Marvin: We all participate in the songwriting for our material. But the structure of the songs is mostly written by either Hassan, Sander or myself. After that we all put our heads together, we each have our own input in the songs. Part of this goes for the lyrics also. Either Michel or I write the lyrics, so through this collaboration we absorb the feel of the song and try to make it come across for the listener.
In previous discussions with Hassan you described the Dutch metal scene as "lame." Do you feel that Blo-torch can strengthen that? Are you proud to be the frontrunners in the Dutch metal scene?
Marvin: I think Blo-torch is contributing some fresh energy to the Dutch metal scene. Nowadays, bands often lose focus of what is important in making high-class metal. There are only a few bands around who kick some ass, in Holland, that is.
Hassan: We are proud of what we have achieved so far, but we don't see ourselves as being the frontrunners (yet). But we have set our aims high and we are determined to achieve them all. Our debut album is the next step of many in doing so.
Do you get a lot of little bands asking you for advice and help?
Marvin: We don't see ourselves as being any more than the other bands, but if someone wants any advice we are always able to give them an honest answer.
Hassan: We don't get other bands asking advice often. If they do, it's mostly about equipment and stuff.
I know it is a source of pride for you to be the only Dutch band ever signed by Earache, why? What do you feel that being Dutch gives you that separates you from other bands? Do you like living in Holland? When you are big international metal stars, will you continue to live in Holland?
Marvin: Yes, we are very proud to have been signed by Earache. A lot of my heroes of the past and present have also been or still are on Earache. I think being from Holland doesn't really sets us apart, but maybe it is the Dutch sober mentality to open ourselves up to new styles and being our own worst critics.
Hassan: Holland is a pretty good place to live, it's the most liberal country I know (not just because of the grass...) and I don't really see myself living anywhere else at the moment. But if I had a 7-digit bank account, things might be different--hehehe!
Any bands from Holland that the readers should check out and what type of music do they play?
Hassan: I can't think of too many bands, but I guess Reborn, melodic Death/Blackmetal, is a good new band to check out. As yet unsigned, but their demo is great. We played with them a few times now. Acrid is also a good band, technical Deathmetal. They have just released their debut CD.
It's your turn to critique the bands from Holland in the past and present. How do you feel you stack up against the only major Holland exports--Gorefest and Pestilence?
Marvin: It's not really my place to critique other bands, since they have to be proud of what they're doing. So it's all a matter of taste in the end. Of course, Gorefest and Pestilence meant a great deal for the Dutch metal scene in general, and there haven't really been bands that have had the same impact ever since. But nowadays the only band that is doing pretty well must be God Dethroned. But I know we have potential and the raw energy to also mean a great deal for the metal scene over here.
If you could tour with any band (past or present) who would it be and why?
Marvin: The first band that comes to mind must be Phantom Blue. I guess you can guess why!?! But on a serious note, it would be cool to tour with either Crowbar or Edge of Sanity, since we know the guys and I am convinced that we would have a cool time time touring.
Hassan: I would love to play with King Diamond, At the Gates or The Haunted. King Diamond is a truly unique musician and a legend, with one of my favourite guitarists in his ranks, Andy LaRoque. At the Gates for being a great influence for the band and The Haunted for being brutal, intense, kick-ass trashmasters (and ex-At the Gates members).
How did you come up with the band name?
Hassan: When we were trying to come up with a name, I was looking trough a comic and saw the name Blowtorch, it sounded cool, so I suggested it. We changed the "w" into a period, to give it an original touch.
Have you already finished the debut CD? How does the compact disc differ in style from the tape? You recorded the demo at Excess Studios in Rotterdam, where are you recording the debut CD? Is there a particular studio or producer that you really would like to work with on the next CD?
Hassan: We're going to start recording April 29th at the Excess Studio in Rotterdam, the same studio we used for the demo.The planned release date is sometime in September. We'll be re-recording 2 tracks from the demo.
Marvin: One of the differences will be our new drummer, who is going to give the entire album a lot more energy than on the demo. With the album we are aiming for a new level within the metal scene, but not by trying to be overexperimental. I know we have a unique sound that will set ourselves apart from other bands, so when you hear the album you too will be convinced that we will open some eyes and ears around the globe. It will be a sick and twisted album as you will expect it to be, and more...
Hassan: We haven't really given a lot of thought to where we'll be recording our second album. We haven't even finished recording the first one yet! We'll see when the times comes.
Does Hassan's sister, Layla Moechtar, sing on the debut as well?
Hassan: Yes, she'll be doing the female vocals for "King of Karnage," just like she did on the demo. We don't know if there will be female vocals in the other songs yet.
King Of Karnage" is my favorite song off the demo tape. What inspired those lyrics?
Marvin: The lyrics for "King Of Karnage" are about mind control. It's about a man gifted with the power to influence people with merely words. In the song he randomly picks out someone in a crowd and whispers in his ear. After a while, he has driven the man so far that he is infatuated by hate, for no reason whatsoever. The only feeling that remains is the feeling that he has been abandoned, for he shared his hate with this man and now he realizes that he did it all by himself. So he only has himself to blame.
Who does the art for your albums? Is the image you emailed me (with the gasmask) the cover for the debut? Does the art hold special significance for Blo-torch? By the way, if that is the cover art, I really like it, if it's not you should at least make it into a t-shirt.
Hassan: A friend of ours, Martijn, is going to do the artwork for the album. He's a graduate of the Art Academy. We want our artwork to have the same feel as our music, the whole "package" has to fit together. So it has to be sick, aggressive and straight in yer face. No-nonsense.
The cover has to attract someone's attention, make him or her curious when he goes through the 100s of CDs at the record store. We have seen some of his ideas for the album and we liked it. So he'll be taking care of it and we're confident he'll do a good job. The image I sent you was a cover I made myself. I'm also graphically active, so to speak. It was something I made that we might use some day, perhaps for a T-shirt or other merchandise. Glad you liked it!