After All – great thrash metal band from Belgium, welcome!
Hi! Tell me about After All and ‘90s. Why did you decide to name the band with such title after two another ones? And what kind of ideas from the early days do you explore ‘till now?
Dries and I (Christophe) met in school in our early teens, back in the mid 80’s. We were the only two metal heads in school and naturally became friends. Soon after that we picked up a guitar and started a band together. That was around 1986-1987 the rest, as they say, is history.
Our first band was called Crap Society and was more hardcore tinted – we also still had to learn to grasp our instruments. Later when we could play a little better we started up a new band more metal/crossover orientated called At Last … but we had to change the name because another band in our area had the same name.
That’s how we came by the name After All.
The three first albums were more heavy rock with a metal edge sometimes even leaning on some doom metal and new wave influences, but from our fourth album ‘Mercury Rising’ we kind of found our own style which is heavily based on thrash/speed metal, as that really is the music Dries and myself grew up on.
“Waves of Annihilation” album was released almost one month ago. How does that make you feel? Do you feel you have put album into masses without any wishes to change something now?
We are very proud of it and are absolutely stoked by the overwhelmingly positive reactions it has been getting both from fans and in the press. We worked very long and hard on this album and wouldn’t change a thing. We love the music on it, the production by long time collaborator and producer Dan Swanö is stellar and the artwork by Ed Repka is awesome (as always).
Tell me more about “Waves of Annihilation”? Album ideas etc…
We definitely worked the longest on ‘Waves’ than we have ever done on any album. It’s also the most collaborative effort to date. Dries remains the main composer/arranger but this time around Frederik (bass) and myself (Christophe, guitar) came up with a lot of ideas too, even more so than on its predecessor “Dawn of The Enforcer”. This really resulted in our most diverse album to date, but don’t be fooled it’s also our heaviest and fastest work yet. Let’s also not forget the big influence our singer Sammy has on the overall sound. He really outdid himself on ‘Waves’. His signature high-pitched vocal style is definitely very prominent but this time around he also incorporated some cool melodic, heavy metal style choruses and even a gritty death grunt here and there. It all results in a really diverse After All album yet, at the same time it very much bears the distinctive After All stamp.
Where do you take all inspiration from?
That ranges from the classics like Black Sabbath, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, but also unmistakingly from the LA Speed Metal scene (Slayer, Agent Steel) and the SF Bay Area scene (old Metallica, Forbidden, Testament, Heathen, Death Angel, …).
But we listen to so much music, we all have a very eclectic taste from Rush to Voivod, from King Diamond to Sinead O’Connor to name but a few.
In your opinion, what is the best way to define After All’s sound?
I would say Bay Area style Thrash/Speed Metal with high pitched and melodic vocals to sum it up in a few words.
So, are you on hiatus now, just relaxed and looking for album feedbacks, or did you started to compose new stuff immediately?
We’re not on hiatus. We are rehearsing our live set for a couple of gigs we have lined up in Belgium. We recently teamed up with Dutch booking agent Bidi Bookings and are looking forward to promote “Waves of Annihilation” at some killer shows and festivals both in Belgium and (far) beyond. It’s a bit too early for new stuff but when a good hook or riff comes along we record it for future reference and will certainly revisit those ideas when the time comes.
Any tours planned?
Not at the moment but we are open to any cool package or opportunity that arises.
We have done a lot of touring in the past and are willing to in the future, but the right occasion has to come along. It has to be beneficial for the band. We won’t tour just for the sake of touring. We have to pick and choose our battles so to speak.
Tell me please about videoclip for the song “The Unusual Sin”. What is the main conception of this song and what the message would you like to bring to the listeners by this song and mainly video?
The main theme of “The Unusual Sin” deals with addictions of all sorts. Be it alcohol, sex or whatever. There is basically a “sinner” in all of us.
We shot the clip at an old monastery in Ghent with our friend Jeroen Mylle who did previous clips for us for “The Parasite Within”, “To Breach and Grieve” and “Rejection Overruled”. We are very happy with his work and vision. He managed to land a very cool location and awesome model. The first part of the clip is the model being confronted with the aforementioned sins while the second part has the band performing in the monastery.
Definitely check it out if you get a chance:
Check our other clips at www.afterall.be
What are your main musical influences? How huge is their influence in your sound? I can easily find some tunes, similar to Testament for example.
Me and Dries grew up on thrash metal, so naturally that’s what is in our genes and those influences inevitably come out when we write music.
But we also like Heavy Metal and stuff like King Diamond, Mercyful Fate, Armored Saint, Queensryche and even newer stuff like Ghost are also an influence although obviously we try to avoid copying other bands.
We do our own thing regardless of what is hip or trendy at the time and the fact that the five of us bring together our different influences is what makes it After All.
Is there some well-known musician in particular that you would like to use in one of your upcoming albums?
We already worked with some of our heroes in the past: Andy Larocque, Joey Vera, Bernie Versailles, Juan Garcia, James Rivera, Steve Smyth, Guido Gevels are all influential musicians who graciously provided guest spots on previous After All recordings. We all got to know them through touring or playing together. But if there would be no limit to the possibilities a guest spot by King Diamond, Bruce Dickinson or Rob Halford would obviously be amazing! We can only dream, can’t we?
What is your personal strategy for making your music heard by a larger audience?
First and foremost we write the music which we think is cool and we raise the bar every time we start with a new album.
As far as getting it out to the masses it’s a case of finding a good, hard working label with a decent distribution and promotion and a good booking agent that can get us on cool gigs and festivals.
I think this time around with NoiseArt Records, with distribution and promotion partners such as Napalm Records and Nuclear Blast, and with Bidi Bookings we’ve got a very good team behind us.
We’ll see what the future brings but we are pretty optimistic. Obviously there are a lot of goods bands out there with bigger budgets and bigger labels behind them, but there’s room for everybody in my opinion.
Do you have any other hobby beside music?
We all have our wives or girlfriends and kids, who obviously take up a big part of our lives. All of us naturally also have day jobs. But besides music, which also takes up a big part of our free time, Fredrik is a life long soccer fan of FC Brugge, Bert likes cooking, Dries is into vintage Italian motorcycles, Sammy is into movies and I myself am heavily into all things music (besides After All I play drums, I record, produce and do live sound engineering for other bands, I also work as guitar tech for two fairly well known Belgian bands) but besides that I love a good TV series, movie or going out for a nice drink or meal.
Are you all supported by your relatives towards your devotion to music?
We sure are, otherwise we wouldn’t be at it for as long as we have been.
All our wives and girlfriends are really supportive and our rehearsal space is (and has been from the beginning) at my parent’s place.
So we are obviously very thankful for that.
How’s the metal scene in Belgium right now? Is it easy to play gigs, to buy records etc there these days? Also what about coming terrorists there?
It’s pretty flourishing, lots of good bands coming up. Small club shows are fairly easy to get but bigger festivals in Belgium are a lot more difficult to get on as a Belgian band as there are a lot of international acts that obviously draw a bigger crowd. According to me, however, it’s very important to support your local, national metal scene. Still a lot of room for improvement there!
Terrorism is obviously a stupid and dangerous thing, especially if’s about religion.
People need to get a long and respect each other’s different views and have some common sense. But conflict has always been part of the world unfortunately … I think media and social media play a big role in keeping that negativity going. Money and power have sadly always made the world go round. The recent terrorist attacks in Paris and Brussels are really bringing it close to home – although it’s a daily thing in other parts of the world.
Having kids naturally makes you more concerned about stuff like this but the main thing is to not let these events dictate your life and to try and remain positive.
Thank you for answering my questions, see ya on the road!
Many thanks for your time and interest in the band Lukasz.
Anyone reading this should check out our website www.afterall.be or www.facebook.com/afterallmetal
Stay metal !