~arrangements for the interview by Tzina Dovve for Absolution.NYC~
Tzina: As l understand Ground Nero have been active since 2015. How was the band formed and what is the current line-up?
As for many bands, the beginning was a little difficult, as Nomad was looking for authentic eighties musicians, who had been there from the beginning of the dark/coldwave music scene. All changed when Peter Philtjens joined and the vision for Ground Nero was fixed. We had some trouble finding the ideal singer, but when Gwijde turned up, we knew, we were ready to take off.
Ground Nero have a very distinct dark/goth sound.Who is the main song writer in the band? What inspires you to write music?
It depends: songs either start from a bass line or a guitar riff, but lately we have also started to experiment with different synths and soundscapes, which provide a specific atmosphere that can lead to a new song. Nomad is taking care of the guitars, synths, drums/percussion and soundscapes and in some songs it may even happen that almost no guitars are present, focusing on the synths, as you will notice on one song of the new album.
After two EP releases (‘ Beyond ‘ and ‘Scales’ ) you have a new album ‘Divergence ‘ ready to be released. Can you elaborate on that. What makes this album different from your previous releases?
Our new, first full album “Divergence” is a logical sequence as it answers some questions which were raised by those first 2 EP releases. Again, the new album has different levels both on the content as well as on the musical execution and arrangements. A more extensive explanation will be given on it’s release. We have been working on it for about 1 year, and it has been a very exciting time. We, ourselves, looking back now, are very surprised by the result of it, and probably also our fans will.
Ground Nero played WGT 2019, one of the biggest dark/alternative/goth festivals in the world. How was that experience?
Of course we were very excited and proud to be playing at WGT for the first time. We also knew that we had to nail it there from the beginning, which according to the reviews we received afterwards, we did. We had a great time, got stunning reactions and after the show we had meet & greet with fantastic fans! Very professional and friendly WGT organization. So, everything a band can dream of.
What feedback did you receive from your fans in Germany? Do you have any other upcoming shows in the near future?
The feedback from both the German and international fans was in one word “stunning”, and therefore also very motivating, as this is very important for a band to receive an appreciation of what it’s doing. We are now preparing our album release shows and one show in Belgium will be on the 5th of October.
If Ground Nero were to choose what band would you like to support on tour? What are your musical influences?
Presumably, that would be a personal thing.
Nomad: that would be Killing Joke! As a guitarist I am a big fan of Geordie and I admire the band for its uniqueness, and excellence, still after all these years.
Gwijde : The music of The Chameleons has made me happy for the biggest part of my life, so it would be a privilege to support Chameleons Vox.
What is more gratifying for you as a band? Recording in the studio or playing live?
Gwijde: both are nice and happen in their own atmosphere, but walking on stage is like coming home for me. I love that spontaneous transformation that overcomes me, every time I enter the stage. And I like the contact with the audience very much.
How do you see the dark/alternative scene in your home country? How has it evolved over the years? Do you believe the scene is different in the rest of Europe?
One thing we discovered, when playing in Germany, is that a lot of younger fans are coming to our gigs, which is not so much the case in Belgium for the time being. This of course is very important for the existence of our scene. On the other hand, we have the feeling that there is a global revival of “dark” music. This probably has to do with the dark times we are living in, and as we were in the 80’s. Let’s hope more people start listening to our kind of music and find some comfort in it, as we did in the 80’s.
How difficult do you believe it is for goth orientated bands to survive in the dark /alternative music industry today, a more or less electro dominated industry?
It’s difficult, as the music industry has changed a lot due to the digitization of media. Bands have to finance their music by playing gigs and selling their merchandise at these gigs. So, we are basically fully depending on our fans, that come and see us play, and hopefully also buy a T-shirt or a CD or vinyl from us, so we can finance our studio recordings and productions. Therefore, such large festivals such as WGT, M’era Luna, Amphi, etc. are very important to us, as there, our international fans gather to see us play. Local, smaller events such as in Belgium, often have the problem of financing due to the limited number of fans/audience. Coming to the type of music, we like some differentiation and find it fascinating to discover new sounds, sometimes more towards the direction of heavy gothic rock and sometimes more electro or even a combination of the two. The unique vocals of our singer Gwijde will always provide enough Ground Nero recognizability, which leaves us enough flexibility to explore the quadrants of our genre.
Is there anything else that you would like to share with your fans?
Well, for the time being we would say to stay tuned and get ready for our new Album “Divergence”. We will take it from there….