December 2007 - SERPENTCULT
A lot of Doomheads do still miss Belgium's Thee Plague Of Gentlemen, but instead of mourning about the past, guitarist Frederic Caure looked out for a new line-up and after a short period SERPENTCULT was born. This year, they recorded their first heavyweight debut, entitled 'Trident Nor Fire', which was not that far away from the sound of Frederic's old band. So, reasons enough to do an interview with him about the new band and everything more.
Hey Frederic. After the sudden and brutal end of THEE PLAGUE OFGENTLEMEN, it's good to know, that you didn't give up playing heavy music. You're co-founder of the new and fresh band SERPENTCULT and in 2007 yourecorded the debut EP 'Trident Nor Fire', that has been released by I HateRecords in the same year. When did you realized, that you wanted to play ina new band and did you needed a long time to forget all the shit, that hashappened to your old band?
I think I realised 5 minutes after I heard the news that we had to start anew band. The world can collapse, or the rivers can stop running, but that won't stop my love for making music, so here you go! As for what happened, it's past, so let's move on to the future!
In my eyes SERPENTCULT sound like the natural successor of TPoG, withexception of the vocals. How did you get together with Michelle, and was itplanned right from the start to have a female vocalist?
No, not at all. In the first place Steven and me were trying to sing, but failed miserably. I have much respect for musicians who are able to combine singing and playing guitar at the same time. Even after 15 years of guitarplaying, I haven't succeeded to do it properly. So we started looking for a singer; in the first place we knew we wanted a clean melodic and powerfull singer, but we never had the first intention to have a girl singing. So we had some auditions with strong candidates, but actually never had the this is it feeling. Until Cozy suddenly came upwith this firend of his that was singing, a girl called Michelle! And the rest is history. I think the choice of having Michelle singing in the bandwas a major decision of how the band would profile itself towards the future. We wanted to go our own untorthodox way, doing it the way we like it, and still gain massive appreciation from the crowd.
Why did you only record an EP, instead of a full-length? All threeself-penned songs are very promising as well as the cover-version of Uriah Heep's 'Rainbow Demon', so it would've been interesting to hear more.
For the simple reason we didn't have enough material yet to record afullength with, at that stage we were in. We've thrown away most of the TPoG material we had after the split, and started writing new stuff. We wanted to give a sign of life as soon as possible, to let people know we existed, and also to have a release in order to be able to book some gigs. So the releaseof the EP Trident Nor Fire was the most logic action to take.
I really like 'Rainbow Demon', not only because it's good song, butalso because you haven given it your own ultra-heavy sound. It's more like aSERPENTCULT song than an Uriah Heep classic. Who came up with this idea, andcan we expect more cover-song on forthcoming albums?
Thanks! I came up with the idea of the cover, because I realy like good 70's hard rock, and Uriah Heep were an excelent band. The song was easy to adapt, and we could make a heavy downtuned version of it, so it was quite easyactually. We'll be recording some covers in the future too, but let's keep this as a surprise for the bonus tracks of the album. I have some nice ideas in mind I must say, some real unexpected ones. By the way, we've done 'The Lake' by Bathory a few times live as well, which worked out pretty nice.
I can imagine, that one of the group's best experiences in 2007 wasyour appearance at this year's Doom Shall Rise Festival. How do you rememberthis gig and did anyone ask you to play old songs of TPoG?
Some people asked us to play TPoG songs, but bad luck, they had the opportunity for several years and various tours to see TPoG, today we' re SerpentCult, and we're a total new band. Doom Shall Rise was indeed a very nice festival, I love to go there every year for the atmosphere and the bands, and meeting old friends again. Doom Shall Rise was a highlight in 2007 indeed, and we've played various other festivals as well, where the crowd went insane, haha! I won't easily forget the crowd almost destroying the nadars in front of the stage at Vlamrock!
What is more important for you: the process of song-writing or theguitar sound?
Both are not linked but independently very important. I couldn't see myself playing shitty songs on a shitty combo rig. Or one of both either way. if aband lacks one of both ingredients, they're lost in advance, we try to pay much attention to both of these factors. I've spent many years of searching to finally come up with the guitarsound I produce today. I think I've had something like 5 different rigs in the past, and at this moment I'm happy with the sound I have now. But as taste can evolve, so can the set up of myi nstruments change.
When did you actually began to learn guitar, and have you played in alot of other bands before TPoG and SERPENTCULT? Did you only play in Metalbands, or have you also been into Hardcore Punk?
I've been playing guitar since I was 15 years old. I first started of playing in some death metal bands, because that was the only way to get something started in the early 90's over here. After that I played bass forseveral years in bands, but that was never a big artistic succes from myside. So 5 years ago, I picked up the electric guitar again, joined TPoG, and realised it was the right instrument for me. I've played in a HC band for a few weeks many many years ago, but I never realy was into hardcore. I really love Crustpunk however, bands like Hiatus or Health Hazard or stuff like Agathocles, but Hardcore in general, no thanks.
Yes, what people call Hardcore today really sucks. But the good old HC Punk is still awesome. And just one information: this music called 'Crustpunk' is still Hardcore Punk, just with another description made for idiots. What are your other interests apart of playing heavy music?
I'm a self-confessed control freak, so next to playing the music, I also organise everything that happens around the band. Also I can't get enough of reading history books, I think that's a part of my quest to understand the things are happening around me. Travelling is also a part of that I think. Allthough I hate flying, I can't help myself to go around Europe regulary.
What can we expect from the band in 2008? Please, give us an insight in your future plans.
2008 will be concentrated around the release of the new album 'Weight Of Light'. We'll be recording in February at the Priory studio in Birmingham, Sabbath City, and then Billy Anderson will do the mixing and mastering in March. We hope to have the album out by the first of May, so we can do our album presentation gig early May. We also hope to shoot a videoclip for the album, which should happen in March as well. For next summer, we think to play some summer festivals, and then do a 9 day tour in Europe in the fall.
Alright, that's all for now. As usual I like to thank you for your answers! See you next year and good luck with band!
Frost & Fire!