LEMURIA is a Belgian symphonic/folk metal band that I discovered by chance but liked enough to wanting to interview them. Anders Ekdahl ©2018
When the band came into creation what was the main purpose for it?
Vincent: back into the days when I founded my first band, I was seventeen years old, and the main purpose, actually, was just to have a band. It was about having fun, mocking authority and expressing the typical teenager feelings. Simply said, playing in a band was cool. But it took me a few years to develop my view on music, to discover my own creativity. When I think of it now, those twenty years have been an enormous learning curve, with ups and downs.
How hard is it to come up with a sound that is all yours? What bits’n’pieces do you pick up from other stuff to make it your sound?
Vincent: I think people nowadays over-concentrate on originality. When you dig deep enough and when you narrow the margins enough, everything’s already been used; every note played, every word said. So I think being really original is about breaking musical rules, like we’ve seen in modern classical music.
I personally don’t want to reinvent the musical world, instead what defines my sound is what I’ve picked up along the way. I’ve incorporated certain styles and pieces of music because they moved me, because they touched my heart. And when I write music all these influences come together.
I have no idea what kind of creative process you guys go through but how hard is it to record and release new songs?
Vincent: it’s the curse of every composer or writer: the blank page :D.
How we write new songs these days is really a group effort. We all separately write dozens of riffs and ideas, and then we sit together for a couple of days to mold all these ideas together.
Releasing your music is rather difficult in Belgium. We don’t have a record company that is really Belgian, so we are forced to move abroad.
Today technology allows you to record at home and release your music digitally. But in doing so is there a risk that you release only single songs because that is what is demanded to stay atop and therefore you end up killing the album for example?
Vincent: I think the metal scene is still, and luckily, really album minded. Releasing single songs works on the internet, on Youtube, it’s a form of publicity. But I can’t imagine any big metal band releasing a song on the internet without the back-up of a full album.
I for one feel that the change in how people listen to music today, by downloading it and expecting to get it for free, will kill music as we know it. What kind of future is there for music?
Vincent: I think the future will be more focused on streaming where you either have to pay a monthly cost or sit through the advertisements.
I also think that the way how people regard the process of making music has to change. I mean for every minute of music you hear, at least 10 hours of work has been spent to write, produce, publish and promote it. So the overall mentality has to change where people don’t mind to spend 5 euros or dollars for a cup of coffee but find 1 dollar too much for downloading a digital song.
What kind of responses do you get to your music? What has been the thing that has gotten the most attention?
Vincent: we get really good responses from metalheads worldwide. But what I like most is when I meet people from outside the metal world and we talk about my band, you often can see that there’s still this prejudice of metal music being only raw, aggressive, dumb, a lot of shouting, etc. But then, when they actually hear the music, they respond like: “Wow, it’s really sophisticated and well-played” and so on.
For the second part of your question, what has gotten the most attention, I think that will be our gig on Graspop Metal Meeting 2012 where we played for several thousands of people.
We live in a world where there are no real distances between people communicating anymore. What has been the most surprising contact so far?
Jeroen: I think the beautiful thing is how people often just start chatting with us on Facebook because they heard about our music and liked it. This direct contact is awesome and one of the good things about social media.
Does playing in a band make you feel like you are a part of a greater community? What has music brought with it that you would have otherwise missed out on?
Vincent: playing in a band definitely gets you in contact with a lot more people. You get to know other bands, you get to know people who like your music, on the internet they talk about you so I think you’re really part of a greater community.
What is the live scene like for you? Do you feel that playing live helps building a bigger following?
Jeroen: We absolutely love playing live, it gives us such an adrenaline rush! Naturally, playing live really helps to get your band name out. I guess most metal fans heard about us in Belgium, since we played here so many times. But we still have work to do in our neighboring countries, so we hope to cross the border often in the near future.
What plans do you have for the future?
Jeroen: Our first focus now is to release our new album. Although the music itself is finished, there is still a lot to do: record a video-clip, organize a cd release party, create a live show, get all the PR stuff ready, … And then we want to play these new songs live as much as we can! 🙂 When all that is said and done, we just start writing the next one …