-- Chalice gets shredded --

Stijn Daneels
On June 29, 2018 I went to metal youth bar Asgaard for a gig of the melodic death and thrash metal band Chalice. In April I had included the song Eternal Sleep from their latest album Ashes Of Hope on Shredder Sunday and thus getting them shredded for real had to be done! So before their gig at Asgaard we sat together to celebrate Chalice’s 20th anniversary, the band’s much improved marketing strategy, their appearance on the TV-show Iedereen Beroemd and vocalist Pieter’s Scarecrow mask.

BMS: First off, happy 20th anniversary to you, Chalice! Tell me how those first 20 band years have been?
Chris: I’d say that after 20 years of shredding, jamming and grunting Chalice is now standing stronger than ever! I’m happy to be surrounded by these motivated and talented fellow musicians and this all resulted in our fourth album, Ashes of Hope! We choose to record the 8 songs in two different studios. Bass and rhythm guitars were done at the MIDAS recording studio in Lokeren. Drums, vocals en leads happened at  the Galaxy Studios in Mol and everyone, band and other production personnel alike, had a ton of fun working on this little gem. I’m also thankful for winning the metal battle at BTM-Fest in 2009 and at VELOCROSS in 2010. It gives me great satisfaction to know that the music Chalice is making is appreciated by more and more people.
BMS: Tell me some more about your new release.
Nicolas: I felt the entire production of Ashes of Hope was organic. Everyone in the band contributed to writing, arranging and optimizing all aspects of the songs that we would be including on the album. A very touching moment for me was when I was listening to the end result for the first time. It felt so catchy and aggressive yet at the same time so smooth and sophisticated. It was very satisfying.
Chris: All things considered, I’d say that the music we make as Chalice today is on a whole different level compared to what I used to make with the band back in the days, but the passion for the heavy, raging sound continues to exist!

BMS: I also read that you upped your marketing game recently, tell me something more about that.
Pieter: Well, we used to make the mistake to just put our albums out of the door and expect them to sell themselves. With little success, of course. So during the production of our current release, Ashes Of Hope, we decided to also find people who could help us increase our overall exposure as a band and in order to generate some hype for our then-upcoming album. And it’s paying off nicely!
Tim: For instance, we began collaborating with Sarah Sampson, from the New-Zeeland based Black Frog Management. She’s planning on helping us to some gigs in the UK. We also began working with Ann Janssens from Antwerp, who also manages and promotes fellow Belgian bands Hangarhead, Objector and Temptations For The Weak. So with a bit of luck we can end up with shows in France and the Netherlands and finally we got on the list of Hardlife Promotion!
Niels: That’s one huge lesson we can provide to other bands. You may have great music, but you also have to go out and promote it. You have to build connections and ask them to assist you with promoting your band. Send emails to as many labels and promoters as you can and don’t hesitate to send your material more than once to a promoter. Because the thing is that these guys get a shitload of requests from bands to check-out their material and your stuff may get lost in the shuffle during the first try. So sending a reminder gives you a second chance to bring your band over to new people.
BMS: That’s some great advice! So what other things do you guys have in life aside from Chalice?
Chris: Pieter and I also play in another band called Blue Monday, vocals and bass respectively. The band’s style is like a mixture between Johnny Cash and Nick Cave. And I also enjoy cycling.
Tim: I like going to gigs and spending time with my family and friends, preferably during a barbeque.
Niels: Nicolas and I also play in the old-school death metal act Caducity. And I also enjoy fishing.
Nicolas: Work and family, and like Niels said, I also do guitars in Caducity, I joined the band a few months ago and it’s been a blast thus far!
Pieter: I work for Centrum Algemeen Welzijn, so I provide advice and moral support to people suffering from issues like depression, financial troubles or divorce. Me and my coworkers also organize meetups for people with similar troubles to help bring those people together. In addition I also play RPGs and board games and I collect WWII memorabilia. Yeah, just like Lemmy!
BMS: I see, now, in May 2018 you appeared on the TV-show Iedereen Beroemd.
Pieter: We got contacted by the reporter from the Iedereen Beroemd team who asked us if we were interested in being a part of the episode dedicated to our community of Waregem. So we invited them over to record footage during one of our rehearsals. They recorded about forty minutes of our session and it resulted in us appearing on national TV for a good five minutes!
Nicolas: Yeah! We were all very pleased with the result. The crew put sufficient emphasis on all of Chalice’s members and provided an accurate and respectful image of our band. I do remember we once appeared on the old TV-show Man Bijt Hond but that report was more of a parody about headbangers rather than a genuine presentation.
BMS: Yeah, I watched the Iedereen Beroemd segment and it made me smile. Pieter, I also saw you singing with a potato bag over your head. You made me think of the DC supervillian the Scarecrow!
Pieter: Thanks! Well, the mask serves as a visual representation of the songs I write for Chalice, most of my songs deal with people who’re facing the most severe hardships of life. Wearing this mask allows me to relinquish my face and personality and provide those faceless folks with a voice. To speak on behalf of them and show them that I can feel what kind of hell they’re going through.
BMS: Thanks for the shred, is there anything else you wish to say before we get ourselves in the picture?
Pieter: Thank you for your time, Stijn.
Chris: I’m looking forward for another 20 years of Chalice!
Niels: It was great seeing you here!
Tim: We’ve got a new lyric video coming up and we’ll upload it on Youtube as soon as our video of Amongst The Damned gets 1500 views!
Nicolas: Yeah, so, dear reader, go and enjoy the video!
BMS: But first, the picture!

Chalice - Amongst The Damned