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Interview: Olivier Vermeersch (Furnaze)

Rising Stars...interviews

Relocating to London in the summer of 2001 Furnaze were re-formed with a new line-up, which, due to some "time-wasters" and "unable to provide the goods" drummers, took a bit longer than expected.

At last they started gigging and, so far, have taken London by storm - metalheads and non-metalheads alike.

At their most recent gig at a "Mayday Monster Metal Madness" festival in Camden, promoted by Monsta/Edgewise Entertainment, such was the response of the crowd and fellow musicians that promoter Mick came up on stage and said "You know when you're having an erotic dream and it never leads to the ultimate release - well, this is the first time I've come in my dream!"

So impressed was he, that Furnaze are now headlining at the Borderline on June 27th 2004. Looks like this is a band that will be seriously going places!

What are you currently up to? (E.g. touring/studio, etc.)

We have just mastered our latest release "No Stairway to Heaven", an EP with six ultra heavy tracks and have several gigs lined up in London, details of which can be found on our website, www.furnaze.com. We are also working on new additions to our website and a couple of CD-ROM bonus "live" tracks of one of our gigs.

Brief history of the band and the style of music you play .

Originally formed in Germany in 1998, Furnaze started by playing Slayer covers but we soon started to write our own material and released our first EP in 1999, which went down well with music critics and fans alike. Relocating to London in 2001, I re-formed the band in a new line-up and we have just started gigging, as the process of finding a suitable drummer took a bit longer than expected. Our style is pure unadulterated Thrash Metal with plenty of groove.

Who was/is are the biggest influences on your career?

First and foremost Jimi Hendrix, Prince, Chuck Berry, Angus Young - who I listened to at a very young age. My compositions are influenced by everything I listen to, like Pantera, Judas Priest, Testament, Slayer, ACDC, Black Sabbath and of course all the funky stuff like Prince, The Times, Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five and loads more that would take too long to list.

What has been the highlight(s) and lowpoint(s) of your career to date?

One of the highlights was a gig in Austria in front of 2000 people and our first gig in the new line-up last month. A lowpoint was that it took nearly 3 years to find the right drummer in London, after being let down by the original guy, who just couldn't get his act together.

How easy is it for a Thrash Metal band nowadays to achieve recognition? Do you believe that

Metalheads nowadays are still interestedabout this type of music?

This depends entirely on three things - dedication, determination and self belief. In every one of us there's a little metalhead just waiting to get out, all you have to do is inspire this element with your music and performance.

I heard that you're going to play live in London, in a few weeks. Let us know a few details about the gig.

We have several gigs lined-up, the first one is at the "Purple Turtle" in Camden on the 31st of May as part of a Mayday Mental Metal Mayhem festival, "The Verge" in Kentish Town on the 17th of June - on that night we are playing with some Black Metal bands. 28th of June we are trying out a new club promoted by "The Orange" - the "Infinity" in the West End. The last one in this series is a return to headline the West One Four on the 10th of July.

How easy/hard is it for a Thrash Metal band to get gigs and promotion for gigs?

Not hard at all if you work hard and don't just wait for the phone to ring. It's important to increase your mailing list and the only way to do that is to really 'network' when you play live and to create a bond with your fans when you are playing.

Name some of the artist/s that influenced you into playing this specific kind of music.

To answer that question I have to go way back to the new wave of British Heavy Metal, which started off with bands like Samson, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Motorhead, Diamond Head, King Diamond and then to the Bay Area Bands in the USA like Metallica, Megadeth, Anthrax, Slayer, Exodus and Testament.

Which was the CD that you bought recently? Do you listen to other stuff outside Metal?

The last CD I bought was "As the palaces burn" by "Lamb of God". And yes, I do listen to other stuff outside metal - I still listen to "The Police", which has always been one of my favourites and, naturally, I also listen to Joe Satriani and Steve Vai and recently I've been getting into Frank Zappa and Mike Stern and an Austrian artist by the name of Leo KysÚla, who recently released a real cool CD with U2 covers.

A message to the people who're going to read this short interview?

Some people believe in God or whatever, because they feel they need to. And I say believe in yourself and you'll achieve everything you want to achieve!


Interview © 2004 John Stefanis


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