OMINOUS CONCLUSIONS: Instrumental Storytelling

Louis Nas

Ominous Conclusions is an instrumental progressive metal project by a French guitarist and composer Louis Nas, combining lyric lead guitar along with virtual electronic instruments and symphonic orchestrations. Nas is about to launch his debut album with the project, entitled ‘Prequel‘ and in an interview for Prog Sphere he talked about it.

Define the mission of Ominous Conclusions.

Well, let’s put it that way (“the mission” being such a big word): with this project I try, like everybody else I suppose, to create music that doesn’t sound like anything else in this genre, something unique (of course, who wouldn’t, right?).

Not only is it a hundred percent instrumental music, but its purpose is to tell stories, without the use of words, like a good movie soundtrack, or classical music. If you listen to it, something must take place in your mind, like images, or scenes, situations involving characters maybe; and if I tell you what it’s about, suddenly it will make perfect sense.

In a near future, the mission of Ominous Conclusions will be more precisely to spread fear, anxiety and wonder in people’s hearts through the same process.

Tell me about the creative process that informed your upcoming album “Prequel.”

The creative process in this case is somewhat chaotic really. This is the first album of my solo project, Ominous Conclusions, and it stands for the absolute beginning, hence the title. It’s a kind of melting pot of what I planned to do, and what I do now. Some of the tracks were written years ago when I planned to form a band with that, and along the way, I finally decided to go solo. Some tracks where even supposed to host vocals. Some I wrote in weeks, or month, and others took me years, like Prequel, which was at first meant for a band with a singer, and I modified it here and there to make it fully instrumental in the end.

This album represents a clean slate from where I’ll go deeper in the meaning of this project, with the way I work now.

Although “Prequel” is an instrumental release for the most part, is there a certain message you are trying to give with it?

There’s not so much a message as there are stories told through the composing. There’s only one track that caries a message per se: “Mind Control Facility.” This one is about the concept of Freedom, and the fact that it doesn’t come cheap. If one wants to be free, one has to make his/her own decisions and live with the consequences no matter what.

This track, using electronic instruments and drums, Djent-like rythms and fat sounding distortion riffs, depicts kind of a synthetic world where we’re all trapped by social conventions, laws, money, work, or even family… We face walls everywhere. And the middle section, with its extended guitar solo that grows more and more lyric, is the expression of this growing desire of Freedom. And in the end, the solo goes on over the last section, which is a chorus, thus depicting the perpetual fight between this desire, and our overwhelming world.

Other than this track, the other ones tell fictional stories, like Prequel, which is about the creation of our Solar System and planet Earth.

How did you document the music while it was being formulated?

While composing, I mainly use softwares such as Guitar Pro, for all the guitar stuff and the drums (when I write those), and Finale, for all the orchestrations (even on guitars sometimes). The main thing I do when I have a story in my mind, or some atmosphere I want to create, is I write it in plain words in a text editor. I can write about the way I want things to go together, or the story I wanna tell, or the feelings I want people to feel, as far as the chords progressions and the kind of harmony and structure. Then, later, I come back to it and start to compose the notes.

Prequel

Is the dynamic flow of the pieces carefully architected?

Yes, absolutely. It could’ve been more effective, though, if I had one or two more tracks on this album to tie things up a little more; but to be completely honest, at that time I lacked both time and money, and the other tracks I’ve been writing either don’t quite match the atmosphere of this project, or they don’t really fit in this album, but will be more welcome on the next.

Describe the approach to recording the album.

Well, that was also pretty messy… First, a guy I worked with for some years offered to record my album. So we planned this months in advance but as we drew near the time of the recordings, I didn’t hear from him, and he never returned my calls and messages… I had other things set up so I quickly searched around and contacted another sound engineer, who didn’t pick up his phone and only got back to me four months later… It’s really very hard to find trustworthy people to work with…

Anyway, in the meantime, I met a guy who’s been a well-known recording sound engineer for years, and although he’s not at all in metal, and thus was not used to mixing that kind of music, he became fond of my work and gave me the keys to his studio so I could come over as much as I needed to record the album. So, it turns out I was very lucky in the end, but it was a very stressful and frustrating process all the same.

How long “Prequel” was in the making?

Approximately two years, not considering the time it took to compose it.

Which bands or artists influenced your work on the release?

Well in general, my work is influenced by guitar heroes and bands such as Marco Sfogli, Daniele Gottardo, Guthrie Govan, Animals as Leaders, Carach Angren, and composers like Danny Elfmann, John Willams, Howard Shore, Rimsky-Korsakov, Bach, Beethoven and many others… The main track, Prequel, was clearly inspired by the band called Beyond Creation.

What is your view on technology in music?

That’s a tricky one… And I am so out of technology… I still have a cellphone with a keypad you know? Anyway, I think modern technology in music offers a lot of new possibilities. Today, for better or worse, anyone can make music by themself, at home. Not only for recording, but also mixing or editing, and composing, using plugins and virtual instruments. No need to wait for the only decent drummer we managed to have our hands on, while he’s oversleeping, and still drunk, instead of showing up for the rehearsals. We can do anything, or close enough, and share it with the world through streaming platforms. It has its pros and cons, but I think it’s wonderful.

Do you see your music as serving a purpose beyond music?

I certainly hope so. I hope it gives people the desire to do more and be more (hope also that makes sense^^). I hope that it brings out their craving for beauty, even out of music.

I think this music can create a community of like-minded people who would share thoughts and views, even feelings they would not be able to share otherwise. I’d love that!

And for me, I also hope it helps me get closer to my masters.

What are your plans for the future?

Well, I plan on developing this project of course. Next will be the release of a double album on H.P. Lovecraft’s worlds and stories if everything goes well. Aside from that, I plan on developing the « community » aspect of the project around stuff like sheet music, backing tracks, chat sessions about Lovecraft’s literature, and even instructional videos on guitar technique and harmony among other things.

Prequel is available from Bandcamp here.

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