-- Lemuria gets shredded --

Stijn Daneels
Back in April this year I was invited by doom metal band Loose License to check out their local festival Rock Kappaert in the beautiful town of Zwevegem. It was a great event with bands like the aforementioned Loose License celebrating the start of the weekend alongside the likes of Speed Queen, Fractured Insanity and Lemuria. Before Lemuria's show Loose License's frontman Pietn brought me and the Lemuria guys together and both the band and I agreed for an interview later that year.

And at Devils Rock For An Angel (October 1, 2016) the moment finally arrived. I sat together with four of the five Lemuria guys to talk about the band's upcoming album, their creative dexterity and ambitions with the band and more. Such as going all kinky by discussing naked, banana throwing chicks and going all geeky on Dungeons & Dragons, the Elder Scrolls and Duke Nukem! Hail to the king, baby! 

BMS: Hello there, Lemuria! Back at Rock Kappaert in April this year I bought your latest album, Chanson De La Croisade. It's an excellent piece of work and since that album was released in 2010 I believe you're already working hard on a new one, right?
Gaël: We're planning to release new material next year. It will be a concept album focusing on ancient folklore and mythology but with a little personal twist.
Vincent: Yeah, back in ancient times people relied on gods and legends to explain phenomena that they couldn't explain at all. Such as the reason why there's day and night, why we have seasons and why natural disasters like tornadoes and earthquakes happen. That's going to be the primary theme in the upcoming Lemuria release.
BMS: Ah, that sounds interesting. You're right, it's in the nature of us human beings to always seek an explanation for everything through either superstition or, what I prefer, through science.

BMS: How did Lemuria evolve over the years?
Gaël: Back in 2002 when we released our demo, the Vault of the Witness, we created an entirely fictional setting to coincide with the music we'd come with. In 2005 we released our first full album called Tales, Ale and Fire and wrote songs based on history. We decided to focus on the Viking tribes who invaded our lands in the 9th century. For 2010's Chanson De La Croisade we first wrote a storyline about the Holy Crusades and then composed the music to fit Chanson's overall theme. Our next album will feature darker and heavier songs compared to our previous releases. It will put more emphasis on black metal vocals and harsher guitars while the folk elements will be put aside. The typically Lemuria attitude, however, will remain.

Bart: And with that typically Lemuria attitude we mean that we want to evoke a compelling atmosphere by adapting our music to the themes we discuss. For example, since the story of Chanson De La Croisade takes place during the Middle Ages we added medieval instruments like harps and flutes in addition to the traditional heavy metal load-out of drums, guitars and vocals so that we could create this epic, medieval sound.

Gaël: And since our next album will be dealing with a different theme entirely our vocals and instruments will reflect that. I'm sure that once again we'll be adding less conventional stuff into our songs to further draw our audience into the story that we're going to tell in our next release.
BMS: I'm getting really impatient to hear what you guys will be putting on record next year! I'm sure it will be great! Time for something else. Wesley, you're the most recent addition to Lemuria's lineup. Tell me how you joined the Lemurians.
Wesley: It's a simple story, really. Gaël was looking for a new Lemuria vocalist and one day he contacted me on Facebook and asked me if I was interested in auditioning.
Gaël: Yeah, I was looking for some fresh blood for Lemuria. So I posted a message on Facebook calling out everyone who's interested to come over and try their hand at become Lemuria's next singer. Wesley liked my post and I took a closer look at his Facebook profile. I saw that he had experience as a vocalist so I asked him to send me some recordings. I was satisfied with his work and invited him to a try-out.

Gaël: Although I already knew from the moment Wesley showed up at the rehearsal and picked up the mic that he would become Lemuria's next vocalist I did send him home saying that we would keep in touch. A couple of days later I gave him the good news that he would become the newest member of the Lemuria guild!

Wesley: And I was thrilled to hear that! I've been Lemuria's singer for the past couple of years and I've been living the dream ever since! Sure, it may take up to two hours to drive from my home to Lemuria's rehearsal room every Tuesday but it's worth all the time and fuel. Whether we meet up for a rehearsal or for a show we're like family. We love each other, we trust each other and we complement each other both mentally and creatively!

Vincent: Dedication and friendship!

Picture by Karina Wijckhuyze.
BMS: Very touching words. Are there any countries where you would love to play?
Wesley: We're into negotiations with a few local promoters to do a little tour along the west coast of the United States once our new album is out of the door.
Gaël: Our main goal is to play in locations that we haven't visited before. We want to expand our fan base beyond Belgium and its neighboring countries. I'd love to play in Spain, Italy and the Scandinavian countries.
Bart: The main issue, however, is financial. Let's say a promoter wants to put your act on his festival your still need to pay for travel and several other expenses yourself.
BMS: I see. What other stuff is there in the life of the Lemurians?
Vincent: Working my ass off to support Lemuria and being a family man. That's all there is for me.
Bart: Same for me. I put my heart and soul into Lemuria and trying to get sufficient money available for the band.

Wesley: To achieve that goal we often perform as guest musicians for other bands. For instance I recently did guest vocals for the upcoming album of the Antwerp based progressive metal band Fabulae Dramatis. The album is called Solar Time's Fables and will arrive later this year.

Gaël: A few months ago I worked together with Steve Van Der Perren to record the first album of his solo project named Shrine of August. That release will hit shelves somewhere in 2017.
BMS: It seems I've got two more Belgian acts to get my teeth into!
Wesley: Damn right, Stijn! Another thing I do in my life is retro gaming. Both PC and consoles. My favorite games include such classics like Super Mario Bros. 3, the Legend of Zelda, Sonic the Hedgehog, DOOM, Quake and all those games Apogee (now better known as 3D Realms) released in the 90s. Like the Duke Nukem series.
BMS: Ah yes! I grew up playing such games! Especially DOOM and Duke Nukem 3D. It was so fun to be a beefed up action hero shooting aliens in the face while spitting out one-liners and getting the girls! Although in real life I'm not very good at shooting aliens in the face (they don't dare show up) and getting the girls (I did have a few, though) I am good at spitting out one-liners.
Gaël: Give us one.
BMS: I have come here to chew bubblegum and kick ass, and I'm all out of bubblegum!
Wesley: Nice! I also have a keen interest in board games like Call of Cthulhu and Dungeons & Dragons. Yeah, D&D may look like a very long and complex game at first sight but if you have a capable Dungeon Master you can still enjoy D&D without too much difficulty.
BMS: Hmm, I think I'll stick with Monopoly, Scrabble or a good old game of chess. What are your other activities, Gaël?
Gaël: Like Wesley I'm a huge RPG fan. I've spent many hours playing the Elder Scrolls Daggerfall and then jumped straight to Skyrim later on. I also tried my hand at the Elder Scrolls Online and I hated it. Now I'm waiting for the sixth iteration. I also serve as a Dungeon Master for a couple of D&D groups and I occasionally play the game myself. Aside from that I love being creative by writing or drawing.
BMS: Currently I've got the Elder Scrolls Arena up till Oblivion. I've played Oblivion the most although I think I'll be wasting a few hours on those other Elder Scrolls games as well.

Picture by Karina Wijckhuzye.
BMS: I know you Lemurians love to put some show elements into your performances but imagine you've got access to unlimited resources to create the ultimate Lemuria show. How would it look like?
Gaël: I want to hang a cage about the crowd containing naked chicks throwing bananas at everyone!
BMS: Mmm, bananas!
Gaël: Ok, now for real. We hope to one day be able to use actors to visually represent the stories we tell during our songs. In other words, combining music with theatre. Also projectors, fireworks, smoke, lighting effects and anything else that can further help us in bringing our songs to life! Similar to what King Diamond does.
BMS: Ah yes, I saw King Diamond as Graspop Metal Meeting this year and it was a true visual spectacle with props, actors and various other effects. I agree, his style of showmanship would fit Lemuria very well.
Bart: Another thing we hope to achieve one day is to have all our music played live. So rather than using backing tracks we would have an orchestra in the background playing all other instruments that we don't play like harps and flutes.

Vincent: What's most important of all, however, is a packed venue filled with enthusiastic fans. Adding visual flair to your show as artists like Rammstein, Slipknot and King Diamond do is all fun and games, but the music itself must remain a band's main selling point. If you can write songs that remain stuck in people's minds and that make them sing such songs along with you during a show then you already have an important ingredient for becoming a successful act.
BMS: Well said. Is there anything else you wish to add before I let you prepare for your show (while I go and check out the Emperors of Decay)?
Bart: We hope to bring a kickass show tonight!
Gaël: I'm looking forward to tonight's gig as well as all the other shows that lay ahead for Lemuria!
Vincent: Check out our albums. And buy them too! They all have great, detailed artwork and you get to support your locals. Wesley: Thank you for your time. It was fun!
BMS: No, thank YOU for your time. The pleasure was all mine. Now all gather around for the photo!

Lemuria - A Day of Reckoning