ELEFANT is a blasting, krautrock loving four-piece with members from different bands formed at the end of 2014 year to ventilate their sonic demons. They generate nasty post punk strokes charged with bass loaded drones, freaky electronics and howling metallic guitars to electrify the whole shebang. They look like some lost chemical CHERNOBYL researchers dressed in their work outfit, with white ‘deadly pale’ powder spread all over their faces. This rowdy gang sounds and looks really DIFFERENT. Two reasons to read on. These outcasts just released their first record. A smoking 5-track live EP via BANDCAMP (see link beneath) titled ‘NORDIC TANZEN AM SONNTAG’. Made in BELGIUM to test your speakers. Mastermind and frontman WOLF, flanked by his exuberant accomplices, is determined to party BLOODY LOUD until this troubled planet surrenders and joins the ELEFANT army. I believe the alien. I saw them playing live twice this year. They brainwashed me merciless with APOCALYPTIC GROOVES. Haunting stuff for body and soul. Boisterous, controlled exorcism ! I want more. About time to try to communicate with WOLF…
Hello planet ELEFANT, hello WOLF…
When and where was ELEFANT conceived?
“Elefant was conceived in my brain approx. a year ago. I wanted to play weird music with these three other weirdo’s. Music that’s at the same time deep yet fun, painful yet cathartic, ugly yet beautiful.”
Who or what inspired ELEFANT’s hunger for krautrock spiced post punk drones?
“Uhm… life in general, some songs are based on sounds I hear in the street, other songs by musicians like Death Grips, Glenn Branca or maybe Elias Rahbani. Other songs are inspired by movies, Irreversible or The Elephant Man. Anything really that can inspire us. Yesterday I was in an antique store, there was slow classical string music playing while the heating system made a throbbing sound ‘dukdukdukduk‘. I came home and wrote a new track from what I’ve heard.”
Tell us the story behind the debut EP’s title ‘Nordic Tanzen Am Sonntag’.
“Well, we recorded our fourth gig and picked the best versions of the songs. Ooh, that’s a pretty boring answer, I’ll start again. We recorded a live EP, because there’s no better way to translate the energy of the music. It was recorded on a Sunday (hence ‘Sonntag‘) and we play a kind of Northern post-whatyamacallit, yet inspired by Eastern dance music, hence the tacky ‘Nordic Tanzen’…”
Most of the tracks on the debut EP are, in whole or in part, instrumental. Is it about ‘let the music do the talking’?
Elefant evolved out of Gung Ho, a surf band in which Mario (drums) and I are still playing. Gung Ho is mainly an instrumental band, so naturally the first Elefant songs were instrumentals. Also I didn’t want ordinary song structures/songs, I wanted to hear music/moods, not standard-verse-chorus-verse-chorus-bridge-chorus songs.”
My favorite track ‘A Brief History’ has only a few lines and they refer to the Bible / Quran / Thorah and Baghavad Gita. Sounds like a religious song to me?
“Like the title says the track is a brief history of the human race. During the song I sum up the excuses mankind uses for going to war, being religion. Religion is the best way to control people, be it Islam, Judaism, Catholicism or Capitalism. Maybe the track should be called
‘ WAR !!! ‘ instead.”
A brief video of the human race…
You are all dressed up as nuclear researchers or is it other characters that you want to impersonate ?
“We are aliens visiting your beautiful planet. Nice sky you’ve got over here.”
You use a symbol instead of a picture of the band to visualize yourselves. What’s the signification of that symbol?
“Well, for me it’s an anti-fascist symbol. I saw a TV program of the late Belgian journalist Maurice De Wilde, who made a series on collaboration with the Nazi’s in Belgium during the second World War. In one of the episodes he displayed the logo of VNV, a national Flemish political party at the time. I reversed that logo and it became our logo. Some argue that it’s something you cannot do ethically, but if you reverse Jesus’ cross it becomes a satanic symbol.”
You’re the longtime guitarist player with famous Belgian rock band The Van Jets. Couldn’t you get rid of your demons through them?
“The reason I play bass in Elefant is because I was playing bass in Gung Ho, and the second reason is I always wanted to play with Maarten Flamand (guitar) and Stijn Van Marsenille (keys). Maarten is an incredible guitarist, he can wail, wank and shred! Stijn a.k.a. Wuzz is a musical mad scientist and he dances like a gnome. I had to create the ELEFANT-vehicle to unleash my demons, there’s no other psychiatric or therapeutic way.” (chuckles)
If a record label knocked at your door and offered you money to record a full length ELEFANT album would you consider to do it or will ELEFANT be a side project forever?
“We already recorded songs that could become an album, so… what are you waiting for record label bobo’s? Elefant was never meant to be a ‘side’ thing, it’s a major thing!”
So far you played a handful of gigs. Any plans to do more live shows in the future?
“Affirmative, working on it.”
What congenial band would you sell your mother for to go on tour with them?
“I wouldn’t trade my sweet mother for anything, but I would sell my precious collection of belly button fluff to go on tour with Mykki Blanco, a rebel with many causes, he’s intelligent, sweet, violent, and above all crazy.”
Faust or Can?
“I hardly know Faust, so Can it must be. I like the emptiness/space/unworldliness in their tunes. These Germans created a new musical language on their own and are still influencing bands today.”
Devo or Television?
“DEVO! This is the only band where humour works in music, sorry Frank Z. I favour their childlike/robotlike playing and alienating sound.”
Album of the year?
A selection per mood.
Napalm Death: ‘Apex Predator – Easy Meat’
Sufjan Stevens: ‘Carrie & Lowell’
Track of the year?
Your 2016 wish for Elefant?
“PLAY : in every sense.”
Many thanks WOLF for taking time to talk to a member of the human race !
May the road rise with ELEFANT !
Now put on your dancing shoes and unleash your demons !
Here’s ‘NORDIC TANZEN AM SONNTAG’ in full…
(All ELEFANT concert pics by JL – Charlatan Club, Ghent (Belgium) – July 22, 2015)