-- FleXanT gets shredded --

Stijn Daneels
Thanks to the efforts of Metal Fun I've got to know the guys from the Ghent melodic death metal band FleXanT. Yes, it's spelled with three capital letters! Not only that, but FleXanT's frontman Robin "Animal" De Rouck even invited me and the other FleXanT guys over to his home in Nazareth to have a chat and spend the Sunday afternoon with him and his family (January 8, 2017).

After a warm reception and a cold beer, we got together and talked about FleXanT's new year's resolutions, the band members' cool nicknames, Philippe's pizzas and why the name FleXanT tells you all you need to know about the band's style and attitude. In other words, all the right things!

BMS: Dear FleXanT guys, before I shred you I want to wish you all the very best for 2017! I hope it will be a year full of health, love, friendship and lots of metal!
Robin: All the best to you as well, Stijn!
BMS: What are your new year's resolutions?
Robin: We want to do a lot of shows in 2017. For the moment we've got four shows scheduled, one of them will be in the Netherlands, more specifically in Papendrecht on 25/03 where we will play alongside N°1408 and Façade. Another upcoming gig will be on 10/02 at the B52 Music Club in Eernegem where we get on stage together with the Polish stoner/doom metal band Tarpan and the Bolivian death metal band Corporal Jigsore! And finally we'll be doing a hometown gig in the music bar The Cover in Ghent on 18/02 alongside our death metal colleagues from Halle named Anthrophagus.

FleXanT clockwise starting from top-left: Calvin "Balrog" De Rouck (drums), Robin "Animal" De Rouck (lead vocals), Nils Haillez (rhythm guitar), Patrick "Fokke" Focquaert (bass and backing vocals) and Philippe "Quickfingers" Tack (lead and solo guitar).
BMS: That sounds interesting. I probably will be going to the Cover as well, it's not far from my home!
Robin: You're more than welcome! We sound at our best live on stage! Plus we're planning to record a new album this year!
BMS: Now that news makes my day! Are you going to make Dark Sides of Humanity's successor another independent release?
Robin: Although we would love to be part of a record label, our next album will likely be released independently.
Philippe: Nowadays there are many bands and that gives those labels plenty to chose from. And of course, like any smart investor they want their money's worth. Nobody will invest in your band if you don't draw any people.

Patrick: We did get a few invitations from record labels but it's important to realize that although they will help distribute your work you still have to bring in a lot of cash yourself.
Philippe: The best thing you can do to increase your chances to get in touch with a record label is to play as many shows as possible. Something we love to do, by the way! The more places you show up, the bigger the chance some record label guy will come to you after the show to discuss an agreement.
BMS: That's absolutely right! Is there still much left for you to do to get the new album out of the door?
Philippe: We've got eight new tracks and as soon as Robin has written his vocals we can jump straight into the studio. Robin: The good thing about FleXanT today is that Philippe and I finally managed to establish a talented, motivated lineup!
BMS: Yeah, I read on your Facebook page that you suffered a few lineup setbacks in the past and I have much respect for keeping your head up during those hard times.
Philippe: I do admit that I personally had a few moments wherein my motivation had hit rock bottom. I mean, when you constantly have to search for and rehearse with different people you realize you're not getting anywhere with your band. Furthermore, in FleXanT's early years we didn't even have a drummer! Back then Calvin, Robin's son and FleXanT's current drummer, came along with us to handle the drum computer.

Robin: Until that fortunate day four years ago when I was working at my home office and heard Calvin playing FleXanT songs on his drum kit upstairs! After he finished his drum session he came to me and asked what I thought about his work. And I decided to have Calvin play with us during a friend's birthday party in the Tower Pub in Oosterzele along with our buddies from Earupt.

Philippe: And the funny thing was that Robin didn't inform us about Calvin being our drummer for that night up till the day itself. At first I was beyond nervous as it would become our first show with a drummer in our ranks, but I'm glad that Robin brought Calvin along for the ride, the gig became a huge success and Calvin's drum abilities have become even better since then!
BMS: Tell me Calvin, how does it feel to play in your dad's band?
Calvin: I've been a passionate drummer all my life and I'm thankful that my father has given me the chance to show off my skills live on stage!
Robin: And I can tell you that being part of FleXanT is a physically, mentally and musically demanding task. We want everyone in the band to be at the same high quality level and we keep on looking for ways to improve our work.
BMS: Speaking of improving, I noticed that your debut album, Dark Sides of Humanity, gets better the further you go through its tracks. Especially the final three tracks remained stuck in my head because of the multiple vocal styles and the sharp guitar riffs!
Robin: There's a good reason for that. The album's opening track, Pain, was the first FleXanT song we've ever written and we came up with that tune during our very first rehearsal all those years ago! The other songs on the album were all written later on when we began discovering our individual strengths and weaknesses.

BMS: How did you come up with the name FleXanT?
Robin: I've been a music fan all my life and when Philippe and I formed FleXanT we thought about a name that was short, simple and to the point. I've had the name FleXanT in my mind for a long time because it's a play on the words flexible and pleasant and these two words have virtually identical pronunciations and meanings across multiple Western languages like English, Dutch, French and German. Furthermore, the name also describes the band's philosophy. We're a flexible band and we provide pleasant fun wherever we go!
BMS: And why do I have to constantly write FleXanT instead of just Flexant? (my shift button is already heating up!)
Robin: I wanted to give our name an original touch. The first, middle and final letter of FleXanT are written in capital letters and so you get a cool abbreviation and it makes our name stand out when people like you write articles about it.
BMS: In October you had a stand at the Metal Fun Record Fair in Aalst. How did that day go?
Robin: We were very happy that Guido and Isabelle invited us to promote our band and merchandise that day. We also brought along a laptop so that people could watch some live videos and we attained several new fans during the fair. Hell, even the DJ was nice enough to put a few FleXanT songs in his set list.

Philippe: We can't complain about the feedback we receive from our already existing fan base either. Although we're a death metal band we've got plenty of people who enjoy our craft despite them not listening to any other death metal acts at all.
Robin: Back when Dark Sides of Humanity was released I took 100 copies of the album with me and I sold them in a matter of weeks!
BMS: What are your other activities alongside FleXanT?
Robin: I work for a greenhouse manufacturing company. I help produce the various building materials. So yes, I'm a bit of a handyman.
Philippe: I'm a shift supervisor at Archelormittal Zelzate. I also enjoy driving around with my motorcycle and showing my love for my wife by cooking her a fine meal.

Robin: Philippe's pizzas are the best pizzas you'll ever eat in your life! Who knows, one day we may come up with an unique FleXanT pizza and share it with our fans!
BMS: Mmmmm, FleXanT pizza! And what do you do in life, Patrick?
Patrick: When I'm not living the rock n' roll life I'm making a living as a truck driver.
Calvin: I work for an animal nutrition company called Franson. In addition, my dad and I are training to get our black belt in karate at the Shito Kai Gent karate club. And I also spend much free time in further expanding my drum skill set and playing the Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim.
Robin: My son and I spend a lot of time together. And we take the other FleXanT guys along for the ride as well!
BMS: I read on your Facebook pages that all four of you have badass nicknames. Tell me something about them!
Patrick: Fokke is my nickname and that's simply because it's a shortened version of my last name. And because I'm quite a fertile guy! Ha, ha!

Calvin: Balrog is my nickname and that's inspired by the iconic fiery creature from the Lord of the Rings franchise. I'm still waiting for my rematch with Gandalf and when that day comes: HE SHALL NOT PASS!

Philippe: Quickfingers is my nickname and Robin came up with that because he was so impressed by how fast I can shred my guitar! TIC-TAC-TOE!

Robin: Animal is my nickname and that's because I'm known for living my life with full intensity, especially when I'm on stage! HUAAH!
BMS: Metal Shredder is my nickname and I'd say it's time for a picture!

FleXanT - My Last Will - Live at de Verlichte Geest, Roeselare, 23/04/2016