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I’m very happy to present you guys out there the first interview I did at Rockharz Festival 2022! It’s even more exciting since it’s with a band I’ve been following for quite some time and whose music really just gets to me: EVIL INVADERS from Belgium. In this interview Joe Anus and Max Mayhem (no, not the character referenced in The Fault in our Stars who killed 118 humans in 284 pages) really get into what they would change about the Metal scene, how the pandemic influenced their last album Shattering Reflection and everything in between.
Huge thanks, once again, to the fantastic lightinmirror.de for the wonderful pictures!
Shieldmaiden’s Voice: If you had to describe your music in just three words, which would you choose?
Joe: Extreme Heavy Metal.
Max: Mhm… I would say… Intense, Heavy and Balls! [all laugh]
SV: What are your main musical influences?
Joe: It’s a bit different for all of us, but I tend to go back to the old classics like MERCYFUL FATE, BLACK SABBATH, JUDAS PRIEST, EXODUS. The Bay-Area-Thrash combined with the old Hardrock and Heavy Metal bands is a huge influence to me.
Max: I agree with that, but I also have a lot of modern influences because that’s the music I listen to most of the time. It’s a good mix of everything!
SV: What would you say is your biggest strength in terms of songwriting and your music?
Joe: I think it’s the variety of songs that we have. Especially on our last record there is a lot of contrast in our music, sometimes within a song and sometimes in between songs as well. That keeps an album interesting.
Max: Exactly! It’s the art to stay true to your roots and then do something new while the core remains.
Joe: We will always sound like us because it’s us playing. We used to write fast tracks all the time, but we also like to reinvent ourselves all the time and we always stay true to the music that we started playing. It’s just evolving and getting better, especially the songwriting is improving in variety. And that’s the thing, basically!
SV: You released an album this year called Shattering Reflection. How did the pandemic influence this album?
Joe: The pandemic actually improved the record, because we had more time to write it. Normally, when we release an album, we start touring like crazy and we don’t have that much time to sit together and write songs since we still have our day jobs when we come home. It’s this cycle of working your day-job, going on tour and then having to work again and that makes it hard to find time to write music. Most of the time, we wrote individually and then threw the shit together and mixed the ideas up.
This album process however was quite cool because we came home, our last three shows were cancelled due to the pandemic, and we just started talking about our ideas. We threw everything together and were like: „Fuck, we have a shit ton of material and there’s some good shit in here!“
Max: We really had time to work out the details. When you’re stressed by touring and working, you’re more eager to say that the song is done and everything is good enough. In reality, good enough is not always good. Now we had the time to really go in the depths of the songs, which is sometimes a bit frustrating but it’s the end result that counts. It’s rather nice to be able to pick a song back up again after a month and just work it over once more.
SV: Which messages do you want to mainly convey with your music?
Joe: When we write lyrics, we try to keep it as open to interpretation as possible. What I personally love in lyrics is when I can relate to them myself and I can find my own meaning in it even if it isn’t what the original songwriter intended. All of our lyrics are pretty personal to us, but we write them in a way that they’re open for interpretation. There is not one message that we spread, it’s more like raw emotions turned into words. It’s an expression of anger and of feelings that we have and things that happen in our daily lives.
Max: We’re working out the daily grind!
Joe: It’s like therapy!
SV: Maybe it’s cheaper than therapy! [laughing all around] Moving on! You’ve had a number of live performances in which you were able to play the new songs. How did the fans take to the new material?
Joe: Way better than expected! We loved the album before we released it and thought that a lot of people were gonna dig this, but as soon as we did our release party, people were able to sing along! We did release three video clips beforehand but they were going crazy. Seeing these reactions and those at the festivals in the many countries we played, like Germany, Lithuania, Spain and all over Europe, everybody digs the shit! I don’t have the push the crowd anymore to go crazy, as soon as I let the music do the talking they lose their minds. We get spontaneous Wall of Deaths for which you don’t even have to ask and stop the set, instead the people just feel like doing it. That’s the best compliment we can get.
SV: Speaking of live performances: Do you prefer playing festivals like Rockharz or do you prefer playing concerts?
Joe: I love all of them! Both have their own charm. I always think it’s a bit harder to feel a crowd on a big stage like this, but it’s easier to walk around like crazy if you have a big stage. Personally, I love the big productions on stage, but I kind of miss the connection with the crowd on huge stages. During a club show, you can basically hang face to face with the front row. It brings a more dangerous, anything-can-happen-kind-of-moment, some guy can crawl up or I go down. It’s more unpredictable.
Max: It’s just two different pairs of shoes. Club shows are intense shit, a lot of things are possible when you play those, but as teenagers we always dreamt to be on the big stages which makes this a different vibe entirely. We love them both!
SV: Do you have any rituals that you do before you go on stage?
Max: Aaaaah, the „five beers, five cigarettes“ technique! [laughing]
Joe: And the occasional bottle of the Jack!
Max: But that’s for club shows!
Joe: All jokes aside, we just do our thing and it’s not very calculated. It’s more uncontrolled chaos.
Max: Yeah, totally! A lot of bands have their script, they go through it and we just go on stage and see what happens.
Joe: It also depends on our moods that day. We always go for the full 100%, but it’s gonna be a different show every time. Of course we have some points in the set where we do the same thing because you don’t have a coherent show otherwise.
Max: Nobody says like „At 3:20min and in this songs, we’re gonna jump.“ If I feel like doing the bunny jump, then I’m gonna do it! We just go with the vibe and what the music is to us and what drives you.
SV: What is the best thing about being a member of EVIL INVADERS?
Joe: Are there any good sides…? [everyone laughes] The best thing is that you work really hard and are wildly underpaid! It’s just for the love of music!
SV: If you could change one thing about the Metal scene in general, what would you change?
Joe: I would warp it back in time because I think the modern bands are kind of weak compared to the old bands. These days every demo stage band can release a full-length record with a good production and it’s really hard to see the trees through the forest. Sometimes you have an overload of shitty releases and the good bands don’t always get the attention they deserve. It’s good that a starting band can release something on their own, they don’t have to be discovered by a label. I just think that the quality of the songwriting is going a bit downhill these days.
Max: You also had that stuff in the 80s.
Joe: But there was a kind of filter that it had to pass first before it got released to the masses.
SV: I think globalization plays a role in that because in the 80s you had as much releases in a year as you have in a week now.
Joe: When you think about it, the releases were crazy! Living back then and having MOTÖRHEAD, IRON MAIDEN, METALLICA and KISS releasing their stuff and you could choose from these now amazing classics.
SV: Unfortunately, we have to come to an end which is why this is my last question. What is a message you always wanted to tell your fans but haven’t had an opportunity to do so yet?
Max: Eat your vegetables!
Joe: Try to not think too much. These days, I have the feeling people are overthinking everything and comparing everything to everything. Social media is just a big fucking shit show.
Max: Yeah! Everything is about how can I look the coolest on this picture to get the biggest reach. Like, just fuck of! Being in a band is not all about your social media, it’s about the quality of the music and the shows you deliver. Nobody cares if you have a cool picture with your guitar, people care for good music!
Joe: And when you go to shows, just have fun! Don’t think too much about what people think about you, just do whatever your instincts tell you to do. Just some good old Rock’n’Roll.
What a band! And that was also the Rockharz interview! Stay tuned for the next couple of days when the other interviews are going to be released. If you want more EVIL INVADERS content, make sure to check out my personal favorite song In Deepest Black or their merch store!