You are now based full-time in Finland…a completely different culture. In fact, I don’t know much about it myself, other than the brief experience of knowing some Finnish alternatives …what is it really like for a deathrocker from France to be living abroad…highs and lows of your experience? Is it what you have expected?
Jacques Saph: You know, I have traveled a lot, lived in different countries, so I’m not tied to a particular place… although Finnish culture is quite different from the culture I’m originally from, adapting hasn’t been that difficult. And almost everyone speaks English here, so that’s definitely a big plus. I didn’t knew what to expect when I came here, as I never been there before. I jumped on a fucking plane and… moikka Suomi!
Would you have any tips for someone dreaming about following your footsteps…moving abroad to be with the one they love, but giving up their previous lives? Have you picked up any new habits? What is the alternative scene like there at the moment?
Jacques: Do it. You’ll be hated for being yourself by your so-called friends, but it’s worth it. I have never regretted my choice, not even a second. You know, my father forced himself to live a boring “normal” life, working a job he hated, putting his passions and hobbies on hold because it was the “normal thing to do”, and now that he’s over 60 he’s full of regrets about all those years he wasted doing things he didn’t wanted to. I don’t want to live like that. Call me an idealist, but I haven’t gave up on following my dreams yet.
New habits? Hmm, I drink lonkero, a Finnish mixed drink made from gin and, most commonly, grapefruit soda. It’s good to drink, less to puke, oh well… the alternative scene is quite good, especially the punk scene which is quite “popular”. There’s many bands, of course a shitload of talentless posers but also some really good and interesting acts. The goth/deathrock/post-punk is much smaller but there’s still a few bands to keep an eye on.
Have you learnt anything about yourself, in your new circumstances…your likes and dislikes, your patience and tolerance towards things…has anything changed? What is Helsinki like in your eyes? Is it easy to be vegan/vegetarian?
Jacques: I learn everyday, but I still have a fucking lot to learn, about everything. Same for everyone I guess. Helsinki is not a bad place to live. It’s quite peaceful, it’s a big city but without the stress of capitals like Paris or London. Being a vegetarian here is very simple, but most vegan stuff is overpriced, and yeah, that sucks.
Music…it’s been a bit of an adventure for you to be where you are now…tell me about the idea behind the music of Virgin in Veil…? Was there a particular reason why you did not continue with Secular Plague, writing songs under the name which is already well known? Does a name change the music you are creating?
Jacques: Secular Plague still exist, we toured Finland this spring. Although, it’s in some kind of hiatus as our bass player is away for one year. I created Virgin in Veil as I wanted to play deathrock again. I’m ecclectic, I always loved punk, goth, deathrock, hardcore, etc equally so it just felt right to create that band. I didn’t want to change SP drastically, so yeah, it was better to create another project to explore different lyrical themes and musical schemes.
Are you working on new songs at the moment? Is there a particular track of yours that you really enjoy playing?
Jacques: Yeah, we are working on Virgin in Veil songs almost each week, and same goes for Masquerade. I think that 2015 has been my most productive year ever, haha. I like all our songs almost equally, but it has been amazing to cover Sleeping Children’s “Between Your Legs” ten years after. I have been surprised that so many people, mostly in Russia, knew and enjoyed that song. Lois John Slut (Sleeping Children guitar player) also really loved the cover, so that was quite cool.
Can you tell me how you first were drawn to the world of music, in particular writing music?
Jacques: In the late 90’s, I was a troubled teenager and punk and goth were my way to escape everyday’s misery. I discovered Sex Pistols and The Cure, and wanted to play instantly. I got myself a shitty guitar, and even before I learnt to use it properly, I started to write songs and lyrics. It was my way to express myself, to spit out all those fuzzy emotions inside of me. I mostly see myself as a songwriter rather than a vocalist or performer.
Suzi Sabotage: It just seemed natural to me already at the age of nine, music (mostly singing) as the way of expressing myself. Since I’ve always enjoyed literature, I started writing my first lyrics circa that age. I invested all my money following my favorite bands all across Finland, dreaming ardently of becoming a performing artist myself.
What have you learnt through being in band? Through your travels? Gigs? Are they different in each country? Is there a particular place you really want to play? What was Russia like to visit?
Jacques: Traveling is vital for me. Visiting new places and meeting new people is amazing! Every country has a different audience, people do not enjoy the music the same way. Russia… That Moscow gig was the best Virgin in Veil ever gave and the best audience we ever had. I’ve played in over ten different countries and Russia has always been where my bands received the most amazing support.
Suzi: It has all proven to be hard work. You have to give 100% of yourself in order to thrive, which also means a fair amount of suffering. Russia was so enjoyable to play in, I wish all the gigs were like ones we did there.
Have you got any favourite places that you are particularly drawn to, and feel close to?
Jacques: Well, Paris is violent, expensive and stressful, but I have so many memories from there… New York is probably my favorite city in the world, and I really love St.Petersburg and London too.
Suzi: The stage. And by the side of Jacques, wherever.
If I was interviewing your guitar, what kind of stories would I hear about you, and your travels? How about your leather jacket…what sort of lifestory would he give about you?
Jacques: My guitar will ask you to steal it from me and sell/give it to a proper player, I guess.
Dreams and plans for the rest of the year? How about the near future…
Jacques: Lots of cool stuff is on the way. First we are going to tour the western USA and Mexico with both Virgin in Veil and Masquerade. In parralel, we are working on a video for our new song “Lovestains”, and later this year we are looking forward to release a 4 or 5 songs ep.
Suzi: We’re working on magnificent releases from both Masquerade and Virgin in Veil, and dreaming about touring the world even more extensively.
Where can we see you play?
Jacques: Mostly, in our tagged, messy and smokey rehearsal room in Helsinki. Other than that, we are giving a farewell gig in August in our hometown, before going to the USA and Mexico for our first ever North America tour. Fuck we’re excited!
Message for my readers?
Jacques: Hope to see you soon in the UK! Feel free to visit our webshite http://virgininveil.com and facebook page http://facebook.com/virgininveil and give us gig everywhere!
Suzi: Someone assasinate that bitch queen of England already!