INTERVIEW: The Requiem On Debut Album ‘A Cure To Poison The World’

The Requiem are the sort of band that are designed to soothe that itch you have been striving to scratch for an age. The trio have just released their debut album ‘A Cure To Poison The World’ via the legendary Fearless Records, and there is so much to pull from it.

One minute they are channelling the frantic intricacy of early From First To Last, the next they are dealing out the insatiable sass of The Used. There are as many nods to AFI’s ‘Decemberunderground’ as there are to My Chemical Romance’s ‘Three Cheers For Sweet Revenge’, but at no point do The Requiem feel anything less than The Requiem.

Paying tribute to those who showed them how life-changing alternative music can be, whilst still sounding as fresh, modern and locked in the here and now as possible, they have all the making of being your new favourite band. And this is just the tip of the iceberg, so just image what there is still to come. To find out more about how all of this came to be, Rock Sound sat down with the band and discussed every step that has led them here…

RS: The process of releasing this debut album has been pretty rapid, but there’s clearly been a lot going on behind the scenes to lead you to this point. When were the foundations of the band built, and what were your early intentions?

DAMIEN DOULOUR [VOCALS]: “When we started The Requiem, we just knew we wanted to make music that we felt wasn’t being made anymore. The sound we wanted to go for wasn’t being done as much as it used to be done. I think that as soon as we got hit up by other people in other bands and the industry about what we were doing, we realised how this could be something cool. If people are asking for it, then maybe we should take it more seriously. It was an unspoken realisation and a natural progression. Salem has been doing music for a lot longer than us, so he was already on that wave of taking it seriously, but the rest of us caught up pretty quickly when we realised what was happening.”

RS: Was realising that you were all on that same wavelength of creating a certain vibe something that solidified it as well? So many ideas and bands never make it past the demo stage, but knowing that you all had the same desire to take this further must have really helped…

FELIPE SILVA JIRON [GUITAR]: “I think it came down to the work ethic that each of us has with the band. We all write on our own as well, so we can bring songs to each other and show them to each other. There are a lot of songs that we have in Dropbox folders that may never come out as they just didn’t make the cut, but a lot of the process was trial and error. The three of us working together meant that we were actually putting the work into the band. It allowed us to build our relationship and chemistry further and further along into how we can essentially do things today. It’s not something that happened overnight either; it’s been a progression that spanned a few years. This has just been something that we have continued working towards. So I think if bands take their work seriously, they can get to this place where they can be aware of what they need to do to progress. I feel like we have been lucky in many ways, but the way that we carry ourselves and put artistry first really shows. I feel that if you put the love into the work that you’re doing, it will also show.”

RS: So, where did ‘A Cure To Poison The World’ come into the picture? Was the intention always to get to the point where you’re saying, ‘We are making an album,’ or was it something you decided on as you started to pick up steam?

DAMIEN: “I feel like we had it pretty much from the moment that we made ‘I’ll Be Late For My Funeral’. We didn’t start drilling that in until we started talking with Fearless. That’s when we started working on it as a full body of work. I thought it was cool to be in talks with Fearless. It came from an organic place. Our manager had sent them our music in passing before, and nothing had come of it. But then he was playing Magic The Gathering with one of the people from the label, and he told them to check us out again, and that’s when they started reaching out. The team we were introduced to was lovely, and it felt like a good fit. It’s continued to be organic in that they enjoy what we are doing and believe in our vision. I didn’t expect it to be like that. It’s been really warm and transparent.”

FELIPE: “In years past, we’ve had conversations with other labels from all sides. But they were completely different from the ones we had with Fearless. That’s one of the main reasons, simply because we connected with them so quickly. They are great people to work with. It’s like making a new friend or establishing a new relationship with someone. Sometimes, you don’t always connect, but here, we connected deeply.”

RS: From their side, they will have been looking for something just like you. And when you realise that the people you’re working with are just huge music fans, just like you are, it changes everything. Especially when that love for music stems back to this period within the scene…

DAMIEN: “Yeah, that’s very true. Plus, the roster is stacked with the sort of bands that we grew up listening to. For them to think we could be one of those bands in the future is something that made us feel like it was home.”

RS: What did you want ‘A Cure To Poison The World’ to be, both musically and in terms of the message you wanted to send to the world?

DAMIEN: “There’s definitely a loose concept in there that I had, but the overall intention was something we could all share and relate to. We were trying to make all the stuff we had wanted for the last three years into one big body of work. That’s why the songs differ in intensity; there’s not just one sound we were trying to make. There were multiple ones, an amalgamation of everything we had inside us. Ultimately, the intention was to create this combination of all the things that made us fall in love with this type of music in the first place. Now it feels like it has found its place because of that, and people are now comparing us to those bands from which we took a lot of influence. It puts us where we wanted to be as a band, which sounds like it is from that time and from that era. It’s also a case of bringing back that energy more than the sound because the energy makes it cooler. Those bands carried themselves and did things in a specific way that many bands don’t seem to care for anymore.”

RS: The thing that bands did so brilliantly was create a universe and atmosphere around themselves in everything they did. An otherworldliness that felt like a proper escape in which you could lose yourself. A feeling and emotion that feels like nobody else…

DAMIEN: “It was an approach that felt like more than a group of people going into a studio to do technical work together. That creativity and that essence moved away from alternative rock for a little bit. It went to the SoundCloud era, and that’s why the look and style picked up again with those artists. That whole energy of being a teenager and only the music you listen to truly understands you. That is how I felt listening to the bands I loved as a kid. The generation that is coming through now almost doesn’t have a band like that because everything feels so planned out now. A band like ours, trying to do things from that much more organic place, is just coming from the idea of doing what we love. We aren’t thinking about doing something super technical or different. We are doing what we wanted to hear others do, but because we didn’t, then we are doing it instead. You have bands like Static Dress and SeeYouSpaceCowboy, who we look up to as peers, as they match the energy that we are going for. It’s coming back in a big wave, so it will soon be a void filled up with a bunch of new and refreshing bands.”

RS: Though one of the most important things is that rather than you sounding like this band or that band, you sound like The Requiem. This is a case of looking to the things that inspired you and making sure that it is your own thing…

DAMIEN: “The fail test for us is that if what we are making feels refreshing to us, then it will feel refreshing for the people who are listening to us. People have been making comparisons like, ‘Oh, this sounds like My Chemical Romance’ or, ‘This sounds like AFI’ or, ‘This sounds like The Used’. Some people have even been saying, ‘This sounds like 30 Seconds To Mars’, which does feel really far away, but the point is that they are hearing where we are coming from. It was the same when I heard SeeYouSpaceCowboy for the first time and thought, ‘It’s like a really heavy version of The Blood Brothers’ or with Static Dress and thinking, ‘This is very modern Underøath’. The thing about these comparisons is that they are just on the surface. Once you start digging into it and uncover the little intricacies and the things these bands are doing, that’s absolutely new. It’s also the natural progression of how things were going to go. We are the kids who were listening to these bands when we were learning to play our instruments. But I want people to dig as deep as possible and see what else we are about. But honestly, I wouldn’t want to be compared to any other sort of music than this.”

FELIPE: “This is a labour of love for us. A lot of intention goes into it in terms of the writing, on top of every other aspect as well. But hearing the appreciation that others have for it is something new because it’s not something we expect. We do this for ourselves as artists first and foremost.”

RS: What would you say this band has allowed you all to express emotionally that you probably wouldn’t have been able to anywhere else?

DAMIEN: “There are some songs on the record like ‘Less Than Zero’ and ‘Kill The Lights’ that are really nihilistic. Those songs, we probably could have done better with even harder styles and a heavier sound. But what I feel like we have been privileged with when it comes to The Requiem is vulnerability. That emo sound and the softer side of alternative music allows you to write ballads like we did with ‘Cursed’ and ‘Two Lovers Left Alive’. I don’t think I have been able to write songs like that before. It’s a huge release and something I feel like people can relate to more than anger. Vulnerability is something that everyone can find themselves in one way or another. For me, a song like ‘Before I Go…’ was especially very cathartic as it is about mortality and letting go of people. I never had the chance to express that, so it was really nice.”

RS: Now that the album is out and you’re looking to the future, what excites you about what the rest of 2024 can be for The Requiem?

FELIPE: “For me, it would be putting everything we have learned in the process of this album into practice. We have a few loose ideas regarding what we want to do in the future regarding writing, and we already have demos ready. That in itself is exciting because we have developed a little palette for our listeners. There are so many different avenues that we can explore and that we will explore. As writers, it is incredibly exciting to travel down them. Then on top of that, playing shows and being in front of people, translating the energy from the album into a crowd.”

DAMIEN: “Yeah, going out on the road and playing shows is what I’m most excited about. Perfecting the live presentation of these songs is a big aim.”

‘A Cure To Poison The World’ is out now.

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