-- Drakkar gets shredded --

Stijn Daneels
My first meeting with Drakkar was in September 2015 in Roeselare when they were touring alongside Guilty As Charged and FireForce. I had a great time seeing them with the band's flamboyant frontman Leni stealing the show as always!

During Summerrock 2016 I had a chance to have an intimate conversation with Leni and he offered me to drink rum along with him. We talked about Thierry (RIP), Leni's interest in the human condition, Japanese chicks and our mutual love for metal. Have a drink on us, folks!

BMS: I first want to wish my sincere condolences for the death of Thierry.
Leni: Thank you. The last show we did with Thierry was the Arden Metal Fest in Sault-Les-Rethel, France. He played an awesome show as he always did and seemingly looked in perfect condition. Adrien, Thierry and me drove back to Belgium while the others remained in France to spend the night there and leave in the morning. Thierry was driving but said he wanted Adrien to take the wheel because he felt a bit tired. When Thierry was switching places with Adrien, he suddenly collapsed!

Leni: Thierry's sudden demise was an absolute shock for all of us. He was not only a very skilled musician but also a close friend to everyone at Drakkar. Thierry had been part of the band since its inception. But we decided to continue Drakkar to honor Thierry's memory and we turned Drakkar into a five-piece band. Thierry will forever remain a part of Drakkar!
BMS: I'm thankful to have met Thierry during your gig in Roeselare last fall. And his autograph still stands proudly on my copy of Once Upon A Time In Hell along with your signatures. I'm happy we've talked about Thierry, since his death also made me very sad. Ok, let's talk about something else...
Leni: Yes. The past is the past and me and the other Drakkar members want to focus on the present.

Drakkar from left to right: Richy (guitar, backing vocals), Tytus (bass, backing vocals), Adrien (drums), Leni (vocals), Pat (guitar, backing vocals), Thierry (guitar).
BMS: If I was asking too many details about Thierry's death then I will apologize. I just wanted to get that out of the way first.
Leni: It's no problem, Stijn. I appreciate your concern with Drakkar and I'm glad you're here. But I want to talk about something else.
BMS: Sure, share with me some of your best experiences since you've been touring Europe.
Leni: We've already played about 80 shows all over Europe and we always get a great response from the crowd. We've already visited the UK, Germany, Spain, the Netherlands and pretty much every part of France. The metalheads from Southern France in particular go bat shit crazy during our shows. We don't know why...
BMS: It's because you're a great band and because you guys have a ton of charisma on stage. (I speak from experience, dear reader). Let's drink to that!
Leni: Cheers, Stijn! (We both drink a good gulp of rum)
Leni: If you wish, I can tell you about Once Upon A Time In Hell.
BMS: Go ahead!
Leni: The main concept of the album is about the human disaster. I mean we, as humans, have always been in conflict with each other. Conflicts for land, religion, ideology or just money and power. It's really fucked up when you think about how much blood has been spilled since time immemorial. And for what? Just because one guy wants more power than the other guy. The human condition both fascinates and disturbs me.

Leni: Once Upon A Time in Hell has songs dealing with war and conflict throughout the ages, such as the crusades, the French revolution, modern warfare and more. It's a kind of history lesson. But a fun lesson, we hope!
BMS: It was fun! Thank you! You seem to enjoy history and culture a lot, don't you, Leni?
Leni: I travel a lot and love to visit historically important locations. I love learning about new cultures and languages. A place that has left a huge impression on me is Jeruzalem. The city is such a melting pot of various religions and cultures, it combines ancient architecture with modern buildings, it's magnificent. And all those people live together in great harmony despite all those cultural differences. It brings peace to my mind. Leni: Speaking about cultures, we, as Drakkar, consider ourselves a Belgian band. Not a band from Wallonia, but from Belgium! We were the black, yellow and red with pride!
BMS: I haven't visited a lot of countries yet, although I went to a road trip through Greece during my final high school year and I also enjoy visiting Spain and Germany. When it comes to languages, I want to improve my French, Spanish and Germany so that one day I'll be able to fluently speak five languages.

BMS: Are there any countries outside of Europe where you as Drakkar wish to perform?
Leni: I hope to one day play shows in South-America as well as a gig or two in Japan! Because I love Japanese girls!
BMS: And I love sushi and that goes together with chicks!
BMS: I've seen you play a couple of times and I know you like to interact with the crowd. Tell me some of your favorite moments with the audience.
Leni: During one of our shows I helped a little boy get on the stage and he sang along with me. Once the song was finished, I hugged him and accompanied him back to his parents. I just can't help it. I want to have fun with the people in attendance and treat them like brothers and sisters, sharing the our faith and brotherhood!
BMS: What do you think about the metal scene today?
Leni: It's ironic when you think of the fact that the mainstream media see us metalheads as violent maniacs. But you, me and every other headbanger out there know that's not the case. On the contrary, we all feel connected because of our mutual love for metal! It actually should be us pointing our fingers at those "normal" people and show them how peacefully we live alongside each other compared to them.

Leni: We metalfans don't care about race, ethnical origins, politics or anything else that may be used to put one man against another. We all speak the language of metal and we all see ourselves as brothers and sisters. One big, happy family!
BMS: Is there anything else you wish to add before I go to my appointment with T.A.N.K. ?
Leni: Remember to always remain true to yourself! Don't change your ways for anybody! Metal is the way! So stay metal, stay proud and scream it loud!
BMS: As long as people like us breathe, metal will remain alive!

Drakkar - War