A talk with

WOUTER VERHEYEN

(Questionnaire by Sloof)

A few days ago I noticed a message on a blog about a benefit that is going to be held in September 2014.  A 26 years old man, named Wouter Verheyen, tells about the sad news that happened a few years ago.  MS was detected to his girlfriend Stefanie, whom he knows for about 8 years.

Multiple sclerosis, also known as ‘disseminated sclerosis’ or ‘encephalomyelitis disseminata’, is an inflammatory disease in which the insulating covers of nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord are damaged. This damage disrupts the ability of parts of the nervous system to communicate, resulting in a wide range of signs and symptoms

Wouter wants to raise some money with a ‘Metal For MS’ benefit, to get people’s attention on this terrible disease.  All collected money will be fully donated to the MS Liga, the organization that covers many issues to help the patients in Belgium.  Truly a nice and worth praising initiative, so Metal To Infinity wants to give a helping hand as well! 

Read, join and support Metal For MS !

 

Q: Hi Wouter, we hope you and Stefanie are doing well. We don’t want to focus on your own private situation, but want to talk about the case in general.  How many people suffer MS in Belgium? 

A: Multiple sclerose is a disease that often occurs young ages. The frequency it occur is different around the whole world. In Belgium de prevenlacy is one at duizend.  Generally there are two MS-patiënts over 100 000 people.

 

Q: In Belgium, there is an “MS Liga”, that provides assistance to persons with MS and their environment. Both for social and juridical issues like housing and administrative services.  I guess that the contribution and possibilities of MS Liga  are limited, so you want to give them a helping hand.  What is the meaning, what do you want to achieve?

A: My plan is to donate the received money from this festival to the MS-liga. They can use it for what they think is best. I do not require them to use it for something because they know best what to do with their money. I hope they use it for the pleasure of the people who suffer of MS, for their own pleasure like going on vacation with a group of people with MS.

 

Q: ‘Metal For MS’ is the name of the benefit, and it will  take place Saturday, September 27th. 2014 in Genk. I guess that you had this idea already long time in your head, this is not a quick decision, isn’t it?

A: For a while I’ve been thinking about doing something for the MS-Liga but I never knew what I wanted to do. In consultation with my band, Valkyre, we came with the idea of using music for charity. We spoke about it once and everyone was excited. After this meeting we all wanted to help with the organization of this benefiet. 

 

Q: How did you approach bands? If I take a look at the bill, there is a lot of variety present!

A: Our band, Valkyre, has many contacts with other bands. This is because of their history in playing music. We all used these contacts to spread the word and asked for help. Most of the bands we contacted we’re also excited. I didn’t only wanted black of death bands so I waited a little while to make the list with the bands who now play on the festival. Everyone is welcome on the 27 of September! So I wanted a line-up where all kinds of people could enjoy there day or evening.

 

Q: Different musical styles, result in  a bigger crowd, that’s for sure.  Was it hard to convince bands to join this benefit?

A: Totally not. All the bands where honored to play at this festival. When people want to help other people, like we do for the MS-Liga, you can feel the kindness of the human being. Otherwise some bands also realize they advertise their band by playing on Metal for MS.

The benefit will start at 14:00, so I guess that the doors will open at 13:00?  And what’s the price to get in the venue?

The doors will be open at 1:30 pm. The first band will play at 2:30 pm. When you want to buy an online ticket, it costs 7€. When you pay at the door, you will pay 10 €.

 

Q: How comes that the location is ‘Rondpunt 26’ in Genk, as you resides in Tienen, and the distance between both cities is aprox. 60 km.   Isn’t there a venue nearby the place where you live?

A: I have good memories of concerts and the organization at Rondpunt 26. That’s why I immediately thought of that location.

 

Q: What is the capacity of ‘Rondpunt 26’?  How many people can attend the festival?

A: At the whole location can attend 800 people but we chose to make the location smaller because we don’t know yet how many people will attend to this festival. So, there can 400 people attend at our festival. Off course we hope that there will be more people, because that means there will be more money for the MS-Liga.

 

Q: The entrance is really ‘low-cost’. In presale, you have to pay only 7€, and you have the chance to see 8 metal bands.  Why so cheap, you have to raise money…

A: We made that choice to attract all kinds of people. How more varied the public, how more people will know what the MS-Liga and this benefiet stands for. When people just want to come inside and take a look what is going on, 7 € is more than enough.

On the other side there are also businesses and shops who support this festival. Without them this benefiet couldn’t continue.

Voodoopiercing, Eddy Weckx schrijnwerkerij, Cafe de Witte Non, Rock mine Cafe, de Large, Win for Life, Hassoprint, Adams, Bad Taste Pictures, Demon Productions, …

 

Q: Did you have metal bands in mind that you wanted to program, but didn’t participate, because not interested, not available, … ?

A: When you want to plan metal bands who are famous, you have to have good connections. Metal for MS is just a little festival that is not famous. When we reserved big bands, we probably would had to pay them and that is not what this festival is about.

 

Q: Some bands are unknown to me, so let’s have a look at Argonath. I guess it’s black/death metal? Is it a local band?

A: Argonath is a band from Bree, also in Limburg. Argonath is a heavy metal band, a perfect starter for Metal for MS.

 

Q: Azylya is female fronted, and I guess that they are also from the local area of Genk.  They played MFVF festival and the Wizz Festival already. Can you give us a little more info about his act?

A: Azylya is an emerging group. There for we would love to give them a chance to show their talent at Metal for MS.

 

Q: Another unknown band is Natan.  Pagan Black Metal right? 

A: Natan is a band from Genk and well known in Limburg. In the past our singer, Claudia, played with this band. They will act as midnight special act.

 

Q: Insanity Reigns Supreme is already well known, but they are scheduled second.  How comes?

A: ISR plays in the late afternoon. You can never make everybody happy so I tried my best to make the timetable work for all the bands. They are playing late in the afternoon. At that moment of the festival, we hope that there are people who are not known with that kind of music and they can enjoy this well known band. Because of this, we hope to make the music genre metal better known with other people.

 

Q: There is also a band from Holland named La Ventura.  How did you get in touch with them, perhaps it’s because they also work together with Mike from Hardlife?

A: It is because of Mike, but also of our bookings office Demon Production.

 

Q: One of the highlights is Dyscordia. In my opinion the best Belgian band nowadays.  How did it work out to get them from West Flanders to Limburg ?

A: It was not that hard. When we explained what the plans where for this festival they were excited to play there. We already played together so we know each other form other festivals. We will play together at Metal for MS and also at Kraken Metal Fest.

 

Q: Ithilien is the headliner and  I like their album ‘From Ashes To The Frozen Land’ a lot.  They also have a very special live show, so I guess it’s a good move to schedule them as headliner.  I’m really looking forward to see this band for the first time live! Did you or the band have any special requests?

A: Ithilien contacted me. They offered to play at this festival. They just finished their Japan tour and will start their EU-tour in September. Metal for MS is one of the festivals they will play at in September.

 

Q: ‘Metal For MS’ starts at 2 o’clock p.m. but when is it supposed to end? What’s the schedule so far?

A: It will end at least at 2 am.

 

Q: We didn’t mention another band that is going to play as well: Valkyre.  You are a member of that band, so let’s talk a bit about Valkyre as well.   Can you introduce us to the members of the band, and did they play in other bands before?

A: Kris is our boss/rhythm gitarist. He organizes everything for Valkyre. In the past he played with Sengir, but when we stopped playing there he started the band Valkyre. Claudia is our singer, she used to play with Nathan. Erik is our guitarist. He is the most talented man I’ve ever seen and played with. At last but not least  we have Peter. He is the drummer of our band. And I’m the bass player.

 

Q: Valkyre already recorded an album called ‘Our Glorious Demise’.  I guess that you weren’t involved yet, but I’m sure that you can tell us a little more about that album!

A: That’s right, I wasn’t a part of the group yet. It is accorded with the music lable “Valkyrie Rising”. Valkyrie Rising is a new German label that offered the band a contract, so they entered the Jonathas Studio with recording engineer Xavier Carion.

 

Q: How was the feedback from fans and press?  Did you achieve all goals, did it fulfill your dreams and expectations?

A: Our fans and the press where excited and posstive about this album. There were good reviews and the sales were also high rated. We hoped we could play more concerts and attend to more bigger festivals, but that is our goal in 2015. 

 

Q: Can you tell us a little more about the future plans of Valkyre. Are there any plans to record a new album or is the band still writing new material?

A: We are mostly writing new songs and rehearsing because we were in a break for a while.

 

Q: Can we expect a special show from Valkyre?

A: No. We don’t want to stand in the spotlights at Metal for MS. It’s not because we organize this festival, we want to stand out and make a special show.

 

Q: If this benefit becomes a success, will you try to organize a kind of annual event?

A: No. This is a once in a lifetime experience. When it is a success and there are other bands who want to support the MS-Liga, they can take over my job for a next event.

 

Q: When will you be pleased, what is the idea, the expectation about Metal For MS?  Do you have a certain amount of money in your head, or are you satisfied with what you have ?

A: My intent was to collect around 1000€. I can’t say if we could make it because we have to see how many people actually will visit our festival. But you certainly will hear it afterwards. 

 

Q: Will there be a delegation of the MS Liga present that evening, or how will it be handled?

A: We first have to make sure that our bills are paid with the received money. At least one week after the festival we, Valkyre, will personally go to the MS-Liga in Overpelt. We will personally deliver the collected money there.

 

Q: Is there anything more that you want to tell us, perhaps something that we forgot?

A: No.


Sloof:Well, we all wish you all the best at the Metal For MS Benefit Festival, we will be present as well, so we can have a beer and a chat in Genk!  We do hope that all headbangers will unite and show that we care about people, we support each other and we have a heart for Hard!

 

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