A talk with
KRIS BOENDERS (Drums)
(Questionnaire by Patrick De Sloover)
I missed their show at Graspop Metal Meeting, but after reviewing their debut album, I am planning to go and see their upcoming gig at De Verlichte Geest in Roeselare (Belgium). We’ll talk about that later on, but first I want to know about the history of the band.
Q: Hi dudes! LEAVE SCARS is totally unknown for me, so go ahead, introduce us to the band!
A: We are a band that consists of 5 thrash metal maniacs, from the area of Turnhout, Belgium. Around 2005, we started with three members: Nonkel, Dizzy and Mo6. We had one goal in mind: bringing the good old school thrash metal in the spotlights again!
Q: The band started in 2005, had some setbacks in the lineup, but it seems like the lineup is pretty stable since 2011. Can I say that since a few years, the band is switching into a higher gear, that everything is going fast nowadays?
A: In the early days, we were eagerly looking for a bass player until Frederick Peeters (Sanitarium, In-Quest) showed interest. We didn’t want to waiste too much time, so we started practicing and rehearsing to arrange own material. All these tracks resulted in our first semo: Unit 731, released in 2007. Shortly after the release of this demo, Frederick decided to leave the band, as he wanted more time and space for his other projects. The search to find a suitable replacement was open, and Yves Neefs (Sanitarium, Powerslave) showed interest to help us out, being just temporary. The main thing was to have a complete band so we could perform the already scheduled gigs.
Yves wanted to play the guitar again, and Dizzy bought a bass guitar. With this line-up we played the Wacken Open Air Festival 2009 as we won the Wacken Metal Battle in Belgium. When Yves and Mo6 left the band, we got in touch with Paeul Aerts (guitars, Unusual, Soultaker) and Mathias Annys (bass, Warbeast Remains) so Dizzy could focus on the vocals again. Shortly after these adjustments Djoni Tregub (Temptations for the Weak) joined our band. Preferences of the band members mixed with their ambition and motivation resulted in our first album ‘The Arrival’. Everything went very smoothly and we reached a higher level very fast by achieving a spot on Graspop Metal Meeting 2013, thanks to the Red Bull Bedroom Jam.
Q: There is a little family business in this line up, as Kris Boenders seems to be the uncle of Kristof Van Eyck (aka Dizzy)?
A: Playing together with a family member is an advantage because we are well-anticipated. We support each other as much as possible as we are one big family though. There are eleven years in between Dizzy and me, but we were both into Metal when we were very young. The only big difference are the looks, as these eleven years make a clear difference.
Q: Last year, LEAVE SCARS played some local shows and headlined the Highland Games in Essen. Can you tell us something more about that event? And how was the reaction of those that were wearing Scottish skirts?
Throughout the whole day there were a lot of men wearing kilts at the Highland Games in Essen. We had to play in the evening, there were a lot of members of Mc Owls present as they organized the event.
Q: How would you like to describe the music of LEAVE SCARS?
A: With our music we want to bring back the Old School Thrash Metal feeling. With influences of Slayer, Metallica, Kreator, etc… We try to make every song into a thrashing, moshing and headbanging song which brings amusement for every metalhead.
Q: The easiest way is thrash metal, but I don’t agree, as there is much more added in the songs. I resembled the musical direction as preferable American oriented. Do you agree?
A: Because of the influences and the big difference in age between the members we don’t want to limit our style to Thrash but many aspects of metal get involved.
Q: The name of the band also needs some explanation. What is the deeper meaning of LEAVE SCARS, what is the whole idea behind the name of the band?
A: During the quest for a name for our band, our bass player Frederick entered with a ‘Dark Angel’ shirt, so we chose for their second studio album ‘Leave Scars’.
Q: On the infosheet there is written that the band entered the studio in August 2012, to start the recordings of the new demo cd. Do you consider ‘The Arrival’ as a demo? I thought it was the first full length album, released independently?
A: You can translate it as a new album, but it stays a demo as we don’t have a record deal yet, so we can’t release the album officially.
Q: How comes that the band is still unsigned? Some bands prefer to work independent as they are able to hold the strings on their own…
A: There is no specific reason why we don’t have one. We would be very happy, as we could broaden our horizons.
Q: Isn’t it hard to promote ‘The Arrival’ without the back up from a label?
A: We try to promote our CD as much as possible by the Internet (social media and webzines). There have been reviews in magazines like ‘Rock Tribune’ and some foreign websites.
Q: On the contrary, working hard pays off at the end. You succeeded in gaining a spot on Graspop Metal Meeting. Can I say that this was a dream that comes true?
A: Of course it was a dream that comes true. We all worked very hard and we keep going!
Q: How many bands originally started to gain that prize? Was it though to become one of the winners?
A: In the beginning there were 250 bands that signed up, which was reduced to 10 bands to play at Trix, Antwerp. The jury chose three winners, i.e. Leave Scars, Hexa Mera and Komah.
Q: How do you look at it afterwards? Was it the most exciting moment in the career of the band or was it lesser then expected?
A: No, it was far beyond our expectations. It was a big shot as the place was crowded at 18.00
Q: It’s only a pity that it all happened on the eve of Graspop, not really the festival itself. That’s also the reason why I couldn’t make it in time. When I arrived at the tent, Hexa Mera was playing their last song… I guess that you all expected a larger crowd, a bigger audience, right ?
A: As I already said, we played for a large amount of people.
Q: Did you spoke afterwards with people from the organization of Graspop, like Peter Van Geel or Bob from Biebob. Perhaps there is a chance to play the 2014 edition?
A: We didn’t speak with them, but we keep working to once achieve a place on one of the next editions.
Q: How about the upcoming gigs. You are going to perform at the indoor festival of De Verlichte Geest. What bands will play, and how about date, time and location?
A: On October 12 we play at the indoor festival in De Verlichte Geest together with Dyscordia, Crimson Falls, Citizinsane, Muderset Pieces, Angeli Di Pietra and Signs of Algorithm. We play at 18.10.
Q: What are your personal expectations at DVG, and how what is the duration of the gig?
A: We’ll make sure we continue the party from Graspop at De Verlichte Geest!
Q: Okay, back to ‘The Arrival’. The front cover artwork is pretty confounding and overwhelming, although it’s a rather simple drawing. I’m sure there is a story to tell about the artwork!
A: We had the idea to work with the character ‘Mr. Mean’, as seen on the cover. We gave Benjamin Peters mandate to make a cover for our cd. We can see that Mr. Mean, who hides in all of us, is bigger, meaner and stronger than everyone else.
Q: My personal favorite track is the title track, which is the last song on the disc; With a title like this, you would expect that this track is the opener as well? How comes, how do you decide what is the order of rank, how do you decide?
A: The end of the song ‘The Arrival’ is also the beginning of the CD. We didn’t really follow a certain order, we just arranged them in an order we thought was the best.
Q: Production of ‘The Arrival’ was done by Benjamin Peters, who is also responsible for the artwork and design. How is your relationship with Benjamin and is he a kind of 6th member, a kind of hidden member?
A: We know Benjamin because he plays the guitar in Djoni’s other band. He was prepared to take care of the artwork and production of ‘The Arrival’. After a couple of concepts we were convinced. Our collaboration is present, but he has no input in the music.
Q: How is the reaction of press and fans so far? Do you get a lot of support, or is it hard to get the necessary attention?
A: We received a lot of comments about our Graspop-performance, not only in Belgium but also foreign contries. We also drew the attention of TV stations.
Q: What is going to happen for the upcoming months? Do you start writing new material, or is it too soon for that?
A: We are working on some new songs. We want to keep going and deliver a strong follow-up for ‘The Arrival’.
Q: How is the underground scene in Belgium. Do bands help each other out, do you support your own local scene, or is the competition really hard?
A: We try to support each other as much as possible, as we get a lot of support as well. We try to get on stage with bands from different regions of Belgium.
Q: Do you have anything to add, perhaps something that we didn’t mention and might be important for the band?
A: People following us is very important for us, people giving us a chance to perform or giving us attention. And of course the fans supporting us, thank you very much, each and everyone of you!
Q: We all wish you all the best with LEAVE SCARS and hopefully you will be able to play as much as possible live! Any final message, any last words?
A: Keep on “Thrashing” the world!
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