-- Loose License gets shredded --

Stijn Daneels
Shortly after I’d released my review of Loose License’s album 4 Years Of Death, Pietn invited me to see the band during Rock Kappaert (April 29, 2016) in Zwevegem. Luckily, I managed to change work shifts that week because I was originally scheduled to do the evening shift.

And so, with both Loose License and Speed Queen on my list for that night, I had a talk with the three Zwevegem natives right after their show. We’ve talked about Loose License’s origin story, Mille’s and Pietn’s time as roadies for Anesthesy, evil queens and Satanic monks and a little bit of tourism promotion for the Zwevegem region. Yup, enough to talk about, let’s get started!

All pictures and music video in the article taken with permission from their respective owners.

BMS: I’ve got to say that Zwevegem is a beautiful town to walk through! Since I’ve had some time to kill before this event began, I took a long scroll alongside the river. 
Markie: All three of us live in Zwevegem. And we also love our region! 

Pietn: One of the newest tourist attractions here in Zwevegem is the old Transfo electricity plant. Now the complex has become a recreational sports and entertainment centre. Last week we attended a Filip Cowelier show there. 
BMS: I’d certainly love to take a shot at the obstacle course and do some scuba diving.  BMS: Now it’s time to talk about that other Zwevegem attraction called Loose License. You’ve recently released a new track called Inferno. What other new stuff can we expect from you? 
Pietn: Since June 2015 we’ve become a three piece band. All three of us love doom metal and we’ve seen some great doom metal bands over the years. In addition, we toned down our guitars resulting in slower, heavier riffs. Inferno is a first taste of what we’ll have in store for you next!  
BMS: How did the transition go from four people to three? 
Markie: In September 2015 we premiered our new Loose License lineup during a gig in Waregem. We started off slowly by doing tracks that have few vocals, so that Pietn could gradually adapt to playing bass and singing simultaneously. He did, however, do a lot of vocals in the 4 Years of Death album, so the transition wasn’t that drastic for him. Anyway, our change in personnel was a huge success and it motivated us to keep going! We feel better than ever!
BMS: What’s your next big project with Loose License? 
Pietn: The past half year we’ve written several new riffs and the following months we want to put them together into new songs. As I said before, we’re verging into darker and heavier territory than ever before. Threatening riffs, demonic grunts and little-to-no clean vocals. We may consider releasing an EP or demo later this year. 

Markie: I do want to add that we love to change the pace in our songs. Many doom metal bands just keep a certain riff going for like five minutes straight. That’s not our style. We want to keep the audience on the edge of their seats by suddenly going full-speed jamming only to jump back to slow, moody tunes. You could say that Cathedral has served as a major musical inspiration for us. 

BMS: Wherefrom do you get your lyrical inspiration? 
Markie: We are mainly inspired by Medieval and contemporary subjects. Our latest song, Inferno, is inspired by the violent and uncertain times that we’re going through right now with terrorism running rampant and the end of the civilization seemingly in sight! 

Pietn: Another track I’ve written, Caging the Sky, is about the destructive effects of drug abuse. I’m also working on a track called “The Coronation of the Lizard”. It represents the evil that we have in us all. We all have days when we think we could take on the world, and we all have days when we think that same world is going to take you down! 
BMS: One of the reasons I’ve got an appetite for extreme subgenres like doom, black and death metal is because it touches the darker side inside of me. The side of me that enjoys darkness and gory movies and video games. 
Pietn: Yeah, that’s what metal is all about, isn’t it? To experience some kind of power fantasy. You may sing about death but that doesn’t necessarily mean you want to commit suicide or murder people. And you’re surrounded by equally minded people having a good time seeing your favorite bands perform!
BMS: How do you guys get along creatively? 
Markie: Pietn and Mille have been friends for a long time but they both are influenced by extreme metal subgenres. I'm ten years older than them and I’m more of an old-school rocker. That “gap” between generations is what contributes the most to Loose License’s sound. We don’t go all doom metal but we aim for a blend between old-school heavy metal and modern extreme metal. 

Pietn: The biggest difference is that Markie doesn’t drink as much as we do. He keeps us clear-headed (laughs)! 

BMS: What are your other activities aside from Loose License? Mille, I’ll start with you! 
Mille: I enjoy being an easy rider, spending time with my Harley and riding my wife (or is it the other way around?). I also love dogs. I’ve got two dogs but they are a pretty wild bunch, biting and tearing away at my furniture! 

Pietn: I spend time with my family (I’ve got three kids) and for my white-collar job I often need to go work in the Netherlands. Up till this year I worked as a representative for the local football club where two of my sons play in. I quit so I could spend more time with Loose License and with metal music in general. I’ve been a proud headbanger since I was six years old and I’m still exploring the genre today. More often than not my wife is watching TV while I’m sitting behind my computer listening to music. Metal is my life! 
BMS: What do you do aside from Loose License, Markie? 

Markie: Although I have little other activities aside from Loose License, I’ve played football for many years but I retired in order to chase another lifelong dream of mine and that is to play in a band. About ten years ago I attended guitar lessons from former Channel Zero guitarist Peter Iterbeke and I also practiced a lot at home. And like the other two guys, I’m a biker. Me and Mille are both members of the biker club “T Los Plak” and that’s how we came up with the name Loose License. 

Markie: The time I’ve already spent with Mille and Pietn has been very fun and educative, as I discovered a lot of new music through them. In our younger years, we didn’t have access to YouTube or Facebook but social media have given us much opportunity to discover new material and to promote our band. 
BMS: Did you have any other names in mind before you settled with Loose License?
Markie: The name Loose License has always been our first and only choice for our band name. Sure, the name may not sound all that evil or morbid but it’s rolls off the tongue easily. 

Pietn: To continue our origin story, Mille and I have been roadies for the trash/death metal band Anesthesy for over ten years. They had quite some success in the 90s but tragedy struck when their frontman, Frank “Liberty” Libeert, perished in a traffic accident. Before we founded Loose License, Mille and I had a band which also included Anesthesy’s guitarist and bassist. I did the main vocals and the band was called “Arachnophobia”. Later on we and the other two guys went separate ways and we decided to just continue playing without anyone else. Yup, no lead guitar at all, just drum, bass and vocals. You could say it was a sort of precursor to Loose License, we just performed as a 2-piece doom/grind band. The band was called “Columbarium” and it was just Mille and myself for about 10 years. 
BMS: A beautiful story, folks. Now, I’ve seen you using a projector as well as a monk walking around the stage. But imagine you could include anything you want into your show. Lights, fireworks, actors, anything you could think of! What would such a dream show look like? 
Markie: Certainly no fireworks, but rather effects that add to the dreary atmosphere of our songs. I think about smoke flowing over the stage floor and lightning effects. 

Pietn: We’ve always felt that locations like cathedrals and graveyards fit our songs the best. Which is why our music video for Inferno has been filmed in a cemetery. A group of monks and inverted crosses would also fit the scene very well. As long as it’s dark, evil and unholy. We aren’t Satanists, however, but it would be very awkward if we would play our songs in a joyful flower field during a summer afternoon! 

Pietn: I believe that some extra bells and whistles aren’t out of place during a live performance. There are a lot of bands that just stick to playing their songs without anything else. Don’t get me wrong, they’re doing a great job, but some additional effects can help you create the atmosphere you want to deliver with your music. 
BMS: Personally, I’d suggest you start the show with a group of cultists who summon you on stage. They’ll start off by singing some demonic chants, then smoke and columns of fiery red lights appear on the stage before you guys seemingly crawl out of the ground. It would appear like you guys are coming straight from hell and it would look very cool! And when the show ends, all lights suddenly go out and when they turn back on, you’ve all disappeared. As if you retreated back into the darkness.  
Pietn: Last year we had the idea of having an evil demon queen on stage who could do a couple of acts during the show. We had someone for the job but she declined at the last minute. But the idea has stuck with us and we hope to find someone else for the job. Usually we also offer sacramental bread to the public during the Funeral Procession song, but today we simply played the songs because of the time constraints we had. 
BMS: You’ve got anything else to add before I’ll let you guys return to the maws of hell? 
Mille: I’m glad I’ve just took a leak, it was a great relief.

Pietn: We’re very grateful that we’ve played on such a big stage as we did today. And also much respect to Mille and his wife for converting a part of their home into a rehearsal room and their neighbors who constantly have to tolerate the noise we make when we come around! 

Markie: I may be 55 years old but I’m not planning to retire anytime soon! Nobody’s too old to rock and I still have a couple of tricks up my sleeve! 

Markie: Also thank you for your review of 4 Years Of Death. It was well-written and detailed. Keep up the good work! 
BMS: I’m glad to have met you guys, see you soon! In hell!

Here's the music video for Inferno, the first track Loose License has made as a three-piece band.