EMQ’s with CUTTERMESS
Hi everyone! Welcome to our new EMQ’s interview with Oost-Vlaanderen, Belgium based Cross-over Metal band, Cuttermess. Huge thanks to all of them for taking part.
What is your name, what do you play, and can you tell us a little bit about the history of the band?
We are Napalm Death from Birmingham, England…(laughs). No, our band is named Cuttermess and since we incorporate a broad variety of metal styles into our songs, the best way to describe us would be cross-over metal. That diversity has to do with our drummer’s past. He has played in thrash, punk, death metal and hardcore bands. He never got the chance to contribute any of his ideas to those previous bands.
When I first met him, I entered a band where he was the main songwriter. I only needed to add vocal melodies and lyrics to his music. That particular band however fell apart, but Bert and I (Kris) found the songs that we had written too good to waste. That’s why we decided to look for new musicians.
First, we found Pieter, who was never in a band before, but turned out to be one hell of a guitar player. Our bass player Gino was one of Bert’s Facebook friends and had already played in hardcore bands Los Vendettaz and Push Right Back. Bram responded to an internet ad. Given his previous experiences with Aguyngerran and Panchrysia, it was pretty clear that we had our winning line up. In the meanwhile, we have played quite a lot of shows in the Belgian underground and by the time you will read this, our debut EP “Take ‘m To The Guillotine” will be out. Go get it!
How did you come up with your band name?
We wanted a play of words that would have a phonetical meaning in Dutch, but that would sound English. If you scratch one of the s’s at the end, Cuttermess translates as ‘box cutter’ in Dutch. In English, it sort of implies that we are the ‘cutter of the mess’. ‘Mess’ referring to the bullshit in society. Life would be a lot better if we would have the guts to stop doing things that for some irrational reason, we have grown to find normal.
Things like that are the returning themes in our lyrics. To make it fit even better, a box cutter is a tool that you use to cut things away and preserve only what you truly need. Above all: it’s just a memorable, striking name, isn’t it?
What Country/Region are you from and what is the Metal/Rock scene like there?
The land of fries (we refuse to call them ‘French’ fries), beer and waffles: Belgium. We all live somewhere in between the coast and the city of Antwerp. The metal and rock scene has its ups and downs over here. It struggles sometimes, because it is getting more and more difficult to get fans out to local gigs or rock and metal bars. For that reason, a lot of venues and metal places are barely breaking even.
On the other hand, there are a lot of Belgian bands. Lately, the quality of what they do has vastly improved. So, there is a lot of great Belgian metal music and I must say that the Dutch metal press really picks it up too. There are still a few volunteers that take initiative, like Heavy.be-Facebookgroup a while ago, but there used to be more of a community. I miss those deathmetal.be, Face Your Underground, Lugburz and MetalZone days. I guess that has to do with evolution: people are finding different ways to keep in touch. That’s great, but for the metal scene, not so great.
What is your latest release? (Album, EP, Single, Video)
“Kill ‘Em All”, but we didn’t think it was good enough. Some small American band asked us if they could release that album and they ended up doing rather well (blinks). No, we wish, our latest and to this date only release is “Take ‘m To The Guillotine”. An EP with three raging cross-over metal songs. All of them go back to that band where Bert and I first met. We have more, but we are too poor to afford more studio time, hehe.
‘Resort To Violence’
Who have been your greatest influences?
Kris: Ooh, that answer is going to be very different for every band member. I’ll get them over here. For me, Freddie Mercury, Till Lindemann and Aaron Stainthorpe are my three biggest examples. But my voice is very different, the only influence they really had was getting me to start singing in a metal band. Finding the right melody, timing and vocal style is just me being a metalhead and ‘feeling’ the songs.
Bert: For my songwriting, I’ve been influenced by all kinds of rock, punk, hardcore and metal. As a drummer, I look up to Dave Lombardo, Gene Hoglan, Scott Travis, Mickey Dee and in the older generation people like Ian Pace or Cozy Powell.
Pieter: I listen to a lot of very different musical styles. As for metal guitar I’d have to say my biggest influences are definitely ‘old’ Metallica (the first four albums), Annihilator, and then – fast forward 20+ years – a little band called Revocation.
Gino: Suicidal Tendencies, Slayer and Madball.
Bram: I grew up with a record player and classical music. At the age of fourteen I started to play the Spanish guitar. I learned myself to play songs from Iron Maiden and Megadeth. But Bon Jovi and pop songs as well, to make out with girls at the bus station (blinks). My nephew, who played bass in a black metal band, was looking for a guitar player. I had never heard of that genre before, but I liked it. Probably because we’ve cracked up the volume at 100 % , and played shitty and lousy the same time (laughs).
What first got you into music?
Like most people, as a kid you listen to whatever it is your parents are listening to, right? In my case: Flemish schlager singers. Then you become a teenager and start getting exposed to other kinds of music. In bars, via school friends, on the radio and in my day, MTV was still about music too. There were some Flemish channels that did similar shows, and it was at one of these shows that I first saw the Du Hast video from Rammstein. It only got worse since then. Up to the point where you think: I want to do that too.
If you could collaborate with a current band or musician, who would it be?
Hmm, I think the same names as the question about our influences will pop up. We all want to meet and or work with our heroes, don’t we?
If you could play any festival in the world, which would you choose and why?
Kris: Summer Breeze. No doubt about it for me. It is an all-round metal festival, with excellent taste. They are aware that metal has changed drastically since the eighties and program bands accordingly. So instead of headlining washed up fossils and having the same bands every two years, they will get the new generation of headliners and search for different bands every year.
Bert: If I can be ambitious and look outside our own country, I choose Wacken Open Air. But we’ve got two big festivals here in Belgium as well. I prefer Alcatraz over Graspop though.
Gino: Graspop Metal Meeting would be special for me too because I have so many memories there. I used to take my son along since he was eight and I always seem to meet some old and new friends.
Pieter: I’m not a festival person, haha. Some of the best gigs I saw in my life were club gigs. So yeah, bring on the club gigs. But I’d like to play Wembley Arena once.
Bram: A gothic festival in Germany, as a guitar player for an Industrial metal band. But I’m not the festival type either. I prefer local clubs, pubs and underground basements.
What’s the weirdest gift you have ever received from a fan?
You mean despite their dignity (laughs)? Somebody actually asked me to sign a box cutter for him. Our name is already paying off!
If you had one message for your fans, what would it be?
You are all being misled; we are horrible people and we do not deserve your love (laughs). No, it will sound very cheesy, but the only appropriate thing to tell them is a massive thank you. On our bare knees. People that take the liberty to check out an unknown band and then keep following it, deserve a lot of credit.
If you could bring one rock star back from the dead, who would it be?
Kris: Is Freddie considered a rock star? (Yes, he is, absolutely – Rick) If not, let’s do Dio. I do not mean ‘do him’ like a necrophile or something.
Bert: That’s a difficult one…. I will go with Lemmy because of his no-nonsense thoughts about rock-‘n-roll.
Pieter: Cliff Burton!
Gino: Chuck Schuldiner, I’m curious what he still had up his sleeve.
Bram: Jon Nödtveidt
What do you enjoy the most about being a musician? And what do you hate?
For me, it’s all about the live shows man! Those are real goals to work towards and things we look forward to all week prior to the gig. When the day finally comes, you just start building up adrenaline until you enter the stage. From then on, your hard work finally pays off and it is very satisfying to perform your set exactly as you wanted it. On the other hand – and this brings it to the ‘what do you hate’-part – things do not always go your way. Gear can break, the sound can be completely different from what it was during the soundcheck or the entire show can even be cancelled because some idiots suddenly realise that people can get sick and die when they live. That makes it frustrating sometimes.
If you could change one thing about the music industry, what would it be?
Kris: Being amateur musicians, we do not play for the money. As a fan, I would like to get rid of organisations that let the commercial part predominate the music and the atmosphere.
Bert: More interactivity between bands and organisation. And as Kris said, let’s not commercialize the scene.
Pieter: I’d like to see a little more financial appreciation for musical artists and their work. Today’s streaming platforms are earning way too much money off artists’ backs.
Gino: The emphasis should be on the quality of the music rather than its mainstream appeal. Oh, and the nepotism, let’s change that too.
Bram: Better record deals for musicians. Otherwise a kick in the teeth , duke nukem style.
Name one of your all-time favourite albums?
Kris: “Sehnsucht“ by Rammstein.
Bert: “Defenders Of The Faith“ by Judas Priest.
Pieter: “Endless War” by Realm.
Gino: “Blackwater Park” by Opeth
Bram: “The Apocalypse Manifesto” by Enthroned.
What’s best? Vinyl, Cassettes, CD’s or Downloads?
As a child of the 90’s, CD’s have it for me. Although I must admit to downloading most of my music nowadays, simply because you can get it quicker and you can spread your cost. But when I was younger, I would spend hundreds of euros at a record store, hunting down CD’s.
What’s the best gig that you have played to date?
Right now, our show at JH De Troubadour in Torhout is still number one. It wasn’t our best performance and we certainly didn’t get the best sound – the place is so small that it was simply impossible – but the response we got from the audience was fantastic. Moshpits, a wall of death, crowd surfers and at some point, even a light sabre fight (laughs). I’m not making this up.
If you weren’t a musician, what else would you be doing?
There is a very good chance we would be prostituting ourselves. Or herding a flock of ostriches we found somehow. No, technically, we are not musicians. Music is just our hobby. Most of us have jobs, I am economically unemployed as a result of the Corona measures and our drummer is medically unfit to have a job, because a truck ran him over. That’s actually true.
Which five people would you invite to a dinner party?
The boring but truthful answer would be nobody, as I don’t throw dinner parties. But I’ll tag along: Donald Trump, Alexander De Croo (our prime minister), Boris Johnson, Bernard Looney and Shinzo Abe. Only so I could poison them. That would be five horrible people less on this planet.
What’s next for the band?
We are at what you might call a tipping point right now. In our opinion, we are no longer a new band. This EP and our gig at one of the bigger music venues in the country has made it so that we are one step up the ladder. Nevertheless, we will always stay humble and gladly stick to our underground roots. Musically as well as live. No Volbeat or Metallica story.
What Social Media/Website links do you use to get your music out to people?
All of them. Facebook, Instagram, Spotify, Deezer, Youtube, Apple Music, Bandcamp. Look us up, we’re out there!
Jaffa Cakes! Are they a cake or a biscuit?
I have absolutely no idea what you are talking about, but I’m going to say pudding.
Thank you for your time. Is there anything else that you would like to add?
Yes: we would like to get more nude pictures sent to us. Our drummer is currently single and needs something to take care of himself, if you know what I mean (winks).
Disclaimer: This interview is solely the property of Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this interview, unless you have the strict permission of said party. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.