Exclusive interview for hellfest.fr: STEAK NUMBER EIGHT (Brent Vanneste (guitare & chant), Cis Deman (guitare) & Jesse Surmont (basse)]
“When you play as a support band you realize that you need to work hard to get the audience” – Cis Deman – Saturday 18 June 2016
How is your day so far ? A bit hectic, maybe?
Brent: It was very early. We had to wake up at 8:30 am or something. We went to sleep at around 4 the night before. It was the first time we had a tour bus so we had a party.
Cis: Our first impression is that Hellfest is an amazing festival. Everything you see is awesome. So far we played, we had a couple of drinks but we still need to explore everything. I think it’s gonna be great.
How do you think the crowd experienced your set?
Brent: The thing is it’s like the first festival we play in France so our fan base is not that big here. We had a lot of people to check us out today so I think it was cool for our first festival in France.
Cis: And it was nice to see people coming more and more during our gig.
Have you ever played that early until today?
Brent: We did that the first time we played at Graspop when we were 15 years old. We played around 10:30 or 11. But tomorrow it will be the 4th time at Graspop and we’ll play at 6 in the evening! So every year is a bit later! (laughter)
I had the opportunity to see you twice before, when you toured with Prong in Spring 2015 and Spring 2016. To which extent do you think the band has evolved since that very first tour with Prong?
Cis: Touring with Prong has made us work harder.
Brent: We played a lot of shows since then so we’ve been constantly touring ever since.
Cis: When you play as a support band you realize that you need to work hard to get the audience.
Brent is the only member credited for all the songs. Is that band Brent’s or some collective kind of work?
Cis: He does the foundation for everything. He comes with the ideas and he sends a WeTransfer so we can change this and that when we do rehearsals.
Brent: So everyone can start thinking about it at home. So when we come and play together, it can change completely.
Cis: Or it just doesn’t. It depends!
I kind of sense an evolution when I listen to your three albums: the songs tend to be more and more psychedelic… Is it a will of yours to go to that direction?
Brent: (laughter) Actually, the songs and the style are not something we really think about.
Cis: I think one or two songs came up with the same psychedelic sound and we put that kind of sound to the other songs we were rehearsing. And it really worked that way. It’s not like we were aiming to do a psychedelic album. I think it just grew and went psychedelic. It’s not that we planned it.
Brent: Actually the most important change is that the previous albums were more based on an introvert way of writing. Like more about inner feelings. Kosmokoma is more like a cosmic view about everything and that’s the biggest change in feeling for me. Maybe that’s why it sounds more psychedelic.
I noticed that you were already making a great effort when it comes to the art covert and all the illustrations in the CD booklets. Do you see Steak Number Eight as a whole artistic experience rather than just music?
Brent: I don’t know…
Cis: I think yes.
Brent: We try to write a story actually. Like an album has to be a story for me and a show has to be a story too.
Cis: Sometimes you feel it in your guts.
Brent: It’s also about alcohol… (smiles)
Cis: Yes, sometimes… (smiles)
What are your plans for the coming weeks?
Brent: We’re playing a shitload of shows.
Cis: Next week, we’ll play Tons Of Metal in Norway. We have Wacken as well, a couple of Belgian festivals, Dour Festival… We have the Mastodon gigs at the end of August and, in September a few, German, Polish and Swiss dates.
Brent: And between that, I also do Gutterdammerung. Tonight, I’ll play Gutterdammerung too! (laughter)
This is more a point of view than a question but it feels that you play a very mature music for people of such a young age… Why so?
Brent: I think that we’re living pretty fast! (laughter) I don’t know…
Jesse: it just happens! (laughter)
Cis: I don’t think that we aim to do mature music… I don’t think that there’s an explanation behind it.
Brent: I think that we’re thinking about life a lot.
Cis: Yes, life is one trip and you never succeed! (laughter)
Is there a band that you see as a role model in terms of attitude and music?
Jesse: Every hard working band who from the beginning to the end worked their asses off. That’s an inspiration.
Brent: Yeah. I don’t know how to explain it but I agree with what he said: you definitely need to work hard.
Sorry to mention it but one day, you’ll have to call it a day. How would you like Steak Number Eight to be remembered?
Brent: Belgian psychos! (laughter) And they had good music too!
Cis: 4 Belgian psychos… Or Spychos!
It’s time to conclude. To do so I want you to finish this sentence for me : «I’ve never told this story before and probably shouldn’t but… »
Cis: I already have an easy one but I’m looking for better ones…
Brent: Well, there’s nothing that we’re ashamed of…
Jesse: Brent once fell asleep in the grass next to the bus and the bus nearly left without him.
Cis: And we also have that burning thing…
Brent: We had such a good night that we really wanted to remember it. But we were too drunk so we burned each other to do so.
Cis: We lighted up a metal piece until it was orange and we burned each other! And it didn’t hurt because we had drunk a lot of local vodka! (laughter)
Jesse: That’s actually the same night that Brent fell asleep next to the bus and we nearly left without him! (laughter)
Cis: And that night, he also stomped the tour manager’s bunk and he shat on the toilet, which was forbidden!
Jesse: And he didn’t give a single fuck!
Brent: And I cannot even remember! Oh shit…
Many thanks to Elodie & Charles (HIM Media)