From the depths of the black charcoal mountains rises the Belgian band Bathsheba. Fronted by She-devil Michelle Nocon (ex-Serpentcult, Leviathan Speaks & Death Penalty), carried by the punishing drums of Jelle Stevens (ex- SardoniS), massive vibrations from Raf Meukens (Death Penalty, Torturerama) and relentless riffs from Dwight Goossens (ex- Disinterred). Bathsheba throws you into deep sadness and inner rage, straight into the cave grim, no meander in the enchanted forest on the way to the deep. Bathsheba plays heavy doom mixed with sludge and black metal. The heavy low-tuned monster can pursue in fast pace while the haunting vocals go from monotonous chants into another level of schizophrenia. Bathsheba has self-released a demo tape in October 2014 and shortly after signed to Svart Records whom released a 10”EP in May 2015. The debut album ’Servus’ will be out a month from today on February 24, 2017. So much about the official press release, but let’s take a look behind and find out how much of a she-devil she really is!
Say Hello to ‘Servus’
Michelle, how would you preferably describe yourself, specially in terms of being somewhat of a diabolical persona (if that even is the case at all)?
I suppose you can answer this question on different levels. Well I am someone of extremes I am kind of an innocent incorruptible person and at the same time I am quit dark. I know that. I am not a person who seeks vengeance altho I am a person capable of profound love and hate. I might say though that I’m not completely against vengeance either. I’m not a part of the Satanic Church but I respect them a lot. “When someone does you wrong, warn them. If they don’t stop, destroy them”. I might say I rarely find vengeance useful, to anyone. I mean it mostly takes energy and you empower the other person by still thinking of them or acting to trigger them. How much energy do you invest in another person’s unhappiness? You basically allow them to have power over you because they make you sad or angry. If you are indifferent to someone, then you are over things, then you have your power back. And are you a hateful person or not? So it’s about how you are and about what your limits are in terms of justice I think. Jealousy also often leads to vengeance. I don’t have that at all. But sometimes people do horrible things, real horrible things that allow us to lose power. When a person would hurt someone you love on purpose, would you not do anything about it? Also if you turn the other cheek, where will it end? If you do bad things and never get punished then there are no bad consequences for it… Why stop this then? Behaviour has consequences and you should take the consequences fully, whatever that is, whomever you are. Also if you are the person who takes revenge. I think I understand a bit of the balance within the kosmos. Revenge should only come with deep and true feelings of injustice.
On a spiritual level it’s hard to say. On one hand I value again this more satanic view. Life is here and now. If you want to do something good do it now and not for a reward at the end of the rainbow. Because that’s silly and it’s very selfish isn’t it? Doing good so you will go to… ‘heaven’ let’s call it that. If you want to do good to a person, do it now and do it because you want to do good to a person… If you think a person really deserve something bad don’t wait on the universe to correct it. You are in the universe and the universe is within you. And revenge is also a way of protection isn’t it? Some protect their ego, others protect the lives of the ones they love… I have an immense sence of justice when it comes to my loved ones. So back to this satanic view. They don’t believe in an afterlife so they don’t believe in spirits and demons. The people who believe to invoke demons etc… I think they just want to be cool. But when you look at them, no serious person thinks they are cool… They have no idea what they are doing mostly and they take themselves far too serious. Life comes with a big amount of humor, and self humor. On the other hand I have experienced things that make me believe that there is something more that carries us even beyond our death… I also believe no one in the world has control over who you can invoke. Of course there are rules for how to invoke or attract a particular demon. But I don’t believe, anyone of us controls the power to invoke a particular spirit. So you don’t know what you bring in and you don’t know what it does… I have to say I was always very much intrigued by these mysteries since a very young age… I still read a lot about it. I don’t know the exact truth but maybe there is no truth. Maybe if you believe in demons, they exist for you. And if you don’t, they don’t… Who will say. We are all light I believe and at the same time we are all diabolical.
Has your life changed during the progress of creating the album and what kind of emotional status do you expect after ‘Servus’ is finally out? I could imagine this to be like having sex for the first time ever, afterwards there’s just now turning back…
Funny you ask this, but yes certainly. I even talked about this with a friend. February of 2016. I remember well. On a morning walk in the cold. I’m going to try and tell you what I said. ‘Servus’ is a very spiritual album. It’s about deep feelings and experiences that are very abstract. There are other feelings like ‘saudade’ which is also very deep and hard to grasp for some people, but they are more concrete. ‘Servus’ is about things that are hardly on earth anymore. During the process of ‘Servus’ I had a lot of dialogues with myself, I went through a lot of weird things, also demonology related somehow. I told my friend that I was worried because once spoken, it makes it ‘real’. And if I write it down it will be in our minds forever. I can never erase this anymore if I pull through with this atmosphere and lyrics and I’m afraid it comes with a price. When the album comes out; it is recorded and written; and with that it is reality forever… I will never be the same again when this comes out. But I wanted to do it because this was inside of me. Hiding it would make me untrue towards myself. Within time I found that this whole demonology, if I can call it that, was simply a part of me but also a part of normal concrete daily earthly life. I accepted it and I will take the consequences of all my actions. So yes, you could somehow compare it with having sex for the first time. It’s an irreversible act and you will have to live with that. That said I will have grown.
As far as the German language is concerned, the term “Servus” can be used either to say goodbye or hello – in what way is the album title meant, is it open to interpretation and does it refer to any person in particular?
‘Servus’ in Latin means ‘Slave’. So this is what we are aiming at. You can be enslaved by concrete things on earth. Like sugar and food, sex, love or a person even. But on a bigger more abstract flow as well. This is what I like about this album. Anyone can apply it somehow. But a few ones will fully understand it. My experience was more about being enslaved in life and feeling crushed under this immense weight of being alive. The struggle between those two extremes, the darker side and the bright one. And how to cope with it. How to search for yourself, your truth. Almost losing yourself and acknowledging the different versions of yourself. That’s why I wanted a ‘being’ with a distorted face as an album cover. Sort of a faceless person. Because if you don’t watch out you’ll find you can lose yourself easily.
We’re not gonna talk about if there will be a tour sometime soon, cuz there will be one for sure! On the road, is there anything you would love to have on your personal rider?
Haaaa…, On my rider I would love to have healthy tasty food. I would really love to have as much as possible gluten-free food! I used to try vegetarian and vegan food but because I have gluten and lactose intolerance this is very hard. I also want to keep fit and healthy. If they make an effort for food that comes from bio farms etc, I would be immensely happy. I know it’s more expensive but it makes a difference on a mondial level. I’d rather ask something like that then a bottle of Absinthe (altho I love absinthe <3). I hate animal cruelty and I want to try to somehow make it better with whatever I can. Also for the health of the band. When drinking sodas or beer and eating fast food and candies the whole time… If you are touring a long time it will turn against your body. I’m also a herbalist so anything herby or self-made from your own garden stuff will make me happy… I’m also very eager to try new things even if they are weird. I must say… a good curry can really satisfy me though….
Dealing with the She-Devil: Bathsheba
Let’s get back to music for a change. I just recently discovered another Belgium band fronted by a powerful female vocalist and I’m pretty sure you know who I’m talking about – so what do you think about Oathbreaker and vocalist Caro?
Oh yes I think it’s a great band. “Glimpse Of The Unseen”.. Holy shit. I think she is a great singer and finally a woman who doesn’t participate in this ‘look at me I’m a girl in a band thing’. A musician, very skilled, great band also! I like that they tried new things on their last album. I don’t know her personally, but I wouldn’t say no on a good conversation with her over a glass of wine or a tea
If you could do a featured collaboration with a musician of you choice, dead or alive, who would it be and why?
I love this question. It’s the happiness most girls have in a clothing store, I have it now when thinking about that possibility. Haha. Well I have a few that I really admirer. I honestly don’t think I would deserve to work together with any of them, ever. But a girl can dream no? ;)
To name some. (No one said I had to choose :p )
Kate Bush; Because she’s so weird and talented and I have always looked up to her.
- Tom Waits: Because he’s so weird and talented.
David Bowie: Because he is so weird and talented and wise and inspiring. I would love to hear about his different alter egos. He’s a style icon and one of a kind. I could have learned so much from him. Since I was young I have admired him and with his last work he has really done something. Last year I woke up on my birthday and David Bowie was dead…
Another one that died last year. Prince. I always admired him, but it’s true, that when a person dies they get more recognition. I wish I was more into him earlier. What a weird fantastic and sexual man. I mean, he’s not my type at all, but he has something… That charisma… is crazy. And it would be such a weird combination. I would love that.
PJ Harvey: She is fantastic. Also someone who keeps reinventing and discovering herself
- Thom York: Thom is life…
Bohren & der Club of Gore: I wonder what will happen if our darkness comes together…
David Eugene Edwards: He’s the man of one of my favourite bands; Woven Hand. What a weird unique person, and that voice…
Massive Attack: Fantastic band, very open-minded, always having great and authentic sounds and voices… Again, let me dream ;)
Lana del Rey: Because I love her and I am in love with her hahaha
The Smashing Pumpkins: Because they have a variety of great music and have a great sound
Arvo Pärt: It’s magnificent music!!!
- I should stop I guess because I can go one forever…
Since I assume you’re as much or rather little into New Year’s resolutions like me, I’d still like to know if you feel a different vibe now that 2017 is here?
Well I am indeed not at all into these things. But… I had kind of a weird year and I noticed that I had this ‘Callimero’ syndrome. I don’t know if you know it? But it’s a little chick in an egg complaining that everyone is grown big and he is small and it’s not fair. I mean it’s not exactly that, but I like expressing it like that. I noticed I always think I don’t deserve things, I want to hide myself and with this, I sabotage myself. So in 2016 Callimero has died and I can tell you, I feel reborn. The year is just 20 days young and I have already made some decisions and reached some goals. In 2017 I will go hard and 2018 I am invincible.
Finally, did you ever watch the 1989 movie She-Devil? For anyone who doesn’t know it: It’s this totally hilarious black comedy featuring the amazing Meryl Streep and everyone’s favourite working-class housewife Roseanne!
No I don’t really watch many movies I must say. But I know why that tittle comes to your mind when you think about me :D hahaha.
Thanks so much for taking the time to answer my questions, if you’d like to add anything else, feel free to express yourself!
Thank you so much for this interview and go full speed in 2017! May we meet soon
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