Belgian rockers The Rocket are the epitome of fun, straightforward pop-punk meets punk rock. They write songs because they like writing songs, they make fun to listen to upbeat, catchy party music and, while their lyrics often delve into the category of silly, it’s very much from the heart and genuine.
The Rocket began as a side project of vocalist Tom and their former synth player in the search of something more ‘theatrical.’ What resulted was, honestly, a punk rock musical called The Incredible Ninja Attack which, unsurprisingly, never quite came off but the music they wrote laid the foundations for The Rocket. They’ve since developed a reputation as a ‘cool, energetic costume party band’ around the Benelux region.
They’ve had their fair share of line-up changes and even took a break for a while, but luckily that pause in activity rekindled the fire and led them to where they’re at now, with a new album on the horizon next month.
On the album, guitarist and songwriter Stijn Debontridder told us: “We’re beyond excited to be releasing new music again! We’re very happy with how the album turned out. It’s definitely got an ‘American touch,’ largely due to the team we worked with, and we’re really happy with that. We really tried to leave the beaten track with this one and I think we succeeded, but let’s be honest: this isn’t rocket science either (no pun intended). So expect an energetic, upbeat, and vibrant pop-punk record!”
The latest offering of their sound is the cool Chain Reaction, which was released in December. It opens with an almost video game sounding synthy intro then dives into fast-paced, catchy pop-punk mode, with the high-pitched synth lingering throughout. Check it out in the video below:
This is the band’s third album, much of it was recorded in a DIY format and the final tracks that make the cut have been slashed down from an initial shortlist of 25 demos. As Stijn explains: “Once we started writing things came so fast so naturally. The initial demos were written over a four-month period, which is an insane speed when you think of it. After that, we took things a bit more slowly and we approached each part of the production process with great care. We got to work with some amazing people along the way, and we got to do the better part of the recordings in the comfort of our own home studio, which was a blessing.
“Recording at home allows you to really set your own pace, without adhering to studio opening hours or anything like that. If we wanted to record deep into the night, we did so. If we wanted to take a break and grab a beer at 2 in the afternoon, we did exactly that. It’s the little things like taking a walk or grabbing a bite without looking at the clock that make for a relaxed recording environment. Probably partly due to that, I feel like the overall process went really smoothly, no serious problems at any time.”
The Rocket are only the second band we’ve met from Belgium, so we asked Stijn for his thoughts on his homeland’s music scene. He said: “You should seriously talk to more Belgian bands! There’s so much talent in our little country. As far as pop punk / punk rock goes we have a disproportionate number of great bands in Belgium.
“I think one of the reasons for that is that we’ve been blessed with the great festival that is Groezrock for the last decade(s). The festival really brought an influx of cool punk rock and hardcore-oriented bands to Flanders, and the scene naturally flourished around that. Great bands like You Nervous?, For I Am, F.O.D., The Waiting Game, Young Hearts, Generation 84, Mountains To Move, etc. all have their roots in our little scene, and what’s cool about Belgian punk rock is that, due to our country being so small, we all know each other pretty well. It’s great seeing friends week after week at shows in and around Belgium. There’s also a trend of Belgian bands being more ambitious as before, touring more and farther than before. F.O.D. are prime examples of that, as are For I Am. They’re both currently touring the UK, which is just rad.
“I think it’s just as hard in Belgium to get noticed as a band as it is in any European country. Hardly any ‘harder’ music gets mainstream attention, so it all hinges on having a good live show to convince people at concerts, and at least equally important, having great music and an online presence to top it off. I think we’re evolving more and more into a European scene, as opposed to segregated national scenes. And I think that’s a great thing.”
Let’s hope Stijn’s right in that, as we’ve certainly discovered plenty of great music from across Europe and we’re seeing more and more ‘smaller’ British bands making their way onto European tours and vice versa.
The Rocket will be premiering a new track Lost At Sea shortly, then the new album is out in April and they’re planning a series of shows in Belgium and beyond to support it.