10 May 2023
FILIBUSTER are four music maniacs from Belgium. They produce a melting pot of grunge (think, of course, Nirvana), slacker rock (think Dinosaur Jr.) and anything post-punk edged.
They released their second longplayer, baptized Quit Part Out Loud last March. Both sonically and lyrically a mood-swings record. You can rock out to it, take a breather now and then, and go quiet/loud all the way through. Sounds cool right? You betcha. That’s why Turn Up The Volume invited frontman Karl, who’s a creepy starer at times, to tell you and me some more about the band and their new impassioned album.
thanks for taking
time for this chat
When and how came the band together?
“About 5 or 6 years ago I (Karl, vocals/guitars) had been wanting to start a new project
with the vague idea of combining noise, post-punk and shoegaze. I was obsessed with the sound of guitars dissonantly battling each other I heard in Interpol’s PDA or Goo-era Sonic Youth.
Pieter-Jan (guitar) was my roommate at the time and a fellow student of classical guitar
in Antwerp. He had been specializing in 20th-century avant-garde stuff and fit the mold perfectly. Timo (bass) was a former bandmate and musical soul mate let’s say, and he turned out to be an infinite source of emo-riffs.
We made some DIY demos to try out some ideas, under the name Sultan of Sentiment,
and sent them to Humo’s Rock Rally for laughs. We accidentally got selected and had to train a drummer in a few months to play and understand our impossible music. Jonas
was a willing victim. Berbel’s Helena Van Hoolst joined to do keys and backing vocals.
We played a god awful set during the pre-selections, the p.a. guy didn’t know what to do with us, but we kept the band going. Helena left but our other roommate Nathaniel, prog and death metal genius for Winterblind, stepped in for a few years. We recorded some new demos with Koenraad Foesters and then approached Bert Vliegen to record a first album. Etc etc!”
What’s the story behind the band’s name?
“Filibuster was just a word we thought sounded cool and snappy and political and
it had a certain post-punk vibe I guess. I still like that it’s kind of an ode to a huge
political dick-move. Although we had some issues with people confusing us with
a Californian ska-band with the same name. Oops.”
You have your debut album out. It’s titled QUIET PART OUT LOUD.
What did you want to express with it?
“It’s hard for us/me not to make music that’s extremely personal. You tend to cut out
the overly emotional bits during the writing process, but somehow it just always turns
out sentimental and angsty.
Most of these songs were written during a tumultuous time in my/our personal life and while grieving a family member. So the title reflects this I guess. We don’t mean to say the quiet parts out loud, we just wanna have fun and rock out, you know, but we can’t really help it.”
Who designed the album’s cover and what
did you want to visualise with that drawing?
“Wannes Cools had so many great ideas, but this one drawing he made stuck. I can’t speak for him artistically, but for me, this little grotesque dude seems to be trying to hide behind his hand but struggling to contain himself.
I think it really fits the themes of the album. Our first LP was so beautiful and lush but this drawing and the font, it’s so simple and effective and it oozes punk-rock too. We will never get sick of seeing this little fella on a vinyl cover.”
One of the highlights is the single CAN’T UNFRIEND YOURSELF.
What’s the song about?
“Can’t Unfriend Yourself is about our online persona. The digital veil that should hide or embellish who we are, but betrays more about ourselves than we would like. About not being able to escape this conundrum and neurotically ego-looping to infinity.”
Is the LP the work of the whole band? Who writes the songs?
“The first concepts are usually riffs from Timo or me, then I try to make them into something resembling a song. We get together to flesh them out, which somehow
we succeeded at in like… 5 rehearsing sessions. Props to Pieter-Jan for improvising
and composing some of my favourite guitar leads on the album and the beautiful
synth section on Lo-Fi Insane.”
Suppose the album would be the soundtrack
for a movie, which one would it be?
“Hmm, something moody with insane bursts of frantic energy.
Maybe Psycho. But starring Nicolas Cage as the girl in the shower.”
Suppose the band was an animal, which one would it be and why?
“Ostriches when feeling anxious or scared they will express it by screaming or running away, or if any of these doesn’t work, awkwardly try to blend with the environment.”
What’s a FILIBUSTER gig like?
“Loud and unforgiving but also intimate? At least that’s how we’d like to think it is.
We loooove to see people bounce around to our songs, so bring your earplugs and dancing shoes!”
Which band would you love to tour with and why?
“Pardoner (note: 4 indie rockers from San Francisco) because we think
it’d be a great laugh to hang out with and because I wanna tell them
how much I dig their music.
Warpaint because I have a fantasy where I play in a Korean drama and creepily
stare at the bass player from around various corners and somehow it ends up
with us getting into a totally non-toxic relationship.”
What’s your Top 3 of Belgian bands?
The Hickey Underworld
We were insane fanboys and very hyped
about them touring again.
Evil Superstars (1994-199)
Mauro Pawlowski and Tim Vanhamel in one band!
Luc De Vos is our spirit animal.
What’s the band ultimate goal
“Honestly we just want to keep making records, so I guess getting to a point where we don’t have to drain our personal bank accounts for it? Also, I personally get a kick out of just one person saying they’ve been listening to our album over and over.
Really anytime anyone has some kind of physical reaction to our music whether it’s laughing or crying or just feeling the need to jump up and down, I feel like I can die peacefully.”
Thank you, Karl, for this interview.
May the road rise with Filibuster.