Guest Playlist: Neige of Alcest’s Favorite Post-Punk Songs
Later this month, Alcest will embark upon a massive, MetalSucks-sponsored North American tour with The Body and Creepers. In celebration, we’ve asked each band to put together a playlist with a theme of their choice.
First up, Alcest mastermind Neige has compiled a list of his favorite post-punk songs. Check out the playlist below, with a brief Q&A with Neige following about some of his choices and his love of the genre as a whole.
Joy Division – “Disorder”
The Chameleons – “Second Skin”
Cocteau Twins – “Five Ten Fiftyfold”
The Cure – “Charlotte Sometimes”
Sisters Of Mercy – “Marian”
Siouxsie And The Banshees – “Spellbound”
Bauhaus – “In The Flat Field”
Virgin Prunes – “Baby Turns Blue”
A Flock Of Seagulls – “Space Age Love Song”
Visage – “Fade To Grey”
New Order – “Bizarre Love Triangle”
B-Movie – “Nowhere girl” (extended version)
House Of Love – “Shine On”
Soror Dolorosa – “Hologram”
U2 – “I will follow”
Echo And The Bunnymen – “The Killing Moon”
Skeletal Family – “Promised Land”
Killing Joke – “Love Like Blood”
Beastmilk – “Death Reflects Us”
Anne Clark – “Our Darkness”
In general, how would you say Alcest’s music has been influenced by post-punk?
I always listened to a lot of post-punk so it obviously had a significant influence on the sound of Alcest, even if it might seem quite subtle at first listen. I love the sharp and melodic guitar lines of bands like The Chameleons or early U2, and took some inspiration from this for my own riffs. The way I am using reverbs and choruses too, especially on Écailles De Lune and Kodama.
Bauhaus seem to hold a special importance for people of a certain age. Can you talk about the influence of Bauhaus on your music, both for Alcest and otherwise?
Bauhaus didn’t really have an influence on Alcest, since their style is more noisy and theatrical, but I like them, too, of course. They are the true “goth” sound, if I may say so. They are expressionism in music, and their song “Bela Lugosi’s Dead” is so emblematic. I think they stand out among the rest of the bands, as they are wilder, rougher and more experimental in the use of their instruments.
If you had to choose New Order or Joy Division — and you could only listen to one of those bands forever — which would you choose?
It’s really hard for me to choose since I love both bands for very different reasons, and because there is such a strong historical bound between the two. Joy Division was one of the first post-punk bands I got into, along with The Cure and Depeche Mode (in the more new wave genre). It took me a long time to really get into them, and back then (probably 2002) they were absolutely not as trendy as they are these days. At the time, I was 17 and mostly listening to black metal, and obviously the codes of metal are very different from the music of Joy Division, so yeah, it sounded unusual to my ears. But then they became one of my favorite bands. I love everything about them; the darkness and emotional intensity of their songs, the lyrical content, the timeless and unconventional aspect of the production (Martin Hannett was a genius), the story of the band, and of course their fantastic visuals. They had a huge influence on my previous project, Amesoeurs.
As for New Order, the vibe of their music was pretty much the opposite of Joy Division and that’s what makes it so interesting. After Ian Curtis’ death I guess these guys needed to go in a completely different direction, even though there’s still a hint of Joy Division to be heard on their first album Movement. New Order have these uplifting and light catchy tunes, perfectly mixing elements from electro and dance with rock instruments, real and electronic drums, guitars, Peter Hook’s killer, melodic bass lines, etc. They really have a unique personality and sound that influenced many modern indie bands that I also like, such as Wild Nothing or Diiv.
Please pick one of the lesser-known bands on this list — that MetalSucks readers may not be familiar with — and talk a bit about why they’re important to you.
I would pick The Chameleons. They are one of my favorite bands of all time and they are terribly underrated. I don’t really know why they didn’t become as famous as their peers, maybe because the visual side of the band was too weird and different at the time. They used to have these pastel cover art pieces that looked a bit cheesy, but I kind of like them, actually! The guys didn’t look as “cool” as The Cure or some others, that’s for sure, but their songwriting was just as fantastic. Listen to the guitar work on their first record, Script Of The Bridge; the two guitars were very melodic and catchy, and most of the time playing different parts that work together harmoniously. You can hear the huge influence they had on bands like Interpol or Editors, for example. The guitar lines and song structures of these bands are very similar to the ones of The Chameleons, they just have a better production and a more typical post-punk imagery. I like some of these things too, but I still prefer The Chameleons!
What do you think of Killing Joke’s mid ‘90s material when they veered in a more industrial direction?
I am not that familiar with Killing Joke (I just know a few songs), but yeah, I know that their style changed at some point. I think it’s very healthy for a band to experiment and go outside of their comfort zone. As long as the identity of the band is still there, it’s not a problem for me.
What do you have planned for Alcest for the rest of 2017?
In January and February we have a long tour in North America with The Body and Creepers, then we will go to Greece, Russia, Japan, China, Australia, New Zealand, etc… lots of touring, in other words. The last few months have been really good for us, with the release of Kodama and we hope it will just carry on that way. I want to start to compose new material again, as I haven’t had the time to do it in ages and I really miss it.