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Belgium: The Vinyl Frontier

Super is the new orange

This album is completely different from everything we’ve done in all our other bands

Interview Diederik Decroix
Photographs Tiny Geeroms (albumcover Supertired), Hannes Vandenbroucke (band pictures)

It seems there is no end to our collective yearning to relive the nineties. After the wardrobe take-over, the musical revival is well under way. While we’re curious to see who the next Milk Inc. will be, we’re pretty sure we’ve spotted the reincarnation of your nights spent pogoing at Lintfabriek.

Supergenius is a mix of Hitch, Rise And Fall, The Rott Childs, Oathbreaker, Beecher and a bunch of other, usually loud-mouthed, bands. No screaming and harassing of chords and drums, though, Supergenius’ sound is deeply rooted in the slightly softer sections of nineties post-hardcore and indie. If anything, their tunes serve as a trip down memory lane, back to when they’d skateboard their days away and listen to Quicksand, Jawbox and Seaweed. (Even though that makes us wonder if anything has really changed since then.)

After an EP in 2015, the band have now released Supertired, their first full-length album. Mich Decruyenaere can barely contain his enthusiasm when talking about the new record. “This album is completely different from everything we’ve done in all our other bands. Mostly it’s very positive. We all grew up in the 90s and this record is a bit of a stylistic exercise, teleporting us back to that time. This is material to listen to while in the car, on your way to sunnier destinations.”

Label love
While Supergenius released their EP on German label Golden Antenna Records, Supertired is a coproduction between Ghent’s 9000 Records and Hypertension from Hasselt. “We’re very grateful to Golden Antenna Records for the opportunity”, Decruyenaere says, “but for this record we wanted a label that’s closer to home and easy to talk to. It was important to us that the record would be distributed here, which didn’t happen with our EP. By picking a German label that’s pretty much under the radar in Belgium, the press didn’t really notice us either. And since we’d like to see our records in the UK and the US as well, we thought a bit of label shopping might do us some good. Highly recommended, by the way!”

Consouling and Hypertension were immediately eager to get into the game, both labels who can boast a ton of expertise and a love for their métier that knows no boundaries. “Their local character and international scope are a major plus, which quickly made us realise a coproduction would have many advantages. As both labels know one another, it was pretty much a done deal”, Decruyenaere explains. 

Tired grandpa
“Vincent, our bass player came up with the picture”, says Decruyenaere. “It was taken by Tiny Geeroms, a friend of Vincent’s, and shows her granddad at the seaside. Vincent thought it perfectly fit the album title. It has a dash of humour in it, something we like in everything we do. I know the man looks a little worn, but I’m told he’s in great shape, so no worries. The picture has a distinctly American feel to it, similar to the sleeves of the bands we listened to back in the day, like Seaweed or Weezer. It seems to be an intriguing cover, people often ask us about it, so I take it we made a good choice.”

A part from a striking cover picture, Mike and Nele over at Consouling figured a little special edition action never killed nobody. And so they invited the 7e Oeil collective to design four separate CMYK versions on clear PVC, each colour custom made and limited to 25 copies. So only by superimposing all clear sleeves do you see the full colour picture shining brightly. Neat!

Major mileage
“Because we live spread out across four provinces, we’re a band that spends a lot on gas money.” Vincent, Eddie and Mich all have kids, meaning long and faraway touring is off the table. “Wim is the only one who’s still on the touring circuit. We’ve had our fun though. At our age and with all these other bands, we’ve been around the block once or twice. Not that we we’re not ambitions though”, Decruyenaere catches himself. “We take this project very seriously.”

“Vincent (Rise and Fall) and I (Hitch) have known each other from the hardcore and punk scene for ages. Same with Wim, who was in Officer Jones And His Patrol Car Problems and The Rott Childs. Our bond with Eddie is more recent, as none of us knew him personally, even though we all knew his band Castles. It was Vincent who brought us together, on account of our shared love for bands like Quicksand, The Lemonheads, Hüsker Dü and Fugazi, as well as a strong impulse to go and try something else. We ended up in a rehearsal space, not really knowing what or how. Thank God Eddie had already written a song everyone just latched on to. The atmosphere was just right.”

I go crazy listening to bands that babble in a language they think is Anglo-Saxon.

“Since then, Ed is the one writing the bulk of the songs. He doesn’t stop, really. Because we only rehearse every couple of months, there’s no time to write songs during rehearsal. So Ed writes at home and takes his stuff to rehearsal, one song at a time. We’re very efficient that way. Without this rigour, it would take us two or three years to finish a record. I try my hand at writing a little as well, but with a schedule like mine, it’s not something I can start doing on a regular basis.”

Edward writes the lyrics as well, usually tackling daily struggles in a very personal, honest way. “That makes our lyrics very accessible. And Ed being a native English speaker helps as well. I go crazy listening to bands that babble in a language they think is Anglo-Saxon. We really want people to hear what we’re saying, which is why the vocals are mixed louder than usual. The lyrics are just as important as the music.”

Four geniuses in one shot

“All the extras in the video are friends. The guy cleaning the rifle is Gilles from Oathbreaker. Wim, our drummer, wears a T-shirt from Wiegedood, his other band. We filmed at his place, too, a surreal location in the Ransberg countryside that was built in the 1950s and hasn’t changed in the least since then. It’s one long shot, thanks to Willy Crank en Frederic van Zandycke who caught the positive Supergenius vibe and made it look mighty professional. There’s a lot of humour in the video, we don’t take ourselves too seriously. Maybe we’re kind of like de portables: good music with a playful attitude.”

“We drive to gigs separately because it’s impossible to unite us in one car. Wim and Eddie have to drive two hours just to rehearse at De Kreun in Kortrijk, where we’ve also recorded. From time to time, friends would drop by. One of them, Levy, you can hear skateboarding while I’m having a go at a cheapo synthesizer.”

Hein Devos is more or less the resident mixer at De Kreun, so we asked him to record our album. As a live mixer, he knows how to catch that live feel on a record. We recorded most of it live and even had an audience, being our crew and entourage. Through our friends from Oathbreaker, we got in touch with Jack Shirley in the US to do the final mix. Then everything went to one of Eddie’s friends in the UK to be mastered. This record has travelled a lot of damn kilometres and involved a lot of friends. I do hope you can hear that love on the record.”