The Arch

Door Xavier Kruth

15 december 2023
Due to the Covid paralysis, everyone jammed from home in isolation, after which the songs grew through exchange and interaction.

The Arch releases its sixth LP with 'Sanctuary Rat', and we recommend everyone to listen to it. Why? Firstly, because it once again meets the wonderful quality standards of a The Arch record, but also because the group does not fail to renew itself again. And to find out more about this, we asked the gentlemen a few questions.

The new album 'Sanctuary Rat' was released in September. I think it is a real achievement, and even surprising because you have managed to innovate once again. How do you see 'Sanctuary Rat' - your sixth full-length album - in relation to your previous work?

Thank you for the compliment. Due to the Covid paralysis and the ‘Stay in your room’ regulations, we could no longer get together to make songs in our rehearsal hall. Rehearsing was no longer possible at all because performing was taboo. We were thus forced to adopt a new way of working: everyone jammed from home in isolation, after which the songs grew through exchange and interaction from a distance, via the internet. Perhaps as a result, the sound palette and the nature of the songs have become broader, from organic to mathematical, from warm to cold. In our humble opinion, there is more variation between the tracks. And variety of food makes you eat, or at least we hope so.

The previous album ‘XII’ was an experiment in which you composed the same number of songs in twelve months, each of which would be accompanied by a video. Was there also an experimental approach when writing this record, or did you return to composing in a more ‘classical’ way?

Here we must once again refer to the Covid background, a social cramp that everyone has had to experience personally. As a result, many bands have had to compose in a system where the members contributed from home and the internet served as the highway to grow the songs. A novelty was the mixing: where in the past this was always provided by external parties such as Ludo Camberlin or Kenny (KGB of Simi Nah), this record was mixed by our very own Mr. Pierre. A lot of time and energy went into this, but it was a very educational process that was very satisfying. Mixing is an interesting and enjoyable craft, with a creative dimension.

The previous album ‘XII’ had caused tension within the band – precisely because it had put the pressure on to compose quickly. Did those tensions arise again during the recording of the new album, or was there more consensus about the method to be followed?

It was all more relaxed. There were no deadlines and each of us worked from home at will, as it suited. Working under pressure, as during ‘XII’, has advantages and disadvantages. It will go faster, but it can lead to a suffocating workload and a lingering feeling of “things could have been better”.

You are a band with two guitar players, Mr Pierre and Ivan DC, but on the new recordings the sound seems to be mainly electronic, with guitars used more sparingly and measuredly. Is that your feeling too, and if so, was that a conscious choice?

We always look for a balance between electronics on the one hand and guitar parts on the other. It was by no means a conscious choice to use fewer guitar lines in the songs this time. Actually, these are things that have crystallized during the distillation of the songs.

‘Sanctuary Rat’ also stands out because of the beautiful cover, designed by Vincent Fourrel. Was the work made especially for you? What is the deeper meaning behind the cover?

Yes, the image was made specifically for us and was inspired by the lyrics of ‘Sanctuary Rat’, about a high-ranking bastard, the mighty mister misty minister, who over time has become so self-confident that he thinks he is beyond reach. But it is written in the stars: pride comes before a fall. And that decline can be triggered from a completely unexpected angle. ‘The sanctuary rat’ ultimately turns out to be ‘an ordinary rat’.

The particularly beautiful 'Laments Of An Icarus' is based on a poem by Baudelaire, who with his collection 'Les fleurs du mal' is of course a classic of black romanticism. What prompted you to set his poem to music?

It is obvious to consume such an enchanting poem as a song lyric. In this case, we think it matched the music ‘veiledly beautifully’. And what is nice: there is no paying copyright on that text. We humbly thank and remember the grandmaster.

You have also used lyrics written by third parties for other songs. How did you decide on this?

We are regularly presented with texts by colleagues and friends, asking us to try them as lyrics for our songs. As far as we're concerned, the more the merrier. This provides broader input and more variation.

‘Sanctuary Rat’ is released on Dryland Records, the label of Goethes Erben. Was it easy for you to find this label after the closure of the much-lamented Wool-E Discs?

We met them at a festival in Germany. We started talking to each other, we became friends and one thing led to another. The collaboration is going as it should and we are also very satisfied with their promotion. It is a house where we are well taken care of. That was once different.

Picture: Luc 'Who Cares' Luyten

The Arch: bandcamp / Facebook

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Over Xavier Kruth

Xavier Kruth bekeerde zich al op jonge leeftijd tot het gothicdom. Toen hij begon te puberen, moest hij lang zagen om een zwarte broek te mogen hebben. Toen hij tegenover zijn moeder argumenteerde dat hij gewoon om een zwarte broek vroeg, niet om zijn haar omhoog te doen in alle richtingen, repliceerde ze dat als hij nu een zwarte broek zou krijgen, hij daarna toch zijn haar torenhoog omhoog zou doen. Xavier was versteld over de telepathische vermogens van zijn moeder. Hij leerde destijds ook gitaar spelen, en sinds 2006 speelt hij in donkere kroegen met zijn melancholische kleinkunstliedjes in verschillende talen. In 2011 vervoegde Xavier het team van Dark Entries. In Dark Entries las hij ook dat The Marchesa Casati (gothic rock) een gitarist zocht, en zo kon hij een paar keer met de groep optreden. Later speelde hij bij Kinderen van Moeder Aarde (sjamanische folk) en werkte samen met Gert (kleinpunk). En het belangrijkste van al: in 2020 bracht hij samen met Dark Entries-collega Gerry Croon de plaat ‘Puin van dromen’ uit onder de naam Winterstille.

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