We’ve got no intention of becoming a metal version of Clouseau
Now that Spoil Engine is firing on all cylinders with their brand new record ‘ Stormsleeper’ on Nuclear Blast, we took the opportunity for a small chat with their axeman Steve’gaze’ Sanders.
Half of ‘Stormsleeper’ is actually a reissue of the EP you recorded 2 years ago? Did you have to do a lot of tinkering with those songs in the while?
Actually no, those 6 songs are exactly the same as on the EP. We made that primarily to see it the estrogen mayonnaise with Iris would stick and as a calling card towards labels. Nuclear Blast/Arising Empire liked what we had to offer, but seeing as they generally don’t release EPs, they were very keen on getting a full length album. So after we signed the deal, we went back to Sweden, recorded four new songs, new artwork and done. As we did not release the EP online via Spotify, Itunes or anything, the songs haven’t really been available outside of the Benelux, which was an important asset in our negotiations with NB/AE.
How do those 4 new songs compare to the older ones?
The new material is broader in scope. A lot of reviews single out songs like “Stormsleeper”, “Doomed to Die” or “Black Sails” and those are exactly broader, metal for the masses tunes.
Our current musical tastes have a lot to do with that as well. We used to play a thousand notes for ten people. Nu we try to stick to ten notes, but we’re playing them in front of a thousand people with no concessions as to energy, sound and vision.
What strikes me on the new songs is that the dynamics are much more effective between the harsher Machine Head like bits and the pretty melodic stuff.
They songs are definitely more fluent, not only because we all got a lot better as musicians, but also a lot more critical of ourselves. Sometimes it goes really quickly to write a song like on “Disconnect” or it could take ages to complete like with “Doomed to Die”. A song isn’t finished until the five of us are happy with it and every part of it feels natural.
Iris has proven herself to be a very versatile singer. How did she join the band?
After Niek left we started holding auditions. Out of some 40 applications we selected 10 candidates for a live auction. They all has something going for them, be it the screams, grunts or the clean vocals, but none of them had the full package. 2 people from the Netherlands came really close, but something was missing. So we decided to go look for ourselves in the Belgian and Dutch scene and that’s where we ran into Iris. One week later she was doing an audition with our producer Ace in Ostend and blew everyone away. The screams, the grunts, the clean vocals, she had all of it. And of course, it doesn’t hurt your eyes to look at her so she has that X factor going for her as well.
With Dave , you’ve also got a new bass player, what is his story?
Dave has been with the band for years already as a roadie. We’re the best of pals and go all the way back to the H8000 metalcore scene from our time in Deformity. When Kristof got ill last year, Dave filled in for him a couple of time and he did a fantastic job. After Kristof left in the end, Dave really was the logical choice. He’s also working his arse off with the merchandise, contacts, the release show,... His girlfriend Marlies is our regular merch girl so it’s a perfect team really.
As you grew as a band, it looks like you’ve also delved a lot deeper in to metal history beyond the more obvious influences like In Flames or Machine Head?
If it sounds right or fits the song at that moment, we’ll put it in. We all got our own influences, obviously and it shows in the songwriting. You can usually tell where it’s coming from: a touch of Carcass here, a pinch of BMTH there, add some Parkway, mix with Architects and serve with some fresh Pantera and you’re done. Never the less, we feel that our own sound is coming more and more to the fore, not in the least because of Iris. Apocalyptic Metal. That’s good.
The sleeve looks pretty great as well.
That was made by Heile, a German designer who has done work for the likes of Kreator, Epica and Kreator. We worked with him on our previous record ‘The Art of imperfection’ as well. He basically just needed one phrase from us “past apocalyptic” and he nailed it right from the first design. Is that Iris on the cover or not? Who will tell?
What will the future hold for you? With 4 times GMM and 3 records out we can hardly still call you newcomers?
Our Achilles heel has always been breaking out internationally. We’ve done big shows in Belgium and Holland ( 4 x GMM, 2x Pukkelpop, Vorst, AB, 013, the club circuit,…), but very little beyond that. We’ve got no intention of becoming the metal version of Clouseau, so our full focus with ‘Stormsleeper’ is now on Europe, with full backing from Arising Empire/ Nuclear Blast who are doing their best to push the record. We’ve already got dates set in Germany, the UK, Ireland, Spain, Portugal, France and a support slot for Prong. Also festivals like Dong and Summer Breeze are on the menu.
Any last words for our dear readers?
The only thing we really care about is having fun, playing music and meeting interesting people. And getting laid, once in a while.