Text: Dennis de Waard
Photos: Daniil Lavrovski

Whispering Sons, the biggest name in Belgian post-punk, broke through in 2018 with debut album ‘Image’. After winning the famous Humo’s Rock Rally, expectations were incredibly high, but they were fully met with ‘Image’. An icy post-punk record came out with the definition of their own sound. Hundreds of shows and three years later the follow-up arrives: ‘Several Others’. We spoke to the band and asked them everything.

Not that long ago we saw you perform at the online edition of Grauzone festival, what was it like for you to play live again?
“It was our first show since 2020. It felt good to see each other again and play live again. It was also the first time that we were able to play new songs and we always have to wait and see how that works live.”

We noticed that the band is expanding more and more when we look at the drummer. Where he first started with drum pads, he then expanded with two floor toms, and he now has a ‘real’ drum set. Is your sound getting bigger and bigger?
“We were looking for a more dynamic sound for ‘Several Others’ and by expanding our drums we can achieve a fuller sound. With the previous setup, some songs wouldn’t have the sound we wanted.”

About that sound, you sound more intense on some songs than on ‘Image’. For example on ‘Surgery’, which leans more towards punk and sounds harder than you have ever done.
“‘Surgery’ was actually one of those songs we just had to write. Get that anger out.”

Is it a new sound? Could you make an entire album with it?
“Well, no. This is a song we would like to end the album with on a bang. If we would make an entire record sound like this, it wouldn’t be a Whispering Sons record anymore.”

On the previous album you went to Brussels and living in that city felt like being in isolation. Well you can feel it coming, but when writing this record did you feel about the same with the current pandemic?
“No actually not. I just don’t think it can be compared. The new songs are written in a different way: they are still very much my own story. In addition, we had already written the new songs well before the pandemic started.”

On ‘Screens’ you sing

“She’s doing her most famous impression
passionately projecting all her feigned obsessions
some fresh flesh
Unstained
on your stage”

Are you still yourself when you sing this or is it about being someone else while you perform?
“This song is actually written about how everyone sees you and what everyone expects of you. On stage you play a certain character and I’m definitely not the same person on stage as I am off stage. The song is about losing the line between those two sides of yourself over time. They will imitate each other for a long time.”

Will that still hold up when you are going to be in front of people again for the first time in almost a year and a half? You started out in the small venues and now you’ve seen the stages get bigger ever since you’ve had Werchter, Lokerse Feesten and other festivals. Does that make a difference in character?
“No, actually I don’t think so. The size of the stage doesn’t really matter. Small stages may feel a bit more personal, but then again, for example, it is a large stage where we feel more and more at ease. The character lives on.”

How does it feel to release this record for an online audience? Since there is no response directly from the crowd.
“It’s exciting. We did get some reactions through Grauzone about the new songs, but now we don’t really know what people think about it, although they do know where to find us via the internet. But actually we do have a lot of confidence in the record ourselves.”

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