Belgian razorgrinders Leng Tch'e are topical with their fourth full-length effort Marasmus. I can't say I'm that familiar with the bands past doings, but I found Marasmus to be an interesting experience. Therefore I wasn't late to agree on coming up with some questions for the band. Nicolas, the bassist, was the one appointed to answer and he proved to be quite elaborative.

Nicolas interviewed by PSL

If you should do the Marasmus versus past releases thing, where would you say the biggest differences are?
There is a huge leap forward in song writing as well as production on Marasmus compared to previous releases. We didn't take ourselves very seriously in the early years, and when we started to do so, we were dealing with line-up problems. Since the recording of The Process of Elimination we've had a steady line-up and it has benefited the songwriting process enormously. Also this time around we went up to Sweden to assist Fredrik Nordström during the mixing process which made a big difference.

A production is not just a production. Did you aim for a specific sound when you recorded Marasmus and do you think you found it?
Our goal was to have a very heavy yet crystal clear production and I'm pretty sure we achieved that. Fredrik Nordström gave it the balls, and Alan Douches gave it the clarity.

You've gone for a simpler artwork on Marasmus. Is there a particular idea behind this?
We always try to come up with artwork that catches the eye. Too many album covers look the same these days, you take two steps back and you can't distinct one from the other. The artwork for The Process of Elimination was very distinguishable due to the graphic subject matter and the colour scheme, however we don't want to repeat ourselves so we went for a different approach this time around. The artwork is related to the theme of Marasmus in a more abstract way and was designed by Orion Landau at Relapse. It's simple but I'm sure it will stand out from the crowd and people will be pleasantly surprised when they discover the hidden secrets in the booklet.

To me variation seems like a very important thing in your music. Do you deliberately work on this or do things just turn out that way?
Leng Tch'e songs are basically a reflection of the heavy music styles that we listen to. We all listen to everything from grindcore to death metal, doom or hardcore so when we write new songs, we just come up with riffs that sound cool to us and in the end it always ends up sounding like Leng Tch'e. It's not a conscientious choice to try to incorporate as many styles as possible; we just don't set any limits to ourselves and play the music we want to play.

You mix a lot of different styles together though the music is mostly grindcore, but you mix in bits of rock n' roll as well as other things. Could you say something about what inspires you?
Like I said, most of the music that we listen to is what influences us. In the beginning it was all about silly grindcore with hardcore influences, and as it was more of a fun band, we didn't really care about genre limitations so we just played whatever the hell we wanted to play. Over the years we obviously mastered our instruments better and more influences crawled in.

Lyrically it also appears as if you've changed direction a little. Are there any specific topics that inspire you these days?
Most of the lyrics deal with social commentary or the general stupidity of man. More than half the lyrics on The Process of Elimination already had more serious subject matters but because of the older albums we were still known for our humorous lyrics. This time around we chose to drop the funny subject matters since the music got more serious and thought out. We just felt it didn't fit the songs anymore.

The diversity in the music, do you think this is a product of you playing in other bands as well?
Not really, it's a result of us being open minded as musicians and not pigeonholing ourselves in a specific genre.

Nearly everyone, if not all of you have other bands besides Leng Tch'e. Is it easy to get it all to fit together or does conflicts occasionally occur?
Actually only Sven is still at least as busy, if not busier than us with Aborted. It takes some meticulous planning and it has happened in the past that we've had to cancel shows because of the other band, but they are bigger than us so they have first priority. However these days they're more of a touring band while we play more weekend shows so everything works out just fine most of the time. As far as the other members go, Boris has quit Suppository last year and Jan occasionally jams with Spleen but that's more of a hobby band. Geert has joined a black metal band called Gorath last year but they don't gig nearly as much as us. I jam with some buddies of mine in a hardcore band from time to time but that will never conflict with Leng Tch'e.

You've once again recorded at CCR Studios, but you've not used Antfarm Studio to do the mix and mastering as on the predecessor. Was it just time to try something different?
That's exactly what it was. We're always open to new ideas and since a lot of bands around our area like Aborted, In-Quest and Born From Pain recently recorded at Antfarm Studio. We chose to have a different sound so we tried Studio Fredman.

Not too long ago you put out a split CD with Warscars via Bones Brigade Records. Do you have more splits or EP's on the way?

No that was a one time project. We've been friends with Nicolas from Bones Brigade for a long time and we had been discussing releasing a mini or split CD in 2006 to prepare the fans for the new songs. He then proposed doing a split with Warscars so we had the perfect opportunity. But in general we'd much rather focus on releasing decent full albums.

What is a good grindcore song to you?
I'm not sure I can answer this since half the people don't even consider us grindcore anymore, but to me the essence of grindcore is that it is brutal music brought with a punk or hardcore - in the old sense - attitude. I say hardcore in the old sense because most hardcore these days is just bad metal. One thing that bugs me in the grindcore scene is the fact that change or innovation is very much shun upon. Everybody cried "sell-outs!" when Napalm Death started to experiment in the mid 90's, or when Nasum incorporated breakdowns and doom parts in the late 90's. Whereas if those bands hadn't tried expanding their style, grindcore would be dead and buried like punk rock has been for years.

Some of the bands that pops up when talking about Belgian death and grindcore are you, Aborted and Agathocles, but three must be much more to it than these three bands so how is the scene these days?
There are plenty of bands in Belgium like In-Quest, Emeth, Suhrim, Axamenta, Panchrysia, Serpent Cult and so on. We also have a pretty strong hardcore scene with bands like The Setup, Rise and Fall or Justice who have been touring Europe and the US for quite some time now.

Anything you wish to add to conclude this interview?
Thanks for the interview and hopefully we'll get the chance to play Denmark soon! Peace out.

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