Amenra ist eine der intensivsten Post-Metal-Bands der Welt. Seit 21 Jahren begeistert uns die belgische Ausnahme-Formation aus Kortrijk mit atmosphärisch dichter Musik, die mit jeder Note berührt, brennt, schmerzt, alte Wunden öffnet – heilt und befreit. Jedes Amenra-Konzert ist ein einzigartiges und emotionales Erlebnis aus ohrenbetäubenden Klang- und Lärmwänden – eingehüllt in die rituelle Auseinandersetzung mit Schmerz, Trauer, Leid, Verzeihen – am Rand der Dunkelheit.
Amenra haben das Jahr 2020 mit der Übertragung ihres Live-Rituals „Le Cercle“, das im Sommer aufgenommen wurde, ausklingen lassen. Es ist der letzte gemeinsame Auftritt der Band. Bassist Levy Seynaeve hat Amenra verlassen und konzentriert sich auf seine Band Wiegedood. Amenra spielen das aktuelle Album Mass VI live, ohne Publikum, mitten in der Natur und bescheren uns damit ein berührendes musikalisches Highlight zum Jahresende, Vorfreude auf neue Musik und Hoffnung auf Live-Erlebnisse in diesem Jahr.
Im Herbst 2021 touren Amenra wieder durch Europa. Vielleicht gibt es bis dahin auch das neue Album zu hören, neues Material ist bereits in Arbeit. Welche weiteren Projekte geplant sind, erfahren wir von Sänger Colin H. van Eeckhout. In unserem Interview blickt der Künstler zurück auf die letzte Dekade und spricht über Amenras Musik, neue Projekte und die Zusammenarbeit mit anderen Künstler*innen, über den Bandzusammenhalt und über die Bedeutung von Natur für das musikalische Schaffen. Vielen Dank Colin!
What is the sound of the past decade? How could one describe the last ten years musically?
Obviously for me it would be the sound of Amenra’s music. But for me it’s also the sounds of terrorist bomb attacks, protests worldwide, helpless refugee children’s cries, and Trump’s lies. I am in no way an authority to voice a description on music in general for the past decade.
What influenced your personal taste in music and art during the last decade?
I think for me it became clear that truthfulness and content made me appreciate music or art more. The presence of sincere nescessity. Or what seems to be nescessity. I don’t really give a rat’s ass about what style of music someone is playing, or what sort of art someone is creating, as soon as I feel like the portrayed emotion is brought in the most “direct” way, I am persuaded and it gets my attention.
What songs or albums of the past decade would you recommend listening to at the moment, & why?
I’m the wrong person to ask that. Sorry.
Yobs “Our raw heart” and “Clearing the path too ascend”
Lingua Ignota “All bitches die”
Nick Cave “Skeleton Key” …
If you had to describe your music in terms of not music…what would you say?
Obliterating and soothing. A destroyer and cleanser in one.
The duality and connection between love and pain is an important theme in Amenra’s music. There is a lot of darkness and regret. Why are suffering and pain important to you?
I think from early on in my life I came across life pain. And quickly realized that there was no way around it, it needed to be addressed head-on. That’s how it seeped into our music and content I presume. I saw the nescessity of having to find the energy to overcome all bad that crosses a human life. And we could draw that energy in through our music. Like summoning the force to help you fight off all that haunts you at a certain period in life.
What do you love so much about music? What are the boundaries that you look to explore with your music?
It’s freedom. There are no real boundaries. Unless you restrict yourself to ones you set yourself. And that makes it interesting as well. To be creative within barriers. I see it as one of the most thankful artforms out there, we get to rely on all senses. Music needs artwork, video, poetry/words etc. It doesn’t end.
You have made music for a long time. How do you see the last decade? What has changed over the years and what excites you about the future?
Emotional growth. As much as the future has always frightened me throughout my life, I have come to terms with that fear. We have been lucky to have most of us evolve in the same direction through the last decade.
With Amenra the potential seems always to be there, there is always room for growth, there are always challenges on our way, ways to reinvent ourselves. Cooperations and projects to embrace. I am very much looking forward to what the future may or may not bring. The longer we exist, the more we appreciate and embrace what we have.
You are working on many different projects such as film music or contemporary dance, opera and theater pieces. How did these collaborations come about and what fascinates you so much about it?
The other language the artists speak, some speak with color or movement. It’s super intriguing and challenging to find your way together in this. Come together as one, and reinforce each other’s efforts to get the story told. I mean, if you are around for a while and become an “established” name, it’s easier to come across likeminded artists or people in general. It’s like you’re drawn to one another I guess. Paths just cross, and you immediately feel something needs to be “done” together.
If you look back – how do you feel your music has changed over the last years?
I believe we have found or created our own identity now. No idea how we did that, but I know its undeniably there now. We have grown as humans and musicians during its course.
What impact has your surrounding on your music? How important is nature for you?
It wasn’t very important in the past. But it’s starting to be more and more important. Enjoying nature and spending time in connection to nature. Implicates the presence of free time. Which in my life isn’t always the case. Or I apparently don’t prioritize it enough. Grounding. I feel I need to be moving all the time while I still can. Things need to be done.
In May your first song of your new project Eyes Of Another came out. What particularly attracted you to working with Cellini? How did „The faint young sun“ came about, and what was your inspiration during the process? What was this experience like?
The unknown territory he roamed. He mentioned Amenra in an interview somewhere and I looked into his work, I connected with one of his songs called “Minerva”, and contacted him. We met up so we could touch base with each other, “see” what kind of human we were. And if a potential cooperation was inevitable.
I asked Lennart if he wanted to join the project, and his views and approach proved to be very nescessary for it to become what it is today. We pretty much mailed some things hence and forth at first, but then redbull offered us to use their studio in Amsterdam, and that really set everything in motion. There we were really able to take the first big step. We finnished “afys” in Amenra’s bassplayer’s studio in Lembeke, and recorded some more songs. Our agendas don’t allow us to take it home just yet, but we are very stoked about where it is going.
Us all being unknowingly witness to the end of civilisation, inspired me. I think.
How is the creative chemistry manifested between all band members?
It evolves. I mean we’ve been around for over 20 years now. That means we are part of the lucky few. And apparently our characters are in fact compatible. I feel we are growing closer to one another, and more appreciative towards each other as we get older. I think in our situation, we all step up each at our own time, on our own terms. But always as a band, as a group. An entity by several. It does feel like chemistry each time. There is no better feeling then seeing an album or whatever project we’re involved in coming together. And ending up being better than we all expected. Cause that’s one thing that we have in common, we don’t think highly of ourselves. The other way round even.
This last decade ended/the next begins with a deeply disturbing time – the Covid-19 pandemic. How do you handle this time without concerts, festivals and the much needed contact with bands and fans?
We never stop working. We rehearse a lot, write and record. We build and rebuild. We invest now more than ever, so when it’s all behind us we can reap the fruits of our labour and enjoy the new freedom.
You have recently released the audio of your acoustic set for VIVID and played a few acoustic concerts in the past few weeks. What do you feel when you play acoustic?
Gratitude for one in these times. And humbleness.
What is in the pipeline for you at the moment? What do you wish for?
We are currently working on artwork and design, videoclips and visuals for the new record. We are bound to play a live soundscore to Tarkovsky’s “The Mirror” in April. So we’re busy with that mostly now. Other than that we are writing a lot of new work. We are spending a hell of a lot of time together.
A lot of us have our side or soloprojects that have albums ready and so forth. I am working on a contemporary dance/opera/theatre piece for 2021 as well, and working on some books.
17.09.21 FR-Lille, Aeronef
18.09.21 FR-Paris, Elysee Montmartre
19.09.21 UK-London, Electric Brixton
20.09.21 LU -Esch, Rockhal
21.09.21 N-Utrecht, Tivoli Ronda
22.09.21 Köln, Essigfabrik
23.09.21 CZ-Prague, Meet Factory
24.09.21 HU-Budapest, Durer Kert
25.09.21 RO-Brasov, Kruhnen Musik Halle
27.09.21 PL-Krakow, Kwadrat
28.09.21 Berlin, Astra
29.09.21 München, Freiheiz
30.09.21 CH-Geneva, PTR
01.10.21 FR-Toulouse, Le Rex
02.10.21 ES-Madrid, Shoko
03.10.21 FR-Biarritz, Atabal
04.10.21 FR-Lyon, CCO Villeurbanne
05.10.21 FR-Rennes, l’Etage