French hardcore quartet Resolve will relese their debut album Between Me and The Machine on November 26th via Arising Empire.
However, unlike today’s crop of bands that seem to have an album out before they play their first showes, Resolve have been kicking around for five years now, finding their sound across several EPs and singles, finally arriving at Between Me And The Machine.
We caught up with frontman Anthony Diliberto and bassist Robin Mariat to talk about building their own music video sets, the long road to finding a guitar tone for the record, and being a digital amp band that needs cabs on stage!
There’s been quite a buzz around Resolve going back to your EP in 2017. It’s common now for bands to release a full length only a few months after they’ve formed, but Between Me And The Machine comes a full five years after the formation of the band. Why is that?
Robin: I think this subject was actually one of the first big discussions we had when forming the band. We were all agreeing that we wanted our first actual record to be as mature and unique as possible, so we knew that we first had to find our own sound through a couple of EP’s and standalone tracks.
It’s only in 2019 that we found what we really wanted to express with this band via the Pendulum three track EP, which put a little bit more eyes and ears on us, so we felt like it was the right time to actually go all in on making this album.
Obviously the pandemic delayed the whole process a fair bit, as I think the goal would have been to have BMATM out like early 2021 if the world didn’t decide to completely lose it. Though the album is definitely better for it so…
You’ve described your recent single “Seasick Sailor” as “the start of a new era for this band” – a bold claim for a band about to release their debut album. How do you feel the record compares to your earlier releases, such as the Reverie EP and the Pendulum collection?
Anthony: We feel like we know where we are going now and you can hear it with this debut album.
Reverie was just us trying to figure out what we can write together, and like Robin was saying we found a sound and a workflow we like with Pendulum. This album is Resolve.
I mean we never know what tomorrow brings, but at the moment this is the purest form of what this band is about.
Each of your singles have been accompanied by quite distinctive and cinematic music videos, can you tell me a little about how they came about?
Robin: We work very closely with a director, Aurélien Mariat, who’s Nathan (drums) and mine’s brother, and actually our former guitarist! He started his career shooting music videos for all of our previous bands, and is known genuinely one of if not the best for our genre in France.
We’ve always been very drawn to the visual aspect of our band, and we try to step it up a notch with every release. The more videos we do, the more we let Aurélien take the reins in terms of creative direction, though we’re extremely invested in the production side of things.
We build a lot of the sets ourselves, such as the glass cabin in “Beautiful Hell,” the stairway in “D.G.G.R.S,” or a whole 16 by 4 meters wall for “Emerald Skies!”
So guitars! What did you guys use on the new record in terms of guitars/amps/pedals?
Anthony: I’m a huge Fender guy, like literally all the guitars I own are Fender. For recording this album, I got myself a Player Series Telecaster, I swapped the stock tuners for locking Schallers, and installed a couple of Fishman pickups, a Fluence Modern in the bridge and Classic in the neck. An incredible combination in terms of how versatile this guitar sounds, while still retaining some of the signature tele bite and weight, I just love it.
Bass was an older Blacktop Precision, with two JB humbuckers.
Robin: The amp side of things have been quite a quest in itself.
Over the last few years, we tried a lot of stuff on our studio releases: original 5150 head (the signature one), Helix, Kemper… All of these are great but we were never a hundred percent happy with our tone.
When I started mixing the album, I had Kemper tones on hand but one day decided to check out the Neural DSPs plugins for real as I was hearing more and more good things about it. Started with the Archetype Plini which just blew me away and got me locked to my guitar for a few days just playing for the sake of it.
Then I grabbed the Omega Granophyre, and that became the main tone for the album, and just my favorite thing to chug into. It’s so aggressive yet clear, the built in cab impulses are amazing and very unique, seriously an underrated gem in the Neural catalogue for me.
Did you have any reference records going into the studio in terms of how you wanted the finished product to feel or sound?
Robin: Well, we were quite happy with how our Pendulum EP was sounding so we went the self-produced way again for this album with this as a reference and something to top.
Our sound is quite dense and production heavy, so we knew a rawer, more natural sound was not something that would fit the sound.
Some of the references in the mix session were Drew Fulk’s work, some of Nolly’s too, the Alien record from Northlane mostly which still sounds incredible after a few years.
Are you a gear head at all? Any pieces of gear you’ve played recently that were a pleasant surprise? Anything you got to play that was disappointing?
Robin: I am a massive gear head, a bit too much probably? We’re currently gearing up for our first shows back since the pandemic so there’s been some cool purchases for sure.
I’ve been rocking the Kemper with my bass for a few weeks now and I’m very happy with the results. I used to run an analogue pedalboard based around a Sansamp Bassdriver DI, so I appreciate the flexibility the Kemper brings. Though I can see how some of its limitations can be a problem for guitarists compared to other modellers.
Our live guitarist Antonin picked an Axe FX III recently, and it’s… quite a beast to say the least!
Nothing too disappointing comes to mind, but I also bought one of the nicer Sennheiser G4 transmitters for my bass last week and it works wonders, but I sometimes think about how I dropped a serious amount of money into something that sounds theoretically not as good as any decent guitar cable so that’s sort of disappointing in a way?
Is there any one piece of gear that you couldn’t do without? Anything that’s integral to your sound?
Robin: In the studio, that would be the Neural plugins I think, even if just for the workflow compared to any hardware option.
Live, it’s not really guitar related but we have to admit we’d be pretty screwed without our Cymatic UTrack 24 which is our samples/tracks unit along with the click track for our ears and everything. For people in bands who don’t know this product, check it out as it’s so much more reliable and handier than a computer on stage for live backing tracks!
A lot of guitarists are embracing modelling and profiling amps these days, especially due to making fly in gigs much easier. What’s your take on digital amps and effects?
Robin: I don’t think there’s too much doubt regarding our views on digital rigs at this point in the interview!
This is a very generational thing I think, we grew up playing through virtual amps so that’s what we’re used to. But we’re still very much a cabs-on-stage band, I need that Ampeg 810 rumble behind my back and that’s not really something that can be replicated digitally!
For someone who’s just discovering your band and wants to hear more music that sounds like you, what bands would you suggest they start with?
Anthony: Among other things, I’d say we’re a combination of Thrice, While She Sleeps, The Plot in You with some sort of cinematic influences.
I love listening to a French artist named Woodkid, he’s one of my biggest inspirations lately even if his stuff is very removed from metal.
Also Hans Zimmer, I think you can feel the influence from his most recent soundtracks in our work.
If someone maybe wasn’t familiar with you guys but wanted to learn to play one of your songs, where would you suggest they start? Any riffs/licks/passages in particular that are fun to play, or maybe challenging but rewarding for more advanced players?
Anthony: It would be between “Seasick Sailor,” “D.G.G.R.S” and “Emerald Skies.”
The main riff from ES is really fun and challenging to play, you need a good right hand. Same for Seasick Sailor, it’s a right hand / consistency work.
“D.G.G.R.S” has that tribal vibe that I love and a few fast licks that sound easier than they really are.
I almost forgot Of Silk and Straw which is one of our older songs. Really proud of that riff, it’s so much fun to play.
What’s up next for the band? Any post-rona plans?
Anthony: Our debut album Between Me and The Machine comes out November 26th so that’s very exciting for us at the moment, we cannot wait for people to hear it.
2022 will be filled with touring mostly, we have a spring tour through Europe and the UK supporting Landmvrks, and will soon announce our first headline tour in our home country France, we’re dying to get out there and reconnect with people!