Qantice will soon release its third album called The Anastoria. This will also be the first album with David Åkesson as vocalist, and as on the previous albums it’s not all about the music. We’ll let founder and guitarist Tony Beaufils guide us through the universe of Qantice.
Before we start talking about the upcoming album I would like to know more about the story of Qantice. Because, as its stated on the homepage, “Qantice is more than a prog/power/symphonic metal band”; it’s a universe! Could you please elaborate around that?
Tony: Indeed, Qantice is the name of a universe: it’s an infinite land overflown by stars, planets, and continents, all inhabited by weird creatures. And the songs we play are chapters from a saga taking place into this world, or sometimes presentations of some characters and their way of life.
The fact that you wanted Qantice to be more than a band, was that something you thought out before the band was founded?
Tony: Absolutely. As a kid, I wanted to be a spaceman, or a sci fi writer, or a movie director like George Lucas. So, I guess founding Qantice was a way to try to fulfill all these dreams at once.
Could you tell me the purpose behind the universe around Qantice; how does the universe and the saga affect the music? Or is it the other way around; that the music is affecting the universe and the story?
Tony: The purpose? Well, we modestly want to give the answer to life, universe and everything, and then start a new religion! Or maybe this is just a fun travel through a fantasy world where heroes can make almost any dream become alive. You decide! And I would say music and stories affect each other in both ways. When I’m writing music, I often have some theatrical scenes in my mind: it can be actions, characters, landscapes, specific moods, or a mix of all this. And soon, I will link those scenes to the main story, getting into more details as I write the lyrics.
Qantice debuted in 2009 with the album The Cosmocinesy. It was on that album we got to know the Qantice universe for the first time, with the concept story. What can you tell me about that story; for how long did you work on it, how did you come up with the story and how was it to write music to the story?
Tony: So the story begins by the quest for a stolen planet by a megantrop, a character who can reshape matter with the power of his mind. In fact, the main elements of the story had been unfolding in my mind during the whole writing process that took around 7 years. It’s the composition, the orchestrations and the demo recordings that took so long. Overall, I have only spent few weeks writing the lyrics. And I don’t really write music to the story because it’s two things growing in parallel most of the time.
In 2012 a book was published called Qantice La Cosmocinésie; a novelization of the concept story of the debut album. How did that happen, and why did you want to publish a book?
Tony: I simply happened to meet a writer named Marie Fontaine, and we decided to turn this story into a real novel. We thought it would be fun to develop events that were only evoked in the lyrics of the songs, and also fill the narrative gaps between the songs. And it was also a way to be different from the other bands and bring something more to the fans.
The second album was released in 2014, called The Phantonauts. On that album you recruited Pellek from Norway. Why did you recruit a new vocalist and why him; how did you find him?
Tony: Our previous singer, Vince [Pichereau], was simply not involved enough in the project, so we had to find someone new. I found PelleK on Youtube, and I thought his style and skills would fit Qantice very well. So, I immediately sent him a message with demos to download. Honestly, I thought he would probably be too busy to join a new band, but that’s not what happened: he said he loved the songs and wanted to record this album. He also warned me that it was quite unlikely he would find the time to tour with us, though. So, it wasn’t such a big surprise when he turned down the tour offer in 2016.
After PelleK’s departure in 2016 you hired another Scandinavian as the vocalist. This time David Åkesson. He had to jump right into it when Qantice went on tour with LT’s Rhapsody. How did he handle that, and how was that tour?
Tony: I think it could be fun to have both sides of the story. On my side, I was only looking for a live singer, at first, because even though I was seduced by David’s recordings and his motivation, I had no idea how well he would get along with the rest of the band, and what kind of performer he would be. And the challenge was anything but easy: he only had few weeks to step into PelleK’s shoes and to make Qantice sound credible compared Luca Turilli’s Rhapsody… But he did all that, and we all had a wonderful tour. And of course, after that, we asked David to stay in Qantice.
David: Well, as Tony said, it wasn’t easy. I had to dedicate a lot of time to get the vibe of the songs, learn the lyrics, rhythm and melodies by heart, but at the same time find the balance between the awesome work by Vince and PelleK and my own vocal input. The tour was an amazing experience in many ways. Hard work but also a lot of fun and I don’t think we could have had a better first tour together.
And now you are back with your third album. It’s been five years since the last album, why have it taken so “long”?
Tony: The short answer could be “because we’re slow”., haha. But to be more precise, the real work on the third album began after the 2016 tour. Most of the tracks were recorded during 2017. And 2018 was about polishing the arrangements, mixing the album but also financing, filming, and post-producing a new music video, and then, looking for labels.
Compared to the first two albums, how has Qantice developed during the years?
Tony: Musically, I would say the compositions are more mature and more “scene oriented”. The crazy shredding and progressive elements are still there, but I think there’s a bigger place for catchy riffs and choruses.
The new album, The Anastoria, have the biggest orchestras and choirs ever developed in a Qantice album. Is that a result of a musical development, or is it the fact that you now have the opportunity?
Tony: About orchestras, it’s more a matter of efficiency: when I started Qantice, I used to spend much more time on every track, reshaping them until they sounded right. Now I have a better grasp on my orchestral samples and also a better knowledge on what can be done on real instruments. So, I get better results, and faster, which gives me time to multiply the layers, when it’s useful. But in this album, the most obvious difference is probably the huge choirs we owe to David.
David: I’ve always loved hearing a lot of myself, haha! No, but I think that choirs often are overlooked. They can add a lot to the whole picture of the song, without taking over. Some of my favorite bands use a lot of choirs, A.C.T, Queen, Blind Guardian for example, and I also work as a choir conductor so it’s very natural for me to have a lot of choirs on an album.
So I put a lot of effort into that part of the recording, sometimes recording choirs composed by Tony and sometimes arranging myself. In fact, when I finished the choirs for the first song and Tony imported them into his sequencer program, his computer crashed. Then I knew I was on the right track, haha.
Tony: Yeah… Thanks for torturing my gear, David, haha! In fact, I feel lucky my computer survived this album! And as a cherry on top of this multitrack cake, we were also lucky to have Riccardo Cecchi, the tenor singer that tours and records with Luca Turilli. As soon as he heard we were doing our new album, he kindly offered to do guest vocals for us. And you can bet we said yes!
This will be the first album with Åkesson as the vocalist. How has that affected the songwriting? And how would you describe him as a vocalist?
Tony: Well, I’m a lonely composer, so David could only affect the last steps of the song writing, when we started to check the vocal lines and the lyrics. So, on one hand, he did his best to follow my guidelines, like an actor trying to please a picky movie director and his crazy vision. And, on the other hand, he often convinced me to change some words and notes, to help him find more comfort and bring his own approach and sensibility. I would describe David as very easy to work with. He’s very patient and hard working. And, last but not least, he has a wide vocal range and a very good technique, so he can sing pretty much anything, which is also helping a lot.
What can you say about the story on this album?
Tony: This story is mainly about a giant storm creating an interdimensional vortex. And the album will go through the apparitions and space-time anomalies resulting from this situation.
I guess you are ready for the road after the album is released; what are the plans in that regard?
Tony: I’d rather say we’re getting ready for the road because nothing is settled yet. But we’re starting to look for touring opportunities, indeed. Our goal is to find slots in festivals and openings in big tours, like we did with Luca Turilli in 2016. It’s too early to say when and with whom, but what we can say is: it will happen! So, follow us on the social medias and you’ll hear about it as soon as we’re ready!
Qantice released the first single from the upcoming album today, check it out: