dEUS are, by definition, the mother of all Belgian bands. Before they shot to international fame in 1994, no-one outside Belgium even knew there was such thing as a Belgian music scene. To give a little background (although there are so many websites now just dedicated to this incredible band it seems a little pointless to try and compete), the band was formed in around 1992 by Tom Barman and Stef Kamil Carlens, already a well-known musician in Belgium in his own right, fronting his own bands A Beatband and Moondog Jr. In the beginning, dEUS endured many line-up changes, before settling on their van-driver Julle/Jules de Borgher, who was drafted in as drummer, and the Ghent-born guitarist, painter and artist Rudy Trouve, already a national legend, joined at about the same time, also already well-established. However, tired and bored of the constraints (at that time) of trying to establish themselves and work in Belgium, the fledgling band moved their entire operation to Spain, where they were joined by Klaas Janzoons, a violinist and all-round musician.

On returning to Belgium in 1993, having played their first gig in this line-up at the Music Box club in Antwerp, the band signed with a small new independent label, then named Jack&Johnny (which would later be renamed Musickness), and released their debut single, a 4-track EP named 'Zea'. It was an early taster of great things to come, quite unlike anything which had ever been done before - eclectic, jagged and skewed, mixing in samples and loops from film soundtracks and influential records, and yet every track was independent of every other track stylistically, featuring the cut-up weirdness of 'Zea Intro Replica', leading into the much more catchy and mainstream-sounding twisted pop-song 'Zea' itself, then totally going off at a tangent for the next track, the beautiful, wistful acoustic song 'Right as Rain', and ending on the classic 'Great American Nude' (which, in retrospect, would feature as a kind of Trouve signature sound).

Initial interest was sparked off by this astonishing EP, which then led to the band going into the studio to record what would become their debut album - 'Worst Case Scenario'. The first single taken from the album was the instant classic 'SUdS & SOdA'. And, quite against all expectations, the song not merely rocketed to Number 1 in Belgium, it also charted Top 10 right across Europe, and also in the USA, where MTV picked up on it and gave it heavy rotation, with its accompanying video. dEUS were instantly international stars, and followed on from their immediate success with the release of 'Via', the second track released from the album. This also charted highly, as did the release of 'Worst Case Scenario' itself, becoming an often-quoted massively influential record on many bands, not merely in the Lowlands but internationally.

The album itself is in exactly the same style as its released singles - that is to say, absolutely no discernible categorised style whatsoever. The listening public soon learned to expect the unexpected from dEUS. Skeletal, wasted blues with loping, technically-perfect basslines (clearly showing Carlens' personal style of musicianship) rubbed shoulders with yowling, energising radio-feedback-distortion guitars from Trouve and Barman; oblique and obscure lyrics clashed with simple songs, showcasing Tom Barman's extraordinary range of vocal styles, influenced by such luminaries as Tom Waits and Captain Beefheart, but always loaded with his own personal x-factor, and the highly idiosyncratic and unique vocal style of Stef Kamil Carlens, heavily influenced by 20's blues singers and by Bob Dylan. Violins, radios, metalophones, melodicas, gasheating, pianos and even ukeleles were used in ways previously unheard-of.

But, while the whole piece could have ended up going so disastrously wrong, so totally chaotic that it was pretentiously unlistenable, dEUS got the mix exactly right. Nothing sounded out of place; the songs were so beautifully crafted and skilfully performed that even the mad and often hysterical conflict between five totally polarised musicians, each with their own very idiosyncratic styles, seemed to crash and fuse together in an collision of perfect, lunatic beauty and passion. Or as one magazine's reviewer put it so succinctly, dEUS made with this album a kind of "...art-wank... But, as a big fan of art and wanking, I make no apologies for proclaiming dEUS the most refreshing guitar aspirants of 1994. As divine as their name suggests" (Peter Paphides, Time Out).

Now firmly established in the public awareness, especially in their homeland, where they were hailed as the first true Belgian rock band, dEUS found themselves at the figurehead of an incredible and extraordinary uprising of new, young Belgian talent. Naturally they continued to pursue their own wealth of personal side-projects - Tom Barman with General Electrique, a kind of trip-hop band that would later become Cinerex; Rudy Trouve with never any fewer than 7-10 projects on the go, currently at that time with Kiss My Jazz, Gore Slut, and Lionell Horrowitz and his Combo; and Stef Kamil Carlens still dividing his time equally between dEUS and Moondog Jr (now Zita Swoon).

Tom Barman and Craig Ward

But alongside them rose new, independent young Belgian bands such as Metal Molly; Evil Superstars (featuring Mauro Pawlowski, soon to become another leading light in the Flemish rock scene, gaining international status very quickly whilst supporting dEUS on much of their world tour), and later Mitsoobishi Jacson; Die Anarchistische Abendunterhaltung (DAAU) (whose cover of 'SUdS & SOdA' gained them instant recognition and international success, even being released on the USA-only re-release of the single by dEUS themselves); Soulwax, aka the Flying Dewaele Brothers; An Pierle; the Kinky Star label in Ghent, featuring many varied and differing bands such as Vive La Fete, Sexmachines, Wizards of Ooze, Think of One, Flowers for Breakfast, De Bossen, and Das Pop;  and many more bands, inspired and eager to follow in the wake of dEUS' extraordinary worldwide success.

However, between the release of 'Worst Case Scenario', the gruelling and exhaustive tour schedule, and the commencement of writing new material for the next album (which would become 'In A Bar, Under the Sea'), Rudy decided, after a deep tour depression had hit both him and Stef hard, that he wanted to concentrate more on his own personal projects. Also, it appears that he had been personally unhappy in the band for a while, and so he left dEUS just a short time into recording the new material, contributing only to a few tracks on the album, such as 'Roses' and 'A Shocking Lack Thereof but leaving them with the artwork for the album sleeve, and also for the singles' sleeves for 'Roses',  'Theme from Turnpike', 'Little Arithmetics' and 'Fell Off The Floor, Man'. This was a major blow for the band, as they had previously relied very heavily on his paintings and legendary guitar playing which had become a kind of dEUS signature. A new guitarist, Craig Ward, a Scottish poet/guitarist and an ex-pat to Belgium who had worked with Rudy in the past as a member of Kiss My Jazz, was drafted in to replace him on the album, and contributed a small amount of material, in the shape of 'Nine Threads'. But an equally big shock was to follow not long after Trouve's departure.

It now transpired that Stef Kamil Carlens, founder member with Barman, major songwriting force and the longest-established of the musicians in the band, had also been having personal problems within the band, and had been considering leaving for some time. He continued with dEUS right through the writing and recording of 'In A Bar, Under The Sea', but by the release of the album in late 1995, and just as the dEUS promotional tour warm-up began in England, Stef decided at the very last moment - in fact, on the day of the first tour-date, which took place at the Portsmouth Wedgewood Rooms - to leave dEUS. Stranded without (what many considered) their unofficial (but widely accepted) second frontman, Barman brought a Ghent-based bassist, Danny Mommens (who had previously played in his own band, Sexmachines), into the line-up. (I was at that gig, and witnessed the difficult and baffled attempts by Tom Barman to explain the events leading up to the last-moment decision on Stef's part, which was clearly a painful thing to have to do.)

However, the tour continued to great success, and the album sold well across Europe. It is a really beautiful album, full of typical dEUS contrasts - from the perfect mainstream-style-crossover country-pop of the single 'Little Arithmetics' (which was voted 'Single of the Week' by Chris Evans on his UK Radio 1 Breakfast Show, and charted well, bringing new recognition on these shores for the band), to the twisted jazz-art-rock of 'Theme from Turnpike' and the schizophrenic, warped distortion-fest of 'Roses', to the seriously funky and equally warped James Brown-esque 'Fell Off The Floor, Man'. All of these singles did very well chart-wise across Europe. But it was the short art film for 'Theme from Turnpike' which garnered most attention. Directed by Tom Barman and featuring well-known art-film actors as well as the band themselves (minus Stef by this point, although he and Rudy both appeared for a final time in the video for 'Roses'), the film opened across the continent as a supporting piece for 'Trainspotting', and drew much media attention.

Their third album, 'The Ideal Crash', was released in 2000; recorded at La Ronda in Spain, this was the first dEUS album without the presence of Carlens or Trouve in any form. It also showcased the brand-new dEUS logo, which replaced the old one for good. Opinion is divided as to exactly how mainstream a direction the album took, yet their songs remained strong, and the critics loved it, hailing it as more accessible than its predecessors and yet equally inventive. The first single released, 'Instant Street' sold very well across Europe and also in the UK; it is a classic, poignant dEUS song with one of their trademark freakouts to finish up with, and the two main riffs have even spawned (of all things) two mobile phone ringtones, invented by Menno Echnie (and put up by Jyves) to liven up his cellphone (and mine, and yours too if you have a Nokia and go here to pick up instructions of how to program it in!). The second release from the album, 'Sister Dew', was more of a string-driven ballad, with a Barman-directed video. The eponymous song 'The Ideal Crash' was also released as a single.

After a long period of working, and following some trauma within the line-up, dEUS finished touring and took a well-earned break. However, there's never a dull moment in the dEUS camp, and so in 2001, they lost Craig Ward from the line-up permanently (having moved back to America with his wife). At the end of the year, dEUS released a single 'Nothing Really Ends', and are working on material for a new album. They have also just released a career retrospective compilation album 'No More Loud Music', and a collection of their short films and music videos entitled 'No More Video'.

dEUS related projects

You can find our Zita Swoon pages here.

Rudy Trouve was also working as hard as ever with all of his side-projects, and had just formed his latest band, Dead Man Ray, along with Daan Stuyven (a former graphic designer and solo singer-guitarist-songwriter), working on material for the brilliant debut album 'Berchem', the singles from which, namely, 'Chemical', 'Copy of 78',  and 'Beegee/Inc.' charted extremely well across mainland Europe, but have as of yet not crossed the waters elsewhere. Kiss My Jazz were also very busy, releasing their albums 'In Doc's Place, Friday Evening', 'In the Lost Souls Convention' and 'In A Service Station' (featuring many musicians from all the major Antwerp bands), as were Gore Slut, releasing the albums 'These Days Are The Quiet Kind' and 'Above the Lisa Drugstore'. However, at the beginning of the new Millennium, it was decided that Kiss My Jazz would split up after a short final tour of the Lowlands, ending in Utrecht in January 2000. At this final show, Buni Lenski from DAAU played violin as special guest, and was seen in the audience of many of the preceding shows. It was a mutual decision to split agreed by all members of the current line-up, as, according to Rudy, 'Bands ouder dan 10 jaar zijn stout' (or in English, 'Bands older than 10 years old are bad'). (Quote thanks to Bastiaan Verhage, our eyewitness!!!)

However, this has left him with more time to concentrate on his major current band, Dead Man Ray, who have released their second album 'Trap' and are currently working on their third. Daan Stuyven has also been busy writing, recording and releasing his own solo album 'Profools' over the break since the release of 'Berchem'. The band are enjoying a great deal of popularity and success across Europe. Rudy is also working with another two bands, Lionell Horrowitz and his combo, and Cynthia Appleby. And probably several hundred others, about which I know precisely nothing! But Quinten van Wichelen can give you all the answers: go here to find out exactly what Rudy is getting up to right now.

As for Tom Barman, he has also been keeping very busy with projects of his own, including working again with General Electrique, who later evolved into Cinerex. He features in both singing and writing roles on their debut album 'Exit All Areas Pt. 2', along with DAAU, who played on two tracks, 'Tumbleweed' and 'This Is For You'. He's also been working on material with CJ Bolland, film-making, DJ'ing at festivals and even modelling! He has also been touring with Guy van Nueten doing acoustic shows across Europe - you can see our photos of the London leg here.

So - who knows what the rest of the Millennium will bring for dEUS and all their many offspring? Well, the best places of all to look for new information hot off the press is Arthur's incredible I Suffer Rock website - frankly, what you can't find out there ain't worth knowing. And don't forget to drop in at Jyves's Hotellounge, as well as Quinten's Dead Beat Town for Trouve news. All eyes are on dEUS to find out news of the next album... and what will be coming in the future is anyone's guess! ;)=  For more information on any of the bands mentioned in this little history-of-sorts, please visit the sites on our Cool Links Page; and drop in at the ODP dEUS Resource List discover other sites of interest.

Here are our dEUS Gallery Pages for your perusal:

dEUS Gallery 1 has exclusive live and backstage shots, taken by La Elissa.
dEUS Gallery 2 has some more dEUS shots by Mandi Apple and Michael McCarthy, and a couple of live Soulwax photos by Elise.
dEUS Gallery 3 has MORE live shots.

dEUS Gallery 4 has lots of scans from magazine articles over the years; some are featured on this page.
dEUS Gallery 5 features live photos from Tom Barman's acoustic show in London on 13/2/2002.