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A Dirty Dozen with JAN BRUGGEMAN of FRAGMENTUM – May 2019

 

According to a recent press release: “The phrases “melodic” and “death metal” don’t necessarily go hand in hand, but Fragmentum are one of the few bands that take the unique approach of combining both factions together – as heard throughout their debut album, ‘Pugnacity,’ which was released on May 10, 2019 via Into Records.” We get lead guitarist Jan to discuss new music, influences, and much more…

1. Tell us a little about your latest release.  What might a fan or listener not grab the first or second time they listen through?  Are there any hidden nuggets the band put in the material or that only diehard fans might find?

Well, generally speaking, the guitar lines on the Pugnacity songs are mainly straight in the face, but you’ll definitively hear more and more details coming out every time you listen to the songs. Especially the breaks have a big growth factor, once you know them you go crazy on them. Mainly speaking for the keyboard lines, we have mixed them a little backwards or have a little fade in or out during the song. That gives some depth to the whole and makes the album congenial to listen to several times.

2. What got you into music, and can you tell us about the moment you realized you wanted to be a musician?

My parents send me to classical music school when I was a kid. Following courses for 8 years, I basically learned a lot, like reading notes and understanding how to interpret (written) music. On the other hand I mainly missed the theory behind and I wondered why some music could play with my (or anyone’s) emotions. This curiosity was my impetus to go for studying music in a broader way and I ended up in following courses in a more alternative way, buying theory books, studying jazz… until I had the feeling there was enough cognition so I could be a ‘free’ musician.

3. Building on that, is there a specific song, album, performer, or live show that guided your musical taste?

That is hard to say, because from the day you’re born you become influenced with so many things you even don’t realize they provide a fundament. For instance, at the age of 15, suddenly I realized I knew plenty songs from The Beatles without really listening to their albums. Beside that I always had a tape ready to record some songs I liked on the radio (there was no internet at that time). Listening to all kinds of music, I just tried to feel if the song did something with my feelings. Looking back I must say most old school hard rock was not really touching me. As a result of that I searched for some more extremes or progressive things.

4. Who would be your main five musical influences?

Five main not metal influences: The Beatles, Paul Simon, The Animals, Deep Purple, and Therapy. These five following bands really pushed me into metal: Edge Of Sanity (The Spectral Sorrow), Amorphis (Tales From The Thousand Lakes), In Flames (Whoracle), Dimmu Borgir (Enthrone Darkness Triumphant), and Paradise Lost (Draconian Times).

5. If you could call in any one collaborator to do a song with, who would it be, and why?

Also hard to say, but quickly thinking I would go for In Flames at this moment. They have always combined fantastic rhythmic parts with catchy melodies. As I’m listening to their new album, Anders Friden even improved his vocals, alternating beautiful melodic clean lines with powerful screaming that give me chills. They also have tons of experience, so we could learn a lot from them in various ways.

6. How would you describe your music to someone who’d never listened to you before? What is the one comparison a reviewer or fan has made that made you cringe or you disagreed with?

Maybe because we formed our band later in life, we can say our music has already grown up, assimilating many influences. Gunnar and I have a quite different approach, but trying to find best of both worlds we come to a better result than the starting point of the song. So Melodic Doom/Death Metal is covering our music style, but even then it will be a surprise listening to our songs, I suppose. Anyway we got a lot of comparisons with other metal bands, mostly rather diverging, but that’s good. People can recognize shreds of their own favorite bands in our music and put the pieces together once they know the songs better. That’s an interesting challenge and we’re curious about more opinions from the audience!

7. What’s the best thing about being a musician?

Well, music is eternal and ubiquitous, so being part of that is amazing. It’s all about energy and emotions. Even after a rehearsal I make a little consideration, did I feel the energy so I can reload the batteries or is this sucking me dry? You can feel enormously happy or disappointed after a gig or a repetition. Music is my Yin and Yang. It can result in a complete changeover of my mind and that is a wonderful thing. So music comes in two layers: first you have your music itself, but depending on your feelings and on the atmosphere around you, it’s the way you beam your music to the audience.

8. When the band are all hanging out together, who cooks; who gets the drinks in; and who is first to crack out the acoustic guitars for a singalong?

On tour with Children Of Bodom in the USA we had to travel a lot and be well organized. I had the feeling everyone took his responsibilities at the right moment. So, hard to say who’s the most lunatic guy of us. It’s just cool to see how everyone is taking his moment now and then.

9. When was the last time you were star struck and who was it?

Really star struck must date from my childhood but to get finally in contact with the guys from Children Of Bodom was a dream come true. Since they are very focused and into their shows and following a tight schedule to persist the whole tour, we were very honored they took some time to shake hands and take some really cool pictures all together. An awesome moment!

10. If you weren’t a musician, what would be your dream job?

We’re all combining music with our jobs. In my case I have a job where I can take care of my own program as being self-employed. Not being a musician, maybe I could more easily choose for a defiant job in a fast growing company with a young and dynamic working environment or stay self-employed, but working harder on that?

11. Looking back over your career, is there a single moment or situation you feel was a misstep or you would like to have a “do over”, even if it didn’t change your current situation?

Looking back there are always things you wanted to have done differently, but it’s a lesson in life that this is never possible. There is only now and the future (which is uncertain), so in fact I’m glad with my current situation. My parents always pushed me to explore new horizons and see things in different perspectives. I learned a lot from that approach, but as a result, especially relative to music, I could not focus enough. But when you focus too much on one thing you lose your open-mindedness and maybe even your creativity, so it’s hard to say!

12. If you could magically go back in time and be a part of the recording sessions for any one record in history, which would you choose – and what does that record mean to you?

There are many recording sessions I would like to have joined, but maybe I should choose one of my reference metal bands I mentioned above. Working together with Peter Tägtgren as a record producer, running The Abyss studio, must surely be a crazy experience. He has an incredible list of production credits and I’m fan of as good as every band he produced, so Pete to the top!

FRAGMENTUM LINKS:

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Todd ‘ToddStar’ Jolicoeur

Category: Interviews

About the Author ()

ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

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