Viernulvier Launches Record Label

Belgian label founded by Viernulvier Arts Centre (formerly Vooruit) to release music composed for theatre, dance and performances.

Viernulvier Records‘ first release will be The Shedding of Skin, the debut album from the Belgian-Iraqi Use Knife, set to be released on September 30, 2022.

Listen to “Ptolemaic”.

Use Knife is the music project of Stef HeerenKwinten Mordijck and Saif Al-Qaissy, in collaboration with multidisciplinary artist Youniss Ahamad. The project first emerged when Stef and Kwinten, both also active members of Kiss The Anus Of A Black Cat, met Saif during auditions for a dance performance. The musical possibilities that presented themselves gave the gentlemen the drive to start the journey of uniting their Belgian and Iraqi musical backgrounds. 

During a residency at Viernulvier Arts Centre, synthesiser sequences were tested, rhythms exchanged, samples recorded, tape loops cut and boundaries explored. The gents also thought about how music and text could be combined with video and artwork to create a unique collaboration. 

The next step for the band was to approach multidisciplinary artist Youniss Ahamad. Taking inspiration from the artistic work of his Iraqi grandfather – a painter – he had a starting point from which to develop the visual side of things. 

Next to come on board was Radwan Ghazi Moumneh of Jerusalem In My Heart

“I was very intrigued and knew that the project in its creation nature was something quite unique and special.” So it was an immediate ‘yes’ from Moumneh when asked to mix the album in the legendary Hotel2Tango studio in Montreal, where previously the likes of Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Vic Chesnutt and Arcade Fire had all come to play.

“Working on sculpting a sonic space for all these facets of the album proved quite challenging, as finding the exact place of where these elements can not only co-exist, but rather can illuminate paths to one another. Our process of ‘fine-tooth comb’ arranging mixes and refining every minute aspect of the sonics was in itself an illuminating experience. Kept finding myself discovering and re-discovering new ways of engaging with the tracks. It was as if the more the music aged, the more different its flavour was. We were in a constant re-evaluating process of where we were at with our mixes, which is a very engaging place to be in when deep in a mix.”

The song To Feed the Gentry – on which Radwan plays buzuk and synthesizers – sprang up out of the band members’ mutual respect and appreciation for each other’s work. 

The album’s title, The Shedding of Skin, refers to the human survival instinct, the desire to leave war and disaster behind and build a new life in a completely different environment. 

In addition to making music and composing together, Saif, Kwinten and Stef had countless conversations in order to gain insight into each other’s lives. These conversations are reflected in the song lyrics: for one of them, the worst is all behind them and they are focused on a brighter future, while the other is aware of all the privileges he has been given. The need to address this inequality is reflected in the combination of dreamy Arab songs with punky Dadaist touches.

For the recordings of the Arabic percussion, vocals and wind instruments, the band worked together with Joris Caluwaerts (Stuff.Lady LinnHydrogen Sea,…) in his Finster Studio. The mastering was done by Frederik Dejongh aka Jerboa MasteringYouniss Ahamad provided the artwork, Farah Fayyad converted the English album title into Arabic script and Jef Cuypers and Chloé D’hauwe realised the graphic design of the cover. 


A1. Ptolemaic
A2. Coupe d’état
A3. True-Love Not
B1. Ed Wana Ed
B2. To Feed the Gentry (feat. Radwan Ghazi Moumneh)
B3. The Shedding of Skin

Viernulvier Records will release The Shedding Of Skin on September 30, 2022.

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