Gone In April came to life in 2011, with the release of their debut album, ‘We Are But Human’. With the release of their second album, Threads Of Existence, in 2016, the band continues to unite a diverse palette of metal genres, such as symphonic, death, speed, and goth. The band received praise from the international metal community and performed within North America as well as Asia. We had the opportunity to talk with the violinist and vocalist, Julie Bélanger, and also with the guy behind the drumset, Yanic Bercier.
Yanic: It all started when Felix Schumacher contacted me about playing drums for his new project. I heard the material and thought Julie’s voice would fit well. She added vocals and violin lines on one of the songs as a test, and she was in instantly. We then asked Chicco Parisi to join us on the bass. It was a very cool collaboration! Unfortunately, since we were all living in different countries (Germany, Italy, USA, Canada), getting together for shows was very difficult. We have had a line-up change since then and our musicians now live in Canada & in the USA.
Behind the name:
Julie: In the first album, we tell the story of a crusader. As we read about his journey and follow the evolution of his thoughts and feelings, we also open a window on the human condition. The last entry in his journal is on the last day of April, which is the link with the name Gone in April.
Julie: Our music blends a ton of genres. There are elements of symphonic metal,
death metal, folk metal, power metal, progressive metal, medieval music, classical music, and jazz. Every musician in the band comes from a different musical background, and we all listen to different music, but somehow, we manage to write songs that represent us all. We are all open-minded and curious musicians, so our musical inspirations are wild haha! In terms of lyrics, we like to explore human nature and capture it in short stories.
Yanic: We work together. It starts with Julie writing vocal & violin melodies. I then add drums, Marc-André and Simon write guitar riffs for the song, I write vocal patterns for the growls, and Steve then writes his bass lines. Julie composes the orchestrations and choir parts, and we write the lyrics last, right before recording. So, it is indeed a group effort when it comes to composition.
For composition, we focus on creating good songs, and we leave space for each musician to shine.
For example, in the song ‘Haven (on Shards of Light)’, there is an exchange of solos between the bass and the guitars. ‘If You Join Me’ is built like a violin Baroque concerto, and, in ‘As Hope Welcomes Death (on Threads of Existence)’, there are sections where the drums are front, and there is also a cool drum and bass solo exchange. By leaving space for each musician, and by incorporating many styles to our writing, it keeps everybody happy and challenged! For live performances, since we all live pretty far from each other, we cannot have band practices often and everybody needs to be practice on his/her own. We typically meet only a few days before playing a series of shows, rehearse, and then start the live performances.
Past & future:
Julie: The greatest change in our style was between our first and the second album. For the first album, the majority of the material had been written by Felix, before Yanic and I joined, therefore, we didn’t have as much of our influences in the songs. This album’s style was more of a gothic metal sound. Once the other members were no longer part of the band, Yanic and I welcomed new musicians whose writing styles were closer to ours. With the change in the line-up on our second album, ‘Threads of Existence’ was something more technical, melodic, symphonic, and full. The third the album is more in line with the second in terms of style, as we continued to develop our own blend of technical symphonic death metal, however, we added more orchestrations, choirs, more complex songwriting, and also kept a more unified sound throughout.
In terms of concept, our latest album, ‘Shards of Light’, focused on finding the light in the darkness, however hard it might be: focusing on our power to build and create as opposed to destroying and corrupt. In these trying times, we thought we needed light even more than before… We tried to infuse this light and hope in our melodies as well.
Yanic: Yes, we started to work on the composition of our next album. We all have different schedules, so it’s important to start early for the composition to advance smoothly. Also, since we take care of most aspects of the production ourselves (orchestrating, recording, editing, mixing, video production…etc), we have to give ourselves a good 2-3 years to get everything done. It is still very early in the process so we will of course wait before announcing a release time. For the album to come, we intend to continue blending powerful riffs and melodies, add more orchestrations and choirs and unify our sound throughout the different songs.
Julie: Unfortunately, like every band, we can’t tour or do live shows, and we miss it like crazy! It is devastating to see how many people lost their jobs and are struggling to make ends meet. Like other bands out there, we are doing our best to be as present as possible online and to do all the work we can’t do as easily when we are performing. We are releasing playthrough videos for the songs of our third album. We have also started the process to find the venues for the videos of our next album.
Behind the scenes:
Julie: When you drive together for hours going from one city to another, and you see each other in your worst state: tired, not showered, sick, name it! You certainly end up with a bunch of stories, some of which we will not share. (laughs) But here are some stories.
On ‘Shards of Light’, I wrote the song ‘Soldiers of the Dawn’, which is an ode to artists. The song praises the courage it takes to live fully, to create beauty, with often very little resources. I built the song like a drinking song, and all voices come together on ‘Soldiers of the Dawn’. Well, the guys loved it a little bit too much and made it their anthem. For a full month. During our North American tour with Eluveitie and Korpiklaani, every day, multiple times a day, the guys took their most ridiculous voice and yelled together ‘Soldiers of the Dawn!’, while loading gear, making food together…etc. Consider me punished. I don’t know if I’ll ever write something like this again!
During the same tour, we were driving a 38 foot RV. I sincerely wonder if there were any shock absorbers on that thing. Yanic, who was the only one who loved driving this huge thing in the cities and on the highway, wanted to warn us every time he took a turn or started to use the brakes to make sure no one would fall over. He would yell “hold on!”, and then “turning!”. That one also quickly became a favorite quote, as those on board of the RV, in a singing voice, often said it before Yanic had the chance to say it. “Hold on!” That became a good inside joke among us.
The funniest of us is definitely Aaron. He is a joker. I can’t count how many times he made me laugh to tears with his impersonations and crazy stories. We all work hard, but we always manage to have a good time!
Going through tour stories definitely makes us miss shows even more. Hopefully, we will get to see all of you on the road! Thank you so much Afrodite for having us, and thanks to all the readers for supporting the metal scene!
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