Introducing: Stengah

Crushing French metallers STENGAH recently revealed their debut single “Above Inhumanity”, via Mascot Records/Mascot Label Group. Founding member/drummer Eliott Williame recently took the time to fill in the blanks on our “Introduction to STENGAH”, check-in with Eliott, below…

What are the origins of STENGAH, how long have you been playing together? And is the band name a tribute to the Meshuggah track bearing the same name?

I founded the band myself with the will to create something from my own influences and songwriting. Max Delassus (guitar) and Benoit Creteur (bass guitar) joined the project in 2013 and we worked with several musicians for three years before the lineup was settled for the live shows with the perfect fitting vocalist Nicolas Queste, and later, second guitarist Alex Orta who joined the band this summer.

We only found the name STENGAH from the Meshuggah song. Although we are fans of the band, this is definitely not a tribute name or whatever, even if we knew this question would be inevitable! We just wanted a strong name that would fit to our music and I personally feel ‘STENGAH’ is more like a massive sound than just a simple word. The choice was so natural when it came up, despite the fact that some people may believe it is basically related to Meshuggah at first, it was totally worth it!

What should people expect when they check STENGAH out? How would you describe yourself?

I think people will feel something familiar with the band and at the same time something new and different that will capture them. Something sincere and living from our artistic direction, breaking the obvious. We have a lot of nice feedback about strong and personal feelings from the audience even from people who are not really into metal music. That’s the purpose. I like the idea of people having their very own lecture of our music.

Debut single ‘Above Inhumanity’ has just been released, what was it about this one that made you choose it as the debut single?

There was an apparent potential with this song to be a very good first introduction to the band for the audience. It’s a powerful and crushing track that has already been proving its worth on stage so we knew it was the best choice to begin with.

With it being the debut single, were there any nerves just before the track went live on all the streaming sites?

I assume there are always some nerves before the release of a new track and I believe it is somehow a very good thing, but yes, this one was a highly anticipated one so the excitement was a little overwhelming! Fortunately, we have the best team around to support the band with a lot of caring advice to handle this in the best way possible

The artwork for the single is pretty damn cool, as is the incredible video that accompanies it, it seems having a strong visual presence is important to the band?

Yes it does, sound and visual usually emerge at once, and there is so much to express with the right combination. To me, both are part of the creation in equal measure. Exploring this and witnessing the many results, sometimes not even happening on purpose, is one of my favourite things to do.

Who created the video and what was the creative process behind it like?

For this song, I wrote a story about a nightmare in a time loop, not utterly related to the lyrics but with a lot of connections with it. Right after making our new ghost-shaped logo, we had this vision with our manager Richard of a dreamlike haunting video with that same childish ghost walking in a parallel dimension. It was a complex and satisfying creative process, having ideas in mind and watching them incarnate step by step.

Are you working on more new music at the minute?

The writing process basically never stops, but at the moment we are focusing on the next tracks to be released and the upcoming album. The waiting is killing me!

At what point did Mascot Records come onboard?

It was a turning point for the band, at this time we were coached by our manager Richard Gamba to unlock our potential and grow ourselves as a professional band with the purpose to get signed and take our chance in the music industry. It took months of patience and commitment until the Mascot Records team welcomed the band and gave Stengah this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity with the signing of our first album. We feel so humble and grateful for that.

What band out there at the minute do you feel that STENGAH would be best suited to open for?

There are so many of them, I would say Deftones, Baroness, Mastodon, Gojira, Lamb of God, or even Slipknot for the most famous ones but I like to think we could fit a lot of unexpected musical genres. We also shared a lot of death metal shows with extreme bands like Benighted, Decapitated, or Nile and it felt home as well, so… who knows?

What are your first musical memories? And what was the lightbulb moment that made you go “I want to do that”?

“I want to do that”: every single time I go to a live show reminds me of that. I think the first time it struck me was at a Dream Theater show with Porcupine Tree as openers back in 1999. But above all, I grew up in my early years listening and getting totally obsessed with the French progressive band MAGMA and their legendary drummer/songwriter Christian Vander who became like a teacher in mind. This has always been my way of life.

What was the last gig that you attended as a fan?

MAGMA again haha! Two weeks ago, after a long year and a half without any shows due to the pandemic. Before that was the last Hellfest in 2019 with so many great bands I will never get tired of seeing and listening.

The album that you have in your album collection/Spotify playlist that would surprise most people?

I listen to so many musical genres that there are not many unexpected artists in my collection! I would still say Cardi B because I love Hip Hop music and she easily belongs to my playlists, or even more weird, a song by the legendary David Hasselhoff called ‘True Survivor’. Fits perfectly to repaint a wall in your house!

What new albums have you been enjoying in 2021?

Definitely ‘Violence Unimagined’ by Cannibal Corpse which was totally insane, I would also mention Ohms by Deftones even if it came out in 2020 but this album has meant so much to me during the last year and it’s a fantastic masterpiece. I can’t wait for the new Mastodon to come by the end of the month. Also 2020 but still an everyday listening album, ‘I Let It In and It Took Everything’ by the band Loathe that is just perfect. And lately the last Fear Factory ‘Aggressive Continuum’

What are your plans for the remainder of 2021?

There are some very cool playthroughs coming up this month on Above Inhumanity, and we’re working on another single to be released before the end of the year…

How active are you on social media and where can people connect with you?

The band is getting more and more active on the socials, you can catch us almost daily on Facebook and Instagram and subscribe on the mailing list of our website stengah-music.com

Photo credits ©earlawakes

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