Exclusive Interview: Black Rabbit talk “Hypnosomnia”!

Dutch Groove Death Metal Thrash Metal act Black Rabbit unveiled their long awaited debut album “Hypnosomnia” last month, a colossus mixed by Stijn Donders (The Subliminal, Icarus, Infestis), mastered by Peter Brussee (Knight Area, Ayreon, Torque) at Q Point Studios and adorned by artwork from Roberto Toderico. Having followed the band since the release of their 2020 EP “Warren Of Necrosis“, a post review interview was always on the tarot cards and so we spoke to four of the five of them in axe wielding duo Jelle Bekelmans and Hidde Holfland, drummer Max Hendriks (Grindpad, ex-Warborn Waste, ex-Inferum) and vocalist Nino Thomas…

How have you found the reception of “Hypnosomnia” so far?

Nino: “Very good! I’m happy people really like it so far. All the reviews have been very good as well!”

Jelle: “I love it! The release show was amazing, the audience loved it. I’m really glad that the fans are just as excited as we are!”

Max: “It was awesome. When you create new music, I do (and I think I can speak for the rest of the band aswell) for yourself. You make the stuff that you like. But when releasing that music, you are always anxious if other people will like it aswell. The attention that we got with this CD was insane, not only online but also during our successful release show”

Hidde: “I love reading about the things people love, exactly that which I hoped people will love about the music. For example, the music is pretty diverse throughout the album, and people recognize that. That’s a win for me, because that’s what we partly focussed on”

Vocalist Nino Thomas and bassist Robbin van de Bor joined the group after debut EP “Warren Of Necrosis”; how was the dynamic different when it came to writing the new songs? What did they bring to the table?

Nino: “For me it was the first time ever writing songs. I wrote the lyrics alone at home, and placed them over the demos of the guitars and drums. (Mostly because of Covid)”

Jelle: “We already had some songs written, we only changed some parts of them. Robbin wasn’t part of Black Rabbit in the writing process. We first hired him in the preproduction of the recording process. He helped us with the order of the songs, the length of the songs and changed some riffs a little bit. The vocals of Nino changed a lot on our songs and the writing process. We were more a death metal band with Nino in the band”

Max: “The dynamics were not changed that much because Hidde, Jelle and I were writing the music and like the previous vocalist wrote the lyrics, Nino wrote the lyrics as well. But we had a big change in the writing process and that’s not because of the two guys but that is because of Covid. We had to improvise and adjust to the restrictions in our country. We started writing online, send eachother riffs and work with them from home. When we, as a band, look back to the album, we also see a sort of timeline of the Covid. Some songs were written before, some during (from home) and in the end, we wrote one last song together in the rehearsal room. That song (Descending) came out totally different and is my personal favourite”

Hidde: “Not a lot has changed, no. But as Max says, both Covid and living quite far away from each other made us think creatively about how to share our ideas. I think it ended up working pretty well!”

All: “Thanks! We appreciate it!”

The first bite is with the eye so how important is it to get the cover artwork right? Roberto Toderico has created you something impressive!

Nino: “I think Toderico nailed it! He’s supper consistent with his work, and really makes the Black Rabbit come alive in his art.”

Jelle: “I totally agree! We worked with him on all our artworks and releases, we love his style! He created the Black Rabbit had in mind on Warren of Necrosis and we wanted to keep the same style and recognition”

Max: “I know Roberto Toderico for a long time now, and he has made really cool stuff for my other bands and events that I organised. So when joining Black Rabbit, I immediately told the guys about him. We first let him do the cover of Warren of Necrosis, which turned out great. Later he also made the cover of Taken by the Devil and that one was insane as well. So the most logical choice to make, was involving Toderico on this record again. Again he did a killer job”

Hidde: “Roberto can create something that isn’t there in the first place. An atmosphere, a character, it all works together beautifully. It helps me as a designer to think of new ways to create music or think of concepts. It works perfectly with our story and concept”

As creators of neck snapping Groove Death Metal what does your cure the the Municipal Waste coined bangover – a post show hangover and sore neck from headbanging– look like?

Nino: “The sore neck is usually treated by my lovely girlfriend who has to spend 2 days of massaging me. Hangover is (most of the times) not that bad. During shows I tend to not drink much”

Jelle: “Most of the time I have to drive back home after a gig. But after our release show in my hometown I had to sleep the whole day after to feel a little bit better, so you can imagine how I felt. After a lot of shows last year my neck was trained for the windmill and everything. But we didn’t play for three months and I wasn’t used to metal dances anymore, haha. So my neck was destroyed after the release show. I just stayed at home and avoided people so I didn’t have to turn my head, haha”

Max: “Easy answer, just keep going”

Hidde: “Most of the time, a warm shower raining down on my neck works wonders. Apart from that, just drink some beers and the pain will go away (for a while)”

If we are made up of our genes and our influences, what is in your jeans and who would you consider your influences?

Nino: “For sure Chuck Schuldiner [of Death]. He’s the one that made me start vocals while I was playing guitar. And for writing lyrics as well. He always had a great way of combining nonfiction and fiction together”

Hidde: “I think creativity is a big part of my genes. Not so much in my family at all, but it is in me. Who it’s from then, I have no idea. Creativity wise, I would consider myself a Bob Ross kind of guy, happy little accidents, but in the end, it’s beautiful. Music-wise, I think Dave Mustaine was the guy who made me want to play guitar. He inspired me to write sick riffs and play on a flying V”

What’s next for Black Rabbit?

Nino: “Hopefully we can release some new singles or even an EP this year to keep putting stuff out there”

Jelle: “We are now thinking of what to do next. We first need to write new songs. Our goal is to do some recording later this year. But first, play shows!”

Max: “Only thing I can add to Nino’s and Jelle’s answers is to keep having fun with each other”

Hidde: I agree, get this monster going!

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