-- Soul-X gets shredded! --
Interview written and conducted by Stijn “Metal Shredder” Daneels.
A couple of months ago I was contacted by a sweet Italian woman named Vanessa who introduced me to her favorite band, the French groove metal band Soul-X. Also the band’s frontman Grégory “Greg” Hespel got into contact with me soon after. Eventually I managed to meet up with both Vanessa and Soul-X during a gig of the band in the Titans Club in Lens (February 15, 2020).
So after the band’s sweet show I went outside with Greg and his bassist Maxime “Max” Lesur to talk about the band’s inspirations, the release of their debut album “The Killing Machine,” their selection of the Belgian bands Traveler and Téras as support acts for this particular gig and the huge camaraderie among Soul-X’s members.
BMS: Hello guys! Great to see you here at Titans Club! I must say that your style reminds me a lot of 90s groove metal acts like Pantera, Machine Head & Sepultura.
Greg: Well heard, my friend! In fact, our guitarist Jérôme and I began this band in 1996 under the name Bloodshed and in 2002 we renamed ourselves Soul-X. And yes, those aforementioned iconic bands have hugely inspired us since day one. Especially Machine Head serves as a major personal inspiration for me, last October I was present at the Machine Head gig in the Ancien Belgique and took a picture with Robb Flynn himself!
BMS: Great! And last fall you’ve also finally released your debut album called “The Killing Machine!”
Greg: Indeed and we’re very proud of it! In fact, this album signifies Soul-X’s rebirth, since the band had been inactive for 10 years because the constant lineup issues we were suffering during that time were incredibly demotivating for both Jérôme and me. But you know how it goes, one day you eventually regain your jamming spirit, especially when our longtime friend Antoine joined in on drums and Maxime came soon after.
Greg: The songs on “The Killing Machine” consist of both newly written songs and rearranged older tunes. People who were fans of us during our first period will certainly recognize some of the album’s beats while newcomers will find this an accurate (and hopefully attractive) calling card for our band.
BMS: I’ve certainly enjoyed the album myself! Thanks a lot! So, what does the future have in store for Soul-X?
Greg: We’re in the process of making a music video and we’ve contacted several venue owners and festival organizers. We’re also writing material for a second album and we can already promise you right now that it won’t take another 10 years! Ha, ha, ha!
BMS: It sure won’t! So, for tonight you’ve chosen the bands Traveler and Téras as your support acts.
Max: Our friend Vanessa gave us several suggestions of Belgian metal bands to play with us here tonight! I’ve listened to them all and decided to pick bands whose styles would complement ours the best.
Greg: And Max here did an impeccable job! Traveler puts more emphasis on raw vocals and vicious riffs while Téras focuses more on classic thrash metal and technical solos. Two elements that are also featured in our proper Soul-X sound!
BMS: Indeed, clear choices! I also noticed that there’s a huge camaraderie within Soul-X.
Greg: Oh yeah! Jérôme and I have been friends for over 20 years, our drummer Antoine has been part of our gang since he was 15 years old, and he’s like a son to us! And finally Maxime has also been among us for years as well. I feel it’s important to do more activities with your band members than just playing music. We support each other both musically and personally and we want to share those vibes with the people in the audience.
BMS: And I love you for it! Now, what are your other activities aside from being part of Soul-X? And I’m going to start with you, Max!
Max: Sure thing! I’m proud and thankful to say that I’m a professional musician. Aside from playing bass in Soul-X and in some cover acts I also play classical contrabass.
Greg: When I’m not playing with Soul-X I’m a happy family man with a lovely wife and baby girl.
BMS: I see! Well, I’m almost finished with this Soul-X shred? You guys got anything else you wish to add before we take the picture?
Max: Thanks for talking with us, man!
Greg: Yeah! We’ve had a lot of fun being here in this great venue and even more fun when we got our asses shredded by the Metal Shredder himself!