VIOLENT CITY came into existence in 2021, a product of those peculiar pandemic times that we hope never return. The idea had been brewing for a while – Stéphane, also known as Mamass from LES TIGRES DU FUTUR, and I had discussed forming a band together. Stéphane, with his manic, relentless crust/metal signature, had shared some song demos, but we hadn't had the chance to rehearse together.
My encounter with Aymeric, our lead guitarist and half of our music-writing duo, took place at a Paris restaurant where he worked as a waiter. Our shared enthusiasm for Finnish Speed Metal and Dungeon Synth sparked an instant connection. Initially, I considered recruiting Aymeric for SYRIIS (Joris and I were working on some demos), but the idea of merging Stéphane's and Aymeric's musical ideas became a reality, giving birth to VIOLENT CITY. However, we still needed a drummer and a bass player.
Nahid and Camille responded to the call, and we rehearsed together. Yet, Nahid wasn't quite comfortable with the sound we aimed for, and Camille was set to relocate to another part of France. Another multi-talented musician, Thomas (ex-KIDZ GET DOWN and currently in WEHUNGRY), answered our call, and Aymeric's cousin Matt took on the bass role, showcasing his versatility as a musician (check out his one-man pop project DIALOGUE for a glimpse of his other musical side).
With a full line-up, our next challenge was to rehearse. Our guitar players, Aymeric and Stéphane, took turns writing songs in their distinct styles. Aymeric's compositions leaned towards Speed Metal, while Stéphane's carried an array of metallic hardcore crust influences. Interestingly, over time, their styles gradually influenced each other to the point where they are almost unrecognizable today.
In crafting the lyrics for VIOLENT CITY, I delved into a very distinct theme and envisioned a world with a specific vision. The narrative of VIOLENT CITY unfolds in a chaotic, post-Cyberpunk setting, where nothing is real and eveything is terrible. It's a realm of anguish and automated, senseless tasks, where brutal entertainment prevails, and the populace is reduced to a slave workforce. Their oppressive ruler, the Neuromancer, is a tyrannical figure connected to their minds, administering a drug called Hex.
Some lyrics, like "Knife Attack," employ plain, repetitive words to vividly depict the cruelty of their world and the violent games played for amusement. Others, like "Veil of Maybe," progress the storyline, culminating in a harrowing confrontation between the Neuromancer and a mythical savior known as the "Harbinger of Light." In a cruel and tragic turn of events, the Harbinger of Light is revealed to be yet another mindless addict and false prophet, adding a layer of darkness to the unfolding narrative.
Our debut EP was recorded at Thomas' own Tallman Studios in Pantin and mixed by Stéphane and Thomas. While the end result may not cater to everyone's tastes, it closely aligns with our vision at the time. A professionally printed cassette tape was released on Yoyodyne Records, a label belonging to a friend. In 2023, we hit the stage for 10 gigs in or around Paris, opening for notable bands such as BOMBARDEMENT, YOUTH AVOIDERS, FORESEEN, 80HD, FALL OF SERAPHS or THE MENTORS. Not a bad start!
Currently, our focus is on crafting new songs that will end the story, ultimately sealing the Neuromancer's fate for good.
Cirque Électrique, Paris. Picture by Samira Chahboub.