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    Posted: May 02 2010 at 14:09

Eskaton is a legendary Zeuhl band from France.

Their albums has been re-released by Soleil Zeuhl during the last years. Their masterpiece 4 Visions was actually re-released some weeks ago (20. March 2010). 

I got in touch with Andre Bernardi for the Eskaton story.


I take it that Eskaton was formed in 1970 under the name Eskaton Kommandkestra (shortened to Eskaton in 1974) by Xavier de Raymond (Fender piano), Gerard Konig (drums), Marc Rosenberg (bass guitar), and Alain Blesing (guitar) are joined by Paule Kleynnaert (vocals), Amara Tahir (vocals), Eris Guillaume (keyboards), and Andre Bernardi (guitar).

In 1970 and 1971 some Paris suburb musicians coming from several musical areas decided to join: André Bernardi (bass guitar), Alain Blésing (guitar), Eric Guillaume (Fender piano), Paule Kleynnaert (vocals, synth), Gérard Konig (drums), Xavier de Raymond (Fender piano) who left very soon, and Marc Rozenberg (Fender Piano, synth and later vocal), Gilles Rozenberg (Organ and synth, guitar) and Amara Tahir (vocals, percussion).

The original Eskaton Kommandkestra band name was shortened a few months later. ESKATON was born.

Please tell us more about why you chose that name and besides of the obvious answer Magma, who else was your musical inspirations?

This name comes from a very old Germanic legend. According to this legend, the gods create Man’kind over and over, and also destroy it again and again according to their will. The legend relates that a moment happened when the men refused to be manipulated any longer, decided to be their own masters, and declared war to the gods. This cosmic war is called Eskaton. For us, this war, Eskaton, was and is still the symbol of the potential strengths of each man.
Lyrics of our first published titles (you can find here after translation of four of them as add-on to this interview “Eskaton”, “Attente”, “Couvert de gloire” , and “Le chant de la Terre”) express some of the ideas which were motivating Eskaton members at that period of time and why legend of Eskaton was chosen as good representative name of the band spirit.
Hereafter we include introduction text which was written by Marc Rozenberg for re-released of our album
Ardeur. This is still valid today.

Thirty years later…
The time of a thousand lives, the time of a single dream.
The inferno lit up long ago burning still
No ashes. Impossible ashes.
With the long lasting life of radioactive elements,
Emotions and energy remain.
Only natural. Facts are stubborn :
Despairing, fearing and dreaming remain shared by one and all.
This was not an easy tale to tell. This is one still difficult to live through.

« Human, too human »
The lowest attack on Eskaton was to call it messianic.
Today, looking back, we’d say « International reporter »
Nothing has moved. Everything is different.
A belief remains, a blinding and incredible belief
That we will have to mutate or die
That Man is this rope strung between the worst and the best.

So then, dear friend, listen to this cathedral of sounds,
This torrent of emotions, these mathematics of the heart,
And be assured that they are about your love of life,
And that this love is shared…”


As far as our musical inspiration is concerned, we were influenced by many kinds of music and several bands we were frequently listening to in those days.
Magma was one of them. But we also much appreciated the English progressive rock bands, such as Soft Machine, Pink Floyd, Yes, Genesis, Gentle Giant, King Crimson ... As well we appreciated the energy of typical hard rock bands like Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin…. In those days, we had some local famous French progressive rock bands : Ange, Zao … But we should not forget some so-called “classical music writers” such as Bartok, Beethoven, Satie, Stravinsky music we loved very much too. All of them and some others were part of our musical inspiration.

In your own words; how do you define Zeuhl as music ?

Frankly speaking, we do not really know the meaning of Zeuhl. Of course we read in many articles that Magma’s music was defined as Zeuhl music. We assume that it is easier for people to classify musical styles, by putting them in one labeled box. But we personally feel that each of so called “Zeulh band” has its own musical world.
We, Eskaton, never defined our own music as Zeuhl music.
Honestly, the best person to answer your question is surely Christian Vander who invented the term of Zeuhl.




Please tell us more about the "Musique Post Atomique" single.

This single, without lyrics, is in fact our first release. It was recorded at home on a four tracks recorder. We think that now there are no more for sale.




Please tell us more about 4 Visions. The recording, lyrics, the musicians, the artwork, the tracks......... and the re-release on Ad Perpetuam Memoriam.

It was our first album (1980) recorded in a professional recording studio in Paris. It was at first released as a cassette, and distributed through Eurock (Archie Patterson US label). Many years later (1995) we were contacted by Ad Perpetuam Memoriam and they released 4 Visions as CD. The original artwork was made from the drawing of our friend Paul Sevehon (R.I.P.).

Musicians were André Bernardi (bass), Alain Blésing (guitar), Eric Guillaume (Fender piano), Paule Kleynnaert (vocals), Gérard Konig (drums) Gilles RoZenberg (Organ and synths), Marc RoZenberg, (Fender piano) and Amara Tahir (vocals).

Language of lyrics is language of the common man with its inherent poetry.
Angry picture of man in his concrete city, ref “Ecoute” (never translated into English)
In his destiny, ref “Eskaton”
In his response to nuclear bomb, ref “Attente”
And his facing up to Death, ref “Pitie” (never translated into English)

Recently, together with French label Soleil Zeuhl (Alain Lebon) we worked on digitally remastered version re-issue. Udi Koomran, the sound engineer did a very great job. We are very pleased with the sound of this new CD. For us, it is definitively an evident improvement compared with previous CD. At the request of Alain Lebon, we added four unreleased bonus tracks which we hope will enjoy our fans.



Tell us more about Ardeur and Fiction. … “I can hear that both Ardeur and in particular Fiction is a departure from 4 Visions style …”
Now, when we look back to our three albums, and consider the developments of our music we could say that they are three parts of something like a triptych. three different ways to express same spirit of Eskaton concept :


4 Visions is probably more philosophic
Ardeur is probably more poetic
Fiction is probably expressing more individual emotions

Starting with Ardeur, we decided to make a change in songs construction, trying to keep the original Eskaton spirit with shorter and more concise pieces. On stage we were still playing the 4 Visions master pieces including in between lighter tittles usually using, for lyrics, a more peer- to-peer language.
Ardeur was recorded in a professional studio in Paris, Fiction was recorded at Eskaton home studio.



For both albums, musicians were : André Bernardi (bass guitar), Paule Kleynnaert (vocals, synth), Gérard Konig (drums), Marc Rozenberg (Fender Piano, synths and later vocal), Gilles Rozenberg (Organ and synth, guitar) and Amara Tahir (vocals, percussion).
The artworks :
Ardeur : Drawings by Stephane Dumont who made the drawings for cover pages of science fiction book collection. When we contacted him, he kindly accepted to create an original drawing for us for free.
Fiction : Original photo of LP and CD cover by Jean-Claude D, and artwork by Eskaton.

But for the reissue as CD, leaflets and cover design were the very good job of Nadine Gaumer from ‘Soleil Zheul’ Label..

Your fourth album I Care remains unreleased. Please tell us more about this album and why it was never released. Any plans to release it ?

ICARE will never be released. Four titles were included, as bonus tracks, in the re-release of Fiction by Alain Lebon ‘Soleil Zheul’ label.

I understand from my research into your band and Zeuhl that while Magma was/is a more autocratic band, Eskaton operated on a more peer-to-peer basis with your fans. Each gig always ended with a free and frank debate with the audience about your performance and music. I am very intrigued.......... Please tell us more about this approach and the debates. 

We have nothing wrong to say about Magma stage performance approach.
As far as Eskaton is concerned, we envisaged a new relationship between musicians and our audience. We thought that a performance should be more than simple conveying of a message; a call to a meeting of minds. The message of the lyrics demands a reaction of the listener. Eskaton gigs often end up with discussion between the musicians and audience.

At the very beginning, we thought that concerts had not to be a show. We did not wear any stage costumes, we did not use any special effects such as coloured lights … But, gradually, at the request of our audience, we underlined the magic of the music with coloured spot-light, to emphasize the atmosphere of each title, we also illustrated the music with projected slides … As well we integrated a dancer performance during some songs.

You started out almost forty years ago. Please tell us more about these years, the line up changes and Eskaton today.

Four musicians are still closely in touch. For the moment the remaining members of Eskaton have no immediate projects.

Have you had a stable fan-base during all these years ?

According to Google, where we can find many recent articles, we understand this music is still having fans around the small word of progressive music.

What is your plans this year and in the future ?

Who can guess what tomorrow will be made of ?
Andre, Marc, Paule.

A big thank you to Eskaton for this interview and to Alain Lebon & Soleil Zeuhl for re-releasing their albums.

I am pretty sure their music will continue to fascinate and intrigue music lovers for the decades and centuries to come. 

If you are new to the Zeuhl genre, their 4 Visions album is generally regarded as a good starting off point. I found that album very useful in my own musical adventures. 

Eskaton's PA profile can be found here and their record label's website is here

Eskaton has asked me to enclose some of their lyrics from Ardeur (All lyrics written by Marc Rozenberg) as it has relevance to the interview. Enjoy


 


ESKATON


Eskaton ! Eskaton ! Eskaton !

Homme ! Tu vis ton dernier destin.

Homme ! Dorénavant tu ne peux choisir.

Homme ! Face à face avec toi-même,

Homme ! C'est l'ange qui lutte avec la bête,

Homme ! En toi reposaient les dieux,

Homme ! Les voilà déchaînés contre toi,


Homme ! Tu vis ton dernier destin,

Homme ! Ton cœur se déchire : tu es l'ange

et la bête unis !


La horde s'éveille la voilà qui envahit ton cerveau,

La horde s'éveille la voilà qui envahit ton cerveau,

Homme reprends-toi ! Homme défends-toi !


Les entends-tu qui grondent dans ton âme ?

Il faudra les détruire

Tous les dieux idoles et images saintes

Il faudra les détruire

Construis ta pensée comme une muraille

toujours plus forte et haute,

De laquelle tu pourras d'un seul regard

embrasser l'univers : loin, loin !


La vie nous lasse de son usure,

La chienne nous casse à coups de morsures,

Le temps nous pourchasse de son attention,

Morbide et sans faille il nous attendra.

Et sans cesse, sans répit, dans nos têtes

sonne l'envie de ne plus penser. ...


Même si ce n'est qu'une illusion fragile

nous en serons les vainqueurs

Même si ce n'est qu'une illusion fragile

nous en serons les moteurs !

Même si ce n'est qu'une illusion,

Même si ce n'est qu'une illusion,


Humains, humains, humains trop humains,

Humains, humains, humains trop humains,

Soyez donc vos seuls dieux vos seuls maîtres,


Et vous réfléchirez, et vous chanterez,

Et vous réfléchirez

Et vous chanterez L'HOMME !

L'HOMME ! L'HOMME ! L'HOMME !

ESKATON


Eskaton ! Eskaton ! Eskaton !

Man ! You are living your ultimate destiny.

Man ! From now on you have no more choice.

Man ! Face to face with yourself,

Man ! The angel is fighting against the beast,

Man ! Gods were living in you,

Man ! Now they are flying into a rage against you,


Man ! You are living your ultimate destiny,

Man ! Your heart is torn apart : you are

both angel and beast !


The horde is waking up, invading your brain,

The horde is waking up, invading your brain,

Man, correct yourself ! Man defend yourself !




Can you hear them, growling in your soul ?

They will have to be destroyed,

All the gods, idols and holy images

They will have to be destroyed,

Build your thoughts like a wall,

always stronger and higher

And from the top of which, your gaze will

embrace the universe : faraway, faraway !


Life is wearing us out,

The bitch is biting us into pieces,

Time is tracking us down with its attention,

Deathly patient, it will infallibly wait for us.

And unceasingly, without respite,

Desire for no more thinking sounds in our brains...


Though it is only a fragile illusion

we shall be its victors,

Though it is only a fragile illusion

We shall be its driving power !

Though it is only an illusion,

Though it is only an illusion,


Human, Human, Human too much human,

Human, Human, Human too much human,

Thus, just be your own gods, your own masters,



And you will ponder on, and you will crow,

And you will ponder on

And you will glorify

MANKIND !




LE CHANT DE LA TERRE


Pleure ton âme, pleure ton sang

Crever pour crever tu crèves mal

Globe masculin, Terre féminine

Que ce soit Père ou Mère c'est un meurtre,

Crevons de paix payée trop cher,

De paix trop déguisée pour être saine,

Paix illusoire d'un enfant malade,

Terre notre mère, crève de rire ou de maladie.

Le silence est d'or, nous serons bientôt riches,

Cassons nos idées reconnaissons nos torts,

Cassons nos idées reconnaissons nos torts,

Cassons nos idées reconnaissons nos torts,

Cassons nos idées reconnaissons nos torts,

Soyons en tout et pour tout, simplement

et O combien, et O combien,

Soyons en tout et pour tout, simplement

et O combien, et O combien,

Soyons en tout, simplement

Le silence est d'or, nous serons bientôt riches,

Cassons nos idées reconnaissons nos torts,

Cassons nos idées reconnaissons nos torts,


Soyons en tout et pour tout, simplement

et O combien, et O combien,

Soyons en tout et pour tout, simplement

et O combien, et O combien,

Humains, humains, divinement,

Humains, humains, divinement.

Rires de gorge de marchand de bagues,

Sourires narquois de femmes intouchables,

Transpiration grasse d'hommes animaux,

Les yeux et le cœur trop bas,

Prends tes tripes jette-les au ciel

Prends ton temps et fous y ton fiel

Engueule ta femme et bats ton chien

Mais bon dieu fous-nous la paix,

Mais bon dieu fous-nous la paix,

Mais bon dieu fous-nous la paix,

Mais bon dieu fous-nous la paix,

Nous ne pouvons être trop humains,

Nous ne pouvons être trop humains.


Une fleur se découvre des dons d'ubiquité

Elle voit le haut des tours et le fond des

tombes

Sans se froisser un pétale ...

Une fleur se découvre des dons d'ubiquité

Elle voit le haut des tours et le fond des

tombes.

Et le fond des tombes ...




EARTHSONG



Cry out your soul and cry out your blood

If one must die, you do not die well

Masculine Globe, feminine Earth

Be it Father or Mother, this is murder,

Dying of too costly a peace,

A peace too disguised to be sound,

The illusory peace of a sick child,

Mother Earth, die of laughter or sickness.

Silence is golden and soon we shall be rich,

Let us bring our ideas down and admit our wrongs,

Let us bring our ideas down and admit our wrongs,

Let us bring our ideas down and admit our wrongs,

Let us bring our ideas down and admit our wrongs,

Let us be, simply and only

And oh, so, and oh, so,

Let us be, simply and only

And oh, so, and oh, so,

Let us be, simply

Silence is golden and soon we shall be rich,

Let us bring our ideas down and admit our wrongs,

Let us bring our ideas down and admit our wrongs,


Let us be, simply and only

And oh, so, and oh, so,

Let us be, simply and only

And oh, so, and oh, so,

Human, divinely human,

Human, divinely human,

The hoarse laughter of ring dealers,

The sardonic smiles of untouchable women,

The greasy sweating of beast men,

Eyes and heart hanging too low,

Take your guts and throw them to the sky

Take your time and throw your gall in it

Bawl your wife out and beat up your dog

But, good god, leave us alone,

But, good god, leave us alone,

But, good god, leave us alone,

But, good god, leave us alone,

We cannot be too human,

We cannot be too human,


A flower finds it has the gift of ubiquity

It sees the top of the towers and the

bottom of the graves

Without ever crumpling a single petal ..

A flower finds it has the gift of ubiquity

It sees the top of the towers and the

bottom of the graves

And the bottom of the graves ...



ATTENTE


Soleil ! Lumière !

Feu et sang le ciel s'ouvre sur le néant...

Feu et sang le ciel s'ouvre sur le néant...


Nous découvrons l'autre côté du rien...


Soleil ! Lumière !

Feu et sang le ciel s'ouvre sur le néant...

Feu et sang le ciel s'ouvre sur le néant...


L'Homme sort de ses cavernes de béton,

il a le cerveau étourdi le corps droit,

il n'a même pas le mérite de vivre,

la mort est un soporifique.


Le jour approche,

hideux et déformé,

le ciel ne veut, ne veut plus être bleu.

Il en meurt ! Il en meurt !


Feu ! Le ciel s'est ouvert !

Sang ! Nous jetant à terre !

Feu ! Il ne reste rien !

Sang ! Commence la fin !


La terre, frappée en plein dos

s'arrête

et se retourne trop vite

nous voilà

projetés contre les murs, durs.


Le sang gicle et recouvre la pierre de

la couleur des idiots,

les survivants survivent, hurlant leur négation,

les mourants les maudissent pour

cent générations...


Ami ! Prends garde, reste vigilant !

Le temps toujours, se veut reposant !

Il est l'entière mémoire du vivant !


Ami ! Prend garde, reste vigilant !

Le temps toujours, se veut reposant !

Il est l'entière mémoire du vivant !


Ami ! Prend garde, reste vigilant !

Le temps toujours, se veut reposant !

Il est l'entière mémoire du vivant !



AGONY


Sunlight ! Daylight !

Fire and blood, the sky opening on nothingness...

Fire and blood, the sky opening on nothingness...


We now discern the other side of nothingness...


Sunlight ! Daylight !

Fire and blood, the sky opening on nothingness...

Fire and blood, the sky opening on nothingness...


Man gets out of his concrete caves,

His brain is dizzy, his body is stiff,

He has no merit to be alive

Death is just a soporific.


Day is coming,

Hideous and deformed,

The sky does not want to be blue any more.

Then the sky dies ! Then the sky dies !


On fire ! The sky has opened !

Blood ! Throwing all of us down !

Fire ! Nothing remains !

Blood ! The End begins !


Stabbed in the back,

The earth suddenly stops

And turns round too fast

Throwing all of us

against walls, hard walls.


Blood is squirting out, painting stones the colour of idiots,

Survivors survive, howling their refuse,

The dying cast a spell on them for a hundred generations...


(My) Friend ! Look out and be vigilant !

Time always makes you feel secure !

Time is the whole memory of living things!


(My) Friend ! Look out and be vigilant !

Time always makes you feel secure !

Time is the whole memory of living things !


(My) Friend ! Look out and be vigilant !

Time always makes you feel secure !

Time is the whole memory of living things !







COUVERT DE GLOIRE




Te souviens-tu du jour où tu partis là-bas ?

tu partais

mais tu ne savais pas vraiment pourquoi,

on t'avait dit que tu reviendrais

couvert de gloire

ivre de fierté

cueillir les fruits de la paix enfin

retrouvée...


Ce que tu t'es fait avoir !

Ce que tu t'es fait avoir !


Arrivé là-bas les gars d'en face

t'attendaient,

tu as eu un drôle de choc

ils te ressemblaient,

eux aussi s'étaient laissés piéger

couverts de gloire

ivres de fierté

Cueillis ! Les fruits de la paix enfin retrouvée.


Et quand tu as voulu te tirer,

(on a bien le droit de se tromper)

tu as du sentir qu'une balle, ça va

très vite, très vite, très vite !


Et voilà, la gloire est venue à toi,

inutile de vouloir trop la chercher,

ne crains rien, elle saura où te trouver,

maintenant,

tranquille,

tu peux bien rentrer :


Couvert de gloire. Et de honte.

Couvert de gloire. Et de remords.

Couvert de gloire. Et de tristesse.

Couvert de gloire. Et de regrets.

Couvert de gloire. Et de terre meuble.

Couvert de gloire. Et de marbre !

Mort ... mort ... mort ... mort ...

MORT !







COVERED WITH GLORY




Do you remember the day you left for

over there ? You left

but you did not know really why,

you were told you should come back

covered with glory

mad with pride

gathering the fruit of a peace, at last

recovered ...


How fooled you were !

How fooled you were !


You arrived over there, the opposite boys were awaiting you,

how deeply you were shocked,

they were looking just like you,

how fooled they were as well,

covered with glory as well

mad with pride as well !

Fruits of recovered peace were gathered at last.


But when you tried to get out of it,

(anybody may be mistaken)

you must have felt how fast a bullet is,

so fast, so fast, so fast !


Here it comes, you have met glory ,

no need to go looking for it,

don't worry, Glory knows where you are,

now,

in peace,

you may go back home. You are :


Covered with glory. But so full of shame.

Covered with glory. But so full of self-reproach.

Covered with glory. But so full of sorrow

Covered with glory. But so full of regrets.

Covered with glory. But buried in soft earth.

Covered with glory. But with marble over you !

Dead ... dead ... dead ... dead ...

DEAD !



 

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 02 2010 at 14:16
Great material, all of it! Thanks!
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 02 2010 at 14:40
Agreed, great interview!  Thanks for this one. Clap
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 03 2010 at 05:17
Man, this is one of my favorite bands, thanks a lot!
I'm still wondering where is the regular question "What are your all-time five favorite albums?" Smile
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 03 2010 at 16:36

Great job!

An Eskaton concert would be amazing, I liked that relationship between band and audience.
Great answers, excellent informatin and thanks for the lyrics as well.

Follow me on twitter @memowakeman
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