Belgium might not be the first place your mind wanders off to when you think metal but dig just a bit under the surface and you’ll find cool bands, like SONS OF A WANTED MAN. Anders Ekdahl ©2017
You have one of these names that do not really tell what kind of metal you play. How hard was it to come up with the name?
-We’re not sure if that’s a good or a bad thing. It might mean that Sons Of A Wanted Man isn’t a cliché sounding name but we wonder if it might also mean that people wouldn’t bother checking us out if they saw it on a flyer somewhere. Anyway, we still really like the name and we think that it still suggests what the band stands for; a gathering of young men playing dark and heavy music. It’s probably a name from which people don’t really know what to expect and we consider that to be a good thing. We tend to experiment with a lot of genres, so it’s probably better if people come to our shows not knowing what to expect.
As I am sure of we are quite a few that are rather new to you guys could you give us a short introduction to the band?
-Sons Of A Wanted Man is a young post-metal band from Belgium. We have released a 7” in 2015 and now we are releasing our EP “Black Days Black Dust” on Pulverised Records. We experiment with genres like post-rock, post-metal, black metal, shoegaze, doom metal, hardcore,… all the good stuff. Bands that have heavily influenced us are Russian Circles, Gojira, Cult of Luna, Alcest, Neurosis, Deafheaven, Year Of No Light, and many more.
We all carry baggage with us that affects us in one way or another but what would you say have been the single greatest influence on your sound?
-Well that’s quite a difficult question. We all have very different backgrounds since we have played in a lot of different bands before Sons Of A Wanted Man. Roughly speaking, our drummer and our singer have played in death metal bands and our guitar player and bass player have played in post-rock bands. We have a lot of different influences so picking a single greatest influence is simply impossible.
Is it important that there is some sort of local scene for a band to develop or can a band still exist in a vacuum of no scene/no bands?
-Is Belgium a good place to be a metal band? Artists that don’t really have a local scene to rely on, now have a ton of more possibilities since the rise of social media. They can reach an audience from thousands of miles away with just one click on Bandcamp, Youtube or Soundcloud. In that scenario, a local scene may have become a little less important for artists to build a reputation. But we as a band are pretty old school when it comes to that. Sure, we use social media to promote our music. But when it comes to building a reputation, we prefer to reach our audience by playing live shows with other local (or not-so-local) bands. And when we play in the Netherlands, Germany, France,… we still need people who can promote these shows inside the local (underground) scene. So for bands like us, who live to play live, local scenes are extremely important. But it’s not like the Belgian scene is just out there for us to take. Even inside Belgium we sometimes have to work hard to get gigs on the other side of the country. So we would say Belgium is a relatively good place for a metal band and we love the people who have given us the chances to promote our music here because we do have a lot of cool venues and festivals. But we always keep our eyes open for opportunities in other countries, since Belgium is also pretty small, especially when you make extreme metal for a niche audience.
Something I have often wondered about is if you feel that you are part of something bigger and greater when you play in a band, that you are part of a movement sort of?
-There are always other artists that you can connect with, because they go through the same things as an underground band. So we certainly have a feeling that we are a part of the extreme metal underground scene. But we wouldn’t consider it a movement, because with some bands it’s pretty hard to see what they actually stand for. But when it comes to our audience, we probably underestimate what our music can mean to them. We still make music for ourselves in the first place, not to please anyone else. We are just glad that there are also other people who like it too. But when we play a live show and people come up to us and tell us what the show has done for them emotionally, we come to the conclusion that we might have underestimated what kind of impact our music can have on a listener. We just make music and we put our hearts and hard work in there and we try to touch other people with it. But no, we do not consider ourselves to be a part of something bigger or greater.
When you play the sort of music you play I guess you cannot have birds and bees on the cover of your album? What is a great album cover to you?
-It’s not like we are trying to be the most dark or extreme band out there. We simply make music that comes naturally. We also believe in that where there is darkness, there must also be light. Our music is a rather positive experience for all of us, but we can’t deny the fact that we do have some rather heavy and aggressive parts in there. We don’t really use criteria to choose an album cover. There has to be a certain connection between our music and the cover. With the album cover of “Black Days Black Dust” we all felt this connection. We also like to use artwork by artists we know personally. The cover from “Black Days Black Dust” is a picture taken by our bass players’ dad in the late 70’s.
With digital downloading follows a change in how people listen to music. Instead of hearing full albums they jump from track to track with different bands. Is there any danger that this ADD kind of listening to music will eventually kill the album and music like we know it today?
-Even though digital downloading provides a level of comfort, because you can listen to whatever you like wherever you like whenever you like, we still think todays’ kids will enjoy playing records at home. Sure, we will still have singles, but their main reason of survival will probably be to promote albums. Especially in the metal scene, people will still like to have a physical copy of an album. Because if you put a lot effort in an album, people will probably appreciate it and still buy it. Don’t forget that wherever there is a movement, there will almost always be the countermovement.
You have been playing live frequently. What kind live scene is there for bands like yours? When you play live is it a happening or do you see it more as a party?
-We work really hard to reach our audience through live shows because that’s something we absolutely love to do. Since our music is a sort of heavy, dark kind of metal, we feel our shows certainly have a level of dark ritual gathering-atmosphere because we remain to be an underground act
When you play live what kind of happening is it? What kind of stage presence suits your music best?
-We love to play small stages where the audience is right in our face and where we don’t need a lot of lighting. We usually bring our own lights so we are not bothered with the disco-like PA lights. We like it dark, loud and intense.
What would you like to see the future bring?
-We hope a lot of people will like our EP when it comes out on Pulverised Records. We are also writing new material so we hope to release that in the future. And we hope to play more cool live shows. Thank you very much for this interview, we really appreciate it.