PASSAGE :  interview with Roby


questions by Haavard Holm ___    

interview shared with Metal Norge







Of the more positive Doom acts popping up in 2005, there was Passage, that finally was picked up by the small Portuguese label Exorcize Music, who released their self-titled debut. And believe me, this album is really worth a investment, and shows there is after all some really good Doom bands from the Canadian shores.


Let’s start with speaking a bit about the Canadian music scene. Passage seems to be one of the very few acts from there into Doom, well, we have Longing For Dawn that also debuted this year in a positive way, but how come Doom has no great impact over there ?

Well, Doom metal is not very popular here. In Quebec, we have plenty of Black and Death metal bands around, but hardly doom bands. I don't know why people don't like that kind of music that much. I must say that we have really good bands though!


Do you feel any lack of acceptance from the Canadian audience, as it seems it is way more appreciation for Doom over here in Europe ?

You're right. I know that a band like Passage (or my other band Moonlyght for example) are going to be much more appreciated In Europe. Why? I think that this Is all In the culture. In many European countries, Metal Is playing constantly at the commercial radio. Here we always have the same "pop" bands like System of a Down, Nickelback, or Evanescence at the radio. Impossible to hear more "underground" or different stuff to present to people except for some small Independent/underground radio shows. People are mainly listening to commercial radio so nothing happen and bands like Passage have no exposure at all. Yes, I feel lack of acceptance and no chance Is given to bands like us to join mass audience. Another fact Is that In Quebec we speak mainly French, so as Passage have English lyrics It Is almost Impossible for us to have airplay on radios here because of the laws here of radio diffusion of French / English…      


“Passage” is your debut work, but it took a long time between it was recorded until it actually came out. How was the period between the recordings until the album came out for the band ? Did you all the time have the faith that you had done a good enough album ?

Absolutely. I'm still very satisfied about the debut album even after a year & a half it was recorded. The reason why It took that long Is because we wanted to find a label to release the album, not releasing It and distribute It all by ourselves. We needed help, so we thought that sending promo copies after the album was recorded was the better choice to do. We searched hard to finally find home with Exorcize Music from Portugal, who contacted me saying that they were very Interested In signing Passage. After some talk we did fix a release date together and finally the album came out In August 2005.   


As you now have a distance to the album, what do you feel maybe could have been making the album even a bit better ?

Well, definitively the lyrics. I could say that this Is the side of the album that I should have worked more on It. I for sure have took some notes for the second album! For the rest, I would say I'm very satisfied about the production and the way we recorded It at Nokturn Studio. The engineer Is In fact a friend of mine that was the perfect person I wanted to work on the album.     


You recorded the album only as two members, which is of course giving the band some limitations. Were you happy to do the album as a two-piece ? Why did you not recruit further members to make it a complete line-up ?

Simply because I wanted to express my own Ideas at 100%. I know that It may sounds a bit egoistic, but when you're a band, you have constantly to make choices: cut/change riffs, change drum patterns, shorten songs, add another chorus, etc. because someone In the band don't like a part of the songs. I already have a band called Moonlyght here that I'm the composer too. In Moonlyght we are a full band so we make choices together, we have to accept when someone don't like parts. You're right and I agree when you say that we have some limitations as a two-piece band, but I prefer to keep It that way for Passage.    


Most people into Doom have a strong affection to what takes place into the genre itself, how was your own introduction to Doom ? And where do you see Passage to find its place in there ?

I got my Introduction with Paradise Lost when I was at high school. I loved so much the album "Icon". I was fascinated with the strong melancholy but heavy riffing that this album contains. I soon discovered Katatonia, My Dying Bride and Anathema some times after. I think that what Influences a person Is often what he/she discovers first, so I think that Passage Is In fact a strong Incarnation of my first Impressions and love for doom metal. I see Passage as a classic doom metal band, but with a twist of modern music. I don't want to repeat what these bands did mainly In the mid 90's, but I want to express my own "doom" Ideas through Passage.   


Where do you see the Doom genre evolve into the future ?

I don't think that doom metal can "evolve" that much. It has taken many "directions" In the past like gothic metal but I think that bands just leave the doom metal field. If you take Anathema for example, they're still are making excellent albums now (A Fine day to exit, A natural disaster) but It's not doom metal anymore. 


Going a bit back to talk more about the album, what songs are you most satisfied with on the album ?

I would say Perfect World, No Dawn Again, A Death In Autumn and It's gone too far. Strangely, these are the first 4 songs on the album. I think that the feeling I wanted to create Is very strong on these songs.


I think the best track is actually the brilliant incorporation of the female vocals, which lifts the album by itself. How do you find this track yourself, and will you continue to use these female vocals ?

Of course, I like that track a lot! I think that Selene did a great job for the female vocal-lines. I like the progressive elements on that song a lot too. I cannot say I'll use or not female vocals on the next album, but there's big chances. I would not use female vocals more often though, I like to have some parts of a songs, but not that much. It makes an album more special to only have few parts, not over-use It.


Stylewise I think alot of people would draw some lines to the mid-works of Anathema, like their “Eternity” album. How do you feel to be compared to other bands with Passage ?

Eternity Is In fact the first album I discovered from Anathema when It came out and I really liked that album. Anathema Influenced me a lot In their career, and I would say "Judgement" Is my favorite. I don't mind being compared to other bands, as every bands on that planet can be compared to another one.  


Not long ago we left the year of 2005 behind, what will you remember from the year within what was released ? Anything that also disappointed you majorly?

2005 Is the year we released our debut album and also our first live gig, so It was the most Important period for Passage so far. We got lots of good reviews for the album so this Is a good start. Any regrets? Not really!


I just read on your webpage that you also did your very first live performance here last December, as a full band. How was it for the band to perform live ? Is the line-up complete also as a recording band, or will you only do this for live settings ?

I'm very satisfied about the performance we did for the very first time! We worked hard for this, and with only a few but Intense rehearsals, we built a very solid live show. We will certainly repeat the experience In 2006 again with this line-up I hope, as they are very great musicians to work with. They won't be the "recording line-up" though, but they are In sort a part of Passage.   


And it was said that it could also be used as a DVD release from the band, is this something the band plans as a next step?

The December gig was Immortalized on 3 cameras. We still don't know If we'll release something out of this In the future, but I would really like to have something like a bonus DVD with at least a couple of live songs to go with the next album. This Is only a project for now, we'll see If something Is possible out of this.


Speaking of the future of the band, what lies next now in 2006 ? Do you make a priority with Passage now that it seems like you really get alot of good feedback on your album ?

For the moment we'll concentrate of doing promotion of this album by making some live appearances for the first half of 2006. I also enter the studio with Moonlyght In February to record our second album, the follow-up to "Progressive Darkness" that we released in 2002. We have already began work for the next Passage album, most of the songs are composed and we plan to enter the studio In Fall 2006. This will be a very busy year!   


What is in the end your goal which you would like to accomplish with Passage ?

I've always had a main goal In creating music, being with Passage or any other band that I played In: make music that I like. Passage Is meant to be an expression of my musical tastes. Of course I want to spread the name "Passage" as far as I can, to tell people that we exist! 


Well, that sums it up for me for now. I wish the band the very best of luck for the future, and I really hope you can make a even better effort on your second album! Thanks for answering my questions!

Thank you very much for this great Interview! Let's hope that 2006 will be a great year for Passage! I would also Invite people to come see our official website and leave their comments: www.le-passage.ca


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