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Interview: Delain

mit Martijn Westerholt und Charlotte Wessels vom 19. Mai 2011 im Knust, Hamburg
Am Donnerstag, den 19. Mai 2011 haben sich Keyboarder Martijn Westerholt (ex-Within Temptation) und Sängerin Charlotte Wessels von der niederländischen Symphonic Melodic Metal-Band Delain im Zuge ihrer Headliner-Tour durch Europa wenige Minuten vor ihrem eigenen Auftritt noch die Zeit genommen, sich mit uns über die aktuelle Tour, die Zusammenarbeit mit der österreichischen Band Serenity, das bereits für Ende 2011 geplante neue Album und den neuen Gitarristen Timo Somers zu unterhalten.
Die bereits spielende Vorband und die immer dunkler werdende Umgebung geben diesem Street-Interview im Spotlight ein ganz besonderes Flair.
Viel Spaß beim anschauen!
Moderation: Arne Luaith; Fotografie: Arne Luaith; Kamera: Alexander Kipke

Das Interview (Textform)

Arne: Hi guys! I’m here in the Knust in Hamburg with Charlotte and Martijn from Delain. Hey guys, nice to have you here! Thanks for takin’ the time for this interview!
Martijn: You’re welcome!
Arne: You’ve been on tour now for over half a month and you’ve already played in several European countries including Great Britain, France, Spain … some others … and of course Germany. How is your personal impression so far?
Martijn: Really, really good! We really have a good time together, we’d always have a good time with the crowd and it’s been a lot of fun so far. It went really, really fast – we only have three more shows to go and then it’s already done and we’re already looking forward to the next tour.
Arne: That will be when … ?
Martijn: Good question … First we have to finish some small details – like an album – and then it’s time for touring again, I guess. After the new album is out.
Arne: Any especially memorable moments so far on this tour?
Charlotte: We’ve done our first show in Poland which was really nice and we had a really good time in England which was one of the latest countries to release our album. But it was really booming over there. We had really full venues. Budapest was very nice as well … actually too much to mention. A lot of moments on this tour.
Arne: You mean everything’s great so far?
Charlotte: Yah. I mean, you have your moments of being tired and grumpy on tour as well, but we had great gigs!
Arne: You had a concert in Aschaffenburg on the 13th of May and that was your 24th birthday. That right? Well, happy … “slightly” belated … birthday!
Charlotte: Thank you very much!
Arne: Was there any great after-show party or something like that?
Charlotte: Actually there was, but I didn’t know of it until the after-party itself, so it was really cool. It was a surprise and there was birthday cake and food and friends.
Arne: Your tour manager told us that you might play a couple of new songs on this concert, on this tour. What can you tell us about that?
Martijn: That’s true. We’re playing a couple of new songs. 3 songs! We thought it was a good opportunity to try them out live. And it was like magic to play them for the first time live because we worked on it very hard for a long time. And then it really comes to life when you’re like playing them live and when you see how the audience react on it. And that’s really, really great. So it’s really cool to play them.
Arne: What are the titles of the songs?
Martijn: They’re still working titles, actually, because they’re so fresh. But their working titles are ‘Manson’, that’s the first song we play. Actually we start with this song. The second one is called ‘Milk and Honey’ and we got another song which is called ‘Get The Devil Out of Me’.
Arne: So, generally, how is the work on the new album going?
Charlotte: Oh, it’s going very well. Actually I don’t think we have ever written so much material for an album before. And we are going much more into detail, I think, before going into the studios now. So when we come back from the tour we will continue writing maybe one or two songs extra and finish the stuff that we have lying so far.
Arne: So how about the development of the band? Anything new you want to try? Any stylistic changes, or lyrical?
Martijn: Yah, we’ve got a lot of new things which we had to try out this tour. We have a new guitar player, Timo Somers, and we’re really really glad to have him with the team. It’s worked out splendidly and it’s like … the guy is so good in doing his job as a guitar player! It’s always a pleasure to play with him. Besides that, as I told you, the new songs. To play those. And also for us it’s always interesting to see – if you do a tour – how many people show up and if there’s a development in this area as well. Fortunately, we can say that we grew when it comes to visitors and ticket sales. So we’re really really pleased with the development. Even more because we don’t have a new album out. So it’s actually a used try-out and it’s always exciting. We cannot complain so far.
Arne: Anything about the work, the new album, the new tour … that you’re maybe especially proud of or especially confident with?
Charlotte: I’m really confident with the line-up we have now. I’m really confident with the direction the new material is taking, because we’ve been playing these 3 songs and they work like a charm live. That’s a really confident booster before going into the studio to actually finish the new album after this tour. So I think for me that’s like one of the biggest prides in this tour.
Arne: Do you think your new guitar player will bring something like a new air into the band, some fresh wind, or is it rather not that much noticeable for the fans?
Martijn: Well, of course you cannot see into the future. But actually, in June we’re gonna start writing again and we would like to take him with us to the writing session. Then we will find out. I have a good feeling about it – The guy is really creative and we always are open to any input.
Arne: So he might participate in the songwriting process?
Martijn: Yes, he’s very welcome to do that! So let’s see what comes out of that.
Charlotte: I also think live it’s a difference because he’s like … You notice when there’s a different type of guitar player playing. And this is like actually the first time that we considered – before this tour – like ‘Oh, maybe we could put in like an enormous solo or stuff like that’ because he is really into that. So you also start thinking in a different way because you have like a different guitarist and a different person on stage. I think live it definitely shows and I hope it will show like later in the songwriting process as well. We’ll have to see that.
Arne: Any expected release date yet?
Martijn: We have like a very difficult situation with the record company, because it’s Roadrunner Records has been sold to Warner. We’re still very much under the label, but they had some organization problems and fortunately they’re working it out right now. But is has some effects on our album. Some delays. So we’re really anxious to record and we have never written so much material as we did with this album. So I think we’re gonna record after we go back from tour. And I think we will have the album done after summer, and then let’s see how fast it can be released. If it’s up to us: Immediately! But, you know, a record company needs some time to prepare. So … in winter we should definitely release. Absolutely!
Arne: Are there any new countries you are you are playing to release it that maybe didn’t have a Delain release so far?
Charlotte: I think it would be really cool if we could … I mean, right now we are mostly looking at touring possibilities and it would be really cool to tour in different countries. So actually like older countries where we’re touring but there has been no release yet. We’d like to have releases there. And, well then, actually then, it’s just off to world domination.
Arne: On Lucidity you’ve had a lot of guest musicians. Some fans are wondering if you are maybe planning on doing this ever again or to introduce other guest singers in the new album?
Martijn: We’re always surely open to that. And we also think about it. But I don’t have a clue, actually, for this album yet. And Charlotte, I think, also doesn’t also has a clue … I don’t know?
Charlotte: I can imagine, because we’re open to it, because we like it. That at a point that we have got that done that maybe we’ll consider or maybe something will come to our path. We’re always open to it, but up until now it hasn’t been like priority to focus on getting like guest vocalists.
Arne: Some fans may be wondering if there might be a male counterpart in some songs. So that’s possible but now planned so far?
Charlotte: Yeah, it’s possible but not planned, exactly!
Arne: How is the songwriting process done on your band?
Martijn: Actually, you know, you’re constantly in development when it comes to songwriting. And we – Charlotte and me write together – we write on ourselves as well. So sometimes you start from scratch from zero. Sometimes somebody has already prepared something. And – especially with this album – we really experimented a lot with all these kind of ways of writing. And now of course we got a new band member as well. We’re actually gonna work with a producer with this album. Normally we … well, I more or less was the producer and we had a co-producer. Oliver Philipps. He’s still very much in the game. This time we’re gonna work with an external producer. And we’re actually right now in the face of deciding how we’re gonna work. So I actually cannot answer this question, because we’re gonna see it right after we come back from tour. But we always have like the way we wrote, like the way we’ve written always … that stays. But perhaps it’s getting a little bit more extended with another way of writing. So it’s a fairly interesting process and for us it’s also a lot of fun to develop this. But Charly and me, we always have our input in the songs and I also think the input of Charlotte, of the group and for example some songs were I didn’t have any input right now. So it shifts a little bit. It’s gonna be very interesting.
Arne: So you don’t separate into who writes the lyrics and who the music, acutally?
Charlotte: I think, so far I’ve mainly done the lyrics. But also now that we’re writing from scratch I think that becomes more of a team than ever because when you’re writing something from scratch you have to have some kind of feeling what you’re working from. So we’re also thinking like: Okay, what kind of song? What atmosphere? And then you’re coming really close to ike: What is it about? You know, so I think that’s also in this process.
Arne: How did you chose Delain as a band name? Was it just a word that sounded good to you or has it a special meaning?
Martijn: Yeah … Well, I can tell you a very interesting story. But I’m afraight that indeed the name sounded really cool for me. I read it in a book from Stephen King – Eyes of the dragon. In the story, in the book it’s a kingdom called “Delain”. And I liked this very much. And that is actually the reason. So I don’t got a very complicated, deep story about it. But we liked it.
Arne: Charlotte, you have recently been guest vocalist on Serenity’s 2010 [the album was actually released in 2011; editor’s note] album’s “Serenade of Flames”. How did this participation come to be?
Charlotte: Oh, we met each other – Serenity and us – when we were on tour with Kamelot. And we kind of kept in contact. Their album was produced by Oliver Philipps who worked with us as well, so there is the link. And I just got a call like if I was interested. I got the song and I really liked it, so we decided to give it a try. And I’m very happy with the song. I really like it. I’ve been performing it a couple of times with them on stage now.
Arne: How does this work when you’re guest vocalist in a foreign bands album? How is the work process done?
Charlotte: For us it was of course really easy, because they work with Oliver Philipps and we work with him as well. So I could do the recordings with Oliver who I usually do the recordings for Delain as well. So there was actually a really familiar atmosphere. I would have liked very much to record it together with Georg [Serenity’s vocalist; editor’s note] but unfortunately because of schedules that was not possible. So I’m really happy that now we’ve come to actually sing this song together. Like it’s supposed to be.
Arne: So you recorded your part, they recorded his part and then it was merged alltogether?
Charlotte: Yeah, that’s how it went.
Arne: Is that also how Serenity came to support you on this tour now?
Charlotte: I don’t know exactly in what running order that went. If they already supported us when we did the song. I think it was about the same time, but I don’t know the exact order.
Martijn: Yeah, same time.
Charlotte: Yeah, we already had contact. So it was just easy.
Arne: So generally, what’s up next for Delain in the upcoming months, years?
Martijn: The next month it’s working on the new songs, working on the new stuff. We have a lot of material but we want to work it out more, so I’re really looking forward to that. And after that of course recording it, mixing it. Then making plans for the new tour schedule for next year. It’s gonna be really busy next year. And we’re really looking forward to playing in a lot of countries and meet our fans there.
Arne: Anything left you’d like to tell your fans?
Charlotte: Thanks a lot for the support over the years and we hope that we can treat you to a superb album in a few months. And I hope you all like it and follow us and maybe visit us on tour.
Martijn: Yeah, that’s perfect! I’ve got nothing more to add. I would like to thank the fans very much for their support and … everything else has been said already.
Arne: You heard it! Guys, thanks again for the time. Great evening today and see you tonight! Bye!

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