Could you introduce the band in a few words?

Serge: We are Catarrhal, a band created in 2001 in Huy. We had a lot of friends in the metal world, we met people in Huy and we decided to start a band. Xavier and I, we were playing together in a black metal band and we finally decided to do something else.

How would you define your music ?

Serge: Very simply, we do death metal, there is no need to look any further. There is actually a lot of kind of death metal, we have our own conception of death and that’s the one we play. It’s dark and aggressive music. We can sometimes look for inspiration in other styles like black metal, it does not bother us.

Xavier: Musically we’re really on death metal.

What do you think about organizations like Damned Soul? Do you prefer to be integrated within more eclectic concerts like today or within exclusively death metal concerts ?

Xavier: Both are good I think. It is clear that we like to play on scenes that are only death metal, but we can’t do it all the time either. When it’s well organized like this, I do not see any problem in playing with bands of different styles. Here I find that the organizer is doing something coherent and valid. I think the scene really needs this kind of initiative.

Serge: It must be highlighted that there is not only an eclectic poster tonight but also almost only Belgian or regional bands playing. I think it’s pretty daring right now and so I take my hat off to the Damned Soul Fest organization. I find it more comfortable to play with bands that are more or less all in the same category since it attracts an audience that is interested. Now, the advantage of eclectic posters is that we are going to reach people who would not necessarily have come to see us and who have discovered us here.

What would be the concert of your dreams? With whom and where?

Serge: I think we all have different expectations.

Xavier: I think of a date like Graveland this year with Immolation and bands of the genre.

Stefan: It’s not totally unreachable, I think.

Serge: There is also the Netherlands Deathfest, the Killtown Deathfest,…

Stefan: In terms of bands, it would be with Incantation, Immolation, Angelcorpse, Morbid Angel, all our favorite bands.

Serge: I would say an underground festival that offers a quality poster, with bands that we do not see so often.

Xavier: Yes, maybe a bit like the Metal Méan which we have participated and of which we support the concept.

What are your plans for 2019 ?

Stefan: it’s been a long time since we have a planned album but we’ll see how it goes but it’s going to come up slowly.

Serge: We still plan to release an album or an EP this year. We already have some concerts planned in particular at Fontaine-L’évêque at MCP Apache on February 17th.

How is this with your current label?

Serge: Our label is Great Dane Records, with whom it’s going well. They have an international distribution, we are distributed in the United States, in England, in Europe, in the Scandinavian countries,…

Does the export of Catarrhal work well thanks to this label, are there countries that stand out more than others?

Serge: It’s pretty hard to say, but I know we have contacts in Colombia, we sold t-shirts in Singapore, Japan, Australia. We must not fool ourselves, it remains confidential, we are an underground band but we still manage to send stuff on all continents except Africa for the moment. That’s also why we play, to touch a public out of Belgium.

Playing in a metal band in 2019 in Belgium, how is it?

Serge: I think it’s complicated.

Stefan: I would say that ten or fifteen years ago it was less complicated.

Xavier: I think that social networks and YouTube have changed a lot of things. Before, the bands really had to seek to make themselves known. I think that at the time the labels signed bands who were a little talented. Now, it’s more the visual that works, the more satanic you are and you do anything on stage, the more you are “trve” the more you bring people to see you. I think the image is too important compared to the rest. The way to get there now is no longer the same as it was twenty years ago I think.

Stefan: I also agree that the visual takes precedence over the rest and unfortunately it is often at the expense of music.

Serge: What I find complicated is the lack of venues and organizations. There were many more before. As somebody from the audience, I find that there is less and less touring in Wallonia, sometimes in Flanders but it is rare. In addition to that, the public is reduced in general, there are few people, youngs people.

Xavier: What saddens me also in the situation today is to see the number of concert halls that close because of noises or others. While in the end, we sometimes see cafes opening just as noisy instead of the old halls. In fact, metal is not yet “politically correct” in Belgium I think.

What do you think should be done to revitalize the local metal and underground scene?

Serge: I believe that it is not up to us as band to revitalize it. We play the music we want to play with passion and the public and the halls follow, if not too bad. I think there are small organizers who keep doing things, if the public does not move, it will die and then it will be reborn because there will be other people who want to have a new extreme and underground scene.

What themes do you cover in your songs?

Serge: It’s mostly death and sickness, these are two essential themes within the group. It is also the inner search, a lot of feelings about society, death, illness. I think these are pretty important topics because it affects everyone. There is also a lot of fantasy that mixes with all that.

Do you have any advice to give to young bands that start?

Serge: I would advise them to continue, to go on stage once they are really ready.

Xavier: For me, I would tell them to dare, not to stop on failures and get started because it’s also part of the game.

Stefan: I think you have to stay passionate.

A last word for our readers ?

Serge: Come to concerts, get moving and be passionate no matter the style.

Want to know more about Catarrhal ?