Sometimes you bump into a musical gem, that grabs you by the throat right away. The first demo of SCARVED was such an example and when they released their debut album “Dynamite”, it exploded like a time bomb! High quality rock, delivered by four very gifted musicians. Some band members have gained quite some experience in the Belgian music scene by playing in TAILS BLUE - a band with a very good reputation. Obviously, there’s plenty of stuff to talk about, when we got the opportunity to do this interview with SCARVED. With their detailed answers, they provided us with a lot of information, that turned this interview to a very interesting story. It’s the story of SCARVED so far. They have more power than a ton of TNT and besides that, they proved to be pure DYNAMITE!
First of all, congratulations with your new album “Dynamite” and thank you for doing this interview! When did SCARVED start as a band and tell us a bit more about the musical past of the band members, please?
Wim: “We’d like to thank you for this interview and we appreciate it very much that you like our debut album “Dynamite”. The initial idea to form this band originated in autumn 2011. At that time, Luc and I were playing in two coverbands named UNDERCOVER and THE CLOWNHEADS. During one of the shows, we met Caroline Verboven. It happened that UNDERCOVER was about to split up and Caroline was looking for a band to write and play own material. Luc and I already had the intention to start writing own songs with THE CLOWNHEADS. We had enough of playing in coverbands and so we went to the studio to record three songs with lead singer Wim Horemans (UNDERCOVER, THE CLOWNHEADS). However, due to musical differences Wim Horemans decided to continue singing in a coverband, while Luc and I wanted to continue with a new band playing own material. So, Caroline appeared once again and we decided to continue along with Geert Mariën (THE CLOWNHEADS ) on drums. SCARVED was born and the three songs previously recorded with Wim Horemans were done again, this time with Caro on vocals. This was the three track EP “MMXIII”, as you know. All three tracks were written by Luc Van Dessel (music) and myself (music and lyrics).”
Luc: “I started playing guitar, when I was 12 years old. As a young kid, I won a first prize as a violist. Together with my brother Jan, we formed TAILS BLUE in 1969 (initially, we called ourselves THE TAILS).”
Wim: “I started my first band with a couple of school mates in 1980. This band was called CEMETERY. I took guitar lessons with Luc Van Dessel at that time. When CEMETERY split up, ORACLE was formed. In this band I played guitar and bass (for the bass player could not handle the more tricky parts). TAILS BLUE was looking for a new bassist and it was obvious that I was called to do the job. I agreed and ever since then a long and stable musical relationship has been established between me and Luc. Geert Mariën was approached, when Luc’s brother Jan had an accident and was no longer able to play drums all the time, for he needed a long recovery time. They were in a band, called THE BOOGIE CLOWNS, along with Wim on bass guitar. Geert’s phenomenal musical skills and techniques on drums supported the idea to form a new and high quality band. Thank God he agreed (laugh).”
Please introduce the members of SCARVED and the instruments they play?
Caro: “SCARVED are: Caroline Verboven (lead vocals), Luc Van Dessel (guitars/backing vocals), Wim Wouters (bass/samples and keys/backing vocals) and Geert Mariën (drums and percussion).”
Did any line-up changes occur during the career of the band so far?
Caro: “No, no line-up changes did occur until now.“
Why did you choose SCARVED as band name?
Luc: “It’s not easy to come up with an original bandname (smile). That’s why we strarted brainstorming to come up with something special. Than an idea occurred to us to take a couple of letters of both Caroline’s first (CAR) and family name (VE) to form the name of the band. In our opinion this was an original approach and everybody agreed…Only let’s put an ‘S’ in front and a ‘D’ at the end. There is no such thing as the verb “to scarve” (laugh). So, it’s pure fantasy, but it sounds good and besides that, Dirk Vollon, our graphic designer, developed a nice logo out of it!”
What’s the response been like towards the three track EP, that you released recently?
Wim: “Hmmm, let’s say, forget about that three track EP (laugh). At the time of recording we weren’t a well-attuned team yet and we didn’t have plans for world domination yet (hard laugh). We had much more ideas for new songs and that’s what we wanted to do. Write those songs, go to the studio and make a decent and professional sounding record. Our EP was well received by friends, families and our fans, but it didn’t reach the big audience. Now for “Dynamite” we have a worldwide record deal with Sleaszyrider Records and we think that’s gonna make a huge difference.“
How would you describe the music of TAILS BLUE and can we find some influences of this band back in the sound of SCARVED?
Wim: “The music of TAILS BLUE, at least on the album, can be described as symphonic heavy prog rock, due to the complex arrangements, time signature changes, etc. You definitely can find some influences in the SCARVED songs, as Luc is one of the main songwriters, just like he was for TAILS BLUE. He always tried to combine outstanding musicianship with melody and harmony in song writing.”
Are there any plans for a reunion of TAILS BLUE someday?
Luc: “TAILS BLUE did a single sold out reunion show in 2012 at the request of many fans.”
Where can the old school metal fans find music of TAILS BLUE?
Wim: “There still must be copies of “Brainwash” in circulation on the vinyl market. Try to Google… “Brainwash” was also released as a CD much later, even in Japan. I think, I still have a few vinyl copies on my attic.. Please let us know, if you might want to have a few copies.”
Wim, you played in a metal band, called ORACLE. Did you release anything with this band?
Wim: “We never released any material with ORACLE. At that time, we were all students and we simply could not afford to make any records and to pay for studio time. With the money we earned from doing summer jobs, we bought our instruments.”
You were the guitar player back then. Why did you switch on to bass, when you went playing with TAILS BLUE?
Wim: “As I told before, I played guitar and bass in ORACLE, because the bass player couldn’t handle the more complex and tricky bass parts. When we supported TAILS BLUE in 1983, Luc and Jan noticed me playing bass… They happened to be looking for a bass player, so they offered me the job and I agreed. Inspired by Geddy Lee of RUSH ever since then, the bass became my main instrument.”
Geert once supported SUICIDAL TENDENCIES. What was that experience like and with which band was that?
Geert: “I was only fifteen years old at that time! I played this gig with my brother Walter in a band, named THE POLITICS OF EXPERIENCE. Luc Van Dessel happened to be the replacing guitar player for that gig. For me, this was a hell of an experience, given my very young age.” Luc: “The crowd went wild, when watching that young brat drumming and working his tail off! I was blown away by his drumming, even at that young age.”
Caro was a member of K-LINE. Why did you switch from the dance scene to the hard rock and heavy metal world and what are the biggest differences between both worlds besides the type of music?
Caro: ”I was eighteen years old, when I got a first offer to join a dance project. One single was released with ARS records at that time, but without any succes. When I got twenty, I was approached by a producer to co-write and record a song with him. We did a try-out in the studio, while he wrote the music and I wrote the melody and vocal lines and the words. This song immediately drew the attention of EMI and therefore it was released. It became a moderate hit. So, EMI continued the cooperation and we we were allowed to record another song. They also wanted us to make a cover of “Groove Is In The Heart”, which was also released. Finally, since we were not succesfull enough, the project got canceled in its entirity.
That’s when I started to sing covers, because dance wasn’t really my cup of tea. They wanted me to sound like a soft sounding and singing angel, but my voice character was too rough and powerful for hat kind of mellow music. I could not push myself to the limit, like in rock, and that gave me no satisfaction at all. When doing rock covers, I discovered I love rock very much with heart and soul, and it was all my thing. I could use my voice in all vocal ranges, which I enjoyed very much. I felt, that I gradually made progress as being a female rock vocalist. However, my primary goal had always been to write my own music and to come out and play it live. But I absolutely do not regret I was involved in cover projects. They were a perfect education to achieve what I always have wanted, singing my own songs (laugh).”
Who can we see as the main influences of the band and maybe you can point at some of the influences of each band member individually here as well, please?
Luc: “The influences…. Oops, too many to mention, I guess (laugh). I am the oldest member of the band. For me, it all started with JIMI HENDRIX, when I was thirteen years old. In those days, computerized digital techniques did not exist yet and I started out many HENDRIX tunes and guitar parts, only by listening carefully to the records…”
Wim: “…which is amazing!”
Luc: “I also listened to many BEATLES and STONES records, blues records, etc…Later LED ZEPPELIN, URIAH HEEP, DEEP PURPLE, …. PINK FLOYD appeared on the scene and from then music became a much broader and wider passion for me. When RUSH entered the living room, all heaven broke loose… I like many kinds of music, from classical music (I played violin as a kid) to early classic hardrock, heavy rock and metal. I particularly admire guitarists like Jimmy Page, J. Hendrix for being a pioneer, David Gilmour, Richie Blackmore, Steve Lukather, to name but a few.”
Wim: “For me, good music isn’t related to any specific style or genre, which means that I like a lot of music styles. It all started in the early seventies… my first single was “Inktpot” of SHOCKING BLUE. Those were the days of the early glamrock, which I still like. My brother bought all SWEET records and singles. THE SWEET was and still is for me one of the most underrated bands in music history. From a technical and musical point of view, they certainly could compete with DEEP PURPLE. I also like all classic hardrock bands, like LED ZEPPELIN, DEEP PURPLE, RAINBOW, KISS, GENESIS, YES… The music of those bands is timeless. I also like PINK FLOYD, RUSH (Geddy Lee is my main influence), MARILLION, JOURNEY, UFO, VAN HALEN,TOTO, QUEEN, HEART, to name but a few. I can enjoy simple melodies very much (FM Rock, MOTLEY CRUE, MAGNUM), but I may also like technical stuff, like fusion and jazz rock. As long as it comes from the heart, it’s fine by me! Favourite musicians… hmm… Freddie Mercury, Phil Collins, Neal Schon, Geddy Lee, Steve Lukather, Eddie van Halen, Marcus Miller, Victor Wooten… There are too many to mention.”
Geert: ”I like many styles of music as well. I am constantly involved in many kinds of musical projects, whether it’s cabarat or it’s metal, I do the job. I am very much into the fusion and jazz stuff, but I also like a lot of early seventies music. Music, that was made before I was even born (laugh). My two elder brothers brought me in touch with music. I am also an avid vinyl/record collector.”
Caro: “I can appreciate many styles of music, but my preference goes in particular to classic rock and also some bands from the modern rock.”
Who writes the lyrics for SCARVED and what are they about?
Wim: “Caro mainly writes the lyrics for SCARVED.”
Caro: “Wim and Luc pass me their ideas, which they work out at Wim’s home studio. Than I start listening carefully to those rough songs, until I can feel the vibe of the idea. I try to identify myself with the song and the atmosphere that’s in there and I try to sense what feeling or emotion that specific song or idea produces within me. That’s the point, where I start writing down the words and it often happens, that they come spontaneously into my mind. Regarding the melody line, Luc or Wim often hum a kind of a vocal line, which I work out further. Our lyrics mostly deal with the usual and everyday things in life, like relationships, break ups and heartbreaks, despair, hope, love and hate, but there’s also a lot of fantasy in our lyrics, like e.g. in “Vampire’s Tale”, “Eastern Treasure”, “Valley Of Gloom”, “Army On Wheels”, which is a true biker song. “Brainfog” on the other hand tells about drugs, medication and what those things can do to us and how they affect our mind…”
Can you give us more inside information about how you work, when writing new material? Do the lyrics come first or the music? And do songs originate from jamming together or do you sit down to share ideas with each other?
Caro: “The music for our band is written by Luc as the main songwriter and Wim.” Wim: “I often have an idea or riff, which I record at my home studio. Many times I can’t manage to work those things out to a complete song. That’s where Luc comes in to help me out completing the song. On the other hand, Luc is full of ideas and works out many musical themes or the music for complete songs at his home. Then we capture these ideas at my home studio, including guitars, digital drums and bass and possibly keys (which I play) and choirs, of which I make a raw, early mix, just to be able to present an audible idea to the others. We often have the vocal lines in our heads, but not the lyrics and words yet, so we pass on these rough ideas to Caro (and Geert). She writes the lyrics and next we start rehearsing. Although sometimes it happens that ideas originate from jamming together during rehearsals.“
Caro, did you take any singing lessons and how did you find out that you had a good singing voice?
Caro: “I followed a nine year classical music education. In the early years (I must have been ten years old), my music teacher already encouraged my mom many times to let me do something with my voice to become a vocalist. In particular, when she accompanied me on piano, she noticed the power and warmth in my voice at that time. But at that age, I wasn’t interested very much and I absolutely wanted to learn to play flute. I saw the Dutch Berdien Stenberg on TV playing flute and I was so impressed and blown away by it, that I wanted to play that instrument by all means. So, the flute became my main instrument and I became very good in playing it. Ever since I was a kid, I always have had a deep sense for music. Only much later, when I was offered to do vocal jobs, I started taking singing lessons to learn techniques to use my voice in a correct way. From then on, the flute had to make room for my singing ambitions, and I started working on singing for the full 100%.“
Are there any leftovers from the “Dynamite” sessions?
Wim: “There are no studio leftovers from the “Dynamite” sessions, as we recorded many things ‘live’. During the first days of recording all bass and drum parts were done, mainly live. Then Luc returned to the studio to do the guitars and at last all vocals, choirs, samples, harmonies etc. were done. We had everything planned well in advance, not only to surpass our budgets.”
What’s your favorite song on “Dynamite” and why?
Wim: “Mine is “Devil In Disguise”. I wrote the main riff and the ending part for this song. Luc completed it as a tight and very heavy pounding song. I think, it has a very strong and catchy riff and Caro’s vocal lines and expression is superb! It’s also my favourite bass part of the CD and for this one, I wrote the words. It’s about cheating and lying in a relationship ending up in disappointment, anger, despair and grief. We tried to capture these emotions in the song and the words as good as possible.”
Luc: “Devil In Disguise” and “Dynamite“.“
Geert: “Eastern Treasure” is my favourite. This song has such a peculiar atmosphere in it. It also has a couple of odd time signatures in it, which I like to play for those things are common in fusion and jazz. The middle part (bass solo) is just awesome! Wim plays eastern scales there, accompanied by that funny eastern theme, which he composed all by himself at home.”
Let’s take a closer look to the live shows of SCARVED. Do you play many shows and with which bands did you share the stage already?
Luc: “Until now, we haven’t played that many shows yet. We are a rather new band, you know and when releasing your own stuff, it isn’t always that easy. That’s why we recorded “Dynamite”. We put all our efforts, strength and creativity in this album, hoping to get some airplay in the near future. Then we can do our thing live to reach as many fans and people as possible. But the future looks very promising. We’ll be on the Dessel Swing event on the GMM-stage, we’ll have our live CD presentation in September, we’ll be on stage with Belgian metal legends KILLER also in September and on November 22, we’ll support VANDENBERG’s MOONKINGS in Bilzen. Great gigs to look forward to!”
What has been your biggest gig so far?
Caro: “You should ask this question again within say six months or a year (smile). We are a new band and we didn’t have so many gigs scheduled in the past, but the CD has just been released now and it appears to be very well received everywhere, so things seem to turn out in a positive direction for us. In June 2013 we shared the bill of a metal festival in Belgium with bands like RHAPSODY OF FIRE, DEMON, TYGERS OF PAN TANG, etc.”
Do you also play covers during your live shows and if yes, which song(s) do you play then?
Caro: “Well, we rehearsed a couple and maybe we’ll play LED ZEPPELIN’s “Rock And Roll” someday. That’s a very tight and groovy song and Wim and Luc are both huge ZEP fans.”
Do you use any show elements during your live shows or is it all pure rock and roll and a whole lot of sweat? What can people expect, when they come to a SCARVED show?
Caro: “The main part definitely is rock and roll and a lot of sweat, obviously (hard laugh). But we planned to do a couple of visual show elements in the future, particularly with our CD release show. Hmm, we have to keep this a secret, as we want to surprise many people, you know (laugh). We also want to bring in some musical surprises as well. We‘re not gonna play an exact reproduction of our CD (besides for the first shows). We’re still working on this. The music, musicianship and the sound are priority for us. That’s why we work with Peter De Wint as FOH engineer as much as possible. This man has a lot of live experience and toured with bands like TWISTED SISTER, WASP, JEFF SCOTT SOTO and GLENN HUGHES to name but a few.”
I can imagine, that there are some nice or funny stories to tell about SCARVED live shows in the past. Hopefully, you want to share some of those magical moments with our readers here?
Luc: “We haven’t done enough gigs by now to mention any worthfull anecdotes… Sorry for that. You’ll hear a lot of interesting stories in the future, promised!”
What are your future plans with SCARVED?
Caro: “We have a record deal now. We hope to play as many gigs as possible to be able to fully promote “Dynamite” and to obtain as much recognition as possible with the public. We hope that we can play on couple of big festivals in the future. By the end of 2014, we’ll start writing songs for a new album release, which will be released with Sleaszy Rider records. We have a bunch of ideas ready to be worked out, so keep checking our site to stay tuned for upcoming news!”
Our online ‘zine is strictly focused on the women in the (hard)rock and (heavy)metal scene. Do you think, that women still need that kind of attention or do you feel that you have already achieved all the respect, that you need?
Wim: “It’s brilliant, that you focus on women in the (hard)rock and metal scene! We appreciate that kind of approach and we think it’s very unique. Today, already many women succeed in getting attention in the hardrock and metal world, either from a commercial view or from an artistical view or even both. Women surely can add value to music, to a band and yes, this is also applicable to hard(rock) and metal music.“
If you could go on tour with any band of your choice, which band would that be then and why?
Caro: “This is a tough one! We love so many bands and their music. I think, we have to see what happens first after the release of “Dynamite”. Things can turn out in so many ways and we think it’s very, very important to keep our both feet on the ground.”
Wim: “I recently went to see a MAGNUM show in Belgium. When I walked in the venue, I was told that the support act had canceled.. I thought to myself: Why didn’t they phone us? (laugh). It would have been a pleasure to open for MAGNUM. They are very nice chaps, very good musicians…What a pity! Again, we love so many bands and so many styles of music, that we honestly can’t answer this question.”
Where can people buy your album? Go ahead and advertise here, it’s for free.
Caro: “You can order the full album "Dynamite" by sending an email to: email@example.com. There's also a link to order "Dynamite" on the following websites: http://www.scarved.be; http://www.sleaszyrider.com; http://www.Facebook.com/scarvedband/.”
Do you care about what the press writes about the new album and what if they write a real stinky review? Do you try to learn from their criticism or do you rather forget about it as quickly as possible?
Geert: “Personally I don’t care, because we believe in ourselves as musicians and songwriters. It’s up to the audience and the public to judge our music and our quality as a band. Look, when someone writes a stinky review, it still means that our album is worth a review, whether it’s good or bad. They took at least the time to listen to the album and to write a review. I think that, if an album is really crappy, one will never listen to it and therefore will never write a review of it. So, in this case, a ‘bad’ review (which is very subjective) is always some kind of ‘good’ review, because you deserved a review. Are you still with me?? (laugh).”
Is there anything we forgot to mention, that is essential for the story of SCARVED so far?
Luc: “I think you covered it all!”
Caro: “Maybe we can add that the main purpose for us, when playing music, is having fun. We think it's so important to keep both feet on the ground and to focus and concentrate ourselves on writing and making music.“
Do you have any personal messages for our readers?
Caro: “Well, we already like to thank in advance everybody who will buy our album or will support us one or the other way. We are really looking forward to play our songs live. We will push ourselves to the limit to give you the best possible show!”
The last words of this interview are for Caro and SCARVED…..
Caro: “For me, music is my one and only real passion. I like to share it as much as possible with everyone, who loves it! That's why I hope, that SCARVED can convince all rockers to feel the energy of our music and the message that lies behind it! Because that's what it's all about, sharing the good vibes with our fans, as much as we can rocking as a team! So keep on rockin' guys and dolls and stay tuned to SCARVED!!”
Visit the official website of SCARVED at: www.scarved.be/
or go to the Facebook page of SCARVED at: www.facebook.com/scarvedband