Travolta (25.04.23)

Hi, guys! I’m very glad that you found some time for my small zine! Hope you`re doing well. So let`s begin!

Hey Alex, all is good! We’re very happy that you want to invest some time in us. It’s great to be back on track with new songs and an upcoming record. Hope you’ll like it!

You finally managed to finish your new album “Discoviolence Up Yours!”. What did you want to say with such a bright title?

We wanted some kind of punchline, a short, catchy and strong phrase. The word ‘Disco Violence’ had to be in the title because that’s the style we play. Travolta loves disco dancing, so Power Violence plus disco dancing makes Disco Violence. At first our drummer thought the phrase was too simple, but he soon changed it’s mind.
Together with the artwork, a flail made out of a disco ball in the Pulp Fiction colours, it gives a strong message. We are Travølta, we’re angry and we’re certainly not subtle about it… and if you don’t like it… Up Yours!

I`m stocked to hear the new album! But when it will be up at bandcamp and who and when will release a physical release?

In the coming weeks we’ll add a few songs on our bandcamp but you’ll have to wait for the release to hear everything. The new record contains our shortest song. It’s a rebellious anthem against the dark side of humanity. Reading this sentence probably takes more time than listening to the song itself.

Normally the record will be released in the beginning of June on different formats.

We (Nico and Rik) have their own record label called Loner Cult so it was an obvious choice to do the European distribution ourselves. The record label arose when we released our first split 10” with Days Of Desolation. It was a co-release with multiple labels across Europe. After the initial first release we started doing releases by other bands we like. Now, many years later, we can say it’s a passion that has gotten a bit out of hand. We love the DIY scene and by doing this we want to support it the best way we can.

Grindhead records is releasing the new record in Australia. We played with Meth X Leppard and Power X Chuck in Antwerp and Ryan (owner of Grindhead Records) was there with those 2 bands. Afterwards we kept in touch with Ryan and he also co-released our previous album called In Tinnitus We Crust.

Give Praise Records will distribute it in the US. Nowadays Give Praise Records is also doing some skateboard stuff and our drummer Rik designed 2 shirts for them. This label released some nice European bands so we’re happy to be the new addition to their roster.

Grindcore trivia: Give Praise released the discography cd of Jesus Cröst, one of our favourite Dutch PV bands. On our new record we have a song called Jesus Cröst Soccer Punch. We aren’t the biggest soccer fans so we always say that Jesus Cröst was the best thing that happened to football (they mostly sing about football). On this song the vocalist of Jesus Cröst (Joop van Reede) is doing some live soccer commentary. Yes, you’re reading this correctly. He isn’t just doing guest vocals, just wait and hear…

The cd version will be done by Selfmadegod rec. This label is very present in our record collections, so we’re very happy that they wanted to work with us. From Agathocles to Gridlink and beyond, they truly have some fine releases!

Do check out these releases by SMG:

Agathocles: Razor Sharp Daggers repress (show AGX some support, mincecore legends!)
Gridlink: Longhena (How progressive can grindcore get?)
Antigama: The Insolent (Technical and crazy stuff!)
My Minds Mine: Passenger Of The Void (best record by these Dutch grinders)
Die Choking: III (This really sounds heavy…)
Unholy Grave: Grind Killers (Their best record!!!)

The tape version will be done by Shove records. We worked with Manu in the past, he co-released our previous one on CD and he also released Nico’s previous bands King Terror and Vuur. Manu is very passionate about music and that’s what we love about Shove records. Next to the new record he is also releasing our live album on tape.

You already announced a huge tour. What countries will you visit and what festivals?

This year we played shows in England, France, Germany, The Netherlands and Belgium. We’ll be playing at Obscene Extreme, Fluff Fest and hopefully some Italian dates at the end of the year.

The first festival we played this year was Masters Of The Unicorn festival in Germany. We played the breakfast concert early in the morning. Our guitarist just woke up, was brushing his teeth and had to go on stage right after to set everything up. Very funny but also nice to see that there were some enthousiasts already awake. By the end of the evening Rotten Sound and Yacøpsae played, so this was a crazy weekend filled with Grindcore, Power Violence and unfortunately a lot of rain.

During the years you have had a few changes in your line-up. Could you present current members? And do you guys feel like a family now?

The pandemic was a real bummer for us as a band. We couldn’t rehearse and after a while our guitarist stepped out of the band. We haven’t kept in touch and that’s a pity. The friendship wasn’t as strong as expected and that’s something to regret. Actually we didn’t had a few line-up changes, only one

Luckily we found a more than capable replacement in Jonas Van de Sande. He’s a longtime friend and enthusiast of the band. With this new addition we decided to return to the roots of Travølta, Power Violence (but with a twist)!

So the new line-up:
Nico: Vocals/lyrics
Kevin: Bass/artwork
Jonas: Guitar
Rik: Drums/samples
There’s a lot of love in the band. Road trips are memorable and the overall atmosphere is better than ever.

So why Travolta? Do you really love that actor?) What about his “Battlefield Earth” movie?) And where are “x” in your band name?)

When forming the band we were discussing a name. We wanted to do something with a celebrity. At the end we had to choose between Van Damme and Travolta. We chose Travolta because we already had some ideas about artwork and stuff. We still think it’s a better name than Zombie Suicide Butterfly or all those names with Anal in it.

Battlefield Earth really isn’t the best movie. John did some amazing stuff but not all of his movies turn into gold. The movie we collectively like the most is Pulp Fiction. We could watch this movie over and over again. Gotti also was more than enjoyable and contained some great one-liners!

X’s are for straight edge bands. Rik is the only edger in the band so from now on we’ll call him xRIKx.

There is one more cool thing. You have your own label. I bet it`s really helpful when you need to release your own stuff. Tell us more about Loner Cult rec, please?

Like mentioned earlier, Nico and Rik formed Loner Cult Records because we had to release our 10” split record with Days Of Desolation. We also did some smaller co-releases and the Travolta/Marxbros release was our first “bigger” one. After this release we decided to put some more time in the label. Grindcore and Power Violence were the main focus of Loner Cult in the beginning, but we also added Crust/D-beat and HC/Punk simply because we also love those genres.

During the pandemic they had more time to concentrate on the record label and I guess we grew a little bit bigger. Some bands asked to release their stuff and some hidden gems (for instance the band Monnier) found their way to the public.

We are really bad in advertising, that’s not our cup of tea. We do it the old school way by trading records with other labels. When we play with Travølta we also take the distro with us.

For us, Loner Cult is a passion, a way to spread our love for music and the message it holds. Sometimes things go wrong, like with the mis press of the Verpest LP. The pressing plant screwed up big time and all the copies had skips. After numerous mails and even some phone calls, the pressing plant admitted their mistake. On moments like these, it can be very tiring and frustrating to do a D.I.Y. label. Luckily things turned out fine and we got a repress without any mistakes on it. This release was a pain in the ass but in the end we’re very happy that we could help out a befriended band.

Next to releasing some nice slabs of vinyl, the social part is also very important to us. Along the way they met some awesome and likeminded people with other labels and bands. When money is not the main concern and a release stays D.I.Y., that’s when friendship steps in. It’s all about maintaining the thing we love and care about. Unfortunately it’s getting harder and harder to sell stuff, more and more people choose the easy way out and only have a Spotify account. But do they also attach memories to mp3’s or downloaded songs? I can still recall the moment when I was 15 and bought a skateboard on a sunny day in Leuven. Afterwards I went to the record shop (JJ records) were I bought 2 cd’s. Even now, 20 years later, these memories stay intact. That’s probably because I value the music and the physical product, it makes me nostalgic. You don’t have these feelings with downloads and it doesn’t really support a band, or at least not like buying a real record does. So if you like the scene so much, support it by going to shows instead of hanging in front of the screen. You like a band, buy a shirt or a record.

Is Travolta your first musical experience? Or have you already played in other bands? Do you have some side projects, maybe somebody playing in other bands or bands too?

Nico played in lots of bands like Outrage, Reller, Vuur (Emo-Violence, very intense stuff) and King Terror (Political Fast-Core). He currently also sings in Arrogänt. It’s a D-beat band with members of Days of Desolation, Monnier, Capital Scum, Hetze and many more.

Kevin played bass in a heavy metal band called Grumpf and is currently also playing guitar in Myaelin. A doomy music collective that mixes elements of psych, doom, black and drone.

Jonas played in Diss Guy, a hc/punk band influenced by Ceremony and Bl’ast (an 80’s HC band that the band members didn’t even know). We also released their album on Loner Cult rec. He also played in a thrashmetal band called Prematory. That’s where he got his long, beautiful hair from.

Rik plays in Don’t Drift Astray and they are influenced by Youth Crew acts like: Youth Of Today, Insted and Battery. By playing in this band, Rik thinks he’s going to make the whole world Straight Edge, but even in his youth crew revival band, he is the only straight edger… Has the edge gone dull?

Naturally, a lot of time has passed since the band started its activity. What were the changes in the matter of sound, world view etc?

When we band started we were influenced by Extortion and even the legendary D-beat band Disgust. We tried to combine elements of PV and D-beat but didn’t really have a clue. Later on we added some grind and on our previous full length we even tried to add some mid-tempo Death Metal. In hindsight this wasn’t the sound we were aiming for, it was the sound our guitarist wanted but our bass player and singer really weren’t into this kind of style. When our previous guitarist left we had a good talk about continuing or not. This conversation was very important to us because in the past not every band member was fully involved in the making of the songs and we wanted to change that.

Soon after we found another guitarist but we were in the middle of a pandemic without the ability to meet each other. Rik started drumming in another band and in this band he worked with drumming software. He got the idea to compose drum midi files which he would send to the other guys in Travølta. Blueprints were made for various songs and when our rehearsal space opened up again, we finished some of these songs together. Some songs originate from jamming together, other ideas are being actualised at home and “perfected” in the rehearsal space.

For our new record we wanted to take things back to the roots. Every one of us was influenced by HC/Punk bands so this is also hearable in our sound. I guess the songs have a more Power Violence feel to it than on our prior releases. Some songs have more melody than you’d expect from a band playing Power Violence. On this release we also decided to do more gang vocals and even second lead vocals and we think it’s certainly added value.
The lyrics are socially critical and overall more to the negative side of the spectrum. Ofcourse Travølta wouldn’t be Travølta if it wouldn’t be with the necessary pinch of sarcasm and irony. We always enjoy a good laugh and that’s also visible in our lyrics as well. The lyrics are an integral part of the band, we have some specific opinions and we’re very outspoken about it. Go look somewhere else if you’re interested in lyrics about zombies, blood, dark forests and elves, you won’t find it here!

While I’m getting some beer from the kitchen, tell us about how you formed Travolta.

Rik: Our previous guitarist got home from his studies in Denmark and missed playing music. He called me and said he wanted to start a band. I happily accepted the offer and soon after a bass player was added to the line-up. In the coming weeks the three of us made a few songs in a rehearsal space in our hometown. If I’m not mistaken Racism Sucks and Short, Fast, Loud were the first songs we made. Some parts of the song Racism Sucks were borrowed from a previous project our guitarist. This project called Slave only lasted for a few rehearsals and never really took off. Nico also participated in this project so we asked him to join us. A few months later we recorded our demo what later on would become the side of the Travolta / Days Of Desolation split 10”.

Can you tell us about your childhood? Do you remember when you first came into contact with loud music and what were your first concerts?

Rik: The first loud song I heard was Bombtrack by Rage Against The Machine and it sparked my interest in heavy music. At that period, I guess 22 years ago, skateboarding and commercial metal became pretty big in Belgium. Thanks to skateboarding I got in contact with the underground scene in my hometown. On the skatepark I met the guitarist of a local band called Victims of Society. My first gig was in my hometown where they played. At that point this band meant the world to me and I’m still fond of their music. I got sucked into Old School Hardcore music (Minor Threat,…) until I discovered bands like Raised Fist (the Dedication album), Converge, Congress, Liar, Ringworm and Integrity. Since then I started listening to darker and heavier stuff. I can’t really recall my first encounter with Grindcore, I also guess it was at a show in my neighborhood.

Kevin: I first came into contact with what I’d call “guitar music” through another kid in school when I was 8 years old. I ended up next to my stereo playing cassette tapes of The Offspring’s Smash and Americana and Stone Temple Pilot’s Core. The first CD I ever bought with my allowance as a kid was Proud Like a God by Guano Apes. After I bought my first bass guitar at around 13yrs old my focus shifted to bands with bass players that inspired me and who’s bass parts I wanted to master. There’s the obvious ones like Iron Maiden, Motorhead, Rancid, Primus, Black Sabbath, Rush, Tool, RATM.. And then there’s the less obvious ones like Anti Flag, Racer X (& The Mars Volta, Juan Alderete is a fucking maniac),The Clash, Rise Against, Descendents and yes, even Less Than Jake. To be honest, I wasn’t into Power Violence or Grindcore when we started Travølta, but I’m always open to new things and I was really curious what I could bring to the Power Violence table with my musical background.

Jonas: My parents were into hardrock, so I actually knew a few classics when I was a little boy, think Deep Purple, Sabbath, Queen,…. The first concert I ever saw was Iron Maiden in 2007. Back then I was really amazed by their show. When I grew older, I wanted to listen to more aggressive music, so I was listening to a lot of Thrash and Crossover. These bands still did not have a proper level of agression and I was kind of bored with their rather lame theatrical attitude, alongside their frequently shallow lyrics. The next step was HC Punk and Power Violence. The agression was a little more real and the lyrical themes really spoke to me as I found myself in an unfair and unjust world which was kinda fake in many perspectives in my opinion. Nowadays I still love this kind of music, alongside all other bands I´ve discovered first. As long as the music and the band´s attitude is right, I´m touched with what they do.

Nico: I grew up before there was internet so… for me it all started with trading tapes at my school. Because of that I got to know about some brutal metal outfits, but I never was that found on the typical though Metal pose. Shortly after that I found out about some Grindcore and heavy Punk outfits. It all started when I was reading a local Metal magazine and saw a review of the: “Zero Positives: Please To Meet You” demo. I wrote the guys a letter and so it all started. I got lots of flyers together with the tape and so on a new world opened up for me. I got in touch with Jan from Agathocles when I was 15 years old, and even 32 years later I still consider him as a friend. The first vinyl records that changed my mind where: Ripcord: Defiance Of Power LP, the Rough Enough compi. 7”, Toxic Waste: Belfast LP, D.R.I.: Dirty Rotten EP, Celtic Frost: To Mega Therion LP, Spermbirds: Something To Prove LP (those last 2 I traded with an Iron Maiden record at my school) and way to much to mention. All good memories when thinking back about it, it was all so different before the internet. Not that I’m the nostalgic dude that always says that it was way better back in the days… nostalgia is goddamn death scene. There are so many great bands around just check our: Loner Cult bandcamp page and find out about em!

Everybody knows that when you perform grindcore music (no matter if it’s a live gig or just rehearsal) there’s a lot of energy goes out of you. How does Travolta rest and refill its energy?

Rik: Skateboarding, rehearsals and live gigs give me energy but I do lack some hours of good sleep. I thrive on coffee! Playing shows after midnight and having 2 kids isn’t the best combination, but it keeps me motivated and “sane”.

Kevin: Playing my bass to songs I helped write gives me energy. But since I’m quite the introvert, hanging around before and after gigs and socializing with all those lovely people requires a lot of energy. A few minutes or hours in isolation with just my thoughts and a book, sketch pad or earphones really works wonders to refill my energy levels.

Nico: lucky the bands, labels* and the D.I.Y. underground scene gives me plenty of energy! Otherwise I would end up like me fellow classmates with a pretty boring life of work-buy-consume and die. And if I really have to relax I grab my mountainbike and start grinding in the woods… so satisfying that I even mentioned it in one of the songs on our new album. …if I’m really are tired coffee and Club-Mate might do the trick, cheers!
*besides doing L.C., I also do now and then a release on my first label day one * records)

Jonas: I’m actually always nervous and filled with energy. Ask the other guys about it when we’re sitting in the same car for 6 hours… The reason I love to play Power Violence so much, is because I can kinda relate to it’s fastness and energy. After every gig, I feel a little less restless, because i just gave big portion of my energy to the gig. We spend a lot of time into music in general, which is really enjoy, but if I’m not doing music stuff, I’m just hanging around with people I like, as I’m quite the people person. Me and my girlfriend or also fond of just talking long walks to clear our heads, which in turn helps me with my energy overflow.

Maybe it is too early for such a question but… What are your plans for this year guys?

We’ll be starring in a new movie called American Metal. It’s an upcoming American action film written and directed by Nicholas Maggio. The movie will be released somewhere in 2023. Ooh, wait… wrong Travolta…

Maybe we should do the same and make a movie called European Discoviolence, Invasion of the Illegal Terror Squat of Doom?

We hope to do the same as we did this or last year, but even better. Play shows, make new songs, meet people and eat good food! Oh yeah, and buy shitloads of awesome records.

At the moment we are already making new songs for a split record. We already have the blueprints for 9 or 10 songs. Same style, Disco Violence!

Thank you so much, boys! Long live discoviolence! A couple of final words from you)))

Rik: Thanks for the interview and the everlasting support. It’s great that you still keep supporting the scene so much. Stay safe Alexander!

Nico: Thanks for the support! As final words: Help out local bands, go to gigs, support the D.I.Y Underground scene… be nice!

Kevin: Thank you for the interview and supporting the scene! Stay angry and stay true, whatever that might mean to you!

Jonas: Keep supporting other bands, and thank YOU for this interview. Also, stay angry when you have to and be kind when you need to.

Contacts:  Facebook  /  Bandcamp  /  Instagram

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