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THE QUIESCENT – Interview with Filip

Harmonic Grave Metal, hell yeah!

Their history began in the winter of 1992, when Filip, the only original member of the band, came up with the idea of starting a Death Metal band. It was put into action in early 1993 under the name LAST FUNERAL.

After some years of rehearsing and making noise they released their debut demo Last Funeral in 1996. Kristof played the drums on the recording and he later joined them as their lead guitarist. Last Funeral contains 30 minutes of melodic death metal with heavy metal influences divided into 6 songs: I Cry to Thee, The Angels Came to Me, Hate, False Reality, My Own Crusade and The Wisdom I Required. Mainly, the tape got good reviews.

Later on that year vocalist Bart joined them. He replaced Kevin, who nowadays sings in CELEBRANT. Since then they have had a billion line up changes.

More problems arose during the making of their second demo in 1998. They had to record The August Symphony completely by themselves on a PC, because the studio recordings were totally cr@p and the producer was a big rip off. Most reactions they got were quite good. The only complaint was the “computer” sound…but it was the best they could do, given their negative studio experience.

Later that year, they recorded The Dreamvoyage, a song of 20 minutes. We aimed to release it sometime as some sort of an extra or as something for those interested. When the summer set in, yet another chapter was added to the line up history. Kristof (ex-OUT IN THE COLD/MINDFART) stepped in to fill the empty seat behind the drums and somewhere in 1999 Sven became their new 6-stringer. With this line-up, which they believe is one that will last for a long time, …

They entered the SOUNDSHAPE STUDIO in July 2000 to record their third demo on CD, titled Burning Dreamworlds. Days of hard work resulted in 4 tracks: Come Die With MeThe Lake PoetsDie Final Destiny and Enchanted. They also thought of this demo-CD as the ideal opportunity to add The Dreamvoyage as an extra track. They hope to get good reactions, a lot of gigs and a possible record deal

Since the start of the new millennium they have changed their name into THE QUIESCENT, because it is a better representation of what they stand for: Harmonic Grave Metal like AT THE GATES, DISMEMBER and others…

Necrography

Well, I will keep it short. Somewhere in the winter of 1992 I started up this band. After a lot of rehearsing, laughing and making noise our debut demo was released in 1996. The August Symphony was our next demo in 1998 and in the year 2000 our latest one saw the daylight. Till 2000 we had always many line-up problems and that is one reason why there are such long periods between our releases. Since our debut demo we play melodic Death Metal in Gothenburg style. And we still do…

Current line-up: Bart Goffinghs (vocals), Kristof Vandebeek (guitars), Sven Witters (guitars), Filip Dupont (bass/vocals), Kristof Timmermans (drums).

Burning Dreamworlds was recorded at the SOUNDSHAPE studio. Are you glad with the result and the co-operation? How do you look back on the days you spent in the studio? Describe one day. What do you prefer, studio or stage? Can I be so impolite to ask how much a studio like SOUNDSHAPE charges? For The August Symphony, you were not too happy with the studio-sound. They ripped you off (BEF 25,000). Then you recorded the demo on PC with DIGITECH, RP1, CAKEWALK, PRO AUDIO 60. Any comment on the aspect rip-off and on the aspect PC-recording? Due to it was a PC recording you had to use a drumcomputer? How are sales going? How were the reactions? In the zines? And abroad?

What a long question! We are all satisfied with the work Frans and SOUNDSHAPE did, keeping in mind we just spent 3 days in the studio. We wanted to have a real Swedish Death Metal sound, like ENTOMBED or DISMEMBER. OK, I admit the guitars do not sound as ‘fat’ as the bands I just mentioned, but still we think it is pretty OK. Frans is a great man with a weird sense for humour and a seriously anti-Eddy Wally feeling, haha… I do not know if I prefer studio above stage or vice versa . Playing live is having a lot of fun, but the sound quality of the studio is a feast to your ears. The first day in the studio we spent most of the time on the settings for the basic sound. Then we recorded bass and drums. Later we did the guitars and when there was nothing to do for me, the drummer or the vocalist, we just hung around and helped Frans and the guitarists by listening and making comments. That is pretty boring, you know! I think we paid a bit more than 20 000 BEF and I think that is very cheap.

The story about The August Symphony is a lot more f*cked up. The producer did not know anything of producing and sometimes he left for the noon going to the whores (?) or his bitchy grandmother. What an asshole! The result was so f*cked up we decided to do it again ourselves. We recorded everything with computer and it sounded a lot better than the studio. But it was not good enough. It all sounded too mechanic. Most people said the same, but there were not many negative comments towards the music itself. Burning Dreamworlds received many good comments. I think we sold about 200 copies and I think that could be better. Another old Death Metal band from Diepenbeek, CHEMICAL BREATH, sold 600 copies of their second demo in 1990. That is a lot! We send about 50 copies to labels and some ‘zines. Most labels do not even take a minute for writing/mailing back and there are so many ‘zines you could not send all of them a CD. I traded some CDs with foreign bands and they liked it. If you like Gothenburg Death Metal, you must really check out the Russian band ABSURD. They are really good!

Due to the fact that there are so many FUNERALs in Metal-land and due to the association with Black Metal, LAST FUNERAL chose to change its name to THE QUIESCENT. But why THE QUIESCENT? What is its meaning to you?

We all wanted to change the bandname for a long time, but we did not do it because LAST FUNERAL existed so long and many memories were linked with the bandname. When Dave Ent (LOWLIFE RECORDS) said he taught LAST FUNERAL was not such a good bandname, we finally decided to change it. Every member of the band had to make some homework. Each one had to make up 5 possible new names for the band and it became THE QUIESCENT. It means “the silent one” and you read it more or less like [de kwaaiesint]. Just think of Santa Claus, haha… We think this name covers our musical style more than our previous bandname. it does not mean something special for me, but I like the ‘Q’ in the name.

You all did some pretty interesting studies. Translating, IT, communication… Tell us more about it! What did the teachers/class mates think of THE QUIESCENT/Metal?

Our drummer works at the court of Tongeren and he has to help former convicts. It is really an interesting job, I think. Guitarist Kristof works at Philips with computers and stuff. Our vocalist has got a degree of translator, but now he is studying marketing. Guitarist Sven will leave in October for Amsterdam where he will study sound-engineering. For myself, I am in my last year for teacher elementary school. The first official lesson music will be a lesson in Death Metal, haha… I will let the children listen to DEICIDE. I will brainwash the youth and create some Death Metal monsters!!! Some of my teachers have listen to THE QUIESCENT, but they think it is hell itself. I am glad of it! My classmates think the same and they do not know anything about Metal. In my car a girlfriend heard MORBID ANGEL and she is still in shock! Most of them will come to some local gigs later this year. I am totally curious for the comments.

THE QUIESCENT always remained loyal to melodic Death Metal (Death Metal hell yeah!). Why do you call your style Harmonic Grave Metal instead of Melodic Death Metal? What is the strength of Death Metal in your view?

Harmonic Grave Metal is just a synonym for melodic Death Metal. It sounds a lot better than melodic bla bla bla… Why don’t call it “colour raping rainbow Metal” or “Black milking egg legging Grunt Noise”? I really like melodic Death Metal, but also Black Metal or brutal Death Metal,… I think Death Metal is sort of a way of living and thinking. We are all partners in crime and share more or less the same reflections of life and death. Most Death Metal people have an extreme vision upon death and religion. Kind of ‘normal’ people does not understand it and it is a relief they do not!

Next to IMPEDIGON, old CATAFALQUE, EDGECRUSHER, EXCESS OF CRUELTY, BLOODRED and THE QUIESCENT, do you know any other Belgian Swedish sounding acts? Which international acts in the genre would you recommend? Why do you think there are so many followers, but also many opponents of this genre? How come this genre is also played in Belgium? Because there seems to be a geographic pattern in Death Metal. E.g. there is US Death Metal, Brazilian Death Metal, Swedish Death Metal, … do you agree on this pattern? Any explanation? Is there something like Belgian Death Metal? Or is it more a mixture of bands influenced by foreign styles? Like ABORTED is influenced by US Death Metal, THE QUIESCENT by Swedish Death Metal…?

In Belgium there are not so many melodic Death Metal bands, but you forgot to mention PANCHRYSIA and DEATH’S BRIDE (RIP). in Holland there are also some great Gothenburg bands like DETONATION, REBORN, CALLENISH CIRCLE, AURA, DVPLO and ETHEREAL SPAWN. Other recommended bands in the genre are: ABLAZE MY SORROW, ABSURD (RUS), AMON AMARTH, ARMAGEDDON (RIP), AT THE GATES (RIP), CARNAL FORGE, CEREMONIAL OATH (RIP), CHILDREN OF BODOM, CORPORATION 187, DARK TRANQUILLITY, DARKANE, DAWN, DISMEMBER, DISSECTION (RIP), EDGE OF SANITY, EUCHARIST (RIP), EXCRETION (RIP), GATES OF ISHTAR (RIP), ILLDISPOSED, IN FLAMES, NAGLFAR, OPETH, RECLUSION, SACRILEGE, SEDUCER’S EMBRACE, SENTENCED, SOILWORK, THE CROWN, THE HAUNTED, THE EVERDAWN, UNANIMATED,… And so on. I hope this list will do? I think the pros really like the melodic parts and the cons hate them. They think it is pop. And I must admit that IN FLAMES sound kind of poppy compared with MORTICIAN. Also I agree that there is a geographic pattern in the Death Metal scene and I do not have any real explanation for it. I do know that Americans prefer brutal Death Metal while Europeans are more into atmospheres and melodies. Is there something like Belgian Death Metal? Well, is there something like the real Belgian? The answer for both is NO! So it must be sort of a mixture, like you say so. Although every country has got melodic bands, brutal bands, Black Metal bands, Thrash Metal bands,… But when someone talks about Swedish Death Metal, it is automatically linked with melody. As for the American style is linked with brutality or the Brazilian one with speed. It is just a way of talking and trend setting of famous bands.

CHRISTOPHE SZPAJDEL drew the LAST FUNERAL logo. Now the logo of THE QUIESCENT is not really a logo, if you know what I mean. Why this choice? KORNEEL KETELSLEGERS is responsible for the coverart of Burning Dreamworlds. Who is this guy? Tell us about his works. How did you get in touch with him? Did you give him instructions for the cover or was he free to do his will or did you take it from one of his works? How should people contact him? Could I be so impolite to ask how much an artist like KORNEEL charges? The cover for The August Symphony is a painting that attracted you very much. What is its title? Who is the artist? Why does it attract you so much?

Again SZPAJDEL drew a logo for THE QUIESCENT and we all thaught he had done a great job. But afterwards we decided to use a really clean and simple logo. For the same reason we changed our bandname. We think a normal logo covers our musical style more. KORNEEL is a close friend from the neighbourhood. Actually he lives 100 meters from my home. He is quite an artistic guy. He even produced a TV show for kids at the VRT, but now he is studying informatics. He is very good with PHOTOSHOP, a graphic programme for the PC. Together with Sven they made the new ABORTED site. If you want to get in touch with him, just mail me and I will contact him. KORNEEL is a very cheap guy, haha… For us though, he did not ask money because he is a good friend. About the painting for The August Symphony: no information is available. It was a very old and small picture that hung in our house. I just saw it when it was thrown away. There was neither a name nor a title visible, but it is a great picture. We put some effects on the picture and the cover was ready. It is a very romantic painting that suits the music and lyrics very well. It is a woman with a rose in her mouth and most lyrics on that demo are based upon poetic themes like lost love and stuff like that.

Joris “Mad Keith” Timmermans of 22 STRINGS TO BREAK is responsible for the clean vocals on Enchanted. I am not familiar with 22 STRINGS TO BREAK. What music do they play? How did you get in touch? Can we expect this co-operation live? What do you think of their music? Will any member(s) of THE QUIESCENT ever perform as guest musician(s) in 22 STRINGS TO BREAK?

We know Joris the same way as we know KORNEEL. Also he is a close friend of us. KORNEEL and Joris both were in the same class of our vocalist Bart. 22 STRINGS TO BREAK is a two man band making acoustic love songs. I can listen to them and I like Joris’ voice, but generally it is not my style of music. Guitarist Sven will leave the country in October and Joris will become our new guitarist as long as Sven stays in Amsterdam/London. Maybe 1 year, or 2,… He is a very good guitarist and vocalist. The riffs he writes are more technical and more progressive. I am curious how his first gig will be, somewhere later on this year. Right now we are learning him the songs and he learns very fast. Besides Metal like DEATH, MEGADETH and IN FLAMES he is into talented solo guitarists. And perhaps I could let him do the interview. He had lived several years in England and his English is much better than mine, haha… And I think 22 STRINGS TO BREAK does not exist actively anymore.

Tell me all I need to know about HELLGIUM! So best bands, labels, clubs, distros, ‘zines, sites, …

I think our very small country brings a lot of different musical styled bands. We have extreme brutal Death Metal bands like ILL FARES THE LAND, SUHRIM or ABORTED. There are bands who play more technical Death Metal like CULPABLE HOMICIDE and PREJUDICE. Some melodic death metal bands like IMPEDIGON and PANCHRYSIA you have already mentioned. There are bands that play more old school death metal like CRAWLSPACE and RULE OF THUMB. Heavy Metal: CRUSADER, WITCHSMELLER PURSUIVANT, Black Metal: WALPURGIS, SIGNS OF DARKNESS and the well known ANCIENT RITES. And so on. The last record of a Belgian band I listened 10 times a day was Engineering the Dead of ABORTED. Now I am awaiting new stuff of IMPEDIGON and RULE OF THUMB. There are some labels over here like LOWLIFE, LSP, UXICON, REET, HYBREED, PAINKILLER,… They are all very small, but that got pros and cons. There are not many places to play here. In Holland there are many famous clubs like DE BOERDERIJ, 013, BAROEG,… Here in Flanders the most famous places to play are THE FRONTLINE and DE BIEBOB. Most gigs take place in local pubs. There are not many good ‘zines over here. I totally hate THE THRONE OF ABSENCE, haha… I only know a few underground ‘zines: DARK CITADEL (RIP) of crazy Noco, Bart’s SCELDELANT, HELLRAZOR, TSWAERT DER DUUSTERNESSE,… Almost every band has got its own site and that is great, I think. We can be proud of what a support site like LUGBURZ has archived. That is really great. Here in South-Limburg there is a site named GREEN SMARTIES and also they support the underground, just like Ronny GR!NDK!LLER and Nicky Neyah do.

The lyrics are semi-poetic and deal with love, death, suicide, parallel worlds, history and they are written in different languages. So they must be important to THE QUIESCENT. Do you write other things beside lyrics for the band? Where does the inspiration come from? Why different languages?

Of course the lyrics are important, although you cannot understand what al those grunts mean, haha… Death Metal is a feeling and a way of thinking. It is all about “death” like the musical style says. And it should be. I only write things which reflect my own personality. So it would be very difficult to write about splatter and gore or satanic lyrics. I am just not into it. There is a certain change in our lyrics. They used to be very poetic and romantic, but now they are more about death and less romantic. I even wrote a song about the terrible depressing weather (read: rain) here in Belgium. I so hate the rain… I do not get my inspiration from something particularly. It just comes… Sometimes I hear a great sentence in a movie or in a book. That is all. In the extra song of 20 minutes, The Dreamvoyage, we used languages like old Flemish, Dutch, German and English. That is because the song is more or less sort of a tribute to the history of Flanders and The Netherlands. The different languages totally fit the song and it was very cool to grunt in your own language, haha… Some time ago I wrote a Dutch romantic lyric, but we do not use it for THE QUIESCENT, because the other guys think it’s ridiculous, the bastards!!! 

What do you think of the Belgian Metal/underground online? Next to LUGBURZ, there are a lot of others projects. Any comment?

I can just say it is all f*cking cool! Hell yeah!

Will LOWLIFE RECORDS be the future label for THE QUIESCENT?

Who knows? Some time ago we negotiated about a possible record deal, but we cancelled it, because there were some uncertainties from our side. Although I think Dave Ent and Nico are great guys who are really into the scene. But I can say we are planning to release a triple live-CD together with ILL FARES THE LAND and CULPABLE HOMICIDE. And we have booked the studio in December of this year. If everything turns out well, you can expect THE QUIESCENT’s debut album next year!

The music of THE QUIESCENT is quite technical. Where did you learn to play? Promote yourselves for a gig! How much do you charge? How was it like to play during the OPERATION CITADEL festival with Death Metal giants like GOD DETHRONED and REBAELLIUN? How are these guys like? What do you think of their music?

Is it? I do not think it is that technical. Last week I saw CRYPTOPSY on stage. Those guys can play! I am still impressed by their insane and intense bass player! I learned everything by myself. When I was 12 years old I raped the acoustic guitar of my niece. Since then I was infected by the musical virus and I practiced a lot. Damn, do I have to promote ourselves for a gig? Uhhh… “Just do it! You know where we stand for!” The OPERATION CITADEL gig is passed for more than 2 years already. I only knew GOD DETHRONED from their first Christhunt album and REBAELLIUN was an unknown upcoming Brazilian band. We were totally impressed by them! They played Day of Suffering (MORBID ANGEL) and it was even faster than the original. I can remember the South American dudes were really modest and shy backstage, but so were we… I am not really into the music of both bands. Although I am interested in the latest GOD DETHRONED stuff. I heard they sound more melodic and thrashy? REBAELLIUN is far too fast for me. It is impressive, but boring after a while. I prefer “poppy” Death Metal like AT THE GATES, haha…

React to:

FRONTLINE: the best underground Metal pub of the country!

CELEBRANT: vocalist Kevin used to live in the same street as me, but he moved far away to Flanders and I do not see him much anymore. Pascal’s death is still f*cking terrible and it is a great loss for the scene. I hope CELEBRANT will play again, since the accident it became very silent around those guys.

OUT IN THE COLD: a cult Grind Core band from our drummer. We often remind him of their very short songs. Multinationals, f*ck them all. They are all cool and funny guys who are not into the scene anymore. Underground freak Bert (their guitarist) is a lawyer, you can imagine…

ILL FARES THE LAND: those assholes are very good friends of us and they are all talented musicians, even their fat guitarist Jan, haha… They play ultra fast and technical Death Metal like their US-equivalents. You will hear more about this band! Definitely! 

BONE BOX/REET RECORDS: I heard Thomas stopped with his distro? It is a pity… 

TSWAERT DER DUUSTERNESSE: it is a ‘zine that is more into Black Metal and they got a cool Flemish Lion at their internet site!

EXCESS OF CRUELTY: one of the best Belgian bands ever. Very cool guys… I heard they are back together, but without guitarist Jan. Their UNDERGRIND festivals were always a big succes!

Compose the ultimate album:

vocals: Mikael Akerfeldt (OPETH)

lead guitars: Dan Swanö (EDGE OF SANITY)

rhythm guitars: Jon Nödtveidt (DISSECTION)

bass: Richard Diamon (DISMEMBER)

logo: SENTENCED (Jarva)

drums: Henry Ranta (SOILWORK)

coverart: KORNEEL KETELSLEGERS

label: WAR RECORDS

studio: SUNLIGHT STUDIOS

medium (tape/CD/vinyl): they all got their charms.

What is your opinion on the fact that demos are released on CDs nowadays instead of on tape?

I think the old tape got more charm, but nowadays CD-Rs are cheaper and way better than the classic demo tape. Gig organisers or lazy reviewers are more likely to eject a tape if they do not like the first song. If they listened to a CD instead, they simply make a fast switch to the next song.

Is internet a good or a bad thing for the underground?

Of course it is a good thing. It is fast, cheap and you can introduce your band by some songs online! Every week I receive dozen of mails from a certain Gerrit who spreads the latest underground gossip :-))) 

Anything else you want to say?

First of all thanks for the interview Gerrit.

Thanks Filip & THE QUIESCENT!

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