-- Spoil Engine gets shredded --

Stijn Daneels
Ever since reviewing their EP Stormsleeper in January this year I had a serious interest in having a face-to-face conversation with the Belgian-Dutch melodic death metal juggernaut that is Spoil Engine. And finally, during the Evil or Die Festival (October 15, 2016), the time finally came to meet up with Iris and Gaze.

And of course we talked about both serious subjects and random trivia. There was room to discuss things like the upcoming full length version of the band's critically successful Stormsleeper EP, Iris's introduction to Spoil Engine, how useful a drinking straw can be for vocalists, their show at Graspop this year and Iris's dream of doing a duet with Rammstein's Till Lindemann! Jawohl!

Band photo borrowed from Spoil Engine's official Facebook page. All black-and-white photo's taken by Jo De Boeck of Liveacts Belgium during Black-Out-Bash IV (November 5, 2016). Picture of Gaze, me and Iris taken by Mike De Coene of Hardlife Promotion during the Evil or Die Fest.

BMS: Hello there! I had so much fun listening to and reviewing your Stormsleeper EP that I want to know right here, right now when you'll be releasing the full length edition!
Iris: The "director's cut" of Stormsleeper will be released in early 2017. Everything is recorded and mixed so we won't let you wait much longer.
BMS: All right, and what new stuff can I and the other loyal Spoil Engine fans expect?
Iris: This new version of Stormsleeper will feature four new tracks as well as the entire original EP. The new material will sound both fresh and familiar and will be a worthy addition to the other six songs that we released before.

BMS: Man, I can't wait! But now for something else. Tell me, Iris, how did you end up joining Spoil Engine?
Iris: Before Spoil Engine I was part of a Dutch metal band with which I had won a couple of music competitions. It was fun but after a few years the band began losing steam despite me willing to get the band to the next level. Fortunately, around that time Gaze contacted me through Facebook to ask me whether I was interested in auditioning for Spoil Engine. So at home I recorded myself singing a few Spoil Engine songs and I sent them over to Gaze. Then I went to Ostend to do a try-out with the entire band. We played one cover and one new Spoil Engine song. And finally we did a rehearsal in Antwerp and that sealed the deal.

Gaze: At the time I was interested in forming a Taylor Swift cover band and I originally intended Iris to sing for that band. But I quickly noticed that Iris had fierce vocals so I decided to make her Spoil Engine's new singer. Especially after she showed up in Ostend and managed to swiftly work her way through most of Spoil Engine's catalogue.

BMS: What happened after that successful audition?
Gaze: Iris's inclusion to the band transformed us into Spoil Engine 2.0 and things went very fast from that point on. We wrote six new songs and recorded those for the Stormsleeper EP. We received great feedback from fans and critics regarding Iris's performance and the EP as a whole. Now we're putting the final bits and pieces together to unleash Stormsleeper's full length version and I tend to believe that in one year we've gone even further with Spoil Engine. But we do make sure that Iris's vocals retain that Taylor Swift vibe.

Iris: Yeah, I'm a huge Taylor Swift fan and she serves as a main inspiration for me as a singer.
BMS: So it must have been a very satisfying year for Spoil Engine.
Gaze: Yeah, it certainly was. In addition to the release of the well-acclaimed Stormsleeper EP we also had our fourth Graspop show this year. And I've got to say it was hands-down our best performance at GMM as of yet.
BMS: I was there too and I had a fucking great time! Iris: GMM was also an awesome time for me.
Gaze: Unfortunately that show's startup was rubbish to say the least. Since we played on Thursday most of the backstage areas weren't open yet, hell they had not even setup a separate dressing room for Iris to change her clothes. Plus it was raining like crap, our pyrotechnics were rejected by the organization and right before our show the stage lighting broke.

Gaze: Fortunately, all things changed for the better half an hour before we were scheduled to start. The dressing rooms became available, our fireworks got approved, the sun began to shine and the place was packed with headbanging folk! It's fascinating to see how a shitty day can turn into a great day in just a few hours.

Iris: That's right! Everything just fell into place. We were having fun, the crowd was having fun, there was moshing, crowdsurfing, headbanging, devil's horns, middle fingers, everything we could've wished for and more!
BMS: I recall that Thursday very vividly. Me and a couple of friends suffered through rain, wind and long waiting queues to get to the GMM fields but eventually we found a good camping spot, geared up on beer, and went to the Jupiler stage right on time to catch Killer and of course Spoil Engine! It was a rough start, but shows like yours made it all the more worth it.

BMS: I wonder, do any of you have some special preparations before you go on stage?
Iris: I have the habit of putting a drinking straw into a bottle of water and blowing through it. It's a helpful technique to get my vocals ready. I just have to careful that the bottle isn't too full, otherwise the water will flow over and I'd have to clean it all up!

Gaze: Before each show I've got to make sure that all my body hair is nicely shaven. And yes, I mean ALL my body hair including the private parts. Yeah, in case you go stage diving or when someone pulls off your pants you've got to show everyone how big and shiny your gun is!
BMS: What other activities do you guys do in life?
Gaze: Well, I still got the Taylor Swift cover band in my mind and I hope to one day find enough time to combine it with Spoil Engine.
Iris: Next year I'll begin working as a vocal coach in the Vocal Center in Utrecht. I'll be part of a team of coaches from various music genres including musical, rock, metal, etc. I can't wait to start doing classes!
BMS: I'm curious, Gaze, where did you get your nickname?
Gaze: One day my drunk, wild fourteen year old self jumped on a random concert stage and yelled into the microphone: "gaze geven!" And that's how I've got my nickname. Yeah, nothing special.
BMS: Do you still have contact with former Spoil Engine band members?
Gaze: Yeah, we still have strong ties with them. Occasionally they come over to see us play and then we put them on the event's guest list.
Iris: And from time to time we invite everyone over for a Spoil Engine barbeque.
BMS: Oh yeah, I can already imagine that you guys don't need any fire to cook the meat. Iris here can just scream at the meat and it will roast itself out of fear!
Iris: Ha, ha, I haven't fried, I mean, tried that!

BMS: Something else, you also went to the Lokerse Feesten this year (the metal day on August 7, to be exact), how fun was it for you?
BMS: SLAYEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEER! Although I did enjoy Parkway Drive a lot as well.
Iris: To be honest, I'm not a big Slayer fan, their music is a bit too extreme for my tastes. Yeah, it's ironic sounding from someone known for harsh vocals and putting people into moshing frenzies, but I enjoy more gently sounding bands.

Gaze: Overall I was very pleased with the bands that Lokeren got for this year's metal day. I enjoyed every band on the lineup. Yes, even Limp Bizkit, although they did artificially lengthen their show by shoehorning in cover songs from other metal bands like Pantera.
BMS: Well, for me it was an unforgettable day to see one of my all time favorite bands play on my 26th birthday! And in addition to Slayer I've got my money's worth watching Parkway Drive and Suicidal Tendencies.
BMS: Are there any countries inside or outside of Europe where you want to drop in as Spoil Engine?
Gaze: Germany! We've planning on doing a tour through Germany next year and we can't wait to go all out on bratwurst and sauerkraut! Iris: My dream would be to do a duet with Rammstein's Till Lindemann.
BMS: Oh, yeah! That would be fucking epic! You could sing Du Hast together!
BMS: Is there anything else you wish to ask or tell me?
Iris: What was your favorite band for tonight?
BMS: Damn, that's a hard one. You know, I've either seen or heard every single band on today's Evil Or Die fest before and it feels so great to meet up with bands I've interviewed in the past like Lethal Injury, TurboWarrior of Steel, Dyscordia and Guilty As Charged. Plus it's such a great, varied lineup so there's something for everybody to enjoy here! But to answer your question, my personal favorites for tonight are Turbowarrior of Steel, Guilty As Charged, Dyscordia and Spoil Engine. Yes, I know you still have to play tonight, but I already know I'll be loving every second of it. Just as I did during your shows in Zottegem and GMM earlier this year!
BMS: Anything else you want to share?
Iris: What I've learned from personal experience is that a band has to work as a whole. And that's not as obvious as it may seem. Things like creative disputes and uneven motivation among band members can really hurt a band in the long run. If you want to move up in the world of music, you need to be willing to come to a creative agreement and everyone in the band has to be willing to spend long hours rehearsing, travelling and promoting the band.

Gaze: I completely agree with Iris.
BMS: And I completely agree with both of you. I'll see you on stage in a couple of hours!

Spoil Engine - Stormsleeper