We conclude our series of interviews with rock bands making up Belgium’s Walloon emerging punk scene with Scrap Dealers and Umungus. Find the complete set of interviews in our Third Rate Edition.
Named after the baddie in Mad Max, Umungus is an experiment spawned in Belgium’s southern Guam region by a pair of local boys with a penchant for psychedelic guitar-driven rock. Members’ side projects include the likes of Daggers, The Buck Shots, Loaded Guns, Skull n’ Bones, and they’ve just played support for Japanese psychedelic rockers, Acid Mothers Temple.
On the demo
Yannick: We did it really DIY, and we did the entire thing in four days.
On trying something different
Yannick: We work with a label called Honest House. They’re more pop rock, indie, stuff like that, and they put on some shows in Botanique. We wanted to work with them because they’re really outside of the scene we were in before, you know, hardcore, metal, stuff.
Yannick: We really want to do music all the time. We’ve never taken Umungus on the road. We practice about three times a week. We’d love to do a big tour in the US and all over the world. We’ve been playing quite a few shows recently. I counted yesterday with Mathias, we did eleven shows in two years.
On the Walloon/Flemish divide
Yannick: Flanders has all the jeugendcentrums (youth centres) and stuff like that. Those places usually have got a lot going on when it comes to shows, so that’s great about Flanders. I think there are quite good shows there; you’ve got a big agency who books shows, Heartbreak Tunes and stuff like that, and in Wallonia there’s less money in culture so there are fewer shows. I don’t know, I know loads of Flemish guys who come here to see shows. People from Ghent or from all around come here, and we all go to the Flemish part as well to see shows in Antwerp and stuff.
Pierre: It’s a general Belgian problem, I guess. But we don’t think about that you know, there’s no border in our heads and if we can fight against it, that’s good.
Yannick: I don’t really think there’s a “scene” here. That’s something you see only when you’re outside looking in. We don’t really feel like there’s a scene. We’ve got loads of friends here, we help them, they help us, stuff like that, but I think it’s really like that everywhere. Like in Ghent there are loads of bands who help each other too: Rise and Fall, Oathbreaker, Amenra, Hessian, stuff like that.
On day jobs
Yannick: I don’t have a day job.
Pierre: Me neither, not really.
Mathias: I’m freelancing for the philharmonic orchestra as a sound engineer. I studied electricity and after that worked as an electrician, but I don’t like it.
Yannick: Melan and Pierre did everything for the recording, because Pierre did the SAI in Brussels, you know, the big sound engineering school. Me, I just studied at the conservatoire in Brussels and Liège and now I have several bands, so I quit everything to concentrate on the bands. For studios and stuff you need money sometimes, so sometimes we do these little jobs.
Yannick: If you want to tour, you can’t really have a job. With my other band we’ve been doing that for seven years and if you work full-time, you can’t leave for a tour like four times a year.
Pierre: The time you spend on working you can’t spend on making music.
Yannick: We’ve got loads of friends who support us, so it’s really cool that we can always count on them. Like the friend of ours working with the booking agency, he’ll help us for free for sure.
Yannick: Working doesn’t benefit the music-making process. We all know that this band is what we are working for, not just to be able to buy stuff, so we don’t really enter into that routine. But yeah, I know you have to work but I think we will find work in what we want. I don’t want to be cashier in some supermarket right now.
On musical style
Yannick: The mix between progressive and old stuff, Pink Floyd, The Doors, … and newer things like Godspeed You! And then there’s jazz too. We all listen to jazz.
Mathias: John Coltrane.
Pierre: When we write a song, we jam. And something comes out, we work on it, but it comes naturally during jams and all.
Pierre: I don’t care if it doesn’t sound very modern. We just play how we like it.
Yannick: We like old instruments and old amps, you know, the sound of a Fender is really great for example and tube amps are essential for what we do.
On their audience
Yannick: Punk guys love what we do, sometimes older people like maybe your father could love what we do.
Scrap Dealers are a raw and visceral punk-noise outfit that emerged from the outskirts of Liege in April 2012. They toured Europe this year with ‘Le Freak Show’ and also played Belgium’s Le Micro Festival. Here is a look back at a set of interview we did for the Third Rate Edition as part of Lieges’ burgeoning punk-rock city.
We plan on recording our first album in October and hope to release it beginning of next year. We’re all between 23 and 25 years old, none of us are married or have kids. And we don’t want any.
There is indeed a scene in Liege that essentially gravitates around JauneOrange and HonestHouse. But that’s nothing new, JauneOrange have been around for 10 years now. Some groups work really work, others less so. Then there’s loads of other groups and collectives that also make things happen in the city. We think its all pretty cool.
On hopes and dreams
We’d like to play more concerts, go on tours et record loads of things. But we basically just want a laugh. And once we make it, then it’ll be Coke, blackjack and strippers.
On work ethic
We record at least twice a week. We have our own rehearsal studio in Theux and it’s most probably the best space to rehearse in the region.umungus.bandcamp.com thescrapdealers.bandcamp.com