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Vocalist Rorschach, aka Florent Charlet from French weirdos of 6:33 is our guest on this episode of the Progtalks. We talk about the band’s history, the story behind their new album “Feary Tales for Strange Lullabies: The Dome”, his vocal idols and we also ponder the question whether prog music takes itself too seriously…

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Dario: Welcome back to another episode of the Progtalks. I’m your host Dario, and I’m happy to have on the phone, so to speak on the other end of the zoom call in Paris, Florent from 6:33 or six trente trois (French) , right?

Florent: Yes. Right, right, right. But 6:33 is okay too, six trente trois . The way you want.

Dario: Yeah. Welcome to the Progtalks! Florent, great that you took the time and Yeah, let’s dive right in. You guys have a new album coming out. It’s called “Feary Tales for Strange Lullabies, The Dome”, but I think I have the feeling that you’re probably one of France’s best kept secrets regarding prog music. Because if it wasn’t for ProgPower Europe, I think, I wouldn’t know about 6 :33. And so maybe you can start with introducing the band, the project, the story, the short story so far for our listeners.

Florent: Okay. It’s a band without boundaries. I mean, we, we, we are coming from several, several kinds of music that we try to digest in something special, something, personal. We, we, we come from Progmetal, alternative Progmetal. It’s difficult to put a name the music that we made. Cause because we got no boundaries actually.

And it’s a kind of concept band. First of all, we didn’t have any drummer. The drums are programmed. And we were wearing masks playing clowns, o…

Dario: I remember that

Florent: Like freak shows and that kind of stuff. We’re enjoying disguising us in and putting masks. The concept has changed a little bit with this album.

I mean that we, we, now we have a drummer. And we, we, we, we decided to, to have a drum on stage cause. We are missing something. We weren’t missing the fucking drummer behind us. We tried, we tried the concept and we pushed it very , the furtherst we could, as we could see if you watch some, some videos or internet, but we didn’t have the impact of the drums on stage.

And actually there was a moment that we decided to take one and and the, the COVID and the… made us. Being fed up with the masks. So, so we decided at the same time to just stop, that was not funny anymore. But so now we are more, more… normal band because it was really …

Dario: what is normal when it comes to 6:33?

Florent: I mean we, we, we were, we had to answer that question for several years. I mean, why don’t you have a drummer and we were like… On this hybrid stuff, but so we will outcast of the outcast in a way, you know, and that’s, that’s a reason why also we, we are, you didn’t hear a lot about us because we were in so different kinds of things that we were maybe, like.. Too many things. So we try we, which we tried to focus on what we were really and not being on the performance, but more on what we were feeling. So we made this album being really close to the things we liked in music. I mean the eighties and the nineties.

Dario: Yeah, let’s, let’s, let’s talk about the album in a second. Just a, to, to, to throw in some, some, some hard facts here. You guys have been existing since 2010, so a little bit over 10 years now. And “Feary Tales…” is gonna be your fourth album, right? And there has been quite a long gap between the sec… the third album, “Deadly Scenes” from 2015 and now “Feary Tales…”. And so yeah. What have, have you been up to in the meantime, and, and you already started a little bit describing the process of the, how “Feary Tales…” came to be?

Florent: Yeah, actually. The band had a different singer before. It’s a, it’s a long story, but I arrived on “Deadly…” and I wrapped on the second album with Arno Strobl called “The Stench From The Swelling” from Carnival In Coal was like, playing with us. And he went to his project and so we went the first album together. : “Deadly Scenes” .Then we decided to make a real show on same level that we were making the music. So we spend some times doing this sort of recall Asylum Picture Show 2.0 that we presented in Paris and we played some gigs in France. Then. We were on the new album that’s coming up…

Dario: Sorry to interrupt. But, but it was also with that album that you played ProgPower Europe, if I remember correctly, right?

Florent: Exactly, exactly.

Dario: What a crazy experience I have to say have to add really great.

Florent: That was, that was one of our greatest experience too, because nobody knew us. And I had the best time with the public after them because. You know that, downstairs, you’ve got a pub would have made the party. The afterparty show. And and, and we, we were, we were really…. The people came to see us, like, like she said, we didn’t know what we were doing here with you for the first five minutes, but then, then we went with you for the rest of the show and it was crazy.

And the people were so happy. And so we were, we were like, like, You know, when, when, when you, when you create music, you, you just want to share this kind of thing with the public and friends is not, it’s not an easy public with this kind of music outside you have, you have more, more, more interests for the kind of music.

So we had, we just felt that we were. Right to think that our music was great because at home, you’re at home, but when you spread it to the world and you see that the people that say really feels what you, what you wanted to make them feel. . You’re just very happy. I’m glad. I’m glad. I’m glad. I’m glad. I’m glad you like this show because it was really great. And so then…

Dario: Yeh moving on to the new album.

Florent: Yes, yes. And actually we had family things. I mean, I had two children. The guitarrist had one, the keyboardist too. I get, I got married… One has changed his house…. that made us. Like we lost some time in that, but most of all, then the COVID arrived.

So we were, we were supposed to finish the album like a year before. And we couldn’t meet each other because we are not living exactly in the same place and we couldn’t leave home for a long time. So yeah, we, we, we lost time again. I mean, the last thing that I would say. It’s quite complicated to create 6:33’s music and writing the lyrics were so, so So it takes time.

Dario: It takes now that we’re back, like talking about the music and how it sounds and how crazy and what a diverse array of influences you can find there. I just wrote down some genres that I think I hear here and there, and I don’t know. There’s funk. They’re swinging. Hip hop and RNB there’s pop there’s a soundtrack and some waltzy kinds of stuff and circus stuff, even ska that you wouldn’t necessarily expect in a Prog setting. Gospel church, organ, synth wave. You name it.

Florent: Yeah. Yeah. I think you’re you you’re you’re you’re already quite done. That’s the thing we like, we like Michael Jackson, as much as David Townsend, as much as Enio Morricone or Dany Elfman. And then hiphop is the one shots I did once, once the, the Nico who is creating all the music I write the lyrics is creating new music.

Nicko doesn’t like hip-hop of course it’s creating the music. And very often the music is not as rich as you would love to. And but, but at one moment, we’re on one song. I just see hiphop here, so let’s just try it. And and he was open-minded enough to say, okay, let’s try it and okay.

Okay. Works. I don’t care. That fucking works. So we have you pop, but that’s the most unexpected kind of music that we could have. We, we are, as soon as it makes us laugh, as soon as we started fun. And as soon as it works, you know, we can. It has to work. It has to make us feel something. Usually when, when, when we, we, we share the, the, the creations together, we just like… feel if it works or not. You’re having fun. You’re not feeling stiff.

Dario: That brings me to my next question actually, because in, in these, when you’re looking for, you know, this kind of avant-garde Prog or whatever, I think there’s a, there’s an abundance there’s tons of, of, you know, underground, dissonant black and death metal and like really, really dark and heavy and brutal stuff. And I’m like this kind of wacky funny stuff like, like you guys do. I can only think of a handful of bands, like, you know, Diablo Swing Orchestra, or Schizoid Lloyd from the Netherlands. I don’t know, unexpect me,

Florent: Dog Fashion Disco.

Dario: Yeah, there’s only a handful of bands that are like, don’t take themselves so seriously and like really go full, full into the crazy and funny stuff. So I was thinking, do you think that maybe Progmetal mostly takes itself too seriously?

Florent: Oh maybe, maybe, maybe, but I think it’s not like just for progressive metal. It’s about music. It could be Herbie Hancock.. It could be Marcus (unintelligible) really to say the same thing. I think you have some people, you know, in, in jazz, I feel just about the same sometimes, and I love the New Orleans jazz. If we’re not making, we’re just making music and having fun doing that. I wouldn’t, I think, how could I say that? I like the thing that we have several senses of humor, several, several moods. So why you should just use and talk about one fucking mood, whatever it would be. I’m not like always “ha ha ha”. No, not always because it would be boring too. So we, we, we are just feeling like, we are, we are expressing all the emotions that we like to feel.

It comes from, from anger to, to, to, to fuck here… funny things. Because we are like that, maybe a bit too much like that, but it’s it’s all the, all the emotions. When I wake up in the morning, sometimes I feel like listening to reggae music, and sometimes I feel like listening to hardcore. That’s, that’s the thing that we want to express and. I think.

Dario: Yeah. You already mentioned that, that you were responsible for the lyrics and you also said that 6:33 is a concept band. So with all the albums there’s, there’s always, even before you you arrived, I mean, with this collaboration with, with Arno Strobl. It was this “Giggles, Garlands and Gallows” EP, which clearly had a narration and like it was telling a story.

So yeah. What, what’s the new album about? What, what, what, what kind of story or stories do you tell in the “Feary Tales…”? What are the “Feary Tales”?

Florent: They are stories that one story it’s like, it’s like do you remember the, the serie “Sliders”. You know, you had guys with machine traveling, several dimension, different dimension that they were going in another dimension with a world different with some things. Sometimes it was really different. Sometimes it was just a small difference. Anyway, it’s like, it’s like a.. It’s like a movie when you arrive in in a, in the kind of city, like Gotham… you know, a little bit different than New York. Yeah. See, I kind of Sin City. a kind of.. That kind of, see?

And then you, you follow, you follow the story of a guy arriving there, wanting to be famous in music, willing to do everything he can to reach that goal. And then he’s going to meet some people. High colored people is going to enter in the cabaret is going to meet some like, like, like you’re entering a movie and you watch the character having his adventure. So, so you have a, like in French we say, or red, a red code, something like the story, the guy, but some songs are about one person in particular that is going to have an influence on our character.

We are telling the story, we’re telling the story of that guy. We are telling the story for example, of a guy called the “Holy Golden Boner”. That’s one of the stories we talk about the cabaret inside. When you have a big fight between females and males. That’s another, that’s another picture. Another story about something in this world that we created

And at a moment, you have a lot of, how can you say that? Because my English is sometimes I’m searching for my words. The, the character actually, and the lyrics are written like that, all the voices in your head talking together to you, like when I’m feeling it, like, my way of thinking, and filling my life is this kind of thing. I feel like we are several worms in my head.

Like the anger, the angry worm…

Dario: the bunch of Wacky Worms.

Florent: Yeah, a bunch Wacky Worms

Dario: That is the, is the opening song and also one of the singles, right? T

Florent: It is the opening track, like telling the story, like that’s announcing how it’s going to work. The worms are talking. The guy is talking. But the guy is the worrms. So, so it’s sometimes it’s “you” sometimes it’s “we” sometimes it’s “I” it’s how I work at how we kind of work.

I mean, they are talking to us, they are talking to, I feel like that. So the guy is trying to reach his goal, having metaphysics with the physical questions and Realizing at the moment, if he, I’m not going to tell you the story, all the story, you have to read the lyrics, but it’s going to, it’s going to go to his adventure.

And and the climax is at the end of the album, because it’s going to be a double. I think we are not taking all the story on this album. We are turning half of this story on this album. And that’s the first album about the world that we created in the album in, in the previous one, I mean, on some songs like “I’m a Nerd” or “Black Widow”, we were beginning to think about this alternative world just a little bit different with freaks with superhero supervillains, but different than the ones we read, the ones we know in our world. So we are just, we are just going through this opening door that we are..opened a few, a few, a few years ago…

Dario: “Into the dome”…

Florent: Into the dome exactly ,into the door. The first time I really have somebody. Telling me the words that I’ve written a thought so much time with my friends. So it’s, it’s funny to hear it. They’re like the dome is the dome and that’s, that’s, that’s an ambience. That’s an atmosphere and you have several atmosphere on several ambiances because that’s how a city is.

Dario: How the world is. Apart from being the lyricist, you’re also the singer, of course. So I would like to ask you what, what’s your, what are you main influences when it comes to singing?

Florent: What do you mean? Excuse me, the question is?

Dario: What, what, what are your main influences when it comes to singing as you’re also the vocalist?

Florent: Okay. I’ve got, I would say, of course. And I always get that guy because he’s one of the guys who use these as voice a little bit like me, because I learned how to sing listening to this guy. This guy is called Mike Patton because, because it’s a, it’s a, it’s a good, it’s a good though. It’s a good mentor, but Yeah. Actually, when I was, when I was a child I was listening to Metallica, Iron Maiden.. And I tried to sing, but, but, but I never managed to didn’t. I was, I was like 12, you know, but I didn’t, I didn’t manage to, and I was wondering how why, and when I discovered Faith No More, I just, I just understood how it was singing. I just felt like. I could do it, I do it. Yes. I know how I managed to do that.

Then you had Rage Against the Machine. I love Zach De La Rocha . I love Rage Against the Machine. That’s a really big influence for me. I don’t use it a lot on, on, on, on 6:33, but sometimes when I , when it comes to hardcore and it will be at some, I think about Zach. But, but Faith No More and Mr. Bungle, Yeah, of course Mr. Bungle It’s an influence for the band too, because again, I didn’t, I’m not going to say that I copied Mike Patton. I just understood how we were singing because his technique is, is a, is a good technique for a singer. Because he’s, he knows how to sing he is the best fucking technician of my world, of the, of the, of the, of the music I know because he uses his voice and I learned music. Then I learned how to sing. I’m the teacher now, I know how to use this instrument. And he is the greatest in that using the instrument. So. It is my main, my mentor. He was my mentor. And, and as a way of thinking music like Frank Zappa is, has no, no boundaries. That’s the thing. I’d say 6:33. Primus was a bit like that too.

But Mr. Bungle in the nineties, when I was 15, 17, It was, it was, it was the band without boundaries is making ska and, and, and true new music and metal. So Faith No More. Faith No More was crossover too, Was mixing… in the first, the first hip hop and metal song was “Epic”. So it was, it was crossing the lines. It was, it was doing exactly what we are doing on 6:33. So he’s a, he’s a, he’s one of the examples that we could follow, but there are, there are some others like Frank Zappa for me like Devin Townsend for, for fun when you go back. But for my, my main using my voice, Mike Patton is the one. Then you have Freddie Mercury because of the, the show things you have, you have some others, but I’m not able to see like Freddie Mercury.

So because there are very specific ..Who cares, like, like a lot of singers actually, who has a very typical voice. Mike Patton and I are trying several different kinds of voices. Like, like, Hey, like we are using all. He’s he’s much, much, much, much better than I, I’m just, just a little piece of shit. He does the same. Does the same as the same way. Thinking.

Dario: Yeah. Well, whenever I think of Mike Patton, I mean, he’s done so many things in the last 30 years. I don’t know. That I, that I never, I, I have no idea like how vast his discography is. So is nowhere near checked out all his stuff. But I always think of him that he’s able to create all the most human and inhuman noises with his voice

Florent: He has, he has pushed, he has pushed the things like the farthest. I think so now it’s, he’s getting, yeah, sometimes, sometimes I don’t follow him. Sometimes I follow him, but that’s the kind of people, like, I would say like Prince, for example, nothing to, nothing to compare, but yeah, they probably think that he goes everywhere and you, and you catch what you want to catch that

Dario: A very diverse output as artists.

Florent: And it’s kind of crazy. That’s why I learned a few days ago that it was cancelling some concerts because I think he’s got some mental issues and, I’m thinking, how, how could he not because the situation with the COVID was crazy for a lot of people. And then when you are a little bit, it’s a little bit difficult to get a good, a good mood I could understand that.

Dario: It’s a, it’s a, it’s a brave move. And sadly still not understood by all. That, that this is necessary. A necessary decision for that. This could be a necessary decision for one to make.

Florent: I think that scene is spinning so bad for that. About that. I couldn’t. You hate having to say that you hate your hear that story… That, I mean that he needs it. So, so, so, so, true of Mike…

Dario: We wish him all the best. And then I have one, one more question. Regarding the music or influences. And so I would like to ask you, what was the last thing or last release that really blew you away? It could be, it doesn’t have to be Prog or whatever, and it could be also a release from, from from a band or artists you knew for a long time or also some, some something really new you discovered. Anything that comes to mind instantly?

Florent: Let me think one a second, because there’s not, there’s not so many things are these, these, these last few years, I didn’t have a lot of time to discover a lot of things. I made my children listening to the good stuff. I had the other guy to listen to the voice.

So I spent a lot of time making them listening to the good music, but sometimes it comes to me, some things I would say. Igorr. Igorrrrr is crazy fucking fuck man things. But it’s, it’s, it’s already like quite an old discovery that’s the thing, because, because he makes me laugh because it makes, because that’s fucking great. And that’s that’s swing. That was something…

Dario: they’re coming out with an album as well. In November. Which, which was just going to be really cool. Yeah, I just had like, not now that we’re recording this just yesterday, one of my favorite non-prog bands, a new non-prog bands dropped a new album and the three young guys from New Zealand are called the band is called Alien Weaponry, and they’re doing some kind of crazy Maori thrash metal. And there’s the second album “Tangaroa”. And. My God, it blew my mind and the first album, like three years ago or something that the guys were like 17 or 18 and went on to play Wacken and Summer Breeze and everywhere and on the big, big metal festivals.

And I’m so looking forward to seeing them again together with Gojira, they’re going to tour with Gojira in February next year. I think. So I’m super pumped about that. This is like some really, really unique stuff there. That’s the only band that I know that sings, like thrash metal band, of course, that things in their native Maori tongue.

Florent: I would love to discover that!

Dario: Yeah, it’s really crazy stuff. And it, it, it definitely blew my mind. You guys out there, you really. Checkout 6:33, because it had the potential to blow your minds as well. I’m finishing up this interview. We at The Progspace, are really happy that you guys are going to play at our Online Festival.

Florent: YES!

Dario: And can you tell us, give us maybe a little hint at what you’re preparing?

Florent: Monday, we are entering in studio for a week to rehearse. We, we did it one month ago and we do it again now because we got a concert in a few, in a few weeks. But during this rehearsal. We’re going to record the songs we’re going to give you for The Progspace. And we are, we are very excited. Of course. We are, we are going to give you a new stuff. As much as we can. And also I think one of our last… hits.. I would say hits we are working. Yeah. Yeah. Once I think it’s going to be like, I think about the sets and I would say you’ll have three new songs and one from “Deadly Sins”. There are already one single that came out a few months ago, “Act like an animal”. I can, I can say that we’re going to play this one.

Dario: Okay. It’s going to be crazy. You already mentioned that. That would be my, my last question. You already mentioned that you, you have a concert coming up, so hopefully the, the moving forward it’s, it’s gonna be more easy to play live again in general and in the world.

Any more plans other than that? So far, that you can talk about?

Florent: Some plans, not nothing really….

Dario: …ready to announce, but you’re working…

Florent: ….but we’re working on it. It’s kind of difficult because all the concerts were programmed are coming to be reprogrammed now until, until September. Yes. Until, until, until next year, like September next year in France, it’s already very blurred, but we seek and find small places like cooler places we are to have to organize that we are trying to, we are working on that with some friends bands and the, and the I’m talking with Diablo Swing Orchestra actually, because we are, we are just, we just sent a message. We just. So following that’s nothing. I know that they want to come to France. They’re not sure we are trying to, we would like to help them come here.

Dario: That’s going to be a great match of course.

Florent: That’s the kind of band that I would love to play with. We are trying to be there. There are some good, good bands that I would love to share stuff like Dirty Shirts. that’s a

Dario: oh, Romanian band…

Florent: Yeah, that’s a very good one they are…. Mihai is a nice friend.

Dario: I saw them. I saw them opening for, for Orphaned Land. With Orphaned Land here in Munich and yeah, they’re, they’re super fun than like, like yeah. Balcan Core or whatever you want to call it.

Florent: Whatever you want to call it..

Dario: People that have a lot of fun as well? Definitely.

Florent: Yeah. We played with them several years ago and we would like to, to, to, to do that again, we are trying to make things with with nice bands. That’s we would love to share.

Dario: That’s a that’s that’s great. That the scene is like, kind of coming together in this crisis and trying to reach out and help each other. And we’re gonna, we’re going to come back stronger.

Florent: Yeah. I know that the metal community, the metal community is I, I play in different kinds of music stuff. I play several kinds of music with other bands, other project anyway. So I, I know that metal, the metal community. Is the, is the greatest one, for bands, for small bands. Of course you have, you have the big bands that are going to play easily, but, but for us, for the small bands, the public and the community is, is helping us. They are, they are still the one that I match that support us. Last time. I had a message from a guy who has bought up the new CD, but he doesn’t have a cd player. He just wants, he just wants the object and to support. And that’s, that’s what I’m saying. So that’s thanks to these people. Thanks to these people that we are hoping that we are hoping to be back stronger. And for long, we are trying to reach, then… the step up with 6:33… We tried to do that with friends…

Dario: yeah. I also want to thank the people watching or listening to the Progtalks. Thank you for tuning in. Thank you Florent for taking the time. It was a pleasure having you here on the Progtalks. You guys out there. Check out 6:33 on the socials. You’ll find all the links in the description as always, and Go and order the crazy, crazy good new album: “Feary Tales For Strange Lullabies, The Dome”

Florent: Thank you so much!

Dario: Stay tuned for the appearance of 6:33 on The Progspace Online Festival, the third edition, this November, 19th and 20th. Again, thank you for listening. Please like, and subscribe to our channels. If you like what we’re doing it’s very much appreciated and helps us out a lot and yeah, until next time, stay safe and keep spreading that ProgLove.

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  • The Progtalks produced by The Progspace
  • Host: Dario Albrecht
  • Produced by Rune Belsvik Reinås, Vanessa and Matthias Kirsch
  • All graphics and animations by Vanessa Kirsch
  • Intro theme by Giuseppe Negri
  • Outro theme by Zach Munowitz

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