The ambition of Syrenomelia is to find back the strangeness, the dirtiness, the emotion and passion which characterised the alternative rock music between the 60ties and late 90ties – defying the industrialised and genre-focussed ways of making music that have been so ubiquitous in the last 20 years.
Listen to the EP while reading the text.
With my lyrics I seek to provoke, touch people, comfort… they are reflections on the dark and deviant sides of the human psyche, mostly based on personal experiences. Recently I was happy to do a first interview, in which I could talk freely about the background of my lyrics. Enjoy a few excerpts here below, while immersing yourself in the universe of my music and words. Thank you!
Q: There is a common thread in the songs on your new single, the title track is based on the English Mary Bell, the other track “Like The World Outside” is more generally about the atrocities that children are capable of. Purely out of sociological interest, or can we state that a child trauma is at the root of this?
A: The title track was only inspired by Mary Bell in the beginning, and rather briefly: about an aging prostitute with perverse specialisations, in which she is surpassed by her daughter. When I spoke to a friend about these lyrics, she started to talk about her mother, and about her own psychological problems and self-harm, due to abuse during her childhood. Then I largely rewrote the text, based on what she told me, and also on the relationship with my own mother.
The background of Like the World Outside is the rural village where I spent most of my childhood. Lots of wanton children and violence, air guns, home-made weapons, torture of animals, all sorts of abuses… There was no police, only a rural constable who was drunk at the local pub all day. So young people just did as they pleased, with all kinds of sad and tragic consequences.
Q: Psychological turmoil and subversive sexuality form the common thread in the music of Syrenomelia, we read in the press bio. Okay, time to confess and share your secrets!
A: Most of my lyrics are based on a long period of a promiscuous bisexual life, seeking various experiments, with a preference for unusual and sadomasochistic experiences, and frequent drug use. Due to naivety and poverty this increasingly led to shameful and traumatic experiences. I still struggle with painful memories and feel I need to write about it in my lyrics, to somehow turn it into something beautiful and valuable, so that I feel that it was worth the pain, even the most terrible experiences. But I always add a good deal of irony and sarcasm to it, I don’t want it getting too melodramatic.
Q: Musically you tap from different kegs: you know how to merge indie, gothic and metal into a unique sound. I suppose your influences are very diverse, which artists have left a mark on you as a musician?
A: The last two years I listened a lot to music from the 80s and 90s. Alice In Chains was the main influence … their guitar sound, dark atmosphere and lyrics, the unique polyphonic vocals. I love the candidness of that period, how songwriters exposed their souls. And how compelling this was for the fans. For me this is something that was lost too much in the last 10-15 years. And I definitely wanted that in in my project, lyrics that touch people’s hearts.
Q: Hailing from Menen in West Flanders, you settled in Brussels. Did you experience the move from the provincial area to the anonymity of the big city as a cultural shock?
A: No not at all. The area between Menen and Poperinge is quite heavy and violent. Studying and going out in Ghent and Brussels felt much more “civilised”. And also, since my childhood I have been fascinated by androgyny, bisexuality, crossdressing, the sort of things you better keep to yourself in rural and provincial environments. So my student life in the city was a huge liberation, an environment where I could be more myself and where I met more like-minded souls. It gave me the feeling: now my life can finally begin.
Interview credits: originally published in Dutch by Dark Entries (http://www.darkentries.be/nl/interviews/#.Xfvwo7zcqJo)
Questions by Dimi Brands – full translation by Wim Lankriet (Syrenomelia)
Syrenomelia, Category: Artist, Singles: A Rose Shattered, Top Tracks: A Rose Shattered, Like the World Outside, Biography: Syrenomelia is a Belgian alternative rock project merging indie, goth and metal aesthetics into intense heartfelt songs, around themes such as psychological turmoil and subversive sexuality., Monthly Listeners: 15826, Where People Listen: Phoenix, West Chicago, Charlotte, Dallas, Temecula