-- Vicious Nature gets shredded --
In April 2016 at the final edition of Wizzfest I first encountered the Birmingam based heavy metal act Vicious Nature. I had a great time seeing them perform and bought all their available EPs (three in total, one of which was called LIVE IN BELGIUM) at once. Not long after, both vocalist Andy and guitarist Andrew added me on Facebook and we kept in touch with each other for the next two years. And finally, on December 8, 2018 at the Elpee Music Bar in Deinze, I finally reunited with my old friends as we talked about their late friend Philippe “Wizz” Beauprez, their charity spirit (particularly in regards to dementia) and their desire to remain a fully independent band.
BMS: Hello there! It’s been two years since we last met so, welcome back to Belgium!
Andy: Thank you! Your country has always had a special place in our hearts. We love the hospitality and professionalism of the Belgian venues and the loyalty from our Belgian fans. It’s our home away from home! And we love your beers!
Andrew: Yeah, it was certainly worth the fifteen-hour ride it took us to back here. Yesterday morning we left for Belgium at 6 o’ clock but because of various car crashes on the Belgian roads we only arrived at the Ragnarok live club in Genk at about half past 8 in the evening. Fortunately, we still arrived in time for our gig there yesterday night.
BMS: When was the last time you played in Belgium?
Andrew: In April this year we headlined the Tribute To Wizz festival dedicated to our late friend Philippe “Wizz” Beauprez. It was a huge honor to headline that event because Wizzfest and Wizz himself both meant a lot to us.
Andy: Yeah, we first met Wizz during a gig we did in the UK and we remained in close contact with him for years up till his passing in late 2016. He put us on his Wizzfest lineup multiple times (we even recorded a live EP during the festival’s 2014 edition) and thanks to his efforts we managed to obtain a nice cult following here in Belgium.
BMS: Personally I only met Wizz shortly before he was diagnosed with cancer and we didn’t get a real chance to get to know each other. He was, however, one of my earliest fans and I bet he would’ve been a great mentor to me. Anyway, what are Vicious Nature’s future plans?
Andrew: We’re working on new material. Our songwriting goes like this, I think of the main riffs and record them at my home studio. Then I discuss my newly written melodies with the other guys and we all contribute to the song as well as offering feedback to all aspects of the track.
Andy: We also allow ourselves to discuss not only our own parts but also the parts of the other band members. In other words, I’m not limited to just writing the lyrics as I can also critique or suggest ideas for Mark’s bass lines or Andrew’s riffs and vice versa. And once we have a song entirely written and approved, we include it on the next EP we’ll be releasing.
Andrew: However, we also have several songs that we write and finish but end up not releasing on an EP or playing live at all! We’re very perfectionist and we only want to bring out our best material to the public.
BMS: I see, you’ve never released an entire Vicious Nature album, but I think it’s because you don’t want to keep your fans waiting too long for fresh material, right?
Andy: That’s correct. And one other important thing about our band’s work ethic is that we remain 100% in house. Back when we played in bands like Cloven Hoof and Marshall Law amongst others we ended up selling many thousands of pounds worth of albums but we received virtually no money from the record companies despite all the cash that we were making through the sales and gigs.
Andrew: Indeed. So we decided that Vicious Nature would remain a fully independent band. All money we make with Vicious Nature goes straight back into the band to finance our touring, merch production and album recording. We keep full control over all aspects of the band and we’d like to keep it that way.
BMS: That’s an unusual yet honest and self-responsible work ethic. I also saw that you’ve got a few headlining gigs next year. One of them is Dementia Aware-Fest. Tell me something more about it.
Andy: We’ve already played the Dementia Aware Fest multiple times and always had a great time there. We like contributing to charity events especially those who raise awareness to diseases like cancer and dementia. My father, for instance, is suffering from dementia in its early stages and it’s horrible to see his mental health deteriorating like that.
BMS: Yeah, things like that effect many people’s lives. (Vicious Nature’s drummer JB enters the backstage area)
JB: Good to see you, Metal Shredder! I’m pumped to play for you and those other great Belgian people present here in the Elpee music bar tonight!
BMS: Greetings, JB! Join in and tell me what other things you do in life aside from slamming drums with Vicious Nature?
JB: I enjoy horseback riding, fishing and walking through nature with my dog. Recently I had major surgeries on my back and knees and now I’ve got a lot of metal inside my body. So yeah, I’m kind of a cyborg right now!
Andy: Aside from Vicious Nature my life consists of playing Subbuteo (tabletop team sports games) as well as listening to old vinyl records, going out and meeting new people and finally I’m a huge fan of the Birmingham City football team. I also have a grandson who lives in Germany so I visit him a couple of times throughout the year.
Andrew: Like JB I also enjoy fishing. And aside from that I just keep on playing my guitars, thinking about new potential Vicious Nature material.
(Paddy, Vicious Nature’s bassist for that night’s gig comes in) BMS: Hey there, come on in! What do you have in life aside from Vicious Nature?
Paddy: Hey there! I’m a bit of a hermit. I go to work, I go back home and I rehearse. Not much else.
Andy: Paddy’s replacing Mark for this short Belgium tour because our main bassist Mark is currently at home suffering from a medical condition, nothing terminal fortunately, but he didn’t want to take the risk of complicating his currently fragile health. Paddy’s a longtime friends of ours and has already well-proven his worth as a competent bassist, such as the time he replaced Mark at Wizzfest 2016.
BMS: All right, I’m pretty much finished here. You guys have anything else to add before I let you further prepare for tonight’s gig?
Andrew: It’s a true pleasure to be back here in Belgium. I look forward to playing here in the Elpee Music Bar.
JB: Keep on supporting the underground!
Paddy: Thanks for letting me join in on this shred!
Andy: I just want to personally thank you for all the effort you’ve already done for our band as well as for those countless other underground rock and metal bands worldwide. Don’t forget to pose with us on stage for a picture!