Belgian thrash brings back a flash from the past. But DEVASTATIÖN are as contemporary as the present and they have a new EP out now. Anders Ekdahl ©2017
Do you feel that is has gone the way you intended when you formed back in the days?
-When we started with the band, our intentions were to create the music we loved the most and while we were at it, having as much fun as possible doing so.
We were a bunch of pimple-headed friends with the same taste of music, but lacking experience in playing teutonic thrash metal.
Tim: “The first demo that we recorded back in 2006 felt like a great achievement for us and too this day we are still proud of it. With the creation of ‘Society will Die’ as our first song ever written, Devastatiön was born. It felt right to honor this song and properly re-record it for the new Ep.”
Mathieu: “Intentions for a clear future in the music industry were never really made. We never gave the path we were taking too much thought, letting the music evolve naturally. With this new Ep, we feel like that we are actually quite on track and ready to take it to the next level.”
How do you feel about your latest recording? Did it come out the way you expected it to?
Tim: “We had to go into the studio with quite a rush, even while some songs weren’t finished yet. Fortunately, we had already worked with the studio for our former two albums, so they knew what we wanted and how we should sound.”
Mathieu: “Eventually the result was better than we could’ve expected, but I guess good teamwork pays off after all. The sound of each song, the vibe of the Ep as a whole is exactly what we wish to stand and to strive for.”
Do you feel that you by now has found a sound that is the band and that you can build on it ?
Tim: “Yes, but we are still evolving. Our first full lenght was more pure thrash while our second album had more influences from black, death and rock ’n roll. I think with the new Ep those influences are more recognizable. The core will always be thrash, but we are exploring the boundaries.”
Is having a message in the lyrics important to you? What kind of topics do you deal with?
Mathieu: “I used to come from writing lyrics based on personal -fail- stories and political opinions. Getting older shifted my taste in lyrics more towards gruesome topics, which sometimes represent the more darker metaphorics in life.
This doesn’t mean that humor is now less important to us. In every album you will always be able to find a twist of it around the corner.
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?
Tim: “For me personally, I still believe it’s very important. I still buy albums just by looking at the cover artwork (and sometimes regretting it). You can read the identity of a band through the artwork.
I still remember buying the first Necromantia album when I was a kid just because of the cool artwork. My first Unleashed album I bought just because they had a great logo. The digital platform has changed the music industry very much, but I still believe/hope that within the metalscene people still hold on to real records, cd’s, vinyl,.. instead of digital formats.”
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?
Tim: “We think that having success isn’t something that any band can achieve easily. There are so many bands to ‘compete’ with and there is just a lot of talent in this world.
I think mainly it comes down to putting a lot of effort in promo, knowing people and probably having money that you invest that helps you the most. Well, you’ll have to make some good music too of course.”
Mathieu: “This in combo with all the mayor production labels originating from US/UK/Scandinavia, it seems logical that bands from these countries get noticed more easily by those firms. I also think that having the biggest labels translates into having a bigger and more active metalscene.”
We praise ourselves quite lucky to have signed ‘Empire Records’, without stressing ourselves to much with lots of effort.
Our foremost goal is to always keep the fun in doing what we do and creating the music we love. We never had the vision of having this big future layed out for us.
What would be nice is to have opportunities to play abroad, and give those people a taste too of our furious music.
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?
Mathieu: “Hah, well that’s an interesting thing, meaning that we are probably the laziest persons in promoting our own music. Everyone of us comes from the era where social media, digital platforms and internet in general were non-existent. So we are not the people who ever invested our time in finding out the ways of exploiting those.
We think that now, with the help of the label, this will improve a bit. We are also trying, with the help of a friend, to -finally- create our own website, and thinking of putting our first two albums on Spotify.
This is not standing out from other bands, but more following in their lead. The only thing that can differentiate us, is our music.”
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?
Tim: “We used to have a very big metal scene in our neighbourghood, but the last couple of years it has decreased very much. People are growing older and are having families, meaning their interests are shifting in other directions.
The die-hard core remains, and we still see those people on (our) shows.
I think that in Belgium, it is harder for our national scene to make a difference for a band to break out internationally. It is still very important to have the support of your national scene, but on this matter we are quite overshadowed as an example by our neighbour country Germany.”
Mathieu: “If we take a look at the course that ‘Evil Invaders’ made, they already played internationally, before they were even asked to play on one of our biggest national metal festivals.”
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?
Mathieu: “Metal is more passed on through the seeds of old Rock’n Roll, then through mother’s milk. Nobody will judge you if you like the oldies like AC/DC, Meatloaf, Deep Purple, etc… We started listening to those with our fathers, but soon evolved more towards the rougher and faster guitar streaks.
People will always judge someone who looks different, but I think metal has never been more mainstream then before, although in the 90s you had MTV who played Sepultura, Metallica, Motörhead,… that is now replaced by facebook and other ‘social’ media.
What does the future hold for you?
-Only Satan knows