ˇBIGGEST LESSON WOULD BE NOT TO GIVE UP!: INTERVIEW WITH MAURICE SWINKELS - LEGION OF THE DAMNED

We conducted an interview with Dutch Thrash Metal four-piece LEGION OF THE DAMNED vocals, Maurice Swinkels. First of all welcome to Hummingbird Press Colombia and thanks for your time.

Our first question and for your new audiences here, would you like to tell us about the reason to change the name of the band from OCCULT (1990 – 2006) to LOTD? 

The change had to do with former record labels and their troubles, bankruptcy etc…we just found no other way to change the name. We already had the song called: “Legion of the Damned” which was a WorldWarII related lyrical song. We had to find a new real quick because we were about to release that album, so we thought of naming the band also “Legion of the damned”

We know that some of your old school influences has been SATHANAS. What other influences can you mention?

SATHANAS we played covers from, also ACHERON and SAMAEL. We were influenced by SLAYER, KREATOR, DESTRUCTION etc..

A really tough moment for the band was ´bassist Twan Fleuren´s death. How was that particular moment for the band to move on or try to overcome that situation?

His death did not really come as a shock though. All his life he suffered from some sort of disorders, taking pills, being addicted etc..he was a true friend. But He was out of the band in 2006, so when he died I only saw him once in that period. So I cannot really speak about ‘how to move on’, because we were not much in contact anymore.

In 2013 you shared stage with EXODUS in Mexico. How has been your relation with these musical monsters ever since?

I’ve been friends with EXODUS since 2002. I also did/directed and filmed 2 of their music videos in San Fransisco back in 2003. Always when I see Gary Holt we try meet up and have a chat, even tough he started with SLAYER, he always remains a down to earth guy, which I truly respect in him. When we played in Mexico with them it was great to see them again. Gary Holt even came to me while playing the Exodus show with his guitar and hugged me on stage,  while doing the show, haha that was great!

How was the reception of your latest album Ravenous Plague (2014), by fans and critics? Are you considering any new projects in the recording studio?

Amazing so far! But we need to spread our music more and more, like now in Latin America. We are busy writing new material at this point.

In November 2016, you shared a lyric video by guitarist Hein Willekens side project with SPLINTERBOMB at LOTD´s official fan page.

Hein is not a member of the band he is just a session guitar player who only plays with us live, so we have 2 guitars. Splinter bomb is HIS band, not a side project ;-)

Other than that, why not, I wish other bigger bands would post bands they wanna support and give them credit. Everybody is thinking for their own these days, which is sad.

Last December you announced your return to Latin America after three years now.  Do you feel this visit a little different this time?

Uh..its been 3 years, but this time we are playing different countries, so I have no idea what to expect, how the fans will be, if a lot of fans will show up, but it will be truly an amazing journey and adventure again.

And what are your recent influences in music? What bands are you listening to this 2017?

We are still influenced by the old albums by SLAYER etc..I am still listening to metal, but not much new stuff, usually the old albums still…I feel that the older I get the more I dig into old stuff.

You have been working recently, in January to be precise, in the video of ANTROPOMORPHIA. What can you tell us a bit more about your fulltime video company?

I am doing my video company now for 14 years. I have done around 80 metal videos, EXODUS, GOREFEST, PRIMAL FEAR, LENG TCHE, ABORTED, WINTERSUN, KATAKLYSM, LEGION OF THE DAMNED, SUICIDAL ANGELS, MAJESTY, MASTERPLAN, LOST SOCIETY and a lot more.

As if we were looking through a rearview mirror, how do you feel has been your biggest lesson with the band after 25 years in the music scene?

Biggest lesson would be not to give up. We struggled a lot with OCCULT, although we did a lot of great things like touring with IMMORTAL and MARDUK, but also MORBID ANGEL in 1999, tour with EXODUS, AGENT STEEL, NUCLEAR ASSAULT etc..but there were always times where I said and thought: fuck it! We are going to end this shit, but we kept going while in 2006 we really started to lift of.

Thanks Maurice for taking the time to interact with us in this interview. A final message to our readers, please…

Thank you for the interview and interest, and  thrash on!!

Interview : Rocío Acosta