Amenra interview


Amenra moves far beyond boring stereotypical genres because they are both exceptionally original and extremely challenging. And that's exactly how music should be; equally gripping and based on unrelenting emotion. I had the honor to interview Colin H. van Eeckhout and sheer passion and devotion flow through his every response as I had expected. This will only be surpassed by seeing Amenra live as part of their current Australian debut tour.

I encourage you to take the time to listen to their gripping and essential albums. Everything from their artwork, videos, and lyrics are works of a true artist and are crafted for effect and no effort is wasted. Enjoy this interview. It's beyond essential reading my friends. 


First off, thank you for the great chance to chat to one of not only one of my personal favorite all time bands, but the opportunity to flush out the essence of one of the most creative musical acts in current existence. For my own experience Amenra is what pure and honest music should be; it moves deep into my headspace/psyche and as a listener I feel interconnected to both the gritty pain and the joy of your albums. Tell me about how and why Amenra creates such charmingly yet grim masterpieces of despair?

Colin-I have no idea really, we throughout the years have learnt to tell our story right I suppose. There is black and white, light and dark and we work with those extremes - opposites. And try to talk about everything in between also.We try to tell Life’s story right. In all its glory, good and bad. It’s all about being thankful, and humble. Telling it like it is, as good as you can.

People appreciate anything honest, pure things. Stories told from the heart. Out of nescessity.

“Because we have to"

Another thing that resonates with the listener is how organic and focused your releases are; even more so with Mass VI. Not a second of each song seems wasted; there is successful progression on each album, but a natural evolution that remains not genre specific, it is deep in purpose, feel and is more about artisanship, not producing a record for contractual obligations. Can you give me a sense of what is involved in your craft and your devotion to it?

Colin-We work our own agenda, not anyone else's. We write when there is something to write about. it’s not hard to write “heavy music”, riffs or whatever. The hardship lies in making it mean something. We overanalyse every notes worth, does it have a function, does it say something about us, or is it just there for musicality?  “Because we can?”

Minimalism, keeping it focused on the essence. We want to touch hearts, we want to nest ourselves into everyone's arms forever.


Amenra and the Church of Ra emit a real sense of collective comradeship throughout their works and in the pride of their interconnectedness, where does this come from and what is so unique about Belgium? I really loved that recent documentary Red Bull Music did called "Hooked on Belgium Metal", such pedigree and depth for one country!

Colin-I don’t know, maybe its because we are the eternal underdogs maybe, its only Belgium you know.. maybe that's why we fight that little harder to get noticed I don’t know. 

For us I just looked around in the HC scene and metalscene. Bands around me. And I noticed there was so much backbiting, jealousy, everyone elbowing others out of the way and trying to be the “only one” in the spotlight.. I failed to connect with that approach, I saw beauty in doing everything together. Creating something big, something beautiful, something to be proud of. Filled with warmth. Everyone pitching in and working hard for the greater whole.


Art and music are a fantastic crossover that is interwoven and the basis for the zine I produce, how does that translate for you and the band given your excellent use of purposeful imagery, audiovisual magic, and art as a medium? Your videos define belief to be honest, in the best possible way.

Colin-It’s all about telling the same story, through different media, from different angles. The more you do so, the clearer it all becomes. Art was given to us all, for free. And it's such a powerful tool. When used right, it becomes a weapon, that can turn hearts, bring people together from all over the world. That is beauty man. That is what I live for.

We will tell our story, by any means necessary. We want to attack all your senses, we want to nestle inside your brain, your heart. Haunt you at night, in dreams.


The intensity of your live shows is about to hit Australia for the first time. It appears as we touched in the previous question to be a channeling of the band’s audio creativity in symbiosis with the art of Amenra. We look forward to such an experience which by live videos seems heavily brooding, cathartic but immensely powerful in its delivery. It’s truly incredible that how something so dark can be so rewarding even as a passive participant. 20 years in and there appears to be no dulling of your axe, it’s amazing but must be draining to perform with such honesty. Tell me about this?

Colin-It is draining, and rewarding as nothing else in this world.
All or nothing. Allow no compromise.
Never be happy, and keep on working hard.
Aiming for that perfection that we will never achieve.


Amenra’s lyrics are gripping and poetic in the best possible way. They clearly draw from grief, hardship, and pain in various forms. Emotive feelings are a solid bucket to dip into and mental anguish has created so many great works in both literature and the arts. Do your works give you comfort? because I like other fans find solace in your albums.

Colin-Oh yes, that is its prime intention, for myself. They allow me to cope with everything that casts a shadow on my life. I actively analyze it, work with it. Hours and hours, until it becomes the part of myself that it already is. Instead of fighting it off I make it mine. It allows me to fight it time and time again. Every time we play that song. I really believe that it makes it easier to bare.
It amazed me to see so many people also feel that force.

Amenra stems from a hardcore background, has this aided the band’s no compromise approach to its craft?

Colin-Indeed, and it always kept us grounded. We always realized that we didn’t have to sit around and wait for handouts. We had to do it ourselves and work hard, for the sake of ourselves. Passion, and nothing else. it’s some sort of obsession. Same goes for brotherhood, and the bond you have with each other. Our identity is built on each other's shoulders. Without the band we are nothing, and without each other, we are nothing at all.

What is coming next for the band and other bands in your collective?

Colin-More albums, more shows, more projects. It never ends. Too many ideas and not enough time. We are truly blessed.

We celebrate our 20 yrs of existence next year, so we are really looking forward to doing special gatherings, concerts that reach a little further than your average concert venue.


Thanks for the opportunity to chat, as aforementioned it is an honor because I really respect your commitment and purpose to your profession. It is both rare and completely inspiring and we look forward to the ritual that will be your upcoming shows. Any final words or messages for the masses (no pun intended!)


Colin-Thank you for giving us your energy and time. I hope we get to meet while we are out. Look each other in the eye, shake hands.
Hope you enjoyed this fantastic and inspiring interview and don't miss one of the best gigs ever to hit Australia.

 
 

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