We are here today to talk about new Doom sensation BATHSHEBA. As you may know already guys we don’t give a damn about commercial stuff or trends, this is Metalbrothers.es’ territory all the way and Bathsheba fits perfectly on it. A band with their own personality, as Michelle points out, they are the blend of several different characters and the result is brilliant. They give the doom approach a new sense and Michelle’s voice is a clear example of that. You never know how is going to be in music business, but this guys have it all to make a stand out. Plus, Michelle’s opinions are cool and different, to say the least.
Hello Michelle and congratulations for your first full length album “Servus”
Thank you very much! And thank you for this interview!
Good to have Bathsheba and Michelle on the microphone, not singing just talking this time Michelle, you are not new in this business, you have experience from previous bands, what’s your story?
Yes although we are a new band, we all have a little history in music already. You might know Jelle mainly from Sardonis, a heavy 2 piece band that just stopped previous year. Dwight is known from bands as Disinterred and Raf used to play in Gorath and in Death Penalty with me. I set my roots in music with Serpentcult. I also have another project that is called Leviathan Speaks, which is more ambient triphop with noise. The music scene in our area is quite interesting and there’s some nice and good musicians reaching out to each other. Jelle and Dwight wanted to start a band. Jelle knew me from the tour we did with Grand Magus, Sardonis and Serpentcult. And I knew Raf because we were friends. Et voila.
How has your previous works in bands such as Death Penalty or Disinterred influenced your sound in Bathsheba?
That’s an interesting question indeed. I think you mainly take the experience with you. Every band is different and in every band you are another version of yourself. I think through the experience you develop your own sound or style. You always take something with you to the next band or project that you have developed or learned in the previous thing you were doing.
Your name has something to do with the Hebrew myth of Bathsheba?
Yes. When looking for a band name we were thinking of having ‘someone’ representing us. It didn’t matter if this representative would be a male or a female. We just wanted to have someone with a very complex and colored personality representing us. Bathsheba has many faces. She’s dark, seductive, kind, mysterious, clever, she is the Daughter of the Oath, mother of King Solomon,… And on a deeper level as well there is much to tell about her, even though she is somewhat in the background.
You released a demo in 2014 and an ep in 2015. Is there an evolution regarding your new album?
There is definitely an evolution. In 2014 we were still very much looking for an identity as we just started this band, end 2013, early 2014. Although we are still the same, we also really grew. Two demo songs are also on the album. That’s ‘The Sleepless Gods’ and ‘Manifest’. Then we recorded the 10 inch in 2015. Servus of course still has somewhat the same tone. A song like ‘Conjuration of fire’ still carries that heavy doom but we also developed more apart from of that doom genre. ‘Ain Soph’ and ‘I, at the end of everything’ carry a somewhat more black metal feel. My personal favorite is ‘Demon 13’. I can’t even put my finger on a style there. It’s very outrageous and honest. I think this was the most important thing to us to come to a point that you can express utter emotion indifferent to what style you are bringing.
A great analysis, indeed. How long have you dedicated to the composition of Servus?
Of course there are two songs we did in 2014 on there but apart from that we wrote a good one and a half to two years on it I think. All together taken. We like the idea of letting things develop naturally and record when you are really ready. Some bands like to hurry and I do say I got impatient too at moments. But you know this is something that when you record it, you can’t undo it. It will be out in the world like that so you better be sure that you make it the best you can and that you are ready for it.
Is there any big force inside Bathsheba that shines more than the others in terms of composition or musical direction?
That’s something interesting to think about. I think the doomy aspect, the slow, heavy sound is very important to us. But for Servus it was also important to get out of that more typical thing. I think we all had that urge to explore something more. We are all equal and I couldn’t see BATHSHEBA continuing without any of us. I think that is a big force too. The fact we are all equally important and we are all very different. A big motivator for me personally was sorrow and frustration and to be able to express that as much and honest as possible.
What is the story you tell in Servus in terms of lyrics?
Servus is like waking up in the morning and realizing that everything and everyone is your enemy. The moment you wake up and open your eyes and you feel the walls closing in and you’re being smashed towards the walls of fact. You feel tired and heavy, even more than when you went to sleep. You get up wondering why you exist at all. There’s so much sorrow. Sorrow from life itself, events that happen, people you lose,… But there is also some intrinsic sadness. An understanding about life and our own inability to see how beautiful it can be. So it’s almost a hymn to the burden of life you are carrying both on an earthly and spiritual level. It also has some frustrating and schizophrenic moments where you are almost happy to wallow in the decay. Like you are the chosen one, hated by all and you love it. Because you feel better knowing you are not part of the society who live with their eyes closed. Sadness, sorrow and hurt never disappoint. You can get so lost in your own mind. The abyss of your own mind can reach levels so deep you couldn’t ever fantasize about that. But indeed sometimes there is also sun, let’s try to not forget that.
Kind of a big nightmare it seems…, something we have all felt or experienced one moment or another I guess. I would like to remark, Michelle, your great work on vocals, you really make a difference with other acts
Thank you so much. Well the guys agree on that it is different and very personal. I try to become myself more and more vocally. I think it’s pointless to sing like anyone else. How could I if what I express is what is inside of me. Then it’s so personal that it has to be me you know. And when this somehow sounds good to people then I think I can just say that I’m very grateful to be able to sound like that. My main purpose wasn’t to sound good, it was to sound honest. And with doing that I am really satisfied. It’s the first time in my career that I actually like my voice and that I can actually listen to my own album and enjoy it and undergo what is happening, what we have done.
Moreover, you have a great ability to create a thick dark and bizarre atmosphere
I could say as a person I am quite dark. I mean I’m also very light. But, there is a certain dark side of me that is very present. And I am somewhat a bizarre person I know that. I don’t mind, I don’t want to change either. I think I lack of any technical knowledge so the only thing I can do is give a part of myself in what I am doing. So naturally this darkness and bizarre thing that is a big part of my personality is expressed in what I do. Musically I think the atmosphere again comes from the fact that we are all very different and we all have different ideas.
I praise your sincerity and maturity. Dwight delivers some tremendous riffs and solos along the album, with some psycho rock and stoner feeling
Yes Dwight is a rare character. When I met him I really didn’t know what to make of him. Sometimes he does something and I feel it completely differently. Or visa versa. So we are somewhat adversaries. It’s hard sometimes to let go of your own judgement or preferences but it somehow works. So during our process we really developed a trust in one another. I also really don’t like solo’s too much but what he did on Manifest for instance… There’s a riff I truly immensely love and the solo he did is so full of feeling that even I have to love it. He comes up with very diverse riffs. One moment there’s an epic riff and another moment it’s more a death metal riff but he has this natural weirdness I suppose and it just works somehow.
We are talking about six songs in your album and no one less than five minutes, with Manifest over ten minutes. How is a gig by Bathsheba?
Haha yes. It’s sometimes difficult when you only have 35 or 40 minutes. We have a fixed set for now that is about 45 minutes but if we have to play less it’s sometimes really a puzzle to do so. We somehow always manage, sometimes we ask for 5 minutes more. Because if you play 35 minutes that means 4 songs if you include manifest and the samples… Which to me is really not enough to express myself often. But after 45 minutes I gave so much I’m entirely finished too. So 50 minutes would be perfect. We could play the whole album with samples then.
Talking about Manifest, it’s one of my favorite tracks and I think a clear statement of what Bathsheba is able to deliver now and in the future, a brutal new force in the Doom scene
For me personal it was the song I liked less because well there’s obviousely not so much singing so it’s not a very exciting song for me to do. We mostly end our concert with this song because it gives me the chance to calm down again when I finish. Also the guys can do their thing and it’s a good song to finish a gig I think. When I listen to it myself, yeah I hear it. It’s a great and powerfull song, it’s really a manifest I think. I also think it’s Jelle’s favorite and maybe the other guys favorite too.
You have signed by Svart Records, how is going the promotion of you great new album?
We are working together with Svart records and Bidi van Drongelen from Bidi Bookings. We can’t complain for now. Noisey had the première of streaming the album, we were on Never mind the Hype Radio, Metal Hammer.de had the premiere of the lyric video for Ain Soph, We had interviews with Zero Tolerance, Rock Hard Italy, you guys etc. So I think we are spread about and people are talking about the album. We are very grateful to Svart and Bidi for all the support and of course to all of you, sincerely.
Great to hear so. Have you released any videos or any other promo material or you will do it in the near future?
And now we are mainly preparing to do live gigs and in meanwhile slowly writing some new material. It’s all good to make video’s and let people see some footage of the band, but the focus for us has to be in making music and playing our gigs well live. We also like that kind of mystery where a band doesn’t shove themselves in everyone’s face all the time.
How do you see the current Doom scene?
I’m not so much in most doom to be honest. I find it a bit boring most of the time. Doom I really like or music that has a doomy touch are bands like Blutch and Thee plague of Gentlemen but they both don’t exist anymore. I like things like Primitive Man or Bongripper, Raketkanon has some interesting doomy parts,… I don’t think I’m the right person to talk about doom music. I know very little of doom bands. Doomed Gatherings in Paris previous year, where we played had some great bands playing like Throw me in the Crater, Toner Low, Mantar,… I think doom needs a serious innovation as we are seeing now in the black metal scene. I think black metal is now much more interesting than doom nowadays.
A very interesting opinion, once again. Belgium is a too small market for a big doomy monster in constant growth as Bathsheba?
Belgium has a cool metal scene and doom has had some expension but indeed Belgium is Belgium. We are a bit spoiled I think. There are so many great Belgian bands and luckily some of those bands even make it to the main stream. Things like Amenra or Steak Number Eight. They are pretty underground musically but still attract a great audience. So I’m very glad that things like that are possible! I don’t think though it will happen to us because we are already a weird trade within the tiny doom scene.
Well, who knows, let destiny do his part… Have you planned some tour dates around? What countries will you play through?
For now we haven’t any tour dates fixed. I hope to announce some cool gigs soon. What I can announce is our release party 30th March in the Botanique in Bruxelles together with the release of Emptiness new album. We play at Roadburn in the Netherlands, Rodeofest in Belgium, Dragonfest in the UK,…
We won’t be there, too far from home, but we wish the best. What can we expect from Bathsheba in the future?
Hopefully more good music, more growth, some nice live shows, maybe a tour,… I hope we can continue our path and become better, wiser, deeper,… and always be ourselves.
Thank you very much Michelle for your time and interesting opinion, keep your glorious path
Thank you so much for having us. It was a pleasure to answer your questions. We really hope to come to Spain and play there and reach out to you guys! Thank you for reaching out to us!