On a cold damp Saturday night, Edinburgh band Dvne played a special one-off gig in their hometown (review link at bottom of page). Beforehand guitarist and vocalist Victor Vicart kindly gave up some time to answer questions for CGCM. The interview was conducted in a hallway whilst the soundcheck was going on from the main support of the evening in the main hall. Some of the conversation on listening back was hard to make out, but I am glad to say the majority of it was OK. Just as well as Victor had some very interesting things to say including a fun section on his favourite book which had us both laughing whilst battling the guitarist doing some soloing! This is how the chat went.
CGCM: Can I just confirm if the band’s name should be pronounced as “Dune”?
Victor: Yes, it is just Dune like the book! We used to be called Dune but after about 3 years we changed the “U” to “V” which helped when it comes to social media and the internet search engines and stuff like that! So it is Dune as we all love the book and Frank Herbert‘s work and it works well with our music.
CGCM: I’ll confess that I am not a sci-fi fan and haven’t read the book or seen the movies, so didn’t understand the story but I loved the music and atmosphere of it all (Victor interjects saying “cool“) so I am curious as an outsider as to what attracts you to Dune.
Victor: Well we kind of like writing music that sounds quite cinematic I guess. Like when you have songs in say 4 parts or 4 movements and are trying to make sure each part connects to each other and tells a whole story and the new album does that kind of job. With that in mind, when we start writing we start with music before we get to the lyrics. They are always the last thing we do. We decide what we want to talk about and as we are all into science fiction and Dune was one of the main things we bonded over. For us the mix of sci-fi with a bit of magic or the mystical in some ways along with finding the universe beautiful. It may sound stupid but I like a lot of the inspirations in the book like the real nomadic tribes in the Sahara, you know the Tuareg tribes who have blue eyes like the characters in the book which are blue because of spice. The ideas and inspirations like the people of the desert make the vibe of the book something we particularly like.
CGCM: Does the album or albums follow the story of the book?
Victor: No. We are inspired by the book, it is just the name we use. The album’s concepts we write ourselves, we created our own little universe, one which each album has a specific moment that we then focus on. The first album (he meant I think their last album as such) was focussing on the planet “Asheran” in which people were coming back and was much more based on environmental issues in reality. (At this point the drummer in the hall decided to hammer at his kit so I am going by what I think was said, apologies. If I am wrong then the band have right to correct me should they see this). This one is about the different classes and the next one will have a completely different theme altogether. However, every story or album is in the same environment though different if that makes sense.
CGCM: When reading up on the band, it looks like 3 of you got together in 2013. Had any of you been in bands together before?
Victor: No, no. Dudley and I (that will be drummer Dudley Tait) started the band together in 2013 or 14. Dan (Dan Barter other guitarist and vocalist) joined around pretty much the same time, maybe 3 or 4 weeks later. We had all played in bands for years but this was perhaps the first one where we all felt so strongly about I guess. You know we all kind of thought “Yes!” There was something special there, you know we were gelling very nicely together. Everyone was bringing some interesting stuff out. So no we hadn’t played before we started this band. I met Dudley via Gumtree looking for bands to play in as being from France I didn’t know many people from Edinburgh and I really wanted to start something. He also hadn’t been part of the scene here in a big way also wanted to start something new. Dan however had been in the scene and in tons of bands in Edinburgh. We got to know him when we saw him play a show with another band and I was like “Hey, this guy is cool and maybe we could do something together“.
CGCM: Obviously every band has influences, so can I ask kind of 2 questions? Firstly what are some of them within your music and do you have any influences or at least artists that you like that you don’t or wouldn’t incorporate in your music?
Victor: I guess you have the usual suspects here (he laughs). Things like Isis or stuff like Mastodon or say Tool and maybe some stuff which folks might not notice like Subrosa which are more into the doom side of things. The second part of the question is an interesting one, music that doesn’t feature…(he takes time thinking)… em, no not really. That’s the whole point of this band, it wasn’t just to be a metal band, it was or is just to be like, (he pauses again as he considers his answer), em, for instance, you might have seen we have synthesizers on stage now? I mean, I have always been into electronic music as well. You can get inspiration from everything man. I don’t really have any bands that I listen to a lot that I would go “oh that’s something I couldn’t use for Dvne“. We can always use whatever we find interesting. I mean we are putting something out next year with violin on it, just fucking around with what is expected or what we are known for. We take ideas from bands doing things that we aren’t! We just thought “well let’s bring that in” as we felt we had enough clean parts as well as heavy sections to put things. (At this point he says something about also having a female doing some vocals but the recording isn’t clear enough to make out… apologies). We have tons of opportunities to do whatever the fuck we want and that’s really good for us.
CGCM: Can I ask some quick fire-type questions so readers can get an idea about yourself as a member of Dvne? (Victor happily says “Yes”) Firstly can you remember the first album you personally bought?
Victor: Yes. I am pretty sure it was Judas Priest. Could have been Painkiller but I am sure it was Screaming For Vengeance first. I went to shop after starting to get into music via downloading some stuff, Motorhead and stuff like that. However, the first CD I bought was Priest, I think due to the album cover, the cool soaring metal eagle I really liked.
CGCM: I did similar with when I started. I bought 4 via mail order and one was due to liking the cover. That was Rainbow Rising So I know what you mean (laughing)
At that Victor remarked “that is a great album, cool very cool”
CGCM: What was the first gig you went to?
Victor: Ah, I was going to gigs when I was very young. I played classical music from about 6 years old so had been to classical concerts. The first rock gig, ah before my first rock gig was when I was about 12 when I went to see (I think he meant) The Asian Dub Foundation (he didn’t say “dub” but I assess that is who he was referring to). They have been going forever. I saw them cause a friend of mine, his uncle was playing with them at the time. So we got in as 12-year-olds. My first proper gig as such was Motorhead which was amazing. They are still one of my favourite bands.
CGCM: How about favourite book outside of Dune
Victor: Oh man that’s a tough one! I am going for a French book called (at this point we had a right laugh with him trying to spell the name of the book for me whilst the guitarist started his soundcheck and I tried to confirm it into the microphone for writing this up. Best bit was when he gave up with a “fuck me” as we both laughed) a book called Les Thanatonautes which is basically the story of a guy who puts himself into a coma to try and explore the afterlife. It’s by Bernard Werber (thanks google!) who wrote The Ants trilogy. I don’t know if you know that? (I didn’t).
CGCM: What band have you never seen you wish you had, whether they are still going or not?
Victor: Isis for sure. One of my favourite bands. I discovered them just after they broke up. I have seen live video footage online and they seem absolutely incredible. I wish I could have seen them.
CGCM: Tonight is a bit of a special one, are you going to be able to play the whole album?
Victor: Not all of it due to time. We are doing pretty much everything plus a little extra to finish the set, so yeah. It is a special show in that we haven’t played Edinburgh since 2017 or 18 whilst we have toured quite a bit. It is also the first since lockdown and Covid, oh, not quite, we did do a set at Damnation Festival2 or 3 weeks ago but this is the first tour since lockdown in the UK. Also playing in front of some of our friends back home is special, so yeah, it is special playing home.
CGCM: Looking forward to it. It is also a great line up tonight. So what are your plans for 2022?
Victor: Hoping there will be no further lockdowns, what with all the recent talk about new measures. All being well we have 2 European tours in 2022, although I obviously cannot say who with. We have lots of touring, but we also have a bit of time for writing. We have to start that properly. Thinking about what and when with the next album!
CGCM: Any idea of when we might see the next album?
Victor: (starts laughing) No! I will never tell you when as we take fucking ages to write, we are all extremely picky (laughs again). We take ages to finalize everything. Spend at least a couple of months, go away, come back as by then we will have new ideas and transitions. We change things all the time. The writing process is quite intense but in a good way (laughs). Could be 2023, it could be 2024 (laughs even more)
CGCM: Do you do separate things? One on music another lyrics etc?
Victor: To now the music has been basically the three of us (Victor, Dudley and Dan). along with Jack (the bassist on the newest album). We have 2 bassists at the moment, not at the same time though. Touring can be very difficult, you know asking members to get 4 weeks at a time to tour when they have families. We don’t want to be too strict about it you know. I wouldn’t want someone out of the band because of that, especially when we all gel so well musically. It makes it easier for the guys to be able to split the touring commitment-wise. There is 5 people on stage, it tends to be 3 most of the time in the studio when writing but there are 6 members, or 7 including our producer. It’s quite a collective as far as we are concerned. It has to be, it has to!
At this point, we had to stop to allow him to get on with other things.
Myself and all of us at CGCM would like to say a huge thank you to the band and Victor in particular for his time and kindness. Also a thank you to Andy Palmer at Palmer Turner Overdrive Promotions who set the interview up.
Link to Gig Review HERE