Let’s kick off this interview with a question about your past. I assume not all of our readers will be familiar with Mouflon so can you give us an update about the formation of the band and all subsequent changes over the years?
Sure, well we formed the band around 2012 and the line-up back then was Richard (guitars), Peter (guitars), Ed (drums), Tijl (bass) and Melvin (grunts). We began to write songs and record some of them, which resulted in three demos. These three demos aren’t released yet but they will be. The recordings were used to make some YouTube clips so people could hear us anyway. After a while Ed wanted to quit the band because he didn’t want to perform live so we had to look for a new drummer who we found in Rutger. Within a year Rutger knew all the songs and we even wrote some new songs and started to play live shows again. The energy we felt was good and we even became part of the Doc-Agency clan. From that point onwards we got more shows and we felt that what we did was something we needed to record if we wanted to take it further. Melvin (grunts) left to focus on other things in life. RJ offered to fill in for the show in Athens. We knew him from our previous bands and he never left after that show. This line-up is a group of friends that know each other for more than 25 years. Our current line-up is: RJ (grunts), Richard (guitars), Peter (guitars), Tijl (bass) and Rutger (drums).
Within the Dutch scene the name Mouflon popped up more and more and besides what you deliver musically I think the band’s moniker is somewhat striking too. So tell us a bit more on the decision to name yourselves after a species of sheep?
Well our former drummer, Ed came up with that idea. He’s a great artist and besides that it`s a wild sheep he thought it was an excellent skull to draw and form it to a logo (he was inspired by the Venom skull/logo), which we still use. But we are also a band formed in Arnhem and we have great nature surrounding us such as “de Veluwe “ and believe it or not but in that nature Mouflon live freely so that’s also connection. But also what you listed, it’s a great name and with it you pop out of the many other band names, so reasons enough to keep it that way haha.
Your style can be considered as death metal with some doomier parts incorporated. Can you tell us a bit what bands you consider to be inspirational to you guys?
Good question! Of course mainly from old-school death metal such as the Swedish (Grave, Dismember, Entombed) and Dutch (Asphyx, Pestilence) but also some American (Obituary, Suffocation) but actually our inspiration comes from all sides. Some of us didn’t always play OSDM but we all grew up with that music and for the doomier parts, we like it also slow, low (in tuning) and deep and that results in the doom parts. The variety in our songs is what it makes it interesting for us to keep playing instead of a flat-lined song. Variety is actually the key of our writing.
You recently released your debut full-length by yourselves. Before this album you released 3 demos. I think you re-recorded at least three demo tracks on this album, right? In addition do you still think those demos show what Mouflon is all about anno 2018?
I do think so because it’s the path we took to get where we are on this moment. When we play live you always make a set list of the songs you want to play and I think these songs are most representative of what we are today. The songs you refer to are also recorded with our former drummer Ed and singer so when we got in to the recording of ‘Devastations’ we re-recorded some of them. But with the new line-up they therefor sound a little bit different compared to the demos. Call it evolution but the reason we still play some of the old songs is that they still got that drive we love. But for most of the re-recorded songs RJ made new lyrics that fit better with the rest of the lyrics.
Can you tell us a bit more about the recordings of ‘Devastations’? I think you recorded at a couple of studios and Harry Holzhauer mixed the album, right? He’s not an obvious name within the Dutch metal scene so perhaps you can tell a bit more about the decision to work with him?
Well, we recorded the drum parts in JBStudio in Almelo with Harry. We’ve known Harry for a long time and Rutger and RJ worked with him before. They also play in a punkrock band and they liked working with Harry so it was an obvious choice to try that with Mouflon as well and it worked out just fine. We knew that he (Harry) would listen to our input on how we wanted it to sound. We wanted an old school sound and he made it sound just like we wanted it. If we would choose for an obvious name you will also get an obvious sound like the rest of the bands and we didn`t want that. Besides that, Harry offers to do the mix and mastering while we recorded the guitars, bass and vocals ourselves in our own rehearsal room and that is the second studio as we have called it on the record. It was more a fun thing to mention instead to say that we recorded in our rehearsal room. We always make fun of everything so we did it also with this.
Looking at the artwork of the demos as well as the full-length it seems you have a theme going on. Can you tell a bit more about that?
Sure thing. What I mentioned before that our former drummer drew it himself and it’s still a great logo and of course recognizable! So those to me are good ingredients to keep. We used it for stickers, t-shirts, backdrop and some patches and it works. More and more people begin to recognize it and that’s a good thing. I think for the next album or E.P. we will use it again, maybe a little adjustment so people will see some difference but still recognizable and that’s the key to it. It`s our own Eddie. :)
You decided to digitally release four out of the ten songs on ‘Devastation’ for free on your bandcamp page. I assume this was purely done to gain interest in the album?
It had 2 reasons. First one is what you just mentioned to gain peoples interest for the album so hopefully they will buy our album and second is for promotional use and for labels & bookers. When you make a press kit you can do it two ways, you use a code to listen to the songs but that will interest the booker or label less but when you make it free it’s easier for them to listen and to do so and that’s what we wanted, so that’s the simple explanation.
It seems you play live shows regularly but I guess you have aspirations to play more often and also on territories you haven’t played before. So will we be able to see you guys in other parts of the world soon? Any great memories about particular shows you have done so far?
Certainly we have aspirations! We are trying to go to Portugal, Italy, and Slovenia in the near future and more of course but also in Holland we still have enough aspirations. Our agency “Doc-Agency “ is working on that so hopefully in 2019 we can do shows here, but also abroad and promote the band, the album and play as many times live as we can. There are still some festivals where we would like to play and also some venues we want to go to and maybe you will see us there in the near future so when you are in the neighbourhood drop by and drink a beer with us.
I think that’s all from my side. Anything else you’d like to add?
Actually yes I have a short note to add. I would like to say that our former drummer Ed was and still is important to Mouflon because he was the one who brought us all together to do this band, came up with the name, drew the logo and left the blueprint for the songs of Mouflon. So it would be honest to say that without him we wouldn't exist and therefore we are thankful to him! And of course you for showing interest in Mouflon, Hails m/. Ohh and we have a release show coming up where you can pick up the cd or vinyl for the first time: November 30th at the Brigant in Arnhem with Bloodmoon and Disabuse.