Interview || The One With Lenny from Dust Bolt

While at Summer Breeze Open Air in August, I had only one interview scheduled which I had been really looking forward to; a chat with Lenny Breuss, guitarist and vocalist of the German thrashers Dust Bolt. Although I've never been an avid fan of thrash metal, when I discovered Dust Bolt a few years back, I was immediately hooked. Getting to see them perform after such a long time was definitely one of the highlights of the festival so, when I met with the very cordial Lenny a few hours later, the conversation was flowing. 

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U: You guys released your fifth album, “Trapped In Chaos", earlier this year. How’s the reception been so far?

Lenny Breuss: It has been brilliant! I feel the kids really dig the new songs when we play them live and for us is cool, because it's fun playing new stuff and mixing them with old songs. I think it works really well.

U: What would you say is the biggest difference between "Trapped In Chaos" and your older material?

L.B.: We grew over the years. We’re now In our mid 20s, we’re still in search for a real identity of ourselves, or we have been, and for "Trapped In Chaos" it felt like that was exactly what we wanted to do. We knew what we wanted to sound like. Musically, the album is more melodic in some parts, more groovy, more diverse, I think it’s quite dark too.

U: They say that you have your whole life to write the first album but only a couple of months to write the next. After four albums, what is the writing and recording process like for you?

L.B.: Honestly, I never really thought of anything like that, I just go for it and do what I do. Until now it was this point where I had so many things in mind that I was like “it’s time to start writing”, start a new chapter, you know? I’m a little bit afraid of this moment because, from that point on, it’s always very exhausting, and you carry it in your mind for such a long time that, from the time you record the material to the time you release it, it’s one and a half to two years, so it’s like a fiction in your head, and you can’t tell anybody because they can’t hear it, it’s all in your head! (laughs)

U: Let me guess, you are already writing the next album.

L.B.: To be honest, not really. At the moment we are soaking up impressions for "Trapped In Chaos" but I think we may start sooner or later.

U: After so many shows in Europe, South East Asia and the US, what would you say are the biggest differences between audiences all over the world?

L.B.: It’s hard to tell differences by countries because even within a country every show can be different. It may depend on the timing of the show, like the day or the month it is happening, the venue… People are in a different kind of mood, you are in a different kind of mood, but being in Asia was crazy. We’d never been there, and people were going crazy for us.

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U: I think that on that part of the world, they have a great appreciation for German bands. I don't know how and why but it’s something I’ve noticed over the years.

L.B.: It’s true. Same thing in the States, people loved [our show] and when we told them we were from Germany and it was our first time there, everyone was like “yeeeah so cool!”.You get to talk to people who are interested in Europe and who [want to come over]. It’s exciting.

U: May I ask what the inspiration is behind the lyrics in "Trapped In Chaos"? I was debating whether or not to ask his question until you brought up the darker theme. You don’t have to answer, if you don’t want to.

L.B.: [slightly uncomfortable] There’s no general explanation... We have a song called “Sick Brain”, [based on] a thing that I like to do, which is stepping into the mindset of writing music for Dust Bolt; I like showing this side of my personality and I think of myself as a sick brain. Things make you think so much, more and more, [to the point where] you just need to sit and write them down. The emotion can be something you see, something that triggers you, but it’s just what I feel I wanna tell right now with a heavy song.

U: Is there a connection between the album cover and the lyrical theme?

L.B.: Yes, there is. Some people see an iris, some others see a black hole…

U: Or maybe a combination of the two?

L.B.: Yes exactly, which leads you to the universe, something I consider to be chaos… "Trapped In Chaos" as a title was what we felt like when we wrote the album. We toured a lot, we came back home, had nothing, and it was like “Shit, what are we gonna do now?”. We are getting a little bit older, everybody around us works hard, what are we gonna do, we can’t make a living out of the band. It felt like relationships, friendships [fell apart], so many stuff were just… Just a chaos in life. That was the idea of the artwork.

U: I interpreted it more in the way of the eyes being the mirror of the soul and, if a soul is troubled, when you stare into someone’s eyes, you might as well be staring into the abyss.

L.B.: Wow that’s really cool, I love that! It makes sense, of course, when you listen to the lyrics and you look at [the artwork], you look into the set. Take “Bloody Reign” or “Another Day In Hell”, the slow track that we did… I think everyone has this kind of days.

U: Speaking of "Another Day In hell", how challenging was it for you to write what is –for lack of better word- a power ballad?

L.B.: Not at all because it wasn’t supposed to be for Dust Bolt, I just write a lot of songs that don’t appear on albums. I wrote this on an acoustic guitar and [I thought] this could work if you play it really really heavy, in a negative sense –or Pantera sense- so I just went to the rehearsal room with Nico [drums] and we jammed it. Until the day we recorded it, I didn’t sing over it; I had the lyrics in my mind but we just jammed it. In the studio we did what we did in the rehearsal room and it felt something so we just did it.

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U: If you were a member of the Spice girls, what would be your Spice Name?

L.B.: That’s a good question! I try to think of a nickname the other guys gave me but it doesn’t make any sense. Sick Spice but that sounds stupid! I don’t know, maybe something like that? Crazy? I would say Crazy Spice –no no. (laughs) Our guitarist, Flo, has this nickname “Crazy D” because when he got drunk back in the day, he went into “Crazy D mode”. Crazy Spice. Something like that.

U: If you could have a one-minute phone conversation with a younger you, what age would you call and what would you tell yourself?

L.B.:  I don’t know the exact day but I would choose a really bad day and a bad time for myself, and I would tell myself "don't worry too much, all will be OK, you gotta get through it".

U: Final question. What do you want the band’s legacy to be?
L.B.: I would love to look back to a discography of good music, good albums; when I look back I really wanna see that we did exactly what we wanted to do at a certain point of time and I hope that some people got something out of it. And if that’s the case, it’s fine with me.

"Trapped In Chaos" is available now on Napalm Records.

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