Plaag is a black & roll band from Belgium...and I have the opportunity
to sit down and speak with Somber. Lets see what he has to say about the start
of Plaag and what the future holds.
1) Good day Somber.
How are things over there in Belgium these days?
Rainy, all good
thank you very much.
2) When I started this interview I was trying to think back to the actual time I first heard
Plaag....Obviously it was on Facebook. Has the internet been an important outlet
for your music?
It has been the only outlet actually. I started this project as an internet based thing, nothing
else. Never thought I would actually release cd's as well but hey that's how it
goes, sometimes the most unexpected things come out of the smallest actions
3) At first look, some new listeners could get the wrong idea about your music.
You wear corpse paint and have the vibe of what would be a black metal band....until you listen
to the music. What is the first impression you hope to give your new listeners?
Yes, I am very aware of that. You have to know that when I started this project it was solely
to honor the music I love: rock 'n roll, thrash, speed- and of course black
metal. The corpse paint came with that to underline the black metal homage,
nothing more to it. For future releases I will let go of that though, for the
very reason you mention, people expecting something they won't get. Although the
black metal influence is surely there. Plaag is most certainly not a black metal
project. Anyway, I never knew it would matter since as I said I never expected
this endeavor to become continuous. But the first impression I hope to give?
Well if they feel like something fresh just entered their lives I'm content.
4) You are a fairly new band....what was it? 2009 that Plaag was born?
It is quiet different then a lot of music out there these days. I hear a lot of oldies
influence in your music. Tell me about some of the bands that carry influence on
your music style...
Well I listened to a lot of Motörhead, W.A.S.P., Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, King Diamond, ... as a
young teen, after that I discovered glam and sleaze like Tigertailz, Cinderella,
Steelheart etc. and found my way to black metal through a coincidental encounter
with Mayhem's Dei Mysteriis Dom Satahanas album and instantly loved it. Anyway
this variety in influences seems logical to me since I always had a thing for
theatrics in music - I guess listening and looking at W.A.S.P. as a 9 year old
does that to a person haha - and all the bands I listened to had a certain show
element in them, I think that is a link somewhere. Anyway I had always been
playing guitar, in and out of small bands with friends but never really did
anything significant with it. So I decided it was time to for once in my life at
least record something. I started with some covers to get used to the recording
stuff I bought ('Black Metal Rising' taken from CCR's Bad Moon Rising and the
instrumental 'Vaderland' taken from Nordwinds' Vaterland). Then when I started
writing my first very own actual song it became clear that I have a thing for in
your face, no hassle, catchy and 'headbangable' rock and roll. Which made
perfect sense to me somehow. I was never keen on high complex and technical
music. How incredibly talented these people may be - and I have a huge respect
for that, I wouldn't even come close to them musically - I never really
liked to have it playing in the house, too fatiguing and demanding for my taste.
I like music that flows and is catchy and with decent lyrics. Just good ol'
rock 'n roll I guess. Stuff that's entertaining instead of demanding.
5) In 2011 Plaag released the first full length "UGH!" (I love that word)
I think this is a great album with some of the most catchy tunes I have heard these days. Anything
you would like to tell us about this album? I must ask about the lyrics...they
are great. Where do you come up with them? HA!
Somber: Thank you very much, very glad you like it. The lyrics are mostly inspired by the news, global
decay and the incredible stupidity of humanity which I still love and hate so
much. It's actually a collection of the songs I recorded the first year I
started making music. There's no story there or anything, it was meant to be an
entertaining thing for like minds, nothing more. And it clearly shows, I mean
almost every song on that release has a different sound, nothing was engineered
or anything, it wasn't even properly mixed. I was so new to all this that I just
recorded each track next to the other and when I was out of tracks (I only had
four haha) I'd just put the already recorded tracks on another track so I had
three empty tracks again, naive but honest to the bone. Looking back and having
learned what I have learned so far now that all seems very stupid but at the
time it was done it was done with utter enthusiasm and I guess that kind of
shows on the album. If you put this the other way around, maybe my mind is
corrupted now and I will never be able to reach that level of honesty again
haha. Anyway, Vrangsinn did the best he could to master the album somewhat but
yeah, if one is given half a brush and a pre-printed canvas it's hard to make
painting right? In any case I am still very happy with it, it marks a time of
excitement, rage and furious inspiration ...and it really calmed me down as a
6) Although the music of Plaag is black & roll, the vocal style is indeed black metal. So I
take it you enjoy black metal as well? Where did the concept of mixing the two
genres of black metal and good old fashion rock & roll come from?
Somber: Well I guess the answer on question 4 kind of answers that already. But yeah, I do enjoy black
metal a lot. As said earlier, the old Mayhem but also old Emperor, old Dimmu
Borgir, Taake, old Immortal, Carpathian Forest, mostly the Norwegian stuff
somehow. It's the coldness in their sound I think, I don't know, all I know is I
love it. And of course the mighty Bathory. 'Blessed By Fire' which is on the UGH
album is a direct tribute to Quorthon.
7) In 2012 Plaag released an EP "Ironic Twists and Tales"
I actually have this CD and I listen to it about 2 or 3 times a week. You
released both albums on Misantrof ANTIRecords! Some people may not be familiar with this label...can you give us a
little insight behind what this label is all about and why you chose to release
your music with them verses a more "popular" or well known label?
It's basically the brainchild of Vrangsinn. It gives bands a decent platform to release their
albums on as free downloads. A non commercial label if you will. Misantrof
offers a wide and solid network and technical support while you as a band stay
in complete control of your music. It works fine for Plaag.
8) So, I know that recently you lost a member of the band. (I know all is good with the two of you
and that is great...you support his thing and he supports yours) So now....who
is Plaag? Is it a one man band or are there others involved?
It is a one man band regarding initial songwriting. I mean, I pre-record all the songs in the
same manner I did with the UGH album so in that way nothing has changed. The big
difference now however is that I will take those songs, head to the Misantrof
studio in Norway and record the entire album properly with Kobro on drums, Lava
on guitars (if he can join, depends on his work in other bands), Vrangsinn on
bass, and myself on vocals and guitars and have it properly mixed and produced
to Plaag standards by Vrangsinn. During this whole process I shall also be open
to input from the other guys so it will become very interesting to say the
least. Five songs are ready so far and I think they all sound pretty exciting, I
don't want any leftovers or anything, every song has to have its catchiness
somehow. I am so looking forward to this, finally rid of the drum machine, and
what a replacement it is. It's gonna kick ass for sure.
9) There is a new album being worked on as we speak...correct?
Not much is known about this new album aside from the fact that it will be recorded in Norway at
Misantrof Studio. Why go to Norway to record this album?
Is it dedication to this label and all his works or are they just that damn good?
Hmmm the answer on the previous question has half the answer for this question in it so regarding
the dedication, not really no. It just comes natural I think. We all get along
very well, I mean, the owner of the studio, Daniel, Kobro and myself so this
seems logical and just feels good and right. But yes, they are that damn good,
that too, I think they did a lot of great work already.
10) To me, Plaag is fun. Plaag is something I listen to when my mood is not suiting those around me.
Was this your thought when creating the music? To make people feel good or am I
taking it all wrong?
Haha wonderful, I like that. Yes that is quite the idea yeah, to make people feel like "hell yeah,
this place is going to hell anyway so might as well take it with a smile", call
it apocalyptic sarcasm if you will, going down with a grin on our face, that
kind of fun. So you see it's strange, the same species I hate so much I tend to
wanna make smile somehow. It's all a bit dualistic I guess. But still and most
importantly it's fun.
11) Being just a one man project or even two....there isn't any live gigs.
Will Plaag ever see the lights from a stage or will you always remain backstage?
Still under construction I suppose. I want to play live but I realize I need a lot of
practice to get the hang of playing guitar while singing. I will only allow
Plaag on a stage when I am sure I can give the crowd a decent and professional
show, so I will take the time I need, all of it, but it will eventually happen
again. I did two shows in Belgium with local friends as musicians but it wasn't
really what I had in mind for Plaag. Too narrowed down to black metal, not rock
'n roll enough. It was a great experience though, and we had a very good time
12) A little bit of an off question but it seems your "signature" is the word "UGH!"
What is that all about? It seems to have caught on pretty fast...(Although I must say, I have
been saying "UGH!" to things for many years now..haha)
Well me too so it's nothing new, I know. I think most credit for that word goes to Tom G. Warrior
haha, well I caught it from him at least. But yeah, I needed an album title and
I just love that word, sometimes there's just no deeper meaning haha.
13) Well, I guess we pretty much covered all the basics and a couple side topics. Is there
anything you would like to add or say before we say good bye?
Well thank you for the talk and to the readers, thank you for reading and look out for the next
release, you'll be in for a lot of twisted fun and catchy tunes. Stay mean, stay
ugh and rock on!
You can find Plaag on Facebook
listen to one of Plaag's songs off their 2012 release