Evil Invaders are a band who are really cool. The Belgium four-piece play their thrash heavy with a strong helping of speed metal. Before their tour with Suicidal Angels and Skull Fist, I had a chat with frontman Joe about the band’s origins, the tour, the new EP and Metallica.
Jack: Hi, thanks for taking the time to answer my questions. How are you doing?
Joe (Vocals/Guitars): Hi man, we’re doing great! We’re preparing ourselves to hit the road with Suicidal Angels and Skull Fist! It’s gonna be a wild ride! The new merch arrived last week and it’s looking great so now there are just some small things left to do like buying a load of drumsticks and batteries for the wireless systems, fix some spare cables and pack our bags. In the meantime we’re working hard on our upcoming full length and a new live show.
Jack: Firstly, are you named after the 1985 Razor album?
Joe: That’s where we’ve got the name from, that’s right! But despite what people might think, we don’t sound like Razor at all. Of course our music is fast, aggressive and mainly influenced by the 80’s classics but we still bring a fresh new touch to that style.
Jack: How did you all meet?
Joe: I think we could say I’ve met all the other guys just at gigs here in Belgium. Actually I’ve met them all at Evil Invaders gigs! We had several line-up changes throughout the years and Joeri, Senne and Max all came to our shows regularly before they were part of the band.
Jack: As a band from Leopoldsburg, what is the scene like there?
Joe: Here in Belgium we have a pretty cool scene. I think it’s quite useless to talk about a scene in small towns so I’ll just talk about Belgium in general since it’s a small country. The metal fans here seem pretty open-minded and respectful towards the others. I can’t really recall seeing big fights between fans at shows I went to or played. There are no real groups of people that always stick together and try to separate themselves from the others, everybody is always talking to everybody and having a good time.
Jack: Is heavy metal popular in Belgium?
Joe: There is definitely a big group of metal fans that is interested in real heavy metal. I noticed a lot of youngsters are checking out the good old stuff at festivals and we have plenty of venues that get filled up when there is a good heavy metal band playing.
Jack: You released your debut album Pulses of Pleasure last year, are you happy with the response?
Joe: Totally! We didn’t know what to expect, but hitting the Belgian charts was definitely a big surprise! We did our release show in the legendary Biebob venue and some people couldn’t even get in anymore because it was so packed. Entirely sold-out! We had to organise a second release party in Hasselt for the people who didn’t get the chance to get in. In total we played 3 release shows in venues with around 400-500 people attending which was really beyond expectations! Napalm seemed really pleased with the record sales too. So we’re satisfied with what we achieved with this debut album. But we’ll definitely be taking things to a new level for the next one!
Jack: What was it like recording and writing the album?
Joe: We decided to keep the entire recording process in our own hands like we did with our first EP but just in a more professional way. We worked with our sound engineer Koen Keijers from Waveshape Audio and did mixing and mastering in his studio too. We really like to put a lot of effort and details in the mixing and recording process. I think that’s something a lot of modern bands lack. It was a cool experience and I learned a lot from it. The writing of the album was a bit like being in isolation for me. I’ve spent most of that summer sitting inside of my room writing music and lyrics. So much stuff had happened in my life in that year so the lyrics came really naturally and making these songs really helped me to deal with some unfinished business from my personal life.
Jack: Do you have a favourite song on it?
Joe: Hard to choose… ‘Siren and Fast,’ ‘Loud ‘N’ Rude’ because they’re the most personal ones to me. I really like Eclipse of the Mind too because it’s standing out from the rest of the album.
Jack: You’ve also just released a four track EP called In for the Kill. Did you release this for the tour?
Joe: Yes, we really wanted to release something new for this tour because we’ve been playing the same songs for quite a while now. A new setlist requires some new songs and these two new ones are by far the best songs we’ve ever written. We recently released a video clip for the song ‘Raising Hell’ be sure to check it out and get the adrenaline pumping!
Jack: The album contains two live tracks, why do live albums appeal?
Joe: Releasing live tracks wasn’t our original plan but due to all the touring we did this last year we were running short on time to finish four awesome new tracks. So we decided to focus just on 2 new ones. Luckily our sound engineer had the occasion to record us live from time to time so we took the 2 best live versions he had and made the best out of it. Despite the fact that it wasn’t our initial plan, they turned out to sound pretty rad in the end! They really project the energy that our live gigs have and that’s really what this band is all about!
Jack: This has also been released on the legendary Napalm Records label, what’s it like working with Napalm?
Joe: It’s great to be part of a big label like this! They don’t put any pressure on us and we really have all freedom to do whatever we want with our music, artworks, etc. Our music videos get a real good exposure and our albums get spread all over the world…
Jack: You’re touring with Suicidal Angels this month, what are you looking the most forward to about the tour?
Joe: Playing the shows of course! We’re really excited to see the crowd’s response to our new tracks.
Jack: When did you first discover Suicidal Angels?
Joe: I don’t really remember when I really heard their music for the first time but I do remember I saw them opening for a lot of bigger thrash metal bands I really like! That’s already a while ago…
Jack: After this tour you’re going on another European tour, where you’ll be playing Russia? Will this be your first time there?
Joe: Yes indeed. We’ll be doing a headlining tour through Eastern Europe. We’ll be hitting Estonia, Latvia and Russia for the first time ever so we’re curious of what will happen over there!
Jack: Do you plan to undertake a more extensive tour of the UK in the future?
Joe: That could be possible yes. We’d love to do some festivals in the UK since we’ve never played any over there for as far as I can remember.
Jack: What plans do you have next year?
Joe: As I mentioned earlier, we’re working on new songs as we speak! We’ll be taking everything to the next level for the upcoming album. So a new album, more and better shows, and new places. We’ll be flying to the US to play at the Milwaukee Spring Bash and I can assure you that it won’t be the only crazy trip we’ll be doing. As soon as everything is confirmed we’ll announce more cool stuff! We won’t be sitting on our lazy asses. That’s for sure.
Jack: As the band tours a lot, do you have day jobs outside of the band? If so can it be a challenge finding time for the band?
Joe: It’s hard to find a steady job that’s so flexible but we manage to work in between tours yes. Senne does some carpenting jobs, Joeri is working as a part-time accountant and Max gives some guitar lessons. I’m starting up my own company in custom hand-built guitars. I design guitars to the customer’s liking starting from blocks of wood. The choice of wood, scale, size, shape, sound,… is all in consideration with what the customer wants. At the moment, the online platforms are still under construction but people can always contact me by email: email@example.com
Jack: Finally on your Facebook it says you are influenced by early Metallica, do you not like later Metallica?
Joe: I’m personally not a fan of the Metallica albums that came after the Black album. (Although they did an amazing job on the garage inc.) We don’t get much inspiration from their later works but the old stuff definitely had a certain impact on each and every one of us. Actually now I think about it… older guys in the crowd often tell us that seeing us live reminds them a lot of the first time they saw Metallica back in the 80’s. Quite a compliment! [Laughs]