COMITY is a French experimental hard-core band that was formed in 1996 and that went through several line-up and musical changes through the years. Only François PRIGENT (guitars) and Thomas ZANGHELLINI (vocals) have survived from the original line-up.

I broke into Comity’s chateau and caught up with  François for  their story.

Your biography has been covered in your ProgArchives profile so let’s bypass the biography details. But which bands were you influenced by and why did you choose that name ?

Our influences pretty evolved throughout the years. At first we were a lot into classical new-school hardcore/noise and death metal/grind-core on one hand and into progressive and experimental on the other hand. Then with the emergence of bands like starkweather, morning again, converge and all these kinds of bands, we started to follow their path mixing it all. Today we’re not really into classical metal stuffs anymore. We listen to a big amount of different things from minimal electro, grime, classical music, jazz to math-rock, noise-core, sludge, black-metal. The name “comity” comes from an old school movie with jean-claude van damme called “blood sport” where the tournament is called “the kumite”. It is that simple, the name is a joke.

How is the music scene in your area and where does your band fit into the scene ?

I really can’t tell, we’ve got good friends playing in different kinds of bands, so I don’t feel like we “fit” into a precise scene. There are a lot of great bands we toured with, but not in a particular style. Affinities come more from a way of thinking, of making music than getting into similar styles. For instance, musically we feel very close with bands signed on our label Throatruiner records which all are very different but with a common spirit. We like and are friends with some bands from our town –PARIS- as well, bands like revok, every reason to…,hangman’s chair, parween and several others.

This is an archive based interview also intended for the fans you get well after both you and I have passed away so let’s go straight to your releases. Please tell us more about…..

The Catharsis Syntax Project from 2000

This is our first true release, after a few demos. We were still in college at this time and you can tell the band is still seeking for his own sound. This e.p sounds a bit maladroit but it was our first try to mix hxc/death metal with stuffs like fantomas, neurosis and king crimson. The record is filled with adolescent kind of anger and you really can hear it.

The Deus Ex-Machina as a Forgotten Genius from 2003

Our first long play. We spent a lot of time on the writing process, we wanted everything to be perfect so maybe the result sounds a bit over-worked. The structures are too “crazy” but this really is the beginning of what we developed with comity since then: never come twice riffs, long pieces of music, “breaky” style of riffing, and different kind of climax in the same song. We wanted he listener to pass trough a lot of different feelings, from post-rock to death metal, from hatred to affliction. Everything we felt at this time as 20 years olds.

The Andy Warhol Sucks EP from 2004

The structures within the record  are more fluid, more rock’n roll and there is less death metal at the end. There is some old-school screamo as well, which was pretty new for us. The concept behind the title shows the paradox between what we think and what we are. Andy Warhol said that everyone will be famous for fifteen minutes, thanks to art. That anybody can be an artist. But we think that “art” isn’t about glory, we don’t give a f**k about glory. “Art” is all about passion and guts. Because of this guy, anybody can call himself an artist, COMITY included. In a way he’s responsible for all the sh*t you can hear every day. But on the other side, we, as people are aload to make music thanks to him. We consider our selves as artisans by the way, not as artists.

…As Everything Is Tragedy from 2006

When we started to write this album, we had a lot of troubles as a band and in our lives, we didn’t had a label anymore at this time and we didn’t know were the band went. So we started to play music again, with no special objectives at all, we started to write music again only because we needed it. This album is all about this feeling, a mix of frustration and passion, when it’s so disturbing that your guts hurts, and then it becomes hate… to me this album is full of pure hatred. As everything is a tragedy is a very sarcastic title, because feeling something that strong for something that much abstract is totally futile, but unfortunately it’s the biggest part of our lives, and it will die with us. The concept is about considering that we’re all like small gods, because we’re creating something everyday, but we shall fall, and everything we’ve done shall fall with us. So in a way we can consider that what we call god will fall as well.

You Left Us Here from 2009

You left us here is our first record after we split-up. It’s the first try with our new drummer and myself playing bass as well as singing. On all other records comity was  five people. Now we’re are only four, it’s kind of comity v2. the title has three ways of understanding. You left us here talks directly to the audience, it means that we’re still the same band. It’s also about the drummer that left us after ten years and made us split. And it’s also about what we call god, who left man here, and we don’t know why, or what we have to do, what is our function, why we exist. The story is inspired by the novel “to our scattered bodies go” by P.J farmer.

The Journey Is Over Now from 2011

It’s too soon to tell…but it think this is by far our best material ever, Which is logical: as musicians, you always like more your last release. There is a huge amount of work behind this album. The goal was to put together some complex but still logical constructions , with crazy riffing and breaks, hidden melodies everywhere. we also wanted to improve the way we play together and I think we never sounded better, more rock’n roll than metal, which was another goal to reach. The conceptual approach is definitely linked to the music and to the global artwork, which is very important to us. One thing is for sure: we’re very proud of this l.p, and no matter what listeners will think about this… because we don’t mind anyway. And hats off to our engineers sylvain biguet and amaury sauve for the ridiculous work they did on this album. They dedicated themselves for days on the recording and the mixing, being sure we sound like we never did before.

The Eps and your 2011 album is available from Bandcamp as name your price downloads. How is the availability of your two first releases and why did you choose to go for a name your price solution on the last four releases ?

People are going to download it anyway. So we chose to give our whole discography for free, with a good sound quality. It’s annoying  to find your own music on the internet in a very poor quality. I don’t like to listen to very compressed mp3’s and I hope people listening to comity feel the same. It’s very frustrating to spend a lot of time on recording and mixing  music knowing it’s gonna be listened in poor quality. The mix of our last album has been optimized for big hi-fi systems and that’s the point I think. People which continue to buy physical l.p’s want to find a nice packaging and a good sounding album. The other reason why we put some material on the internet ourselves is because of the availability of it. everyone got access to it, so it’s a good way to promote bands as well. It’s not a problem to us because we don’t make money with it anyway.

For those of us unfamiliar with your music; how would you describe you music and which bands would you compare yourself with ? 

Basically, I think we sound like a progressive version of ac/cd trying to play a mix of math-rock, noise-core and post-whatever you like. We’re often compared with bands like keelhaul, starkweather or neurosis. That’s pretty cool because we’re huge fans of these bands. But I really hope that we sound our own way because we worked a lot on playing unusual music.

What have you been up to since the release of The Journey Is Over Now ? What is your current status and what is the plans for your band in the future ?

The record  is pretty recent so for now we concentrate on promoting it with throatruiner records and enjoyement records.  We’re very proud of this album, we all think this is our best record so far. So we’d really like it to be promote at its best. Some gigs are on the line to, so we rehearse a lot preparing these shows. Our plans for the future are very simple: playing as much as possible to promote this album and maybe find more labels all over the world to release it as well.

To wrap up this interview, is there anything you want to add to this interview ?

Thank you to give us the opportunity to express ourselves on your webzine! Our own website will be online soon, with all our releases downloadable for free, exclusive vids, like the making of the journey is over now, a lot of pictures from the last fifteen years, and many, many more.
Thanks again!