In the realm of musical exploration, innovative artists continue to push the boundaries of genre and style, weaving together seemingly disparate elements to create something entirely new and captivating. One such groundbreaking work is the classical metal album, Cello Metal, crafted by the exceptionally talented French composer and musician Grégoire Korniluk.
Through a mesmerizing fusion of classical elegance and the raw power of metal, Korniluk's album takes listeners on a thrilling sonic journey that defies convention and redefines musical possibilities.
We recently spoke to Grégoire about his life, career, and the album.
Tell us about your musical journey.
Grégoire: At ten years old, I fell in love with Metallica. I got my first electric guitar at fifteen and learned it on my own. But then, in college, I studied piano and cello in several conservatories, so classical and metal styles have always been very important to me.
I have played in many orchestras, from local ones to the greatest such as the Paris Opera Orchestra and NDR Orchestra in Hamburg. Still, I could not imagine doing this my whole life, so I continued exploring other interests, such as rock, metal, movie soundtracks, recording gear, and theater.
One big highlight was the band Apocalyptica's invitation to join them while recording their 2003 album Reflections. Two of my passions, playing cello and Metal music, were united in this project! Thanks to that experience, I started my band, Angher, a few years later, but with a basic rock line-up of guitar, bass, drums, vocals, and electric cello. We released our first album, Hidden Truth, for a small US label in 2009.
After that, I had many experiences as a guest with other bands and classical chamber music recordings. Then I toured with amazing personalities such as Marianne Faithfull and the French actor Jean-Louis Trintignant.
I also set up my small recording studio in 2017 called Beats & Bows Production, which got me increasingly into composing.
Who were your most significant influences?
Grégoire: For the cello, I would say Mstislav Rostropovich, who is the greatest cellist of all time! But my biggest musical shock was Metallica. They have the perfect balance of the heaviest stuff and melody. But I could also mention Radiohead, John Williams, Danny Elfman, Megadeth, Sleepytime Gorilla Museum, Avenged Sevenfold, Shostakovich, Prokofiev, Slayer, Abba, Prince, Yngwie Malmsteen as significant influences.
What inspired you to write this album, Cello Metal?
Grégoire: It has been surprisingly easy and quick to write these tracks once I got what Frédéric Leibovitz (Cezame CEO) was expecting in terms of format: short and efficient!
I can get inspired by anything. It can start with a guitar riff, a drum loop, or a melody, but above all, I wanted to write something I would be happy to hear as a fan. I also paid attention to diversifying tempo, song keys, and atmospheres, which helped me a lot during that creative phase.
What type of sound were you trying to accomplish while producing the tracks? How did you achieve it?
Grégoire: There was no particular sound in my head, just heavy, groovy stuff with good melodies. Leo Natale, the mixing engineer, and Theo Josso, the mastering engineer, did a great job and made everything sound clearer and more powerful.
How different is it to play a classical instrument in this genre?
Grégoire: There is not much difference when playing leads, but a lot in how you approach rhythm. My approach with Apocalyptica and Angher was more rhythmic. It required a different right-hand technique and bow positions to feel the arm's weight and get proper and strong attacks. On the left hand, you must play with flat fingers to play fifth, which is the basis for any metal riff.
What are your favorite tracks and why?
Grégoire: The catchiest track for me is "Endless Escape." I also like "Alternate Future" for its middle part. I like that simple gimmick. In addition, I love the Megadeath-style fast guitar riff and progression of "Soul Awakened."
Any new projects you want to share?
Grégoire: I am working with my band Angher to write new material. I want to split my activities as a classical musician and a rock artist. Mixing styles by playing heavy rock on the cello destroys my cello technique. So, I have decided to focus on guitar when playing heavy music with my band.
We will start recording vocals with our singer Adriano soon, because I plan to release our new album, containing elements of Cello Metal, next year and then plan a tour. Needless to say, I will also keep composing, recording, and discovering new musical territories.