Thursday, May 19, 2022

an interview with Dissolve Patterns

Formed from various strands of the Belgian underground (including past and present members of Toorn, Kludde, and Monads) Dissolve Patterns play a progressive and atmospheric style of metal this blog likes to refer to as "avant noir". Their eponymous debut came out recently through Brucia Records; and as their name suggests, it deconstructs their black and doom influences to create something novel, personal and unpredictable. The band (cellist Annabel Van Eester, guitarist/vocalist Bram Van Den Broecke, guitarist/bassist/vocalist Nemo Raes, and drummer/vocalist Rien Beersmans) were kind enough to answer my questions as a group.

Dreams of Consciousness: Please introduce Dissolve Patterns - who are you and where are you from? If you had to describe your band in 5 words, what would they be?

A Belgian collection of stubborn musicians who all have a different take on music and life. We became friends during the struggle of making music. This struggle, we believe, is a necessity to reach a rewarding experience.

In five words? Belgian, friends, struggle, beer and whatever.

DoC: There are clearly black metal elements/influences to your music, but do you consider Dissolve Patterns to be a "black metal" band? Why or why not?

Well... yeah and nah. The roots are undeniable. We took the well trodden path of black metal and stood there, stepped sideways, turned around, fell on our faces, slithered over the ground, looked up and said: “Fuck it, let’s go this way“, nodding in agreement whilst pointing in a different direction.

Meanwhile we stick to calling it "black metal" due to lyrical themes, blast beats and despondent atmospheres and signature vocals. Black metal that is taken apart and rebuilt by adding other shit.

DoC: Please give a brief history of your band for those who are not familiar with you - what brought you together, and what did you hope to accomplish?

Nemo and Rien have been jamming and playing in bands together with the magnificent Toni for 15 years. Either as an improv trio or without any goal besides the experience itself. There was an urge to make something solid and out of the box.

Luckily, Annabel used to work at a bar we frequented and we heard she played the cello. She was willing to give it a try.

Bram left his former band Kludde and was looking for something where he could be really creative. An extra guitar was welcome, so we adopted the poor old geezer.

DoC: Dissolve Patterns is notable for your use of cello, which is atypical of heavy music. What is the role of the cello in Dissolve Patterns? Why did you decide to implement this instrument in your music?

Because we are masochists: We like to make ourselves miserable and our projects difficult. It took months to find a proper way to play metal with a cello. The hollow body of the instrument resonates all sound, especially the kickdrum, so we were confronted with feedback and playback issues. After months of trying, we finally settled for an electric cello.

Then we decided we did't need to rehearse with Annabel at all. Because we're masochists.

The reason we wanted to play with a cello is because it adds so much atmosphere and emotion. When strings are used in metal, it’s usually either a mix with classical music or just as an add-on. We try to make it part of the core and build the other instruments around it if necessary.

Guitar, bass and drum lay the groundwork through rehearsal, repetition and recalibration. Cello lines are imagined in this process. We give a fundamental guideline for what it should sound like, and Annabel starts to compose her lines on paper.

Afterwards, we adapt the groundwork to what she conjured.

DoC: Tell me about your songwriting process - how does a song typically start for your band? Do you write/arrange as a group, or does one member handle the bulk of the songwriting?

Someone comes up with a riff, during a jam or at home. Then the disintegration proces starts. We tinker about, mistakes are incorporated, we argue, throw drumsticks, make loud guitar noises to annoy one another and kick our pedalboards out of frustration. After a while magic starts to happen.

More tinkering occurs when the cello is added.

Lyrics are constructed and divided among the vocalists.

More annoyance occurs at certain aspects, so we take the music through the grinder again.

Our music is the result of a lot of compromises and we only make music that we really enjoy playing and hearing. And that makes it very rewarding.

DoC: Your first full-length is out now. How long were you working on this album? What do you want your listeners to experience while listening to it?

We started playing together in 2016. The recordings were done in 2018. It took four years of tweaking the sound, to let an epidemic pass by and agree on the artwork (in the end we never agreed).

We do not want the listener to experience something specific. Listening to music can be comforting, uplifting, depressing or enraging. Take from our music what you want. We will do the same.

DoC: Tell me about the recording sessions - where did they take place? Why did you choose to work with Viktor Walschaerts (Bones/Goat Torment)?

Viktor is a teriffic person! Viktor, Annabel and Bram used to play in Toorn for a while as live musicians. We were happy to be able to work with Viktor at the Celestial Event Studio. He is dedicated to harder musical styles and is not afraid to add his own flavour and experiments to the recordings. Being a drummer himself he has a clear idea how those should be recorded. We already knew his qualities from mixing the album In de Fleur van de sleet by Ihloosuhree, the other band Rien is playing in.

We would also like to mention Guillaume Van Reyckeghem for doing an excellent mixing job. He made a flavourful and multilayered sound that has a fantastic atmosphere.

DoC: Brucia Records, who released your debut, describe themselves as "Home of Uncanny, Unsettling and Unusual Music." With this in mind, why were they the right choice to release your album? What would you say you have in common with the other acts on the label?

We were looking for labels that have unusual bands on their roster. We know we didn't make a straightforward album, so straightforward labels might not be so keen on releasing our music.

We stumbeled upon Brucia Records during an internet search. "Home of the uncanny, unsettling and unusial music" sounded quite a bit like the thing we were looking for. Then we heared La Colpa. What a band! What freakishness! Also the amazing Derhead struck a major chord. While checking out the other releases we knew immediately that this label might be interested.

They soon contacted us back after our album submission. Since then the work and effort the label puts into the release is astonishing! Giorgio and Void are to be praised beyond measure.

These guys know exactly what they look for in music they want to release. Ours, we believe, fits in perfectly.

DoC: Dissolve Patterns is only the third band from Belgium to be interviewed on this site (sorry). How would you describe the Belgian scene? What is something you wish more people knew about Belgium?

Only the third band from Belgium? For shame!! [Don't worry, I've got plenty of that - Dreams of Contriteness]

Belgium has a fantastic and active scene. We think because Belgium is as big as flyshit, we are very often overlooked.

The upside is that travel time to other cities is manageable. Which makes it easy to attend gigs all over the country. Belgium has a very rich and diverse cultural life in general. Apart from covid times, we are lucky to be spoiled in this regard.

On the other hand the metal scene [is made] of people who take their sarcasm too seriously. They should stop letting chickens loose in public and start growing potatoes for Satan.

And there is a lot of beer. And frietkoten. The combination is to die for (usualy by heart failure).

DoC: What's next for you?

The album was released on the 29th of April, thank you very much. You can order Dissolve Patterns via the website of Brucia Records:

Check out the other bands there as well! You might be surprised at what you find.

We are now focussing on new songs and trying to play live shows. So, if you are interested in seeing us, please ask your local venue to invite us. Don't worry, we speak Dutch, French, English and when we are drunk, a bit of German.

We are doing a release show on the 17th of June with our pals Punchline Hunting Season. They play batshit crazy experimental psycho mathy hardcore something or another. Check them out!

We are also working on other projects.

Rien is doing an effing amazing job with his other band Ihloosuhree (yes... it is read phonetically). They bring dissonant black/death metal.

Bram has just done some guest vocals on an upcoming side project from Snoodaert from the band Kludde. And he will be doing some more synth experiments for Dissolve Patterns in the future.

Annabel is learning to play the piano. Poor neighbours.

Nemo is being Nemo, which is crafting atmospheres but rarely releasing anything. You can find some of his stuff under the moniker Widmanstatten on Bandcamp.

Cheers and thank you for the interview!

Dissolve Patterns on Facebook

Dissolve Patterns on IG

Dissolve Patterns on Brucia Records Bandcamp

Tintin and Waffles:

an interview with
Goat Torment
Episode 217:
Wyatt E.