m not that good on the guitar and stuff like that. These guys are like very fucking solid. So just keep in mind what you’re good at and what you’re not so good at and build on what you’re good at and try to bring your individuality rather than something else. It took us a bit of time to get to that point to be honest.”

Well, that’s good advice for life. So the tour is coming up, so you must be hyped for that. Is there any concept for the tour, or will it just be bits from all the albums? Or do you have a plan?

“It’s going to be pretty heavy on Void Kind for sure. We are sick of playing Etemen. It was a blast to play it. We’re just so excited about the new album. It presents tons of interesting challenges live, when you’re doing the vocals and trying to make sure that all the parts are working well. But yeah, this is going to be the main theme.”

Yeah, well it’s like having a shiny new car, you’ve got to take it out for a drive now.

“Yes, exactly!”

Interview & Live Photos By George Miller –

Main Band Photo: Alan Swan