-- Hope Erodes gets shredded --

Stijn Daneels
On November 7th 2015 I attended Metal Against Child Cancer in Deerlijk. As I traditionally do before going to such events is looking for a band or two to talk with. Hope Erodes was a quick and easy choice, since their combination of heavy metal and hardcore music made them an unique addition to the event’s roster.

And so after attending their show, buying their EP and getting all their autographs, it was time for an encounter with Kris ‘Brutal’ Lenaerts and Arun Rao of Hope Erodes. A fun and informal conversation about fatherhood, the band members’ musical past and their ambitions with Hope Erodes.

BMS: Brutal, I’ll like to start things off by saying congratulations on becoming a father this year. How do you experience fatherhood?
Brutal: Being a dad gives me much joy! It’s an experience you cannot describe unless you’re a father yourself. Arun can confirm that as well.
Arun: I’ve got two kids (more than enough if you ask me) and I agree with Brutal, it’s a lot of fun spending time with your children. In addition, Hans, our drummer, is expecting his first child. Yeah, we’re reaching the age of becoming family men.

BMS: I hope to one day become a father myself. I’m 25 at the moment, so that still gives me some time, right?
Brutal: Yeah, plenty.

Hope Erodes current lineup. From left to right: Arun Rao (guitar), Joël Van Tendeloo (bass), Kris ‘Brutal’ Lenaerts (vocals), Hans De Vries (drums), Wim ‘Wimus’ Govaers (guitar).
BMS: Anyway, time to talk about Hope Erodes. How did you got started?
Arun: It was Wim and Hans who founded Hope Erodes, previously they played in an emocore band called Last Star Down. When their original guitarist left, they asked me to join. I don’t know if I’m now an official member of the band but since I’ve been playing with Hope Erodes for the past four years, I’d say I’ve got my official membership!

Brutal: A mutual friend of mine and the band told me that Hope Erodes were looking for a vocalist, I did a tryout and the rest is history! You know, Hope Erodes may officially be a young band, but all five of us carry over experiences from our previous bands.

BMS: Speaking about that, what were the previous bands you played in? I’ll let you answer first, Arun.
Arun: I also play in the band Horny Moses that is a crossover of death, thrash and industrial metal. Wim’s musical experience is mainly hardcore because he also plays with the hardcore punk band Convict.

Brutal: I was a member of the now defunct Brutal Exposure in which we were playing thrashcore or something among those lines. As long as it was fun. Hope Erodes, however, is a whole different beast for me as I had to change my vocal pace to fit the latter band’s style. Back in the days of Brutal Exposure, my vocals had to follow the pace of the drums while in Hope Erodes I have to switch between either following the guitar or the drums.
BMS: Personally I highly appreciate bands who dare to do things differently. Not just limiting themselves to by-the-book heavy metal or by-the-book hardcore.
Brutal: Hope Erodes isn’t a band that you can put in a certain subgenre of metal or hardcore as you can do with so many others. You know, we once read a review of our EP Lost to Supremacy and the reviewer panned our work because he believed that we were trying too hard to be some sort of musical jack-of-all-trades. But we see that review as more of a compliment rather than legit criticism because it serves as perfect proof that we aren’t your typical heavy metal or hardcore band. So in the end, we had a good laugh reading that article.

Arun: What’s even funnier is that some young people see us as an old-school band.

BMS: Hmm, I’d rather say that bands like Ostrogoth, Wizz Wizzard, Killer and FireForce are genuinely old-school. I’ll be honest, I haven’t heard many artists sound quite like Hope Erodes do. I also agree with what you tell about not pushing every single band into one subgenre. I myself just split bands into two single groups, bands that I like and bands that I dislike. And nothing else!

BMS: Ok, a year has passed since you’ve released your EP, Lost to Supremacy. What have you been doing for the past twelve months?
Arun: Not much actually. Mainly because some of our guys recently became daddies and taking care of your kids takes a lot of time. We’re working on a couple of new tracks now and we hope we can return to the recording studio somewhere next year to create a new release.

Brutal: Yeah, we’re planning on making something similar to Lost to Supremacy, but with a tighter pace and some surprises along the way since we love to create something unique and special.
BMS: What are your other activities aside from playing with Hope Erodes?
Arun: As I said before, many of us play in other bands as well. Wim plays in the hardcore punk band Convict, Joel is a member of the highly experimental band Aetherium and Hans plays in Band Marginal, a cover band.
BMS: In addition to your music, I also love your attitude. You guys have that “we don’t care where we play as long as we can play” mentality.
Brutal: We just play for fun. We don’t care if we play in front of 10 or 1000 people. We go out and give it our all. And in case one of us can’t be present during a rehearsal, than the other guys will continue without him. For tonight’s gig here in Deerlijk I had to drive an hour and a half, but it was more than worth the trip! We remain mature and realistic enough to remember that getting rich by playing music is impossible to do here in Belgium. As long as we all enjoy playing, Hope Erodes will go on!

Arun: It’s also due to the fact that everyone in Hope Erodes has reached a stage in life wherein we’re satisfied with our jobs and families and now we're just playing music as a hobby. Nothing is required, everything is permitted.

Brutal: I’ll admit that if it wasn’t for Hope Erodes, I would've probably retired from the scene. I joined the band when I was 39, now I’m 41, and I’m happy with my life as it is.

BMS: You still look great for your forties.
Brutal: Oh, that’s only because it’s so dark here that you don’t see my wrinkles. But seriously, we aren’t trying hard to break through the pack with Hope Erodes. We go out, we play and we’re having a great time doing it. Consider it our own way to deal with the midlife crisis!
BMS: My website is also just a hobby for me. I don’t see myself as the superhero who singlehandedly keeps the Belgian metal scene alive. I just want to add my own little contribution and I’m not looking to get paid for it. But the gratefulness of all the bands I’ve interviewed since I started the site do give me the willpower to continue.
Arun: I feel that for the past few years there’s been a certain revival going on in the Belgian metal scene. Ten years ago dance and electronic music were very popular and everybody wanted to become a DJ. Nowadays there are countless young metal bands all over the world, new festivals are being organized featuring all that upcoming talent and vinyl is getting popular again.

Brutal: I agree, people are regaining their appetite for old school heavy metal and we are fucking happy about it! Because in the end, what’s a band if you don’t have fans who support you? Fine, we play for fun, but it’s always more fun if you have people who enjoy listening to your music as much as you enjoy making it.

BMS: Yeah, there are a ton of metal bands here in Belgium alone. And that’s one of the things that makes being a metal reporter so much fun. There’s always something new to discover. The journey never ends! So is there anything else you guys want to add to this conversation?
Arun: I don’t have much to add except that it was a pleasure talking to you.
Brutal: Thanks for buying our EP and keep supporting the underground!
BMS: And thank you for signing it! See you around!

Hope Erodes live at Music café Boogiewoogie