Werewolves on Wheels
An interview by MDL
Alright, let’s not fuck about – this is the re-launch of BIT and what we don’t need is a lot of arsing around with pleasantries. Baise Ma Hache (BMH, obviously) are back, and what we have with their latest album Bréviaire du chaos is some of the most violent and glorious French regional metal to emerge in the past few years. Now, some souls will no doubt hawk up the foreboding and imposing spectre of Peste Noire. I love KPN, the Kommando is a joy. But this would be an unfair comparison, because essentially it sounds nothing like it. Famine’s idiosyncrasies are not present – this is no mingle of ruralistic, historio-ethno-centric eccentricity spiced with a dash of Gallic black metal. No. What BMH have done is to provide a genuinely violent, vengeful manifesto against the incursions and atrocities being committed against the French on their own soil. This is very current. Those drums… each snare hit is a nightstick against a racaille’s skull, the guitars are as scathing as a straight razor against the throat, and the vocals shout like a GUD rally. This is without a doubt, so far, the pinnacle of BMH’s expression, which mixes the current political climate with forays into the band’s life in its mountain stronghold. This is most notably found within “Whisky, tu es le Diable!”, with its nod towards those fools who raise continuous comparisons with the glorious banner of KPN (hell chaps, I love Famine’s work, but this is different!), the sounds of a damn good time being had in a staunch chalet, the chaos this time being a little more light-hearted. Then we have “Sang plomb”, screeching with its chopper sounds like a Vichy dervish across the Savoie roads. Surrounding these are slabs of heavy hatred and militant aggression, dare we say who this is directed against? Of course not, why spoil the fun.
Lyrically, one should not be surprised that themes of national (native) solidarity, repelling invaders and protecting frontiers are on the cards; with the recent events and sprays of Bataclan bullets what should one expect, nay hope for? Imagine warbled upon a piano, and hand-holding, flower-kissing peacenik faggotry? This is the clash/crash of civilisations: there can only be one winner. Prayers are no substitute for clips and knuckledusters. The streets are already burning in various French cities and the worst is yet to come; BMH ask us, will this be a crucible or a cremation pyre?
‘Vos Macdo seront pillés
Vos billets ne pourrant plus vous sauver
Ils crameront tout
Votre vie, vos villes,
Et vos Disneyland.’
I cannot enthuse sufficiently about this album; its pendulous Gallic balls drag across the floor, likely getting in the way of the starter for the wolfshook motorbikes that propel John & Thorwald through the mountains in a spray of petrol, alpine aggro and hard spirits. In essence, this is a vicious album in the best possible way, fuelled by righteous nationalism and vengeance; BMH is at the forefront of the Front Rustière, with bayonets and baguettes fixed. Speaking of which, I have the sheer pleasure of presenting an interview conducted with Thorwald, a delightful chap who certainly appreciates the finest things in life, namely, the will to self determination and a virile nationalist culture. We close with a distillation of the BMH philosophy, neatly outlined in “L’Armeé furieuse”:
‘Sauvages & libres,
Maudits pour toujours.’
MDL: Baise ma Hache formed three years ago in one of the most beautiful regions of France: the Haute Savoie. I wonder if you could give an impression as to the situation and ideas/inspirations surrounding BMH’s early inception, and the degree to which the emerging situation/demographic crisis in France played a role in it?
Thorwald: My brother and I initially thought of creating a group in the course of 2012. The idea of BMH came later. We wanted to create something that resembled us, not only for pleasure but also to unleash pent-up energy. We recorded 2 titles that we put on the net. Quite quickly we were contacted by a number of record labels who were interested in producing our work and from then on, and in spite of pretty basic and difficult conditions, we began composing and recording more seriously.
The Portuguese label Sword Productions produced some (cassette) tapes for us and these were quickly sold out. After that, Hammerbolt contacted us and together with Tour de Garde produced nearly all of our material (except for Ultra-rural, which was produced by TDG only).
I continue to be surprised by Baise Ma Hache’s success, especially as when we began, we had zero experience in the music scene.
Since our beginnings, we have been putting lots of energy into the creation and composition of further songs and hope to be able to continue for quite some time.
What we’re trying to develop is purely and simply a refusal to adhere to life, the way that it’s currently imposed on us. Bréviaire du Chaos is our vision of both the worst-case scenario of what can be expected, as well as a way of escaping reality through drinking, motorbike outings, nature and friends; all impregnated by the current events and situation in Europe. Motorbikes, weapons, sitting around big forest bonfires, drinking with friends and pretty girls are part of our lives so yes, although it wasn’t really intentional, these themes definitely influenced our writing and continue to do so as long as we have something to say about them! In fact, this is what we feel differentiates us from other groups in this area of music. It’s an attempt to express a part of ourselves from various angles; pessimism mixed with the refusal to die without a fight.
BMH is somewhat broadly put in the same category as Autarcie, KPN, Caverne, Sale Freux and others as more ‘regional’ and nationalist French black metal. Do you agree with this broad grouping and to what degree do you support this resurgence of regional/national pride in the French BM ‘scene’?
We completely support this new wave as it’s come as result of reality and expresses sincere feelings; we like it when groups make music because they really have something to say and not the other way round.
Dare I ask why you chose Baise Ma Hache (Fuck my Axe) as your moniker?! Humour, or something deeper?
I think it’s a bit of both. We didn’t want to take the whole thing too seriously by using something too straightforward so we looked for a more original name. “Baise Ma Hache” is supposed to be used as a war cry against those who don’t appreciate us, in the same way as “ME NE FREGO”. Having said that, people can interpret it how they want. We felt that “Baise Ma Hache” sounded better than “Go fuck yourself”!!
The Haute Savoie is a truly majestic region, aside from the normal ‘mountains, forests and snow’ trope that informs large swathes of Black Metal, what is it about this region that gives the BMH sound its unique rough edge?
We don’t think that being in the Savoie region gives a particular sound to our music, but it allows us to develop a certain aspect of our thoughts in relation to the current political situation, which sparks a lot of hate within us. Obviously our sound needs to be adapted to the message we want to communicate.
When we go to the city, we realize how lucky we are living in a rural area, even though we enjoy the weekend party decadence from time to time. For us, the future lies in the countryside and that’s where we feel at home. The countryside influences us simply because when we write about the forests and mountains, it comes from our heart and soul because we spend time there… contrary to numerous other groups who get off on these themes without ever having really spent time in these surroundings, knowing how to make a proper fire or sleeping outdoors.
We appreciate the silence, space and freedom that the mountains and surrounding nature provide us with and I think that we’re undoubtedly inspired by this in both our writing and visual creativity. Having said that, we don’t make a point of focusing on this on purpose. We just let it flow.
Finally, and because we record everything at home with a minimum of equipment, we unintentionally end up with a sound that’s raw and aggressive but at the end of the day, that’s what we’re looking for and we’re very happy with the result.
Each of your albums has a very distinctive flavour, from Ab origine fidelis’ almost folkish raw melodies, to Le grand suicide’s rough and at times melancholic commentary, to Brèviaire du chaos’ aggressive, almost hooligan-esque call to arms combined with richer song structures. How would you characterise your evolving series of albums in terms of style, and are they responsive to situations and/or musical development?
With Le grand suicide, we wanted to talk about the mass suicide of the population with European beliefs. The album talks about the western world’s castration and the faking of reality, where men and women no longer stand up for basic values nor defend ancient European traditions. Our country’s governments attack all elements that make a nation strong; family heritage, traditions and national pride are considered as viruses to be eradicated. All they try and do is make us feel bad about ourselves for thinking in this way. They do everything to remove all ethnic connections in order to control and exploit the masses even more. Most people have lost their sense of basic values and only think of their personal pleasure.
We, Baise Ma Hache, see ourselves as spectators of this growing decadence and use all facets as inspiration for our music. I guess you could say that we’re nostalgic of something that probably never existed but I’d like to think that maybe one day it will, although I remain pretty pessimistic about that. Most likely in reality it’ll be more a “Mad Max”-type situation.
Bréviaire du chaos is a logical follow-up to the events that have taken place between each recording. Even if we hate and profoundly reject the modern world, we’re unfortunately part of it and, like everybody else are aware (probably more so actually!) of the infernal slide to total chaos we’re slowly heading down. Our music has developed in parallel to our disillusions and fears, becoming more hateful and violent, which is contrary to our first productions that were much more optimistic about the future.
Brèviaire du chaos has just been released, and as mentioned previously it seems an even more aggressive, determined, rich and fiery form of national ‘resistance art’ against the continuing degradation (demographically and culturally) of France as a whole by the sweeping tides from the South (as Guillaume Faye might put it). It also gives a touch of the personal, with “Whisky, tu es le Diable!” and “Sang plomb” featuring the raucous rumblings of your beloved motorbike and numerous other ‘domestic’ samples. What aspects did you feel you wanted to address with this album, and what do you feel differentiates it from your previous two albums?
As we mentioned earlier, Bréviaire du chaos not only expresses a gut-felt hate towards the world as it’s becoming with a certain form of refuge in alcohol, motorbike rides, friends, freedom etc. We wanted to apply this duality of our vision of the current state of affairs to give a certain aspect of confusion to our thoughts on the chaos that is slowly becoming the norm.
On your split with Autarcie, your final song – “Grand Bornand 44” – references a crime unacknowledged outside of France, in which 76 members of the Vichy militia, several of which were under 18 and falsely accused, were shot under orders of the French Forces of the Interior, in what even Wikipedia describes as a “parody of a trial”. What prompted this act of remembrance? Is this event something which is still active in the memory of the area, despite doubtless efforts from post-War councils to gloss over the issue?
It’s a forgotten side of our history that was never mentioned in school. We read the letters written by the members of the militia just before they were executed and were extremely moved by their contents. It’s a way for us to pay tribute not only to the sixteen-year-olds that, without hesitation, sacrificed their lives for their ideals, but it’s also an ode to the families they left behind.
You recently played in the joyous Hot Shower fest. How did your first live outing go?
Yes, it was a really good event. Great atmosphere and comrades from all four corners of Europe. The audience was very receptive and festive. We were very proud to have been able to perform with so many good groups and in front of so many spectators. (The festival had attracted over 900 people.) However, it wasn’t our first concert. We already had the privilege of playing in the Paris region in February with Nordglanz, Stahlfront and Blessed in Sin amongst the line-up. The next will be in Verona in September with our friends from Frangar, as well as Dark Fury, Malaframe & Werewolf Satan.
BMH forms part of the vanguard of National art in the French BM milieu, and like others it originates in a primarily rural department. Why is it do you think that this wave of FNBM resistance (if you’ll forgive the title) comes from rural areas rather than the infested slums of Paris, Marseille (other than Brutal Begude), Lyon, Calais and other urban nests of non-European migration in France?
That’s probably because we have a more objective vision of urban decadence seeing as we’re lucky enough to live in more rural regions that so far, still remain fairly protected from mass European destruction. Thanks to this, we’re able to maintain a pretty objective view of the situation, which is not necessarily something people living in cities would be in a position to have, simply because in general they’ve gotten used to this over the past few decades. We see the situation getting steadily worse and naturally it freaks us out to see all this coming down on us.
BMH’s entire aesthetic and ideology reminds me more of the possibly now defunct Italian “Black Metal Invitta Armata” sect, who were very distinct from other overtly nationalistic black metal artists hence its relative obscurity, than they do of other French groups in the genre in fact… so it’s no surprise to learn they’ve played with Frangar. The BMIA’s perhaps best known group Spite Extreme Wing have also used the Savoy Cross in their visuals by the way, in their case as a clear reference to the 1861-1945 Kingdom of Italy.
Reminds me to dig out that one Black Flame album I own…