One of the most exciting bands on the Benelux live circuit today is thrash metal/rock n’ roll outfit Bliksem. Ghost Cult caught up with singer Peggy Meeussen to talk about this outfit’s stellar live reputation, lyrics and their future plans.
For starters I’d wanted to ask you something which I was very curious about. I read in the biography that you came to the band later on, how did they find you?
Woah, years ago I came across Rob (our drummer) in my hangout back then in Antwerp. I knew him from way beyond because his mother gave me my first musical lessons. That evening we talked about our musical influences and he heard that I didn’t have a band at that moment. Back then he was contacted already by the boys of Bliksem that they needed a vocalist, and Rob heard me sing along a few times in the café. He was the one that introduced me to the guys. In the beginning no one of them were convinced if they would want a woman on vocals, they were on the search for a new Franky de Smet van Damme (Channel Zero). I really had to do my best and push on for weeks in a row to convince them of my vocal abilities. Back then it was really frustrating, but now I really think it is cool to know that they choose me because they were really convinced, and not because I happen to be a woman.
Bliksem has done an incredible amount of live show by now. Which shows are most memorable to you guys?
We definitely have a lot of fun on every show, but the ones that are most memorable to me are definitely the shows on Metaldays and Graspop. Graspop because it is such a big happening, but also because we come from the same region. The festival really recalls some nice memories from my youth. Metaldays is so amazing because of the location and it’s such a great festival. It was almost like we were on vacation with the band.
Bliksem is doing really well lately, is this something you notice as well?
I think you don’t notice that as well as outsiders do. We just do what we have always done. We play like our lives depend on it. The only think we notice is that the stages we play on become bigger.
You guys did stand in front of some huge numbers of fans, what do you guys want to transfer to the audience?
We want the audience to have fun as much as we do on stage. We want to show that we’re a very tight live unit and that we pour all our energy and passion in the music that we create and have a lot fun while doing it.
What are your most significant influences?
We all have very different musical tastes, there is not just 1 band I can say that really influenced us. We’re all into thrash metal, but besides that our tastes and influences range from stoner rock to NY hardcore and everything in between.
Do you guys have a specific way of writing your songs?
Our working method is very similar to many other bands. The guys in the band come up with ideas and bits and pieces for songs and we flesh them out during in our practise room. When we have something tangible to work on I start working on lyrics and vocal lines. When we’re really satisfied with a new track we put incorperate it in our live set and see how our audience reacts to it. Most of the time our new songs tends to evolve quite a bit before they end up on an album.
When you are writing the lyrics for the songs, are there any recurring themes you like to write about?
Not really to be honest. I draw my inspiration from books, movies and daily news. Sometimes my own life is a source of inspiration, but there are some certain autobiographical elements in it, but I don’t want to get too preachy or too personal.
What is more important for you, the atmosphere of a song or the overall quality?
I don’t think the one is more important than the other. They’re both equally important in my view. When we make a very moody or atmospheric track and our fans really dig it I’m sure we’ve made a quality product.
You’ve achieved quite a lot with Bliksem so far. What are your own personal highlights?
Getting signed to a record label and playing on Graspop were two of my personal highlights. Luckily I have a whole new set of dreams and goals to achieve, otherwise I had to quite right now (laughs).
What can we expect from you guys in the near future?
At this moment we are working on a new album, the first songs are written already. We are also busy with thinking of a concept for a new music clip, which is very exciting! In November we have our first ever international tour together with our friends from Vanderbuyst. This will keep us occupied for quite a while. Otherwise playing as many gigs as we possibly can and reach out to a lot of new fans.
Kaat van Doremalen