Interview with Colin H. van Eeckhout (CHVE, Amenra)

Colin H. Van Eeckhout - Interview


Being part of one of the bigger metal bands of our age from the old continent is not easy. Being the band’s frontman is even more difficult. But Colin H. Van Eeckhout from Belgian Blackened Post-Metal veterans Amenra does a brilliant job of it and he is still able to participate in many other collaborations or - as on May 19 - release his next solo venture as CHVE which Relapse Records will publish. Kalvarie is the name of the release which features one 15-minute long Ritualistic Drone track called “Eternit”. The track has a long history before its finishing and the upcoming release and that process is one of the topics that we talked with Colin about. However, we also had a lot to talk about concerning his recent appearance in the movie Skunk and how he got into and out of the complicated character. Other topics are touring - sorry for all the folks in the US, we thought they’d still be performing once more in the US today, May 19, which is wrong, but we do hope you enjoyed one of their shows. Furthermore we also talk about the difference between an hermit and a monk, our shared Hardcore background and much more! Enjoy!

Hurdy gurd-ist. Maybe not a neologism for many, but surely for me. A person who plays the hurdy gurdy. A man like Colin H. Van Eeckhout, whose main instrument is the hurdy gurdy - the basis for his latest release: Kalvarie is the Flemish name of the biblical place where Jesus was crucified, and thus the cover makes sense. Therefore the cover of the new record makes sense, because it shows a metaphorical version of that hill with a cross. But the name also holds a much deeper meaning for Colin, which you can get, once you check out our interview below. That the ritualistic Drone music (or Ambient, if you prefer that term) has even more depth and meaning should be clear for everyone who knows Colin and his approach to music, more precise - his way of incorporating the outside world and its influences into his music. One of these influences was the story of Jean-Marie Massou, a hermit who lived in France between 1950 and 2020. Jean-Marie lived in the forests, dug passages underground in order to be prepared for the oncoming end of the world by hand AND he recorded himself singing, maybe not clean lyrics, but harmonies. In that way, he reassured himself of his humanity. To the outside world and to himself. Though nobody was supposed to listen to his harmonies, it because a kind of ritual that also helped him endure the mountainous task. The single track on Kalvarie also takes its time for all its purposes - the built-up is one of the longest of Colin’s solo career - and his vocals are also somewhat subdued as if, well, recorded underground. Nevertheless, with this release, with overcoming many difficulties along the way (which ones you can find out in our interview!) and with the help of some of his friends and collaborators - with Kalvarie Colin can reassure himself of his humanity and at the same time, dig deep into the roots of what we know as music.

Hoodie of the Day: H2O

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[photo credit: Stefan Van Vleteren]