Thanks to the label Mausoleum I got to know of cool Belgian bands. Nowadays you gotta search other forums for that but I did find REJECT THE SICKNESS. Anders Ekdahl ©2016
How different is it releasing an album compared to a demo where there is no real pressure?.
-As we recorded everything ourselves, we had no real pressure for the first 2 releases. We had the luxury of trial and error. The biggest difference between the mini-CD (demo) and the full CD is the quality. Every new CD has to be better produced. You have to step up the game with every release. We worked with Jochem Jacobs (EX-Textures) from Split Second Sound. He did the mixing and mastering for Chains Of Solitude. He did a great job and we are happy with the result for our first long player. We are saving up a bigger budget for the next LP in 2017, so we hope we can smash faces harder with our new stuff. We’ll see how we will do it. We’ve started writing new music already, and that is the first and most important step.
What response did you get on your last album? What was the weirdest response you got?
-We are very happy with the reviews. We never thought it would be this good. For people who are interested in reviews, you can find them on our website… The weirdest response was from a German website: ‘The intro to that song was hilarious for some reason, I thought it was a yogurt ad scored by Wyclef Jean before it went into the medio-core. Also, how can Belgium be so close to the Netherlands but be so comparatively bad at death metal overall?’ We don’t care what people say, and sometimes it’s really funny too. Opinions are like assholes, everybody has one.
When you release an album and you go out and play live and people know your songs, how weird is that? That people know what you have written on your own?
-It’s always cool to meet people at shows who know your stuff. We have fans who really follow the band and that is awesome! When you play at a smaller venue and you see that people drove an hour and a half to see you perform, then you know you mean something to those fans. We work hard to get our music to a bigger audience. It’s cool that sometimes after a show people come to me and tell me they understand the lyrics, or they can relate to our concept, or that people who also work as a social worker understand the deeper pain in the lyrics. It’s really nice when people come to us and talk about gear, guitars or drum techniques. It’s metal and we are all geeks when it comes to the point, haha…
Do you feel that you have to follow in the footsteps of the last album for a new one when it comes to lyrics and artwork for example?
-Probably yes, because the stuff I want to write about is the same. It’s the same concept that we want to spread. The lyrics are about confused and abused teenagers and all the anger and emotions that go hand in hand with that horror. I work as a social worker and my job inspires me to write fictional stories about outcast youth and how they get back at society and at their molesters. Musically we will evolve and perfect our sound and songs. The longer we play together, the more clearly we see what we can do and how we want to do it. We are working on new tracks and we feel we are getting closer to the core of Reject The Sickness. Both the mini-CD and the full CD artwork was done by Tfu art. We really like his work and are extremely happy with his designs for our CDs and vinyl. We haven’t yet thought about new artwork or where we will get it done. We are working on new music and that is the most important thing.
Do you feel like you are part of a greater community because you play in a band?
-Yes, we do. The metal community is great and we are all brothers and sisters who like hard music. It’s metal that unites us. The metal community has no boundaries: everybody can be a metalhead. There’s no connection with race, religion, gender and so on… Metal can mock religion, it can mock politics, it can be about unicorns or aliens, it doesn’t matter. We are all free human beings and we play music hard, loud and fast: that is everything we all, as metalheads, like.
When you have found a sound, how hard/easy is it to come up with songs that fit into the sound?
-We know what we want to sound like. The only way to define your sound as a band is to try and write better songs every time you make music. Sometimes it takes time, sometimes you write the idea for a song in a day. But it’s not that hard to make songs that fit the sound, because it is our sound and those are our songs. We combine different styles and we do what we like, we are not trying to copy paste.
What influences/inspires you today?
-We like to listen to different types of metal bands, so in fact that influences the versatility of our songs. If you listen to the album, you’ll be on a journey, finding more than one style on your path. These days, death metal has grown into extremely technical stuff, deathcore or progressive metal, and you’ll find that mixed in with our music. But we try to keep it enjoyable by adding good melodies and some metalcore riffs. As we don’t limit our listening to a specific type of metal, we can create a kind of music that is unique today.
We hear about what state the record industry is in. Then we hear that CD sales are increasing. As a band that releases records, do you notice the state the industry is in?
-We have more downloads than we actually sell CDs or vinyl. It’s a good thing CD sales are increasing, but we do not feel that. Maybe we, as a band, are too small to notice it. We think it’s a pity that record companies don’t really invest in (smaller) bands. As a band, you have to pay a considerable amount of money to even get on board with a company. The same goes for tours. If you want to go on tour with a bigger band, then you have to pay for your slot. Slots are very expensive and though it’s a good investment to gain new fans, I don’t think you can get the money back you put into a tour. So these are the downsides of the state of the industry.
What is your opinion on digital versus physical?
-Well I’m a vinyl collector, so for me physical releases are very important. It’s so nice to have the actual record in your hands. That’s why I really wanted our release on vinyl. Digital is a different culture. I can’t really relate to it. I’m happy it’s there, so a lot of people can check you out. It also makes music very quick. I work as a social worker and at work I see how teenagers listen to music. It’s purely digital, and they often download via youtube convertors. They don’t have a clue why they should pay for music and they don’t know the difference between good or bad sound quality.
What does the future have in store?
-We signed a two-year deal with The Flaming Arts Agency. Together we are working very hard to get the band to the next level. We play the Wacken Metal Battle final in May, so fingers crossed! We play at Graspop 2016 on Thursday June 16: a small step for man, but a huge leap for the band, haha… At the end of the year we go on a 9-day tour in the UK. In 2017, we will be at more festivals and hopefully we will have a second CD/LP ready. The future’s looking bright and we hope to meet a lot of new fans.