The Setup

Give us a little history on the band for those out there that don’t know you yet.
We started the band in September 2002. Me, Raf and Benjamin had just quit our former band Thumbs Down and we wanted to do something new and different so I switched from bass to guitar and we asked our long-time friend Christophe to join us on bass. As a 4-piece we started writing songs without having a singer. We tried a couple ones, but we weren’t getting anywhere until we asked Dries from hardcore/rockband Circle if he wasn’t interested in joining us. We were all really surprised that he took the job and a couple of months later, we played our first show in July 2003 and since then it hasn’t stopped. ‘,’

You haven’t been around very long, have you got to tour much. I know you toured with Ringworm, how was that? You’ve also got to play with the likes of Murphys Law, Madball, H2O, that must have been great?
We all had previous experiences with touring and even with bigger tours, so it was very pleasant to see that touring with Ringworm was really cool for lots of reasons. They were and still are one of my favourite bands and on top, they turned out to be awesome guys to hang with. Moreover I saw Ringworm 6 nights in a row. Everyone should check their upcoming album because it is really good.
The other shows you mentioned were shows we could play because MAD invited us to play them and that was also really cool because it was good for us to play places we hadn’t played before and I’m a big fan of NYHC so sharing the stage with Madball, H2O and Murphy’s Law is more than just cool.

You have a UK coming up in a couple of weeks (with The Power & The Glory), you looking forward to that? Andries, you’re really lookin forward to Glasgow? You should do some dates in Ireland 😉 !!
First of all, I love touring. I got a pretty busy job and a big social life, but still I spend all my vacation on touring with the band, because this is my true love and I’m very lucky I have a wife that understands this urge. So, this upcoming tour is once again something I look forward to. I also think that we form a good package with The Power and The Glory. They’re a different band, but somehow musically we could attract the same kind of people so I think it’s gonna be cool in general and I’m also looking forward to see these guys play. That ‚Call me Armageddon record is so heavy.

Concerning Scotland: It’s just a country I haven’t visited yet and because in my imagination I have all kinds of romantic visions about that country, I’m really stoked to play Glasgow. Same goes for Ireland.

Raf might not be able to tour cause of work, so Koen from Chimaera might be filling in? Benjamin also had to opt out for a tour? Do things like this make it diffiult or is there enough people willing to help out?
Like everyone knows, you can’t make a living out of hardcore, so we all have jobs. Raf recently started working, so due to the Belgian Law, he hasn’t have any days off. Nevertheless, he could arrange something with his boss, so he’s gonna do the tour, anyway, but Benjamin will not play on the tour and he will be replaced by Serch, a guy that used to drum for Clouded and later on Minus 45 degrees. Serch has replaced Benjamin already in the past and he always did a good job, so it’s pretty normal for us.

To answer your question, there are always people that are willing to help us out. I did in the past when I was playing with DeadxReckoning when they were touring the UK. I’m not saying it’s not difficult, because we have to practice more, but we don’t want to cancel shows, so we always try to find some solution.

Whats the crowd response like when you play?
In Belgium, it’s pretty often a madhouse. The first year people didn’t know what to do, but since the new record came out, we’re playing awesome shows. We haven’t had any reasons to complain about the UK-crows either, because they almost always mosh, which is pretty cool, of course.

Any weird, scary or funny tour/show stories? Where was your first show and how did it go…what’s been your best show…and your worst?!
The weirdest experience on tour was getting trapped in a snowstorm when we came back from a show in Austria. We did a 360¬∞ on the highway and drove for hours at a very slow speed. We went of the road, had some damage, and were all sick afterwards, but the show was great and we’re playing Austria again on this tour, so I hope we have more luck this time.

Our first show was in bruges on the 27th of July 2003 and for a long time it was one of our best shows. The vibe was really cool and because we had lots of good friends there, It was a nice coming back.

Our worst show: hmmm‚ to be honest, we played bad shows, but we were pretty fortunate not to have real bad luck while we were playing. I hope it stays like this.

You must be really happy to have the CD out on GSR, they release great stuff, plus are a great bunch!
GSR was like the record label we were looking for. We really wanted to have a label that was foreign and they had to have a good distribution.
If you want to grow as a band, you have to get outside your own country and they are helping us really well with that.
Moreover, It is very cool to be on the same roster with Knuckledust, Zero Mentality, Liar,Path of No Return, Black Friday 29 and Born From Pain.
Theo, Rob and Karl work very hard for their bands. They hooked us up with MAD and lots of interviews, so no reason to complain at all.

Are you getting a good reaction to “The Pretense of Normality”, what does the title of the album refer to?
Well, to be honest. We get very good reviews and reactions on the album. I never thought it would have been like this. I know reviews aren’t everything but it’s very nice to hear people say that they were really surprised about the quality of the record. We put a lot of effort in this album to make it sound good, so it’s cool to see, it pays off.

Concerning the title:
The album is not a concept album but in a way all the lyrics deal with the same questions and topics. The title is about us human
beings trying so hard to fit in, taking the easy way by fitting into a mould, to lie and cheat our way to social acceptance, to be scared shitless of people who try to step out of the line or are different. Portraying ourselves as being succesfull and in control of our lives, it’s about us trying to create an image of a personality we wish others to believe in but on the other hand we do all that’s possible to meet the expactations of others.

We are even willing to destroy others or our relations with others in order to underline our profile. Rising above ourselves by putting down others. And I don’t mean fighting for your ideals or believes, it’s just an easy, cowardish way of taking advantage of others to attain more self-esteem or whatever.. People also try to fit in by caving in to stereotypes, tradition, peer pressure, we take on a life that shows us as “normal” people while underneath that there is a lot of anger, frustration, hidden agenda’s, hypocrisy but also lost talent, creativity, personallity or free thinking is lost.

We’re all chronically underachieving. And I mean underachieving as in letting ourselves down, not doing justice to our possibilities, not being honest to what we are or want to be, not trying to be more free. Most of the time we’re all just a bunch of whining and pathetic liars looking back with sorrow and regret on our past, time to be a lot braver, to kick some ass out of life.

How would you describe your music if you were writing a live review? And what do your lyrics deal with?
I think it’s very metallic without being metal-core or whatsoever. It’s hard, intense, a little bit claustrophobic and pretty groovy.

The lyrics deal about the darker side of life. I know Dries uses this band to write down his frustrations and disappointments in people. This band has given us much friends but unfortunately also a couple of enemies and I guess it’s normal it influences you when you write lyrics. He also had to deal with the death of his father and other personal issues.

You also released the album on limited vinyl, are you vinyl lovers?!
We love vinyl. It’s a pity it’s so expensive to make. The vinyl is gonna come out in a couple of weeks on reality records. It’s a gatefold and I’m very glad Reality Records wanted to release it on vinyl, because I think it makes your release complete.

Tell the readers 5 facts about the band/members know one really knows!
Christophe is the most quiet guy in the band, but in fact he’s a hooligan when his favorite soccer team Germinal Beerschot is playing.
Benjamin is a cop that almost arrested someone from another Belgian hardcore band.
Dries was once elected in the city-council of Landen.
Raf used to have very long dread locks
Myself. I played the saxophone in a classical orchestra and participated in many band-camps.

So what do you guys do and work at away from the band?
I’m a sales rep for a publishing house
Dries (singer) works as a commercial trainer for a very big Insurance company.
Raf (guitar) is a editor specialised in social law.
Christophe works with blind people and Benjamin is a cop, no shit.

Is there no end to quality hardcore bands from Belgium…is it something in the water or what?!! It must be great to be a hardcore band in Belgium/Europe – plenty of bands to play with and places to tour?
Belgium has always been a pretty big hardcore-country. For me It started in the mid-nineties with the H8000-bands and other straight edge metalcore bands from all over Belgium and recently we produce like the biggest oldschool hardcorebands like Deadstop and Justice.

It is indeed very cool to live here and play here, although there are many other bands that you guys haven’t heard yet that are also really cool. It’s with everything in life‚ something good stimulates other people to do the same and very often it works.

Whats your earliest hardcore memory…! What music did you grow up on?
My earliest hardcore-memory is watching the video for Just Look around by SOIA on MTV headbanger’s ball somewhere in 1993. That was the beginning for me. Later on my nephew gave me some tapes with Black Flag, Agnostic Front and Gangreen and I immediately knew this was something that was going to last.

In December you’ll be doing the GSR showcase tour with Knuckledust, Black Friday 29, Liar, and Zero Mentality. That looks like a good line-up, you looking forward to it?
Absolutely. I already told Rob and Theo I really love the idea of doing these showcases. I like all bands on the bill and it’s really cool we’re doing all these places in Europe. It’s a traveling circus. We’re promoting the label but especially ourselves. It’s also cool, we all play different styles, so it’s gonna be really diverse.

What are some of the best things (and the worst if you wish to share that information with the readers!!) about the band mates?
Raf: he’s my closest friend. He was my best man on my wedding. We’ve been playing in bands together since 1998. He’s very loyal, reliable and an awesome guitar player. Highest jumps ever while performing on stage.
Dries: the oldest one. It’s very difficult not to like this guy, although he can complain sometimes about the band, but I guess it has to do with the age. To end this with a compliment, chicks love him.
Benjamin: the best musician in the band if he would practice a little bit. We shared good times with him, also some bad times, but he still is the man.
Christophe: Like I already mentioned‚ he’s the silent one, but he does all the finances and he’s good at it. Without him, we would have debts everywhere.

Thanks for the interview guys, the last words are yours…
Thank you for the interview. Thank you for checking our album, but please check us out live, because that’s what we like best.

(Photo from bands website, if you are the photographer please get in touch and we will add credit.)

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