Door Malcolm Nix

08 juli 2024
It’s certainly crazy that we can play together with the big names of punk.

Punk is not dead, as the Leuven festival Breaking Barriers wants to let us know every year. The festival invites British punk pioneers such as Steve Ignorant from Crass or the legendary UK Subs, as well as the Breton folk punkers Les Ramoneurs de Menhirs. But as befits a good punk festival, opportunities are also offered to young and local bands. BrainDead, for example, was formed in 2021 and comes from Turnhout. Organizer Malcolm Nix asked the young men about their passion for punk and their plans to conquer the world.

BrainDead is a young band that many people probably don’t know yet. If you had to briefly summarize what you stand for, what would you say are the key points that people should remember?

In our opinion, BrainDead is fast, energetic punk with a touch of humor and some costs.

The term ‘brain dead’ literally means “the complete and irreversible loss of the functions of the brain, including the brainstem and medulla oblongata.” Did you have that definition in mind when you chose the band name or does the term mean something completely different to you? Or are you just big fans of Peter Jackson’s early films?

We haven’t really thought about the definition. We chose this name because we noticed that the average youth no longer dares to express themselves for fear of being criticized. They imitate each other brain-dead to avoid being left out. This is a shame because everyone should be able to do whatever they want.

You have been playing for three years now, which means that the band actually started in the middle of a pandemic. How did that go, knowing that you, like everyone else, were simply not allowed to play anywhere in those first months?

We didn’t notice it much, because we mainly focused on making songs in preparation for future performances. We were in search of our sound and playing style. We are certainly very happy that this damn pandemic is over and that life has picked up again.

Indeed, we are now fortunately rid of the pandemic, but not without a million pointless online discussions about the sense and nonsense of vaccination campaigns. Have you heard or seen many conspiracy theories in your area?

There were so many stories going around that eventually people no longer knew who or what to listen to. The conspiracy theory that made us laugh the most was that corona originated because someone ate bat soup.

Many of those conspiracy theories were spread via Facebook, a platform that collects much more personal information than any pharmaceutical company. What is your attitude towards the use of social media? Do the advantages outweigh the disadvantages?

Social media allows you to be heard, but there are certainly disadvantages. Too large a part of the population is increasingly staring blindly at their screen. This has made people more naive and they believe almost everything they read.

In addition to social media, there are streaming services. How do you distribute BrainDead’s music? What is the easiest way for you to reach new people?

As mentioned earlier, you can easily reach a large target audience with social media. That’s why we promote our music and what we do mainly through Instagram and Facebook.

Before one can make something known, there must of course first be music. There is one demo on Bandcamp. There are about twelve songs on Soundcloud. Are you planning to release more in the near future?

We still have to develop the artwork and have the songs mastered. We also have to think about the CD circulation. Once the album is released, it will also appear on streaming services. Finally, we already know that the album will be called ‘Straight to the point’.

For the time being you are releasing everything independently, DIY, which will certainly sound familiar to many people who have started a band. Have you ever had contact with a label, and how did that turn out? Do you think there are labels that are or could be interested in the songs you write?

A label has not yet come our way, but this would suit us well. Label managers interested in youthful punk should definitely contact us via social media or email.

The previous question was of course not intended to put you under any form of time pressure. You are still young and still have plenty of time to make plans. Nowadays we see more and more young punk bands emerging, something that was much less the case about ten years ago. Do you think there is a new generation, or are there still too many young people who blindly follow the mainstream?

It's cool to see that more young people are finding their way to punk again. It is true that mainstream society is rather averse to this genre and its culture. We regret this, because punk is heavy and real.

On September 21 you will play at Het Depot for the first time, together with UK Subs and Steve Ignorant, among others. Have you actually been in touch with those punk bands of the first generations? Are you looking forward to sharing the stage with them?

It’s certainly crazy that we can play together with the big names of punk. If you had told us this a few years ago, we would have thought you were crazy. In December 2023 we also played with The Exploited, GBH and The Casualties. We are really excited to be opening for these bands at Het Depot. We're definitely going to have a blast!

Finally, do you have anything you would like to say here? A final note for the reader?

Lode Fransen (guitar and vocals) : I want to emphasize that everyone is welcome at our shows and should have fun! I can’t imagine life without music anymore and this is the craziest thing we have ever done. In any case, I am proud of my friends because we always help each other when we get stuck in making our music.

Ben Van den Heuvel (bass and vocals) : BrainDead is really a lifesaver for me and I can really put my inspiration into it. I hope we can achieve many more crazy things together. Going on tour in Europe is one of my biggest dreams! Stopping it is certainly not on the agenda.

Sverre Goorden (drums) : For me, BrainDead is one of the biggest things in my life, something I give 100 percent to every day. I think I speak for all of us when I say that I am curious about what we will have done and will do in five years, possibly with even crazier bands or at even bigger events.

Breaking Barriers with Steve Ignorant, UK Subs, Les Ramoneurs de Menhirs, Reproach and BrainDead, 21/09/2024, Het Depot, Leuven.

Delen op

Wil je Dark Entries steunen? Doe een gift op BE49 0017 6243 8971

© Dark Entries. Alle rechten voorbehouden. Ontwerp door We Cre8 It.