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Interview: Delain
 
Of someone who had to quit a very successful band like Within Temptation because of serious sickness and therefore missing the big bucks, you could expect to be a little bit bitter or grumpy. But Martijn Westerholt is nothing like that. Not even a tight promotion schedule for the German album release of the debut album LUCIDITY of his new band Delain could make the mood of this guy become dull. So he patiently answered Vicki B.'s questions.

Date:
 V.B. 08.08.2007

We asked...
 At first, Delain was planned to be a project, but now you ended up with a steady band line-up. Why did you decide on that change?

Martijn Westerholt: Well, I was thinking about it when I was feeling better. In 2001 I had this Pfeiffer's disease which took like 4 or 5 years. When I started with Delain as a project, I was not even thinking about doing anything live, because physically it was just not possible. When I was starting to feel better I was really thinking, if it was possible to do some gigs, only a few. At a certain point I ended up doing interviews and now I'm doing shows for a week, so it just grew and got busier. And it really started when we released the album in Holland last year, so the band is really just a year old now.


So you just had a real line-up, but now one of your guitar players, Ray van Lente, decided to leave the band. What were the reasons for that and why did you decide not to replace him?

Well, there are several reasons. There was a really good atmosphere in the band, but with Ray this certain "click" was missing. There was no argument at all, but I was really expecting there could be some fights in a year from now. And I thought if we have to make a move to prevent that, we would have to make it really quickly, right now, because otherwise it would become more difficult. So, we just parted ways and actually it's still very…how do you say…it's going very positively now. He is not in the band, but still involved. We thought we don't have to search for another one, because the music is written for one guitar. We don't have harmonies in the guitar stuff, only when you have solos and the rhythm stuff, that's the only difficult part. But that's easily solved, so we thought we would not search for a replacement.


Are you often compared to Within Temptation? And if so, does it bother you or do you see it as a necessity, because it's also part of your history?

Yes and no (laughs). Yes, of course, we are compared to Within Temptation a lot and some people don't read my biography very well, so they don't know that I make this music for almost ten years now and I was one of the founding members of Within Temptation. So if people think we look like Within Temptation, perhaps the one who should be permitted to is me anyway (laughs). But it doesn't bother me at all and we just make the music that comes from our hearts, what we like to make and it doesn't matter to me if there is 1 or 1000 other bands who do the same or comparable music. I don't mind, no.


But doesn't it also mean that people have certain expectations and look at you more critical?

Yeah, that also. On the one hand, you have the handicap that you have to start over, you have to begin a new band. And on the other hand people know you're new, but they also have expectations, because of my past in Within Temptation, so they also expect a certain level and that's difficult, because you have to live up to that. Of course, we're trying to and hope we live up to that, but that's for the people to decide. It's not all very easy. People think you have a good network, you know a lot of people, you have good and well-known guest musicians, but it's not only easy, it's also difficult.


What does Delain mean? How did you come up with that name?

It means absolutely nothing (laughs). It's comparable to parents who have a child and just want to give it a beautiful name and not always it means something. Sometimes it does, of course, but there are also a lot of people where it doesn't mean anything. And for us it's the same. I read it in a book of Stephen King ("The Eyes of the Dragon", protagonist Roland Delain) and somehow it felt like it totally fits and I liked the name, it's a beautiful name, so I gave my child the name Delain (laughs).


And how did you decide on the title LUCIDITY? What is becoming lucid to the people who listen to your album?

Oh, that's a good question and also not really my department, because Charlotte thought of that. She also wrote most of the lyrics. But lucid is more like dreamy kind of music and that fits well. And we have this song "Daylight Lucidity" and it's also a very nice word itself, beside the meaning of the word. So we thought it would be really beautiful to name the album after this song and "Daylight Lucidity" is also the oldest song, the first song we wrote. It's also nice to have your first song called like the album.


On LUCIDITY there are quite a few guest musicians. Was it hard to coordinate all of their time schedules during the recording process? Because I have read in the booklet that the vocals were recorded at different locations. Were you present at all of them or did you lay it in the hands of others?

I was present with everybody except one, and that was Sharon (den Adel: Within Temptation). I know her so well, because of obvious reasons, she is family, and I also know how she works, so I also knew what kind of results she would give me and she knew what I wanted. So it was not necessary for me to be present at that time. At the same time I was recording Liv Kristine (Espenaes Krull: Leaves' Eyes) in Stuttgart and I didn't know how she was working, so I rather wanted to be present there. With everybody else I was present and indeed I recorded a lot of people at different spots and that was just because of the schedules. I myself had a lot of time because during that period I still had some health difficulties, so I did not have a job or studies or anything, I was only busy with Delain and I just told everybody: "Just tell me when you have time and where you want to record." So for Marco (Hietala: Nightwish, Tarot) I went to Helsinki. If it's like next door, no problem, I come over.


What were your inspirations for the music you wrote for Delain?

It's not very clear things that you can see like movies or so, it's more like feelings and also my health problems with this Pfeiffer fever. Doctors didn't know how they could battle it and didn't know how long it would take to heal or didn't even know if I was going to be healthy again anyway. It could have also been that it was for my whole life. And I was always tired and had these dizzy kind of complaints. So in this period the only thing I could do was make music. I was very dizzy all the time and I could not even watch TV. When I sat down on the couch it didn't help to go to sleep, because when I woke up I was dizzy again. So the only thing I could do was make music, because then I didn't have to watch anything, not TV or any other screen. So this helped me a lot to give everything to the music and work on the music. So my problem was actually my inspiration.


What is your greatest concern when you are composing a song? What is the most important part?

The most important part is the chorus and the melody line, that's the soul of the music, that's what makes the music. I always ask myself: is this a melody line that people can sing or can refer to? And I think that's the most important thing. A lot of musicians who are into this heavy metal or metal kind of genre forget that, they are rather focusing on guitar riffs and I think that comes after that. You have to make a beautiful melody line, that's the most important thing.


Let's talk about the video for the song "See Me In Shadow". Who had the idea for the story?

We had a lot of scripts. The problem with "See Me In Shadow" was that we needed a video to get airplay in Holland, because we entered the charts with "Frozen" and it went really well and we had to come up with a new video really fast. We didn't have a lot of time, there was no budget left, so we had to do something really quickly. So the script was presented to us by the company who made the video. The video is not really the result what I wanted it to be, but regarding all the circumstances I'm really satisfied.


It's not a performance video like "Frozen", the only band member that is seen in the video is Charlotte. Were you even present at the video shooting?

Yes, I was present. Not the whole time, but "See Me In Shadow" is also a song where Charlotte really had a lot of input, so it was very logical to only take Charlotte and let her do the storyline. I dropped by to see how things went and it was really good. We had only one day of shooting and like I already told you, there was not a lot of budget, so I'm really glad how she performed and what has come out of it. It really fit, it was Charlotte's song and her lyrics, her vocal line, so it's how it should be.


Will the single also be released in Germany?

Ahem…that's a good question. I'm not sure yet, because of course, we released the album in the Netherlands first and after that the singles came, so I think it depends on how well the album will do in Germany. I know how difficult it is to get mainstream airplay and mainstream chart entries in Germany. But until now in Holland we entered the top 40, we have airplay on MTV, and on Friday we go to a national radio pop channel. So there it goes really well, so I hope so, let's see.


How did you decide on the singles that were chosen to be released in the Netherlands? Did Roadrunner decide for the most part or was it the band's decision?

Good question! Actually, you talk with each other about it, so it's more like you decide together. But, of course, a single will never become a single when I don't want it to be. But for me "Frozen" was the perfect first single, because this song has every element of LUCIDITY and of Delain in this one song. You have a quiet spot, a double-bass part, a good melody line, all elements come together in this song and that's why I thought this is the song that you can introduce Delain with and this is why we chose to have "Frozen" as the first single. And with "See Me In Shadow" it's like the same, we also talked about it together and thought this was even better for mainstream. For listeners who are not used to this kind of music, "Frozen" is really heavy. So it would be nice to show people our diversity and show that we can also make a ballad. That's why we chose "See Me In Shadow".


Is there anything you would have done differently on the album once it was published?

No. And that's a good thing I think. Perhaps there are some production things that I would have done differently, for example the guitar sound perhaps a little bit differently, but in general I'm really satisfied with the result and also surprised how things ended up. This was also my aim, actually the main reason why I wanted to work with guest musicians. Not because of the names, but because I wanted to work with these people and it can be a real surprise what comes out of the music you write, if you involve other people and they give a twist to your music. So then it works out even better than you thought it would.


Can you actually live from the music or do you still have normal jobs?

We're getting there! (laughs) Now it's still part time, but it's really going so well, it's unbelievable what happened. I've been so busy, such a lot of things are happening. We're performing on MTV, we're releasing in a lot of countries, I didn't expect this at all. At the moment I really have to make a choice whether to go into full time with the music or do something besides it and that's a difficult phase right now, a difficult time. But it's really great to have this choice.


In October you will be touring in Germany with your brother and his band. How big are the chances to get Sharon perform "No Compliance" with you?

Really big (laughs). We already did that in Paris, actually that was really spontaneous, because I was coming late to the venue and I just asked Sharon. It would be nice if we can do this together and she really felt like doing so. I always tell Sharon: If you don't want to or if you're tired or want to really focus on your own set, then do so, it doesn't matter. But if you want to perform with us, you're welcome to and then it's really great. So, I think there's a big chance, but I always say she doesn't have to, because it has to be fun.


Is there also going to be a headliner tour after this tour with Within Temptation?

Yes, because Germany is such an important market for us. I think our CD also fits this country and its market. So, we're really looking forward to playing here. We just got an agent who's working on it and we're busy arranging a tour. We already have a few gigs next year and looking forward to it. But it's not fixed yet.


What plans do you have regarding other countries? Are you going to perform anywhere else in Europe?

Yes, well, our work with Roadrunner is really unique, because we're new. And a lot of countries are looking to the country where you got released first, in our specific case it was the Netherlands. People looked at us and how we did there. And now we have released in France, in Spain, in Italy, and now we will release in Germany, so it's a really good thing because they obviously think that we're doing a good job and they are convinced. We played in France and I'm sure we will perform in Spain and in Italy later on, but first we will focus on Germany.


Will there be shows with other guest singers as well?

Well, yes. I asked every guest, when we're going to play together with their bands on a festival or on a gig together, if everybody was open to do songs with us. Everybody was really open to that. Now we will do stuff with Within Temptation, but I also asked Marco with Nightwish, so there's also a chance if we're going to play with them. In Belgium we will play with Liv Kristine and Leaves' Eyes on the Metal Female Voices Festival if I'm correct. So I will ask her to join us for a song there as well. I think there's a lot of opportunities coming to play with other people on our album.


The album has been released in the Netherlands last year already. In the meantime, have you started writing songs for the new album?

Yes, but because a lot of things happened, in a good way, there was not a lot of time to write. For September I planned like a sabbatical month to only write music. I think we have something like 3 or 4 gigs, but not more, so besides that I will only write music. I have written some stuff, and our guitar player wrote some stuff and also Charlotte, but not a lot. So we really have to get going there! (laughs)


In what way will the next album be different? I mean, you are a real band now, so is the approach going to be different?

Yes and no. Also with the first album, I wanted to have a specific Delain sound and an own identity, and that's mostly the work of Charlotte and also me. And we also want to have that for the next album, but now indeed we are a band, so we're going to write and record with the band. But nevertheless, I want to keep the guest musician element in there, so we definitely will have a guest or perhaps more guests, but not as much as on the first album, of course. But we're going to work with guests and I want people to recognize "Ok, this is Delain, this is Delain sound." So it's going to be the same, but not going to be the same. (laughs)


So, what musicians are on your wish list for the future?

Well, I could tell you, but then it won't be a surprise. But there are quite some musicians left. I can tell you off the record (laughs). (here he mentions a couple of names but asked me not to publish them) We're still busy with that. And I don't know, if it's going to happen, of course, we have to see.


Ok, this was it. Thank you very much!

No problem!

 
 
    Seitenanfang   
Bandinfos
  Bandbiographie
¬ Delain
Reviews
¬ WE ARE THE OTHERS
¬ LUCIDITY
Interviews
¬ 08.08.2007 deu. | eng.
¬ 31.03.2009
 
 

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