-- Romy Conzen gets shredded --

Stijn Daneels
On June 3, 2017 I jumped on my bike to go to the More Blues Festival in Zottegem to talk with pop rock artist Romy Conzen. What? Pop rock on the Metal Shredder? Does that mean I’m selling-out? That from now on I’m going to be known as the Pop Shredder? Don’t worry, my friend, I’m not getting civilized just yet! But seriously, as with every other band I’ve covered on this site I dig Romy Conzen’s music a lot. So right after her successful sound check we went for a drink outside the festival tent to talk about her various musical influences, the production of her latest album, V For Victory, and why it’s important to be self-critical about your work.

All pictures made by me except for the traditional me-with-artist picture, that's made by Dennis Aspeele.

BMS: Hello Romy, welcome to Zottegem! Is this your first time here?
Romy: Hello there! Thank you for your hospitality. You know, it’s not my first time playing here in this city but it is my first performance at the More Blues Festival. I look forward to it, I had a smooth sound check and there are quite a few people already present here. To be honest, playing in the Flemish part of Belgium is very fun for me because you people are always very enthusiastic when you go out to see rock and metal musicians play live.
BMS: That’s right indeed, Romy! Now, I believe most of my fans don’t know about you yet. So tell me something about yourself and your music.
Romy: My name is Romy Conzen and I come from Eupen, straight from the German speaking part of Belgium. I listen to a plethora of artists but I’d describe my own music as pop rock. From an artistic perspective my three main inspirations are classic rock and blues bands from the 1960s and 1970s like the Rolling Stones, Queen, the Beatles and Led Zeppelin, modern acts like Muse and Queens of the Stonehenge and finally powerful female vocalists like Anouk, Anita Franklin and Janice Joplin.
BMS: Impressive! That’s a lot of influences!
Romy: Yeah, I’ve been listening and enjoying music all my life! I began singing and playing guitar since my childhood and I always wanted to express myself by writing music. I know, it’s a cheesy story, but there isn’t much more I can say about my origins as a musician. I just go out and do my thing!

BMS: All right! So last month you released your latest album, V For Victory. Tell me how that album came to be.
Romy: Two years ago I began writing material for V For Victory. I wanted to further expand on the foundations laid in my debut album, Black As Night, which I released in 2012. My goal was to create a compelling, varied album that fans from many different music genres could enjoy. There are heavy rock songs and slow ballads. Songs in English and songs in French. I had a lot fun creating this album and I hope you and your readers will enjoy it just as much.
BMS: I’m sure we will! How was the feedback for the album?
Romy: Very positive overall. Since V For Victory got out I received many invitations from local radio stations to discuss the album and present some material from it. And now I even got a beer-drinking headbanger here in front of me who’s interested in having a chat with me! Ha, ha!
BMS: That description about me is spot-on! Now, what are your further plans now that you’ve got a fresh new album out of the door.
Romy: Although I’ve got a few new songs in mind, my main focus at the moment is to play as many shows as possible. I’m open to all available opportunities, no matter what venue and what type of event it is. Rock, blues, pop, metal, you name it, I’ll do it! But I do hope to play a few gigs outside of Belgium such as in Germany or France.
BMS: Great! And I also noticed that you fluently speak several languages.
Romy: I’m fluent in French, English, German and Dutch. I’ve learned the latter thanks to my mother who’s from Maastricht. When I’m with my mother or her family I solely speak Dutch. Since I come from Eupen I also communicated a lot in French and German and I attended many English classes as well.
BMS: I see! What other languages would you be interested to learn?
Romy: I hope to learn other Latin-based languages like Spanish and Italian.
BMS: As for me, I’m interested in learning Japanese, I’ve already seen plenty of Japanese anime and videogames and the language sounds cool.
Romy: Japanese, huh? That will be a challenge for our Westerners to learn. But I wish you luck!

BMS: Arigato! What other activities do you do aside from playing music?
Romy: I like to do athletic sports like running and cycling. I also used to be an avid tennis player but I now spend more time on stage and in the rehearsal room than on the tennis court. And other than that I hang out with friends and fellow artists to have drinks and discover other bands. I visit Rock Werchter each year but I also frequently go to smaller festivals. As long as the music feels real! I don’t like fake, electronic crap! For me, music needs to be played with real instruments and by real people live on stage. It needs to have passion, a message and above all else, a soul! Thankfully, there are many great artists out there to discover. All you have to do, is to go out and have a good time!
BMS: I completely agree with that! Now, you sing and play guitar, but what if guitar wasn’t your thing, what other instruments would you consider playing?
Romy: I’d consider tools like the piano, drums or bass guitar. As long as it helps accompanying my vocals.
BMS: Excellent! Now, I’ve asked pretty much all questions all wanted to ask. Is there anything else you wish to say?
Romy: One lesson I learned as an artist is that you always need to remain critical of your work. No matter how talented people say you are or how big your fanbase is, you always need to look at your music and see what you can improve on. Maybe you can try a new arrangement or use some different equipment. Perhaps you could try writing a song in a language other than English. The wonderful part about music is that there are virtually endless possibilities. You just have to try and see for yourself!
BMS: A very passionate speech! Thank you for your time, Romy! Now go and entertain us!

Romy Conzen - V For Victory