Blackened extreme grind hardcore beast VVOVNDS has just released its debut LP called “Descending Flesh” and it’s beyond doubt one of the most crushing attacks of cathartic rage produced in extreme music this year. Released on November 3rd via Hypertension Records, the new infernal offering from Belgium’s VVOVNDS immediately made me excited about interviewing the band and I’m very enthusiastic to finally give you our full conversation. Launch the following sick preview of “Descending Flesh” and scroll down to read the full interview now!
Photo by Willem Blancke.
Hey there devils! Thanks so much for catching up with IDIOTEQ. How are you? How’s fall treating you this year?
Hi Karol, thanks for reaching out to us. We’re good, currently rehearsing our asses off for a string of shows we’re doing to promote our full length.
I’d say that’s a good way to spend the fall.
Great! Ok guys, so let’s shoot a proper intro for our readers.
What is VVOVNDS, what initially sparked your desire to form this band and why did you choose this specific ferocious blend of genres to express your feelings and thoughts?
The initial idea with the band was to just play very fast and very loud. I don’t think we ever made a certain ‘choice’ about blending certain genres… Of course we had some references in mind, but we tried to do our own thing very early on, which naturally evolved into the sound we have today. As for expressing feelings and thoughts, we try to make our live shows as intense and heavy as possible, almost without any room to catch a breath. You can try to capture anger and aggression as good as possible on a recording, but during a live show you can always go that extra mile.
Apart from VVOVNDS, are you currently active in some side-projects and other bands? If so, how are you able to flow from one creative experience to another?
VVOVNDS is the main focus for everyone in the band. We’re all doing some other projects as well, but they’re barely affiliated with VVOVNDS sonically.
Jenci did some vocals on the upcoming LP of our friend Fré’s noise project called ALL SHADOWS AND DELIVERANCE. Kristof makes some weird noises and cracks from time to time under the ROSENKRANZ monniker. Pieter occasionally plays drums for hiphop projects ZUCCHINI DRIVE and NOMAD. I played some shows with CLASSE (w/ members of DAGGERS and CHEAP DRUGS – think TOTAL ABUSE, NO TREND), but that project is on hold for the time being. I think everyone finds it pretty easy to separate those projects from VVOVNDS, as the band has such a specific sound. On the other hand, it’s a great way to release some ideas that might not fit the main project in another form or way.
Ok, so back to VVOVNDS, what is the story of its name and what does it represent?
We get a lot of questions about our band name – why the caps and mostly: why the V’s?
The answer is pretty simple: it’s purely aesthetic. There’s no Holy Terror affiliation or anything involved.
“Wounds” (as it is in its pure form) just seemed like a fitting name to represent our music: short and raw.
Content wise, is that what “Descending Flesh” is all about as well”? Realistic, gritty and strong message?
The record doesn’t really have a central theme – Jenci’s lyrics mostly deal with daily frustrations and how the world works.. We’re never going to be a singalong band or anything like that. We share the evident values a hardcore/punk band has but as most lyrics are pretty personal, we don’t feel the need to make them understandable or self explanatory. That’s also the reason why you won’t find full lyrics on the record’s insert as we decided to print just one sentence for each song. By doing this, we try to give the listener some insight into the lyrics, while also respecting our vocalist’s vision.
Sonically, the new record is overwhelming! I’m mean, it’s kind of ready to overcome the limitations imposed upon extreme music as we know it! What bands were you guys listening to while you wrote these tracks and what the hell was on your mind?
Thank you. I think we’re influenced by a huge variety of bands and genres. People seem to have a hard time describing us and we think that’s a good thing. We just try to push our own limits as much as we can, keeping an eye on bands who try (or have tried) to look for their own, extreme sound as well.
CULT RITUAL is a huge influence for me, for example – especially in songwriting. While not really resembling us sonically, the raw energy of bands like LIGHTNING BOLT inspires us a lot too.
You might even find some postpunk influences in the closing track of the record.
Overall, we’re not trying to pin ourselves onto a certain (sub)genre which results in Descending Flesh being an (in my opinion) pretty varied LP.
It might sound a cliché, but some of us went through some hard periods during the writing and recording process, and I think it definitely shows.
What were the most difficult parts of completing this album and the whole process around it? Are you truly satisfied with the completed work?
To be honest, the recording process has always been a bit of a drag for us. It went smoother than our previous sessions, but I guess all of us still prefer playing live over recording.
We’re very satisfied with the record as a whole: the songs, mixing/mastering job and artwork all turned out exactly how we wanted.
How did you hook up with Hypertension Records for this release?
In early 2013, there were some talks about an AMENRA/VVOVNDS split 7″. This idea eventually evolved into The Abyss Stares Back #1, the first of a series of splits released by Hypertension Records. The split was very well received and a couple of months later we got an offer from Hypertension to release our full LP, which we obviously accepted right away. The people behind the label are extremely supportive and passionate, working closely with us to make sure every detail about the record is tweaked just right. We like the fact that they always try to go the extra mile in their physical releases. If you’ve ever laid hands on a copy of one of the The Abyss Stares Back releases, you’ll know what I’m talking about.
Of course! These are simply breathtaking releases!
Ok guys, so how about your local scene? Are there a lot of interesting projects and undertakings going on these days? What are some lesser known acts that people should find out about?
I feel like the scene is very diverse for such a small country. There’s a lot going on, with lots of bands doing their own, unique thing.
A band that’s definitely worth mentioning is DAGGERS. They’ve existed for a couple of years now and they just keep getting better and better with every release. PARTISAN – who are releasing their 12″ on Hypertension as well – is a relatively new band who have an interesting and refreshing take on the shoegaze/postpunk revival that seems to be taking place. I hear a lot of A PLACE TO BURY STRANGERS and WIPERS influences in their songs, which can’t be a bad thing.
Photo by Hugo Magalhães.
What is your favorite local and national destination spot and how does your local music culture differ from other places you visited?
Personally, I don’t have any outspoken preferences in Belgian cities. Every major city seems to have their own vibe and identity regarding the underground scene, which is nice to have in a small country like ours. I feel like I haven’t spend enough time in a certain place to judge and compare the music culture to the one I’m used to. However, I do like Berlin a lot.
Alright, thanks a lot for your thoughts!
Lastly, what can we expect from VVOVNDS this year as far as releases go and tours?
We’ll be focusing on supporting the new LP as much as we can for now… We have some local shows lined up and are currently booking an European tour for early 2016, along some other cool shows that we’ll hopefully be able to reveal soon.
Thanks so much for your time!
VVOVNDS live shows:
18/11 – Gouvernement, Gent w/ Partisan (RELEASE SHOW)
27/11 – JOB, St-Amandsberg w/ Soul Grip