Spoil Engine embarked on an eight date-tour in China to promote their latest record ‘Stormsleeper’. We had a chat about this crazy experience with singer Iris Goessens. We talked about their biggest crowd ever, work obligations and bull dick soup.
The Chinatour was announced really last minute, is their any explanation for this?
Yes! Going on tour in Asia needs more organisation than a tour in Europe. None of us ever did this, so we wanted to get everything 100% confirmed and arranged before we would announce the tour. We needed visas, book flights, arrange backline with the promotors there and get informed about the rules in China. Especially the visas were a last minute stressy situation. We only knew a few days before we would fly to China that everyones visa was approved!
Spoil engine is a five piece band, but your second guitarplayer (Bart Vandeportaele) didn’t join this tour, how come?
One simple thing : work obligations. Because everything went so fast with this tour Bart could not get days off anymore. He’s a teacher so he can not just disappear from class any moment. It was a tough decision for him and the whole band too, but there was simply no other way. We send him photos and updates every day & he would send us a message just before showtime. We hope to go back with all 5 of us another time.
What’s the biggest difference between European festivals and Chinese ones?
Let’s compare it to festivals in Belgium and the Netherlands.. They can learn A LOT from the Chinese. The punk/metal mentality is so alive there. People are still going completely insane at concerts on really hard shit. There is so much soul & heart in it! While here the majority just comes to watch and have an opinion… Which is fine, but not as much fun as a crowd AND a band that wants to have a crazy party and rage together. In China they still want to see and feel raw and pure energy, while here people just want to be entertained and the quality & message doesn’t matter that much anymore. Germany for example is a whole other story, that’s why I don’t want to compare it to Europe in General. We play Wacken this year and we already know that that will be one hell of a party.
Do you have any crazy stories about this tour?
Too many. The Chinese people have different habits than Europeans. Especially when it comes to food, toilets and security. Our tourmanager Stan taught us a lot about the Chinese habits and culture. I personally thought China was a very strict country with lots of structure and rules. He taught me the first day that in many occasions the only rule is: there are no rules. A simple example is the traffic. In Beijing 25 million people live and it feels like they’re all on the streets at the same time, riding bikes and cars, blowing their horns just to say I AM HERE. You need eyes in the back of your head to keep up with everything that happens around you. They take very seriously public safety. We traveled most of the time by high speed trains. Which meant that at every station we had to go through a kind of security check that we in Europe only know in airports. All our luggage through the scanner, through a metal detector, show our passports and stuff. Another thing was the food. It was good! But for our bodies not something we are used to. I got sick from uncooked noodle stuff one night which was a killer for my voice in combination with the jetlag. But our tourmanager figured out what we could handle after a few nights. In Chinese culture you share everything on the table instead of having your own plate. One night we took Stan & his colleague out to a Belgian restaurant and introduced him to our food habits. It’s really cool to share those things with each other. Although we did not try much of the more “traditional” kinds of Chinese food, which included bull dick soup and baby mice. They eat them alive! (Only in a part of the South of China)
Correct me if i’m wrong, but I guess the Midi festival was Spoil Engine’s biggest crowd ever, can you describe what you experienced that day?
Definitely the biggest crowd ever. I loved It! And it was also surreal. We did a signing session afterwards and we needed an escort to make a path through the crowd.. haha! I think I took at least 1000 pictures with fans that day. The love and appreciation you feel is just amazing. Chinese people are really sweet.
You guys were the only European band on this festival, do you have any idea why they chose Spoil Engine for this one?
Yes, it’s not an easy one to get on. They choose one band out of hundreds, so we were very honoured to get an invitation. We have an image that sells in China. They probably saw that before we did ourselves. For us it was one big adventure that turned out as the journey of a lifetime.
Is their anything else you need to say about this experience, please do!
I will never forget this tour and I really hope we get the opportunity to go back to China. The country has many beautiful aspects and not only the negative sides you see here in the media. It’s very modern. I would recommend anyone: go there and see for yourself!
What does the future hold for Spoil Engine?
We’re just getting started! We keep growing as a band and a team and I’m sure there will follow much more. We’re doing an European tour now. So let’s finish that first!
Thank you for the interview Iris, hope to see you guys tear down some Belgian festivalstages this summer!
Stormsleeper was released about a year ago. If you haven’t checked it out yet, you really, really should!