Questionnaire by Stefan on behalf of METAL TO INFINITY WEBZINE BELGIUM
I’d like to welcome Devil’s Bargain here at MTI but most of all congratulations on your new album “Visions”. We’ll talk about that later, let’s start by going back in time to where it all started for all of you. In your relatively young existence, a lot has happened anyway, I’m curious about your story !
Stefan: How, when, where and by whom was Devil’s Bargain founded?
Devil’s Bargain was formed in 2013 by guitar player Jurgen Van Poppel, drummer Nico Laureys and bass player Dirk Poppe. Dirk and Jurgen had known each other since high school and also play together in a Dutch rock party band. They had both written some heavy metal songs and when that came up the idea of a new band was quickly formed. Nico was supposed to only help them in the beginning until they found a permanent drummer, but he liked it so much that he ended up staying in the group.
The search for a good singer took some time. After a few changes Davy Bruggeman came on our path. Things clicked immediately.
Stefan: Usually every band has some kind of ambition when it comes to founding a band, what about yours?
The main goal from the start was shaping our own musical ideas and making good classic metal. We have all rolled into different musical projects over the years, but our love for heavy metal has always remained strong. It is especially fun to get started with it yourself.
It is nice that this is being recognized in the own region, but also increasingly beyond. We receive positive reactions from all over Europe, North and South America, and even Japan, to “Visions”. Of course, we like that but we keep our feet on the ground. We still make a lot of effort to have good live performances.
Stefan: Did you immediately make a deliberate choice to play traditional Heavy Metal?
Yes, although none of us had played in a classic heavy metal band before. We all like different styles, but heavy metal is the common denominator. We wanted to give it our own special flavor and we are not ashamed to let those other music preferences p******** into a song. The good listener will certainly discover it.
Stefan: What bands have inspired you?
Of course, the great ones from around the Earth: Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Helloween, Iced Earth, Accept… But certainly, also Ostrogoth, Picture, Channel Zero and really so many more. We listen to many different things and get many stimuli. When it comes to music, it never hurts to look over a wall for inspiration.
Stefan: What did the very first line up look like, also tell something about their musical background.
As I said, our backgrounds are very diverse. The first line up with 5 members looked like this:
*Davy Bruggeman – Vocals / Clean voice and guitar in Wither My Soul and Black Tears (Black metal)
*Jurgen Van Poppel – guitar / REL (Dutch rock party) – Hometown Gamblers (Roots) – Bluesprint, Blue Flame, Feeling Fine and Mistress, Rubber Bullet (Blues) – The Nitwits (Hardrock)
*Manu Van Poeck – guitar / Thundersteel (Metal covers) – Episode H8 (Death metal) – Black Tears (Black metal)
*Dirk Poppe – bass / REL (Dutch rock party) – Lavasjkiri (Metalpunk covers) – Frontkick (Hardcore) – Near Death experience (Death metal) – The Nitwits (Hardrock)
*Nico Laureys – drums / Black Tears (Black metal)
Stefan: You guys changed from one guitarist to two pretty fast. What was the main reason?
We soon realized that we needed a second guitar to add power and harmonics. The first gigs were with 4 band members. Everyone in the audience saw the potential, but they were not blown away. They felt we were missing something, and the second guitarist was the answer. We chose Manu as he was not only technically very strong but also had a solid sound.
Stefan: How were the first live performances, an immediate hit or still a rather insecure feeling when you get on stage for the first time?
We all had enough experience so we were not insecure. With a new band you need some time to form an identity. Like adolescents, young bands sometimes also have butterflies in their stomachs 🙂
Stefan: With which bands have you had the honor to share the stage so far?
The Three Tremors (with Tim Ripper Owens, Sean Peck, Steve Grimmett), Picture, Thorium, Iron Mask, Orthanc, Existance, Eternal Breath, Off the Cross, Fireforce, Poseydon, Everglow, Cuttermess, Warckon, Martyr, Scavenger, Thundersteel, The Difference, Beuk, Solitude Within, are just some that come to mind. There are definitely more bands, though, but we just can’t list them all or we’d be here all day.
Stefan: Tell me about your first album “Deal With The Devil” – how has the press and media reacted to this release?
Frankly, the press was not crazy about it, but we learned a lot from it. With the follow-up “Visions” we paid more attention to the sound and production.
With Deal with the Devil we showed that we have the capacity to write good heavy metal songs. Just listen to We Rule The Night or Out Of My Mind. Fortunately, that opened some doors, and some performances followed in Flanders.
We were also picked up by Music Record France, which also brought us a bit of international attention. Nothing big, but it’s nice to know that your music is included in a French, Italian or Scottish radio show.
Stefan: Your new album “Visions” has been released, we welcome new blood in the ranks. Who are they and do these guys have a musical past?
They are Arthur Melchior Pagliarini and Juan Carlos Galdos, a singer from Brazil and a guitarist from Peru, respectively. They both had plenty of experience with different bands before they joined Devil’s Bargain. With Juan, we wanted to bring in an experienced guitar player who could take our music to the next level of quality after our previous guitarist, Manu, had to leave the band, without changing the things that made Manu great. You can definitely hear it in the new album. And Arthur adds some young blood to the mix and a different perspective to the group, which we all thought was important, to shake things up a little bit.
Stefan: Can I assume that this has become a concept album – what are the lyrics about?
At first it wasn’t supposed to be a concept album. It was only after Arthur had written the lyrics for about 4 of the songs that he realized they would work well as a loose concept. So he just kept going from there. The album is about the moments that precede the end of the world. It begins with the burning of a woman who has visions about the things that are supposed to come, and each of the remaining songs is one of those visions. Hence the name of the album. But more than about a story, Visions is about introspection, looking inside and understanding yourself. You can definitely listen to it and have your own particular conclusions about each song.
Stefan: It is obvious that you are influenced by the old tradition Heavy Metal, which bands can be mentioned as sources of inspiration?
For this album, we already had the songs finished (besides the lyrics) when Arthur joined. So the same overall inspirations that we had before are reflected in it. Having said that, both Arthur and David, from Reddrumstudio (who recorded us), had their own inputs, which ended up shaping our final product a lit. Arthur decided to do a spin on Crimson Glory with some modern stuff, like Skull Fist and Cauldron. David, on the other hand, was listening to Iced Earth one day when he decided that was the overall sound we should have for this release. So that’s what he did.
Stefan: If you compare the first album with the newly released CD, where’s the biggest difference? Which one do you prefer, why?
The biggest difference is probably in the production. This was the criticism we received the most with the first record, and so we learned and evolved. Our choice to work with David was definitely influenced by that, and you can hear it in the final product, especially with the drums. They are stronger and punchier. Now, about which one we prefer… that’s a tricky question hahaha. Perhaps the best to answer this is to say that we like what we have now because it’s the product of a long process of development. We listen to the feedback and we improve. Everything we have done has brought us to this exact moment.
Stefan: I know it’s not easy to sign a record deal these days. What about this way situation in the camp of Devil’s Bargain?
We actually had a couple of proposals from labels, but they weren’t very appealing to us, so we respectfully declined. Yes, we would love to sign a deal, but not if we are not pleased with the terms. This kind of partnership has to benefit everyone, after all. At the moment we are still in touch with two more labels, but hey, if someone out there is interested in signing something, please let us know!
Stefan: Tough one, may I ask for your vision on the contemporary metal scene in Belgium – are there certain bands you praise to heaven?
The scene in Belgium (Flanders, in particular) is not bad at all. There are plenty of great bands for all kinds of tastes. We can mention, perhaps, Speed Queen, Solitude Within and Orthanc, just to keep it the list short. Each of these is completely different from each other, and if people look them up they will see how diverse our scene actually is nowadays.
Stefan: What are the plans in this difficult period, Covid-19 does not make it easy for the music world to perform again. How do you see the near future?
We are just now starting to book shows again. We still need to organize the release show for album, since we had to cancel it due to the quarantine, so that will be one of our priorities for now. We had a great promoter, Mike de Coene from Hardlife Promotions, putting our faces everywhere during this period. He did a great job, but we know that we still need to play live shows. So you will probably be able to see us live sooner than later.
Stefan: Hopefully the whole pandemic will be behind us soon and normal life can be resumed. I thank you all for your cooperation… if there’s anything else you’d like to add, don’t hesitate!
Thank you very much, this was great! We do hope we can put this pandemic behind us as soon as possible, but in the meantime people can check us online on Spotify, Youtube, Deezer and pretty much everywhere else. And if you like our music you can follow us on Facebook to know when we will be playing near you.