-- Splendidula gets shredded --
I was invited by non-profit organization The Lizard to come over to their inaugural edition of Doomsday I (November 18, 2017). The lineup was headlined by established doom metal act Marche Funèbre and also featured up and coming doom metal bands Growing Horns, Loose License and Splendidula. As the festival was wrapping up, I sat together with Splendidula to talk about the band’s origins, their various metal and non-metal influences, their creative freedom and I compare vocalist Kristien to Star Wars character princes Leia! Let’s hope the Force is strong with this one!
Pictures made by Jan Vervaeke - Foto & Film except for the traditional band photo.
BMS: Hello there! How did Splendidula begin?David: We had the idea of making heavy music that doesn’t limit itself to one particular subgenre. We mix influences from psychedelic, sludge, doom, indie and ambient rock and aim to provide a balanced, atmospheric sound that’s easily enjoyable yet has a sense of mystery. That’s also the reason why we’ve got songs with lyrics in languages other than English.
Joachim: We all contribute to Splendidula’s sound each in our own way.
BMS: Tell me something more about those creative contributions.David: I’m a fan of edgy punk rock. So I allow some of that genre’s youthful aggression into Splendidula’s sound.
Peter: My main point of attention is the song’s riff. I take major cues from bands like Queens of the Stone Age and Mastodon. When I work on my bass lines for Splendidula I always think about what these bands’ bassists (Michael Shuman and Troy Sanders respectively) would come up should they be writing for Splendidula. So I make sure my bass sounds hard-hitting and full of emotion.
Kristien: Joachim and I listen to all kinds of music. Like doom, black, post metal etc. But we can also enjoy indie rock, electronic, new wave, alternative music etc. The most important thing for us is the atmosphere in a song. We try to add a dreamy and dark sound to Splendidula.
Pieter: I’m a very flexible listener. I listen to jazz, hip hop, techno, pop and more! I like to experiment and so I add some elements from those aforementioned music genres into Splendidula.
BMS: If I were to describe Splendidula myself I’d say it’s a blend of doom and sludge metal with even a hint at symphonic metal because of the operatic female vocals. I particularly enjoy how Kristien’s vocals are frequently countered by Pieter’s grunts. It creates a fun contrast.David: And that’s what we’ve been aiming for since the beginning of Splendidula. To create a varied and unpredictable sound that keeps the listener engaged all the way to the end.
Pieter: The idea of dual vocals came into place about a year ago when I joined the band. We all like to experiment and we were excited to add some male vocals to the new songs.
Kristien: Yeah, I always wanted to add grunts to Splendidula and when Pieter joined the band that dream had become a reality.
BMS: Great! Now, how did you come up with the name Splendidula?David: The name comes from the Latin words Lamprohiza Splendidula which means firefly. I love the mysterious yet peaceful feel of seeing those insects at night flying around trees or hovering above water and our music wants to translate that atmosphere in audio form. Fun fact: the original name for our band was Uye Schmetterlinge! Which is German for Oh, butterflies! We changed it because the word Schmetterlinge sounded a bit too harsh for the music we wanted to bring. The name Splendidula sounds exotic, almost like a magic spell.
BMS: Yeah, the German language has always been a rough language to speak. But I like the Splendidula name a lot and I agree, it fits with your band’s style and presentation. Now tell me something about Splendidula’s future?David: In March this year we recorded our next album, currently we’re working hard on the mixing and mastering process. We try to do most things independently, so it takes more time for us to work everything out but the end product will be worth the wait from our fans and the effort from ourselves. The new album will very likely arrive in early 2018!
BMS: So you like being an independent band?David: We sure do! We can do whatever we want and we can work at our own pace. Splendidula is a band that puts passion and love for music front and center! We aren’t going to dumb down our music just to increase our appeal to the mainstream audience. But we’re open to offers from record labels.
BMS: That’s the spirit! Authenticity is more important than money! So, what other stuff do you do aside from Splendidula?Pieter: I work as a theatre technician in the Cultural Centre in Tongeren and sometimes I do freelance tech jobs depending on how much time I’ve got left between my job and Splendidula.
Kristien: I work at a tax office.
BMS: Good thing I’m skilled at tax evasion, eh, I meant tax evaluation.Kristien: Good! And I’ve got an appetite for photography.
Joachim: I play in another band called Dissolving Skin and on December 16, 2017 my Dissolving Skinners and I will be organizing a doom and sludge metal festival in Groot-Bijgaarden, headlined by Silence Means Death! Splendidula will also play at this event. Come check it out!
BMS: I sure will, and what do you do in life, David?David: I give art classes and have created some of the drawings for Splendidula’s artwork. In addition I’m very interested in history.
Peter: I love music and I’ll enjoy listening to it every day! And of course I practice bass every day as well.
BMS: Then be sure to check out my weekly YouTube show called Shredder Sunday! Say, Kristien, looking at your small figure and knotted brown hair, you remind me of princes Leia from Star Wars!Kristien: Why, you stuck-up, half-witted, scruffy-looking nerf herder!
BMS: Who's scruffy-looking? (Okay, dear reader, I made this bit of dialogue up. She took it as a compliment! But I so wanted to write that line) Anyway, you’ve got anything else to add to this shred?David: We’re very thankful to be part of this first edition of Doomsday I. The festival is well organized and the bands present here are very talented. Plus you don’t see that many doom metal dedicated festivals nowadays.
Kristien: Thank you to all people who’ve showed up for the festival tonight as well the bands who played before and after us and of course to the guys of non-profit organization The Lizard. They’re awesome!
BMS: They sure are! Let’s take a picture!
Splendidula - Overshadow