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Fireworks Magazine Online 68 - Interview with Diablo Blvd

Interview with DIABLO BLVD


Formed in Antwerp Belgium, Diablo Blvd are a hard rocking, dark Heavy Metal band that are not afraid of infusing strong vocal melodies into their songs. New release 'Follow The Deadlights' has the potential to leave the competition behind and have the band exploring new territories as they deliver an all together more technical and proficient brand of music.
Ray Paul had a chance to gain some insight into the history and future plans of these dark purveyors of Metal from guitarist Andries Beckers.


Diablo-Blvd Interview



Can you give a brief history of the band for any readers who are unaware of you?

Diablo Blvd, the band is named after a song by COC, started out in 2005. Originally we were a four-piece consisting of me, Alex Agnew, on vocals, Dave Hubrechts on guitar, my then girlfriend and now wife Yasmine on bass and Marc, aka Captain Mojo, on drums. We were soon joined by Andries Beckers on rhythm guitar, who also quickly established himself as the band's main songwriter. After a few shows and our successful 'Scarred & Undefeated' demo, both Marc and Yasmine left the band and were replaced by bassist Tim Beckaert and drummer Kris Martens. This line-up has remained the same to this day. In 2009 we released our first album 'The Greater God' on PIAS records to great critical acclaim. On the strength of that album we toured Belgium extensively and played our first big festivals; Graspop Metal Meeting and Pukkelpop, among others. We then released our second album 'Builders of Empires' in 2011, again touring Belgium and adding the Netherlands and Germany to our roster. For our latest album, 'Follow The Deadlights', we left PIAS and signed to Sony for the Benelux. The album ended up charting at number five in the Belgian Pop charts, and this ,along with our move to a major label, attracted the attention of several international labels, among which the label we ended up signing with: Nuclear Blast! 'Follow The Deadlights' will now receive a worldwide release in January. Next up: conquering the universe!

How would you describe your music to someone that has never heard you?

Dark Heavy Metal, with a healthy dose of Rock!

What would the band say are the musical influences that have help mould Diablo Blvd into the band you are?

I guess we have a wide range of influences, among which Black Sabbath, Danzig, Type-O-Negative, Cro-Mags, Metallica, Alice in Chains, The Cult, Entombed... If you throw all of these bands in a blender, you'll end up with Diablo Blvd!

Did you have an idea of the kind of album you wanted to make, or did you just let the music evolve naturally?

It's kind of a mix between the two. We mostly have a strong idea about the musical direction we want to take, but there is always room for spontaneity.

What struck me with many of the songs was despite dark Heavy Metal influences, you guys have some really cool melodies; is this important to the band?

Very. I think that we are a very song oriented band. All of our songs are written with memorable riffs and vocal melodies in mind. It begins and ends with a song, as far as I'm concerned.

Do any of the songs have any personnel meaning to you and overall what is the meaning of the album title 'Follow The Deadlights'?

Some songs are very personal, others are more based on things that interest me. 'Rise Like Lions', for example, is a more political song, while 'End Of Time' is based on my fascination for Norse mythology. 'Follow The Deadlights' is about loving something that ends up consuming you. You guessed it: it's about a woman!

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How long did the album take from starting to write to completion of the final album?

Several months. For this album, we did a lot of pre-production and I think that really shows on the end result. A lot of songs were either scrapped or re-written. We recorded it in the summer of 2013 and the album was then mixed and mastered in LA by Jay Ruston and Paul Logus, respectively. The album was released in the Benelux on May 9th, 2014, and it's now getting a worldwide release in January 2015, so I guess we've come a long way!

The vocals remind somewhat of Glenn Danzig, is this a comparison you have received before?

Yes, quite often. Danzig has always been a big influence, so I'm flattered by the comparison!

Have you toured with any name bands in the past?

We recently toured Europe with Machine Head. We also opened for Life Of Agony in the US and played three European shows with them. In the past we opened for Danzig, Clutch and Hermano.

Will you be touring Europe to promote the album and if so, will it be as a headline or support?

That's the plan! In January and February we'll be touring Europe with Epica and Dragonforce. After that we'll probably do some more support tours, and the plan is to play some headline shows in the second half of 2015.

What else does 2015 hold in store for Diablo Blvd?

Lots of touring and in the fall of 2015 we'll present the second edition of our own festival, Diablofest, in our home town of Antwerp. The first edition of Diablofest took place in May of last year and was a sold out success, and this year we'll be celebrating our 10 year anniversary, so that'll be really special!

Would you like to add or say anything else for our readers?

Keep Jesus out of Metal! Hail Satan! Ha! Ha!

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