1. First of all, thank you for taking the time to do this interview with me. Before we really get rolling, please introduce yourself and can you please give us some information on your band and its background?
We are Deserter from Brussels, Belgium. A four-piece death-thrash metal band bringing heavy music and infusing it with transcendent lyrical content. Yacine on vocals and guitars, Pablo shredding bad-ass solos on guitars, Thomas on bass and Sander on drums.
2. Please describe your band’s style. Genre, similar bands, etc. What should a potential new fan expect upon hearing your music for the first time?
We don't like to be categorized or forceably put in a certain genre, hence our name Deserter. It's metal, obviously, but our musical interests go way beyond that and you can hear it, definitely in our latest release 'Coils of the Lesser Serpent'. Typically our music contains Thrash and Death Metal influences, but in general we are a pretty experimental band, and moreover - very technical. Makes it really tough when we have to go through line-up changes, because we don't play your everyday binary metal!
3. What other bands have you played in previously?
Some of our members have been in different bands. Yacine started out in a small garage project called Cordania. Thomas has always played in Deserter. Pablo plays (or has played) in bands like Cizin and Skinweaver. Sander has played in Hudzan, Bloodrocuted, Funeral Winds and Carnation (mostly as a session drummer, kind of like musical prostitution).
4. What are some of your musical influences both in metal and maybe in other styles of music?
It might be surprising, but for us in the band: that’s a hard question. Our influences are incredibly diverse. If we would mention a few bands that undoubtedly influenced Deserter throughout the years, they would be: Kreator, Warbringer, The Black Dahlia Murder, Slayer (duh), Exodus, Destruction, The Crown, Havok and our local heroes Sanity’s Rage. Most of those bands have the same thing in common: at least one of their records was played constantly as we drove around our tiny country, inspiring us in many ways!
Sander is a huge fan of the real technical drummers. Guys like Alex Rudinger, Andrew Baird, David Diepold, Phil Dubois, Ken Bedene and of course: the mighty George Kollias. Those guys really inspire to practice like hell to reach high speeds, which is frequently used in our music. A real diverse taste in music for the rest: ranging from experimental technical death metal like Fallujah and Rivers of Nihil to bands like Exodus, Kreator and Sepultura to the occasional post-rock band and indie. Yacine also has a real diverse taste in music and his stuff definitely comes back in the band’s influences. We both have a distinct passion for spiritual oriental music and classical music for example, which has definitely influenced the record. Thomas is a true Teutonic Thrash-lover, though he also delves into Stoner and the occasional Viking-Folk record. Pablo, as a true guitar genius, loves pretty much any music that has a guitar in it. His main inspiration is Jason Becker. I’ve heard him mention the most obscure bands ever, the ones you hardly believe actually exist. He does share my huge interest for very technical music, which will undoubtedly have an influence on stuff we’ve been writing and will write for the records to come. I’m proud to say that we have a pretty broad musical repertoire, which helps us create our music!
5. Can you please share with us your band's recording history and any interesting stories and experiences from the studio?
COILS OF THE LESSER SERPENT is the result of a long musical journey, a journey that wasn’t always easy. We recorded the entire album once before, until we decided to practically redo everything. Lots of the songs on COILS OF THE LESSER SERPENT are pretty old, but we reviewed them over and over until we were really happy with the result. In other words: we really took our time to put the bar as high as we could. Yacine rewrote the lyrics for some songs three times over!
The record wouldn’t be what it is in any way without the guidance and expertise of our main man Bob Briessinck at Breeze Inc. Studio.
6. How about your bands live experiences? Any amusing or memorable shows you would like to share with us?
Our release show in April was a real killer show! Lots of moshpits, and great response from the audience. It felt good to be back on stage after such a long while! Probably one of the best shows ever, as well as the older shows back in 2014-2015 in Brussels, when there still were legitimate metal bars in downtown Brussels.
7. We have all heard of the big 4 of thrash. Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer and Anthrax. It has been talked about in the past and critiqued quite often. In your mind, what are the Big 4? You don't have to just list thrash bands, lets open it up to all metal genres, past or present, what is the big 4 in your mind?
Warbringer, The Black Dahlia Murder, Kreator, Death.
8. What would be your dream supergroup? Again lets open it up to past or present musicians, what would be the dream band lineup?
Jason Becker feat. Chuck Schuldiner feat. George Kollias feat. Richard Wagner.
9. Now if you were to be a member of any band, who would you love to join up with?
Yacine would have liked to join Judas Priest.
Pablo could have been a part of Obscura.
Thomas would have liked to join Sodom.
Sander would have liked to play for Fallujah.
10. Now it’s time to get philosophical. What IS heavy metal?
The rebel alliance between Punk and Hard Rock. A societal escape. A release of primal energy beyond measure. And also a sausage fest.
11. What has heavy metal done for you thus far both in music and in your personal life?
It made us stop cutting our hair for quite a while, and it really expanded our technical limits in playing music. And it saved social lives, we wouldn't have met eachother if it wasn't for metal. And we wouldn't be doing this interview if it wasn't for metal.
12. If you were not playing in a metal band, what do you think you would be doing currently?
Just existing. But playing music anyways!
13. What is your heavy metal dream? I am not talking about goals here, I am talking about going to bed and dreaming...what is the dream you are having? Or is it a nightmare?
Playing the last show on earth during the apocalypse on the biggest stage ever seen while the world collapses into flames and calamity (should be some time soon).
14. What is your view on the current state of heavy metal?
Way too commercialised.
15. What are your thoughts concerning the digital era of metal. I am curious what you think of digital downloading, recording in the modern era and anything else that has changed since the early days of the industry.
For our kind of metal, the technological advancements really helped us getting our music to the really refined levels. But it is a very thin line between artificial studio copy-pasting and real instrumental recording. If you can play your shit live as you do on the CD, then you pass the test. Your album should reflect your own capabilities on stage. That's where the line is according to us.
16. Heavy metal has gone through some changes since the early days. New movements have come and gone as has its overall popularity. With that in mind, what direction do you see heavy metal going in the future?
Everybody is just trying to trump the next. It has become a very competitive genre, musically. It delivers great musicians, definitely, mut maybe it kind of blurs the real meaning of heavy metal: which is more than just the bpm-range of your average song.
17. Several musicians have gone on record to say that the full length album is dead. That with the digital age there is no need to produce a full length release. What are your thoughts, is the full length dead or still viable?
we just released a full-length! So pretty viable, no? It will always be a part of metal. Being a band in metal still kind of requires you to have albums, as an unwritten rule. Of course, spreading your music is the main thing. But this is like comparing writing pamflets and flyers to writing proper novels. Don't you need to do the latter to be a true author?
18. Okay time to talk and promote your band some more. What is the current news coming from your camp. Any new music, tours, festivals or anything going on?
We just released our latest full length called 'Coils of the Lesser Serpent', through Vile Records. It's on pretty much every major platform on the internet. Check it out on iTunes, Spotify, Amazon and even Youtube! True metalheads can support us in making more music through buying our merch on http://deserterwebstore.bigcartel.com/!
We're working on new music now as we speak. Hopefully we could do some big shows in the near future!
19. What are the immediate short range goals for your group?
Selling and spreading our stuff out there. Writing new music and exceeding our current limits musically. Expect epicness!
20. What about ultimately any long range goals?
Leaving a sizeable mark in metal history, and inspiring next generations to follow the footsteps, but still go there own way!
21. Finally if you have any last words you wish to express to your fans and the metal community in general please do so here.
BUY OUR SHIT! SPREAD THE WORD!
and pick up a goddamn instrument, you'll feel better about yourself