Can you introduce Squidhead in a few words?

The painter : Squihead, basically, it was a solo project. So it was me who started working on the project, concretely for lack of musicians. I released a first EP in 2014, if I’m not mistaken, where I did everything. So guitar, bass, drums programming and some samples were recoded at home and it was basically a purely instrumental project . Simply because, for my part, I felt not able to sing well enough in order to make it sound good on an album. So the decision I made was to first make an EP to present a musical identity that is formed around the band. The influences remained a little the same: industrial metal influenced by bands like Fear Factory, Meshuggah, Strapping Young Lad … The idea was to release this first disc so that there was already a musical identity. And that’s when this EP came out that I started looking for musicians, to make a stage band. The advantage of having something to listen to already is that it allowed me to solicit people more easily  .

In March 2018, we released the first real album, where it was a participation of everyone, except for the drums which had been programmed. Now, for the live, we have just welcomed our new drummer Kevin who will help us for the future. The idea is now to make it a band effort. I remain the main composer but the idea is that everybody can now add something into it.

The other important point of the band is the stage work. We decided not to just play wearing jeans and t-shirts on stage, we wanted to have a visual identity that accompanies the band. Since the whole musical atmosphere, texts, imagery and more evolve around the world of Lovecraft and the myth of Cthulhu, we decided to push it further and to be on stage with costumes, masks , decorum to try to create a whole, a complete entity.

Does the contribution of new musicians change the identity of the band?

The painter: For now, it has gone extremely well. It’s true that I composed most things. Since there is only one guitar in the band, the major parts of the composition comes from there but there is a lot of discussions that are done and most importantly, we will be able to start from the beginning for the next album . I will bring song by song, idea by idea. My wish is to have other ideas that I would not necessarily have and to confront a little, because I know that there are things to which I will not go naturally but that can be coming from others. I want that to happen, because I know very well that at some point, if I do everything alone, I will lose myself or there are things that I will let go and that others will not let go. Even at the level of the functioning of the band it is a good thing, because I always tend to want to manage everything and I know that it is a defect.

You are inspired by the world of the author H.P. Lovecraft, where does this idea come from? Are you all inspired by this author?

The crawler: I have been for over 20 years into it. Why this theme, because it is a theme that we find quite often in this kind of music. When you make metal, you will rarely talk about light or happy things. It is a natural inclination, there are things in literature as in music that will touch you more than others. There are some who will take Nietzschean themes or Tolkien and here it has been Lovecraft. It’s almost a theme like any other except that among all bands inspired by Lovecraft, we must also try to distinguish ourselves musically and visually speaking.

The painter: The advantage we have is the influence of the role-playing game because Lovecraft has greatly influenced this universe and the advantage is that everything that was inspired by Lovecraft went much further and became super rich. It was well beyond the work and it gives a great visual for example for the metal, as we are in a music that is quite extreme, it allows us just to justify this side heavy, radical and a little hopeless. We can afford things a little more noisy, a little more brutal and the imagery will stick perfectly. We also had to agree on a theme and the advantage of it is that we have no historical limit, it’s very large so it allows us to think one or two albums further.

All these costumes and stage elements that help to create this atmosphere, are you the ones who realize them?

The painter: It’s a collective effort. I did all the parts of the costumes with masks, leather pieces and shoulder harnesses. For the costume part, we are lucky to have a lot of loved ones who sew very well and who know how to do more than just a disguise. The person who took care of our costumes is a professional costume designer and worked for the Opéra Royal de Wallonie, so the advantage is that she understands perfectly what we do. These are people who also did stage design studies so when we told them that’s the idea, that’s what we want to represent on stage, they understood right away.

The crawler: It is designed so that it can be used on stage, it does not limit the movements and at the same time it is aesthetic. It is thought on several dimensions.

Can you tell me something about “Cult (ist)”?

The painter: There is a lot to say about it. It was quite a long process because there are a lot of things that have been changed along the way. In itself, the composition was still the easiest. The crawler and I shared the text and then proposed it to our singer who took care of voice placements.

The basic idea was to make the album entirely in home studio but we realized that as much for a little instrumental EP, a first record it could pass, but there, we tried to do something more accomplished and at one point you have to admit your own limits. And so there were a lot of things that had to be re-recorded. We decided to go through an outdoor studio, in this case the Vamacara studio in France, which hooked on the musical universe and did a good job because in the end everything was recorded in our respective home studios. So they took care of everything mix and mastering and finally we are very happy with the result.

I think we are going to learn from this album, for example, there are some songs that we liked to record and when we listen to them live, we say to ourselves: “it is effective but not as much as we would like it. ”

The crawler: I think we must also take into account the pleasure of interpreting the pieces. There are songs that work but that can be boring to play and there are others that may not please anyone. These new songs will also help to better understand the band’s musical identity.

The painter: Especially because in the beginning , we played the first gigs with samples of batteries for lack of a “real drummer”. We had the advantage of having our costumes on stage and so the imagery compensated a little but it is only now that we integrated a real drummer that we feel a difference, a much larger fishing that comes out and we happens slowly to transcribe this kind of wall of the sound that we have always wanted in fact. I think it will only get better.

The crawler: Yes because drums programming is manageable when you record. Transcribing live sound is much more difficult and we experienced it on the first two dates. You are subject to the conditions of the material to make it out properly and it is not always obvious. Having a real drummer on stage, it remains a predominant element in the metal music.

After this whole album, what would you like to accomplish?

The crawler: I would say from a scenic point of view, try to make the band grow. Try to incorporate festivals or dates a little more consistent, which would give more visibility. From a personal point of view, the small rooms are good, it’s warm, we can meet many people but on the other hand it’s not “THE place to be” for bands that want to show themselves.

The painter: Especially because the idea here is that from the moment we have a stage work that is done, stage costumes, decorations or whatever, we can not afford to land our hands in pockets on stage. We have to try to work a little on the entrances, to be able to bring the equipment easily … It is necessary to have a little logistics behind us which allows us to make it the best possible. The idea is going to be to actually develop that. We already know that the visual pleases, and the idea is to go to something that will allow us to flourish this show.

Most of the current discussions are about that. I have already started to write a big part of the next record so we will not take another 3 years to bring out something. But now as we know what we want, we have the costumes, we know what we want to do on stage and what we want to develop, we already have an excellent working base.

What would be the place where you dream to play and especially with which band?

The orator: I’m not at all in the Lovecraftian thing like the painter and the crawler. I am a pure product of Death Metal. The themes I was able to develop with my other band were more like relationships with God, war, and so on. But otherwise the band I’d like to play with, one that I love most of all is Gojira. In addition I already had the opportunity to meet them and spend an evening with them. And just for the human side of this group, I really want to play with them one day. Before I would have said Hellfest but it became a bit too commercial for me.

The painter: I would have thought of a band like Behemoth but then in a place like AB or Rockhal, because I know that their shows work perfectly well in a large room but not as big as Forest National. I think it could work as well because the people who are going to see this show do not expect to see a group in jeans and sneakers playing death metal. They also want that ceremonial side, and I think it’s just bands like Behemoth, Watain, or things like that that might be consistent with us from a stage point of view.

The crusher: It’s true that to pick up a little what you said, I saw Slipknot many times and my favorite time it was in a smaller place. In festival, it did not sound the same, the impact is not at all the same. And to pick up a bit of themed groups as you said, my big wish would be playing with Fleshgod Apocalypse. Or even Septicflesh then.

The painter: For Septicflesh, I think we all agree. We are old fan-boys and like us, they work a lot on their identity, both musical and scenic.

The crawler: It’s a band that works on electronics as well as organic and actually it’s something that can be integrated into the collective inspirations. I pointed out Monolith Death Cult which is also inspired in a similar style but with different ideas.

The painter: It’s true that Monolith Death Cult is a bit of a similar approach but with a lot more industrial and a lot of work. About Septicflesh, I enormously envy their orchestrations. The advantage they have is that their guitarist is trained in musicology. It’s a huge collective work that they do, it’s just that they do not all have the same approach: one will take care of the guitar, the other of the composition of the keyboard … They are also fortunate enough to have a graphic designer of a monstrous level who manages to encapsulate graphically what happens musically. It’s an entity in every sense of the word.

The crawler: just like a Behemoth, it can be something that we can tend to have as inspiration in the sense that they have reached such a level of musical, graphic and coherent mastery between the two. We have every interest in learning from these people.

What is your opinion about the local scene?

The painter: The advantage and the problem of the local scene in Belgium is that it is a geographically very small scene. We already feel that there is a split between the French-speaking and Dutch-speaking part, which is rather unfortunate because there are good bands on both sides. It moves a lot more in Flanders, even for young bands. And it’s something that I envy a bit about the Flemish scene, is that they tend to support their own bands a lot.

In Wallonia it’s much harder to get people to move. So I know this is a bit of the problem of all local scenes, it’s always a little bit the same faces that play so I know that at some point people do not necessarily follow. I still have to admit that in recent years, every time I saw a collective just give up, which I can understand, I see that there are always organizers coming in and trying to find an alternative. I am reassured to see that despite the years, there are still rooms like La Zone where it continues to play and where it continues to exist. There are still people who try to give themselves the means to get there and who get there.

We participated to the Durbuy Rock contest this year and I must recognize that there was level. While going to listen, I said to myself: “there is still a beautiful selection which is there”. There are also bands that are starting to have a lot of bottle like the band of our drummer Aktarum. We still see that there are styles that develop, that there are bands that get there. And I’m reassured to see that venues like here persist and that we always get bands to play there.

I hear a lot of people saying that there is nothing left but in the end it is still there. We always propose dates, we see interesting tours that begin to arrive. My wish is that it develops more, that people get a little more to move. I think we can do better but we are on the right track.

Then, I think that the Belgian bands should also think about leaving Belgium. We are lucky to be in a country bordering Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Germany. And I think that by digging a little bit in the small associations or even the largest, there is way to go play in small clubs here and there. We see it here, there are French bands, German, … who come to play from time to time. If they get there, why not Belgian bands?

The orator: I wanted to make a parenthesis about the scene here in Belgium. There is a place, it is at Yohann’s at the MCP Apache in Charleroi. When you see the number of concerts and bands that come to play there. It would be nice to have more venues like that and more guys like Yohann. 9/10 of the time it is crowded.

The painter: I think it’s nice to have guys who think outside the box, who say to themselves “we will check what is around”. A guy like Yohann is the proof that we can find small underground dates, we can find interesting concerts that work. I hope we will continue to see those kind of ultra-motivated little guys who get the local scene running. People do not always realize that there is help for venues.

The crawler: I also have the impression that people imagine that you have to do it one way except that this way leads to a wall. They are still sometimes stuck in front of the wall while there is the door right next to them and you just have to change the way it works. There are people who have ambitions but who sin by ignorance. As the saying goes, “No one is a prophet in his country” many times I told bands that we had to search outside of where we came from. For those with ambitions, there is a way out. In addition we have fertile ground in terms of bands, I think including people like Benighted. These are people who happen to have quality dates without forgetting where they come from. I know that there are great venues in Europe but often, we ignore them and it’s a shame.

Then, there is also the motivation of the public, this kind of laziness of the great city dweller. It’s a state of affairs, but if the public does not come, maybe you have to get another audience elsewhere.

A last word for our readers ?

The painter: First, buy our records and our t-shirts, they are good, they are of good quality.

The crusher: Get out your ass out and go see concerts.

The painter: That’s it! I think it’s just that, if people are interested in everything like small webzines and other structures, you really do not hesitate to move. Because that’s often what sins. In a room like this, we add about twenty people, it radically changes the reaction of the public. People have to unhook a little bit of their pc and their couch. Even just to come for a drink and spend some time at the concert.

The crawler: Do not forget that the live experience is an experience in itself. it must not be dissociated from listening of a record at home. I took slaps with groups that I did not think about albums. I thought, it vibrates. There is this vibratory phenomenon, purely physical. We feel something, the sound is transmitted, it vibrates from the inside and the outside, it can even vibrate the soul. it happens, it exists and people must not forget it. It is also up to the bands to be able to bring that. There must be a requirement of the band towards itself and the public towards the bands.

The painter: To sum it up: Come on, we’ll have a good time!

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