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Screamo Mega Project EPHEMERA Unveils “Desert”: A Stark Ode to Isolation and Persistence

12 mins read

In our third exclusive premiere from the EPHEMERA compilation, we delve into the hauntingly vivid realms of “Desert,” a track that marries the raw intensity of screamo with interesting lyrical storytelling. Spearheaded by Gabriel Bergman Lahovary, formerly of HEART ON MY SLEEVE, this project continues to redefine the collaborative frontiers of post rock infused post hardcore.

As part of the ambitious follow up to the original compilation, “Desert” features a diverse lineup of artists, each bringing their unique perspectives to a heart wreching blend that echoes the thematic and musical ambitions of “Ephemera“.

Previously, we introduced the tracks “Quattro Stagioni” and “生き甲斐 Rendez-vous,” each marked by its distinct narrative and emotional delivery, setting a high bar for what has now culminated in “Desert.”

The track features a constellation of talent from across the screamo and post-hardcore spectrum. Gabriel Bergman Lahovary, hailing from HEART ON MY SLEEVE, lends his singular guitar stylings, crafting the solitary guitar landscape of the track.

The rhythm section boasts an innovative dual bass approach with Anders Braut from KAOSPILOT and Simon Chaubard of SED NON SATIATA, layering rich, textured bass lines.

On the percussive front, Michelle Refatti from FLOWERS&SHELTERS delivers compelling drum sequences, while Martin Thyr, also from HEART ON MY SLEEVE, integrates digital drum elements, enhancing the track’s rhythmic depth.

Vocal duties are masterfully handled by Maxime Foulon of LOREM IPSUM and Jordan Hills of EARTH MOVES, who intertwine French and English lyrics to narrate the song’s haunting, dual-themed story.

“Desert” comes with a narrative of desolation and the mirage-like pursuit of something just out of reach. The lyrics oscillate between English and French, capturing a dual struggle against both the elements and internal turmoil.

Continued below.

“Desert” lyrics:

La quiétude, la sérénité
Le jour où tout a basculé

I wasn’t sure I would awake
The heat makes it hard to breathe, hard to see

Le temps s’arrête
Le silence blesse

Don’t leave me here, don’t leave me here.

Encore hier je connaissais mes lendemains, 
Encore hier j’empruntais le même chemin

I’m sure I hear her voice
She’s calling

Aujourd’hui je cherche une main
Mais elle semble si loin

Here I am
But I feel like someone else

Me voilà en face
D’autres peut-être

Here I stand, on my own
Hourglass tilts, watch the sand fall

Du sable dans les yeux m’empêche de voir mes pas
Le sol est instable comme le futur moi ?
La traversée du désert sous la brume 
Mais qu’est ce qu’il y a derrière les dunes ?

Don’t forget me, the thoughts keep me alive
I prayed I’d wash ashore, could’ve sworn that I’d died
I don’t remember, the names are all becoming one

D’aussi loin que je vois, ma vie semble être un mirage
D’aussi loin que je vois, sous l’horizon le naufrage

She’s a specter and I’m lost inside the eyes of a ghost

La traversée sera longue dans l’urgence
Mais tant qu’il est temps, j’avance

She’s a specter, and I’m lost inside. 
But I have to move on, or I’m here forever

In our accompanying interview, we delve deeper into the creation process of “Desert.” We covered a range of topics, from the technical challenges and innovations, such as the dual bass setup and integration of digital and acoustic drums, to the more conceptual aspects, like the bilingual lyrics and the thematic resonance of the track with the ephemeral nature of the project.

Additionally, it touches on personal growth, future projects from their respective bands, and the broader impact of participating in such a diverse and boundary-pushing initiative. Read the full thing below.

Ephemera II

1. For each of you, joining this collaborative project must have felt like stepping into an experimental lab of sorts. Can you share a moment during the creation of “Ephemera” that felt like a genuine breakthrough, where unconventional methods led to unexpected outcomes?

Gabriel: For me, everything in Ephemera is an unexpected journey. Every time someone sends me their recording, I get so excited because I have no idea what it’s going to be like. So for me, all these songs have been like a Christmas present from everyone involved. I’m so glad that so many great musicians agreed to be part of this incredible project together.

Anders: Last time I played in a band and recorded was more than ten years ago (and I do not play much bass at all these days). So I was struggling a bit both to relearn recording and to figure out how to do the baseline. So, no unconventional methods on my part, but figuring out how to do the bass line and finally starting to feel it sounded right felt like a breaktrough!

Martin: The part I did was a short bit in this song where I programed the drums. As a drummer (used to playing drums, not programing) this was a new experience to me.
The idea was to make a sound that was a contrast to the rest of the drums of the song.

Jordan: I’m not sure on a breakthrough as such, but this project was very experimental and very fun. It did give me the opportunity to work with a close friend of mine, Steve Main (from metal band Dendera). He has been producing more music lately and has a home set up with a vocal booth and was very excited for me to go there to record, as was I. The freedom of having as much time as needed and just him and I there for recording was great and allowed me to try different things over many takes. It’s crazy when you consider just how many people have worked on this song, from the musicians to the producers and other recording engineers.

Maxime: In all my bands, I’ve participated in the overall composition of the songs. Here, I get the piece constructed, finished, and I’ve just to sing over it. It’s strange but interesting. There are melodic and rhythmic choices that I wouldn’t have made but it makes me break away from my habits. Finally, it’s just fun, no endless repetitions, one sound received and off we go!

Simon Chaubard

Anders and Simon, the dual bass setup is intriguing. Could you delve into how you approached this unique arrangement? Was there a particular texture or atmosphere you aimed to achieve through this setup?

Simon: Gabriel sent us a track with guitars and drums already written, and Anders and I chose the parts we wanted to play. The goal was to serve the song’s emotional aspect the best we can.

Anders: Simon recorded first. I have never played on a dual bass setup before, so I struggled a bit on how to approach it, what might happen is that there is «too much bass» going on at the same time. So I ended up doubling parts of it, sometimes playing chords, and sometimes doing a more minimalistic line than the one he had done.

Michelle and Martin, blending acoustic drums with digital beats often results in a fascinating rhythmic landscape. How did you manage to merge these elements so seamlessly, and what challenges did you encounter in synchronizing your performances?

Michele: It wasn’t very difficult. We worked separately to blend everything together at the end of the process. I think the result is very interesting.

Martin: I had the already recorded drums to match it with. My first attempt was to make a kind of a hardcore-beat to it, but soon I realised it sounded to much like real drums and had to start over. I wanted it to stand out from the rest of the drums but at the same time make it feel like a natural part of the song.

Maxime and Jordan, incorporating lyrics in both French and English within the same track is a bold move. How did you ensure that the lyrical flow remained cohesive, and what inspired the bilingual approach?

Jordan: If I am honest, Maxime took the lead with the lyric writing so I tried to write something that tied in with what had already been written which was fun, and something I haven’t ever really done before. I loved that we were both working with our native language. I have always wanted to write lyrics in another language and incorporate them into Earth Moves songs, but have been a hesitant as it would be easy to embarrass myself trying to sing them! Maybe I should’ve had a shot this time!

Jordan Hills
Jordan Hills

Maxime: For the lyrics, we agreed on a theme, the metaphor of the “desert”. Then we each wrote separately in our own language. I started by putting my voice on the parts by imagining spaces for Jordan but without knowing how he was going to exploit them. There is an element of surprise for everyone.

On some passages, I just made notes so he could sing over them.

Finally, I find that our voices complement each other well. We could very well imagine that we composed the parts together and not one after the other!

The concept of “Ephemera” suggests a fleeting, transient nature. How does this theme resonate with the content of “Desert”, both musically and lyrically? Can you share the story or message behind the lyrics?

Jordan: I had a concept prior to starting as the ‘desert’ theme had already been established, so I followed that, picturing a ghost or a mirage in blistering heat. Like a siren calling. I was really happy with the result and hope it can evoke some imagery for the listener.

Maxime: The metaphor of crossing the desert means for me a test, a time or an event which seems insurmountable to us with an uncertain future. With all the emotions connected to it. Discouragement, abandonment, hope, surpassing oneself.

The connection with the ephemera project could be found in the idea of the unknown and crossing the desert for Gabriel to see the project through to the end!

Collaborative projects like this can sometimes lead to unexpected creative discoveries. Did this experience introduce any new techniques or perspectives that you plan to carry over to your primary projects?

Gabriel: I did the first release of Ephemera in 2015 with only 3 songs and 12 different members (if I remember correctly). So this isn’t totally new, but since both my bands Heart On My Sleeve and Okänt stopped a few years ago, I haven’t been able to play screamo for a long time. And after watching Envy live (and meeting with Arvid at the show), I felt so inspired and that’s what pushed me to do it again.

I really hope it will inspire some other people to start projects like this one. I actually heard someone got inspired and ended up doing a similar thing but in a different genre and I’m so happy. I’m just a small guy from Sweden with a lot of creative thoughts all day round and being able to connect those thoughts with other people from all around the world that you never meet is so so awesome!

Anders Braut Simonsen
Anders Braut Simonsen

Anders: Well, as I mentioned earlier it was a quite unfamiliar experience for me, so I learnt a lot from it. Do not have any band/project now, though.

Michele: This project brought new ideas into my way of writing music, it took me out of the “comfort zone” I have with my band. New vibes and influences have brought a lot of inspiration to my art.

Martin: I learnt a lot about programming music/drums that I did not know before. Hopefully this lesson will help me in my future music projects.

Jordan: As mentioned earlier; maybe trialling some bilingual lyrics in other songs. I think the dual languages on ‘Desert’ are great and something I’d definitely consider in future.

Maxime: Yes, sometimes let myself be guided more.

Speaking of your primary bands, are there any upcoming projects or releases from Kaosoilot, Sed non Satiata, flowers&shelters, Heart on my sleeve, Lorem ipsum, or Earth Moves that we should be on the lookout for?

Gabriel: Like’ve I said before, my old band stopped many years ago. We occasionally spoke with Heart on my Sleeve about how much fun it’d be to just release something new but the older you get, the more difficult it becomes to find the time.

Anders: Kaospilot quit playing more than 15 years ago (I believe?), and we have not played together after that. Some of the guys are still doing bands/projects, but I do not think Kaospilot will get together again. It was a fun and great experience back then, but I guess we are all at different stage of life now.

Michele: Flowers&Shelters are working on something new. It won’t be something very imminent but I recommend staying tuned.

Michele Refatti-
Michele Refatti

Martin: Not planned as I write. Not who knows about the future.

Jordan: Earth Moves are working hard on our third album. We’ve also picked up a show in London next month (April) with Fall of Messiah, so hoping to get out and perform some more this year too.

Maxime: Yes, with my band “Lorem Ipsum” we recorded 3 tracks in the studio in March with drums this time with Bastien, Tang’s drummer. Besides, we are looking for a band with whom to share a split vinyl! If you know ;)

The local and international post-hardcore/screamo/emotional hardcore scenes are incredibly vibrant. Based on your experiences in 2023 and early 2024, can you recommend any emerging artists or bands that have caught your attention?

Gabriel: This is a very relevant question for this project. Because I’ve been out of the scene for so many years, it was a lot of fun to look around for new bands and people in the scene. A lot of these bands are new to me and are incredible.

And then some of the older bands that are part of this release like Kaospilot, Sed Non satia, Daïtro are absolute favourite and cult bands for me and I’m so proud to have them on board. So I would say I would recommend listening to all bands from the people involved! I can’t list them all because there are so many.

Michele: Stegosauro is the band that excited me the most this year.

Maxime: My last favorite (not very recent) was Chalk Hands and to cite three references for me, it would be Fall Of Messiah, Tang, Birds in row…

Gabriel, being the lone guitarist on this track, how did this role influence your creative process? Did having the spotlight alter your approach to composing and performing for this particular piece?

Gabriel: Yes, this is the only song where I played all the guitars myself. I play just one or maximum two guitars on the other tracks. The whole idea is usually to leave space for more guitarists to make it unique but wanted to have one track on the release with only my guitars. I don’t really know why I felt like I wanted to do it this way as there are so many great guitarists that I look up to.

So in a way, I would’ve liked to have 1-2 more guitarists on this song but it was fun to write everything for at least one song. If I remember correctly, I wrote all guitars first without anything else. Maybe a strange way to build up a song, but I like to do things very fast, and not overthink it too much.

I always liked the demos of the songs I write. When you record an idea, you feel relaxed and are really into that “now” energy, in the moment. When you think you should re-record it, that “now” feeling disappears and it becomes more robotic.

My inspiration since forever has been stuff like melodic and post-rocky like Explosions in the Sky. I would say they are my biggest inspiration for all music I write myself. I’m a self taught guitarist and don’t like to practice scales and techniques.

I’m glad I could hide behind a lot of pedals and soundscapes hahahahaha. But for me this song “Desert” is not about the guitars. It’s about the very good singing, the drums and the very cool bass lines.

The strange thing is that every time I listen to it, I forget that there are 2 bass players because it all fits together so well. But yeah this is how it turned out with my guitars and all the other great artists.

Maxime: It’s a responsibility to put your voice on a piece composed by other people. It’s a kind of gift, thank you for that!

Finally, for all involved, what has been the most rewarding aspect of contributing to “Ephemera”? And, reflecting on the project’s collaborative nature, how do you feel this experience has influenced your view on the potential for future cross-band collaborations?

Anders: Well, since I had not played the bass much for many, many years, it was great to find that I still managed to do the recording. Also, it was a totally new experience both with the collaboration and the dual-bass setup. So a nice experience, and I think it turned out really nice!

Michele: Writing the song was the most rewarding thing. I immediately liked the idea upon first listening and the final result even more. I’m always open to new collaborations even if my solo project is keeping me very busy. Art is the most important thing to me! It gives us a way to express ourselves and feel strong emotions. I live for this

Martin: It is amazing and honoring to be a part of this massive group of brilliant musicians and artists. I have my good Gabriel to thank for having the chance to participate i this fantastic project.

Jordan: I’ve always been open to having guest features on Earth Moves songs and we have worked with Sean from We Never Learned to Live in the past, but this was a different experience entirely! One that I really enjoyed and I’d love to be involved in any future Ephemera collaboration.

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