First of all, hails and congratulations on your new album, ‘Feed Me Violence’! Before we get more into that let’s take a look at your at the last few years; things have gone pretty well and fast for Evil Invaders since the release of your first EP and the debut album. How do you look back on the last few years and your adventures so far?
Well ever since we released our First EP in 2013 things have been going really fast for this band. Napalm Records immediately contacted us and we signed with them, we started touring and played a shitload of cool festivals all over Europe and even went to play two shows in Japan with Possessed! Since there seemed to be some kind of hype going on here in Belgium as well, we decided to organize a show in the legendary Biebob venue here and captured it all on video. The place was sold out and it was an amazing night! After that we started recording our first full length album ‘Pulses Of Pleasure’ but in the middle of the recording process we still did a European tour with Destruction and Lost Society. Things got even wilder after the release of ‘Pulses’ in 2015. We played more shows and bigger festivals than ever before. We went back to Japan and explored new land in South America! Did some insane tour across Europe with Majesty and Skull Fist . We released another EP ‘In For The Kill’ in September 2016, immediately followed by a tour with Suicidal Angels. Right after that we toured eastern Europe and Russia. The crowds just kept on growing and it's been going on like that until now! We've just released our new record ‘Feed Me Violence’ and the reactions of the people were beyond my expectations! The future's looking bright!
You have been a very hard working band even before you released the first EP and also on stage you showed that you guys meant business. And the work has definitely been paying off. You have been the pounding heart of the band ever since the beginning and it seems that during the years you also had to make some hard (?) decisions regarding the line-up. Do you think that sometimes you have to be ‘ruthless’ for the sake of what is best for the band?
You're never alone when you're in a band. Whether you're on tour or at home. There's always communication going on between the bandmembers. And it's extremely important that this communication works. It's always shitty when someone decides to leave the band and even more shitty if you have to kick someone out because you don't get along anymore. But if these decisions hadn't been made in the past, the band wouldn't be where it is today. I always try to see things for the long term and sometimes you can picture how things could escalate, and then you have to be ruthless indeed. Most of the time the member changes went pretty smooth because of good communication. You can't force someone to be away from home all the time if he doesn't want to tour. I still see my old band members regularly and we still get along. It's always a step back at first and it's really stressing to be able to find the right guy in time. Luckily we never had to cancel tours or anything like that because of it.
Anyway, the new line-up is the strongest you’ve had so far and the new album is the proof that Evil Invaders is here to stay and that you are – even more than before – a force to be reckoned with. During the past eight years you have built quite a reputation and both your previous releases as well as your live shows have been quite successful. Did that put any sort of pressure on you when you started working on the material for ‘Feed Me Violence’?
Not really. It was more time-pressure. We're quite perfectionistic in all aspects of this band. The artwork needs to look great, the music needs to sound perfect and the live shows need to blow people's minds. That way we know we won't release anything if it's not kicking ass. But finishing the songs in time is always a rush. I'm always fucking around with the vocal lines 'till the very last minute. I always look for improvements and details. Kicking out the weak spots. In the end you don't really have a clear view on what you're doing anymore so it's important to stop at the right time. Although it drives me crazy, deadlines are essential for us.
As many others I am very fond of your previous releases. The new songs you presented on the ‘In For The Kill’ EP were very reassuring as they were utterly Evil Invaders, but at the same time ‘As Life Slowly Fades' also showed that you had broaden your horizons. So on that note, one of the things I admire about ‘Feed Me Violence’ is the fact that it is unmistakably Evil Invaders, but at the same time a bit different; the music is more versatile than before, at some points thrashier, at some point more melodic and at time even a bit “progressive” if you will… but the total picture is – as said – utterly Evil Invaders. What is it a conscious choice to try out different things and a wish to take things further or was it something that came naturally?
It's just something that came naturally. The biggest part of the song ‘Broken Dreams In Isolation’ was already written when we went to the studio for ‘Pulses Of Pleasure’. It just wasn't finished yet. We have so many different influences going from 70's stuff to old-school death metal. I think most of the new bands in our style lack variety in their music and then shit gets boring. The constant ups and downs on this album make it so unique and interesting to listen to. As we grow as musicians we explore new territory and I feel way more comfortable to try new stuff with my voice as well. We just try to get the maximum out of every song and riff that we write and we don't really care what “style” it turns out to be. A good song is a good song.
On this album you definitely prove to have improved both as musicians and as songwriters. You have been playing in this line-up for almost three years now and have done many shows together. In how far were Max and Joeri involved in the songwriting and in how far were they responsible for the new dimensions the whole has taken?
They both had a big role in the creating of this record. While Max more in the songwriting, Joeri more in the mixing process. It's cool not to have all the weight on my shoulders anymore. Everybody seems to be as focused as I am and we all realize how important every single detail is. Max wrote a bunch of the new stuff and we even worked together on lyrics; something I never did with someone else before. And Joeri basically came up with the guitar sound on the album. While on ‘Pulses’ I was the one who did almost everything together with our sound engineer. This time the work was more divided and I'm really glad we ended up working in the same way as before. We recorded with our own sound engineer Koen Keijers at Waveshape Audio and managed to get the right vibe for this album working together as a team.
You know, after hearing ‘Feed Me Violence’ a few times, I more and more started to see this album as a statement on different levels; first of all that the talent and energy you showed on the debut was not a one-off and that you are here to stay, that the new line-up is capable of much more, and that as both songwriters and musicians you have a lot more in you than you have shown so far, but also that despite broadening your horizons, you will stay true to your sound and style, and more importantly, that you can still sound fresh and “relevant” playing old-school metal…
I think you've nailed it there man! That's exactly how we feel at the moment! We're already really excited about creating more new material!
In how far do the contents of your lyrics on this album differ from the things you dealt with and wrote about than before?
I think this album is the angriest stuff that we've ever done. Apart from all the positive shit that happened, we've had some rough times in the last few years as well. If you read the lyrics you will notice that there are some topics coming back all the time. There are aspects of depression and suppressed anger in all these songs. It's really what we felt like at the moment when the songs were written. It's important to read between the lines to be able to get what it's really about but I'd like to leave it open for interpretation because these songs can mean different things to different people.
I know it’s way too early to ask this question, but do you think you will follow on the same path as ‘Feed Me Violence’ in the future, or are there more musical challenges you’d like to meet and introduce in Evil Invaders?
Hard to say what's gonna happen. This album was really angry and aggressive. Maybe the next one would be more heavy metal orientated. I have no idea. We're already working on some stuff but we always write a bunch of songs and then take the best ones and those are the ones that make it to the album. I don't like to write the same album over and over again. The new stuff should be something new and real more than something that we do because we know it worked out for us in the past. Everything is possible! But it will always be Evil Invaders.
The album has been released for a few weeks now and the reactions from the press are quite positive so far. You have just done a couple of shows and are about to hit the road with Grand Magus and Elm Street. How did the fans react to the new material?
I heard nothing but positive in general. Even from people that didn't like the first record as much. It seems like we stepped up and we're ready to reach more people now than ever before. We also worked really hard on our live stage setup and the shows look pretty badass now!
Speaking of gigs, it is however no secret that it’s not so easy to get a decent gig nowadays for underground bands. However, that situation doesn’t seem to apply to you, because – as said – you’re on the road quite often. However, how are things regarding gigs when you’re not part of a tour with other bands? Both nationally and internationally.
We try to approach things more professionally. We always inform ourselves about the stage specs and lights that are there in the venue to see if it's interesting to play there. It's really important to deliver a proper show where we can do our thing. We always try to get the maximum out of the stage even if it's not that big to make it look cool and to be able to deliver the energy to the people. If we go somewhere by car we always set up our full show. Of course it's not as easy when it's a fly-in show but we're working on some more transportable alternatives already, haha.
To make it fast with one last question, what can we expect from you guys in the near future except for live activities?
Hard to say since that's all we'll do for the next couple of months... We have some ideas for a new video clip later in 2018 but nothing's confirmed yet and we're always working on new songs of course! For the rest we have a shitload of cool new merch available so check it out!
Well Joe, I guess we can call it a day for now. Unless of course there is something left that you’d like to mention…
We'll be playing in Eindhoven with Grand Magus on the 9th of November. Be there! We'll also be doing a tour through Belgium with Channel Zero later this year so if you can't make it to Eindhoven we hope to see you there! Cheers!