-- Huracán gets shredded! --
On January 24th 2019 I was invited to an official press event at the headquarters of Dunk!Records. A record label dedicated to doom, sludge and post-metal and who’s activities also include the yearly 3-day event Dunk!Festival as well as the vinyl production plant Dunk!Pressings. My good friend Sean Vali (head of booking agency Arawn Agency) offered me to interview several of Dunk!’s associated bands and one of those was Huracán. I sat together with guitarist Christophe and drummer Tijs to talk about the band’s stacked gig at the Gonzo Bar in Ninove from a week earlier, their live recorded studio session in Trix (check it out at the end of the article), their collaboration with Dunk!Records and their inspirations which range from Mastodon and Alice In Chains all the way to hip hop music!
All pictures by Elien Swinnen (https://www.elienswinnen.com/).
BMS: First and foremost, congratulations on delivering a fully packed gig at the Gonzo music bar in Ninove last week. The place was so crowded that not even I could shred my way through to the front!
Christophe: Thanks for the kind words, we sure had a blast there! For me personally, it was the first time I visited Gonzo and I was very pleased with the looks and friendly atmosphere. Fille, Gonzo’s owner, is really one of the nicest guys we know. In addition, the audience had already an awesome warm-up in the form of Growing Horns.
Tijs: Both us and Growing Horns received a lot of positive feedback from the crowd. We’ve played with Growing Horns in 2017 at Villa Bota (Obey The Riff live) and we’re very pleased to see how they’re evolving.
BMS: I agree, I’ve already seen those guys play multiple times over the past year and a half and they keep on improving. Now, recently you did a studio session in Trix in Antwerp. How did that come to be?
Tijs: We’ve had the honor of recording our first two EPs with Frank Rotthier. He’s Trix’s main mixer and founder of Rotthier Sound. Not long ago Trix had their recording studio restructured and Frank was looking for a band to try out the new setup. Since we’ve been good friends and business partners for so long he invited us to come over and record live in there. At the same time, it seemed a great idea to make live video footage of the whole session, so we brought our friend Kim Vreys to do the camerawork and we’re all very happy with the final result.
Christophe: All footage was recorded live in a single take. It all happened on a sunny, relaxing Sunday afternoon, we went in, played our stuff, had some beers and cheers. It was a great day! It’s always been a pleasure to work with Frank, he’s very passionate about his work.
BMS: I saw the video and I’m also very pleased with your work!
Tijs: Not only that, a month later we were invited to play the after show of garage punk band Sons in Trix. So that gave us some good exposure!
BMS: Excellent job! You know, your music reminds me of Mastodon.
Tijs: Thank you, but that’s really too much praising! Yeah, we have a few similarities to Mastodon. Some of our riffs have a Mastodon-vibe and we also often insert abrupt tempo changes. In addition, three of us (which are Christophe, our bass player Bert and myself) do vocals. We often alternate between harsh grunts and crystal cleans, which has become kind of a Huracán trademark.
Christophe: And we noticed most people like our multi-vocalist touch a lot, so we’ll certainly be expanding on our individual vocal ranges.
BMS: Tijs, you sing and drum at the same time, you don’t see that all too often. How do you handle that work?
Tijs: It’s not that difficult actually, in the band I take care of the screaming vocals and when I’m drumming I can feel the raw energy building up inside of me and it just has to get the hell out!
BMS: I perfectly understand! So, aside from Mastodon, what are your other main musical inspirations?
Tijs: We all grew up in the 1990s, so obviously we’re at least indirectly inspired by the mainstream rock and metal bands from that decade such as Pantera, Soundgarden, Korn and Alice In Chains as well as bands from the 2000s like High On Fire and Black Cobra.
Christophe: As for our songwriting, Tijs and Geert write the main core of Huracán’s music. Once this core of riff and rhythm is shaped, we all get together and cut away the rough edges, add some sparks and look where to place vocals. In fact, personally I have an extensive musical taste. I like everything from barbaric death metal over classical masterpieces all the way to pounding techno music. We also have an appetite for hip hop and that’s probably why every Huracán gig starts and ends with a hip hop sample.
BMS: Very interesting! So, how is the collaboration going with Dunk!Records?
Tijs: We’ve been working with the people of Dunk! for a few years now and we’ve appeared on their Dunk!Festival twice! Playing on Dunk!Festival has been a truly memorable experience on both occasions. The warm, multicultural atmosphere, the huge roster of both Belgian and international bands, the unique forest location, it’s great! You should go there this year!
BMS: Yes, I will and I’m looking forward to it! What’s in store for Huracán’s future?
Christophe: Up next we have several Dunk!records organized gigs in the following months in venues like Elpee (Deinze) and Vortn’Vis (Ypres). We’ll also be playing at the 25 Years Antwerp Music City party in April and there are some other cool gigs to come about which we can’t talk about yet. The main focus, however, is to work on our first full-length release!
Tijs: Currently we have five finished songs and we’re working hard on new stuff. The success from our buddies from Psychonaut, who released their critically acclaimed debut album “Unfold The God Man” last year, has inspired us to take a much more critical look at our material in order to make our own stand-out album!
BMS: Great, I met the Psychonaut guys a few years back, nice and very talented guys! What other things do you have in life aside from Huracán?
Tijs: I’ve got a wife and two kids that I love and care for with all my heart. Aside from that, I enjoy playing football and after three years I’ve finished building a fully functional rehearsal room, right in my yard!
Christophe: I’m also a full-time family man, with a lovely wife and two children of my own and I like to do some running and mountain biking to remain in good, guitar-shredding shape.
BMS: Yeah, staying in good physical and mental shape is vital! So, you got anything else you wish to add to this little shred?
Tijs: Send our regards to your friend Metal Bart for the beautiful picture collage he made for us last week at the Gonzo Bar. It’s now hanging proudly in our rehearsal room. In general, it feels so wonderful for us to not just play music but to see people enjoying it so vehemently!
Christophe: I also would like to thank Sean Vali for booking us to the multiple shows that we’ll be doing soon. Like the rest of the Dunk! crew, he’s a very generous, passionate and dedicated fellow and we hope to continue working with him and the other Dunkers!
Tijs: And of course, thanks for shredding us!