If you are a fan of both the Church Of Ra and atmospheric (or post) black metal, then Wiegedood might very well be something you’ve been waiting for. The Belgium three piece was recently formed by Rise And Fall‘s Wim on drums, Oathbreaker‘s Gilles Demolder on guitar, and Amenra and Hessian‘s Levy Seynaeveon guitar and vocals, and is preparing the release of their debut album “De Doden Hebben het Goed” via Consouling Sounds next May.
While their creation is rather recent, the trio already has an impressive string of shows under their name, from performing with an array of other Church Of Ra bands to playing on the release shows for Nihill‘s awesome record “Verderf”. It was precisely at the second of those, taking place in the mythical Green Room of Tilburg’s 013, that we talked with Levy to get to know more aboutWiegedood.
Given the recent inception of Wiegedood, can you give tell us a bit the story behind it?
I think it started with me and Gilles, the other guitar player. We always wanted to do something in this genre and we just teamed up with Ben from Rise And Fall, started rehearsing and ten rehearsals later we had the four songs we just played ready, recorded them and booked the first shows.
The whole thing started last year?
Yeah, I think the first rehearsal was somewhere at the beginning of the summer. It all developed pretty quickly, it all went pretty fast I suppose, which was a good feeling, to have things move so smoothly and not have too much trouble or not finding what we wanted to do. Everything really came naturally and it’s really cool to have that.
Would you say that the added experience all you guys have in bands make it easier to start a new project?
Yeah, for sure. I think we all know a bit what it is to play in a band. It helps that we have some knowledge before we started the band, we didn’t have to start from zero, you know what I mean?.
Assuming Google is correct, Wiegedood is the Dutch word for sudden infant death syndrome. Why this name?
I don’t know what it means to Ben or Gilles but to me it’s a kind of metaphor for being powerless towards the bad things that happen in life. If you have sudden infant death syndrome happen to a child, you have your child taken away from you without you being able to do anything about it, you are powerless against it. I guess that’s a fact for a lot of things that happen in life. For me it’s a metaphor towards that, that’s what a lot of the lyrics are about, just having to take the punches that life gives you and move on.
What else can you tell us about the lyrical themes you are exploring with Wiegedood?
They are pretty negative lyrics, there’s not a specific theme for all the songs or for the whole record. Each song has its meaning for me, personally, but I try not to write lyrics too literally, so there’s room for interpretation. I can only hope that other people can get something out of them like I got by writing them and putting them on the album.
«We still want to have the time and opportunity to prove ourselves and show that we are not what we are because of Amenra or any other band.»
Having been only in the instrumental section before, how is it to now be the one laying down your own themes?
With Hessian and Amenra, Bram and Colin write down the lyrics and are able to put down whatever they feel needs to be written and said, and while I agree with both of them on what they write, I never had the chance to do this myself, to put my own feelings and my own thoughts to paper, to put it in a band and in songs. For me, it’s really nice to be able to do that for a change, instead of just being the instrument of it all. It’s really cool to me to be able to sing as well, to have another input in a band instead of just playing guitar.
While hints of black metal are not exactly new in your career, what lead you guys to really start a band as deep into this genre as this?
That’s really hard to say, I think all three of us have been into black metal for some time. It’s not that I don’t appreciate it, but we are not the typical black metal band that worships Satan or whatever, we are not the Immortal type of band. We really wanted to put something else in there, something more emotional. We want to hit people harder than just being a hard band, we wanted to be a hard band on an emotional level.
Was there any particular kind of black metal that inspired you?
I’m a big fan of the French stuff, like Celestia and Mortifera, also the American wave, like Wolves In The Throne Room, and classics that everyone knows like Darkthrone. We just wrote songs, and after we wrote them we thought that hey, it reminds me a bit ofMortifera or it reminds me a bit of that. We didn’t go with we have to write a song that sounds exactly like Wolves In The Throne Room. We didn’t want to have people say that we are a copy of something, we wanted to put all kind of different influences in there, even non-black metal ones.
Perhaps the first thing that I noticed when seeing you guys live was the lack of a bass guitar. Why did you choose to do so?
We started rehearsing with three and because everything went so smoothly and we had a good connection with each other, it just felt weird thinking about adding another person to that. It didn’t need it, for us it was just drums and two guitars, and it was finished. We didn’t feel like bass was going to add anything more towards what we wanted to achieve.
Is it also absent in the recording?
I remember reading an interview with Colin [this one] where he described how intense was the Amenra mindset when approaching a live performance. In Wiegedood, how does it work?
It’s all different. With Amenra there’s a lot more room to loose yourself in the music while you’re playing, because it’s very simplistic and not technical. You don’t have to think about what you are playing, you just automatically play it, it’s in your fingers and you are able to distance yourself from the technicality and you are able to loose yourself a bit more in the music, while Hessian that’s impossible because it’s so fast, I really have to focus on playing and playing right. With Wiegedood it’s a bit in between, there are parts that I have to focus on playing, but there are songs that have really long passages with the same riff over and over again and then I’m also able to shut out the thinking of how to play it and am able to think about other stuff. So, Amenra is very emotional, Hessian is very technical and Wiegedood is somewhere in between.
Was it a strange step to go from instrumentalist to having to sing as well?
I’ve done some backing vocals in Hessian before, but not as much as I’m doing now. We recorded the album before we started playing shows and when I sang my lyrics for the album I didn’t stop to think about having to sing them and play guitar at the same time, so it was really hard in the beginning to do that because both parts are really different from each other, they shift in between and it’s hard to play the riffs and sing the vocal part correctly. I just created the vocal lines in the studio without having to play the guitar. I really worked on the lyrics at home, listening to the music of course but it’s not for me to take a guitar and a microphone and start playing and singing from the top of my head, I need to think about it more.
Looking at your first concerts, it’s quite a nice collection of bands with whom you’ve already played.
Yeah, I guess so. It’s cool that we get a lot of opportunities here and there. It’s good we could tag along with Amenra or Nihill.
You even played in a church, right? I saw some picture of the outside of the Antwerp venue you played with Hessian, Opium Lord, Terzij De Horde and Drawn Into Descent and it looked amazing.
It was an actual church but they organized the show on a back room, a back chapel kind of thing. We really wanted to play at the altar, but the promoter wasn’t okay with it, which we understand of course, so we had to adjust a bit. It wasn’t as cool as the time we played in Ghent with the whole Church Of Ra. Then, we played in a real church with Amenra, Hessian, Oathbreaker and stuff like that.
So, there, you played in the altar?
Amenra played at the altar. Every band had its spot in the church somewhere and everything was back to back. A band would stop and somewhere in the church another would start playing. We played at the same time as Oathbreaker, Hessian and so on. It was great.
Your show in 013 in December ended with a sample. Is it going to be in the record and, perhaps more importantly, can you tell us something about its content?
Yes, it will be on the album, on the last song. Actually, it’s my girlfriend at the time, she’s Russian and we just translated the lyrics from that song into Russian.
You have already played with Church Of Ra. Is it safe to put Wiegedood as part of the collective?
Yeah, I guess. Because we share members with Amenra andOathbreaker, and we all know each other, people tend to put us in that box, which is fine, but because we’re a new band and we are pretty young, we still want to have the opportunity to build an identity for ourselves and not just be that side project from Amenra, we still want to have the time and opportunity to prove ourselves and show that we are not what we are because of Amenra or any other band.
Even while striving to make your own name, it still gotta be comforting know you can do a show with such close friends that frequently.
It’s all connected! I’ve filled in on guitar for Oathbreaker before and everybody has played in each other’s band and went on toured with each other and there is a huge connection. It’s really nice, yeah.