With their fabulous third album of down 'n' dirty blues, 'Love Me Some'. released recently, Belgian band Boogie Beasts return to the live stage with a number of dates across Belgium and the Netherlands in October, November and December. Guitarist and vocalist Jan Jaspers took some time to answer a few questions for 'Ballroom Blitz's Man At The Back' below on the band, the album and playing live again.
Boogie Beasts are Jan Jaspers (Guitar / Vocals), Patrick Louis (Guitar / Vocals), Fabian Bennardo (Harmonica) and Gert Servaes (Drums).
'Love Me Some' was released on the 17th September and is available digitally on all the major digital sites, It has also been released on CD and Vinyl from Naked Records. Link to buy the album can be found on the Boogie Beasts and Naked Records Facebook pages.
Previous albums 'Come And Get Me' (2015) and 'Deep' (2019) are also still available on the digital sites.
Hi Jan, Guys, thanks for taking some time out to answer a few questions. First off, for those readers who might not be familiar with Boogie Beasts, could you give a short history of the band?
Boogie Beasts started in 2011. Our drummer Gert and I were playing in a psychedelic blues band and our harmonica player Fabian was in a garage blues duo with his brother-in-law Mat. We had crossed each other's paths many times before and we really appreciated each other. So, in January 2011, Gert and I invited Fabian and Mat for a jam session in our favourite bar Blauwe Kater, in Leuven. That night was pure, raw energy. The band was born. We played for 8 years throughout Europe, built up a fierce live reputation and released two albums. In December 2019, Mat left the band and Patrick became our new guitarist. We've just released our third album and we're ready to hit the road again.
And who would you say were the main influences on Boogie Beasts?
I think our common ground is our passion for raw blues, especially North Mississippi Hill Country blues. Artists like Mississippi Fred McDowell, R.L. Burnside, Junior Kimbrough, John Lee Hooker, etc. But we listen to lots of other stuff too: rock, roots, funk, soul and hip-hop. We've never considered ourselves a traditional blues band; from the very start, we've been doing our own thing, which results in a very eclectic blues sound.
You've just released your third album - 'Love Me Some'. Do you think it is a 'step on' from your previous two albums - 2015's 'Come And Get Me' and 2019's 'Deep'?
Each album is different. 'Come And Get Me' is self-produced and closer to our blues roots. 'Deep' sounds darker and more alternative. 'Love Me Some' is our most danceable album so far. Obviously, the arrival of Patrick has had its impact but also the production by our own sound guy Koenraad Foesters. Not only is he a good producer; he also knows the band better than anyone else. Where did you record the album and did COVID affect you recording and putting the album together?
In July 2020, right after the first lockdown, we booked the GAM studio in the Ardennes to work on new songs and to record some demos. Together with our sound guy / producer Koenraad, we stayed in our 'bubble' of five for an entire week. A couple of weeks later, we went to Koenraad's own Studio Jupiter, in Tongeren, Belgium, where we recorded the album. We finished the final vocal takes right before the second lockdown. Unfortunately, we had to postpone the release due to COVID.
Do you have any favourite tracks from the album and if so, why?
Tough one. Difficult to choose between your 'babies'. We like them all, otherwise they wouldn't have made it onto the album. You're releasing the album on vinyl as well as CD - are you fans of vinyl as a format?
Yes, we like vinyl. Not only for its much warmer sound but it does do justice to the artwork.
You've got an extensive number of shows coming up in October, November and December. Are there any shows you're particularly looking forward to playing?
Well, after the lockdowns, we are looking forward to each and every one of them, of course. The release parties mid-October mean a lot to us as those will be the first times we'll play the new album in front of a live audience. We are celebrating our 10th anniversary this year, so a very special one will be the Blue Moon Festival in Visé, Belgium, where we played our very first official show 10 years ago. And are there any festivals / venues that you haven't played yet, that you would like to play?
Too many to name! We are a live band. We really love playing live, so we want to play everywhere. There are still loads of clubs and festivals where we would love to perform. What would you say were the highlights for Boogie Beasts so far?
The releases of our three albums, (inter)national airplay, shows on national radio stations and many concerts at renowned venues and festivals throughout Europe. Is there a good rock / blues scene in Belgium at the moment? Any bands from Belgium that you'd particularly recommend to readers?
There has been an amazing music scene in Belgium for many decades, with great artists and internationally acclaimed venues and festivals. Although it's a small country, it's bursting with talent. I could name a few bands but it would be unfair towards all the others.
And finally what plans for Boogie Beasts for the rest of 2021 and 2022?
Like I said before, our main goal is to play live shows. We can't wait to get back on the road again after such a long time and present our new album to a live audience. We've got some cool shows coming up and we hope to see a lot of old and new fans.