-- Nocardia gets shredded --

Stijn Daneels
During Turbofest 2016 I had a chance to talk with a couple of bands present there. In addition to Breakfast At Midnight there also was Nocardia. And as with Breakfast, everyone of Nocardia joined in to speak to me.

So, what did we had on our minds during this chat? Obviously simple stuff like Nocardia's origin story and musical inspirations, their hatred for fascism, their ongoing quest for a motivated bassist and their gratitude towards Turbowarrior of Steel. Plus cameos from Turbowarrior of Steel's drummer Jorg Van Damme and Robin Van Kaaizele from Eternal Breath and Decades of Metal!

Pictures made by Nocardia (band picture), Sandiya Weynants (pictures taken during TurboFest 2016) and Chloe Noah (picture of me with the band).

BMS: How did you guys start Nocardia?
Siel: Arthur and I were former high school class mates. One day I had detention because I fucked up a test and eventually got on the same school bus as Arthur. We talked a bit and shared our musical interests. I told him I play guitar and he told me he plays drums. But at that moment I didn't have the courage to ask him to form a band together.

Siel: I eventually offered him to jam with me and so we started a cover band named Death Terror. I was the band's vocalist but our musical career as Death Terror was short lived and we only did one gig. Looking back, it was a pretty childish affair, it was just Arthur and me covering iconic metal songs without having any musical individuality of our own.
BMS: I've got to say I'm glad you didn't continue like that. The name Death Terror sounds cliché as hell and just focusing on covers isn't going to give you a lot of credibility in the metal scene.
Siel: Indeed. That's why Arthur and I decided to restart from scratch and we looked for extra musicians to join our gang. And so Dario entered the picture.

Dario: I reacted to Siel and Arthur's Facebook advertisement and the three of us practiced together. I had a good feeling of playing alongside them and that sentiment was mutual. We named ourselves Nocardia and immediately began writing our own material.

Dario: In the twelve months following Nocardia's foundation we gradually ditched away the cover songs and now we have a full setlist of original material.

Nocardia from left to right: Arthur Loobuyck (drums), Dario Van Fleteren (vocals, guitar) and Siel Tanghe (guitar, backing vocals).
BMS: I particularly like your song "Turteltaks" It has the most complex guitar riffs I've ever heard in my life and its lyrics are so deep and thoughtful. An absolute masterpiece!
Dario: Yeah, it's such a great tune that it lasts for 7 seconds and only has one word in the lyrics which is the song's title!
BMS: Isn't sarcasm great?
Dario: It sure is! But "Turteltaks" was secretly composed by Arthur and me without Siel knowing about it. So when we first played the song live, Arthur and I played it by ourselves. The song stuck with our fans and so we kept this joke song in our setlist ever since.
Additional note: Turteltaks refers to an infamous energy tax increase made by former Belgian Energy Minister Annemie Turtelboom. And now back to your regular programming! ;) 
BMS: What are your main inspirations?
Siel: I'd say our band pays homage to the big 4 of thrash metal as well as other giants in the subgenre like Kreator and Death Angel. One song in our catalogue, Destroy Society, is written in the vein of Slayer!

Dario: Punk rock bands like the Dead Kennedys, the Ramones and the Sex Pistols also serve as major influences. To be honest, we've got so much more rock and metal subgenres that inspire us. And it all folds together to create Nocardia's sound!

Arthur: We do want to maintain an old school feel not just in our style but also in our production. We aim for an edgy, low-tech feel and therefore we keep our production values to a low but still professionally sounding level.

BMS: I saw on your Facebook page that you're looking for a bassist. How's the search been going thus far?
Siel: We recently had a couple of candidates. But either they lacked motivation or they didn't agree with the political message we want to deliver as Nocardia. We all like playing in this band and we want to further build our fanbase. And for that, we need a bassist who doesn't just play bass but who also contributes to writing new material. Someone who agrees with our political and social views and who can help us make the difference between fame or shame!

Arthur: And who can get loaded on alcohol along with us!
BMS: I do like how Nocardia is today. The three of you played an excellent show today and got me and the crowd pumped as hell. Now tell me something about the production of your demo song Inhuman Forces of Death.
Arthur: We recorded the song in our rehearsal room in Otegem. It was a small but well-built studio so we ended up with an acceptable sound quality. Fun fact: every element of the song was recorded using a cheap karaoke mic we bought for about 15 Euros! So when we recorded the drum tracks, we put the microphone on a couple of boxes in front of my drum kit to mic the whole drum in one time, like a ‘room mic’.

Dario: We originally wanted to record Kill The Fascists since it's a shorter, catchier track than Inhuman Forces of Death. Unfortunately I botched my riffs a bit too much for it make the cut.

Arthur: In fact, Inhuman Forces of Death was meant to be recorded and then sent to metal bookers so that they could have an accurate impression about our band. But we eventually decided to take our chances and release it to the public.

Dario: It's a fun track to play and since people have heard the song before, it's easier for them to go all out during our gigs. Plus we've received much positive feedback about the song so I'd say the risk paid off!
BMS: Inhuman Forces of Death is my first introduction Nocardia as well. Too bad you didn't record other tracks, but I'm sure you'll make work of that in the future. Right?
Arthur: We certainly have plans to release more demo songs. Especially since our first song was so well received. But our main priority now is to find a motivated, capable bassist. And other than that, we just keep on doing what we're doing.

Dario: That's right! Songwriting is something all three of us contribute to and we hope that our future bassist won't be shy to add his own elements to the mix. We only play stuff all three of us like to play and I've got to say we have a lot of common creative ground. Since we've been playing together for two years straight we have formed a trust and bond that can't be broken. We have a lot of fun rehearsing together and working out new songs.

Siel: We've already did a four-day tour together, and spending several consecutive days together really adds to the band's overall team spirit!

BMS: Ah, share with me some stories about that tour.
Arthur: Our West Flanders Thrash Attack Tour was an amazing time! We played in Kortrijk, Ostend, Peer and Antwerp alongside bands like Lethal Injury, Phoenix Rebellion, Schizophrenia and TurboWarrior of Steel! It was all small venues, but every place was packed with fans. In particular our show in the Kid's Rhythm 'n' Blues Cafe in Antwerp was a special one. We managed to get plenty of people over to the bar and after Schizophrenia the bar turned into a fully loaded metal bar!

Arthur: We've very grateful for all the bands that supported us and all the fans who were in attendance. But two people in particular we want to thank are Chlöe and Jolien, our two roadies who provided transport for us during the tour. We love you all! And Sam Parret from Infantile for the whole organization and for making the whole tour a reality!
BMS: Earlier on you talked about your political and social views. Please describe them to me.
Dario: As our song Kill The Fascists already subtlety hints at, we hate fascism and any other form of political, social or religious extremism. We don't want our freedom to be oppressed and we strongly oppose racism, gender inequality, far-right politics and social prejudices.

Dario: However, we don't limit ourselves to modern day issues. We also like to write songs about history as we've written a song called the Extortionist which is about the Belgian Congo era.
BMS: You finished your set today with a cover of Slayer's Raining Blood. Was that predetermined or did you play that song because it was raining?
Dario: Our final song on our setlist is always called ENCORE? The three of us decide on the spot what song we want to cover. Often it's something written by one of the high tier thrash metal bands. Today we simply were in the mood to play Raining Blood and the rain added to the atmosphere.

Arthur: I do hope that one day we can just play shows without a predetermined setlist. It will make our shows more varied and unpredictable. We just have to make sure we don't forget to play our most iconic songs.
BMS: In the past I saw bands like Crystal Methal and Malism that ended their shows with improvisation. Both those bands managed to pull this off without me realizing they weren't playing prewritten material. So I'm sure you'll be able to pull off something similar.
BMS: What other stuff are you doing nowadays?
Siel: For the moment I'm learning to become a stage technician.
Arthur: I don’t know for what I’m learning. It's not an easy decision but I've regained my motivation and from now on I'll work hard to get a degree! And aside from that...

Siel, Dario, Arthur: Partying and getting wasted!

BMS: Do you guys have anything else to say?
Dario: We're having a great time being here. We already attended the previous two editions of Turbofest but this was the first time we performed here. This festival's atmosphere is warm and friendly, Stijn Vannevel from Crystal Methal did a great job behind the soundboard and it's so much fun to hang out and drink beer with friends and fans!

Siel: We owe a lot to the guys of TurboWarrior Of Steel. They supported us from the very beginning and helped us in getting our first gigs. In fact, Jorg Van Damme from TWOS is just passing by.

Jorg: Hey there!
BMS: Hi, Jorg! What's up?
Jorg: Thanks for coming by, guys. And Stijn, be sure to let people know to check out Nocardia, they're fucking great! If you like TurboWarrior of Steel or just old-school thrash metal in general then Nocardia is well worth checking out!
BMS: All right! This conversation and the demo below this article will do just fine. And both TWOS and Nocardia have my full approval! And do you Nocardia folks still have a couple of extra words to tell me?
Siel, Dario and Arthur: Thanks for the chat. And remember: KILL THE FASCISTS!

Nocardia - Inhuman Forces Of Death