Pyrah, an alternative metal band from France.
"De la musique avant toute chose" (cit.)
LFdM: Let's start with your name, has Pyrah got a particular meaning?
Pyrah: Not really. Even though it contains “Pyra” which could evoke a female fire entity, we chose not to leave it at that and give less importance to the meaning and more to the word. Also because we didn’t want to be seen only as a female-fronted/female-drummer band, but through our music.
LFdM: Let's talk about the history of the band: how did it all start? Was it difficult to choose the members or was it all natural and easy?
P: We got lucky on that part! It happened that all of us were searching for a serious project at the same time. Finding members has been easy, but working together has been the most difficult part so far. We had the same goals but very different expectations of what our music should sound like and how the creative process should work.
It took us a long time to figure out how to integrate all of it in our compositions rather than simplifying what we were doing.
This was like opting for additive colors rather than subtractive ones.
LFdM: Every album has got its own story, along with funny episodes related with its creation. Can you tell us something about "Where Am I"?
P: Many things happened during the creation and recording process of “Where Am I?”. This album is basically the story of the band’s creation and how we learned how to work together. So it carries all of this, from the first song we made, that we thought pleased everyone, to the last song on which each one of us can do what they enjoy the most while keeping a real consistency.
The recording process also brought its load of surprises. Maybe the most peculiar one was when Stéphanie had an idea at the last moment for “Dear Diary” which brought her to improvize the whole song melody, and did only one take, as everyone loved it.
LFdM: Is there a particular song to summarize your style, your band's soul?
P: We always have a great time playing “Who I Am”. This was the last song we composed and it is typically one in which all of us have the possibility to express ourselves. It also shows how we have evolved since our first months together. This is a song that relies a lot on ambiance and -- in it -- structure is secondary to the construction of energy.
This is how we feel now: we focus on what we feel when we hear a song and nothing else.
LFdM: Listening to the album, you can perceive something mysterious in every song, in an almost dreamlike attitude. Is it only my impression or is it something that really belongs to your sound?
P: We didn’t do it on purpose so it must belong to us! But this is something we feel too. There are so many things we don’t understand in the world that we are somewhat bound to create something mysterious when expressing how we feel. Furthermore, Stéphanie is very good at making ethereal voices, which often makes the whole thing sound like a dream.
Most importantly, we are glad that you feel that way.
We really want to make people dream and if someone tells us that they felt like they travelled by listening to the album, then we know we did something right.
LFdM: Some of the tracks have definitely a post-punk attitude. Speaking of influences may be a little misleading, but in your opinion, is it difficult to find a unique and personal style for a band?
P: Assuming that we found a unique and personal style -- and we think we did -- this may have been the easiest thing to do, as for defining what we were actually doing was much more difficult. When Jean-Loup composes, he clearly has favorite patterns and favorite harmonies that don’t always relate to a particular genre, so it might well just come down to that.
Also, you are right about the post-punk attitude. At the Drive-In, for instance, has been one of Jean-Loup’s favorite bands these past few years, and it has deeply influenced his vision of music as well as the energy that he tries to communicate.
This is something that we try to keep in mind, although the final song will integrate elements from other styles as everyone adds something to it, and this can be why we feel like it gives something different.
P: Thank you! It was made by Romain Christophe who is a very gifted artist who also happened to be a friend of ours. He created everything especially for us. We spend a lot of time defining what we wanted to see and how it should look and he gave a lot of thoughts to the meaning of the songs to make suggestions for us.
Thanks to him, we could show exactly what we feel, that we also try to show with our music: Because there are so many things we don’t know, and because we never seem to get mature enough, we all feel like children inside a maze.
LFdM: In your social pages, after your introduction, you say Pyrah is suitable for fans of bands like The Agonist, Revamp, Tool, Dillinger Escape Plan, Nevermore … Why this clarification?
P: At the very start, we were asked several times what style of music we were playing and what our influences were. It seemed like a very important thing to do so that people would just give us an ear. But it has always been difficult to define what style was actually ours. So it seemed like a much better way to define what we were doing by saying: “Hey, you can find similarities with these bands, maybe you could like what we are doing.”
LFdM: In 2013/2014 you played a lot of gigs. Can you tell us something about this experience? What did the direct contact with your audience give you?
P: Well, first we got to spend a lot of time together as we travelled from one place to another, which was very bounding. We also got to meet great bands and share experiences. It enabled us to get a broader picture of what the amateur scene looks like in France, but mostly just get to hear great music!
As for the audience, we are constantly learning how to improve on stage. Each show gives us new ideas and make us understand a little more what people expect us to give them. Also, each time we hear comments, good or bad, it gives us a great deal of motivation to continue in this direction. It shows us that it is okay to have a special sound, and that some people are touched by what we do. It also shows us what flaws we should work on correcting, which is something even more motivating as we cannot wait to present something better.
LFdM: What do you see in your future?
And instead... looking at the past, which are the things that made you grow and which the ones to be forgotten?
P: As we said, we get a lot of motivation to do better and this translate into constantly working on new songs. This will very likely lead to a second album in 2015 even though this is not certain, as we will make sure to spend as much time as necessary on each song and make it as perfect as we can. Of course, we also have a few concerts still planned for 2014.
As for the things that made us grow, it is very often related to the audience, the comments that we receive and the help and support of the community that follows us. This made us more adult in our approach of music, which can be the work that we are able to put in it, or the confidence we hold that we are doing things right even if some would like to hear simpler/catchier rhythms, more usual structures and soli. We know that the most important thing is to keep doing something interesting and to do it our way.
We cannot say that these are pieces of advice to be forgotten, but they are things we keep in mind in order not to get too close to them.
LFdM: Thank you for your time guys!!
P: It has been a pleasure. Thank you for your interest!
Interview by Dora (editing by Alessandra)