-- Cellar Twins gets shredded --
Interview conducted & written by Stijn "Metal Shredder" Daneels.
During the third semi-finals of the Wacken Metal Battle Belgium 2019 (which took place at the Titans Club in Lens) I saw the Namur-based alternative metal band Cellar Twins and they came very close to reaching the finals (that honor went to Stand For and Insomnia). For me, the band’s confident and youthful attitude gave me a satisfying first impression and later that year I shredded their well-received debut album “Duality” (read the review here: http://belgianmetalshredder.be/reviews/192). And of course, it was only a matter of time to get them shredded!
And so Monday April 13, 2020 I called up bassist Elodie and lead guitarist Jeff to talk about the band’s basement origins and the making of their “Duality” album, the ambitious music video they’ve got planned post-lockdown and their participation at the Wacken Metal Battle Belgium 2019 semi-finals.
BMS: Bonjour! It’s great to have the two of you here! So tell me, how did Cellar Twins begin?
Jeff: Enchanté! Cellar Twins was founded by me and our drummer Francesco. Back then we were already playing together in a pop rock band but we both wanted to play heavier music. Fun fact: we started Cellar Twins by jamming together in our home cellar.
BMS: I see! And where does the Twins part stand for?
Jeff: Although Francesco and I aren’t brothers in the biological sense we do share many years of friendship and have very similar musical interests. So that’s what the Twins in Cellar Twins stands for, a true musical brotherhood.
BMS: Great! So, last year you released your debut album “Duality” so tell me something about the inspirations and production behind this excellent album.
Jeff: First off, Cellar Twins is inspired by alternative rock bands like Alter Bridge, Avenged Sevenfold and Smashing Pumpkins along with progressive acts like Dream Theater. In terms of production, while a lot of underground bands start off with a homemade EP and then move on to a studio album we actually did things the other way around. Our 2017 eponymous debut EP was recorded in the Noise Factory Studio here in Namur and the release was mixed by Nicolas, one of the studio’s engineers. However, for “Duality” we did most of the album’s recordings at our homes with only the drums recorded at Noise Factory.
BMS: I admit that’s quite impressive. The production on “Duality” is excellent and improved compared to the debut EP despite being pretty much homemade.
Jeff: Thanks for your kind words. Yeah, we wanted to save on studio money and during our debut EP’s production we’ve learned a lot about recording. So we took our chances and looks like we’ve been quite successful!
BMS: You sure are! My thoughts on Cellar Twins’ sound are that it’s overall quite accessible thanks to the straightforward songwriting and catchy lyrics. However, the style still has plenty of depth thanks to the progressive influences. It’s kind of a best of 2 worlds. The music also has a real attitude to it thanks to the heavy riffs and commanding vocals. “Duality” itself is also quite varied, with some tender songs (like “Cloud Walker” and Tales of Autumn”) and more aggressive tunes (like “Antithesis” and “Wovoka”). And finally some really catchy songs like “Molotov Parade” and “Social Waste.” An excellent effort, I say it again!
BMS: Speaking of “Social Waste,” I recall that 2 weeks ago your frontman Carl called upon the fans to record themselves lip-synching the “Social Waste” song for an upcoming music video. Did you guys get a lot of response?
Jeff: Yeah, we’ve received some great material, but you’re still free to join in if you wish. There’s still some room for you left.
BMS: I think I will! So, what are your initial plans before the COVID-19 outbreak
Elodie: We had several gigs in the pipeline before the outbreak including shows in the Titans Club in Lens and the Piano Bar in Namur as well as some summer festivals. After all, 2019 was a massive year for us (aside from our successful debut album we also had a spot on the Durbuy Rock Festival and a spot on the Wacken Metal Battle Belgium semi-finals) and we wanted to keep that momentum through 2020. In addition, we were scheduled to record a massive music video for the song “Millennium” by the end of this March. We had rented a castle, did castings and had already got all the necessary recording equipment ready but now with the ongoing lockdown, we had to postpone all that as well.
BMS: Sad to hear that, but I’m confident you’ll be back on track soon. So, what are you currently up to during this lockdown?
Elodie: Pretty much the same thing as every hardworking band is doing nowadays. We keep in touch with each other through Skype and we’re already working on new material. Mostly it’s Jeff who plays a new riff and sends it over to our cloud page and then me and the other guys record and upload our own parts and eventually we judge each other’s concepts. And so we’re now able to jam and write new songs together without physically meeting each other.
Elodie: In addition, once the lockdown’s over and we’ve recorded the ambitious “Millennium” music video and made the “Social Waste” fan video, we’re going to put all our stuff together into one large, professional package and send it over to as many record labels that we can find. We’re confident that, given a good visual and musical presentation and sufficient searching, we’ll eventually score a solid record deal.
BMS: Awesome, I love your motivation! All right, time for a question my readers are all too familiar with, what other activities do you have in life aside from Cellar Twins?
Elodie: Recently I’ve become a trumpet music teacher at the IMEP (Institut Supérieur de Musique et de Pédagogie) institute in Namur and I also play some video games.
Jeff: Sometimes I join Elodie to do some multiplayer gaming. I also love drawing and I do guitar covers on my YouTube channel (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCQXb5NSNXQLWc6ml2BQfH6A). And I’m currently trying my hand at crafting my own guitars.
BMS: That’s a great tactic, I believe your guitar shredding will improve even more as soon as you know how those sweet axes are built! So, let’s talk about your participation at the semi-finals of the Wacken Metal Battle Belgium 2019. That night was my first encounter with Cellar Twins and while you didn’t make it to the finals (Stand For and Insomnia had left a slightly bigger impression on me) I was very pleased with your performance.
Elodie: Thanks! We’ve also got very fond memories of that particular gig. The place was packed with enthusiastic fans and there were 5 talented, varied rock & metal acts that competed along with us. It was a very fun and educational experience for all of us and we were glad that you, as both jury member and music reporter, were there as well to record our gig and write a review about it (read it here: http://belgianmetalshredder.be/festival_article/60).
Elodie: Speaking of your show review, we read it shortly after publication and we fully agreed with your feedback. So we immediately went to work to make our sound faster, tighter and heavier and we’ve got some other pleasant surprises for you and your fellow Shredders in store. I think you’ll be pleased.
BMS: I look forward to it! Another thing I loved about those particular semi-finals was that all 6 competing bands hailed from the Wallonia region. I really hope that this will inspire other Walloon rock & metal acts to compete in the future Wacken Metal Battle Belgium editions and, more importantly, to help bring together rock & metal musicians and fans from all parts of Belgium.
Jeff: Last year we shared the stage with Flemish metal acts Thorium and Scarved during the Rage of Light festival in Ittre as well as a gig with Fabulae Dramatis in Liege. Good times!
BMS: Yeah, I know those bands as well, great people! BTW, I noticed that the title of your final song on “Duality” is called “Promesse” instead of “Promise.”
Jeff: In fact, “Promise” was the track’s original title since the song is a promise from us that we’ll be returning with a second album. However, we’ve decided to change the title to the French “Promesse” instead of the English “Promise” as a tongue-in-cheek reference to our mother tongue.
Elodie: Plus it’s the only French song title on the album and therefore it stands out from the rest and finally “Promesse” sounds slightly more soothing than its almost identically sounding English equivalent.
BMS: Maybe you could write a song with French lyrics for the next release. I’ve already heard plenty of awesome rock & metal bands who sing in a non-English language (the Dutch-singing hard rock band BEUK from Bruges and the Spanish-speaking power metal act Azrael from Granada are great examples). It’s original and gives the song some extra personality.
Elodie: Thanks for the tip! We’ll keep it in mind. It was great talking to you! Jeff: Yeah! See you soon, Metal Shredder!