MARK MY WAY is a five-piece collective mainly from Ypres, Belgium that plays a mix of hardcore and metal with a slight hip hop influence and a very own approach. Since 2012 they have been conquering and defending their place in the Belgian H8000 scene. Even if the band are too humble to believe it themselves, some people consider them to be the most interesting band since the H8000 hay days in the late 90s. On their new, insanely powerful and hard-hitting LP called ”Thin The Herd” the band’s sound evolved into something heavier, darker and more technical. Personal reflections about daily experiences in life and social issues have always been a major part of their lyrics.
To celebrate this ear-catching offering that dishes out some truly energetic vibes and smart lyrics, we have teamed up with the band to give you a wider background of their work, their perspective on the current pandemic and their local hardcore scene.
Comments the band:
We started out in 2012 when we released our first demo ‘Break The Grip’. In the following 7 years we released 2 EPs (Save Our Souls & The Big Game) and 1 full discography released on vinyl (Lustrum) to celebrate 5 years of existence. Past April we released our first full length album ‘Thin The Herd’.
MARK MY WAY recorded their new album with Barefoot Studios and Frederic Malfait (DECONSECRATE), who also was in charge of mixing. Mastering was taken care of by Brad Boatright of Audiosiege (Portland, US) (TWITCHING TONGUES, CONVERGE, DEFEATER, OATHBREAKER, etc). Jeroen Mylle (AMENRA, BRIHANG, TBHR) took care of the artwork photography. This cooperation has resulted in a true masterpiece.
“Thin The Herd” is available worldwide by Genet Records (vinyl), Dust ‘n’ Bones (CD) and Kick Out The Jams (tape). Those 3 labels are being run by dedicated people with deep roots in the local scene. A unique cooperation that the band is more than happy to be a part of.
The album was very warmly received by fans world wide. Preorder sales went out of the roof and the coloured vinyl editions sold out almost instantly! Merch sales boomed as soon as the new designs were ready.
Unfortunately the release show of “Thin The Herd” had to be postponed indefinitely due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
With our songs we try to bring messages based on our personal reflections or observations of what is happening in the world right now. I think we can say that over the years our sound has been evolving into something darker, heavier and equally technical.
Mark My Way is for the most of us our only current project, but some of us are eager to start something new. Lennert (nickname Leo – Since we have both a Lennart and Lennert in the band) also has another band called Diepsloot. It’s more black metal. Rutger, our bass player, also often performs on reggae dub parties with his melodica and is also involved in this community. We’re all very different persons and I think that’s one of our strengths if it comes to creating new music.
‘Thin The Herd’ is about the importance of daring to choose for yourself.
It’s about taking risks in the journey to becoming the best version of yourself. This could mean saying goodbye to a certain person, or a destructive habit. You must thin your own herd, to create the best circumstances for yourself to grow. And when you are at your best, the more valuable you can be to others in their journey.
As this is our first full-length we really wanted to go all out and to do things we’ve wanted to do for a long time now. For example the instrumental piano piece as the last song, or some heavier breaks than we would normally do. We always want to keep it challenging for ourselves.
Most of our pictures were taken by Jeroen Mylle, who was also in charge of all the photographs we used for our artwork. We were always impressed by his photographs and portfolio. To give you an idea, he worked with bands as Amenra, Oathbreaker, TBHR… We wanted to have band pics that seemed different from classic band pictures. The other picture was provided by Anais Bogaert, who played kind of a guest role in our video clip. During the shoot of the clip, she also shot some pictures from us.
𝒯𝓇𝒶𝒸𝓀 𝒷𝓎 𝓉𝓇𝒶𝒸𝓀 commentary
Spread Too Thin is about the importance of being able to put yourself first. You need to recognize that you should first give yourself what you sometimes try so hard to give to others. When you give more energy and time to others than you can maintain, you will eventually fall short on those others and yourself as well. When you make sure your own cup is full, it will be easier to share from it.
Justification is more about society than it is about individual struggles. In today’s world, governments or other institutions of power always claim to know and do what is best for us. But in reality is has become clear, more than a few times already, that that’s not all that true. We know that there is a lot of stuff happening above our heads, things we will probably never know about. And every time something comes to the light, it’s swept under the rug with some excuses or apologies that never actually change anything. Still these people claim to be the ones who know best and we have to trust. Not that we want to promote conspiracy theories or something, but we just want to motivate people to use their common sense.
Higher Walls is a bit of a follow-up on the subject of ‘Justification’. It’s a proverbial ‘call to arms’. We can never forget that those in charge are the few and we are the many. They can try to keep us down or out. But once we are all behind the same cause, we are a force to be reckoned with. The leaders and governments should work for us, not the other way around where we accommodate their needs.
Overlooked refers to the fact that you do not always have to agree with people who can teach you something. You can broaden your own mind without letting it be corrupted by those who present you the tools for it. The teacher and the student, do not have to be friends.
Vae victis is a Latin phrase meaning “woe to the vanquished”. Those who have been conquered are at the mercy of their conquerors. As a person it is not always easy to be merciful, and it’s also not obligated. This can cause an internal dilemma between doing what’s “right” and doing what’s “deserved”.
Perdition is an instrumental track that tries to captivate the listener with a sinister, melancholic atmosphere. We love creating a certain feeling with our music. There are no lyrics for this song because sometimes you don’t need words to move people.
At the Gates tells the story of a man who did something many people would consider ‘bad’. But even if something is predominantly viewed as bad, it can still be done by a good person with his own good motives. Say you kill a man protecting your family. Killing is wrong, but protecting your family is good. What’s good or bad is always in the eye of the beholder. So you can’t always take into account what others think about your actions. Sometimes it’s more important to do what feels right and not care about the judgement others cast upon you.
Nothing but Sacrifice is just like Justification and Higher Walls a song that’s more about society than individual issues. We live in a society where, in order to ‘fit in’ we often compromise our personality. We trim the edges that we fear others might find too sharp. But if everyone does this, what’s the point of keeping up appearances. Can’t we all just say ‘fuck it, I’ll just be 100% myself’. In that scenario we could be sure about the sincerity of others, in general and towards us, and that it’s not just some ploy for us to like them and even maybe even buy the product that they’re advertising on their social media.
Regicide announces a new time, the farewell of a previous state. If you start choosing for yourself more, you’ll hopefully feel like there is a new dawn in your life. It can give energy and new motivation. In Regicide we use the metaphor of an apocalyptical world, that is taken by storm by this new regime. It shows, although maybe exaggerated, how your surroundings could feel if you start living for yourself, more than for them.
Flux is a song written on the piano together with one of our closest friends Lieven Devloo (Here It Is). We’ve always wanted an instrumental piano song on one of our records. So this time we took the chords from At the Gates and let Lieven run with it. The result is a beautiful song that gives the listeners a moment to relax and contemplate about the songs and subjects that were mentioned throughout the cd. A little breather at the end.
Plans for 2020 and beyond:
Well, we really want to start writing new songs as soon as possible. We already have some ideas that need to be brought to our rehearsal room. The crisis makes this impossible since we are not allowed to travel and hang out together. We really want to record a new EP. But in the meantime, we also need to rehearse our new songs a lot.
Also, there are some plans for some shows abroad and a festival appearance next summer. So bookers, get in touch!
Ypres and Belgian hardcore/metal scene
I think our scene is very thriving at the moment. There are a lot of good young bands really giving it their all. Combined with that we still have a lot of OG’s in our local scene. It’s cool to see that age doesn’t really matter. We all love heavy music and that’s the most important part. There’s also some kind of revival going on at the moment I think. Some legendary H8000 bands played reunion shows, a H8000 book and documentary got released. It feels like a new dawn somehow.
We also come from Ypres, home of the mighty IEPERFEST HARDCORE FESTIVAL and the Vort’n vis. These are some Belgian hardcore monuments that to this day are still relevant in the scene. Being able to represent a city with such a rich history concerning the ‘heavy arts’ is a real honor for us.
Ypres is also a part of the H8000 scene, maybe one of the most famous hardcore scenes worldwide. And every band or fan in our area keeps it alive with a lot of pride.
“𝑇ℎ𝑒 𝑚𝑜𝑠𝑡 𝑜𝑏𝑣𝑖𝑜𝑢𝑠 𝑖𝑚𝑝𝑎𝑐𝑡 𝑜𝑛 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑠𝑐𝑒𝑛𝑒 𝑖𝑠 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑓𝑎𝑐𝑡 𝑡ℎ𝑎𝑡 𝑛𝑜 𝑜𝑛𝑒 𝑖𝑠 𝑎𝑏𝑙𝑒 𝑡𝑜 𝑝𝑙𝑎𝑦 𝑠ℎ𝑜𝑤𝑠 𝑓𝑜𝑟 𝑎 𝑤ℎ𝑖𝑙𝑒.”
Which is a real bummer because the best thing about being in a band and writing music is playing it to other people. So that’s a huge part of the band’s activities that’s been put on hold. It’s also pretty rough for us because our planned release show had to be rescheduled without the slightest clue of a replacing date. As a band you work towards that release show and try to build a momentum. To get everyone on board and siked for the new music, which was now lost.
But the great part about all this, is that nevertheless people are spinning our record, ordering merch, sharing their favorite songs with others… This shows what a close community/music scene we are. The fans know that bands are struggling now, so they try to do their part.
“𝐴𝑙𝑡ℎ𝑜𝑢𝑔ℎ 𝑤𝑒 𝑎𝑟𝑒𝑛’𝑡 𝑐𝑜𝑛𝑛𝑒𝑐𝑡𝑒𝑑 𝑝ℎ𝑦𝑠𝑖𝑐𝑎𝑙𝑙𝑦, 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑐𝑜𝑚𝑚𝑢𝑛𝑖𝑡𝑦 𝑓𝑒𝑒𝑙𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑖𝑠 𝑣𝑒𝑟𝑦 𝑡𝑎𝑛𝑔𝑖𝑏𝑙𝑒.”
We just finished recording a full album, and even without playing shows we are able to, slow but steady, earn some of our investments back. And that’s necessary to do new recordings or other cool projects. That’s very cool and heartwarming to see.
And I think that because of this whole virus, more and more people are understanding the importance of looking out for each other in hard times. And that we can carry the load together.
“𝑅𝑒𝑙𝑒𝑎𝑠𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑎 𝑝ℎ𝑦𝑠𝑖𝑐𝑎𝑙 𝑎𝑙𝑏𝑢𝑚 𝑖𝑛 𝑡ℎ𝑖𝑠 𝑝𝑎𝑛𝑑𝑒𝑚𝑖𝑐 𝑤𝑎𝑠 𝑎𝑙𝑠𝑜 𝑎 𝑚𝑜𝑟𝑒 𝑑𝑖𝑓𝑓𝑖𝑐𝑢𝑙𝑡 𝑡𝑎𝑠𝑘.”
But luckily, we had a lot of support by our record labels. We had already cooperated with Bruno Vandevyvere of Genet some years ago to release a discography vinyl and we met Frederik Vanhee of Dust and Bones Records who took care of the release on CD for the first time for us. These are both locals and working with them was an absolute delight. To get everything in order and available for online sales was not an easy task, but it worked out very well. And we also have Kick Out The Jams releasing the album on tape later on.
Other noteworthy bands worth a check
A couple of our friends also released some new stuff or are planning to. Be sure to check out Minded Fury (they just released a 4-track EP), Deconsecrate (they are planning a release this summer), Mindwar, Animal Club, Chain Reaction, Soul Grip, Vonnis, Corpse Mutilation, In Clover, xDevourx…
And if you’re into photography check out Kevienpictures. He’s a great guy from the hardcore scene that goes to as much shows as possible, armed with his camera. Nick Tronckoe Media does the same thing, but instead of taking pictures he films the live sets and puts them on YouTube. These two guys are also a very important part from the scene in my eyes.