Posted on November 22th. 2019
Questionnaire by Stefan on behalf of METAL TO INFINITY WEBZINE BELGIUM
A while ago I made the review for the new album of the Belgian band Elusion, “Singularity”. I had words of praise for all the individual musical skills, as far as their style of music was concerned, I was less excited. Musical preferences vary from one man to another and that is a purely personal matter, anyway. Still, I must admit that I have heard an intelligent band that radiates potential, a must for all those who are attracted to contemporary, more modern style metal music. With this interview I want to let the band have their say about the ins and outs of the Elusion camp. Let’s get the job done right away.
Stefan: Greetings to everyone in Elusion, thank you for your hospitality to make this conversation a success. Domingo Smets (ex-Ancient Rites) formed Elusion back in 2015, what were the predefined ambitions?
Domingo: Actually there were none. I indeed started the band after I left A.R. I had no expectations and just wanted to make music. To free all the musical ideas I had in my mind for a long time.
Stefan: Although I strongly doubt the fact that there are people who don’t know Ancient Rites, I would have liked to have asked for a little briefing history on the band and why Domingo has given up after 15 years of being active.
Domingo: Ancient Rites is a black metalband from Belgium. They started as a pure hard metalband and added some symphonic melodies during the years. I began in the early days during the cd ‘Fatherland’ as a keyboard player. Later on, I played the bass and finally played guitars in the band. After I wrote and recorded the last full cd ‘Laguz’, some things changed. Some people in the band weren’t friendly anymore. One of them even tried to fight with me for some reasons I still don’t know. Anyway, after that incident I played 1 last gig and left the band just before their gig on the 70.000 tons of metal.
Stefan: What does the current situation of Ancient Rites look like these days, is the band still active?
Domingo: I actually don’t follow the band anymore because of the incidents I have had. I know they are still active but on a low level.
Stefan: With this new project called Elusion a completely different musical direction is chosen, why?
Domingo: There is no specific reason for that. With some other guys (Kristof, Frederik) I did different genres. Over the years we played together, which is like almost 18 years and did also black metal, female fronted metal… With this band I felt we could do better so I began to write the songs for our first EP : ‘Desert of enticement’. There were 3 different genres but we knew what we were doing. Making different atmospheres in a band, looking for a new path in the genre of female fronted metal. New ideas for making this kind of music interesting, for both the band as for the listener.
Stefan: How do you want to frame the style of elusion, which bands do you want to mention as influential sources?
Evy: To be honest I don’t really like to put a label on Elusion. For us, it’s just about making music that we enjoy playing (and hopefully some people like to listen to) Because of the orchestrations combined with heavy guitars our music is mostly referred to as “symphonic metal”. The comparison with renowned names in the genre like Epica, After Forever, Nightwish is then easily made.
If I look at the bands that have influenced our music, I think it goes much broader than pure symphonic metal, we also listen to bands like Devin Townsend, Leprous, Soilwork, Ayreon or even film music. So in a way I guess all these artists must have some influence on our music.
Stefan: It was necessary to look for other musicians who were worthy to join the ranks? Can you give the names and preferably also a bit of information about their musical background?
Domingo: Actually it was not that hard to find other musicians. After I had my first ideas I immediately contacted Kristof and Frederik again. They both listen to different genres like death metal, black metal, female fronted metal…We have played together for so long so it was a logical step to ask them again, but besides that, they really are great musicians! For the vocals, it was actually also an easy step to make. My wife Evy, who used to sing in another band long ago, listened to the first songs we made and felt she wanted to sing in the band, which was great because she has a wonderful voice and can do so much different things which is great for the band to, again, make a difference in this genre. Evy listens to female fronted metalbands but also more progressive music.
After the recordings of our cd ‘Singularity’ we were looking for a second guitar player. So after a few gigs Stijn was found and joined our ranks. Stijn also listens to progressive metal. He fits perfectly in the band.
Stefan: A first achievement was released in the form of an EP entitled “Desert Of Enticement” followed by numerous performances with big names in the genre. Feel free to tell us more about it.
Evy: After our EP was released we indeed got the chance to play lots of shows throughout Belgium. The more we played, the more comfortable we felt in a live setting and this got picked up by some promotors. So the past years we were lucky to play with a number of bigger names like Xandria, Temptations for the weak, Insanity Reigns Supreme, Welicoruss. We are grateful that we got this chance, and it also shows that hard work is rewarded.
Stefan: How was this first recording received by the press and media – How do you deal with negative criticism?
Elusion: Overall we received very positive feedback. We put our EP into the world as a sort of business card, with no real expectations. To our surprise we received great reviews which of course always gives you an extra boost to go the extra mile for the new songs. How we deal with criticism? Well, everyone is entitled to have their own opinion and it’s really hard to write music that literally Everybody likes. We believe that you can learn from criticism as long as it’s constructive.
Stefan: A few years later, a Spanish label named Art Gates Records showed an interest in a collaboration with Elusion. How did this happen and under what conditions was the first full-fledged album “Singularity” completed?
Frederik: One day we got an e-mail from their A&R manager, he found our name on the internet and asked if we would be interested in sending him some music, which we did. He liked it and offered us a contract.
We put a lot of effort in this album, we wanted to deliver a strong product. So songwriting took some time, the songs were recorded in Domingo’s studio which was also a learning process. But with time and effort we managed to deliver this album.
Stefan: Who, apart from the original musicians, cooperated on the album? There are also a number of guest musicians I suppose, right?
Elusion: There are two guest musicians on the album. The first one is Bjorn Strid from Soilwork.
As a second guest vocalist we have Peter Evrard.
Stefan: How would you like to present the new album yourself, which subjects are edited when we talk about the lyrical content?
Frederik: The lyrics deal with the struggle that someone can have being part of society, do you just want to be part of the masses of will you try and stand out?
Stefan: I’m not a fan of your music, but I have to admit that I’m hearing a band with a high potential. The musical skills speak for themselves, you are all very talented. What do you want to achieve with this new album? Is prominence an important factor for you?
Frederik: We want to share the music that we’ve been working on for the past 2 years with the world, it is the best thing to be able to our music live for an audience. We don’t seek prominence, if we can convince people to listen to Elusion by doing the thing we like to do, than that’s great.
Stefan: Which songs do you want to share with the readers as absolute stand outs – why?
Frederik: The songs that stand out for me are ‘The Strive’, ‘Lovelorn’ and ‘Anamnesis’. ‘The Strive’ because of the catchy melodies, the orchestral parts, the choirs and the video that we did for that song. ‘Lovelorn’ is a more progressive song that starts with regular song structure but after the break it turns into an epic song with a great duet between our singer Evy and Björn Strid. ‘Anamnesis’ is the last song on the album, it has a lot of layers and epic ending.
Stefan: What about the reactions so far on “Singularity”?
Elusion: The reactions of ‘Singularity’ are beyond our expectations. We received lots of positive response of magazines both in Belgium as in magazines in other countries. We even got 87/100 in a well- known magazine in the Netherlands named Aardschok. On our minitour in England we also got good response and sold lots of merchandise. It was great to see how the people enjoyed our music and show!
Stefan: How is promotion for the new effort being done?
Elusion: On one hand there’s our record label Art Gates Records, they do promotion through their channels. But because of the fact that they’re a Spanish label we wanted some extra promotion for the Benelux. Mike De Coene (Hard Life Promotion) is doing that, we already knew Mike because he did a great job for ‘Desert of Enticement’ so it was a logical step to ask him again.
Stefan: With the end of this conversation in sight, I would have liked to ask about your future plans. Speak of your own free will.
Elusion: For the moment we are back in writing mode, so making new songs is our primary goal. But besides that, we have still lots of shows to do. Which is great because than we can further promote our cd.
Stefan: Then I would like to wish Elusion good luck for the time to come and thank you for your cooperation doing this interview. Something you want to share with our readers before closing, go ahead.
Elusion: Thanks a lot for the interview, if this interview got your attention then please feel free to check out our music! Cheers!