|The Devil’s Blood! Why are so many people talking about this band? Well, to start, they are a band from The Netherlands making really good music. Yes, it is satanic; No it is NOT black metal. This band plays something that could be described as “satanic rock”, with lots of influences from the 60’s and 70’s. Does it stop there? Of course not! There is something about their music, something that can’t be described… it will catch your soul before you even know it.
Curious? Take a look at this interview! SOM had the pleasure to have a talk with the band’s guitar player S.L. about their latest album "A Thousandfold Epicenter", their plans for 2012 and much… much more! Check it out!!!
"A Thousandfold Epicenter" is your latest album. It has been released in Europe on 11.11.11. It will be released here in the US on 01.17.12. Could you say a few words about the album and its conception?
This album, "A Thousandfold Epicenter", is our second full length album and our fifth release. I started working on it early in the year of 2010 while we were doing the European Festival tours. I spent almost all of my time at home recoding demos, writing lyrics for this work. I spent about 11 months at home writing the record, and then we spent 2 months rehearsing it and then 2 months recording it in the studio. That’s basically it.As you said, this is your second full length album ("A Thousandfold Epicenter" in 2011 and "The Time of No Time Evermore" in 2009). Was the process for creating these two albums similar?
I would say that this one [A Thousandfold Epicenter] went a lot faster. The previous record was a work that transpired over a few years, I would say more or less 2 to 3 years, some of the songs were written as early as late 2006 (or at least parts of them were) and some of them were written a week before we went into studio, for example. In case of the new album, all the material was written within the time frame of 11 months. It was very clear that every song was being born in the same moment of inspiration, so every song really ties together with every other song on the record; they are all really brothers and sisters in the same litter, if you will.
Apart from that I think that the main difference is that we became a lot better as musicians, just practically speaking. Better at our instruments, better at picking and choosing… So, for that part it is mostly a natural progression that a band should be making.Like you said… there is a natural progression. "The Time of No Time Evermore" was a successful album. So, do you think that "A Thousandfold Epicenter" will follow its steps?
Well, you know, for me it is already successful because it is doing in my eyes and ears what it should be doing. From the more economical stand point; I think, you know, this is what the labels should be worrying about (laughs) and not so much me as a musician, as an artist.
For me what is more interesting is that in the end of the day, I can play the record myself, and be overwhelmed by its emotional outpouring that it is, that I can still feel and that I can also still feel from all the records that we released so far.
So for me it’s really the most successful record of my career and even acceptable to sell as many as the last one did or more. In a very real way that’s me... inconsequential.Correct me if you don’t agree with me, but on your latest album, you seemed to have used a lot more psychedelic type of elements. And in my opinion it seems… not “darker” but more “intense”. Is that something you would agree with?
I don’t know but let’s be honest here: if that’s your opinion, who am I to disagree or agree? I think everyone who listens to the album will be struck by certain elements of it. A lot of people may be struck by different elements of it. I’ve also heard people tell me that they feel this is a very positive record and other people talk about very dark images that come to them.
In a way, what I appreciate about that phenomenon is that the album is already generating a loud form of chaos. People are very different in their approaches and in their acceptations of it. And that’s a very good thing. For some bands, everybody kind of agree on and some bands, everybody has different opinions on them. I prefer to be in that [second] category.You and your sister are the main members of the band. How does your writing
process work? Do you write the entire material or do you have some type of interaction with the other members also?
Well, of course. I write all the music and lyrics. After that, my sister and I work on the vocal parts but also on the completion of the lyrics: what they mean to us, principles involved (if they are, let’s say, correctly presented).
After that we take the songs into the rehearsal room and then, the interesting thing happens where we all… I wouldn’t say “play around” because this is not really the term I am looking for but with the lack of a better term I will just say that we “play around” with the arrangements a bit. And then, you know, sometimes it is good to see if certain stuff will work or won’t work. It is a free process and everyone is encouraged to play the parts in a way that it is the closest to their personality. And I am basically there just to make sure that the central argument remains intact, that there are no diversions of the path, sort of speak.
So, what tends to happen after that is that we try to arrange and amend these things then we return to the core form of the song again. It is just good to have seen where you could take it and then take it where it should be going.I have a question that you kind of answered already but I would still like to ask it. When you write an album, are there any specific feelings or emotions that you would like your fans to have? Do you have some kind of “intentions” when you are writing?
No, it just happens. Whatever comes, comes. It feels like: It is what it is. And to me, some rarely feels the same way twice even when we are rehearsing it or even when I’m playing a demo. I don’t want to rationalize anything. I don’t want to over-emphasize certain other things. I don’t want people to be forced into feeling the same thing that I feel when I listen to it.
I always make this comparison: When one goes to a museum there are two kinds of people: people that just stand in front of a piece of art and just experience it and try to make it their own and have some kind of emotional connection with it and then, you have the kind of people who look at it once and immediately their eyes go to the right where there are the explanations of the artist, what it means, what is supposed to be proclaiming, and when it was made and what kind of material it was made of. And I am one of the first people. I see something and I just want to experience what it is. I don’t care about where the painter lived, or if it was a men or a woman… For me it is not so much of interest. I think art on of itself should speak for itself.This album has 11 tracks, as you mentioned it took 11 months to write it and it was released on 11.11.11 in Europe. Are there any special meanings behind these numbers?
Well, you know, the strength of number is of course, very important within many occult traditions. The number 11 is a number which does have a lot of very important symbolic meanings to us. For example the meaning of chaos, the meaning of renewal, of birth or of death even.
For as long as I can remember it is a number that has been in more or lesser ways, present in my life, which has guided us many revelations. And I found a good thing, to surround our disk with as many of them as I could find, basically.
Although I have to say that the 11 months that I spent writing the material was of course something that I found out later. It wasn’t a plan, it just simply happened, which, again, strengthens the symbolism.You guys have already done a few concerts in Europe to promote the album, you have some more scheduled on your agenda, even one in the US (Maryland Deathfest). Is there something else coming up besides that?
Yes, there is: a full US tour. But, still
at this moment I am still not allowed to talk about the dealing and names involved for promotional reasons.There are teaser videos being posted at Metal Blade’s website. Is it in your plans to do an official type of video clip for this album?
Well, we would love to. I think that when done correctly the video art form is a very interesting and valuable one. Unfortunately we are also a band with very limited financial means and if the labels don’t step-up to fund such venture then, I doubt we will be able to do it in any time soon. But it is something that we are open to and we are always thinking about what we would do it and the way we would do it.The Devil’s Blood is growing fast. You are becoming more and more well known in the metal community. Do you think that the reason for that is because metalheads, or your public in general, are thirsty for the kind of music you play or are they thirsty for the type of message you send with your music, for the kind of ideology you have? Or is it a mix of both?
Perhaps it is a mix of both. I think the largest part is more interested in music, but that’s not really surprising because most people are more interested with superficiality than they are with content. That by itself is not a bad thing because it helps us along regardless.
What I also believe is that the kind of music we make, and I am not really talking about the style, but the reasons why the music is made, tends to attract people.
There is perhaps something in our music and in our words that shines with a certain allure that some people find very hard to overlook or disregard. And, you know, this might bring them closer to themselves, it might bring closer to us, it might bring them closer to their personal god, or Jesus, or even Satan. It’s hard for me to say.
It is not that important. I think it is good to have people’s attention but it is a bad thing to become dependent on it.Talking now about your life as a musician. When have you realized that music was your destiny, or part of your destiny?
Humm… quite young. I think I was 11 years old and I saw Guns n’ Roses on television. That’s what it took (laughs).Your sister is the lead singer of The Devil’s Blood. When did you guys first started to work together?
That started basically with The Devil’s Blood. Before that, you know… we would jam together from time to time, but nothing serious or of any value came out of that. The Devil’s Blood is really our first serious attempt of making music together.Do you have anything that you would still like to accomplish, something that you would like to achieve with The Devil’s Blood?
That’s a difficult question (laughs). I think that for the pure egotistical stand point, and not being concerned with the spiritual path or anything like that, I think that being able to perform at many places in the world. The American tour is definitely a fulfillment of that. In South America we don’t have a distribution yet, this is something that I would like to see changed. Asia is still an untouched territory.
I think I want what most artists should want, which is be able to say that their work is available everywhere, which is probably more important than selling everywhere. It is the thought of coverage, I guess. Like I said, it is purely an egotistical thing.
When I think to what’s actually really important, and I come back to our music spirituality, then the only thing that I want to accomplish is to never release or create something that is worthless. If I can do that, you know, I can rest easy in the knowledge that I have never bored the world with something that should not have been released.