Interview with vocalist and guitarist Bock
Interview conducted by Luxi Lahtinen
Date online: January 11, 2020
Luxi: How's life in chilly and rainy Belgium these days?
Bock: Pretty much like in any other rainy and moist European country, so I can't complain.
Luxi: Objector was formed in 2007. Was it easy to find like-minded guys to put this band together?
Bock: Well, it wasn't that hard actually. I just put out an ad on a website somewhere and two guys contacted me, we jammed a bit and then another joined, and next thing we knew we voted a name and voila. So it wasn't just me alone.
Luxi: Music-wise, you blend some classic, old school Thrash Metal in your music and people can hear nuances from such veterans of Thrash as Kreator, Destruction, Slayer, etc., just to name a few. Can you tell me how and when your love for this genre started? What were some of the groundbreaking albums that changed your world and urged you to form your own band?
Bock: Well after having heard some bands on MTV, back when they actually played music 24/7—including Heavy Metal—I went to a record store and bought four albums from a band called Kreator just because they had cool artwork and from then on, I was hooked. For me personally both Extreme Aggression and Coma of Souls were a big influence but also Altars of Madness from Morbid Angel and Arise by Sepultura. I began playing the guitar at about 12 years old and between 17 and 30 I didn't do much with playing music. So when my children were born, I kind of rejuvenated and started to get more serious with making music again.
Luxi: Your first official outing was a 9-song recording titled Stand Your Ground, released in 2013. What kind of a session was it for the band recording it? Was it challenging to get drums programmed for it?
Bock: We were familiar with drum programming because we had trouble finding a suitable drummer that could give us the power and speed we searched for. So after a long time we realized we had to do it ourselves.
Luxi: You used Studio Mars for the recording. Is it your own studio and is this studio equipped the way even bigger and better-known bands would be tempted to book time there?
Bock: It was my own studio, if you could call it that. Didier, the other guitarist, and myself both owned a digital amplifier (Axe-Fx II) so all the guitars/bass were recorded at home and the vocals were done in our rehearsal room and everything was mixed ourselves digitally. So no, no other bands should record there, lol, it doesn't exist anymore either, it just sounded fun to name it Studio Mars since where I lived back then was called Marsstraat (Mars Street).
Luxi: How much recognition around the underground Metal scene did you get from this demo? Did it give you the needed push to get new gig opportunities and stuff?
Bock: It certainly did wonders for us. All of a sudden we got the chance to play some really cool gigs with great bands. The small underground scene was very open to newcomers and gave us many opportunities. Too bad some bars and venues don't exist anymore to provide the same opportunities for other new bands.
Luxi: How's the music club scene in the area where you live, Turnhout? Do you have some good venues there for both smaller and bigger bands to play or would you say this situation could actually be a tad better than it currently is?
Bock: It can always be better. Turnhout is rather small compared to other cities so it's a bit scattered. Belgium isn't that big either, New York is four times bigger. The clubs around here are rather nice but Metal is still a bit underground in Belgium. It is changing slowly. There are a few larger venues and festivals, though.
Luxi: Obviously you have played a bunch of gigs all around according to your gig calendar, sharing stages with such names as Krisiun, Fleshcrawl, Izegrim, Nile and a bunch of other cool acts. You don't appear to have an official booking agency working for you, so has it been a tough job to get all those gigs booked for the band?
Bock: It is harder now than a few years past. Like I said earlier, some bars and venues had to close thanks to the current political and financial state. Hopefully, it will turn around again.
Luxi: If I was a tourist with the intention of coming over your town someday, which would be the top three music venues that you'd introduce me to for Metal bands?
Bock: Definitely Cafe Den Elpee, Antwerp Music City and, of course, Biebob, but as I said, they're scattered across the land.
Luxi: Do you have cooperation between bands in your town regarding events for Metal bands?
Bock: Bands are really nice to each other here, and we try to help each other out in any way we can but I guess that can be said in any country. Sometimes the bands organize on their own and provide opportunities for local smaller bands.
Luxi: Without question, I am sure your band is aiming to play as much abroad as possible. What are your plans for playing outside of Belgium in 2020 and are there any serious obstacles that prevent you from touring outside the borders of your own home country?
Bock: We are trying to get to Germany and France, but I understand there are many other bands as well. We've done a few shows in the Netherlands so we would like to expand there also. Tours are much more difficult for us as three members have full-time jobs and two of us have families, so it is very hard to combine those things. Maybe in the future we can work something out if an opportunity arises but for now it's not easy.
Luxi: Your follow-up eight-track recording Social Intolerance is one hell of a badass Thrash Metal album in my sincere opinion. Musically, the album sounds like you are becoming, little by little, Belgium's answer to Slayer due to a very similar aggressive and violent Thrash Metal approach that one can find from these legendary CA-thrashers sound. What's so great about in Slayer?
Bock: Thank you, yes, it is very obvious that Slayer is the main influence. It's not that we sat down and said, now we're going to play some Slayer riffs, it just happened. To me Slayer is a very unique band and a pioneer. It is the sound of hell itself although I am more of a Kreator and Exodus fan.
Luxi: The riffs and especially the solos on Social remind me heavily of the King/Hanneman school, so I guess you may have a few words to share about those lads and why you consider their work very important for your own songwriting?
Bock: I always loved the twin solo work, even more from Judas Priest who were, I think, the first that did it in such a way. The interchange between Tipton/Downing, Hanneman/King and Holt/Hunolt is magic to my ears. They know/feel how to complete each other. I can only hope that our listeners hear a tiny bit of that in our songs/solos. And, of course, the ferocious squeals and wails are just super cool to hear and do.
Luxi: I don't know how much you have been reading reviews for the Social album, but so far all the reviews that I have read have been on the positive side. I suppose all these positive reactions have encouraged and motivated you to work your asses for this band, right?
Bock: Yes, not only a big motivation but also the healthy stress to deliver the goods on stage. It's a cliché but the feeling when you are playing to the max while the crowd is moshing about is euphoric. The reviews are all very welcome and true.
Luxi: The album was released in March 2018, so perhaps you have a bunch of new material ready for your next outing. Would you like you to share a few thoughts about your newest stuff with the readers of The Metal Crypt perhaps? Is it in the same vein of Social, very riff-laden, strongly Slayer-ish stuff?
Bock: We have some new things, a song or four somewhat finished. I guess you could say that they continue on the same vibe of Social and Stand Your Ground, maybe a bit more worked out, maybe a bit more balanced but not something different or anything exotic. We play Thrash and we make noise; we are not artistic. If it strongly refers to Slayer, so be it and if it doesn't, so be it.
Luxi: Do you have any label interest for the next release?
Bock: No, we are on the lookout, though. 2019 gave us a new line-up, Mike stepped in as our new drummer and Emile grabbed the bass spot so now that they are fully assimilated into the band we can take things further. Hopefully 2020 will bring us a new album and label but we'll see about that when the time comes.
Luxi: What are some of your hopes that you realistically believe to achieve with the band, being it related to anything between heaven and hell really?
Bock: Playing at a big festival is on our list but I know we will have to work very hard for that. A new album and many new friends/bands. Other than that, creating a good, healthy dose of Thrash Metal will naturally be on our list as well... ;)
Luxi: Videos are an essential part of promotion these days. Do you have any plans for making one in the near future? It's hard to underestimate their effectiveness.
Block: Yes we had plans to make one for Social but for some reason it never happened. We've got plenty of idea's so it might happen for the next one, we will keep everyone posted ;)
Luxi: Alright, that was it. Thanks for your time and all the best to you and Objector in the future. May the force of Thrash Metal be with you...
Block: Thank you for the interview, it is a great honour. To all of your readers: Thrash on! \,,/
|Other information about Objector on this site|
|Review: Social Intolerance|
|Review: Stand Your Ground|
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