In the Meet The Band spotlight this week are the French group Pathfinders. Their debut album is Ares Vallis. Drummer Jérémy Barthélémy introduces us to his band.
Chad Bowar: Give us a brief history of Pathfinders.
Jérémy Barthélémy: Pathfinders is a bunch of friends who have known each other for 15 years. We created the band at the end of 2018. Our name is taken from the space probe Mars Pathfinder launched by NASA in 1996. This refers to our idea that the future of humanity could be in space if we don’t realize that we are destroying our planet. The five members are Romain Gaucher (guitar), Jérémy Gaucher (bass), Benjamin Daguet (guitar), Clément Levy (Vocals), and me, Jérémy Barthélémy (drums).
Describe the songwriting process for Ares Vallis.
For this album, almost everything was composed by our bassist Jérémy. Of the 11 tracks, he must have done 8. “Damned Earth” and “Explode Inside” were composed by Benjamin, our guitarist, and “Ghosts of Mars” by a friend. All the songs arrived at the end with very specific ideas except for the vocals. Then by playing them, we all put our own touch, ideas, and arrangements. The singing process is different. Clément first improvised to find melodies and rhythms that fit well with each song, then he found the lyrics that fit well with the subject he had chosen, and the song itself.
What will be your strongest memory of the recording of the album?
I will say everything from start to finish. We had really good times making this album. We had a few hard knocks, it’s true, but with a little motivation and some beer, everything started again! And above all, what a pleasure to do that with friends!
How would you characterize its style/sound?
I would say that it’s a compendium of grooves mixed with heavy metal with a vintage sound.
What’s the album’s lyrical concept?
The lyrics of this album are a bit like a wake-up call. We want to show our listeners that man is not treating his habitat as he should and that the longer it goes on, the more he destroys the earth, and the more he runs to his own downfall. This is why we figure this by saying that we are going to rebuild everything on another planet, (Mars here in this case). We also denounce social problems, which are mostly trivialized by everyone, like the story we tell in “Pressure,” which denounces the pressure that can be inflicted by those around us who dictate what to do, how, and especially not otherwise. But we still draw the conclusion at the end of this album that ultimately there is mostly good in humans and that awareness may one day make us backtrack on Overshoot Day.
How did you come to sign with Music-Records?
As our album was almost finished recording, we thought that having a label could be a big boost in promoting it. So we started looking for metal labels a bit, and it was Jérémy Gaucher who came to tell us that Music-Records was up for it. After discussing it with everyone, we made an appointment with them to sign and the adventure began!
What are your goals and expectations for the album?
Honestly, it’s a bit of a discovery for the whole band because we’ve never been at this level, never made our own album, so we’re already proud of what we’ve done until today! Then what we want is above all to have fun. The label is already distributing our album to the four corners of the world, so we hope that a lot of people will enjoy discovering us, listening to our music, and then, when this whole virus thing is over, we can resume gigs!
How has the pandemic affected the band, and you personally?
Well, until now, we haven’t really been that much impacted because we were able to compose and record our album without too much difficulty since all the members live not very far from each other (we finished recording it at the end of 2020). On the other hand, now that the album is finished, the time will come to do concerts, and therefore at the moment we find ourselves blocked. But we are still looking for a booking agency to schedule concerts for late 2021/early 2022.
Personally, I had a few hard times having to stay locked up, not being able to do anything. Luckily I have good friends and a wife who gets my head out of the water. And it is felt even in other people. With my colleagues, well for a large majority, the atmosphere is not really the same. We have to be strong and patient!
What are your plans for touring/live shows?
At the moment we have no planned concerts. With this pandemic, unfortunately, everything is closed. But we are not giving up, we are currently looking for a booking agency to help us schedule, and we are also asking festivals that are looking for bands that we are present. Hoping that venues and festivals can reopen soon anyway.
How did you get started in music?
From a young age I have always loved the drums because my parents always saw me imitating the drummer when they watched a concert on TV. Then my uncle gave me my first drum set when I was 3, a Mickey Mouse drum set for kids, but drums all the same! And I took my first music lesson when I was 6 but the school side doesn’t have me at all at this time. It wasn’t until I was 18 when my brother Thibaut was setting up a music group with a friend (Benjamin Daguet, who is the current Pathfinders guitarist), that I got behind the drums and that immediately made it! Over the years I have had several bands, done professional music training, obtained a few sponsors.
Who were your early influences and inspirations?
My first influences come from my father who listened to Van Halen, Motley Crue, AC/DC, Ted Nugent, Supertramp, Imagination, Michael Jackson on vinyl. This is why today I am passionate about music, that I have this taste for metal and groove!
What was the first metal concert you attended?
I know it was the Iron Maiden concert in Paris (Bercy) but I don’t know what year it was at all! I joined my friends Stéphane and Laurent Dervillez there!
What’s currently in your heavy musical rotation?
Today our influences for the whole group are Gojira, In Flames, Jinjer, Spiritbox, Lamb of God, Periphery, Architects, LANDMVRKS.
Anything else you’d like to mention or promote?
Thanks to Heavy Music Headquarters, and for readers take some time to listen to our music and if you like it, subscribe to our Spotify page, Instagram, Twitter, whatever you like, and you can buy our album which is just the first one. We also already have the beginnings of compositions with a view to making a possible second album!
(interview published April 17, 2021)
Listen To Pathfinders – “Damned Earth”