Firstly, I am really impressed by the sound quality and the Black Metal style played in the album ‘’Het Gebeente’’, launched some days ago. I can say it is strongly influenced by the Scandinavian BM scene. I am curious to know how come a one man BM project has got such a solid sound and such a Black style?
Thanks for the compliment! I’ve been listening to black metal for over 20 years now, in the early days indeed mainly to Scandinavian bands, but that gradually expanded to other BM scenes when the number of bands worldwide grew. I’m actually listening to all kinds of music most of the time, and try to pay close attention to what I’m listening to and what I like. That helps too. Production-wise I’ve got some recording experience in studios by playing bass in a couple of bands (non black metal). And of course you have the internet for all kinds of tips and tricks on recording. But I’ll be the first to say there’s still room for improvement. It’s something I like working on, and I think I already made progress on “Het Gebeente” compared to the first release “Licht”.
How did you started Ande, and what’s the meaning of this name?
I actually had the idea of starting a one man black/doom band for the first time in 2001. But I lacked the experience to know how to actually make songs and record them. Around that time I started a hard rock’n’roll band with a friend of mine, The Whocares, and gained that experience. After we played the last show with the band at the end of 2014 I started thinking of my black metal project again. So throughout 2015 I was building songs, recording them, and eventually released them as the first album “Licht”. Ande is an old Dutch word which stands for intense emotions like repent, passion, anger, … I think it fits the concept rather well.
What are the topics of your material?
The lyrics are dark and personal, written in the Dutch language. Mostly I start working on lyrics when the song is already mostly finished in terms of structure, and get inspired by whatever is going on in my life at the moment. So it’s about every day stuff like someone you know that died, or about anxiety and feeling alone. Not that I’m this deeply depressed person, I just get in touch with the dark things in life everyone is facing.
On your bandcamp page you state that you material is a way to honor black metal. What do you mean by that? In fact what is Black Metal for you? Listening to your albums I can say you know it very well.
In the early 90s I was this metalkid listening to death and thrash bands like Sepultura, Morbid Angel, Obituary, Metallica, Pestilence, Napalm Death, … Then a friend made me this compilation tape with melodic death, doom/death and black metal tracks. Side A ended with a part of Darkthrone’s “Natassja in Eternal Sleep”. I was completely blown away by that track, its sound and overall feeling, and I didn’t even have the complete version! Around the same time I heard “War” from Burzum on a late night radioshow, which basically had the same impact. That’s when I started listening to most of the black metal bands everyone knows. Later on getting into underground bands, local stuff, and most black metal related subgenres. I’ve always listened to a lot of different metal styles, but black metal has remained the most important, which I always go back to. So yes, I see Ande as my way of taking part in the black metal movement, being inspired by all these bands that I’ve been listening to over the years.
What are your preferences on black metal, I mean what bands influenced definitely to you?
Back in the day I mainly preferred the harsh lo-fi sounding bands like old Darkthrone, Ildjarn. Or slow grim black like early Samael. And of course Burzum has been a band I’ve always kept listening to. Even all his albums during and after jail are simply great, including the ambient ones. You don’t have to agree with his opinions to acknowledge he is a musical mastermind which gave a whole new dimension to black metal. More recently I’ve been listening to a lot of post-black and cascadian bands like Wolves in the Throne Room and Altar of Plagues. I’m constantly looking around for bands and releases I don’t know yet. But I’m probably influenced by everything I listen to. I’m a big Nirvana fan for instance, you can hear that at the end of the “Oud en Vet” song for instance. It’s got a genuine grunge groove, a bit like in their Bleach era. Another example is one of the first riffs of “Argwaan”, which I play in a typical Emperor style, after an instructional guitar video by Ihsahn I watched.
Where did you record your last album? I also saw that your material is well protected by piracy through copywright content and policies. I saw that on youtube. Do you have a label or you do everything by yourself?
I played and recorded everything myself at home. You can get far yourself if you have all the instruments, some microphones, a laptop with recording software and plugins, and studio monitors. And it’s fun to do, configuring stuff to see what effect it has on the sound.
At the moment there’s no label involved, I’m arranging everything myself right now. You can use aggregators that take care of the digital distribution on Spotify, iTunes, YouTube, … It doesn’t really generate a lot of money, but it’s important to be on those platforms. On Bandcamp I’ve offered the digital albums for free, and I already saw the album popping up on a lot of download sites. I don’t really have a problem with that. The music is spreading, which means people like what I’m creating. That’s what’s important to me.
I want to ask you about a track entitled ‘’Argwaan’’, it’s my favorite. What’s the topic of it?
“Argwaan” is about how we’re not really free in our society. I understand we can’t be free to do whatever the hell we want, but it also feels as if you get a template when you’re born, and you just get to fill in multiple choice questions. The choices being pretty limited. So we’re doing things we don’t really feel like, and actually pretend to enjoy them. There’s a line in the lyrics that says “Geveinsd enthousiasme, akelig kille gedachten”. It translates to “Faked enthusiasm, sinister cold thoughts”. I think it gives a good idea of the concept.
Seeing that you live in Belgium, do you play live there? And how’s the Belgium Black Metal scene, is it active with new bands?
Over the years I’ve played live regularly with The Whocares, and I did enjoy that. But since Ande is currently a one man band, there are no live gigs planned. That may change in the future though, should interesting offers pop up. Some friends have already expressed their interest in joining me on stage if I would need them. The scene in Belgium has always been pretty active, a lot of cool bands to be discovered, not only the ones that still exist. Cool active black metal bands I listen to are Lugubrum, Alkerdeel, A Thousand Sufferings, Sons of a Wanted Man, Enthroned (later releases), Wiegedood, … I’m probably forgetting some important ones now, and they are not strictly black metal. But you should definitely check ’em out if you don’t know ’em yet!
It seems you are accurate on everything,the artwork is also a masterpiece, a truly amazing ‘’Chef d’oeuvre’’, who painted the artcover?
Yeah, I really like the artwork myself too. When the songs were getting into their final shape, and I had a name for the album I started looking around for artwork and artists. I came across Luciana Nedelea from Romania, and really liked her style. She’s very diverse. When I saw the picture of the druid painting, it immediately caught my eye. “Het Gebeente” translates to something as “The Bones”, so I think it fits the title very well. I asked if I could use the painting for my album and we worked out a deal. She’s great to work with. You can find more of her work over at her Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/LucianaNedeleaArt/
Will your albums be released independently or by any label you may have chose?
I have been in contact with some labels, but I didn’t really get the offer I was looking for. Maybe next time. I don’t really mind doing everything myself, but it would be great to have some label support in terms of promotion and distribution too.
Jim, thank you very much for taking time for the interview. I personally and all the ANTICHRIST MAGAZINE staff wish you a great 2017 and a great success with you project Ande.
It was my pleasure. Thanks for your interest in my work and your support, I really appreciate it. All the best!