Belgian post-metal outfit Steak Number Eight are making quite a name for themselves. In 2008, they became the youngest act ever to win Humo’s Rock Rally, a contest open for bands from all over Belgium. Since then, they’ve put out three curshing slabs of experimental sludge, though still barely out of their teens. The band’s latest record, entitled The Hutch, may well be their finest to date. Enough reason to chew the fat with guitarist/vocalist Brent Vanneste.
Why did you choose a name like Steak Number Eight and what on earth does it mean?
We started Steak Number Eight back when we were twelve years old. In this period my older brother was a drummer in a band called Void Point. We really looked up to them and they’re still our heroes to this very day. The first track on their debut album was called ‘Steak No. 8’ which was a two fingered salute to the eighth girlfriend of one the band members. Basically his “eighth piece of meat” in a row. At the time we thought it was a funny name and we took it as our band name. A few years later my brother died in a mysterious accident. That gave a lot of depth to our band name and we decided to stick with it as a tribute to him.
Do you find that your name hinders the success of the band, in that potential fans might not listen to you based on the name?
It could be and it may be something of a turn off to potential new listeners. However, I prefer having a less brilliant band name with a deeper meaning behind it, then some flashy tag without any content.
In terms of age, you guys are still very young. Can you tell us how the band originally got together?
We all lived in pretty much the same area. Joris and I knew each other since kindergarten. Jesse was a close friend, so he soon joined our ranks. I met Cis some time in high school and after some time he became a member of the band as well. Nothing too exciting I’m afraid.
When you started the band, what/who was your inspiration and what did you set out to achieve musically?
The death of my brother and everything that went along with it. I just hope our music will stay as honest as it was/is now. Other sources of inspirations are Mastodon, Deftones, Converge, Sunn O))),Bongripper. The list is endless really, because there’s so much good music out there.
Your music has been likened to that of Isis, Sun O))), Neurosis – do you think that this is an accurate description of your music?
We’re all big fans of bands like Isis, Neurosis, Sunn O))), Mastodon, Converge, Cult Of Luna, Deftones… who isn’t, really? As a band we’re active in pretty much the same musical avenues. It’s a compliment to be compared with those bands. Despite this, I still feel we have an original sound of our own. One of the most important things within Steak Number Eight is to create original music that is both honest and organic.
The music on The Hutch is more immediate than I was expecting – was this a deliberate decision on your part?
When we work on our music and lyrics we don’t overanalyse things. We follow our gut feeling instead. We’re not really into concept records or anything. The Hutch is basically one musical trip with no strings attached. It is what it is.
Lyrically, what are you speaking about on The Hutch?
The main theme that connects each song is that you’re stuck in something, like in an imaginary cage if you like. In a way every person is stuck in his/her own little cage and everyone is looking for a way to break out and to escape.
You have toured a lot in the UK – what is it about the UK that is so good for Steak Number Eight?
With every tour in the UK we get to meet new people, gain new fans and do a bit of sightseeing along the way. Touring in the UK isn’t that easy though, because some venues don’t pay bands so well and the same goes for food and drinks. We still have a lot of work ahead of us as far as building up a sizeable fanbase. We still love touring there though, because of the awesome parties, great gigs, ditto crowds and lots of fast food!
Do you prefer recording music in the studio or playing live on stage?
Playing live for sure! We try to emulate our records the best we can, but seeing us live you can actually feel and hear our music. Seeing us live is the best way to experience Steak Number Eight.
You now find yourselves on the Indie Recordings roster. What makes this such a positive partnership?
These are hard times for any band and when a label is willing to invest in a band like us that means a lot. It’s a great honor to work with the fine people at Indie Recordings. We always had great respect for the bands on their roster and now we’re part of the family as well. It’s really exciting to see that our new record is finally available worldwide. It’s a first for us.
What does the future hold for Steak Number Eight? Do you have any short-term or long-term ambitions?
We don’t have any short-term ambitions. We just want to bring our music to as many people as we possibly can and play as much as we can. Hopefully we can make a living out of our music somewhere along the line.