Without much warning, Wiegedood released an album that topped many end of the year list in 2015 by being simply brilliant. Black metal inspires many to create predictable music with a high concept that will sell a few copies but there is something much more personal in the music of these Belgian musicians, all mostly coming from Hardcore bands who have nothing in common musically with what they are doing together. As you will see in this interview, asking them questions (or at least these questions) does not do much to help understand the « why » and the « how » of their music. Instead, the best is just to feel.
Could you introduce yourself as a band for people who have no idea who you are and tell us what your band name means?
Wim (drummer): Wiegedood plays black metal. We’ve all known each other for years because our other bands used to share the stage a lot. We all play in a bunch of bands and I’m not gonna bore you with the list of names, it’s not relevant to this band anyway. Our first album De Doden Hebben Het Goed was released on Consouling Sounds last year. Wiegedood is the Dutch word for SIDS, sudden infant death syndrome, also known as cot death or crib death.
You have posted pictures on Facebook of people with your logo tattooed. What does this symbol mean to you as a band?
Wim: It’s a sigil, based on the runic alphabet made by Fia Cielen, an artist from Antwerp. It’s a powerful and evocative symbol that translates how we feel about Wiegedood perfectly. I’ve noticed that other people interpret it totally different and that is fine, nothing is absolute.
Most of the members of your bands are known for playing in hardcore bands so it is a bit surprising to see you master with such ease a completely different genre. What do you find appealing in black metal ?
Wim: What attracts me to black metal is it’s rawness, it’s not tempered or refined by art or taste. Hardcore music has become utterly predictable for the most part in the past few years, everyone tends to follow the same trends. No one seems to honestly say what they mean and mean what they say.
Did you try to bring some of your hardcore influences to the recording of your album or did you try to write something as different as possible to some of your previous band’s music ?
Wim: We never discuss these sort of things while writing music, but to me it’s obvious that there are little or none hardcore influences in our music. We are currently writing our second album and the same rules apply: there are no rules, there are no people to be pleased, we do as we please.
Do you think hardcore and black metal have anything in common musically or culturally ?
Wim: Musically there might be some similarities, specially to the untrained ear. But once you start paying attention it’s pretty obvious that the differences are vast. Culturally, you just need to take a look at the history of both genres to realise that there is little to nothing in common.
Black metal is infamously known for being associated with hatred and racism. Do you think a band like yours can bring a different ethos to this culture and this style of music ?
Wim: There is nothing wrong with creating something based on hatred or any other “negative” emotion or state of mind. Most music and art that I appreciate is made exactly in that way. We are not concerned with the ethos of black metal. We don’t follow it and we don’t feel the need to change it. Wiegedood will never be a political band, that’s just not what this band is for.
With which artists outside of music do you feel you share a similar aesthetic?
Wim: Géricault, Bosch, Goya, Bruegel, The movie Seul Contre Tous written and directed by Gaspar Noé, Nobuyoshi Araki’s work, and Issei Sagawa’s Manga Sagawa’s comic book amongst others.
Do you have any plans to tour in Europe this year, particularly in the UK ?
Wim: We have a lot of shows being booked right now and we will do a European tour next september. So far nothing set in stone for the UK, but Damnation Fest in Leeds last year was great and we can’t wait to get back.