While critics have often stated that French ambient metal/romancecore band Alcest's music is based on an internal or introspective journey, singer/founding member Neige recently shed some light on just how deep that rabbit hole leads.
Alcest have just released their third studio album, Les Voyages De L'Âme, via German label Prophecy Productions. The record is an uplifting, energetic translation of their trademark sound, characterized by a sweeping forward momentum that belies its softer, dreamier elements.
But in a recent Exclaim! interview, Neige is quick to correct those who would ascribe his music's inspirations to fantasy. He says that all of Alcest's work is an attempt to describe and explain "this very strange esoteric experience I had as a child. I remember there was so much light and a feeling of pure bliss and happiness -- heavenly dimensions and beings of light."
When asked directly if he's describing an out-of-body experience, he excitedly agrees. "I am always trying to describe this other world and my feelings related to it, and with each Alcest album I go deeper into this concept. It is about journeys of the soul in the truest sense of the world, not a dreamy metaphor. I believe now that the soul can be divided, apart from the body. For centuries humanity had had stories of people who have gone from their body, into a coma."
While writing Les Voyages De L'Âme, Neige actively studied astral projection and read other people's tales of out-of-body experiences, and used that material to help him come to terms with his. He has also become more confident over time that his memories are genuine.
"It was not a dream, a lot of people try to say it was a dream, but rather it was a vision from a place that is not the world we know," he says. "It was a different reality. This sounds a bit strange but it happened and I never understood what it was. It is hard to describe with words, so I made this band to express it through music."
For more of Exclaim!'s newly published interview with Alcest, head here.