Why does anybody want to play thrash metal?
Jeroen: Why the hell not? Almost sounds like you don’t like thrash metal, haha ! Besides, we don’t play jùst thrashmetal, there are a lot of death-influences in our style. This style we now play fits like a glove to all the bandmembers. Our sound has evolved from melodic death to a more rawer mix of thrash and death, a style we all feel more than comfortable too!
The first time I read your band name I thought you were a black/death metal band. Why the choice of name?
Jeroen: Izegrim comes from an old Dutch epos called “Of Reynaert the Fox”. In this epos, where there are just animals, there’s a wolf called Izegrim (or Isegrim). It’s an old story about greed and betrayal. The wolf Izegrim, as many other animals in this story, got betrayed by the smart Fox Reynaert. Furthermore, in old Dutch, Izegrim also stands for malicious and grumpy. That suits the overall feeling and attitude the metalscene is about.
You’ve been through a couple of line-up changes. How hard a blow is it when members leave and new ones come?
Jeroen: Well, like with everything: the strength of the band is measured by its weakest link. When bandmembers leave a band, the reasons can be numerous. In our situation it was only for the best that they left Izegrim and we are still really close friends with all the former bandmembers. When someone loses interest in metal or wants to pursue other interests in their personal life, than it’s better that they leave the band.
-Our drummer and singer left the band in 2008, but we’ve always had a steady line-up since 2004 (Marloes, Bart and Jeroen).
-With our new recruit Ivo (on drums) things really started to change how we write songs. Bart and I had more possibilities to write riffs and deal with rythms and breaks. Where the old albums have some stoner and groove-influences, you can now hear more staccato based riffage, more thrashy.
-Acting as a quartet has some advantages too, we all have the same goals and are utmost motivated to take Izegrim to the next level. I can honestly admit that we have never worked this hard in the longlasting history of Izegrim.
Now that you’ve signed with Listenable does it feel like you’ve come home after having wandered the desert with different small labels/self releases?
Jeroen: Yes, it sure was a long trip, but now it feels like we are settled and ready for the next step. It certainly is a sort of new start. Our former label (Rusty Cage Record) did a great job, but we can notice a big difference, now we are signed to a major label. It’s great to see all the exposure our new release is getting at the moment. Code of Consequences is received very positive by the media (as well as by our fans). Now it is time to take Izegrim to the next level, with the help of Listenable. For us it was clear from the beginning that this alliance would turn out to be a fruitful one. Listenable has a substantial name in the metal-industry and we are honoured to be on a roster with bands like Hate and Gojira.
How different is being signed to Listenable compared to your previous label(s)?
Jeroen: Like I stated before, the exposure is huge compared to a self-financed release or a being signed to an underground label. When the album got released I did tons of interviews, our record was in every major magazine, our songs were on many samplers that came with printed magazines etc etc.
-Rusty Cage Records simply did not have the resources (time, money, personel) that Listenable has. It’s not fair to compare the work both companies did (do) for us. RCR did a tremendous job with the resources they had.
I might be wrong but to me there seems to be a strong, if not political at least social concept behind the lyrics. How important are the lyrics to you?
Jeroen: In the past we indeed had several political themes. Our former drummer (and founding member) was responsible for all the lyrics and the whole concept behind Izegrim. Nowadays lyrics are still important, but we’ve stepped away from producing conceptual albums which tell a story from A to Z. There is however a main theme within the lyrics on ‘Code of Consequences’; the older we get, the more actions we have taken, the more consequences you have to bear. It’s about reaching your (personal) goals by any means. This could relate to selfish behaviour, killing your beloved ones or even creating your own secret organisation to fulfil your needs
How liberal is Holland in actual reality? To me it seems that even Holland is going towards a less tolerant society.
Jeroen: I guess you are right. I think you can see this movement in whole Europe nowadays. With the financial crisis and the economy in general going downwards, one just needs a incident to start riots and other madness. For example the recent riots in England. It is said that the main reason for those riots are substantial hate towards the governmental system in general, which causes a greater gap between the poor and the rich. This situation (and other things like immigrant-policies) seems to lead to a less tolerant society, and yes; we are suffering from that in Holland too.
With a history of previous records how much touring have you done and how important is playing live today in an age that seem less about personal interaction and more about communicating electronically?
Jeroen: I want to make perfectly clear that Izegrim is ALL about playing live for us. That’s the main reason why we play in the band. Playing live, meeting new people, having a good time with our fans is the best way for us to enjoy all the hard work we’ve put into the cd. We’re not the typical play-and-stay-backstage band. We want to party, haha !
-The past few years we’ve played a shitload of weekend-shows all across Europe (Holland, Belgium, Germany, Lithuania, Bulgaria etc etc) and some smaller tours for example supporting Entombed (3 or 4 day-tours). All in all we don’t have to complain about the gigs we’ve played. We are working on a European tour, but in these days it’s really difficult to get things going and supporting a well-known band for about 3 or 4 weeks in a row.
-Communication through internet is also very important for us. It’s just another way to communicate with fans (new and old) and I am a strong believer that this kind of communication is also personal. It’s not like someone else is typing a message when I have a good conversation or write an email.
Izegrim is a pretty well established name on the thrash metal scene. Is that something you can use in building a bigger fan base; that people have already heard of you?
Jeroen: Yes, it’s like a snowball rolling down a big snowy hill. The bigger it gets, the more people will hear about you. We can definately see this at (for instance) our Facebook and other internet-media. We are now working really hard to get our name accross the countries where they don’t have a clue what Izegrim is about (and you are helping us with our mission, haha).
I remember that I downloaded one of your records a couple of years back. How important is the digital download scene in making new fans?
Jeroen: I hope it was a legal download ??!! Hahahaha ! Don’t know the exact numbers of digital downloads on our current record, but I know that the record that was release by Rusty Cage Records (Tribute to Totalitarianism) was not that well downloaded. Could be the lack of good promotion. My wild guess is that metalfans in general don’t like to download the cd’s. Moreoften the artwork is great on the cd’s, so you’d rather choose to buy the original package in a regular shop with the original booklet.
-To reach more fans our record was free as a download at the Terrorizer Magazine (one of Englands leading magazines) and ofcourse we’ve put several new songs online on our Myspace and Facebook to promote the new album.
With the change in people’s ways of consuming music how do you go about maintaining a viable economical level to your music/recording?
Jeroen: Well, we don’t have to live from the band. We all have our regular jobs so our mortgages are not paid by the income we generate with Izegrim. This is simply not possible. Nevertheless it’s getting more and more difficult these days to maintain a certain level of sales. Advertements in magazines are getting more expensive as sales (and income for the recordcompanies) are declining. More and more underground recordcompanies (like our former company) are struggling to keep their business running properly, but too often you see that they cannot continue their work… unfortunately.
How far do you see Izegrim going in the future?
Jeroen: With our deal with Listenable and our cooperation with TMR-Music-Promotions as our agency we are convinced that 2012 will become a very busy year for us. Right now we are scheduling new gigs and hopefully we can do a tour.
Where this all will end ? We don’t know, but I’m sure you will hear a lot from us in the future !