BASEMENT CRITTERS are new top me but I was so impressed by them that had to interviews them. Anders Ekdahl ©2020
Do you feel it has gone the way you intended when you formed back in the days?
Glenn and Sven, guitar players:Actually No, it really started as a bunch of friends with 3 guitar players in a garage… but what started as jamming became a band. It is like a train at a certain turning points, people get off and others jump on. It took us a couple of years to form the band as it excists today. It is also good to see that the ones who lefts us found their musical identity in another band. It keeps the family alive because no matter how you look at it, they have been an important part of Basement Critters.
How do you feel about your latest recording? Did it come out the way you expected it to?
Bandstatement: Far beyond our expectations, Jonathan Mazzeo of the Mathlab Recording Studios has nailed it completely.
Fiwi (drum) and Thomas (vocals):
We were really good prepared during the writing process and demo fase, to be honest Glenn our guitarplayer is a real audio nerd/freak, so the standard was already high. We were proud of our demo’s, also a best kept secret; Danny Mommens of the famous band “Vive la Fête” joined us during that process as an advisor and bassplayer. We thought we knew our sound and identity. So why go to Italy to record an Album?
It was the best thing for the band, 3 weeks together in a beautiful country. We left Belgium behind with one agreement, we surrender in Italy. We had Jonathan Mazzeo as our producer and we want to stand open for all kind of ideas, remarks…
Giving your music, your creation in someone hands is a big step for a band and now we can only recommend it. Step out of your comfort zone. It was for us an amazing trip, Jonathan immediately understood the concept, the sound, the identity of the band and he brought this too a higher level. We understand ourselves as a band band better than ever now. He could trigger everyone, so all members of the band have gone beyond their own skills. A thing you need recording an album.
Do you feel that you by now has found a sound that is the band and that you can build on it ?
Glenn and Sven (guitarplayers): When forming the band, we really wanted to capture the sound of the 90’s and we still strongly belief in that sound, it is Basement Critters ‘ Signature.
It all starts with a good riff, it needs to have groove, grab you by the balls… Within the band they call us the riff factory because we like to combine and explore. We always have already multiple layers in our head but sometimes it is difficult to translate that in the band.
The engine part Fiwi and Steve, drum and bass are lovely stubborn guys.
Those guys have brilliant ideas in laying the weight and force into a song. It feels sometimes like a battle but for the greater good, it makes us sound tight and compact. So you can think guitarsound is still the boss, it was in the 90’s but then we have our vocalist Thomas, the lunatic mind, his approach is definetly based on feeling, he feels the riffs and respects that terrority where sound is important, all comes from his heart. We stand behind him because he never wants to attack or tackle something, he dances around topics like a snake and let you see different angles… Yes, we can build on that and we still have stories to tell.
Is having a message in the lyrics important to you? What kind of topics do you deal with?
Thomas (vocals): When I was 15, i was one of those kids who stood there at a Rage Against the Machine concert shouting “Fuck you, i won’t do what you tell me” amongst 40.000 others… Now so many years later, i still have that same anger to protest. The world didn’t become a better place, honestly it went worse, the online community of stupidity…
We are blinded by Technology; we are giving up values that made us human in the first place. If you look at the world today society demands one thing of you: work, smartphone, eat, smartphone, sleep and pay taxes. How do we react to it? unconcerned. We can’t give a fuck because hey, look, i have just placed my comment under an article, I can be a judge online… I am an influencer… The Technology is no longer connecting people, it drives people apart. And what has history taught us: It is easy to control divided people. If we all should stand shoulder by shoulder, our gouvernments would be shitting in their pants. We need to use technology in a smarter way.
It is funny to see how some album reviewers splitt our album with technologies and non-technologies songs but if you looked at it twice, a love song like Point, overrules everything and has still today impact on technology, how many people end relationships online with a change of a facebook status or text their current partner to end up things. Jesus, disgusting…
Song: Nobody of Nowhere, how many people cannot meet up with todays “standards”, we all look fabulous online… the perfect life… Reality shows another picture. If you are not getting a tag/mark, be proud of it, people are looking for tags they want to feel special, above others. So Sometimes I feel like i am nobody from nowhere but the song captures also hope because maybe you feel like shit now and unsucceeded in life, well for me you have a place between my heart and soul, you are amazing.
Song: Lucifer, Religion is still the problem and not the solution, religious leaders are the ones with a very dark edge. Thats is not a new topic but still accurate in modern life.
I find it horrible when I see how now a days, we grab a phone to film instead of helping a person in need.
We also deal with death, a song like herodad about the loss of your father… a devasting moment that we all need to pass in life and some bandmembers have gone through this at a very young age.
How important is the cover art work for you? Can a really cool cover still sell an album in this day and age of digital download?
Thomas, Vocals: Yes, we think that both channels can go hand in hand, that is also the reason to sign as a band with a label like Wormholedeath records, they know what distribution is.
We love this question because we really thought about it in our way, with a previous releash of our EP, some people asscioated our cover with Black Metal, that typical Black/Red darkness thing.
In Italy we discussed it clearly with Carlo Belotti of Wormholedeath Records that we want to stand out with it, some of you will find it dreadfull, others will appriciate it because Yellow/Orange accents are not the typical metal/hardcore colours. We didn’t want to use techniques older than the 90’s in designing it. 90’s covers of albums were very 2D and with powerfull messages on it, we remember some covers that were remarkable in the days and got some inspiriation from them:
Biohazard “Urban Discipline”, Congress “Angry with the sun”, MachineHead “Burn my eyes” .
We added “Target Hangman” to show the world how we all became a target and constantly pointed at. It also supports our albumtitle: God Save Us As .Jpeg, we have all sold our soul to the digital devil.
Also our female designer Mieke has reworked our complete house “style”, Thomas our singer was bored looking at all the different lettertypes for Basement Critters and started drawing a figure on a piece paper and Mieke took it on board for the logo because it represent what a real basement critter looks like and Petico Magnetico was born:
So yes, as a band we invest a lot of time into it and find it important for trying to stand out on this matter.
Why is it so hard for bands that come from places not the US or UK/Sweden/Scandinavia to break big? What is success to you and is it something you’d like to achieve?
Fiwi (drum), Steve (bass): We live in small country called Belgium, known for chocolates, beer and waffles… What can we expect? Well our band is called Basement Critters for a reason, we don’t think we are aiming to break big, we are those small creatures in the corridors of your basement.
Off course we are aiming to play hopefully on venues and some small/medium festivals… We have friends in the music scene and across several European countries, we are already happy to support eachother on gigs and play it loud! We are thinking about an 8 days tour with Bleed Someone Dry and visit some countries next to us. In the circumstances now we cannot plan a lot. (covid 19)
Today the competition is harder. You got plenty of digital platforms for new talent to display their music. How do you do to really stand out in a world where everything but the music is blind to the listener?
Glenn (Guitar), Fiwi (Drum), Steve (bass): It is indeed much more difficult for a listener to find good music because the digital platforms give anyone a stage, there is no filter… You really can find good stuff but also a lot of shitty music so that is the reason we have signed with WormHoleDeath, a record label is worth much more than a digital platform, off course we use it but our WormHole Death press officer Natasja Pribac and label boss Carlo Belotti have the knowledge and experience how to use them. Otherwise we still should be swimming in our local pool instead of the wide ocean…
What is your local scene like? How important is a national scene for a band to be able to break out and make it international?
Bandstatement: We have in our little country a lot of musical talent.
Thomas (vocal) and Sven (guitar): Man, man, where do we begin…, Belgium is a place for all kinds of music but let’s stick to the heavier part. A wide variety of styles in different metal genres. Some names to show the variety: King Hiss, Psychonaut, Ostrogoth, Dyscordia, Amenra, Oathbreaker, Stake, Fractured Insanity, Spoil Engine, Hexa Mera, Signs of Algorithm, Stab, Evil Invaders… man, we can go on for hours.
You can go every weekend to a metal gig across the country, So yes our national scene is very important, we have a shitload of bands so everyone wants to hit the stage, it is difficult to break out and make it even national but we are happy with the international interest in our band.
Rock and metal has come a long way since the early 70s but still some people’s attitudes towards it seem to be left in the stone age. How accepted is metal in your area? Is it like in Finland where it seems to come with the mother’s milk?
Steve (bass): We are not complaining if you have festivals around here like Groezrock, Alcatraz, Graspop, Ieperfest, Dessertfest, Dour, Durbuy Rockfestival and much smaller fest’s…
We have venues, bars where we can play… Lets us say it is accepted but we still didn’t play on a wedding reception Metal needs to stay Metal, let’s keep it in the dark corner of the basement.
What does the future hold for you?
Glenn (Guitar): Short Radar, We want to break out and organize a big release event of our record, god save us as .jpeg,… since Covid19 we didn’t had the chance.
We are also already taking the first steps in writing new songs but first we need to present our record across Belgium and play gigs.