-- Evil Invaders get shredded again! --

Stijn Daneels
Interview written and conducted by Stijn “Metal Shredder” Daneels.

Late 2015, when Belgian Metal Shredder was in its infancy, I had the chance to get then up-and-coming Belgian speed metal freaks Evil Invaders (read that vintage shred here: http://belgianmetalshredder.be/interviews/32). Since then, I saw the Invaders perform on a yearly basis and during Evil Or Die Fest 2019 (October 19, 2019) I decided to meet up again with Joe & Joeri to personally hear from them how things have evolved in those past 4 years.

During my second shred with Evil Invaders we talked about the band’s 4-year evolution, the motivation behind the “Surge of Insanity” live DVD, their epic gig at Wacken 2018 and they offer a lot of honest and inspiring advice for young, aspiring metal musicians.

BMS: Hello fellas, it’s been 4 years now since I’ve last shredded you and I must say that you’ve gone through a very positive evolution, not just musically but also visually. You’ve added many new stage props and very effective stage lightning.
Joe: Thank you for those kind words. Indeed, we’ve thought long and hard on how we would bring everything to the next level. First off, all our props are custom built to use exclusively during our shows. We believe that those show elements are just as essential a part of Evil Invaders’ identity as the music itself and we wanted our visual elements to be as authentic and unique as possible. All material we use is self-made and can’t be bought in stores.

Joeri: Yes and overall it’s cheaper to have your stuff custom built rather than to buy it in a shop. Nowadays many bands use pyrotechnics, smoke screens, projectors, etc. but we wanted to have people recognize us not just through our songs but through our stage presentation as well. That’s why we’ve constructed those microphone stands with the blades and our logo on it. In the future we want to further expand on that presentation, making everything more unique.

Joe: Rammstein’s stage presentation serves as a great example. When you see one of their shows you can see that everything they use, from the costumes and Flake’s treadmill to Till’s fire wings, it’s all built exclusively for the band.
BMS: Very interesting! So, what else changed in those past 4 years?
Joe: We’ve now got a larger crew, since we obviously need people who control the stuff we put on stage. We’ve also upgraded our sound, we all play my custom-built J-AXE guitars and are endorsed by Invaders Amps, AMT electronics, Pearl drums and D'addario strings. We sound clearer than ever before. In addition, we’re also very conscious about how we spend the money we earn with our gigs, we always aimed to reinvest the revenue to the band and to our show rather than just putting it in our own pockets. We like to give a proper show to the promoters who book us and especially to the fans we keep on supporting us!
BMS: Tell me something about the “Surge of Insanity” live album.
Joe: With this live DVD, we wanted to record a quintessential Evil Invaders performance. In other words, we didn’t add any unique effects or theatrics to that particular concert, we wanted this gig to represent the band as it truly is in a live setting so that people have an accurate idea of how a typical Evil Invaders gig looks and sounds like.

Joeri: Yeah and things went very smoothly that day. We’ve had our fair share of technical difficulties over the years but during that particular gig we didn’t have any on stage issues.

Joe: Most of our troubles actually happened during post-production, because after watching the footage we found the images to be a bit too dark and some stage props were a bit too much behind us. Yeah, we’re pretty perfectionist, we always look at everything with a very critical eye.

BMS: That’s a great mentality. Tell me, are you also going to release “Surge of Insanity” on VHS as well, just like you did with the “Live in Biebob” video in 2015?
Joe: Ha ha ha! No, we won’t put it out on VHS. Back then, more and more people were begging us for a live DVD and then we decided to troll everyone with that “Live in Biebob” videocassette. A pretty expensive joke, I do have to admit. But now with “Surge of Insanity” we really wanted to give our fans a long-waited and well-deserved treat.
BMS: So, what are your plans for 2020?
Joe: We’ll be doing a headline European tour with Spanish thrashers Angelus Apatrida and our buddies from Schizophrenia. That tour will serve as the final part of the “Feed Me Violence” chapter (our 2nd studio album, FYI).

Joeri: And we’re also working on new material.
BMS: I’m already looking forward to that! Now, in 2018 you’ve played at Wacken Open Air, how did that gig go?
Joe: It was an amazing time, the field at the Wasteland stage was packed. It was awesome to play during that hot summer evening, with the sun gradually descending and the flames on stage soaring through the skies and the people going absolutely apeshit!

Joeri: It certainly was one of the memorable festival gigs we’ve done thus far.
BMS: Personally I was very proud that several Belgian bands played at Wacken 2018. Diablo Blvd, Spoil Engine, our WOA Metal Battle contestants Behind Bars and of course you guys!
Joe: The pleasure is all ours!
BMS: Now, here’s a question I also asked during our first encounter but since you’ve now grown so much compared to 4 years ago I want to ask it again. What advice could you give to other young, aspiring musicians?
Joe: Generally speaking, I’d suggest taking your time to create a proper vision for your band. What sound do you want to play? How do you want to visually represent yourselves as a band? What name do you want? Also, make sure to frequently rehearse and discuss with each other to make sure all noses point in the same direction in terms of musical creativity, visual presentation, overall ambition, etc.

Joe: Consistent hard work is also extremely important. One day you may be performing in front of 1000 people and another day it’s just 100 or even less. Sometimes you may have a poor PA, lack of sleep or forget to put this or that prop on stage. Don’t let any of that crap demotivate you! It’s important that you stay level-headed and that you, as a band, always give your absolute best, no matter the circumstances! There’s always a chance to make new fans or build new connections, so never let your work rate or your fans down.

Joeri: When you start out, don’t make too high demands. Remember that in the beginning, you still have everything to prove. In your band’s early stages it’s especially important to play as many gigs as you can, no matter how little the venue is willing to pay you or how small the stage or crowd is. As I said earlier, nobody has heard of you yet and you haven’t got anything recorded thus far, so the only way to build a solid fan base early on is to come out and play! Afterwards, once you’ve got some solid material recorded, obtained a record deal and built some reputation, then you can be more selective of which events you’ll be performing.

Joe:  As a metal band it might be harder to reach a big amount of people compared to mainstream bands that get loads of airplay but we do have the advantage that a typical metal fan base remains very loyal to their bands, even if those bands haven’t performed or recorded anything new in many years. Building a metal fan base is a slow but rewarding process if you keep on working on it.

Joeri: Also always keep your feet on the ground and remain humble. Many starting bands believe that one gig at a major festival like Graspop is enough to make it big but that’s not true. Playing on a prestigious festival is just another step in your musical career and you need to keep going. Stay hungry, stay foolish!

Joe: Communication among your band colleagues is also vital. Be sure to frequently both compliment and criticize each other and don’t let any personal grievances get out of hand. Sometimes we also get on each other’s nerves but we always tend to deal with it before things get too nasty. Remember, when you’re on tour you’ll be spending a lot of time with the same people and eventually everyone’s best and worst sides will come out. So be able to talk, console and forgive each other.
BMS: I must say this has been another inspiring shred for me and everyone else who’s reading this. So, you got anything else you wish to add before we wrap this up?
Joe: It was great talking to you! Be sure to remain in touch with us!

Joeri: And be sure to meet up with us on the road!