Do you feel that is has gone the way you intended when you formed back in the days?
-Not at all, since there was no real intention or ambition to begin with. When Dries started Saille he only meant to complete and record some unfinished songs that were left after his Mortifer days. He never intended to play live and it wasn’t until Reinier convinced him of the potential that he actually considered forming a real band. What happened after that is simply beyond words and our wildest dreams. So, once again: no, it didn’t go as intended, it went way beyond.
How do you feel about your latest recording? Did it come out the way you expected it to?
-I’m actually really hard on myself when judging things I cooperated it, so I always have to try to ‘update’ my initial opinion. But today, several months after the recording sessions, I can say that I’m actually quite happy with it. To be honest, Gnosis was an experiment, we didn’t want to record the same album again, so we had to leave our comfort zone, which is always hard. More black dissonance, more death influences, less keyboards, a new band concept, …, those are the updates that the new album got when compared to Eldritch. The result is an album that’s more aggressive and angry and is accompanied by a concept that’s supposed to give it a greater sense of maturity. Is it perfect? Probably not, but few things are. Our strife for perfection will continue though.
Do you feel that you by now has found a sound that is the band and that you can build on it ?
-For one reason or another we’ve had ‘that sound’ since the first album. Something that people immediately recognise as ‘a typical Saille riff’. And apparently even experimenting didn’t force that out. We have no idea what the future will bring though, ‘the rules’ of our sound are not cast in stone and evolution is important for survival.
Is having a message in the lyrics important to you? What kind of topics do you deal with?
-That’s a hard one and my opinion might differ a bit from that of my comrades, but to me it’s extremely important. We’ve always worked with themes per album (apocalyptic events, death rituals and Lovecraftian horror/cosmic nihilism) loosely tied to a main concept/message (making people see the beauty of destruction), always exploring different aspects of the chosen theme. For this album, however, I pushed for a more holistic approach, with a central band concept and an album to accompany that concept, ‘Gnosis’ (or knowledge) and the Promethean/Luciferian ideal. This ideal fits perfectly within the Saille concept, even without replacing it or throwing out the old concepts/links. Saille as a teacher, a mentor. Even if our lyrics convince one person to pick up a book and improve the world it’s been worth every effort. The only danger is that we shouldn’t take an approach that’s too spiritual, how much I personally would love to do this. The band exists for the biggest part of atheists/antitheists/…, so that would be completely dishonest. I guess I’ll have to explore that path with another project some day.
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?
-To me it’s crucial have a cover that captures the feel of the album for the full 100%, it’s part of a whole and should not be neglected. The general importance of cover art, however, has been significantly lowered since the rise of digital media. Kids discover more music in Spotify playlists or fan made YouTube video’s than in record stores these days. It doesn’t do any harm to have a great cover though.
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?
-For starters, those countries are established names when it comes to certain genres, because of the pioneering that was done there, and people are more convinced of the capabilities of bands from those countries because of that, even if a particular band actually has as much talent as a brick. Also those countries tend to have very active scenes for the same reasons. Throw in a couple of bookers/organisers that keep in touch with the local underground and you’ve got a foot behind the door.
To me, success is doing what I do now without boundaries and being able to live comfortably. If we ever manage to earn a little extra or even live of the band, that would be awesome, as long as it stays honest.
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?
-By working hard. Every dumbass with a pc, instruments and an audio interface can make songs these days, it’s just a matter of being better than they are. You want people to find your music before they find other music: make sure it’s available and invest in promotional techniques. You want people to stay interested: make sure it’s good and STAYS interesting. You want people to stay updated: make sure they can follow your every move and make it as easy as possible for them to do this. And shows, shows, shows. Few bands can survive by staying out of the stage lights.
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?
-A large part of the local scene collapsed around 2007/2008. Bands were quitting, organisations closed shelves, bars were closing and there was a lack of new folks. But the last couple of years things are getting interesting again. Take my hometown Antwerp, it’s host to ‘Ondergronds’ and ‘Rodeo’, 2 organisation that organise several shows a month, providing touring bands with at least 4 possible venues and local support consisting of dozens of black/death/speed/thrash/doom/stoner bands. These are probably the most active organisations in the country, but every region has its bands and people organising shows.
Breaking out of the country is hard though, Belgium is not one of those established names mentioned earlier, but it’s not impossible. For example. Aborted, Brutus, Evil Invaders and Bliksem have been touring their asses off the last couple of years, with great success.
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?
I’m a tattooed long haired guy in black metal shirts who works in the IT department of a company that earns millions of Euro’s each year. I think it’s safe to say we don’t have anything to complain, except for metal getting too mainstream. And even so, the fundaments of metal are rebellion and pissing in the stream, so why the hell should I care if some idiot chooses not to accept my lifestyle? If somebody want safe spaces, I suggest that person finds himself another scene to subscribe to.
What does the future hold for you?
First, promoting and releasing Gnosis. After that, we’ll focus on the shows (there’s a lot coming), and in a couple of months, we’ll start writing album 5. Exciting times coming up!