A talk with
Andy Polfliet - Vocals
Questionnaire by Patrick 'Sloof' De Sloover
A wonderful newcomer from a band that exists already 20 years. Strange things happen first in Belgium, so it’s time to have a chat with some members of Eternal Breath that want to support their independent release of ‘The Joker’ as good as possible! The band scored 87/100 in my review, so now it’s time to switch into a higher level! Welcome on board ensign-bearer of Belgian Heavy Metal!
Q: Well, let’s start with a very pressing question: what took you so long?
A: We’re very slow, hahaha. No, serious, in the 20 years we exist, we have had many line-up problems. Marino and me started the band, and we could say that we have seen many musicians along the way. We even had a break for 3 years (1997-2000).
Over the years we record 3 demo’s, and every one of theme is with another line-up. In 2014 we decided to make a record, we booked the studio, and a bit later our bass-player quit. We did find very fast a new guy (Aaron) and a few months later we through are guitar-player out, because his commitment to the band was not 100%. Studio booked, so we decide to record an EP. But then, Robin came along, and he learned the songs very fast and even play his parts in the studio. We even made a new song with him, and so we went back to the studio and record 2 more songs, so no, we have our full CD: ‘The Joker’…
Q: Is it due to the lineup changes through the years, or was it simply because the band wanted to have fun prior to squander more money into the band?
A: The main reason is the line-up changes. We have had our ups and downs, but now we feel like it’s time , we’re ready, it’s now or never.
Q: For most people Eternal Breath is totally out of the blue, totally unknown. Many will be surprised to hear that the band exists already for 2 decades. What were the highlights so far?
A: Yeah you're right, around here, the people will know us, or hear about Eternal Breath. We did play 2 times in the UK, and SOS fest Manchester was a highlight for me, and the band. We also did a little tour as support for Incassum (UK), we played in Germany and Holland.
Also a highlight for me, was our gig at De Kreun with Alcatraz Up the Belgian fest. And now, of course bring out our First CD….
Q: Were you able to play a lot of live gigs throughout the years, or is the scene only recently very active?
A: The scene here in the Flanders is very active, I don’t know about the rest of Belgium. But in our 20 years we exist, we have played here and there, some years with a lot of gigs, some years less, main reason: line-up changes…
Q: I saw the band already twice, once in Oostrozebeke and a second time at Headbangers Ball. Can I say that the band is mainly playing in West-Flanders?
A: Yeah you can say that, but like I said, we played in the UK, Germany, Holland… The scene is very active and we can play here a lot, but now it’s time to spread our wings…
Q: What is the main reason for this limited scene? I’m sure that there are great venues in Antwerp, Limburg and the French speaking part of Belgium as well. Can I say that people still have the principle: unknown is unloved?
A: I don’t know what the reason is, but right now, if you organized something, there’s always, people coming to it. So that’s why I think around here there’s so much going on. I now that there are more venues in Belgium, we hope with our CD, that the people over there learn to know us, and let us play over there. Unknown is unloved, is what is real in Belgium, I think…
Q: What is the main reason for the band, what is the goal that you want to achieve?
A: Play music, give concerts and enjoy people… Our goal is to get so far as possible. We hope the people like our CD, so that we can make some name. Than make more albums. Play on great events like GMM, Alcatraz fest, Wacken Open Air, Hell fest, and more. Maybe go on a tour, with a great band…
Q: Will you reach it at any cost, or can I say that there are restrictions as well? For example financial matters…
A: We wane do so much as possible, but yea, there are some restrictions. Me and Marino have a family to maintain. Aaron is still going to school. It’s his last year, if he succeeds, haha. And you know, that a band like us, don’t make money…
Q: The band released already several demos. How was the reaction from press and fans, did you receive critical acclaim?
A: Over the years, we bring out 3 demo’s, and the last one is from 2006, ‘Welcome To Hell’. I remember that this demo did it pretty good, but you can’t compare it with our new CD ‘The Joker’. None of the demo’s.
Q: When did you decide that Eternal Breath was ready for the first full length album? Was it a common feeling that the members were all ready for this big leap into the unknown?
A: We were always the opener on festivals and gigs. And we feel like we deserve more. But therefore you have to have a CD. So we feel that we were ready to come out with a full-CD, well, after 20 years… hahaha. The plans are made in 2014, and now 2 years later it’s a fact… Let’s see what the unknown will bring, bring it on…
Q: You recorded at Shellshock Studio with a wonderful result. Why this location? Many bands prefer to work in their own homemade studio to reduce costs…
A: We were searching for a studio, and I find a link on facebook from the Shellshock studio. We made a appointment, and we meet Pieter, the owner. There was a good click and so we decide to record ‘The Joker’ at the Shellshock studio. And we are very satisfied with the result. Why not at a homemade studio? Simple, none of the band has it.
Q: Mastering took place at CCR Studio. Tell us something more about this effort and location..
A: Pieter from Shellshock works together with Kris from CCR studio. Pieter did the mix and then he send it to Kris. He did the mastering, and then he send it to us. So we didn't put one foot in the CCR studio. We even did not see Kris Belaen, I only heard him on the phone, haha.
Q: There were some guests invited. Josey from legendary Ostrogoth contributed on a wonderful track ‘Rich & Poor’, and adds a lot of variety to the album at the same time. How did you get in touch with Josey and how did the recordings work out?
A: The song 'Rich & Poor', is like it says… about 2 different individuals, the rich and the poor. I always had the idea, to do the song with 2 singers. Than I was thinking who would be perfect for it and feasible, haha. I had seen Josey a few times, on stage and next to the stage, talk to him sometimes and then I ask Josey, what do you think about doing a song together? I send hem the song, and the lyrics. A bit later he said it was okay, we even has done it live on Metal Against Child Cancer last year.
Q: Secondly, artwork designer and guitar player Guy Commeene from Dyscordia joined in to play a solo on the track ‘Back In Time’. He’s a mutual friend and a very passionate musician. What came first: the cooperation for the solo or was this solo a result as you worked with him for the front cover artwork?
A: I know Guy for 30 years now. We needed a good artwork designer, and so I ask him. He wanted to do it right away. Then I came up with the idea, to let him play a solo on one of the songs. I presented it to the group, and they liked the idea. I ask Guy if he would like to do a solo on the song Back in Time, and so it is…
And we are very satisfied with what he designed. He also did the designs for our T-shirts, and the art on the bass drums.
Q: Can you tell us some more about the artwork. What is the link or story to tell?
A: Well, we say to Guy, we want a Joker whit his hands in a wooden pillory. The reason why we wanted that is, The Joker is the title of our CD and it’s a song, the lyric is about someone who have to work for a rich man, a slave who has to do everything what his master ask him. “you are my king, I am the joker” That’s why I wanted a pillory. Also, the most of the songs are about life. Some good, some bad things in life. The Joker stands a bit for the good and the bad, happiness and sadness.
Q: ‘The Joker’ is going to be released independently. Why?
A: Why? These days it’s hard to find a label. There is a oversupply of bands, and the record company’s are very selective. So we are from Belgium, and in Belgium it's hard to find a way to a label. Also, like you said before, we are unknown, out of the blue. So we made it independently, and we hope that our new album will be picked up by a good label.
Q: It seems like many bands consider an indie release as ‘best possible way’ to keep the head above water. Do you promote the album also on a D.I.Y. Base?
A: Yes, for now. We sell it on our concerts, and some record store’s in our neighborhood, sell it to. We try to make it known trough the net, like your page.
Q: How is the feedback from the press so far, or is it too early to have any reactions yet?
A: It’s a bit early, we send it to magazines and webzines, and we wait for their assessment. Rock Tribune give us 7,5/10, and you give us 87/100. For the moment, we can’t complain, hopefully, it all will be like that…
Q: Recently, Thurisaz did a release show, Fields Of Troy did a release gig, Dyscordia did one too, so I wonder, how about Eternal Breath?
A: Euhm… we did one too, on the 27th. of February 2016. On the same place like Thurisaz, in JH Tap Kuurne, and it was a full house.
Q: What can people expect when they come to a show from the band? Do you play own material only or do you prefer covers as well?
A: We play all songs from the “The Joker”, we do a cover as well. Sometimes we play a new song, and an old song who didn't make it to the CD .We like to play and try to involve the public. I would say, come and see…
Q: What is going to happen with the band for the upcoming weeks and months? What can we expect?
A: We have already some gigs coming up, still date’s coming in, and I’ll hope more will come. We are also starting making new songs.
Q: Is there a final message that you want to share with us? Something that you want to mention or is everything said and done and do we need to focus on the album and push the play button once again?
A: Check out our new album “The Joker”, if you like it, buy it and let the people now about us. Come to see us on one of our gigs. If you already have the album, thank you very much for buying and push the play button again…
Q: Thank you for your time and great album! Keep us informed when there is news to spread and we all wish you the best for the future! Belgian metal is alive and kicking like never before and Eternal Breath can be proud to be part of it!
A: Thank you for the interview, and the great review. You will here from us again.