Belgium heavy metal band, Channel Zero have had many difficulties in their career, most notable disbanding in their prime in 1997, reforming again and tragically losing a member, but through all that the band are back and stronger than ever, with their new album to be released via Metal Blade Records on the 24th June 2014 and helping to embark them on a new journey as a band. I had a lot to ask lead singer Franky De Smet-Van Damme following all that has happened, discussing the past, present and the future of Channel Zero...
You have quite a history, forming back in 1990 and then disbanding at the height of your career in 1997, what were you reasons for this and reflecting back on this how do you feel about it now?
Well at that time we had it … the differences musically were so intense that there was no other way then stopping back then … we didn't come along anymore … so at a certain moment its better to stop … I still believe that was the best thing we did then … now since we are back on track we have a good vibe rolling in the band and that at least a important factor in making something work in the long run … so we are happy and I think you feel that we have a good vibe hanging … it results is a nice album;-)
During the time that you were disbanded, what were you working on musically?
I had a project called Skitsoy but I stopped that band in 2006 … I didn't have the finances to keep taking risks at a certain moment so I stopped and started working in Sales for PA companies.
In 2010 you announced a series of reunion gigs and a new single, what made you decide to reform and why then?
Well a face book group was made and in 3 weeks they had like 15000 fans wanting us to do a show … so we prepared 1 show which turned out to be 6 sold out shows in 1 day .. so that was pretty intense as a come back but to be honest … I was not aware it was going to explode like it did.
Now in 2014 you have a anticipated new album, 'Kill All Kings' out 24th June via Metal Blade Records, how excited are you for this release?
We feel very honored … Metal Blade is a good strong label and is perfect for giving us a International chance … I think its great they believe in our new album … we feel at the right place here … they do a great job promoting us … so lets make things happen.
What is the meaning behind the title, 'Kill All Kings' and how did you come up with this?
Well its about the financial system … the kings refer to the Central Eu bank en Fed Reserve … both company's from the same family … I think it about time people start to know what the real impact is for all our taxes to be taken by these super banks … all countries pay a lot of money to use a bill called the Euro or the Dollar .. i don’t believe in revolution .. but I think there should be a less extreme balance between what we have to collect for using a bill instead of being slaves to a system that suffocates us … less taxes and a better way of life would make everyone happy … instead of a couple of families that are already filthy rich even making them more rich.
Condolences about the passing of former member, Phil Baheux last year, how would you say this tragic event influenced the new album and as a tribute how happy are you with how it turned out?
Well we still feel sad about Phil passing away … he was truly a great person and loving father …. and a brother to all of us … his death really hit us hard … we were 2 days before we about to record that new album when he passed …
Roy asked Mikey if he could help us out for making this album as a dedication to Phil … which was so humble and we really appreciated this so much .. Roy is truly one of the nicest guys I've ever met … respect for reaching out to us in this difficult situation .. something we never forget.
How hard was it to find a new drummer for the recording of the album and how did you arrive at Roy Mayorga?
Roy is a good friend off Mikey since they played 5 years in Soulfly together … and after some time he heard that we didn't really know how we were going to go from there … then he proposed to help us if we wanted too …
Can you tell us a bit more about the song writing and recording process for the album?
We did 2 years of songs writing … I think Mikey made about 40 of them … and at the end we kinda cut it down to 20 of them and so on we got to the 12 ones we had left and that were chosen to be on the album …
we were about to record the album with Logan Mader in Belgium but that was 2 day later when Phil passed away so we had an opportunity to record in LA with Roy which we did in dec 2013, we did Guitars and Vocals in LA at Logans Studio … so we recorded everything in LA and the Bass was recorded in Belgium but with new technology we could work really consistent back and forth while recording everything in LA …
How does this new release compare to your previous albums?
I think Kill All Kings is stronger because we took more time to work on it … and Mikey and I knew each other way better … musically we were having more impact on each other in this writing process … so that worked even better than with Feed them with a brick … in 2011.
Since first forming and due to the changes in the band, how would you say musically and dynamically the band has changed?
I think we are moving fore ward … its important to stay focused … and everybody had his own vibe going and talent added to the full impact … for me its important to work for music that lasts in time … and I’m maybe the guy that always will try to make the music sound like now .. its important to know from where you come and not forget the past but taking some risks and going for new impact is always more risky … but I like taking risks … and Mikey is so talented … I’m really fortunate that he felt at ease in Channel Zero … we form a good writing team he is a great guy … love him for making things happen.
How excited are you for your upcoming tour in Europe starting in July?
We mainly play Belgian shows but we hope we can join a tour after the summer … so we can finally start playing that new album in Europe … and hopefully out side of EU ;-)
What else does Channel Zero have planned for 2014?
We hope to make more world promo and hope we get picked up to play live.
Thank you for your time
New Album, 'Kill All Kings' is out 24th June 2014 via Metal Blade Records! Check out my review of the album here: http://carinasmusicreviews.blogspot.co.uk/2014/06/channel-zero-kill-all-kings-album.html