Interview – Arnaud Giroux, graphist and Emigrate’s member

Following our previous article on Emigrate’s last video Always On My Mindwe had the opportunity to discuss with Arnaud Giroux, illustrator of the video and bassist of the band.

Rock’n’News – You’ve been a member of Emigrate since the first albums, so you could see the evolution of this project. In which part do you thrive best ? Rather in the musical part or the design part?

Arnaud Giroux – Quite frankly both. It’s kind of the same creative process. It’s telling a story. To initiate an imaginative impulsion to the listener or viewer through sound, image or these combined. I really like creating universes and for that, both audio and visual are mediums in which I love to operate.

R’n’N – For the last album, “The Persistence Of Memory”, you chose a dark atmosphere linked to space and the universe unlike the previous ones which had clear covers. Why this choice?

A.G. – I’d say it’s trendy. There is in the collective unconscious a dull fear of the end of the world, of a soft apocalypse with climate change and its consequences, then, by the fact, the hope of making an escape to the stars in order to find a new refuge. Without going into details, this is the underlying visual subject for the band’s lastest opus. Emigrate‘s album covers, bright as they are, always emerge from a seed planted in somewhat dark soil.

R’n’N – We find in all the illustrations that the industrial aspect and the effects of destruction are very present. Is this the main feature and the guideline for you when imagining a new illustration?

A.G. – Not really. Space and stars were in the conversation for the front of the album, but the rest of the illustrations are the story I made for myself around this nebula and this dying land, void of life and light. De facto, the industrial aspect and the destruction seemed to make sense to me. I sent the ideas to Richard who validated without asking questions. He understood where I was going and knowing him, he made his own narrative with these images. I submitted a lot of visuals. We selected those that seemed to us the strongest.

R’n’N – This Tuesday, December 21st 2021, the Always On My Mind music video that you animated has been released and we see in the center of the chessboard the mythological character of Atlas carrying the Earth on her shoulders, but this caracter is female. Is there a symbolism behind this choice?

A.G. – Yes quite. At the center of this chessboard is the graphic of arcanum 21 of the Tarot de Marseille. On this card is represented a woman (some would say an androgynous). Both literally and figuratively, it is women who carry this world. The text from Always On My Mind describes the regrets of a man who thinks he hasn’t acted the best way with a woman he may still love. In a way, we can summarize this text as “It is when we are deprived of something that we realize its value”. I wanted to move this idea with the planet, hence the woman Atlas, universal pillar, plus a reference to someting that is perhaps more embedded in the history of Till and Richard.

R’n’N – We also imagine that the symbol of Atlas, which is a pillar of the sky, symbolizes the hardness of the friendship between Till Lindemann and Richard Z. Kruspe, but also its weaknesses. How did you go about transcribing this link between the two?

A.G. – Let’s say that in my idea, they both fall in love with it. This feminine Atlas is at the start only an object carrying a dead planet, something on which these two entities speculate through the game. It is only when she comes to life and rises for herself that their gazes change. She arouses interest, fascination, then love, and it’s this look that makes her grow, that gives her back power and, ultimately, reverses the roles to make her win. I think Till and Richard are still two teenage players. This is how I see them. Moreover, having known each other for a very long time, they didn’t just share scenes and chips in the dressing rooms…

R’n’N – How does a writing/composition session for Emigrate go? Do you take part in the process or does Richard compose on his own and propose his ideas to you?

A.G. – It always comes from an impulse from Richard because it’s more or less agreed that way. However, once the riffs are set, it becomes a creative collective. The pieces are twisted in all directions, there is doubt, 180 degrees, until we have certainty. He generally trusts the people he collaborates with for his music, lyrics, and so on. It’s pretty democratic. At least, that’s how I live it.

R’n’N – To conclude, we know that there are no plans for concerts for Emigrate but personally, would you be interested in going on stage and playing those songs?

A.G. – Totally 🙂

We thank Arnaud Giroux again for his kindness and for taking the time to answer our questions! You can find Arnaud on his Instagram and discover his work on his portfolio. You can discover preliminary sketches for this video.

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