French extreme metallers Betraying The Martyrs returned with their explosive third record ‘The Resilient’ back in January this year, continuing their extreme onslaught of metalcore and deathcore. Plenty has changed since the success of their sophomore album ‘Phantom’ so we caught up with vocalist Aaron Matts to chat about the new songs, the impact of their Disney ‘Let It Go’ cover, the Paris terror attacks and the strength of the French metal scene.
DP!: How were the last two years of writing the new record, ‘The Resilient’? Any frustrations along the way?
Aaron: Absolutely not, this time we took a while off to write this record in our own time the way we wanted to; after the stress of writing and recording ‘Phantom’ on the road, we knew we needed to do this one our way, and we love the result!
DP!: The overall melodic (whether it be use of synths or Victor’s vocals) nature appears to have ramped up on the new record compared to your prior releases. Was this a conscious effort to branch your sound a bit more?
Aaron: Not particularly. Our main goal was to give each instrument time to breathe, including the vocals, and this allowed us to really showcase each element of our sound, the orchestral side being a huge part of this.
DP!: Would you still consider yourself a deathcore band, or are you not concerned by sub-genre terminology?
Aaron: We’re not too fussed about the label we are given, if people want to call us that and they enjoy it, then we’ll wear the label with pride.
DP!: How much has the terrorist attacks in 2015 across Paris (and across the world in general) factored into the writing process? I detect a strong element of defiance and togetherness in several of the songs on the new record, along with the record title, of course.
Aaron: They have played a huge part, for sure. Just like anyone, we were extremely moved by the attacks, and of course being a Parisian band, it hit home for us; we didn’t consciously make the whole record about this subject, it just came together that way. There’s a running theme and a story to the record. We’re very proud of that.
DP!: What impact has 5.7 million views on YouTube for the ‘Let It Go’ cover had on the band? Could you have anticipated the reaction to this song?
Aaron: It’s been great. We didn’t expect it to get so big, nor did we expect to have such a positive reaction. We’re still stoked on that track, but are glad to be moving on with this new record, that’s for sure!
DP!: Is the popularity of the song now something of a bugbear? Would you rather prefer to put it behind you and urge fans to concentrate on the band’s future, or are you happy that it may have gained you fans who weren’t aware of the band previously?
Aaron: Of course, we’re happy to have caught the attention of those who may not have heard of us otherwise, and we’re glad to have new material of our own to win them over even more.
DP!: How hard has the impact been of Mark Mironov leaving the band last year?
Aaron: It’s been hard on us as a band, and no doubt for the fans too, but Boris came in swinging and delivered great writing skills and make a huge positive impact of our latest release. He also kills it super hard live. Sad as it may be, we’re stronger now more than ever.
DP!: What are the best and worst parts of being a part of an international touring band?
Aaron: The best part is being able to meet so many different people all over the world, and party every day! The worst part is being tired, getting sick, having hangovers, and being away from loved ones, but it’s so worth it!
DP!: You’ve been a resident of France for a while now? Do you feel settled there? Any parts of British culture that you still miss?
Aaron: Absolutely. I miss the British sense of humour of course, and the shitty but tasty food, haha. But, I really feel at home in Paris after all these years and don’t plan on moving away!
DP!: What musical influences do you try and portray through the band? Is there an eclectic mix across all of the members?
Aaron: Big time. Our personal influences differ hugely from member to member, and they each play a huge part in how our music sounds.
DP!: Where do you see the future of the band lie in today’s metal scene? How far do you think the band can raise up the ranks in terms of both the club circuit and festivals?
Aaron: We hope to keep climbing and climbing! We love what we do and never want to stop!
DP!: France is cultivating a steadily growing scene with some exciting talent – Gojira, Klone, Landmvrks and Novelists, to name a few bands. Is it easier to get recognised now thanks to the rising popularity of those aforementioned bands, or is the country still a difficult country to prosper in?
Aaron: It’s great that France is producing more and more heavy acts, the more the better! We like to think that we stand out as a little different due to our sound and image, but we also hope to prosper just as much globally. We always set out to become an international band.
DP!: Any final words?
Aaron: A huge thank you to the British public for the support. We love you all!
Interview by Neil Criddle (@DJCriddz)