XS ROCK: Tell me about the latest band news? Any new projects coming out, live shows or announcements?
Koen: Well, live shows are a bit impossible right now, but we did release our second alum “Usurper” in may of this year, and are currently working on material for an EP for 2021, and trying some possibilities for a live stream.
XS ROCK: So how long has the band been together?
Koen: The band started out in 2014, founded by Paul, Benjamin and Bart, and Mathijs and myself joined them last year when they were looking for new musicians.
XS ROCK: What was your main motivation for originally starting or being in a band?
Koen: For me that was to play a lot of shows and do all that crazy stuff I saw on video tapes when I was a kid/teenager. Now I’m a little bit older and also want to play some decent music, haha
Mathijs: just creating music was the main reason at first, finding a lot of great friendships and stories along the way made it even better. being on the stage has also always been the place I wanted to end up.
XS ROCK: What is your music background?
Koen: I played in mostly death and thrash metal bands, and also play currently in a goregrind band. I don’t have any musical training or what so ever.
Mathijs: I’ve had some music lessons but not in the conventional way, just learning through covering songs along side a guitar teacher. The real drive to learn and improve came when I was playing in bands. If I screwed up a part, i just had to be able to play it.
XS ROCK: What image do you think your music conveys?
Koen: Thats a hard question. Our music has multiple layers and influences, so I don’t think we convey to a certain image. We use typical doom riffs, combined with death metal parts, some occasional blast beat, acoustic passages, and much more. I think that they keyword or image that fits us most is “atmosphere” .
XS ROCK: What are your current music career goals?
Koen: Trying to play shows again, or if that stays impossible for longer times find other ways to connect with our fans and show our selves, We hope to release an EP next year and do a small tour if everything with Covid-19 allows it
XS ROCK: Which do you prefer? Writing new songs and recording or playing for a live audience?
Koen: This is also a hard one, but I think I prefer the creative process of writing and recording new songs. Playing the songs live and see the reaction of the audience is amazing, but when we’re working on a piece or song, and everything fits and sounds great, that’s even better.
Mathijs: Like Koen says its a hard choice, the writing is cool when you see the landscape of a song growing and being created right before you. although when you play it live and the crowd really reacts to it, i’d have to say that would be the best.
XS ROCK: What are your songs’ lyrics about? (What specific themes do they cover?)
Koen: This is more Bart (our vocalist) department, but most of the time it deals with subjects like what’s between life and death, and what we do to each other as mankind
XS ROCK: What is the single most important thing to you as a musician?
Koen: That my wife supports me. If she wouldn’t do that I would not be able to invest so much time in my music.
Mathijs: Most people that know me would probably say “new and more gear” would be my answer haha, while they aren’t wrong, it’s creating the perfect tone for the situation or band im in or playing with, all within my own opinion of course.
XS ROCK: Do you have any outrageous tour stories from the road? If so, please fill us in.
Koen: Haha, this is not going to sound very metal, but I try to avoid that kind of situations. We don’t have a big tour van or something like that, and most of the times we’re taking turns driving, and I’m a really boring guy, I try to get my sleep, almost don’t drink alcohol, maybe one of the other guys has more interesting stories.
XS ROCK: What’s the strangest request that you’ve ever received from one of your fans?
Koen: Not with River of Souls, because I haven’t done any shows yet with them, but with a previous band girls wanted body parts signed. And yes, that sounds as bad as it was. Especially since I had no idea if these girls were underage or above 18. I skipped that one for signing, it didn’t feel good, it actually felt awkward.
XS ROCK: Are your friends and family supportive of your choice to play in a rock band?
Koen: Fortunatly they are.
Mathijs: yeah they’re great with supporting me, my dad has seen every band I played or rehearsed with and always tells me he’s proud to see me living the life I always wanted; to play music!
XS ROCK: What advice do you have for new bands trying to get started?
Koen: Keep having fun! Having fun is the most important thing there is. And make sure your partner is supporting you. What are all these cool shows and road trips worth if you don’t have someone at home waiting for you to share them with.
XS ROCK: What are your favorite tracks to play live?
Koen:Prometheus Unbound. I love everything about that song. The guitars, vocals, drum patterns, everything is spot on for me.
Mathijs: I think i’d have to say A Spirits Weight, even though we haven’t played that one live yet, for me it just has that old Candlemass feel in the main riffs and that’s the best Doom feel you can have in my opinion.
XS ROCK: Which band or artist inspired you to perform? Why?
Koen: I don’t know if it was a specific band that inspired me, but I remember I was 16 and visited Dynamo Open Air, but from that point on I wanted to play in a band.
Mathijs: just everything my dad used to blast in the car, mostly 80’s rock and metal. But if I need to name one, it has to be early Metal Church.
XS ROCK: If you could design a dream tour for your band, who would be on the bill?
Koen: For my personal taste that would be King Diamond and Mercyful Fate. For the band a dream tour would be together with My Dying Bride and Moonsorrow or Primordial as co headliner, and River of Souls on the opening slot. I think that would be a cool evening with a really nice atmosphere, and like I said earlier, that’s what is really important to us.
XS ROCK: What do you consider your greatest accomplishment so far?
Koen: Playing the River of Souls songs. I’m not the greatest drummer on earth, and come from a completely different side of the metal scene, but Paul is a great teacher, and I improved a lot on the drums.
XS ROCK: If you weren’t performing in a band what kind of career do you think you would have?
Koen: The same I have now, forklift driver, I still need a normal day job to pay all the bills and everything. I think I would spend even more time with my wife and dogs.
XS ROCK: What type of equipment do you use for live shows?
Mathijs: currently I use 2 Jackson guitars with Seymour Duncan pickups, Laboga Mr Hector amp with a cab that has my own secret speaker combination.
Koen: For me it doesnt matter that much, as long as I have my own pedals, snare and snarestand and cymbals. It’s also a logistic nightmare to try to take my drumkit on tour, so I am always happy what a venue provides or we are allowed to use from other bands.
XS ROCK: For anyone that doesn’t know you, what would they be surprised to know about you?
Koen: That I’m a huge 80’s cartoon nerd. Transformers, MASK, Dungeons & dragons, I know and have them all on dvd, and watch them regularly.
XS ROCK: Is there anything that you’d like to promote or say to your fans out there?
Koen: Hopefully all of you guys are safe and healthy, and we would love to meet everyone of you and drink a beer after a show after everything is over!
XS ROCK: Thanks again for taking the time to talk with us at XS ROCK!
Koen: Thank you for having this interview with us!