Steve & Bob of Vitality

In 2012 I did an interview with Steve and Bob of the mighty and everlasting ODK Posse who were also active in the band Vitality and ODK-Crew. In a not to underestimate beautiful and unique part of the West-Flemish Province a hardcore scene was born under the roaring sound of waves crashing onto the coast… Nothing romantic though but absolute skateboarding on the boardwalk, spray-painting and listening to Hardcore and Hip-Hop and the destruction of it all…

Willem RWHAF: Vitality is a tribe of friendship, how did it all began?
STEVE: It actually was Ilja who lived in Bruges and had a Posse.
BOB: Yes, we played basketball together and had a same passion for street art and hip hop.
STEVE: We saw the Bruges Posse and thought we were actually also a group of friends, so why not be our own Posse here in Oostduinkerke. It actually started as a joke as we were inspired and influenced by the movie “Blood In, Blood Out” and gangstyle movie.
BOB: Indeed, it started as a joke but got more serious and we let print shirts of our own Posse.

Willem RWHAF: But in the meanwhile you have a skate shop called Oodeekay! Wasn’t it also with skateboarding?
STEVE: Yes, we all skated on the streets and that’s where and how Bob and I met. We also had the same passion for the music they played in skate movies!

Willem RWHAF: Oh yeah, that’s interesting! What kind of music was that and in what year all of this happened?
STEVE: That’s hard to say, when did you start to hang out here Bob?
BOB: About 20 years ago I think.

Willem RWHAF: In the beginning of the 90’s?
STEVE & BOB: Yes, that period

Willem RWHAF: But again, what was the music you listened to back then?
STEVE: It was Flaming who got us into Hardcore.

Willem RWHAF: Suicidal Tendencies or something?
BOB: Nope, for me it was always old school hardcore and old Punk
STEVE: Yes, but also listened a lot to Pennywise. That kind of music was often used in skate movies. But we also started to attend a lot of Hardcore shows with Ilja.
BOB: I also went to those shows but I stuck to Old School mainly!
STEVE: And then when Ilja saw we got into it, he said that we also should form a hardcore band. Because he always had to travel far to rehearsal.

Willem RWHAF: I didn’t know it also started with Ilja of Congress!
BOB & STEVE: yes it did!
STEVE: But it was also Flaming, he did the drums, Ilja did Bass, you (Bob) did guitar and I vocals.
BOB: Correct! But Flaming moved elsewhere and AK (Alien King) came in his place, brought along his brother Marc. And Dobbels who also hung out with us came on drums. And with that line-up we took off in the rehearsal place “Beukenhof”.

Willem RWHAF: That’s where you guys always did the rehearsals?
STEVE: Yes, we could hire that place for a low price and it was actually also our ‘club house’, we gathered there every evening, it was a cool place to hang out together instead of spending our time at home with our parents. Also Yoeri Christiaens was always there doing his graffiti studies!

Willem RWHAF: And how did you guys then got discovered by the H8000 crew?
STEVE: By going to a lot shows of them and we also did many openings for H8000 bands, that’s how it grew.


Willem RWHAF: Probably it was Hans who proposed the deal for the tour with Sektor and the “Bloodline” CD?
STEVE: Well, Edward also was involved if I remember correctly.
BOB: But it was actually mainly Hans!
STEVE: I remember Hans saying that it was all arranged, and that after recording we all had to go to the bank to pay for our recording sessions for that CD. We were not happy with that!

Willem RWHAF: Yeah, I understand there were more bands who had troubles with Sober Mind Records. Also SOY didn’t have release posters for their Source LP!
STEVE: We won’t say further since it’s Hans who is releasing this book.

Willem RWHAF: Ok as you wish! So you went on tour with Sektor?
BOB: Yes, it was our first tour and it was mainly in Germany but also a show beyond the German border, in the Czech Republic. But mainly Belgium.
STEVE: We did also another tour with a Berlin band.
BOB: Yes!
STEVE: It was that band with their Ninja shirts. Euhm…. Disrespect was their name.

Willem RWHAF: Then you guys made it with ODK on the H8000 crew shirt with that map of West-Flanders on the back?
STEVE: Yes, we got accepted by the H8000 Crew!

Vitality “Crucial Wires” CD cover


Willem RWHAF: But later you guys went on a non-traditional H8000 label called Overcome Records? How did that happen?
BOB: David who founded that label came to Belgium on a regular basis! He also liked our Bloodline CD. He contacted us to bring out the new CD. It was also a cool period, lots of show good shows in France, which was international for us.

Willem RWHAF: alongside the KDS-crew?
BOB: Yes indeed, also a beautiful tour in France.
STEVE: I remember the cool shows in Genève, the real big open air festivals like Strasbourg Hardcore. It was a cool period. But also Dour Festival two times, also a mega big event for us.
BOB: Yes, I knew Chris who organized Dour well and that’s also how we got twice on the festival.

Willem RWHAF: Ok, we can’t forget about ODK-crew, what’s to say about that?
BOB: Well, it has always been a small side-project that I wanted to do.

Willem RWHAF: Probably because as you said earlier, because you were into Old School Hardcore?
BOB: Yeah, definitely!
STEVE: Also because we wanted to do something else that the rather mainstream Metalcore. We thought all the bands started to sound the same at a certain point. We wanted to stay creative.
BOB: Ilja was also still very Old School minded so he got involved also.
STEVE: A big influence was One Life Crew, we thought it was an awesome band!
BOB: But that also died because we got short in time and had other things in life that were necessary to make a good living.


Willem RWHAF: I understand…
STEVE: But also the guy from Overcome went bankrupt!
BOB: I wouldn’t say totally bankrupt, I think he still has activities in Hardcore!
STEVE: Yeah, we got less shows to play, less time to rehearsal and so less new songs.
BOB: these reasons but also the money factor!
STEVE: Also the entire H8000 started to crumble down.
BOB: I think the H8000 scene was hyped too much in the end!

Willem RWHAF: How do you look back on it?
STEVE: It was a great time for us, we had lots of fun.
BOB: Yes, we had great times back then!
STEVE: We were always together riding in the van to shows almost every weekend! Mainly here in Flanders, but it happened that we went to Marseille for a weekend just to play one show.
BOB: Yes, totally awesome!
STEVE: What I will remember always were the shows in the old Casino here in Koksijde, we played the place down!
BOB: Yeah, the first gig was with our CD release! Will always remember that we and the kids broke the place down!
STEVE: It also needs to be said that Jim, the big guy from Solid also did vocals for Vitality from time to time. That happened when I couldn’t be present because of my job.

Willem RWHAF: Is that crumbling down, the consequence of growing up?
BOB: I wouldn’t think so, mainly the cause of time shortage!

Willem RWHAF: Weren’t ODK crew about to record a full-length?
BOB: yes, but again time shortage destroyed those plans.
STEVE: It was also AK who was doing bigger things for the music world and he didn’t want to play in small places no more!

Willem RWHAF: So the VITALITY chapter is totally closed now?
STEVE: We still talk about doing shows again but it never gets realized, maybe when the attic at Maschi’s is redecorated as studio we can rehearse again… It also difficult to get all the people together again, we are still friends but have separate life’s.

Willem RWHAF: Any last words?
STEVE: We are glad to be mentioned in the H8000 book, it’s a proof we existed and did things in Hardcore for a while.

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