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EDGECRUSHER – Interview with Jo

Thou shall bloas

Necrography. Tell me more about the history of EDGECRUSHER.

I do not want to talk about RETALIATOR, the first band I played in, because it was quite a ridiculous project. It started as a joke on a 24 hour teaching marathon back at school… It has never risen above the joke-level. WALK / SNIPER (see THE THRONE OF ABSENCE #2) / TURN THE TIDE was something different (although there were a lot of jokes told…). Pedro (Fifi from CONGRESS) played the second guitar, Bruno played the bass, Nicolas “sang”, Ringo (ex-EXHAUSTER) drummed and of course, I played the guitar (which I still do…). We had a lot of candid camera days, if you know what I mean. I also played in a few temporary bands, I was (yes, it is true !) even straight edge for a while, when I hung out with the Intensive Care crew. I am not straight edge anymore… But I do not get drunk either.. (Not the kind of regular Metal-type guy, you see…). Approximately 2 years ago I started EDGECRUSHER, at first with Freddy (bass / ex-DSA) & Nico (drums, ex-DSA). Isaac, guitarist in FORCIBLE and singer in PANOPTICUM, came listening one and decided to play along.We were still looking for a singer when Wulf from DEFORMITY came listening, but he did not have the time, nor the inspiration. A few later Davy gave it a try. That is why the present line up is the uhm, present line up.

Why did you pick the bandname EDGECRUSHER? Isn’t this a FEAR FACTORY title? What is its meaning for you?

Yep, it is a FEAR FACTORY song, which I have never heard so far (could you believe that?!). We thought it sounded pretty good. It might sound also a bit controversial regarding the “straight edge” scene, but we want to state clearly it is not meant as a pro or a contra. It reflects our point of view on reality: what is reality? There might be one reality, but everyone believes what he/she wants to believe about it. We have our own opinions within the band about reality. That is what makes EDGECRUSHER the band it is: a few individuals which believe we all have a free will to believe what we want. That is our point of view: we all have our different opinions, but we try to bring a message with a great deal of truth in it, no matter how you interpret it… (see also question about the recording and question about the songtexts…) Like that, we are balancing on the “edge” of reality…


The one band that leaps out for me is IN FLAMES. I like the Gothenburg style. Scandinavian bands have the ability to sound heavy and a bit technical and very melodic at the same time. You name the right bands as far as I am concerned. A few others: DARK TRANQUILLITY, CONTROL DENIED, SADIST, TESTAMENT, ICED EARTH, SOULFLY, MEGADETH… I also like SATRIANI, VAI and DREAM THEATER. Isaac likes Progressive Metal (DREAM THEATER, SYMPHONY X,…), classic Metal, jazz & blues as well as classical music. His heroes are STEVE MORSE, STEVE VAI, JOHN PETRUCCI,…. Davy is more into Black, so is Freddy (also listens to “classic Heavy Metal”, Hard Core,…). Nico is into Metal, Hard Core and stuff…

Michael (LINK) is responsible for the recording of Damnatio Memoriae. Tell me more about Michael, LINK, the recording & Damnatio Memoriae.

Michael asked me what genre LINK plays and we did not come to a conclusion. A description could be “Thrash Crust” or “Crusty Thrash”. Anyway, it is certainly straight ahead! Michael did a stunning job in the studio. All we had to do was playing the songs (…a few times…) Davy just had to sing them only once, as if he is used to being in the studio! We went in the studio with expectations which did not rise above a good tape-demo, but it turned out to be a much better quality. It is still a demo, but with a sound like that, we are going to put it on CD. Michael did a stunning job. Damnatio Memoriae means Cursing the Past. It is a kind of psychological warfare. In Sarayevo, the first building that was bombed, was the library. The enemy wanted to erase all the knowledge and thus the past. Wars are often fought like that: enemies try to demolish each other’s “knowledge centers” or cultural inheritence. Like that they try erase eachother’s history. Needless to say it works declining for a nation’s pride and the people’s state of mind… But you can also interpret Damnatio Memoriae in a positive way: when you just had a bad experience, you can try to forget the past, by rising above it and by trying to do better than before. For me personally, Damnatio Memoriae could be interpreted (see question about bandname and question about interpretations of the lyrics) also as following : Satan does not want that human kind knows who he is and what his objectives are, so he tries to wipe out Christianity: he is trying to curse history. The greatest trick the devil ever pulled, was… Well, you know…

EDGECRUSHER rehearses in the VORT’N VIS, the “pub” (ATC) where the annual Hard Core festival takes place. Tell me more about the VORT’N VIS.

The VORT’N VIS has to go. It has to be gone on 31 December 2000. It is sad but true. As a consequence, we have to move to another rehearsal room. We already found one: luckily, the city of Ypres started a project for local bands in terms of rehearsal rooms… It is a shame, however, that they promised that the VORT’N VIS could stay, when they could not keep that promise. Even Bert Anciaux, minister of Cultural Affairs talked about co-operation. So now, the VORT’N VIS-crew is looking for a place to rent or so, while they are waiting and looking for a place where they can settle again.

Isaac is also active in FORCIBLE. He studies at the Rotterdam conservatorium. Could you elaborate on these two aspects?

FORCIBLE is the kind of band you would like to play with everywhere. They are really nice guys and they play great Metal! Isaac is what I would call “the real musician” in our band. (I can read notes if I am allowed to count for half an hour…) When I have got a basic riff, Isaac always succeeds in playing it differently, or in adding something completely different, to make it sound bigger, more melodic, more technical. What Isaac regards, we do not have a “second” guitar in our band, if you understand… That is also why he studies at the Rotterdam conservatorium. He started out at the Ypres Academy. He plays much more than Metal, so he is – to say the least – an enormous benefit to EDGECRUSHER. Isaac is also like the other guys in FORCIBLE: he is not a show-off, not by a long shot. That is what I appreciate most in those guys. 

Isaac: I was flattered when Sientje asked me to take part in EDGECRUSHER, but the original objective to join them was only based upon curiosity, since EDGECRUSHER were a bunch of strangers to me. I was impressed by the melodic and powerful riffs, and I knew I would learn a lot from Jo. It took a year to find out and “copy” his style of playing, but in that very year we also had a lot of fun, and we have become real friends. As a matter of fact, I used to see it as a sort of “school” and side-project, whereas now it is a band in which I participate. Maybe I am “the real musician” (as Jo mentionned) in EDGECRUSHER and I will not omit to reflect and to inform my opinion on a new song. Nevertheless I am not indispensable. I am just trying to make good compositions together with the other guys, and that is surely the most important.

Davy is a very busy person. I would like to hear his comment on all his projects.

EDGECRUSHER came a bit as a surprise to me. I already knew the other guys for a while and I knew they were looking for a vocalist. After some time they still did not found anyone, so I suggested that I would give it a try. And immediately it worked out, so I became the vocalist of EDGECRUSHER, which I have not regret for a single moment. EDGECRUSHER is important to me, for I can put all my frustrations and thoughts in the band. THE THRONE OF ABSENCE has grown a lot over the years. I like doing it, although sometimes it gets too much. But I think we can look back on some great bands, and together with out compilation tape it gets better, doesn’t it? ARCANE CHALDAEUS is my own dark ‘zine, dealing with philosophy, occultism, mythology and other magic darkness. Till now, I have released 5 issues, and by the letters I get, it seems that more people are into this kind of subjects. It is my darkened child, my doomed part of my thoughts. I can express myself without considering other people’s thoughts. The sixth issue will be out by the end of December and can be ordered at Robrecht van Bethunelaan 94, 8900 YPRES for BEF 150 (p&p). SOLAR PRODUCTIONS is an idea, which Freddy and I started. Till now, we have a small distro, EDGECRUSHER‘s CD will be the first release on SOLAR, we organised quite some gigs and we support upcoming bands. SOLAR stands for real Metal, no f*cking trend p*sers or other sh!t. If we do not like it, you will never be in contact with SOLAR. F*ck all commercial trends!!! We are thinking about starting a new ‘zine called Dungeons of Darkness, in which we will only put underground Black Metal, played as it was meant to be: fast, raw and anti-Christian. (JUDAS ISCARIOT, NARGAROTH, HORNA, BLACK WITCHERY, MUTIILATION, ANTAEUS,…) HELL RAZOR is an underground Death/Black ‘zine, for which I am writing reviews. YOUTH AGAINST SOCIETY is an organisation mainly against capitalism! By the spreading of newsletters and by reaching as many people as possible, I am trying to comfort myself for living in such a f*cked up society. YAS has been quiet for a while, due to lack of time, but from the moment I can get some time, another newsletter will be released! The band with Benoit was brutally laid down to rest, when Benoit was the victim of a hernia. Because of this, we did not play for several months. In the meantime, one guitar player has left us, so we are looking for another one. We played Black Metal, without any keyboards or female singers. Just straight ahead! So in the near future we will start rehearsing again… Besides all these activities (which are not all of them), I still have a job, so sometimes I have not got time enough to do everything . That is why I am thinking to slow down on some of my activities, so that I can work more intense on the other ones. I will see.

Sientje: Still into SEPULTURA? What do you think of SOULFLY?

To be honest, I saw SOULFLY live (for the first time). Well, live, SOULFLY could not convince me. But they do on CD! With SEPULTURA I have an opposite feeling. I have to say that when Max still was in SEPULTURA, CD-work and live-show were great. But times change and Max went his own way. But I prefer SOULFLY. I LOOK UP TO A GREY SKY. THEY SHALL ARISE!!!

Compose the ultimate CD:

vocals: Björn Strid (SOILWORK) – guitars: Björn Gelotte & Anders Björler (IN FLAMES / THE HAUNTED) – bass: Stuart Hamm. (JOE SATRIANI live…) – drums: Richard Christy (DEATH) – label: SOLAR/NUCLEAR BLAST – studio: Morrisound Studios (JIM MORRIS)

Metal & Multimedia. Is internet good or bad for the underground. What do you think of the fact that demos are released on CD instead of on tape nowadays?

Internet could be interesting for promotion, but the greatest asset of it, is also the bad thing about it: regulations are non-existing… .Demos on CD are great, but the sound has to be good enough. Besides, who does not have a CD-player? Some might think that is not “underground-ish”, but hey, what the hell…

You drew the logo and the coverart. Whose face is depicted and why?

It is not really somebody’s face. It is inspired by a very short scene in Bram Stoker’s Dracula: in only a few seconds, Dracula’s face comes out of the dark and the retreats. It kind of depicts the Damnatio Memoriae-theme, especially when you look at the whole cover when our CD gets released: the face gets deformed in a swirl, kind of like a whirlpool that swallows everything and makes it history.

There are a few samples on Damnatio Memoriae. From which films are they taken? Why did you use them? Tell me about the films.

The first one is a sample from End of Days: it is the devil talking to the hero. The words you hear, are what most people think nowadays, I believe. The song that follows, is called Ungodly. It is in the first place – just a display of what might be the reality of people thinking like that. I just wanted to question if they are right or not… (Personally, I think that End of Days is a spin-off from The Devil’s Advocate, especially when you look at the character of the devil. There is no way that some one could do better than Al Pacino. Besides, the hero in End of Days is displayed by Arnold Schwarzenegger, so that says enough, I guess.) The second sample describes the point of view of a madman, a murderer, and is taken from Se7en. Although his actions are horrible, you might ask yourself if his words are foolish or not. I would rather think they are not, there is some truth in them. Aren’t we getting used to so much that we do not care anymore? We are becoming indifferent to it all. Evil is getting its way. The song that goes with it, is called Evilution, the evolution of evil… The last sample reflects a vision about how you can always change, there is always time for it, if you want to. You can always do something different and throw the past away. Try again and do it better, or at least in a different way… (= Damnatio Memoriae) Stop me if I am getting too positive…

You and Davy write the lyrics. Any further explanation?

Our texts reflect our visions about reality and free will to believe whatever you want, without really fighting the free will of others. The texts are Davy’s and my interpretations of that reality, and of what we think we are seeing around us. For myself, I sometimes get inspired by the stupid things people do, or by ancient prophets like Jesaja. It is fascinating to see how remarkably accurate and astonishingly relevant to our times he describes the downfall of human kind on the level of behaviour and ethics…

Suppose this is an application, what are EDGECRUSHER’s main assets? Invent a slogan!

Do not throw sandwiches! And another thing: food-fights are NOT cool. They are a WASTE. Listen to our music and decide whether you like it or not… So, no slogan really… Except maybe “Thou shall bloas…”

If you had to shoot a video-clip or a TV-commercial to promote EDGECRUSHER, how would it look like?

OK, if it were for TMF or MTV, it would have to be filmed by a very fast moving camera, twisting and spinning around us, showing us from all sides at once. And zooming in and out a lot. Actually, now I am thinking of it, it might look a bit like… Jambers… (just kidding…) It would have to be light and dark at once: the goodwill and the anti-will of human kind or human evil… A warning towards all who lives indifferently. Choose a side and be consequent. Do not build up a “half-way”-opinion, and dare to act the way you are thinking.

React: “Politics and Metal, a perfect match” – “The biggest trend is the anti-trend”

The first one is – in my opinion – true, be it in an indirect way: the Metal scene is a sub-world which wants to fight the “real world”, but it does not succeed because it makes the same mistakes as the real world. Why? Because it uses the real world to fight it: in this paradox, we cannot be non-humans which act outside the system of the real world. You have to fight something with the opposite: fire with water, evil with good,… The day on which we make our own clothes, our own CDs, our own… without any help from the outside world, is still to come, and you know what? It never will come! Underground may exist, but I do not really believe in it… I do not make a difference… There is a lot more politics in Metal than some people might want, but they just cannot seem to get rid of it… The second one: again I think it is very true. The anti-trend is the biggest trend and it is the most popular one: tell a little kid he should not do something and he is doing it the moment you turn your back, or even before… The anti-trend is the most followed one. But is it also the best???

Last words?

Thanks, take care now, bye bye then… Oh year, did you know Nietzsche is dead?  (Not very Metal-like, is it? Well, I guess I am following an anti-trend against the anti-trend…)