Steak Number 8 returned to the Underworld not long after their latest UK show as they seem to be building a solid fanbase across the UK, a direct result of their hard work, enthusiasm and ferocious live shows. We spoke to guitarist Cis Deman about how the band started, their songwriting and their love for touring.
“Every time we see more and more people and familiar people bringing their friends as well. It’s nice to see them and that means a lot us. For example we have people coming again and again to see us. We recently played in Bournemouth, I don’t get it it’s really like a shit city, but first time when all of us went there was like 20 people and now people were back again and they brought their friends, there were like 70 people in like a small basement, it was too hot, too loud but good. It was good seeing familiar faces.
Even though playing live is one of the band’s core strengths and they have flirted with the idea of releasing a live DVD, Cis thinks their live spirit can only be truly experienced in a live setting:
“In July we’re going a do an outside stage in a Greek arena in Belgium which has a 2,000 people capacity and then we’re going to capture those sets live. Maybe we’ll put it on a DVD, maybe on YouTube but honestly I think a live set can never be captured in a DVD because we got a lot of momentum that, the band feeling and I think that’s the most important feeling you get out of it. You have to live it.”
Anyone who has experienced these Belgian metallers live will know how passionate they are about their music. The band, which started to honour Brent’s (lead singer) deceased brother, still has the same desire for expression at its heart:
“The first album was written because of the grief and sorrow and that’s still there but we are all doing very well and what keeps us going is that we’re still the friends that we were 12 years ago. The four of us, we’ve never had an argument, it never happened before unless we are very drunk and that’s for fun but we’ve never had an argument. That’s one of our strongest points. The other day, we were talking about how it can be that we’re still going, that we’re still best friends. Everybody is allowed to do whatever he wants to do.”
Given that these guys got together when they were only 14-15 years old, it’s refreshing to that they are still going strong:
“Being in the band together has shaped us. Whatever we do, whenever we get together. We’ve been through tough times like playing for two people. We once played in France for one guy it was a tour manager and then we’ve been to gigs like Graspop where there are thousands of people and I think that’s our reward.”
Despite their young age, these guys have been writing lyrics with dark undertones, Cis talks about how the band is piecing together its songs:
“I wrote some of the lyrics for Kosmokoma, I write lyrics when we’re on the road or when I am traveling. When I am on a plane, I write lyrics. When I look outside it’s the best time for me to write lyrics. I think the lyrics from Kosmokoma aren’t that dark as the previous albums but the lyrics are mainly how we see the world and in previous albums they were darker because there was more chaos, Brent’s brother dying… It was very dark period. And then all the lyrics I wrote while we were touring and I was writing about a lot of things that came to my mind so all the lyrics now in Kosmokoma are actually pretty happy. We have ‘Claw it in your eyes’ which is about being and enjoying whatever is around you.”
Writing the lyrics is a very personal thing to Cis as they are inspired by his personal life and his day-to-day life almost like writing a diary so can this sometimes make him feel vulnerable? “Yeah I think that lyrically and musically, it’s like a personal diary. I just think the whole package reflects a personal diary so fast songs, slow angry songs. Depends on how we felt that day, like in our previous album we had ‘Dickhead’ we were angry at this guy and we wrote those stupid lyrics to express our anger. So yes, musically and lyrically it reflects our feelings.”
And while touring, Cis has also made realisations which have helped him develop as a musician:
“I recently realised that the live shows I used to play them nice and perfectly and that was good but I became aware that this show might be my last show so we try to give everything we have in that show even if we’re feeling like shit. This is something recent. I am trying to do my best more and more because we have to convince those people. The most important thing is for me that I see the people smile that I see them dance that gives a lot to me and if I can give that to them by giving them my best, I think I am one happy guy, even if I make one fan happy.”
And perhaps this personal approach is what makes it really hard to fit Steak Number 8’s music into a specific category or genre: “We try to find names for our music, we found the name ‘sludge’ but we like ‘psychedelic sludge rock’.” When not restricted by musical terms it would be green and alcohol”, Cis says smiling.
The conversation turns to the next album and any topics they will be focusing on:
“We have been thinking about it and I would like to talk about what happened in Brussels, what happened in Paris, people are afraid. The danger is always there but you choose to be afraid. That’s what we want to try to put in the next album. Say to people not to be afraid.”
“We’re going to start writing next month. During the soundcheck we always have some small ideas, put it on the iPhone and then on a computer and record it at home. I think in a year, year and a half we will have everything ready and we can work on the next album. We’re very busy touring but that’s a nice of it as well.”
Talking about the future, Cis says:
“I want to have a long-term plan. It’s very difficult, everybody wants to have a plan but I think we just have to take it day by day and short-term band-wise we don’t know where we’re going to be in three years, we’re hopefully still going to be around. I just take day by day and take it as it comes for now. Maybe this will be different in five years, but for now I take it day by day.”
We hope that Steak Number 8 will still be around for years to come and as our chat comes to an end, Cis shares some final thoughts with us:
“Check our Facebook page, we put shit loads of new stuff up. We will be back soon in the UK, as soon as possible because I love it here and I love this pub! (Black Heart), I have never been here and you did. We’ve played like six times in the Underworld but had never been here. Check out Brent and Joris’ side project Raveyards and thank you for asking different questions.”
Steak Number 8’s Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/steaknumber8/
Photos by Fabio Poupinha: http://www.fabiopoupinha.com/