If you’ve never listened to any Dutch metal bands before then Nijmegen five-piece Vain Louie is one hell of a place to get started. They offer up a thrilling melodic hardcore sound that’s seriously heavy, hugely energetic and curiously catchy.
The quintet of Ruben Jeurissen (vocals), Scott Hoeks (guitar / backing vocals), Thijs Janssen (guitar), Willem Lam (bass) and Sander Jeurissen (drums) tell us the Dutch metal scene isn’t huge but they are part of a blossoming community. And we can testify to the strength of Dutch metal having previously interviewed bands like AtFirst, Mountain Eye, Shuulak and Two And A Half Girl.
Vain Louie sent us latest single Decomposed, which was released last month, to get a feel for their sound. And it is awesome.
The track begins at a breakneck speed with a drum roll that launches into fast-paced riffs and pounding drums. Those continue under big screamed vocals that are joined by clean vocals, then a lively little riff over palm-muted guitars. The guitars fall away then build up to a singalong chorus of clean vocals, which ends with a section of guitars that kick into another intense verse.
And things take a darker turn at the end of the second verse, with a little key change and huge screamed vocals over drawn-out guitars and pounding drums. That ends on big guttural screams over chugging guitars and big drum rolls, then wild guitars and big cymbals bring the track to a seriously heavy ending. Give it a listen here:
Previous single Black Crow is a little more melodic, opening up with clean vocals over light guitars then building into a catchy yet heavy chorus. But things heat up with a section of big screamed vocals over booming guitars that feed into fast-paced chugging guitars under heavy vocals, which are joined by high-pitched searing guitar. But it comes to a melodic ending by dropping into a big final chorus.
And the heaviness levels are well and truly at a high on the ominously titled Danger of Death. Huge fast-paced verses feed into a lively singalong chorus of “You may try to break us all, But know that we are one and we will never let you ruin us, (You will never ruin us!), You may win the fight today, but you’ll never win the war, ‘Cause we will never get out of your way, (We’ll never get out of your way!)” supported by cool high-pitched guitar.
That drops into a huge scream of “Danger of death” over booming low-tuned palm-muted guitars under the high-pitched guitars. Check it out in the video below:
We had a chat with the band to find out more. Read on below…
GR: Who are Vain Louie?
VL: “We are VAIN LOUIE, melodic hardcore from the Netherlands. We’re not just a band but best friends as well, since we’ve all known each other since we were toddlers. We’re all from the same small village near Nijmegen, called Ewijk and we’ve grown up together. We formed a bond over years, and the product of that bond is called VAIN LOUIE.”
GR: You just released Decomposed. What should people be expecting from the song?
VL: “Decomposed is a song about struggles we all might go through about who we think we are to the outside world and who we actually are from the inside. Sometimes we might take that too far which is unfortunate because then the essence of our personality would be lost for a fake one and ‘would make you rot away on the inside.’
“We think the feeling of the song is quite ‘happy,’ which changes near the end. That’s kind of a metaphor. When we’re young our appearances are centered around beauty, which is fine, which resembles the first part of the song. But what happens when we grow older, and the beauty is supposed to make way for wisdom and experience? If you have never worked on your personality, we believe that you won’t age very well (which resembles the final part of the song). You can’t rely on your looks your whole life.”
GR: How would you describe your sound to people that haven’t listened to you yet?
VL: “We always try to find balance between creating a wall of sound that drives people mad and trying to induce an emotional reaction in someone. Most of it is just straightforward metalcore/hardcore, but we don’t want to be only that. We sometimes call it metalcore with a very cute twist!”
GR: What influences you to write music? Any key themes or topics that you write about?
VL: “Our lyrics are mostly focused on what is going on in our lives and our ways of thinking. Pretty normal things, we want people to recognize themselves in our stories. Not very big and heavy topics, we try to stay away from political views and such because we just want to have a good time. When we play our music we want to take a break from negativity and heavy topics and just tear the roof down.”
GR: Which bands/musicians are/have been your strongest musical influences?
VL: “There might be hundreds or more bands we’re influenced by. We all started by listening to bands like Metallica, Nirvana and System of a Down. Those were part of our musical upbringing, for the most of us our parents introduced us to them. Those bands made us want to make music ourselves someday. Nowadays we mostly listen to bands like Stick To Your Guns, Bury Tomorrow, Counterparts and many, many more.”
GR: We’ve met a few Dutch bands, but not very many. What are your thoughts on the Dutch metal/rock scene?
VL: “We believe metal is not very alive out here. There’s a lot of people that dislike our kind of music, and some won’t even try to understand it because it’s too far away from what they’re used to listening to. And to be fair there’s a lot of disadvantages to that, but it’s got something very cool as well.
In our region, friendships between bands begin to develop and we’re beginning to form a community amongst ourselves. It’s sort of an ‘us against them all’ feeling that is lighting a spark between us that we hope will start a fire very soon. We’re all very excited to play shows together, the scene is filled with lots of good people.”
GR: What have you got coming up in 2020?
VL: “We had a lot of shows canceled unfortunately, we live in hard times for everyone. That is the case for the music industry as well of course. There’s a lot of options for us, and we’re kind of figuring out our next step. But at the moment we’re writing new music and we’re keen to release them as soon as possible, but we have no clue to when we can dive into the studio again. In the meantime, people can follow our socials to keep track of our process and whereabouts.”
GR: Anything else you’d like people to know about you/your music?
VL: “Not particularly. But we want to thank you guys for the opportunity to get our name out there. We enjoyed it and hope a lot of people will read the article. Stay safe and indoors, we hope to talk to you very soon with new music!”