AS IT BURNS
Interview with Bassist Jeroen Smit
Interview by Lord of the Wasteland
As It Burns latest CD, MORTAL
DUSK, is a killer slab of black and thrash metal. The band is from The
Netherlands and is comprised of vocalist Arend Doornhein, Joost Brouwer
and Rocco Rundervoort on guitars, bassist Jeroen Smit, Jacco Veenstra on
drums and Gert Plas rounding out the band on keyboards. Over the Christmas
holidays, bassist Jeroen Smit answered my questions on the new album, the
band's history and the Dutch metal scene.
MORTAL DUSK is an excellent CD. How long did it take you to record
Thanks for the compliment, dude! I think we spent 13 days in the
studio, altogether. That was in August 2002.
What is the significance of the CD title, MORTAL DUSK?
The album is titled after the first track. Mortal Dusk can be seen as a
void. A void of anger, aggression and no hope. A lot of people seem to be
in such a void. They don't care about others or the environment they live
in; they just care about themselves.
How has the response been so far to MORTAL DUSK?
The reactions are pretty positive so far. We've had some great reviews.
We guess that the average rate is about 7.5 out of 10. We're content so
My favorite songs on the new CD are the title track and "God Is A
Souvenir." What are your favorite tracks from MORTAL DUSK?
My favourites are also "Mortal Dusk," "Holy Waste" (for
the kick-ass first riff), "Suicide Prophet (for the diversity
and the black part with hyperspeed drumming in the middle)" and
"The Skintrade (because it contains lots of riffs and is therefore
great to play live)."
MORTAL DUSK is the band's first release through Cold Blood Industries.
So far, how does Cold Blood compare with other labels you have been on in
the past? How many albums do you have with Cold Blood?
We haven't had labels in the past. This is our first album that is
released through a label. The deal is for this album and an option for a
What type of music would you say As It Burns plays?
We call it "atmospheric blackened thrash-death metal," ha ha!
There is really no way to describe our type of music. Some say it's
melodic death-trash, others call it black. We don't really care, although
we understand that it's difficult for people to label us!
Who writes the music and lyrics?
Arend writes the lyrics. The songs are written by me and Joost, or by
As It Burns' lyrics seem to be very anti-religion. Why is the band so
As it Burns is not an anti-Christian band in the way some black-metal
bands are. Arend won't sing "Satan my master, come to me, I worship
thee" or something like that, hehe. We're just not very fond of
religion, because it has brought lots of trouble and anger into the world.
Besides, Arend likes to shock people with his lyrics, and the Christian
world is easily shocked. But we don't hate Christians and we surely won't
burn churches (although it would fit to our band-name, wouldn't it?).
Where was the new CD recorded and who produced it?
The album was recorded at Franky's Recording Kitchen with producers
Berthus Westerhuys and Jens van der Valk (God Dethroned, Autumn). Jens did
all of the recording and Berthus was responsible for the drum sound. We
had a great time working with those guys and learned a lot about creating
a cool sound what also will benefit our live performances.
Will there be any music videos done for MORTAL DUSK?
No, first of all we have to sell more albums. Besides at the moment we
and the label lack the money needed.
The cover of the new CD is really cool. Who designed it?
The cover was designed by Jacek Wisniewski. He is a Polish artist who
has done more cover work for Cold Blood Industries bands (for instance
You have formed a great band. Explain how you all came together as a
It has been a process of years. Joost and me are the only AiB-members
who were there at the beginning. After a while Rocco, Arend and Gert
joined the band, because we needed a new bass player (at that time Rocco
played bass and I played the drums), and a new vocalist and were eager to
try out some keyboards in our music. Jacco joined the band after the album
OBSOLETE PROPHECIES. We not only fit as a band, but also as friends,
because this line-up has remained steady for about 4 years now.
Where did you come up with the band's name?
There is no real story to the name. One of the band-members just came
up with this name; it sounds cool. He says it came from the Slayer song,
"Reign in Blood": "See your death as it burns deep inside
Why did you leave the band as a drummer and return as the bass player?
I left because I was fed up with playing drums. Besides I lived in a
small apartment at the time and had no space for a drum kit. I also play
guitar and I wanted to play guitar in AiB, but there were no vacancies, so
I left the band (but still remaining close friends). After about 2 years I
replaced the bass player for a few months because he was in Italy. I never
really intended to start playing the bass guitar, but it went very well
and the band decided that I was to be the new bass-player.
With 2 guitarists, how do you split up leads, rhythms, etc.?
Well, that kind of happens naturally. Sometimes Joost comes up with a
lead and Rocco does the rhythm, sometimes it's the other way around. There
is no real pattern in that.
Are anyone in the band involved in any side projects?
Yeah, Gert is involved in a black metal band called Winter of Sin, and
Jacco is involved in a band called Voleg. They play a weird mix of heavy
and doom metal.
Are there a lot of other metal bands in The Netherlands?
There is a great scene at the moment. Now the gothic scene is very
popular, but the extreme scene is also in an uprise! Maybe you've heard
from bands like God Dethroned, Severe Torture or Sinister. Here in
Groningen there are a lot of really fine bands like Katafalk, Seizure or
What are your touring plans for 2004? Will you tour in North America at
One of our band members has some health problems, so at the moment we
can't plan lots of gigs. First we hope to do more shows in Holland and
maybe in Europe with some labelmates or so. It would be a dream coming
true to play in North America. At the moment I don't think it's realistic
to expect that, but who knows...
asitburns.nl is a great website. How much involvement do you have
personally in design, content, etc.?
The site is made by a friend of ours. He plays the drums in an awesome
death-metal band called Seizure and is also an artist. He designed the
site and we're very happy with it.
When did you first begin playing together?
Phew, that must have been somewhere in 1997. Our first recording we did
in June 1998.
What other bands do you listen to?
I listen to a lot of stuff. Maiden, Slayer, Nile, At the Gates,
Emperor, you name it. I think one of my favourite bands is Diabolical
Masquerade. The latest album I bought is one from Luciferion, a
death-metal band who also use keyboards.
Who are the band's musical influences?
We're influenced by the Swedish death and thrash scene, by technical
metal like Death, by Nordic black metal, by Iron Maiden and by Slayer.
Furthermore I can tell you that keyboard-player, Gert, also gets his
inspiration out of pop-music and bands like Godspeed You Black Emperor.
File sharing/mp3s is a controversial issue in the music industry. What
is the band's position on this?
It's an easy way to search for and listen to new music, without having
to buy the album first. But if you like the music, we think you should buy
the record and not use a copy.
Anything you'd like to say to the readers of Metal-Rules.com?
Yeah! Hi there! I hope you liked reading this interview. Check out our
album, there are some samples on our site. Hopefully you'll like 'em!
Greetings from AiB to all of you metal-heads!
As It Burns Official Site