Finding an almost ideal balance between screamo grit, post rock inspired atmosphere and heartfelt songcraft, “Fil Rouge” by Strasbourg based post hardcore band ANOTHER FIVE MINUTES finds the trio playing to their strengths magnificently, proving their competency in merging supplemental styles and creating the state of mesmerizing equilibrium. Today, we’re giving this great record a well-earned nod with a special track by track explanation and special guest commentary from the band themselves.
Coming out 6 years after the release of their second EP “Half Empty“, “Fil Rouge” is the product of ANOTHER FIVE MINUTES‘ evolution as a band, who solidified their sound after a couple of lineup changes and time spent in other projects. Released digitally on February 5th, 2021, the album is also available on tapes (limited edition of 50 pieces), thanks to the French label Duality Records, with vinyl version coming up later this year, hopefully in conjuction with the greatly coveted live shows.
Recorded between march and june 2020 by Clément Adolff at Studios Mariette in Bettviller, FR (and some other places). Mixed by Clément Adolff. Mastering by Brad Boatright at Audiosiege Studio in Portland, USA.
Track by track commentary
Intro – The album introduction was firstly written to be the intro of the song “The Sistine Chapel”, and it was only played on guitar at that time. But we decided to keep the chord progression and harmonies and asked our friends Marion and Tristan if they could play them on the piano and viola, so we could remove the guitar and get a different and very quiet atmosphere.
The Sistine Chapel – Musically, this song can be seen as a summary of everything we wanted to play with A5M. It starts with strong and fast emo hardcore parts, but then you can hear some 90s grunge/shoegaze influences. And it ends with a long post-rock instrumental part with keys in the back. We wanted to add more shapes, nuances and arrangements in our way to play hardcore music and we think this song is a good example of that willingness, and therefore a potential good album start.
The lyrics are very metaphorical. When you hear about the Sistine Chapel, of course you think of its beautiful ceiling, but I (Flo) wanted to write a song about its floor, as we were the ones that have done this crazy tile work, getting almost no recognition. It may sound a bit silly at first, but it’s a way to talk about the feeling of having spent too much time, energy and money on something. If you don’t do it for yourself, maybe you won’t be able to avoid the painful question “was it worth it?”.
Fading Away – It’s one of the first songs we wrote for the album, a bit more than five years ago after Julien left the band. We decided to continue as a trio, I took the guitar, so the three of us were now playing instruments, there was no lead singer anymore. That’s also a reason why we decided to add more additional vocals to our songs, so we could share the lead one. In terms of melody, the whole song is based on one guitar chord, the progression is mostly brought by the drums and the bass guitar. We were almost surprised by how good the song turned out to be once recorded. In a way we were really used to playing it and hearing it so we didn’t expected much, but the great work of Clément made it possible for us to rediscover this song.
Seb came up with the “Fading away” lyrics, they’re about struggling with knowing what you want. The song tells the story of the inner battle resulting from wanting something you know isn’t good for you. You know that you shouldn’t give in, but you still see yourself walking towards a position where you’ll have no choice but to make that bad decision, almost like being on the passenger seat of your own demise.
Don’t Follow Me – “Don’t Follow Me” is very different from what we used to play. There’s an emo indie vibe into it (at least during the first half), which is kind of new to us in that band. “Title Fight” were a big influence for that song. It starts with clean and doubled vocals, chorus effects on guitar, a punkrock rhythm: the least we can say is that we’re quite far from the modern hardcore influences of our first EPs. Our new songs are also way longer than the old ones, 4min30 for this one and many different parts.
In a way, the theme of this song is very close to the “Fading Away” one. It’s mostly about the fear of making wrong decisions, which can be a real issue because it slows down everything and you can quickly get the feeling of being stuck. If you’re heading towards a brick wall, you can’t just wait for things to happen, cross your fingers and leave everything to chance. Unfortunately, that’s what we do sometimes.
Moving Zone – Moving Zone starts with a long instrumental introduction. The guitar keeps the same arpeggio all along (as a “fil rouge”) while the drums and the bass guitar play their parts and progression together. This part also features some percussion that helps give some texture to the whole thing. We used to be afraid of staying too long on the same part of a song, I guess we’ve changed our minds. It feels good to take a little break during this album, plus we’re almost halfway. The whole sound is also different, mainly because of the reverb we put on the drums. Then, it goes back to Emo Hardcore. As you can hear, we really enjoyed mixing screaming and clean vocals on that album, we’ve tried different things but it’s a great way to bring melody while keeping the screamo intensity.
It’s definitely some of the most personal words I wrote for this project. This song deals with anxiety issues and the fear of not being able to hide some feelings anymore and to live up to the expectations. The image we give others can be so much different from the reality. Here, I take the example of self-confidence: I’m self-confident in some ways and situations, but I wouldn’t define myself as a self-confident person at all. Emotions evolve and they are hard to understand and control. It’s a sad and frustrating observation, but I guess we will never be capable of truly and totally know someone, especially not ourselves.
Perpetual Calendar – That’s the last song we wrote for the album and it’s rhythmically quite different from what we used to play, way more syncopated. The whole song is cut into very distinct parts: there’s the first one, which turns around the same guitar riff, then there’s a post-rock transition with lots of guitar effects and a massive bass guitar. I also tried to change my way of singing, , between clean and screamed vocals, it kind of gave us some Self Defense Family vibe in it. Then we move to a tensed part resulting in a long and repetitive ending with the line : “I’ve always found dried flowers reassuring, unlike humans they’ll last forever”. If we had a pop song on that album, it would definitely be this one.
The album title “Fil Rouge” also refers to the house I grew up in (and in which we’ve recorded the album). It hasn’t changed, it’s almost like time has no hold on it. When we wrote that song, I was reading a lot of things about watches and the perpetual calendar technology, and I was so impressed I had to write a song about it. I decided to mix these ideas and write a song about time, its regularity, its influence, what goes and what remains. My grandfather used to sell dried flowers at the local market, and some bunch of flowers are still here, while he’s not anymore. Knowing that there are things that will always remain, and always stay exactly the same (like that house) can be very reassuring when everything comes and goes around you.
The Round Table – The first half of the song is a long progression, rising gradually in its musical intensity. The bass guitar stays in line while everything else gets more energy and anger. If you listen carefully to the very beginning of the song, you could hear church bells that our producer Clément recorded during our first studio session (as a joke at first, but we decided to keep them). This song is special in many ways: it is the only track of the album in which the tempo stays the same all along, and it also has the least sad musical part of all our discography (but no worries, the lyrics are still sad).
They are about our capability to think we’re approachable when in fact we’re closed to others. There are many ways to show disrespect, whether it’s intentionally or not. These situations happen more often than we believe: in small groups of friends, in families, but it can also be easily linked to politics and/or the hardcore scene.
The King Stays King – Lots of math-rock influences in that track, at least during the first half of it. Because the song ends with a very different part, which is clearly a massive homage to 2000s punk rock bands, especially to “Taking Back Sunday”. Seb and I were huge fans of the “Tell All Your Friends” album, we even covered “Cute Without the E” on a few A5M shows. It made us laugh at first, but I guess we’ve recorded something like 6 or 7 vocals on it, even Clément did two of them. It brings something different and refreshing, we’re looking forward to playing it live (and probably screaming those words out of tune).
This song is about the region in north-eastern France, in which Kevin and I grew up. It’s a rural area, so it has its ups and downs. Of course it’s quiet and refreshing, the landscapes are beautiful, there are fields and forests everywhere and I often miss many aspects of it. But there are also a lot of very conservative people, resistant to change. I’ve just set mixed feelings and a love-hate relationship to music.
I Am Nothing – “I Am Nothing” is the first song we wrote as a trio, back in 2015. The title was short, strong, sad and simple: the song had to sound like this (a 3min50-song is short for us now). Two thirds of that song are based on the same small guitar arpeggio, so that the emphasis is really given to vocals. It’s like there’s nothing left to do but shouting out loud in front of the sea. We love the fact that screaming vocals have a real purpose here, and that it’s not just a musical habit.
It’s Seb who wrote the lyrics of that track. The first line that came to him was the opening one : “I’m still looking for a reason for the world to make no sense at all”. It came from walking along the sea with his dad, while visiting his grandmother. Just walking there and feeling super small, like at this exact moment nothing really made sense and he felt like he was literally nothing in regard of the sea. Emo Seb is emo.
The Ocean – This song has a strong buildup and it was a really good fit for the end of the record. It starts with the only fast-paced drum beat of the whole album, we hope that the punk contract is fulfilled here. We wrote the lyrics before the music, we really enjoy working that way, but it’s pretty rare for us. The ups and downs of the intensity of the track and the many “wavy” riffs were some ways we chose in order to set the ocean in music.
The lyrics are written by Seb as well, and it also deals with the loss of control over what you feel. He’ll explain it way better than I: “I guess a lot of what I write is related to that as a way to understand it better. I often had those phases where I tend to move away from close friends and loved ones and just isolate myself. It’s another case of “I’m doing stuff which I don’t fully understand”, but this time it’s me walking away and it’s even scarier because I never know if people will be there when the phase is over and I feel like myself again.”