Short, quick and (un)sweet. “Descending Flesh” is still ringing in our ears and, just like a sore tooth, we keep coming back to it to sense the displeasure once again. And again. And again. The Belgian platoon of four hits Roadburn next Saturday, at Cul de Sac, and with it will surface the most dreary and primitive angle of punk – 30 minutes to level Tilburg right before we drag our chastened souls to watch Neurosis celebrating the 30th anniversary. Wow. That’s right. Do catch VVOVNDS and read our brief talk with guitar player Simon.
You’ve just done three shows in a row with Daggers, including one at Rote Flora. I’ve always imagined what it would be like to play at such an iconic place. Was it as great as someone can wander?
It’s been a great experience. I feel like Rote Flora is a perfect example of a squat run the right way: well-organized, well-maintained and a great variety of activities. It’s a very welcoming place that seems to attract a nice diversity of people, which is always a plus for any venue. Hopefully we can make it to Hamburg again soon.
Now you have another emblematic place to be up ahead: Roadburn. It’s not everyday one has the chance to play, turn off the amps and go watch immediately a two-hour set by Neurosis celebrating their whole career. Excited to see others bands there as well?
We’re very lucky to play Roadburn on Saturday, as I think it’s by far the most interesting day of the festival. I’m very curious about Converge‘s ‘Blood Moon’ set, especially as Steve Von Till is joining the band at Roadburn too. I’ve always been a fan of Converge’s slower material and I can’t wait to hear Steve, Chelsea, Ben and Stephen‘s influence on those tracks. I hope we’ll be able to catch some songs from Amenra‘s ‘Afterlife’ set before our show and I’m excited to see Partisan again as well. For the remainder of the festival, I hope we can just wander around and hopefully discover some new cool bands.
I bet you’re going to play stuff from “Descending Flesh” mostly and that is pretty much a safe to bet to do. Those songs were already fit for the stage even before they got recorded, so I guess they don’t actually represent a challenge per se. Is there anything that represents a challenge when it’s time to play – physical fatigue, the setting, etc.?
That’s correct; we’ll basically play “Descending Flesh” in its entirety. It felt like the most natural thing to do setlist-wise since we recorded the record. It’s the perfect length for a VVOVNDS set, and the album’s buildup (with the slower “The Light” and “Peine Forte” at both the middle and end of the set) works great live. I guess it’s safe to say that, at the time, we wrote the record with the idea in mind of playing it live from front to back. By started playing the LP live immediately after recording it – without extensive practicing sessions – we could really hear how the liveset evolved from being a bit rough around the edges to a more coherent set with some new and interesting transitions between songs.
I like to think of every show as a challenge, no matter how many shows you’ve already played in the past or how experienced you might be with the material you have to play. When the challenge starts to fade, it’s time to either write new material or to shake up the setlist.
You’re involved in other projects as well. Any news on those?
VVOVNDS has definitely been everyone’s main focus for the last couple of months and I think it will stay that way for quite some time. Some of us are working on some side projects behind the scenes which will be announced/recorded/released when the time is right. But for now, the focus is definitely on playing shows and writing new material with VVOVNDS.
Have you been listening to new music lately? I’ve been pretty much hooked on the newest Combat Knife record and also digging The Body, Graves At Sea, Cobalt and Arabrot. What about you?
I’ve been enjoying the s/t 7″ from Negative Space lately – a great new postpunk band from the UK. Total Abuse‘s “Excluded” LP hasn’t left my playlist for the last couple of months, it’s a perfect hardcore/punk record in my opinion: raw, nasty and some fucked up lyrics. The Full Of Hell/The Body LP is also on heavy rotation – it’s a hard record to get into but I feel like it gets better and more interesting with every listen. Lastly, I’ve been into some darker electronic stuff lately like Raime, Andy Stott, Mydisco,…