I was over in London this year and was chatting to the great punk artist Stiv and he was talking about this band from Belgium called Last Legion Alive. And was very surprised I hadn’t heard of them. So when I got home I got a copy of their demo and then recently a copy of their great split with Greek band ‘Hellstorm‘ released by a few different labels Active Rebellion, Deviance, Svoboda, Scream, Ya-Basta and Black Raven. I love what I heard, I reckon if you like the stark sound of bands like Axegrinder or early Bolt Thrower this would be your cup of tea. But I think they describe themselves better than that with ‘5 little stench goblins playing harsh stenchcore while nippin’ Jack D’. This interview was done with their guitarist Arne Killbo.
Well, we started around the end of 2008/beginning of 2009. It was just about a year or 2 after our older bands (more punk stuff, accept for Katrien, she used to be in a black metal styled band) just stopped. And we really missed being on the road, jamming, rehearsing , etc…
The first idea of starting something new, came from Jos (bass) and Kljin (a friend of us), who wanted to start something new together with Katrien (on vocals). I took a second guitar, because the line up were all friends, and I really was in the mood for a band to… so, we moved into the (very wet) basement of squat and started jamming. Kljin left after a few rehearsals, but he still joins on the road sometimes (to drink our booze I guess, haha). Ben (he used to be the singer of my old punk band when we were kids) replaced him.
How did the split with Hellstorm come about? It’s released by quite a few labels, do you think it gets better distribution with so many labels involved?
Well, we were writing already a while, with the guys from Hellstorm,…
we got in touch because we liked each others demo stuff, and we both wanted to record a full LP. So after talking a bit , we decided to do the split.
And yes, it’s released by quite a few labels, but it started out, with less labels. Irena – ACTIVE REBELLION – is a really close friend from us (lovely lady!). She wanted to help out anyways, and said it was a good plan to maybe find some more DIY labels, to help out, because then everything would be cheaper for everybody involved (labels and bands)… so then Pawel (Scream records, and really nice dude) joined and more people were getting interested… So in the end we were with a lot, which is actually very nice, because we see our LP suddenly in distro’s all over, which is very nice of course… that’s all we want, to get our shit spread, no money involved… Still happy that so many people wanted to help, we owe them a lot, so again, thank you !
What’s it like to be in a band like your own in Belgium? Is there many gigs, a big scene, places to play etc? Some of the band are part of the ‘Freedom In Fire’ diy gig collective, should people contact you if they are looking to tour in Belgium?
To be honest, Bellgium is not so nice for crust. The scene is VERY small. It used to be very much alive around the time of Hiatus, and Unhinged… So many gigs happening then,… but that started getting less already years ago, and for a period it was very silent…
although, the last years a lot of new bands start to play, (for example Silence Means Death, Hostilidades, Chaka, Deathdealer, Al²ruin, Deafenastration, all recently started – some of them more than a year but whatever – and very promising bands I think.
Also younger people are finding their way to crustpunk again, and things are starting to grow a bit again I feel… I would be very pleased to see everything again a bit more active, but then again, all the places to do shows are disappearing, but we are trying our to start something new soon, so keep your eyes and ears open.
About ‘Freedom In Fire’, I’m not in the collective anymore, but that’s out of personal reasons only. They are a group of people who get my best respect, really nice bunch and they’ve got their hearts at the right place, so absolutely , you should contact them if you need help I think…
Your sound is very much a mix of Bolt Thrower, Axegrinder, Deviated Instinct etc. Do you think the crust and underground death metal scenes have finally come together after all these years. As the diy punk scene seems to have a lot more in common musically with the metal scene than the mainstream ‘punk’ sound. Or do you think the politics will always keep the two scenes apart. Would you consider yourselves a political band?
Pfew difficult question, I would really like to see that music spreads over ‘scenes’, and punk and metal and even new wave would just be all together again, without the boundaries of bullshit scenes. But is it possible? I don’t know… Is it necessary ? I honestly also don’t know. It’s difficult I think. Our musical sound is so close to each other, but I am afraid politics (or sometimes just common respect towards eachother) will stand in the way. In Bellgium the metal scene is a bit infected with right wing bullshit, so I really don’t feel like sharing a stage with bands like that, or playing for a crowd with idiot views. So in that way we are a political band, although I think we are a band of individuals, we don’t agree on everything,… but equality, freedom, and solidarity are a few basic things we certainly agree on… and we are not big fans of state control and capital either !
Now a very big question what do you make of what is happening in the world in the last year, the Occupy demonstrations, the killing of Gaddafi etc. Is our world well and truly fucked or is there hope yet?
I would love to answer that last question with ‘there is hope’, … but I would be fooling myself.
I am afraid, that we are fucked, completely , and 100%. If the battle would be victorious, when a state falls, or capitalism comes to an end, then I would say, there is hope…!!
But the problem is that our ‘enemy’, is not only state, or capitalism… it’s much much bigger problem, and that is mankind.
We are the most egocentric, selfish bastards walking around on this planet. I’m afraid that once there is one problem solved, another will rise again , …
All because of the fact that mankind will dominate and oppress another, just for his own benefit and selfish reason. Solidarity just doesn’t exist anymore (maybe in small ways sometimes still does, but that’s only local and temporary). So i honestly believe we are fucked.
I think you can even see this in the LLA lyrics, that we are getting a bit misanthropic towards the world. It’s just hard, to keep thinking positive, if all you see is war, violence, oppression & conflicts all for reasons like religion, state, profit. Again reasons where one feels better than another,and wants to force their views on each other, exploit for their own profit etc. etc. fuck ‘m all.
What are your next plans tour and release wise?
Tourwise, … ha , we were fucked this year,… such a great tour was planned, and it all fell apart, because of reasons totally out of our control, 2 weeks before we had to leave. Was devastating, we were looking forward to it so fucking and a lot off people already put so much work in it. We felt like shit when we had to tell to everyone that the whole thing was cancelled.
But we really hope we can do the tour that was planned, but somewhere in the future (maybe spring 2012). Some smaller weekends on the road are planned already (Germany, Switzerland) and a few days together with Visions Of War somewhere in January.
Release wise we are talking a few things over, but it looks like the one thing that is starting to become reality will be a split with our Italian friends CANCER SPREADING. really nice guys,…
I guess summer 2012 looks realistic for the LP, but I won’t jump ahead and promise things.
But I actually also heard some rumours that we will be on a split CD, as a benefit for an Irish autonomous centre, but I don’t have full info on that for the moment…