Interviews: Columbarium

On this new occasion, we have had the opportunity to interview the Doom Metal band, Columbarium from Belgium. Check out the interview and follow the band on their FACEBOOK PAGE.

1. Where did you get the idea for the band name, you planned it or came out just like that?

It has a history that is very important to us. A columbarium is an urnwall in a cemetery, that is the literal meaning and it fits the atmosphere of the band, of course. I already played in a band with Mille (our drummer) in the 90s under the name Columbarium. We were a two-man band playing a mix of grindcore and doom metal. We both sang, Mille behind his drums and I played bass with a guitar scrambler on it, so just the two of us. We never really released anything except an unofficial live demo and I also have a T-shirt from that era. That project lasted from 1994 to sometime 1997/1998. I don't know if the name Anesthesy rings a bell, but it was a Belgian thrash band in the 90s, who released a few really great albums. Mille and I had been roadies for that band since the mid-80s. The main composer was Franky Libeert, we went to the pub with him almost every weekend after rehearsal, so he was one of our very best friends. At that time we played with Franky and the bass player of Anesthesy in a band called Arachnophobia with which we occasionally did support for Anesthesy. However, Franky died in a car accident in 1994. When Franky died, Arachnophobia also ceased to exist. We went to his grave at his funeral, with friends and his family. At one point we passed a 'Columbarium' sign in the cemetery where Mille said to me: "That would be a good name for our band if we’d continue with just the two of us." Subsequently, Mille and I decided to continue under the name Columbarium, mainly as an ode to our deceased friend. And so we actually just took that name back out of the fridge in 2021/2022. So that's the full story about the name Columbarium, it is and still will always be very emotional to us.

2. Why did you want to play this genre?

The style of music that we now play with the band is truly a mix of the genres we, with the four band members, listen to and are mostly influenced by. It is not a matter of ‘wanting to play’ that genre, it is simply what comes out of our hearts through our instruments, with the musical history we all have as band members. Mille and myself are influenced mostly by death metal, grindcore (going up to the extreme) and some heavy doom bands, but also the older raw stuff like old Venom, Bulldozer etc … That is where the heaviness and the raw vocals come from. Marc is somewhat ten years older than us and he is more influenced by classical bands like mainly Black Sabbath, but also some later seventies hard rock, so that’s undisputedly where some of our riffing originates from, yes, haha, you will hear some Black Sabbath-type riffing here and there. Koen also has a great history of listening to hard rock, heavy metal like Rush, and more modern complexer bands like Mastodon and Gojira. He definitely has a weak spot for melody, experimental harmonies etc because of that. So, that is the combination that you hear in the music of Columbarium. Heavy riffing, raw vocals pimped with guitar harmonies, melodic keyboards and guitar solos, heavy passages like almost Obituary-like but then with added mellow parts, slow guitar solos and keyboards ... Columbarium could not be the band it is today with all these different influences from every band member. We don’t hide from experiment, that is something we express to each other more than once.

3. Did you know each other before the band was formed?

Mille (drummer) and I (bass/vox) have been friends for about 35 years. We got to know Marc (guitar) through the band in a former setup from around 2010, which is the same for Koen, only he joined in later in 2016.

4. Each band member's favourite band?

Haha, that seems to be a very hard question for everyone, only our guitar players picked one specific band band, because you ask for it …:

Pete: that’s a really hard question for me, I can not pick one band, but I’d say overall through the years I would have to choose between Carcass, Autopsy, Cathedral and old Metallica. If you’d ask what my favorite record of all time is, that’d be Carcass’ ‘Symphonies Of Sickness’.

Mille: Pfffff, same thing here, too hard ... I have a lot of favorite albums, but bands .... I love metal in all its forms ...

Koen: all right, …. Let’s say Mastodon then.

Marc: For me that would be old school Black Sabbath.

5. Who or what inspires you to write songs?

All four of us are musicians for a long time and we have all played in other bands. Music is in our blood and I guess we are addicted to the feeling that you get as friends to create and play music together. Being close friends is very important to us and consequently I suppose for the band. It would be hard to replace someone in the band with someone we don’t have a good relationship with as a friend. Creating music together and being able to play songs that transcend above each of the bandmembers individual quality as a musician is an incredible feeling. We love to rehearse together, make music, but also have a few beers and joke around together. If we feel good like that, the music comes out automatically. Columbarium really is the sum of all four of us and we all like (to play) metal!!

6. Where was your last gig?

Our last gig was in a local bar called ‘AdFundum’ with our friends in Carrion presenting their incredible new album ‘Morbid Nailgun Necropsy’. We really felt like we were really going strong and the reactions where really good after the show. It was great to get together with the guys in Carrion, but also talk to the fans, meet our producer Lander Cluyser from Hearse Studio again, who saw us in a real live setting for the first time, haha; had a few beers, it was a lot of fun!!

7. Where would you like to act?

I believe you can ask this any band. The sky is the limit, really. We are now playing in our own country Belgium of course, but have done a decent number of gigs in our neighbour countries the Netherlands and France. If they would ask us for Osaka Hospital Fest or Malta Doom Metal Fest and they cover our costs, I’m sure we’d be delighted to free our agendas (smile). No, really, it doesn’t matter, we would consider anything and are open to play with different genres too. 

8. Whom would you like to feature with?

What we have seen is that we easily make friends with all sorts of bands, so sometimes it goes really well and you keep in contact with the bands you play with and sometimes there is almost no contact. I’d be delighted to open for a Cathedral reunion show, haha!! We know that’s not going to happen, bothways, haha. We’d love to play with any band. With the backgrounds and the history we have being fans of metal in all its different genres and subgenres, we’d love to play with all sorts of bands. It’s rather the places that would make it special. Play at some abroad doom metal festival would be really great and I would love to do for example!!

9. Whom not?

I can not think of one band we wouldn’t want to play with honestly …. Hm.

10. Have any of you ever suffered from stage fright? Any tips for beginners on how to beat that?

No, normally we don’t. It just happened a few months ago we played three shows in a row and before the first show at the last rehearsal one of us said out of nowhere: “I feel like a bit nervous for this show.”, I had never heard that before, but that was simply because it was like four months ago we played live, I believe. I admitted that I felt it too, a healthy dose of stress, as the first one was the biggest show of the three. I had an interview about a month ago with John Gallagher from Dying Fetus and I asked him how they can always play so 100 % brutal and tight. The key was to not drink any alcohol, none at all, before the show, he said. I wouldn’t know, because we have never tried that 😊 … Maybe we should, haha! If you don’t want to suffer from stagefright, you have to be confident and trust each other 100 % in the band. I believe the only way to reach that is to rehearse, rehearse, rehearse when you start a band. You should be able to play without thinking. It’ll give you confidence and trust in each other to go on stage, I believe.

11. What bands have inspired you the most?

For the different band members that will be different bands, the ones we already mentioned, Autopsy, Carcass, Cathedral, Mastodon, Black Sabbath, but so many others, … from all kinds of records we love, Moss, Venom, but also the brutality from grindcorebands like Mumakil, although we don’t play that fast, but it’s the feeling, the aggression sometimes, or a melody, it might be anything. Our guitarplayer Koen is without a doubt also influenced by the blues, he’s got his rhythm and melody often from bluesbands. So, it ranges from soft melodic bands to the most extreme music and doom metal like Saint Vitus, Sleep etc … As I said Columbarium is the sum of all the different influences of all the four band members.

12. What's the weirdest thing a fan has ever asked you for?

I can not grasp one specific, bizar thing, but we get asked for guitarpicks and drumsticks quite a lot …. I know that’s probably the standard answer you get, but that’s simply the truth.

13. What do you think of your fans?

We have fans that follow us for almost ten years, also in another setup we played before Columbarium. But it is so nice to see that people are still discovering us. We now see that again through our new single we released ‘Eyes Bleed Black’ through Argonauta Records. We see that thanks to the promotion agency Grand Sounds we are now reaching new people we would otherwise never have reached and would have been able to play our music for. We are grateful for everyone soul that likes our music, since a long time or just new. Grateful for everyone that bought music from us, showed up at concerts, bought merch or even just took the time to listen to our creations, or have a beer with us together and chat after a show! I believe every musician will confirm that every compliment you get about your music or performance is flattering, you would lie if you wouldn’t. So, of course thank you to everyone that supported us in any way, like you are doing now with the interview too!!

14. What do you think of our site?

Exactly one year ago you asked us about our very first single ‘Rivers Of Blood’ that was just released digitally and on tape through ‘Dust & Bones Records’. So, we are grateful for this second interview we have with you guys! Thanx for the support! Ever since we have been following your site on a regular base. You have some great things going like you are also sharing Bandcamp releases and offer free music to your readers. That’s a great intention! You have the compilation and regular band biographies. Also the idea of presenting bands per country is quite unique. So, we really feel that you are doing things your own way and that’s how it should be done, in your own interpretation. I’m sure we will reach a few more new souls trough you, guys, so many thanx for the interview and support!! Keep up that great work!

15. Something to add?

Haha, people, yes, pls share our new single ‘Eyes Bleed Black’ as much as you can, dudes 😊 😊 : link here: Cheearrz & Thank you, everyone!! Hope to see you all alive & live at some venue in the future!

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