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Legion Of The Damned

Het meest recente album van de Hollandsche thrash trots Legion Of The Damned dateert alweer van begin 2014, dus je zou verwachten dat de band inmiddels al begonnen is met de werkzaamheden aan een nieuwe plaat. Niets is echter minder waar, behalve dan wat schrijfwerk. De band is na de release van Ravenous Plague’ eigenlijk alleen maar bezig geweest met tours en festivals, en voorlopig komt daar nog geen einde aan. Naast plannen voor een rits optredens op het Amerikaanse continent in 2017 staat het najaar van 2016 in het teken van de Europese podia. En daarbij wordt Nederland niet overgeslagen, want voor de eerste keer in het bestaan van de band is er een heuse tournee in Nederland georganiseerd. Hoe dit na zoveel jaar mogelijk was vroegen we aan zanger annex boegbeeld Maurice.

Door: Horst | Archiveer onder speed / thrash metal

Hi Maurice. How are you these days?
I’m good. Became father just nine weeks ago which is an amazing feeling. So I’m feeling splendid, thanks for asking.

One of the first things I do when I’m preparing an interview is checking a band’s website for news and other noteworthy information. To my surprise however it seems that your homepage hasn’t been updated since the release of your latest full-length ‘Ravenous Plague’, and that was almost three years ago. It seems that you don’t see your homepage as important anymore. Facebook is king?
Haha, exactly. Its cool to use Facebook because you get reactions from people. And you see how posts are doing, plus its easy when you are on the road by making photos on Instagram which automatically will be added to your facebook, its all easy. I am not the person that says there ONLY should be Facebook. I think the traditionally Website is also needed, but the guy who does the website is from Brasil, its not someone with whom you are in contact with everyday, so for updates it always needs some planning. Since we haven’t released anything new we kept on going with Facebook for now. But the website is going a treatment as we speak. We have to change it because it does not look professional this way of course haha

Speaking of ‘Ravenous Plague’, it was put out in early 2014. How has the album been doing, and how do you look back on it nowadays?
I love that album and see that one as one of the best releases for Legion. The album did well, although many were about skeptical about this release since our ‘Descent Into Chaos’, you know, new guitar player and also the fact that ‘Descent Into Chaos’ wasn’t a strong album, also many didn't like that the typical Legion sound of Andy Classen was gone on this album. With ‘Ravenous’ we tried to be more experimental, especially when we added another guitar player later in the process of writing. We didn’t want to be to experimental because otherwise it would not be legion anymore. But with our upcoming new album we might take stept little further….well, in the boundaries of LOTD of course ;-)

What has the band been doing after the release? If my memory serves me right after the release you went on tour with Sepultura and Flotsam & Jetsam, right? What can you tell us about that trek? Any amusing, shocking or funny stuff happened you’d like to share with us?
That was the best tour we did. Such a great atmosphere. Even the last show in Eindhoven I felt like I could continue another week or two, that feeling I never had, I usually felt great while being back home in my own bed. Great venues, great bands great vibe, great everything! We also did a small south american tour with the release of Ravenous,that was also a great experience.

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After that tour it seems that you never quite stopped doing gigs. A couple of tours, and you got booked for quite some big summer festivals during the last three years. How did these festival gigs turn out? Was it everything you expected? And what do you prefer anyway? Playing in front of large, but (like always) just partly interested crowds, or clubgigs in joints that are packed with your own fans?
Both have its charme you know. Playing infront of a big crowd is super, but loses bit of contact and old school vibe. Being indoors is great when crowds are on your nose banging like crazy. If I have to choose I do prefer indoors, sweaty, very loud gigs. If you do festivals each year you don’t really think about expectations and all that, you just do the shows routine style, which sometimes its sad you know, just doing it without any feelings, it depends on which festivals ofcourse. But sometimes it feels like doing job. But nevertheless, playing festivals and gigs and meeting new/old fans and other bands and seeing other bands play is still great! Sometimes there is also no need to think about expectations, for example last With Full Force Festival in Germany I had to drive alone to the festival because of my girls pregnancy and the child almost coming, I drove for seven hours and arrived only four minutes before Legion had to start. Had to put on my clothes in my car and just ran on stage. As said, its just doing it without thinking haha.

As I’m writing this down the festival season has come to an end, but the club season is in full swing. LOTD also takes part in this and is gearing up for a Dutch tour (see dates/locations below). What’s the reason for this small trek through your homeland? Afraid we might have forgotten you?
Since we are Legion of the Damned in 2006 we never really played in Holland before. It was always a festival, or one gig in Holland during a tour, and then again mostly the same clubs: 013 or Effenaar. We have been getting bookings always for Holland but always turned it down, we were busy with other things, festivals and had no time to do smaller clubs shows or we were working on new material. But as I become older (ahum) I always think and talk with my age friends about the 80’s and 90’s and how it was always cool bands in Holland did small tours, like the one we did in the Occult days with Sinister in 1997, and the Dutch Metal Nights in 1996. Out of this came the plan to do shows in Holland. Most important was that the entrance is a fair price, 10 euro max 15 euro. So people can still enjoy a beer or buy a shirt like we did in the 80’s and 90’s. Not that the entrance is 20 or 25 euro and shirts are 35 euro. Crazy! So you can imagine we don’t get the fees that we usually ask and thats why this is also a one-time thing only, not only for the fees but also for the times, doing five shows in holland means you have to use 3 weekends for this which in the future won’t be possible anymore.

You’re not only popular in Europe, but it also happens that metal fans on the American continent, both north and south, are very fond of your band. In fact there are plans to visit the new world again, right? I read on your Facebook that gigs where being scheduled for Panama, Columbia, Costa Rica and Mexico. Now touring in South-America is a totally different cookie than touring in Europe. You have been there before, so what can you tell us about touring in those parts of the world, and what should all bands be aware off while touring there if it’s the first time?
It’s the other way around how they setup shows there. They have a completely different mentality BUT the crowd/fans are the best in the world!! Infrastructure is sometimes hard there, but it differs from country to country. Argentina and Chile I expected to be bad in organization and all that, but its was superb. Brazil was a different story. Also you hear from other bands how they get ripped off and even heard that Kreator got paid false money (8000 euro) once in South America. You have to be careful and not doing this to make money. It usually costs you money in the end. But its a great experience. Now trying to setup the countries you mentioned. We always wanted to go back to Mexico after we did a very successful how with Exodus in Mexico infront of 3000 maniacs. I am still skeptical if the shows will happen, you never know up there, but I hope they do. As for what other bands should be aware of? Poeh….hard to say, I think you should never pay stuff in advance if they tell you, you will get it back from them, that will never happen, for the rest…mmm…you need patience and a lot of nerves ;-)

And what about playing North-America? You mentioned something like that on Facebook, so maybe you can shed some light on this matter?
I am in contact with a promoter there, so there might be possibilities. North America is hard, the distances are long, so going there to do two or three shows makes no sense, if you do two weeks you have to travel a lot, which costs a lot of time AND money. Its not like here in europe where you get a bus paid etc…so we have to see how this will turn out.

Everybody has their dreams, and musicians are no exception to that rule, so here’s a something to chew on: if money wasn’t a problem, how would the perfect LOTD live show look like? Yes, you’re allowed to think!
Haha! I am still old school, so I would not add anything bizar or weird. But I do like a nice stageset build or Pyro and flames. Like the idea of what Slayer once used with having blood rain poured on to them, but we are not a theatrical band though. If money was not an issue I would perhaps get the band a nice big tourbus with a driver haha.

Gigging and touring is not the only thing bands do. There’s also something like recording new music. Now between your recent album ‘Ravenous Plague’ and its predecessor ‘Descent Into Chaos’ was a gap of three years, so logic dictates that a new LOTD album should be seeing the light of day in 2017. So tell me, am I right in assuming that you guys are already in the writing and recording mood?
We are working on new material, but there won’t be a new album in 2017 for sure, there is even no studio booked or planned. We will be doing some shows outside Europe next year, at least that’s what we are aiming for, and shows we don’t do often in countries, we might do some shows in Spain with Tankard in March, a small tour and then we have the South American shows, if thats going to be on and yes in the meantime writing new stuff. When we will release a new album is still unknown.

This wraps it up for now. Thanks Maurice for taking time out to answer the questions, and if you got anything left to say or share with our readers, the space below is yours…
I hope the band will meet some old and new fans during our dutch tour in october. Its a one-time thing only, cheap entrance price. This should give back the vibe like in the 80’s and 90’s, going to shows and enjoying shows with a beer in your hand and enjoy the loud music.

14-10-2016 - W2 Poppodium, Den Bosch
21-10-2016 - Amstelveen, P60
22-10-2016 - Lottum, Canix
23-10-2016 - Rotterdam, Baroeg
28-10-2016 - Groningen, Vera

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