Interview with Clan Nordag

There are days on which we accidentally run into a musical masterpiece that stands out from all else we have listened to so far. Clan Nordag is nothing like music you currently hear in the charts, besides the lyrics being French-spoken. The French outfit recently released their new album ‘Triade’ which felt like the right time for us to have a chat about musical influences and their future plans!

Could you introduce yourself, who are in the band and how did you get together as a band?

Frank: I am Frank Nordag, author and composer and arranger in Clan Nordag. The band is composed of Hermine, Irène de France and myself. We are all three authors, composers and performers. Hermine is a singer and she plays the Celtic harp. Irène de France is a singer and plays the guitar. I sing and am a multi-instrumentalist (guitar, keyboard, percussion…). It was in 2017 that I created the group Clan Nordag with several friends: the recordings began with Hermine that same year. The following year, I met Irène during a party at a mutual friend’s apartment. We had a mutual artistic crush, and then she joined the group. The collective stabilized in 2018 and it definitely became a trio (composed of Irène, Hermine and Frank Nordag). The musical style of the group (electro-folk-rock) was also fixed in 2018.

What inspires you to make music, is it things that happen in your life and or the world, or something completely different?

Frank: For my part, I compose by improvising regularly on my different instruments (guitar, flute, keyboard…) then I keep the good ideas consistent with the universe of Clan Nordag. On this first album, on my side, I recovered some old interesting compositions which were added to new compositions. My sources of inspiration are often the current events or the events of my personal life.

Hermine: My compositions always come to me suddenly, when I am in contact with water or walking, and often come to translate the emotions that I go through. The aesthetic that comes to me most of the time is a very old one, an indelible trace of the influence of the musical universe in which I grew up and learned to sing. The fantastic themes come from the Breton tales that marked me when I was a little girl.

Irène: For my sources of inspiration, everything can push me to creation… Anything that will provoke a strong reaction in me. The fact of having walked for a long time in the Parisian subway has for example deeply marked me with a strange darkness. A pollution that has “clumped” on me and that my sensitivity needs to “transmute” in its own way to get rid of it… Music allows me to cleanse my aura and I believe that my soul naturally finds the ingredients and recipes to regenerate itself. In the same way, a tree, a flower, a sunrise or a sunset can also suddenly bring forth a melody, a few words of poetry… In truth, there are no rules. It is… as it comes. 

What artists influence the sound of your music?

Frank: our influences are varied, we appreciate traditional folk music (Malicorne, Luc Arbogast, Laïs, Angelo Branduardi, Loreena McKennit, Blackmore’s Night, Faun), Celtic rock (Matmatah, The Pogues…), the Gothic scene (Dead Can Dance, Qntal) without forgetting the marvellous discs of the Prikosnovénie label (Rajna, Irfan, Jean-Luc Lenoir).

What instruments do you use for your music, and do they have a special meaning to you or your music?

Frank: We use both acoustic instruments (guitars, frame drum, jaw harp, shruti-box) and electronic instruments (keyboard, software sequencer) to obtain the sound we want, which gives a very interesting electro-acoustic result: I find that this artistic approach allows both to be more creative and to renew traditional music by bringing more novelties and experimentations. For me, the acoustic instruments symbolize the ancient music and the electronic instruments represent the modern music: in our album, these families of instruments dialogue together delicately to give life to a harmonious and subtle music.

Where did you find the artists and painters to work with you for the release of your album and who are they?

Frank: I had test album covers with photos at the very beginning but I was not really convinced. Irène suggested contacting Elin Créations to do the illustrations for the CD album. Knowing the talent of Elin Créations, Hermine and I were enthusiastic about this more coherent idea to illustrate our album: the dreamy music of our album fits perfectly with the universe of this painter. I knew Elin well so I contacted her directly. She accepted the project right away and she even worked on all the watercolours for almost a whole year. Thus, the visual work took a great place also in this album.

What are some of your future plans, such as live shows/ festivals/ new releases?

Frank: We plan to play a first concert in Paris at the end of the year or at the beginning of next year if the French sanitary rules allow it. This year, we will work on clips to extend our universe in video format!

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