Lemuria, Flemish Passion
I’m only a simple Dutchman, otherwise I’d written this interview in Flemish for sure. How should I express a lot of Flemish comfort in this story? Folk-metal.nl had a very nice conversation with the Flemish band Lemuria, in which we discussed besides the ‘wietpas’ (weedpass) a lot of serious topics.
How is it for you guys to play in the Netherlands?
We performed three times in the Netherlands so far, and what’s striking every time is the organization, which is much better than back home in Flanders. Maybe we were lucky, but all gigs before this were well organized, better light- and sound-equipments.
And what’s about the audience? Is it nicer to perform for your own audience?
In Flanders the people are more familiar with us, than they are over here, we are a Flemish band after all. But our name is rising over here. We are asked for Drakkarfest as only band outside the Netherlands, it’s an honour. The Dutch audience is a bit more cautious. We’re well inspected at first and then there’s applause.
You released an album earlier, which was a good one, and then suddenly it was over. How did that happen?
It didn’t went well on all fronts and quitting seemed the best thing to do. There were two camps, the four original members on one side and our leadguitarist on the other side. He was responsible for the bulk of our music and wanted to head in the direction of ‘Tales’, but also more toward doom metal. We wanted to head for things, which are Chanson nowadays, symphonic, grant, epic and orchestral. This was the main reason we split up, besides the personal issues that is.
But during the split we saw each other still often in our pub. Some of the members have to do a graduation test for the conservatory and the songs they uses formed the basis for the new Lemuria. With the difference we now had two guitar-players.
It should have been a pity, with all the lobbying, the work we punt in Tales and the record to let it all slip away. The people kept asking when we would come back. So it was also for the fans, we came back, they kept nagging.
Where the name Lemuria from?
Lemuria is a kind of Atlantis, a sunken island of which some remnants were found. Way back in history all continents formed one big continent, Mu. This formed the motherland and Lemura was a part of it, or something like that. At a point the continents split and moved apart at which pieces were flooded. In Japan there are deep canyons where remains of buildings have been found. So this a really a legend like Atlantis, with the difference it’s existence can be proved. And it also sounded cool. Our drummer came up with the idea, we didn’t know where it was really about, but it sounded nice, surely when we looked at our other options.
Lemuria is a name which sticks, when you don’t know us, you don’t know what to expect. It sounds a bit like fantasy and that was also the case with Lemuria at first. Our first demo had topics like legends and myths. But when you have a band-name like ‘Prostitute Disfigurement’, you can’t really play anything else but deat metal/grind core. Or Slayer for instance, you can’t make folk-metal with such a name. The name Lemuria is much wider, it gives us a lot of space.
Flemish history is, like the Dutch quite rich. But there aren’t many bands singing about our own history. Was this an option for Lemuria?
In Belgium these topics are very precarious. There are a bands who use it, but they are often associated with certain environments and right-wing extremists. We want to keep away form that for sure. We have often thought at festivals “What kind of people will come to this?” We were lucky until now, but we’ve clearly stated, when we only spot one ‘hitler salute’ we’re leaving… We say groups bringing this ‘salute’ but fortunately not with us but with other bands, we definitively don’t want to be associated with it.
In Flanders you are easily seen as nationalistic. All things which can be seen as Flemish-nationalistic are associated with it. And that’s a pity. Flanders has a very rich history, but the extreme right-wing party has abused it. It’s became common in the minds of the people that much, when they see a Flemish Lion, they’re immediately speaking about fascism. Maybe we exaggarate, because Flanders is only one half of our country, but it is very sensitive in Belgium.
What is Lemuria going to bring us in 2012?
Definitively a new album, we’re already busy writing songs. It’s going to be even bigger and more epic and there will be a lot more guitars in it. In the past we worked things out on the keyboard, but there will be an important role for the guitar in it now. This is caused by the fact we didn’t have guitarists in the beginning. Nowadays we have to very capable stringplungers and a lot of material for a next cd.
What will be the content?
The new album will be lyric-wise a follow up for the previous one. Again a concept-album, so it will actually be Chanson part 2. The events in Chanson, which are all historical correct by the way, will be approached from a personal point of view on the next cd. Someone escapes with the Cathar, dualistic bible and during the album we will follow this person. The events will be historical correct once again, Vincent will dig his way in this matter. And we’re trying to put all this events together to make a concept of it. We have played with the idea to determine a story/theme at first and let this inspire us to make the music to it. But it turned out to be more appropriate to write the lyrics when the music is already there. It takes a lot of time to put everything together and let it become a whole. We’re not forcing anything, we’ll see how thing evoluate.
You’re more or less abandoned the folk, why?
Our former gitarist Jens, was especially folk-minded. But now he’s not in the band anymore, we went in a different direction. Vincent, our drummer, writes on keyboard and sometimes it has a folky vibe. When you listen to Chanson, the oldest songs has some more folk-elements compared tot the newer ones. It’s a natural progression, we evolved away from the folk. We’ve tried to get new songs in the folk-direction, but it didn’t sound natural. Our approach is much more orchestral and it didn’t fit in.
There aren’t any party-pieces in the concept of this cd. The medieval touch and folkinfluences are still there, but we’ll see what it’s going to come out. Maybe there will be something folky in it and if we like it, we don’t rule it out on forehand. We just want to create good music.
Do you have plans abroad?
s many as possible! We have already two gigs in the Netherlands and we’re trying to fix some in Germany, but it’s difficult. There are a lot of good bands there, nobody is waiting for foreign bands. We even used a German connection, but he experiences it’s difficult to arrange something over there. And even then, being on stage is not enough, there also have to be spectators as well.
Another option is to hook up with a tour like Paganfest, but this is also a difficult world to enter. The tours are a result of a deal made by record-labels. When you’re not with them it’s difficult, unless you win a contest or buy yourself a place. But we can use our money for better things.
Important is to release an follow up to Chanson as soon as possible, so people get to know us. And we have to use the chances we get a good as we can, so we make a nice impression everywhere we are.
This is going well, until now! Is there a last word you wanted to say to the fans/readers/listeners?
Support the scene! Keep coming to the gigs and buy cd’s, we need that. In the Netherlands the gigs aren’t really a problem, but there are more event than in Belgium.
And spend your money on underground-bands, where there are maybe some nice ones in between. Rather 7 times 5 euro than 80 euro on 3 big bands who probably don’t like to perform. Some underground-bands are very neat. They simply don’t get to be known because they can’t get any gigs, even if these gigs cost only 5 euros or are for free.
So thanks to al fans who help us to move on, who support us and are right there for us.