In August 2014 Herne and Nemetona caught up with legendary Belgian Pagan folk band Rastaban for an interview backstage at Castlefest’s 10th anniversary!
Herne: So we’re sat here with Rastaban
Nemetona: How are you doing?
Dominic: Oh, not bad.
Herne: You’ve just done a performance on the main stage atCastlefest; fantastic performance, absolutely brilliant!
Nemetona: It was excellent!
Herne: So how did you find it?
Mich: It’s always amazing. I think it’s the best place you can imagine for a gig, for a band of our category, actually and in this scene. There’s something magical here that you don’t find in other events. It’s really something special when you have thousands of people gathering, you feel these really good vibes everywhere and the way they are welcoming you on stage is really…you see today we were playing at half past ten in the morning, it was just full of people dancing and screaming and having fun. You don’t see that in many places, so it’s…yeah. It’s Castlefest, it’s a family gathering actually, more than anything else.
Herne: It’s got an amazing atmosphere. So, ok. The influence of Rastaban; what was the inspiration?
Mich: Oooh; I think every one of us has different influences and different backgrounds.
Dominic: We come mainly from the rock scene,
Dominic: Marine of course, from the Reggae scene,
Marine: (Laughs) Yes!
Mich: But to say that we have an influence; traditional music is a base, and we are trying to put this energy that we inherited from our past in the rock scene, basically. So that’s kind of how it works, but it’s more, yeah. We don’t have a plan, we have to take it like this, and this; we just have to feel it and it comes…our music is who we are, as persons, too, so. To say that we have one influence is difficult to say, because even though on the traditional level we are always inspired by a lot of different cultures, mainly European, so there are no borders to our influences at that level.
Herne: Seeing the energy that you guys perform with, it’s just awesome, and I know it’s hot up there…where do you get this energy from?
Mich: Adrenaline; and it’s an exchange with the audience. If the audience is there and is responsive to what we do, you can just give 200% of what you have to put more strength to this interaction. It’s really something special; but after that, we’re dead! (Laughing) I think today we will be really, really early going to bed after these three days; three days of complete craziness! But crazy in a positive way, of course!
Nemetona: So you’ve been here for pretty much the whole weekend. Is there any act that you’ve seen that’s stood out that you’ve really enjoyed this weekend in particular?
Dominic: Of course, Irfan and Coppelius. And Prima Nocta.
Mich: And La Horde are friends also. We just played with them too and most of the bands we know them personally, and we’ve already seen them. I really like Dikanda, too; the gypsy vibes and such; they were amazing.
Nemetona: it was an excellent opening concert, that’s for sure.
Mich: Yeah, it was great.
Herne: Fantastic album so far. Any plans for another album?
Dominic: We are writing some songs, we played some new songs today. The reaction they had was good. So yeah, we are on the way for the second one.
Mich: We are planning for next year, probably. We don’t really have deadlines and stuff, we are really… we do it really smoothly and without pressure. We probably start to record some of them by this autumn, and so probably for 2015, somewhere in the summer; we don’t know, it’s just trying to plan it and already some of the concepts of the album, and we think we will invite a lot of friends to join us as guests also on different songs
Mich: Just to put an extra touch to our sound.
Nemetona: So we’ve spoken a bit about the musical influence, what’s the influence behind the band name? Is it a specific meaning, or?
Mich: Yes, it was actually chosen quite fast because we had to choose a name in a couple of days (laughing) so I was just trying to find something quite universal and still really roots, primitive, and something to the core, you know? And so I was just watching all these names of constellations, and Rastaban is actually the name of a star.
Mich: It comes from an Arabic expression, which literally means the eye of the dragon, the eye of the snake because the star Rastaban is right in the head of the constellation of the dragon. So it’s nice, and the foundation of the band was the start of the year of the dragon in the Chinese calendar, so it’s symbolic and everything. Yeah, that’s it so. It has nothing to do with reggae music!
Mich: But we like the aspect of people ‘Oh it’s probably reggae music’ and then they come to see us and ‘Oh! No! Ok…’
Nemetona: ‘That’s different!’
Mich: So it can be funny for us, to put people on the wrong direction about our music style. That’s basically how the name was chosen.
Nemetona: That’s brilliant.
Herne: We should do the obligatory silly question.
Nemetona: Yes! We should. Biscuits?
Herne: Biscuits! Ok, what’s your favourite biscuit?
Nemetona: Or cookie.
Mich: Uh…You know…éclairs au chocolat?
Mich: You should try it! It’s not really a cookie, it’s a pastry from Belgium. What’s your favourite cookie? (To the rest of the band)
Mich: (translates) Sausage!
Stephan: I don’t like sugar
Mich: He doesn’t like sugar, so it’s sausage!
Marine: Cookies with white chocolate.
Herne: White chocolate cookies; yeah!
Mich: Ahh le Cha-Cha! You probably don’t know what a Cha-Cha is?
Dominic: Twix, yeah Twix.
Nemetona: Ahh, yes!
Mich: But the Cha-Cha, you will just find it in Belgium, it’s really Belgian.
Herne: Is it the same with biscuit, and caramel?
Dominic and Mich: Yeah
Herne: And you eat it a certain way; you eat the chocolate, then you eat the caramel, then you eat the biscuit!
Everyone: Yes! (Laughing)
Nemetona: You go around the edges, and then..yeah!
Herne: Also, if you bite one end, bite the other end, dip it in coffee and use it as a straw; fantastic!
Nemetona: That’s just you, I think.
Herne: I’m strange. Is there anything you would like to say to the listeners?
Dominic: Thanks for listening to Wyldwood Radio! Because these people are really fantastic.
Mich: Yup! I can confirm!
Nemetona: Thank you!
Mich: You’re really right, we listen to Wyldwood Radio, and thanks for listening to us because they are playing our songs too!
Mich: So we hope you enjoy it, and er…
Dominic: It’s good to listen to your radio while we are working in the office, because it’s quiet, and it gives me a good energy at work, even at night when I’m still working, I play Wyldwood radio, so.
Nemetona: Thank you!
Mich: Yup! Thank you for existing, Wyldwood Radio!
Nemetona: Thank you, yeah!
Herne: Thank you for existing! If it weren’t for you, there wouldn’t be a station, if it weren’t for the listeners it wouldn’t be. We just sit in the middle, you know?
Nemetona: Yeah, we just drag it in, and do it, yeah!
Herne and Nemetona: Thank you!
Mich: Thank you, too!
You can find out more about Rastaban over on their Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/rastabanmusic
Their YouTube channel is here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCVaX0gZg09_PyIIp8P3r78A
And this is their ReverbNation: http://www.reverbnation.com/rastabanmusic