Interview with guitarist Ekaitz, Legen Beltza (August 29th 2006)

Metal music is moving in all corners of the known world. Also in the Basque country, the north-western part of Spain, where the thrash combo Legen Beltza have been around for some time now.

The four thrash maniacs released their debut, ‘Insanity’, in 2003, and now is curious to hear what going on with the band and their forthcoming release, ‘Dimension of Pain’, set to hit the streets in September. Talented guitarist and song writer Ekaitz fills us in.  

Thomas: I’ve been familiar with your music a few years now, but I’m sure there are a lot of our readers who don’t know you. Describe your style for us and tell us how the band came together in the first place.
: Hey, thanks for the nice words. Well, let’s say that actually Legen Beltza is making music for every crazy headbanger out there who loves fast, thrashy stuff and singing some melodies from time to time. We are mainly a band that gives its best during live performances, and if the crowd is feeling good, the created atmosphere is of total madness, hehe. About the beginnings of the band, I think that most bands are created this way. Some friends meet together to rehearse a bit playing covers of their favourite bands and having some beers, and then time tells you that you need your own stuff, so that way Legen Beltza was born in mid 1998.  

Thomas: And just to set the record straight: what on earth is Legen Beltza?
: Good question! Even most Basque people don’t know its meaning! haha! Its a old composed Basque words, which was used for the deadly black plagues in the Middle Ages, but let’s say that it means LEPROSY (R.I.P. Chuck).  

Thomas: I had the opportunity to listen to a couple of your new songs during the Wacken festival. The songs sound markedly better and heavier than the tunes from ‘Insanity’. What are your expectations to ‘Dimension of Pain’?
: Oh, they finally put it out in the PA systems between the shows? LOL! Well, I’m glad that you got the difference from 'Insanity'. In the Insanity-era, even Jeff Waters told us that it would be difficult to make a better album than 'Insanity', and we thought the same, but nowadays we see it as a not so mature album. We just made 11 tracks for the album, and all went in. There were not tracks for choosing. But after releasing it, we began to write songs like machines, hehe. We made like 35 new killer songs in one year, and only 10 went into the new album! Yes, we could make a triple CD!! haha! But this way we are sure that all the tunes are killers, no fillers! It was really hurting not including some songs, there were like 7 songs that we really loved, but we didn’t have enough money to spend on recording them all. Maybe in the future we will record them ourselves and upload them on our website or something. Oh crap, I almost forgot the question itself lol! We are really willing to hear people’s opinions of 'Dimension Of Pain'. We hope that it will kick lots of asses out there, and if the distribution and the promotion is done correctly, we should go up another step on this hard ladder. The next album is getting prepared meanwhile, and believe me that we are willing to show all the world how our music works live, so we will do everything in our power to go touring out there and create the biggest mosh pits ever all around :-D  

Thomas: Who is going to release the album? Will it be distributed worldwide or just in Spain?
: It will be released by the legendary Belgium based MAUSOLEUM RECORDS. It will be distributed in Europe, Canada and the USA, and we have a deal for a next album too, so we have a lot of work to do!  

Thomas: What inspires your writing? Both in terms of the music and the lyrics?
: Musically, I never realized about the inspiration concept. If I had to say something, it would be the music I listen to, but I just start playing guitar in front of the computer and the riffs flow. There are some days that maybe I’m tired or whatever and it isn’t so easy, but if I stay more than an hour playing, there’s always something that I like. About the lyrics, [bassist and vocalist] Xanti used to write them till now (I will start too), but he is always referring to what he sees on the news or any film that he likes. It’s pretty often about paranoid or crazy people or wars or zombies or whatever, haha. He is a bit schizo.  

Thomas: Let’s go back in time a wee bit: Annihilator mastermind Jeff Waters mixed ‘Insanity’ – how exactly did this come about?
: We sent him some donuts, LOL! As you know, Jeff uses to write in his Annihilator forums, so we knew him from there, but Xanti once bought himself the bass from Alice In Hell era, so there we started a closer relationship, and when we got the deal with the American Crash Music Inc., we asked him if he would be willing to mix it, and after listening to the material, he accepted. We were really lucky and pleased to work with him.  

Thomas: The Basque country is sometimes pretty lively in terms of the separatist movement. Do you feel that many of the bands around you are politically motivated – are you yourself?
: Yes, it’s pretty normal to refer to the political situation on the lyrics anywhere, and specially if there are any special problem in your region, but it has become such a typical thing here, that everybody uses this as a commercial tool for success, so we decided from the beginning not to use it in our lyrics, as we hate the idea of taking advantage of the situation.

Thomas: How about the music scene in the Basque country? Is it alive? Is it easy to get gigs?
: Yes, it’s very active, but there’s a radio formula that moves all, and if you don’t fit there, you don’t have much to do. Only if you resist, work hard and go on through the years you can get a fan base and go on.  

Thomas: What do Basque thrash musicians do for a day job? I take it that Legen Beltza is not (yet) full time?
: Hehe. Yes, here if someone asks you “what do you do?”, and you answer “I’m a musician”, the answer is, “but in what do you for work?” haha!

We all must work, and it’s a pity when sometimes you can’t do this festival or that tour because you can’t leave your job. Sometimes we have some flexibility if we ask well in advance, but it would rule so much spending all day making music, rehearsing and touring!  

Thomas: Which five albums would you bring on your iPod to a deserted island?
: Wow, a hard decision! Don’t the iPods have more storage capability? LOL! Well, I think it would be half Blues and half Metal. Ok ok, 2 blues 1 Hard Rock and 2 Metal. Blues: JJ Cale’s “Five” and Gov’t Mule’s “Deepest End” live CD (double CD counts one ok?). Hard Rock: HTP-Hughes/Turner Project (the first one) or maybe AC/DC “Highway to Hell”. Metal: Oh crap, take out the JJ Cale one, no, leave it there, oh no, what a mess! What can I do with only two metal albums? Here we go: King Diamond’s “Abigail”, Suicidal Tendencies “Lights Camera Revolution”, Testament “First Strike Still Deadly”, Metallica “Master Of Puppets”, Exod… crap memory full!  

Thomas: Haha, yeah, it’s the iPod with very small memory I got you there…thanks for answering my questions, Ekaitz! Any last rants for our readers?
: Thanks to you bro! It has been a pleasure. Only to say that I hope to see you all someday out there onstage, and I want you motherfuckers to headbang like true metalheads do, not like those nu-metal posers, LOL!! Keep checking out our site for any news! Cheers!  

See the band’s website here:
Video from the new album is available online here:

Interviewed by Thomas Nielsen

Legen Beltza - Dimension of Pain

Album available on Mausoleum Records.

Click on the album cover to learn more about Legen Beltza.