Their second album smashes it and with so far really great single's it was like screaming at me: get an interview with them and try to promote this band a bit more as they really deserve it! The talented people from Belgium where so kind to answer to all my questions! Time for a chat about the album, their sound, their style, influences ...
Seems like this is my first interview with you guys! A Slice of Life is connected to the Bauhaus song, but somehow I hear more The Cure in your music, so how come you picked out this name?
Dirk: I remember that we did not really give a deep thought about picking a name for the project as it was in the beginning. At that time we even (Guy and me) were just making songs for fun and did not think about starting a band to play the songs. Because the first contact between Guy and Dirk was a cover we did online of She’s In Parties and the songs we already made together for this new project were about life in all aspects we referred with A SLICE OF LIFE to that first contact and to the songs we like to bring. On the other hand we do not feel there is a lot of THECURE in our music. Sometimes the vocals come close to the timbre of RS but music wise we do not think it really sounds like The Cure.
Your first album worked out well. How do you look back at it?
Fix: We were happily surprised with the positive feedback we got when we released our debut album. It gave us visibility within the dark scene and this also resulted in performances at big festivals like WGT in Leipzig or W-Fest in Belgium. We are still very satisfied with the songs present on this album. However, when we think in terms of production/recording, we might have processed today in a different way. This was our first recording effort as a band, so we kind of jumped into it without always taking the necessary steps to finetune details. Our second album has more production in it and we spent more time on it. Koenraad Foesters did again a great job for the mix and mastering and he played a bigger role this time as he was also involved in parts of the recording process whereas the first album was entirely recorded by ourselves.
You also launched a Flemish song that got linked to Aroma di Amore, can you tell me how and why you decided to go for this song and how it all got done?
Dirk: Completely coincidental. The working process is as such that when there is a demo of a song someone created that I listen to the song over and over in the car waiting for inspiration to strike with regards to lyrics and vocal lines. For this song I sat in the car and nothing really good came into mind in English. Suddenly inspiration struck and the line LIEFDE IS OORLOG, MIJN LIEFDE DOET PIJN fell out of the sky. From there I think it took around 5 minutes in the car to find more words and lyrics and when I arrived at work I started to write down the rest of the lyrics. The rest of the lyrics were written in not even half an hour. But we had a hard time in the band to convince everyone that the song could really have an effect live. We did notice it when we performed it live: each time the song actually works. Luckily even in Germany and France it worked: singing in Flemish!
The new album is darker than ever, however the album title tells that you cleaned the table and will start with a clean sheet and leave all the madness, sadness, unhappiness … behind you
Dirk: The title does suggest it is time to go make a complete change, however it does not say that the work is done yet.
Guy: Lyrically, indeed, the album touches some heavy themes like loss and even death, but at the same time it contains a song like Matterhorn which tells the story of a puppy love during a trip in the Swiss mountains. Or a song like Cavern that ends with a hopeful message ‘...step into the light….’. So it’s not all about doom & gloom.
I feel like COVID-19 had a huge influence on the album, next to personal and very dark feelings? Personal troubles almost killed you or do I go too far with this idea?
Dirk: I rather have the songs and feelings that are in the songs speak for themselves instead of talking about it. The feelings reflected in the songs are not necessarily exactly what I experienced in reality. There is still something like freedom of writing. It is too complex to talk about everything which is related and behind the song and how they feel dark because there is too much that played and plays a part in it. But you are completely right that the effects of COVID-19 are hearable but definitely feelable on this record. I think that almost everyone can relate to the fact that the effects of Covid on physical health are nothing compared to the effects on mental health: more and more people got alienated from their family, friends, society and themselves. We can have a whole discussion about this, but if you did not experience this yourself then consider yourself lucky, but I am sure you know several others. So yes it is very complex but COVID-19 not only had a straightforward effect on the album (not able to rehearse, postpone, postpone,…) but also a mental one.
7 Days is still one of the hottest tracks on the album. What is the real red line of the song? How is the feedback so far?
Dirk: The red line of the song is a complete personal crash after losing both parents. It describes the crash and the descent into the abyss. We received great feedback on the single and the video and one of the comments is that people do not understand why the song is not picked up by national radio and press. It’s something more bands like us suffer from and it is mainly a pity that because of that people that might like our music do not get the chance to discover it.
For the first time we hear a second voice next to yours. How did you end up doing a duet and how did you worked it out with Els Van Herck?
Dirk: Actually in the home demo I felt there was a need for higher vocals in the background so I tested with my own voice. But when I listened to it I felt it really needed that female touch which I can’t naturally give, so it was just better to go look for the right female vocals. I knew Els from decades ago (time goes by so fast) and we met by coincidence again. Since I knew she liked to sing and did sing in the past I invited her to give the song a try. Her voice blends very well in this song so we are very pleased she wanted to try it cause the result is splendid.
Is Anywhere But Home a break up song or how do we have to see it?
Dirk: It was not written as a breakup song as such. It is more a stream of thoughts of someone analysing the situation he/she is in.
Fortress Of Solitude is a very sad song, sounds almost like a depressing ballad and enriches the sound of the album (giving it a wider auditive touch). Was it hard to record this song as it feels as if shedding a tear was close by? Will you be able to perform it on stage?
Dirk: if there is one song that describes loneliness (due to covid and the isolation, or just in general) it is this one. It started as a song about someone else, but in the end I noticed it kind of was a way to hide my own feelings as well. The further in the process the more the song grew personal.
Fix: Fortress of Solitude is the only song that almost was excluded from the album, as actually half of the band were not fully convinced it would fit the album’s atmosphere. We tried several versions of this song, some of them left more or less space for orchestral parts and eventually we decided to go for it. We would of course like to perform it on stage, notably at the album release shows, but we’ll do so only if we manage to properly interpret the feel of the song, maybe even without the full orchestration.
Animal Instinct sounds very strong and might be according to me the new single. Once again the sound is a bit different as the other tracks, but I really love it. What’s the catch? To what is animal instinct referring to? What do you think about what I wrote about this song?
Thanks a lot for the comment. We really struggled with that song to be honest. It started out as a guitar driven song and we felt it had a nice riff but when we were working on the song we had the impression the song missed something extra. We even tried to build more dynamics in it by slowing down in some parts but it did not work out. Until someone external suggested to make it much more electronic instead of based on the guitars. Suddenly the song fell on its place. If I think about it, the song is probably the very first political related song I wrote. Animal Instinct is about the politics of the Trumps, the Putins, the Kim Yong-Uns, the Erdogans, the Bolsonaros,…. of this world. The way they show-off because they take things personally and drag the whole world down with their crazy plans. Plans which are just based on their own bestial instincts. But it is also about our own politicians in Belgium and how they drive politics: on how they do everything out of instinct for their own personal benefit (or just maybe financially take care of themselves and their own families: taking care of your family is also a natural animal instinct). And it just makes me angry to see what is happening. It’s a rage song.
Will there be another remix soon or later of one of the tracks on the album?
We cannot tell. It is always an option but we have no immediate plans in that direction.
Is there a dream band that always can call you up 24h before the gig and will make you jump up to get it done?
Fix: This is a tough one. As you know we’re 6 in the band and some of us have different musical influences, so I’m sure we would all come up with very different answers. Personally it would be Gary Numan. For others it would maybe be Editors. For others maybe The Chameleons or The Cure?
What will the future bring? Already announced gigs? A new single? Getting already some good feedback about the album?
Fix: We hope to promote “Tabula Rasa” live as much as possible. So far we already have a set of gigs planned in October and November in Belgium and Germany. Hopefully we’ll be able to perform in the Netherlands and in France as well in the coming months. The first feedback we received, mainly about our first single, were very positive. Those who could listen to the full album were actually impressed by the production and the sound, especially on vinyl. We’ll release a new single as well as a new video shortly after the album release.
Guy: The video of that new single will probably surprise some people.
What can we wish you?
Guy: We just hope that people who already know us also like this album and we can even surprise them with some new sounds and moods. And of course that we get the opportunities to reach out to people who don’t know us yet.
Presave now: https://tinyurl.com/TabulaRasaPreSave
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