Outcast | Interview with Jean-François Rienzo

Outcast have been around for almost 14 years now, but not much has been heard about this five-piece outside their native France since then. Something that will soon change as 2012 is set to be a big year for the Parisian fellows with the signing to a new label Listenable Records and the release of their storming third album “Awaken the Reason”, which is already making some significant waves in the metal scene.
Recently we caught up with guitarist Jean-François Di Rienzo to know more about the band’s upcoming third album and their future plans.


Congrats on releasing such a strong record as “Awaken the Reason”. I take it you’re proud with the way it came out right?

“Yes, indeed, signing a deal with Listenable Records is such an awesome thing for a band like us, those guys are super professionals and I think that deal is going to bring the band to the next level.”

I learned that you worked on this album without a record deal, and once it was finished you’ve sent it to some record labels and try to get some offers. Why did you decide to do such move instead of securing a contract first?

“There’re two reasons for that move: firstly, in France it’s really difficult to get a deal before having a strong fanbase or a finished and strong album, the second and probably the main reason is that we wanted to keep an entire control on the writing and recording process without any kind of pressure from a label who would have told us a release date before the album is finished. We really wanted the album to sound exactly as we wanted it to sound.”

This is your third full-length record, did you find there was any pressure when writing and recording? Did you felt this was make or break time for the band?

“We didn’t felt any pressure writing this album, we just do the music we love without really carrying of the way it will be received.”

“Awaken the Reason” comes out in February via Listenable Records. What was the writing and recording process like for this release? Is it a collective effort or is it more the efforts of one particular member of the band?

“We worked in two different ways during the songwriting: we spend a lot of time jamming together as a band but and we also locked ourselves in my very own studio (the one we recorded the album at) to take the time to record pre-productions and write some new material in a different atmosphere but in the end we can mainly credit Nicolas Soulat (Guitar) for bringing the main ideas and riffs.”

Some of the new songs are extremely technical, overflowing with poly-rhythms and complex riffs, do you think it be hard to translating the new material to a live performance?

“As I told you, we write a lot in the rehearsal room, so, we have to play every ideas we’re coming with, we’re not the kind of band writing complex stuffs on guitar pro and realize 6 month later we just can’t play it. We always write depending of our technical level, it’s hard and we need to work a lot but we don’t want to be fake.”

The new record was mixed by Textures’ guitarist Jochem Jacobs. How did you get in touch with him?

“We first were in touch with him for ‘Self Injected Reality’, he played a solo on one of the songs (Allegiance), as we’re fans of Textures since the very first album, when it comes to chose who would take care of the mix, his name came really naturally. I’m proud we could have worked with him, he is a great person as well as an awesome sound engineer.”

Tells a bit more about the meaning behind the album title and what lyrical themes do you cover on these new songs?

“The lyrics are talking about human condition, compartmental and psychological deviances, we found our inspiration just looking people around us as we were the audience of a gigantic show. The title should be understood as a friendly advice but everyone would take it differently depending of his past and life path.”

So what are your plans following the release of the album?

“For the moment we mainly concentrate on booking shows, we really want to be a maximum on the road and share our music with people. We have some plans but I can’t say anything yet, but I promise you won’t be disappointed.
Thank you for your time and I hope to see you soon on the road.”

David Alexandre

More info at: www.outcast.fr