Hi, guys! How’re you doing, still at work or opened a bottle of beer and chilling?
Bart: Hi Alex, I am doing fine, thanks, just got in the couch after a busy day. No beer though. Usually I don’t drink alcohol if I have to work the day after. I work as a clinical psychologist and want to give the best I can.
Owen: no beer for me this evening but some smokeable stuff helps with chilling for me, haha.
Jasper: no beer here either, but chilling nonetheless.
Must say that I`m really waiting for this new album, it`s gonna be huge, I`m feeling it with my guts, haha! Could you open the concept behind the music and visual (art) parts?
Owen: It’s been a while since we released our first full-length; It does seem like people are pretty excited for this record, judging by what we’ve heard from friends and fans on socials. There’s no telling how an album is going to be received but we’re pretty happy and excited too. Our vocalist and us parted ways in 2020, and we struggled to find a good replacement, so I ended up doing vocals full-time alongside drumming. All lyrics were written during the pandemic, which at this point seems beaten to death, but it did inspire me to look back on all the years of making music with this band. There was the sheer strangeness of waking up in a worldwide lockdown and whatever horrors we’ll have to endure next (climate change, political unrest, economic breakdown, etc.), our place in history and so forth. I lost a close friend and colleague to the corona virus, so all those things culminated in the concept of living through cycles of repeated history, the beginning and end of all things, that sort of stuff. Circles, the title track we just released, is about the core of that existential crisis, the physics of life and death and the meaninglessness of everything. Other songs deal with different themes. Depression and self-loathing, the rise of the far-right across the world, late stage capitalism and other things. There are lyrics that allude to older songs of ours, or they contain references to other media (there’s one line “Squirm in our peace”, which Dune fans might recognize as being part of a quote from the God Emperor Leto II, who is basically a giant collection of worms who inherited all humans’ genetic memories). I came up with the main ideas for the artwork, with all elements reflecting imagery used in the literary part of things, and Jasper did a great job of tying all of it together. It’s pretty much exactly what we imagined while discussing the concept. Fun, because the cover is like an easter egg hunt now. I’m also pretty happy with the mix and master I was able to get out of the recording, we do everything DIY so it’s been a steep but satisfying learning curve. I feel like production gets better with every release so I’m excited for people to hear the full thing and all the neat stuff we put in there.
Do you have any plans for a release show for “Circles”? How is the covid situation in your country, are you allowed to do gigs?
Bart: We will be doing a release show for the new LP. It could be a double release party as the split 10″ with Disuse will come back from the pressing plant around the same time. We will bring a whole new set with quite some new songs.
Loner Cult rec is going to help you to release this LP, right? And this label is taking care of your debut album as well, as far as I know. Tell us a little about both releases please (release date, bonuses, etc).
Bart: 4 labels will release the new lp: Loner Cult indeed, Up the Punx from Poland, Romantic Songs records from Spain and our own Halenoise records. We are very happy to work with these diy labels for this release. With some of them, we go way back. The album arrives February 28th. Artwork is provided by our own Jasper! There will be one special colour and a poster. We will release the first lp also as it previously only was released digitally (and on a few cdr’s). Loner cult and Halenoise will certainly be involved, but it isn’t really planned yet. The first lp will be remastered. We expect it in the second half of 2022.
Owen: We’re still in the process of remixing and remastering the first album, we’ve just been busy wrapping up other things first. I’m guessing we can get the first album pressed in the first quarter of 2022. Maybe we’ll have new artwork and a poster.
Jasper this one is for you. Your arts are fucking magical, where did you learn to draw like that? When this madness has started, does it help you to get a little extra $ for your life? And what is “Infested Art”?
Jasper: Thanks a lot! I’ve been drawing for as long as I can remember. Though I studied art in high school and a couple of years in college I learned most of it on my own. As far as money goes every cent helps haha. Drawing is my only source of income. Infested Art, because I don’t really consider what I make is art in a traditional sense or at least what I got told art was in school. In my opinion a lot of things can be art and it’s all very much subjective. People should decide for themselves what is art to them and what isn’t.
What is 2021 for Days of Desolation? Please, sum up this year, if it’s not difficult.
Bart: 2021? Owen and Jasper finalized the album. I went to visit them from time to time. They were my only contacts during covid besides work. And now we start rehearsing again for the first time in 2 years. And II’ll earn all the new songs to perform them live.
Owen: A lot of stalling on recording vocals, mainly. Other than that: new record! New record!
Can music shape a person, his behavior, temper, etc?
Bart: I certainly believe in the power of music. Music has meant a whole fucking lot for me during my life. I found a lot of support and fine contacts in the global diy scene. But it is just one of the many factors that shape a person…
Owen: Music can definitely move people, though sometimes it’s still just music at the end of the day and it’s hard to say to what extent the general populace thinks deeply about how much they need it as a form of entertainment. I’m glad it’s there, all of our lives would be much bleaker without it.
Jasper: I have little to add to what the other guys said haha.
How did you meet each other in the band? When did you discover crust and grind? And what the hell made you want to start doing your own noise?)
Bart: I joined the band in 2017 after my previous band Nervous mothers split up. So I mailed them to ask them if they needed a second guitar player and they welcomed me with great warmth. I have been involved in the Belgian diy scene since the 90s, played in the band Vuur in the ’00s. I have always been interested in crust and grind, after I saw Disrupt in 1993 in the vortn vis in Ypres. There was a great belgian crust/grind scene in the 90s with bands like Hiatus, Unhinged, Insane youth, Corpus christi, Agathocles, Intestinal disease,…. . I started my first crust band with 6 people from my class.
Owen: There are so many aspects to listening and making music that we find enjoyable, it’s hard to pin down why we started doing it. Probably because it seemed fun, and turns out we do kind of need it to stay mentally stable. I guess me and Jasper, and another friend at that time who has since moved to Germany full-time, just really wanted to do a crust band with blastbeats. We didn’t have a drummer so I started taking things more seriously, over time we embraced the blastbeat fully, which I think is a good evolution. I started getting obsessed with grindcore at the ripe age of fourteen, mainly listening to Swedish bands at first. The three of us are deep into hardcore, crust and grind, and other genres, and the new album is pretty eclectic in how we ultimately fit in those influences. None of that was very deliberate and we didn’t think about particular bands we wanted to rip off, so it’s nice to be able to do whatever you want with this type of music.
Jasper: I discovered crust and grind when I was around 16 and got more and more hooked ever since. Like Owen said, it’s hard to pin down why I started doing making noise, but I can say now though it gives me great satisfaction making something and hearing it come together.
Do you support the underground scene (buy music releases, go to the gigs of the local bands)? What was the most awesome gig that you visited during 2019 – 2021?
Bart: Support your local scene! We also started a distro this year, to support our label Halenoise records. It has been too long since I saw a gig though. I haven’t been to a gig since the start of Covid. Memorable stuff from right before that was Plf. Seein’ red,… .
Owen: We try to do what we can! Sometimes it’s hard to make time for local gigs, and there obviously isn’t much going on right now. Luckily, people are pretty engaged. The coolest show I went to was Envy (the Japanese band) in Hasselt, December 2019.
Jasper: Always support. Most of my money goes to buying records. It’s hard to remember the last time I went to a show, but Envy (huge sound) and PLF with Sick of Stupidity and Disuse definitely stand out. Other than that I have to say the Global Grindcore Alliance thing was super cool. Loads of great bands.
Are there some complications when you perform on stage? It takes a lot of effort to pour from the stage such huge energy. Do you get really tired after your gigs?
Owen: Our sets aren’t too long and our gear is pretty simplistically organized. These new songs are going to be hell for me to sing, but I’m used to doing drums and vocals simultaneously. Just a matter of practice and staying in shape! And it’s a good excuse to smoke less.
Bart: Haha, my condition sucks unfortunately, so I sweat like a horse on stage. We improved live though I think. Our sound has become better. I switch my signal to a guitar amp and a bass amp. It is a bit of a search to find a good balance between Jaspers guitar and my guitar and bass sound.
Jasper: Nothing too complicated for me. I just plug in my stuff and I’m good to go haha. I usually feel a bit more energised after the show.
Boring questions, ha! Can you tell us about your other music project guys?
Bart: Besides Days of desolation, I play with Jasper in Arrogänt. We know each other for a long time. I played with Nico (travølta, loner cult records) in Vuur, so it was nice to get together again in Arrogänt.
Owen: Sorry for the boring answers! At this point I’m more than fine with everyone taking all the time they need to make a good record. For me personally, I’m almost constantly making something, and we have a lot of projects going on. Frequency Eater, Monnier, Arrogant, China Syndrome, etc. are all projects that involve us, and that we can pick up and do something with whenever we like. It’s good to stay busy, but I also feel like music should say something and be a language for what we really want to express. I think that produces the most authentic forms of art. Music definitely has a lot of facets that contribute to whatever mood or idea you want to get across, sometimes that inspiration can’t be forced and it needs to grow. It can take time for sure. Then there’s projects like Dahmer Duck, where it’s just a lot of fun writing and recording without the stress of having to perform or promote the music. I also recently joined a post-metal outfit called Sons Of A Wanted Man as their drummer and it’s providing me with a lot of opportunities to do different things musically as well.
Jasper: Like Bart said, we’re in Arrogänt together along with members of Travolta, Hetze and Capital Scum. I also have Monnier with Makiko from Flagitious Idiosyncrasy in the Dilapidation on vocals. China Syndrome has been inactive for a while now, but I would like to do a new record sooner than later. Not sure about quality over quantity. I’m not too bothered with the amount of stuff other bands put out. If I like something then I like it, if I don’t then that’s fine too.
Thank you so much for this interview! Feel free to add anything you want.
Bart: Thanks for the interview and your support! Very appreciated!
Owen: Thanks for the questions, keep an eye out for the vinyl release of our two upcoming records and be sure to keep on keepin’ on.
Jasper: Thanks a lot for the support! A great year and good health to everyone except Nazis and crypto-fascists.