Dirk Verbeuren is one of the hardest working drummers in the metal world. Not only is he currently playing with Soilwork, Scarve, Powermad, Phaze I and Anatomy Of I, but also with his new DIY project Bent Sea. I recently got to send a wave of questions his way asking about their debut release, Noistalgia, their history, his other projects and much more.
So you started the grindcore band Bent Sea. What made you decide to start this project? Dirk: It just sort of happened. I used to play guitar, but in recent years my focus was exclusively on drums. My wife had been encouraging me to write my own music so I decided to give it a shot. The result turned out to be Bent Sea!
How did Devin Townsend and Sven De Caluwé get involved with this project? Dirk: Sven and I have been friends ever since I played drums on Aborted's Goremageddon. I love his style and the fact that he can work very fast suits the way I envision Bent Sea. Also, I couldn't growl to save my life. [laughs] While I was in Vancouver for rehearsals with DTP, I played some rough mixes for Devin. He liked what he heard, but kindly suggested I re-record my bass lines, which admittedly sounded pretty crappy as I had recorded them through a Pocket Pod for guitar. Knowing how much Devin loves to play bass, I took a chance and said "Why don't you do it?" He did, and generously took the time to produce Noistalgia as well. Without having planned it, I ended up with a bit of a dream line up.
Where did the name Bent Sea come from? Dirk: It's taken from a song by British experimental duo Endvra which I accidentally came across in my tape-trading days. Their music has absolutely nothing to do with grindcore, but somehow Bent Sea popped up in my mind. I like that it's atypical, and that it conjures apocalyptic images echoing the intensity of my music. For those who like ambient Lovecraft-inspired stuff, you gotta check out the Endvra records!
You recently released Noistalgia. How did you go about writing this release? Dirk: I started off recording a bunch of song structures on drums whenever I felt inspired, sometimes while humming riff ideas in my head. After I had about a dozen drum parts, I tracked guitar and bass during a few evenings. Lyrics came last. All in all, the whole process was very spontaneous, which was possible thanks to my Die Crawling Studio. As soon as I stumbled upon a riff I liked, I recorded it right away so the initial energy would stay undiluted. Just a few small things were reworked, and my only instructions to Sven and Devin were "Have a blast!" They each had a great deal of input in their respective parts.
What made you decide to name the EP Noistalgia? Dirk: I've always enjoyed combining words. Sometimes the result can be cheesy, but I find it fun to play around with language. In this case it's my 'nostalgia of noise', a reference to my youth years when bands like Napalm Death, Terrorizer, Repulsion and Carcass ruled my turntable. There's a lot of awesome grind out there, but to these ears, the originators are rarely out-blasted.
Sylvain Coudret performed guitar on the song "Dead Meat" I heard. Why didn't he stay and become part of this super group? Dirk: I asked Sylvain to record a guitar lead for "Dead Meat" because I felt the song needed one. I'm a huge fan of Trey Azagthoth's controlled chaos, and Trey is inspired by Eddie Van Halen who's also one of Sylvain's guitar heroes. So, it all made sense. As far as the line-up is concerned, I initially formed Bent Sea as a solo project. I'd love to have Sven and Devin on board for future releases, but their priorities are obviously with their main bands. What they brought to Noistalgia is already way beyond my expectations! It does look as if Sven will be a part of the band on a long term basis. We'll see. There's no pressure whatsoever and I'm taking things one step at a time - that's part of the fun of being a DIY band.
Is this a digital-only release or will it come out on a physical support as well? Dirk: Tankcrimes is releasing a cassette version in March, which will include the Extreme Noise Terror cover "Bullshit Propaganda". I'd love to do a vinyl too and I'm hoping to get together enough funds for that soon. Noistalgia is available digitally through bentsea.com for $5.50 and we have some t-shirts for sale as well.
Check out the song: "Dead Meat"
Is that you on the cover of 'Noistalgia'? Dirk: Yes sir! My wife Hannah is an extremely talented professional photographer; check out her work at www.hannahvphotography.com. She actually took this shot before Bent Sea existed. We both found it very strong. I have an instinctive desire of presenting my music in an unusual way and the cover of Noistalgia is a result of that. Hannah will be the designated visual artist for Bent Sea, a sort of fourth member in a way.
You recently joined Malevolence and you always seem to have a few bands going. What other bands are you currently playing for? Dirk: Besides Bent Sea, I'm a permanent member of Soilwork, Scarve, Powermad, Phaze I and Anatomy Of I. Soilwork is the only band out of those six that tours a lot, and even then there's always some downtime. Recently I played with Devin Townsend Project for some special shows in London, and I just got back from a Tama/Meinl drum clinic tour through Europe. Malevolence is one of my recent Die Crawling session gigs, and I was quite involved with the writing of the drum parts for that record.
Are there any plans for some Bent Sea shows? Dirk: As of now, nothing concrete. But I'm positive it will happen when the time is right. For the time being, I'm concentrating on spreading the word about Bent Sea and writing new material. There are some cool new releases planned… Wait and see!
What are your plans for 2012? Dirk: I'll be doing more drum clinics worldwide. Dates will be announced soon. Soilwork is set to record a new album in the late summer/early fall, and Scarve also has new material in the works. I have several recording sessions lined up and a bunch of albums I played on are coming out in the coming months, most notably Jeff Loomis' Plains Of Oblivion and Naglfar's Téras. I may also be playing a few gigs with Powermad and some other artists… Always staying busy!