-- Caerus gets shredded --

Stijn Daneels
Interview conducted and written by Glenn “Terra Shredder” Van Bockstaele. Caerus pictures by Jon Slabbekoorn.

One of the most exciting bands I’ve encountered this year was the Dutch groove metal band Caerus and I had a great time shredding their debut album “The Morphing Eclipse” (my review: http://belgianmetalshredder.be/reviews/169). So of course, I had to get this band shredded!

I’ve contacted Caerus’s vocalist Jose Leijnse to talk about the band’s history, the Morphing Eclispe’s beautifully mysterious artwork, the departure of founding member Jeffrey and recruitment of guitarist Tom and the exciting future that 2020 has in store for Caerus.

BMS: How was Caerus formed?
Jose: Caerus has a longer history than most people assume. The early foundations date back to 2013 when our drummer Niels and now former guitarist Jeffrey wanted to start a studio project on their own. Fun fact: one of the first songs Niels and Jeffrey wrote together was “Vultures,” a song which eventually landed on our debut album The Morphing Eclipse and has now become a live favorite.

Jose: The musical collaboration between Niels and Jeffrey eventually went so well that they quickly decided to start a fully fledged band. Eventually Axel came in as bassist and two other friends who joined on guitar and vocals. These five guys started under the name Crow Kingdom for about a year until the aforementioned vocalist and guitarist departed.

Jose: Quitting was no option, so Niels went looking for new people and that’s where Chris and I came in on guitar and vocals respectively. Thanks to our mutual contributions the style of music changed to the groove metal it is today and so we decided to rename our band to Caerus. Our first show under this current name and lineup took place April 9, 2016 during the Heavywave festival in Brogum, Netherlands. The rest, as they say, is history.
BMS: Are there any other bands you and the other guys play in?
Jose: Niels and Chris are both active in the crossover metal band Powerstroke on drums and guitar respectively. In addition, Axel also plays bass in the Tilburg based death metal band Depths of Kronos. For far we’ve all managed to balance our time and efforts between Caerus and those other bands, mainly because we get along very well.

BMS: Personally, I feel your vocals have many similarities with Channel Zero’s Franky DSVD.
Jose: That’s quite a coincidence. I admit that I’m not very familiar with Channel Zero’s work, so I can’t make an accurate comparison myself. I’m mainly inspired by blues, rock & roll and grunge. Particularly vocalists like Chris Cornell and Jay Buchanan.
BMS: Can you tell us something about the Morphing Eclipse’s artwork. I like it a lot because of its mysterious beauty.
Jose: Thanks! For the most part, our guitarist Chris handles all of Caerus’s artwork and other visual aspects. But for the album we wanted something completely different. Usually we prefer to do as many things ourselves, but to save time and give Chris some much needed relief we decided to look for a third-party graphic artist. Eventually we got into contact with an international team of designers who work together with All4Band and they’ve made the album’s cover art, t-shirt design and promotional video for YouTube.

Jose: To further discuss the artwork itself, we quickly made the decision to call the album the Morphing Eclipse, named after the eponymous song which, in our humble opinion, best showcases what Caerus has to offer. We wanted the artwork to be atmospheric and abstract as to leave open a lot of room for personal interpretation, but with enough of a clear view and solid structure to draw people’s attention.

BMS: I see. Tell me, Jose, could you say something more about Jeffrey’s departure?
Jose: Of course. As I mentioned earlier Jeffrey co-founded Caerus and was an important part of the band because he did a lot of songwriting. The reason for his eventual leave isn’t very complicated. We all have a busy weekly schedule and different ambitions in life. Jeffrey’s future plans would’ve made it very difficult for him to remain active within Caerus so after a long, friendly conversion we and Jeffrey agreed to continue Caerus without him.
BMS: How will Jeffrey’s departure influence Caerus’s future?
Jose: Obviously some things will change within Caerus but our original plans for the future remain intact. We’ll still be promoting the Morphing Eclipse album for a while. I’d say the biggest change will be in the songwriting since Jeffrey’s no longer there do contribute to that. It’ll be an interesting time for Caerus, that’s for sure.
BMS: How’s your newly recruited guitarist Tom doing thus far?
Jose: Quite well for the moment. We did a successful try-out show with him and we’re optimistic about the future. It may sound cliché but for a band to work you need people who you can get along with both creatively and personally. Having your own band is like having your own little company and it’s best to make sure that you’re all on the same page and not just play together but also spent personal quality time with each other in a bar, gulping down beer!
BMS: Indeed! So, are there already plans for a follow-up album?
Jose: Since the release of “The Morphing Eclipse” we’ve already written some new songs but for the moment we put our attention on playing live gigs and writing additional material. As soon as we have enough satisfactory material the plans for a new album will come naturally, somewhere next year at the earliest.
BMS: Are you planning to experiment a bit during the next releases or will you keep on going the same creative road?
Jose: The upcoming material will have an identical musical basis but we will further build and branch out by experimenting. We all believe that we can put out much more out of Caerus and we remain very open to interesting new influences.
BMS: One more question: you’ve got some gigs coming up for 2020?
Jose: Now that we’ve got Tom as a suitable replacement for Jeffrey, we’re now into talks with several venues so be sure to keep an eye out on our website and social media channels to remain updated on Caerus’s future shows!
BMS: Oh yeah we will! Thanks for the shred!