-- When Plagues Collide gets shredded --

Stijn Daneels
Interview written and conducted by Glenn “Terra Shredder” Van Bockstaele with assistance from Anton De Prijck.

In November 2018 Belgian symphonic deathcore band When Plagues Collide (from here on shortened to WPC) offered me to review their full-length debut “Tutor Of The Dying” and I was overwhelmed by their unlikely but impressive combination of vicious deathcore and symphonic instrumentation (read my review here: http://belgianmetalshredder.be/reviews/98). Those orchestral elements aside, WPC’s sound is deathcore at its finest, in my honest opinion that is! Saturday May 26, 2019, during the finals of the Wacken Metal Battle Belgium in Zingem, I had the chance to interview them and talk about the band’s origins, the making of the “Tutor Of The Dying” album as well as their brand new single “Elizabeth.” (which I also reviewed here: http://belgianmetalshredder.be/reviews/161)

BMS: Hello there! When did the plagues start colliding?
WPC: We began in 2016. Just like any other band out there we wanted to make music and have fun, but we aimed to be more than that. Our goal from day one was to combine heavy breakdowns inspired by Thy Art Is Murder with the symphonic aspects from acts like Shadow Of Intent. In other words, deathcore symphony or symphonic deathcore, whatever you wish to call it. Point is that our experimental music is getting much more positive feedback than we could’ve ever dreamt of. And we’ve been having fun all the way through!
BMS: I’ve got to say that your album was awesome, I reviewed it and gave it a 85/100 because it blew me the hell away. After writing my initial review I listened to it even more than I had listened to other bands at the time. But tell me, do any of you guys perform in other bands?
WPC: We all have past band playing experiences but WPC is and will remain our top musical priority! We’re growing both as musicians and as friends.
BMS: I see. It keeps you focused and motivated! Now, let’s talk songwriting. Is there someone in the band who exclusively writes the lyrics and someone who writes all the music or is the whole band involved?
WPC: Our vocalist Wouter writes all the lyrics and our guitarist Santy writes most of the music.
BMS: Do the other band members also contribute something to the writing process?
WPC: Yes, the main riff of “Marked For Destruction” was written by Joris, our other guitarist. But most of the time it’s Santy who comes up with an idea for a riff and most of the time the rest of the band agrees with it and if they don’t they add in their own ideas until we reach a final, satisfying result.

BMS: Do the lyrics in the “Tutor Of The Dying” release follow a certain concept?
WPC: Yes, but it’s rather by coincidence. In the beginning of the album’s songwriting we never thought it would’ve ended up being a concept album. Although it doesn’t have to be about blood and gore all time, it’s still fun to write darker themed lyrics since it fits perfectly with the brutal deathcore style we play. Thy Art Is Murder’s socially and politically fueled songs definitely served as a major inspiration for the themes in “Tutor Of The Dying”. Eventually we came up with the line “Tutor Of The Dying.” It was such a strong sentence that we thought this had to be the title of our album and then we decided to write all of this album’s songs about the concept of death, pain and suffering. All within contemporary themes. Now, we’re already working on a successor but at the moment we’re not yet sure where we’ll be going with the lyrics.
BMS: Will you be maintaining the symphonic aspect in your future releases? Because personally I love the mix of deathcore with the symphonic samples.
WPC: Sure thing! Both the deathcore beats and the piano, violin and other symphonic samples have always been pivotal parts of WPC’s music. However, we’re looking to having the orchestral parts performed live instead of pre-recorded but that’s a long-term ambition.
BMS: Glad to hear that! Now, aside from the epic songwriting I also wish to applaud the crystal clear production on “Tutor Of The Dying.” Where did you produce this gem?
WPC: The album was produced in the Project Zero Studio by Carnation’s bassist Yarne Heylen. It was great working with him and the other staff at the studio. They know exactly what they are doing and they’ve given us much feedback during the album’s production. It was a much better experience compared to how our earlier EP “Shrine Of Hatred” was made. Back then we were lacking the management experience, time and money and you can hear that in its quality. After that EP’s release, we learned from our mistakes and cranked up the recording budget and we knew that the Project Zero Studio was the place to be!
BMS: Now, one of the most unique tracks on “Tutor Of The Dying” was the Flemish spoken monologue “Als Imperatieve Grootmacht.” Can you tell the readers and me something about that?
WPC: That’s actually a very old song, conceived even before we were writing for the “Shrine Of Hatred” EP. The now defunct symphonic deathcore band Falanx (in which our vocalist Wouter and guitarist Joris used to play in), had songs dedicated to Flemish poetry and the “Als Imperatieve Grootmacht” song was originally written for that band. That track had very strong lyrics and it suited perfectly with the themes in “Tutor Of The Dying” and so we turned it into a fully fledged WPC song while keeping the original lyrics.
BMS: Now let’s discuss the artwork of “Tutor Of The Dyning.” Who designed it?
WPC: It was made by Hans Trasid from Disart Design. When it comes to artwork we’re very difficult to find a mutual agreement with each other. During our early years we just went looking for some artwork that already existed and decided whether it suited with the lyrics and then we took that. But since “Tutor Of The Dying” was such a huge upgrade from our previous release we finally wanted to have something created for ourselves. And we’re very satisfied with Hans’s work, so much so that he’ll be doing the artwork for our new “Elizabeth” single as well! Also special thanks to our dear friend Bram Bruyneel who did some spontaneous drawing for us which we found to be so beautiful that we’ll be using it for some upcoming merchandise.
BMS: Tonight you unveiled that new “Elisabeth” single you just talked about. Live on stage during tonight’s Metal Battle, nonetheless!
WPC: Indeed! Originally we were planning to wait until the single’s official release but the Metal Battle organization wanted all participating bands to perform a different set compared to the semi-finals. So that’s why we offered the audience this little treat. Did you like it?
BMS: Yeah! I certainly did, even more than your material on the “Tutor Of The Dying” album if I were to be perfectly honest. It’s just that bit more orchestral and hard-hitting!
WPC: Thank you for those kind words!
BMS: So, tell us something about your upcoming concerts.
WPC: In August we’re heading to Italy to play at the WE ARE DEATHCORE festival in Milan. We’ve also got an upcoming gig in Manchester and we’ll be playing the Belgian leg of the upcoming Tech Trek Europe tour headlined by Archspire!
BMS: All right, that’s all I wished to ask. Thank you for this engaging interview.
WPC: You’re welcome. Send our regards to the rest of the Metal Shredder crew!