David: When our former bands split-up we grew sick and tired of being in a band with people which were not like-minded. We started of L’HeD basically for ourselves to be able to dig into our hearts and feed our souls and minds. At that point we had no intention at all to leave the rehearsal room and make this band public. It was only after we had a complete line-up and we were offered to play a gig as support for Forgotten Tomb that things got more serious so to speak.
2.In your own words how would you describe the musical sound that is present on your ep.
David: Well, obviously I would say our sound owes a lot to the BM genre, there is no denying in that. The key words I would use to describe our sound would be raw and harsh on one hand but also melancholic and at times even beautiful on the other hand. We cover a wide range of contrasts in our songs, from calm clean acoustic moments to heavy blasts. Atmosphere is a crucial element in our sound. In this band we wear our hearts on our sleeves, so a lot of genuine emotions are involved. I do believe our sound is quite different of what is common in Black Metal.
Boris: The production on the EP also supports this specific atmosphere. We were really lucky to work with Phorgath (Enthroned, Emptiness), who was able to understand our music and give our songs the right sound while recording at his Blackout Multimedia studio.
3.The lyrics are written in a mixture of Dutch, English, and French, what was the decision behind writing songs in a variety of many different languages and also can you tell us about some of the topics that you cover with your lyrics?
David: It is more of a coincidence as you have to understand that we had a dozen of songs available for the EP of which we decided to record five. So what you hear on the EP is a mixture of some of our very first songs and more recent ones.
Basically all future lyrics will most probably be in Dutch. I used to write in English but somehow felt I lacked the proper ‘finesse’ to express my feelings accurately. I still remember exactly when I wrote my first lyrics in Dutch... it was such a relief! I feel the Dutch language has a harsh bite, it sounds cold, raw and is very direct and confronting. If the lyrics deal about loss for instance, in English it would hardly make any impact anymore because people are used to most of the words already but when I scream in Dutch ‘de angst rijt mijn ziel aan parten’ it really feels like a punch in the face.
I realize that singing in Dutch might be a disadvantage since most people who pick us up live abroad. Details might get lost but I’m convinced the atmosphere and the bite of the words will do their job here anyway. People, and especially people into BM, will use their imagination, and that is why it is so rewarding to be active in this genre. BM acts like a vessel that when it touches the right buttons it can carry you away from the material world right into a spiritual one. A transcendental journey into another state of mind or another consciousness.
Of course there is a deeper cohesive leitmotif behind the band, the lyrics, title and artwork of the EP. We hope people can interpret it in their own terms. We all wear our cross. L’HeD is about locking yourself in these dark places and confronting yourself with thoughts you do not want to roam in, your fears and nakedness. A perpetual and spiritual search for a deeper truth. Rather than going outside we dig into our souls for solace and truth. In the words and songs we cover this from different angles, often based on real life experiences, and from different point of views e.g. that of the deceased in ‘Fatum’ or that of a surviving relative in ‘Ocean Black‘.
4. I know that the band name means ‘winter in mourning’ in French, what was the decision behind using it as a band name?
David: Johan came up with the name. We live near the French speaking border of Flanders and he has been living in Brussels now for quite some time so the French name feels comfortable. In this band we are always looking for the correct words. Elements of nature, seasons etc. are often a metaphor for human emotions. We formed in winter and we all felt like shit to be honest. ‘Mourning’ is crucial in this band name as it is also very symbolic for all things in life. They come and they wither, in spite of light all is dark.
5. What are some of the best shows that the band played in its 4 years of existence, and also how would you describe your stage performance?
Boris: We're not a very active live band so to speak. Our first official gig was with Forgotten Tomb in 2011, and it has been our main appearance on the Black Metal scene here in Belgium. We also organized a few gigs ourselves, mostly in intimate settings, which were very valuable for the band's progression.
David: About performing live, you will get different answers depending on whom you ask in the band. If technically all is going fine I can completely lose myself on stage. I need this otherwise it means nothing. Afterwards I can hardly recall anything from the show, the audience and the band itself because I‘m so absorbed by inner emotions. I will always go to the limit. I wish it would be more cathartic though…it is but it also feels very confronting and painful. On one hand it is liberating to put off the mask that you wear everyday but at the same time it feels really scary to leave this comfort zone. Personally I see very few convincing front men these days in BM. They all seem very busy looking though and more occult than thou but often their performances are lacking of the same energy and any deep emotion which is really a shame. More artist should let their guard down and being more true to themselves rather than hiding behind fake imaginary.
6. Do you have any touring or show plans for 2014?
Boris: We have a gig lined up in January with Borgne and Lugnasad, but no other concrete plans. We hope to be able to arrange a few more gigs this year and reach out to the local Black Metal scene, as our current visibility there is rather low, but our main focus will remain on writing new songs.
7. On a worldwide level how has the feedback been to your music by fans of black metal?
David: So far the reactions are really positive. We have not re-invented the wheel of course, we realize we still have a long way to go but it was really nice to read all the positive comments from all over the world. It is rewarding that people despite the fact that the lyrics are in Dutch somehow seem to pick up the right atmosphere we intended to create with this album. We have been sending ep’s to all over the world, it feels unbelievable and very rewarding.
Boris: Most reviewers seem to like our music and approach, while admitting that it's nothing new. More like, reusing an old formula with a twist, and executing it well. We do get the Drudkh comparison quite often... And some also give us credit for the Dutch lyrics, considering it a sign of authenticity to sing in our mother language.
8. Are any of the band members involved with other musical projects these days?
Boris: I have also been playing in Marche Funèbre (Death/Doom) for about a year now. We released a full length album (Roots of Grief) in 2013, and have some nice gigs lined up for this year, including a UK mini-tour with Eye of Solitude (January) and a self-organized doom festival with Esoteric and Procession in Brussels (April).
Me and David also have a separate project called Soul Dissolution, but it is still in its early stages, with a first demo recording planned for February.
9. When can we expect a full length album and also what musical direction will it be heading into?
David: We’re already busy writing new stuff but it takes time. We have one song ready which we play live and a second one of in the making. We really want to progress in comparison to the EP. ’Gekluisterd’ was the last song we wrote for the EP and acts like a standard for any new songs we compose. Rest assured the new songs will really top everything we have done so far. The last one sounds like Hate Forest drenched in an aura of melancholy; there are running shivers down my spine just thinking about this song, I‘m really confident about the new tunes.
Boris: At the current pace it would probably take about one year to have all the material ready for a solid album. It could be sooner but it all depends on inspiration which is not a very predictable thing, and we really don't want to rush it and put lots of effort in each song to get the best result. So all in all, you can expect an album somewhere in 2015.
10. What are some of the musical styles that have influenced your music and also what are you listening to nowadays?
David: Stijn, who is our main composer, doesn’t follow the scene much these days, so his influences come directly from the 90's Black and Death Metal bands. In reviews we often are being compared with bands he never heard at the time when he was composing the songs for the EP. I believe this is a very healthy situation for the band to not be directly influenced by any current trends in BM. The others and myself we follow what’s going on more closely. I still buy albums on a regular basis most being basically post BM but also everything from Religious Black Metal, DSBM to Bestial War Metal and everything in between. Besides BM most of us like listening to Sludge, Postcore, Doom & Death Metal as well. My favourite band is Amenra, no other band on earth comes even close to them. Their level of darkness is beyond what is still to be discovered by most contemporary BM bands.
11. Outside of music what are some of your interests?
David: I do not feel like really going to deep in this question as it is irrelevant to L’Hed. Most members are still studying so that is their main focus of course. For me personally it would be my family. I have twins at home so I’m always running on a busy schedule.
Boris: Our jobs and daily lives are indeed not so relevant, but it is worthwhile to mention that we have five members of very different ages and backgrounds, with an age difference of more than 15 years from youngest to oldest, some of us studying, some working, some with kids,... This contributes to the richness of the band as a whole for sure!
12. Any final words before we wrap up this interview?
We thank you very much for this interview.
We wander in darkness…