Hellzine n°4 | Interview with Izegrim

Here is the original english version of our written interview with Marloes and Jeroen from Izegrim, a few days before the release of “The Ferryman’s End”. An interview still available in french in our fourth issue.

So, your next album “The Ferryman’s End” is about to be released, how do you feel about it ? Jeroen : Well, more and more reviews are published these days and I must admit: the positive feedback we get is beyond expectations. Sure, I have to say this is the best album we ever have made (every band has to say that, hahaha), but seeing the reactions we get from the press (and even more important ???? our fans, that’s fantastic. Yes, one could say we feel victorious with the final result ! All the hard work we put into this record the past 2 years, is paying back in full force.

Could you explain this title, “The Ferryman’s End”, is it linked to a potential concept? Marloes : Yes, it’s an album with a main theme or concept so to say. I have an, sometimes scary, interest in the sick and twisted mind of the human brain. It’s interesting to investigate how the human brain works; why (and how) can some people commit gruesome crimes ? How is it possible that your neighbour could be a horrible killer ? That kind of themes are the main influence on our albums. For this new album I crawled into the brains of a murderer, that is waiting on deathrow. In our first song (White Walls), the main character is waiting to be executed, staring at the white walls surrounding him. Each and every next song on the album is a trip down his sick and twisted mind. In the last song, our character kills the Ferryman. This is his last cruel act against to whole human race, as no-one can cross the river and every dead soul dwells forever.

Also, the artwork is really different from the previous ones, it’s more like a paint this time. Could you comment it, explain it and tell us with who you collaborated to make it? Marloes : The first time our record company heard the new songs, they immediately said : « this is sounding old-school and authentic, we need artwork that stands close the music ». Satan (our labelmates) have fantastic covers, hand-painted by Eliran Kantor, a great artist. So, our label proposed the cooperation with Eliran. Sure, we already knew his great work and we were absolutely thrilled to cooperate with him. We’ve explained the whole concept to Eliran, and he first made a rough sketch. After we gave our OK on the sketch (because he interpreted the concept perfect), he started to paint. And well, the final result is absolutely stunning. We didn’t want a bloody gory cover, but kind of sinister, dark and tortured. And he managed to get that on canvas, unbelievable result.

Could you sum up the process to make this album, from its writing to its recording, how did it go, with who did you work, and so on ? Jeroen : We have the luxury of our own practising room (we can use 24/7), and we have the proper tools to record our sessions and make pre-productions. We basically didn’t change anything on the whole process before we entered the studio. We’ve written and composed this album the same way we did the last time. In the studio, we’ve decided to keep the whole recording-process as basic as possible. No endless overdubs on the guitar, no other magic touches to the sound. It’s like: « what you hear, is what you get ». Drums, 2 guitars, 1 bas and a furious screaming women. Nothing more, nothing less. We already had a certain guitar sound in mind, before we entered the Soundlodge Studio in Germany. Jorg Üken from the Soundlodge Studio exactly knew what we were talking about, and the funny thing is: he managed to get hold of an awesome amp, the night before we started the guitar recordings. Plugged it in, turned up the volume, and the sound was spot-on !

Then, according to your point of view, how would you describe this new album, in a musical way ? Jeroen : I said in previous interviews that we went « back-to-basics » on t his album. That does not mean that we aren’t happy with our previous releases, we just work a bit different now with the compositions and the song structures. When a song is perfect with just 4 different guitar riffs in it, it doesn’t necessarily needs 1 or 2 extra riffs. For « The Ferryman’s End » we worked more on the individual riffs and song structure. We sometimes actually deleted some guitar riffs from songs, simply because the structure was perfect the way is was ! I think we nailed it now, with this new approach, although it took some blood, sweat ‘n tears (and a lot of alcohol, haha). It still has the distinctive Izegrim-feel to it; a perfect match between death and thrash; although we tend more to Death Metal than to thrash-metal nowadays. But it’s just a slight change.

In January, you released a first teaser, “White Walls”, with a lyric video. Do you think that kind of media is more efficient today to attract the public, or it’s just a matter of trend ? Jeroen : Hmmmz, trend, trend… I wouldn’t call it a trend. It’s just a new technique in which a band can easily introduce a new song to their fans. It contains the song, the lyrics and the first glimpse of the artwork; a perfect and effective way to introduce the new material. It’s certainly true that almost every band has a lyric-video nowadays, but when done the proper way, it can be very interesting to watch. And with a small budget, you can get awesome results !

Izegrim exists for twenty years now, it’s huge. According to you, what’s different today in the Metal scene ? Also, could you comment Izegrim’s evolution through those twenty years ?Jeroen : Different today in the metal scene ? Hmmmz, well; I really am worried sometimes. I mean bands like Babymetal etc ?!?! Come on, what the fuck is going on ??? Nah, totally not my cup of tea. I like the plain, oldschool metal, no thrills, no gimmicks, play goddamn music and stop acting and making look a band like a freakshow. Ok, that was my 2 cents for today’s scene, haha. I mean, there are still a shitload of bands that I like, too many too mention, haha. Our evolution ? I started this band 20 years ago, in a drunk conversation with our former drummer. We had a shitload of fun from 1996 to 2008; we even did a European tour in those years. But 2008 really embarks a new era for Izegrim. It all changed from an (fairly) amateur level to more professional. We still have the same line-up now, thats almost 8 years ! That says enough I guess… The 4 of us are a perfect team, working our asses of and I’m really, really proud of what we have achieved in all those years ! We went from (1996) as a melodic doomish band, into this brutal barbaric death-thrash machine. Lovin’ it !

And in twenty more years, Izegrim will… ? Jeroen : Be dead, gone and buried !! Hahahaha ! I really don’t have a clue what I will be doing in 20 years from now. Perhaps I’ll be getting deaf and will be thrown out of the band, haha.

Well, I ask a lot, but what’s your best memory as a band member so far ? (on stage, on tour,…) Jeroen : Playing at the 70.000 Tons of Metal in 2014 was absolutely THE highlight of my/our musical career. The whole trip was a continue rollercoaster of new impressions, highlights, parties and meeting new people. And winning the Cripper-award (audience-award for best band on board) was the icing on the cake. We hope we’ll have a chance to play again on the next edition, that would be great.

You’ve already played with a lot of bands, but is there still one you really would like to share a line-up with one day ? Jeroen : Wauw, ermmm… Well, sharing the stage with one of the giant bands like Maiden, Metallica or Mötley Crüe is a dream (that will never come true, hahaha). Must be a blast to be in front of so many people, unbelievable. Ah well, we had some pretty decent shows in the past with the bigger names in the scene, so I’m totally satisfied with the fact we will never play in the big stadiums, haha.

Also, I don’t know if Marloes would see this interview, but I’ve a question especially for her, in case : According to Floor from Nightwish, today it’s kinda sexist to say that a band is “female fronted” and to classify bands this way, what do you think about it ? Is it easier today to be a woman in a Metal band or not ? Marloes : We never, ever use(d) the term Female Fronted… I simply hate it. You know, I’m just one of the guys, a bandmember. That’s it; nothing more, nothing less. I scream my lungs out on stage, I get drunk with our fans; I never think of metal in a way of sexist or other bullshit terminology like that. Please, it’s « just » music, don’t make it that complicated. It’s fine that Floor has a certain opinion about the term « female fronted »; I just have one opinion about this stigma and that’s: hate. Hahaha. And don’t get me wrong, there are some pretty decent bands in this genre; but I don’t like the whole fuzz about it (and I think I made myself pretty clear by now, haha).

Now, here is my last question : what are your plans for the next months to promote your album ? Do you plan to release a new video, for example ? Will you tour ? Jeroen : Absolutely, our bookings-agency is currently working on new gigs and a possible tour later this year. Unfortunately I cannot reveal any details at the moment, but we will cross Europe once again ! And indeed, we also will record a new videoclip in the upcoming months. Enough new things to keep us really busy, hahaha !

So here we are, thank you a lot for your attention and if you have something to add to finish, don’t hesitate… Thank you Isabelle ! Always nice to have a chat with you =) Cheers and hope to see you all at one of our gigs (we will announce new gigs very soon, stay tuned !).

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