THORIUM   HEAVY METAL FROM BELGIUM Band Questions Answer by Tom Tee  
Please introduce yourself and the band members briefly?   I’m Tom Tee, one of the guitarists of the band. Besides me, there’s the other guitar player Dario Frodo, our bass player Stripe, Louis Van Der Linden our drummer and our awesome singer David Marcelis, whom you might know from other bands such as Lord Volture or Black Knight.   What does the band name mean and how did you get it?   Thorium is an element in the periodic table; it’s a type of metal (no joke!) that in fact might be used in the future as a source of energy. The element was named after the Norse god of thunder Thor. A pretty cool and powerful name, in other words! It was the manager of our former band Ostrogoth who came up with it.   Where and how was the band founded?   Thorium was founded pretty recently – last year, in fact! Dario, Stripe and myself were members of Belgium’s old-school Heavy Metal band Ostrogoth, and we were working on new material. A lot of that material proved to lie too much outside the boundaries of what would fit Ostrogoth’s style, however, so we decided to form a brand new band where we could write to our hearts‘ content. In the meantime, the three of us are no longer part of Ostrogoth, so we’re free to produce our own music and to make Thorium our absolute musical priority.   Have you played in other bands before?   Yes; all of Thorium’s members have other bands and projects of their own. In my case, other bands include Ostrogoth, 23 Acez, Neo Prophet, Quantum Fantay, Offworld, and my own pet projects Entering Polaris and In Motion, which both include loads of guest vocalists from across the scene!   Was it hard to find suitable band members who fit musically and humanely with the band?   The only member that took some time finding was a good vocalist. We had a few candidates, but somehow nobody really seemed to work out well. Until one night we came across footage and recordings of David and were immediately impressed by how he sounded. After contacting him, he proposed we get together for a rehearsal. Upon hearing he wanted to tackle the album’s longest track, ‘Four By Number, Four By Fate‘ (it’s over 15 minutes long), we were convinced he was really motivated to sing for us. The rehearsal went really well, and the rest, as they say, is history! :-)   What are the lyrics about and who of you is writing them ?   I like to take care of most of the lyric writing, but Dario also writes: on this album, the lyrics to the opening track ‘Ostrogoth‘ and to ‘Icons Fall‘ are from his hand. Most of the lyrics on this record were inspired by history and such -- ‘Ostrogoth‘ is about the rise and fall of the tribe of that name during the Dark Ages, ‘Court of Blood‘ is about the cruel Duke of Alva who was sent from Spain to our region in the 16th century to crush the rebellion that was taking shape, ‘Return To The Clouds‘ is about the Belgian pilots who flew for the RAF during World War II, and so on... I’m particularly proud of the aforementioned ‘Four By Number, Four By Fate‘, which is all about the number ‘4‘ in all its meanings, shapes and forms, from history to musical theory to religion, mythology, mathematics and so on...   Which bands inspired you and how would you describe your music to someone who has never heard a sound from you?   It would be too hard to name just a few bands; especially Dario and myself are into so many Metal bands across a broad spectrum of styles and subgenres – but if I had to name a few of the more well- known groups that inspire us, I’d have to say Maiden, Priest, Queensryche, Helloween, Gamma Ray, Blind Guardian, Iced Earth, Rage, Testament and a lot of the Bay Area bands, and so on... To someone that’s never heard us, I’d say we sound like an eclectic mix of all those kinds of Metal, ranging from Power Metal to Progressive Metal, Speed Metal and Thrash Metal to classic, old-school Heavy Metal.   Why should people listen to our music?   Because we like to think our music sounds exciting, heavy, catchy, dynamic, epic and varied, and because we have an awesome sound on this album courtesy of DGM’s Simone Mularoni!   Your debut album Thorium was released in 2018. How long did the work take?   Everything went surprisingly quickly; I’d say we worked on the album for about two years, a bit less than that actually.   Who help by your side in the production?   For all things studio, we use a combination of home recording, recording at a studio in a nearby town for such things as the drums and vocals, and we work with Simone Mularoni of Domination Studios (San Marino) for re-amping, mixing and mastering.   Why did you keep the cover in white with lettering and did not use a nice picture or fantasy drawing?   For this first record, we wanted something that would really put an emphasis on the band logo and the band name: this first album is entitled ‚‘Thorium‘ after all, and we wanted something that looked simple and striking. In the future, we indeed would like to go for somewhat bigger, hand-drawn or painted art, but the thing is that everyone these days is doing that. You see so many album covers with the standard warriors-on-horseback or swords-and-scorcery stuff, it’s not really what we want to go for. Even in the future, we’d always like to go for images that arent really standard or which have been done to death.   You're under contract with label Empire Records. How do you get in contact and what do you expect from the cooperation?   We were under contract there with our former band Ostrogoth actually, so the deal with Empire seemed like a logical one. And they were totally open to the idea of releasing our album on vinyl, which was a big selling point for us :-)   What was your first concert as a fan? And what memory do you have of it?   I think my first really big concert was a Tina Turner show actually; my first Metal show was Metallica I think, followed by Iron maiden together with Helloween in 1998.   Do you plan a nationwide tour of Europe? Or do you first work on the second album and then you try to jump on a good tour?   We’re indeed playing extensively at the moment, and we’re always trying to find shows, wherever they take us. We’re also working on the follow-up record as we speak, but hope to play many more shows in the meantime. Touring opportunities are certainly in the making!   What were your live highlights?   Our first big highlight was playing the prestigious ‘Tribute To Wizz‘ festival in Belgium – a tribute to Wizz Wizzard, who was a well- known organizer in our country before he tragically died last year... It was a pretty big show with many hundreds of people, and it was memorable for us, among other reasons, because it was our very first show ever! Also, touring Spain recently was awesome, as was gigging in Germany.   Which band would you like to play live with and why?   Any bands at all that fit our style (which are potentially many) and that we can hit the stage with, at home or abroad!   With what do you earn your money except with the music?   Most of us have regular day jobs beside the band indeed. I’m a music teacher in my home country, and have been for about ten years now.   How important are social media for you as a band?   Very! It’s what we use extensively to keep in touch with our fans and with people who support us. Social media nowadays are an indispensable part of having a band and doing PR.   What would you want to achieve with the band?   In the first place, we aim to reach as many people as we can with our music! We hope to get our stuff out there to as many fans as possible, cause we’re certain that loads of Metal fans will be able to appreciate what we’re doing and what we sound like.   What do you think about the Belgium Metal scene in general?   Tom: It’s definitely been on the rise these past few years! In the past, we had only a handful of bands, or not even that. Nowadays, there’s loads of great groups and projects coming out of our tiny country. Finally! :-)   PERSONAL QUESTIONS !   Where did you grow up and how was your childhood?   I grew up in my home town, which is called Kieldrecht. I went to school nearby, and had a pretty great childhood thanks to my parents :-)   How was your school time you were rather the good student or the class clown ?   I was kinda both I guess, for most of my years at school anyway.   How did your parents react when you started making metal music? Did they support you and how do you feel about your music today?   I got to know Metal thanks to my parents, actually! In fact, I got into loads and loads of music thanks to them. Back at home, in my childhood, there were always LPs being played by various artists in various genres, and I latched onto a ton of music thanks to that, ranging from Mike Oldfield, Yes, Dire Straits and so many bands from the 70s and 80s, to, of course, Metal. I know my parents are proud of what I do today, and they actually try to catch every show they can :-)   Are you someone who loves the hustle and bustle of the big city? Or rather looking for peace and relaxation in nature?   For me, rather the peace of the countryside actually – especially when it comes to where I live. I’ve always lived in a small town, and could never get used to living in a big city.   Do you actively practice sports or are you more of a passive spectator?   I used to do some sprts when I was little – until I discovered the guitar; then it was all over for sports, I’m afraid ;-)   When it comes to your physical well you can cook or let you cook for you   Yeah, I do enjoy cooking actually; getting some fresh ingredients, cooking up something healthy. It can be satisfying to make some decent food, I’ve found. That didn’t always use to be the case for me, but getting on a little bit in years I find I do need some healthy stuff once in a while!   What does your environment say about your passion for metal (friends / family / colleagues) ?   They’re generally very supportive! In fact, most of the people I know are musicians themselves or are into artistic things in general, so we all kinda speak the same language there :-)   How do you see the problem with the haters on the internet who have to announce their mental garbage in anonymity always and everywhere?   It’s best to just ignore that kind of thing; in general, when you feed it, it grows. When you just ignore, it tends to go away on its own accord.   What do you think about the internet in general? a blessing or a curse?   Like with most things, I think it’s both. The internet has certainly changed our society, our whole world in general, both for better and for worse. It’s become easier than ever to look up anything, find any information you need, learn anything you want about anything at all. At the same time, the freight of negative things it’s brought on, from loss of privacy to loss of identity, to the increasing dependency on social media and the subsequent loss of actual, meaningful social interaction between (especially younger) people, is absolutely vast. You can find anything and everything online, which is great, but it’s also responsible for the disappearing of so many shops and stores because we don’t like to get off our asses and get out there anymore to go browse through an actual, physical store. I miss record stores and book stores and such, for instance, and up until five or ten years ago could never have imagined those things disappearing. What is left are huge chain stores, which do carry large amounts of products, but mostly the big brands, the ubiquitous, corporate-peddled stuff. If it’s small, underground, lesser known, it’s swept underfoot. Then again – and most ironically – the internet (greatly responsible for this trend in contemporary society), is also the place where these things thrive anew, and where you *can* find what you can’t elsewhere. Talk about a mixed blessing, indeed...   Belgium Hey, home turf!   Austria I like Austria! We went skiing there when I was little :-)   Jean-Claude Van Damme The Muscles From Brussels! Although I do prefer Arnold Schwarzenegger. Much more entertaining ;-)   Cycling Ouch, there’s sports again...! It is one of the sports Belgium is known for, though, and we’ve had some great athletes in the past...   Battle of Waterloo Ah yes, where Napoleon met his final defeat. To be honest, I don’t think I’ve ever been there myself... I should definitely visit there sometime.   Waterzooi One of our country’s many dishes: I think there’s tastier stuff to come out of Belgium, though – especially out of Flanders :-)   Soccer Not a huge fan, although I do tend to watch whenever there’s a World Championship or some such. More for the event itself though; like with the Olympics.   Movies or Series I haven’t watched TV in ten years or so, though I do like to watch movies and/or series at friends‘ places. So I do kind of keep up a bit with what’s in cinemas that way :-)   Beer Strange though it may sound coming from a Belgian, I’m not big into beer...though I do like wine, and pretty much any and all cocktails and other drinks.   Belgian praline Tasty! And the best in the world, I’m told :-)   Family Crucial, and to be cherished.   Frietjes Same answer as above... :P   Your top 10 all time album faves Ooh, that’s a really hard one... If I’m allowed to just name a few, it’d have to be Powerslave, Somewhere In Time and Seventh Son (Maiden), Ride The Lightning (Metallica), The Divine Wings of Tragedy, Twilight In Olympus and The New Mythology Suite (Symphony X), Images and Words (Dream Theater), Awaken The Guardian (Fates Warning), Into The Electric Castle (Ayreon), most of the old Rush albums (perhaps my all-time favourite band next to Maiden), The Time Of The Oath and Better Than Raw (Helloween), Land Of The Free, Somewhere Out In Space and Powerplant (Gamma Ray), most of Rage’s records, the Kamelot albums from the Roy Khan-era, Draconian Times (Paradise Lost), Rust In Peace (Megadeth)...and probably a good bunch more, but I’m already way past 10, so... ;-)   The closing word is yours?   Thank you so much for this wonderful, in-depth interview! We’re glad you enjoy our debut album and hope to see you in the future at one of our shows! Cheers!! :-)