Releasing a debut album is always a scary thing – Interview with Elusion

Elusion hail from Belgium and were founded in 2015. Initially, five singles/EPs were released before the debut album “Singularity” was released in June 2019. If the Encyclopaedia Metallum information is correct, there were five members in the band at that time. In the meantime, Elusion have apparently shrunk to a trio. In January, the successor “The Fundamental Paradox” was released with this line-up.

MHF: Hi, I’m Rainer and I write for the Metalheads Forever Magazine. Thank you for letting me do this interview with you. How are you?

Evy: Hi Rainer, I’m ok, thank you for asking and thank you for taking the time for this interview.

MHF: I must admit, I have only recently heard about you. I’m sure many metal fans feel the same way. Please introduce yourselves briefly.

Evy: Well, Elusion started in 2015 as a Melodic/ symphonic metalband, we released our first EP in 2016 and our debut album, “Singularity” in 2019. Since 2016 we have done quite a number of shows, mainly in Belgium but also in the Netherlands, France and UK.  We currently operate as a trio, with Domingo writing the songs and playing the guitar, Fre, our drummer who also works on a lot of technical aspects for the live shows and myself I write and sing the vocal lines. Since recently we have a new guitarplayer, Anton who is supporting us live on stage.

MHF: I read in the press release that Domingo left his former band Ancient Rites to start a new project. What made him take this step? After all, he was a member of this band for many years.

Domingo: After writing the songs and orchestration for “Laguz”, the last Ancient Rites album, I just felt it was time for something new. I needed a new challenge, a project where I could really write whatever I wanted, no expectations for a specific style, just letting the inspiration flow. This was not possible in Ancient Rites, so starting up a new musical project was just the most logical step for me.

MHF: Evy Verbruggen was obviously the first to join the project. How did she come to Gerome’s attention?

Domingo: Well, since we are married and Evy had already recorded choir vocals for the last Ancient Rites album, I knew she could sing. When I started writing new songs, I knew it had to be a female singer who was also able to come up with lyrics and vocal lines. So the solution was right at hand 😊

MHF: Was it difficult to find other bandmates?

Evy: Not really, Domingo had been playing together with Fre(drums) and Kristof (Bass) in other musical projects in the past. When we contacted them with the idea for Elusion, they immediately were into this idea.

MHF: “Desert Of Enticement” was released in 2016. Described by the band as an EP, other sources speak of a single. Anyway, the release opened the door for some support slots. How do you remember the gigs with Xandria and Welicoruss?

Evy: Yes, the EP “Desert of Enticement” helped us grow a lot. Releasing these three songs was the perfect way to see how the audience would react to our sound. And like you said, I gave us some very nice opportunities as opening act for bigger bands. Playing with Welicoruss was really cool, they are very driven in what they do. We opened twice for Xandria, they are such nice people and I’m happy to see they found their new singer.

MHF: After that it took four years until your debut album was released. What did you do during that time?

Evy: From 2016 to 2019 we played a lot of live shows and in the meantime we also tried to write new  songs. Being in a smaller band, means we cannot live from our music, so we all have a job as well. This makes it definitely more challenging to write new music as you can’t just grab your guitar or jump behind your computer when inspiration strikes 😊 Also, we recorded the album in Domingo’s studio, during the weekends we were not playing live, so the process was a bit more fragmented.

MHF: What were the reactions to “Singularity” at that time?

Evy: Releasing a debut album is always a scary thing, so we were quit nervous to read what the reactions would be like. Personally, I was really happy with the reviews and reactions. People definitely enjoy the songs on “Singularity”, reviews were really positive about the sound and the songs we wrote.

MHF: As I wrote at the beginning, the album was recorded with five musicians. Now there are only three of you. Apart from the two founding members Domingo and Evy, only the drummer Frederik Van Mieghem from the early years is still with you. How hard did the leaving of the other musicians hit you?

Evy: Well, to be honest, it is never fun to part ways with people you have been playing with for some time.  For Kristof it was no longer possible to continue with us as he also has a busy schedule with Serpent’s Oath, his other band. So then choices have to be made. Knowing that Black metal is Kristof’s personal preference we fully understood why he decided to focus on Serpent’s Oath.  With Stijn, he felt that it was getting more and more difficult to get the right balance between work, personal life and music. It’s a shame of course, because he’s an excellent guitarist and we had a great time on stage, but we have to respect people’s choices. 

That being said, since it’s mainly Domingo and myself creating the songs, it didn’t impact the sound or songwriting process for Elusion.

MHF: Did you have to use session musicians for the production of “The Fundamental Paradox”?

Evy: We used a few session musicians yes. In some songs there is a choir. Also, in the song “From the Woods to the Water” there is Vincent Lenaerts playing the Cello and Bert Van den Meerschaut from the Folk band Prima Nocta playing the Flute. In the song “Chiaroscuro” the bass is recorded by Joeri Herregat. At the end of the song “Adversity” there is also the male voice of Thomas Cordie.

MHF: How much did the Corona pandemic influence you during production?

Evy: When the Corona pandemic hit us in 2020, we were still busy with a lot of live shows to promote our album Singularity. When all concerts got cancelled, we suddenly had time to write these new songs. Since Domingo and I are married, we could just work together on preproductions. He would write a song, I would try out some vocals… When all songs were completely ready, we could record all instruments. We are lucky that Domingo has his own recording studio, so we didn’t have to book specific studio time. Maybe this whole Covid situation made the production process for us a bit more relaxed, since we could focus completely on the album, without having any live shows planned 😊

MHF: The new album has been on the record stores since January 2023. Are you satisfied with the result?

Evy: We are extremely satisfied with the result.  The music sounds exactly like we had envisioned it. The focus is more on the guitars this time and orchestration is still present but more subtle. Also the artwork that was done by Jan Yrlund from Darkgrove is spectacular. I love the depth of the colors he used for this artwork, and it fits perfectly with the theme of the album.

MHF: What will happen with Elusion? Will you also present the album live? Is a follow-up already scheduled?

Evy: Since the release of the album, we are now focussing on promoting the album and playing live. Our album release show is on Friday 3 February in Diest (B). We are really looking forward to playing all the new songs live.  The rest of 2023 we will probably focus on playing as many live shows as possible. We are not yet thinking about a new album, but who knows… If we get inspired, things can change quickly, right?

MHF: Thank you again for this interview. Would you like to say something to the fans at the end?

Evy: Thank you for taking the time for this interview. I am really grateful that you give a smaller band like ours a platform to talk about our music. 

And to the fans, I can only say Thank you! Thank you for buying our music, thank you for coming to our shows and supporting us. YOU ROCK!!

Elusion are:
Evy Verbruggen – Vocals
Domingo Smets – Guitar
Frederik Van Mieghem – Drums

Desert Of Enticement (2016)
Singularity (2019)
The Fundamental Paradox (2023) 

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