Alk-a-Line interview about their newest album with some words from the guest artists

  Van Muylem    7 september 2019

I reviewed their new album (check here) and I adore it! I was very positiv about it and the guest appearances are really worth it, so I had  a chat with as good as everybody involved in Alk-a-Line.

Alk-a-line is also a kind of a battery, is that how you see the band ? Dancing and  partying as long as the battery lasts?

Having fun takes indeed a huge part in our band, we are very good friends and we like spending time together : joking, dancing, laughing, making music or just partying ! Our batteries are quite resistant and we can last all night long ! It doesn’t mean it’s a happy or festive music, it’s more a kind of dark energy.

You are all experienced and have been through a lot of waters, can you tell  how it all started and how you evolved  over the years ? We have known each other for a long time, ever since we were playing in our first bands, being involved in two different girls bands. We already felt a kind of sisterhood in delivering rock’n roll among this man’s world, we were fans of each other and we still are !

Recently you played on stage at several occasions with Red Zebra. How was it to perform songs like «Paradise Lost» in front of more then 10.000 people at Parkpop and more then 3000 at W-Fest ? 

We love Red Zebra! Their music of course but also the beautiful people they are ! It was a great honor and a lot of fun to perform with them, we didn’t want to disappoint them and yes, seeing so many people in front of the stage was really exciting !

Was it to return the favor that Peter Slabbynck (Red Zebra) sang on Dark Energy ? How did it all happen ?

It’s not new that Peter is a fabulous performer and a guy of real good company…even in a living room ! We knew he was simply the best to bring his dark color to that song !

Maybe Peter can say something too?

Peter: I ran into Laurence when I was in Brussels. I was a member of the jury for the Second Belgian Punk contest. She played in a participating band. We talked a bit afterwards. She was the hottest chick on stage of that day. One thing led to another. Before we knew we where in love, married and got 96 kids whom all started a punk band. No, I’m joking: that’s not how it went. Laurence asked me to sing a song on the new cd of Alk-A-Line. She presented me some songs and I immediately picked out 'Dark Energy'. For me the song is the perfect mix of the early Human League and Front 242, something I really liked. After that I had an idea as I wanted to do something special for W-Fest (as it was the 4th time I performed at the festival)! So I invited Sandra and Laurence to perform a few songs on stage with Red Zebra. This is the only truth about it. I really adored the guest vocal and now I hunger for more! Right now I’m talking with Chesko (Der Klinke) about something similar, but don’t tell anybody (laughs).

First single «Homo Sapiens» of the new album has just been launched and was recorded at the Magasin 4 (no clue how long it will still exists). How was it to record a clip in this venue? What is the message behind the song?

We’ve played many times in M4 since the early years with the very first team and making a live clip there was wink to our hometown and our alternative roots. We wish them to find a new place and last in the same spirit for long years ! Homo Sapiens seem to be doomed to disappear by destroying everything around them (the last song «Human» leaves no doubt). It’s dedicated to those who have some awareness left not to be kings of universe and watching this booming system disaster without stopping it. Next earth inhabitants will maybe be less arrogant…

You choose for Alkaline to ask Bruce Ellison (Volt Selector) as guest singer. Can you introduce him a bit to the people who don’t know him and maybe tell us how and why him?

Bruce is a good old fellow and a very talented person as well, he’s a mime, an actor and an amazing singer. Here again he was the perfect person to interpret the TV seller of a sex toy in that funny way ! Funny and sexy !

Can Bruce tell something as well? 

Bruce: Waow. That's something you can't refuse ! Who wants to miss out a fun moment with fun friends like Laurence and Sandra ? And they were spot on with the choice of the song that they asked me to do «Alkaline», adding different voices and characters, I was inspired immediately and working in a studio with them was really great. But hey you don't get an offer like this everyday to sing the "instructions" for a sex toy !!!

It was lots of fun on many levels.

There is one French song on the album and it’s called Scélérats featuring Jacques Duvall. Why this is this song in French and what is the meaning of it?

Jacques is not only a beautiful character but also a classfull and talented lyricist, everybody knows the master pieces he has written through his long career ! It was nice to hear his voice on repertoire tailored for him and of course in french because it perfectly fits to his french cow boy dandy style ! The meaning ? In a few words, it’s one more time about humankind future when all survivors among the ruins will be rats…

Can Jacques tell his side of the story ?

Jacques: I first knew Laurence as an amazing table football player... Sandra came to my knowledge as keyboardist for Gent-based surfband Fifty Foot Combo, they played a great version of an old tune I wrote in the '80s, «Banana Split». Four or five years ago, someone gave me an Alk-A-Line album with two or three songs in French "Cosmic Trip Comic Strip". I fell in love with their witchy look and their bitchy sound. So there was no way I was gonna say no when they offered me the job of butchering this great song «Scélérats». I just had to warn them that I was no professional singer (though I earned quite a lot of money by pretending to be one). That's ok, they said, just do your usual mumbling and the recording engineer will do the rest. Hats off for this guy. And thanks to the girls for a lot of fun.

Jean-Luc De Meyer wrote one song for you: This is not a Fairy Tale. How did you end up using his excellent lyrics ?

We were in a studio long time ago but the last song to record was not written yet. Jean-Luc was passing by and kindly offers to do what he maybe do the best aside from singing; writing lyrics. Two hours later TINAFT, music and lyrics, was in the box ! Since that day, different arrangements have been made but not any word has ever been changed.

Something to add, Jean-Luc ? 

Jean-Luc: I was there and I did it.

On top of that you managed to as Ross Demon (Length of Time) to sing it whilst we all know that he normally sings in a total different band. It’s a great one and yet such a huge surprise. Who got the idea?

Ross is a really open minded musician and always ready for experiences and fun. He’s a talented singer and we were sure he would lead the song in his universe. he let his metal signature and even made the performance to scream right in tune which is really a performance !

Ross, what can you say about it ?

When Laurence and Sandra asked me to sing a song I immediately said yes, they are incredible and amazing people and musicians. I love what they do, also their other bands and projects!

And for me it was a challenge, I love to do different things than I'm used to do, I also listen to a lot of different styles of music, more than the actual music I play myself. But I can say that with this session I learned again that with my vocals I can do more than what i thought I was capable of and that makes me feel good! And for the song I did, i love it, they did choose definitely the right one for me, i did feel it right away when I heard the music and knew the feeling and emotion I wanted to put into.

Can you say something about the studio, producer too? The album has really worked out in the best possible way, so congratz !

That’s simple: we have at last found our artistic producer at Opus Magnum Studio! Déhà is the one we want to work with definitely! He’s a magician of sound who perfectly sees where we want to go…sometimes faster than us ! He’s totally incredible!

Whilst a lot of bands try to fill an album and check out around 60 minutes this one ends after 30 minutes but has no fillers, only killer tracks. Was that on purpose and can we expect more in the future ?

We wanted to open and close the album with unreleased tracks and keep that alternance with our beloved guests, using our new spell « the sand-witch » ! Do the counting, it’s a 9 tracks album and even much better if you don’t skip any! And thank you for the compliment!

You will go on a tour soon, can you unveil some more info about it ?

Let’s start with the release party on the 5th october in Brussels, the 12th with Der Klinke in Brugge, the 19th in Ghent, in march in Kortrijk with Front 242 and in april in Brugge with Red Zebra and De Brassers !

Some last words? Hopes of working together with more artists in the near future?

So many humans on earth and so less humanity, that’s the point of the album. That’s why it feels good be surrounded by talented people with heart, soul and brain ! Our guests, our sound ingeneer, our womanager Anouk from Festivibe and the labels involved with alk-a-line (Cheap Satanism and Lynch Law). So yes, we will go for a 4th album in 2020 of course with nice surprises and mainly keep on dancing on Electro under PPP influence ! (Pop(Post)Punk)