Fireworks Magazine Online 74 - Interview with Delain


Interview by Michael Anthony

Fans of Delain expecting a new album in the wake of recent successful tours might well have been surprised by the appearance instead of the new 'Lunar Prelude' EP. But fear not, an album is on the way! Fireworks spoke to founding member and keyboard player Martijn Westerholt for the low down on the EP, album plans and forthcoming live work.

delain interview

You've been away at sea I gather, is that right?

Yes, you are well informed! I had this opportunity to do the 70,000 Tons of Metal cruise from Miami to Jamaica. The second time we've done a cruise. I hate my job! [Laughs]

It went well, did it?

Yes. Though the shows didn't go exactly how I wanted them to go. We were on a boat with not a lot of crew and we did one of the first shows soon after the cruise started. Small things went wrong but I don't think anyone noticed, so we shouldn't complain. It was a really nice cruise with a really good vibe.

You also played 'The Suckerpunch Show'?

Yeah, that was a special show in The Netherlands at the end of January. It was a closure to 'The Human Contradiction' album cycle and the start of the new cycle of the EP and upcoming album. It was a really good show, and a lot of people from the UK were there actually.

I saw the Bristol gig on your UK tour (reviewed in Fireworks #73) and I thought it was superb, especially for a first night. How did the rest of the tour go?

Splendid! It was a really good tour. Ticket sales were good, and we tweaked the show during the tour and were really happy with how it developed. But I have to say that the UK is always somehow special – playing The Island seems to do really well for us.

Something that impressed me at the gig was the addition of the second guitarist and the kind of power that seemed to give you live.

You know, Merel [Bechtold] is a really good addition, both mentally, because she radiates this positive energy and people love her for it, and also music-wise as two guitars really does make a difference in sound. So, it's a plus on all sides. We didn't do it for years because a lot of bands in our genre have two guitarists and I don't like to be one of a lot of bands with the same kind of set up. But in this case, Merel is special and it just makes sense.

So why an EP now, then?

Actually, because a lot of fans asked us for it and we tend to listen to our fans! We released our previous album 'The Human Contradiction' in April 2014, so it's time for a new album. But the problem was whether to turn down live shows to make an album or to postpone the album and do the shows. So we did the shows and then we thought, well, we have to give the fans something. It's also our tenth anniversary this year and we have to make it something really special, so we thought, what the heck, let's release two new tracks and put some live tracks and some special stuff on it so people can warm up for the album and also have something new.

So, you have a couple of new tracks, 'Suckerpunch' and 'Turn The Lights Out'. You say you have other album tracks in preparation, so why choose those two?

Yeah, I think right now we have about seven tracks, maybe eight ... seven and a half, let's say! We're still working on some stuff and we need more but we thought, let's finish those two and put them out. We played 'Turn The Lights Out' live for the first time in Bristol. It's always a magical moment when you play a new song live and see it come to life, so that's one of the reasons we chose that song. And then 'Suckerpunch' turned out really well. We thought it sounded like a single, so we made it a single!

As it's an EP, have you gone for tracks that are at the more accessible or commercial end of what you do?

No, we don't really think like that. If you want to be commercial you should probably skip the guitar section altogether [laughs]. It's more about pleasing our fans and also having a good ambassador – a song which shows a lot of aspects of your music for people who don't know you yet. I think in 'Suckerpunch' we have that.

Although you have all the classic elements in there, the synth is quite prominent on the EP isn't it? Particularly in the introductions, and perhaps more so than on some of your other material?

Yeah, you know, one of my favourite bands is Nightwish. I'm good friends with Tuomas and I always told him, you know, the orchestra stuff, that's your party. I love it too, so I like to have orchestration but I want to distinguish myself and create an identity. I also love that 80s kind of synth sound, so that's why I put that in there too.

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And does that indicate the direction you are going in with the album material?

Well, not consciously, because I always write what comes. I don't lay out a path that it should be like this or it should be like that, it's just what comes up. But, of course, the style, what I like, is consistent in the music I write, so I think subconsciously it does go in a direction and there's more of that stuff to come. So to cut a long story short, perhaps you're right, yes! [Laughs]

Do you remember where on the last tour the live tracks were recorded?

We recorded a lot of shows. Where there was a mixing desk available that was suitable we used it, and we picked the best stuff. So I think that one is recorded in Belgium, one is recorded in England, one is recorded in France ... I don't recall exactly, but it was all recorded on the tour somewhere.

You seem to be growing in the UK?

Yeah, but that's in general fortunately! We've really noticed that all the support tours are starting to pay off. We've been growing a lot. I'm not exactly surprised, as I was hoping it would happen of course, but it's really cool that it has, as currently in this type of music there are an established set of names and it can be difficult to grow. I consider myself very lucky.

I get the sense that you're working up quite a head of steam, and really building momentum at the moment. Is that how it feels to you?

Yeah, absolutely! And we have our fans to thank for that because they decide, they're in charge, they're the boss, not us. We can do what we do because of them. If they like it we can continue doing it, and if they don't, we're pretty much, to say it in bad English, fucked! [Laughs] But I really have the feeling that there is something going on, something really positive, so I'm really, really happy with that.

I don't know what it's like on the continent, I imagine that people are generally more receptive to Symphonic Metal because they always have been ...

Also it varies from region to region. If you go to southern Germany, for example, it's so different to northern Germany. In northern Germany they just stand still, even if they like it, and afterwards they tell you it was the best night of their lives! [Laughs] It's funny to see the difference in crowds. If you go to South America, they're totally mind-fucked! They're crazy! So how people experience it and how they express it in body language is so different, which doesn't mean they don't like it, it's just different.

Something else I was struck by, seeing you live, was the spread across ages. Your music seems to be appealing to different generations of Rock fans.

Yep, that's true! I think it's a good sign. I don't have a clue where it's coming from. Perhaps it's because we make quite accessible Metal music, and older people take younger people with them who are not used to really hard stuff. We get a lot of young kids and we get a lot of older fans as well.

And as you say, it's a very positive thing.

Yeah, getting a mixed crowd means that you're accessible, and it's nice, it's really nice. If you only have older crowds, then you're fan base will die off. If you only have young crowds, then you'd start to feel like you're in a boy band. [Laughs] With a mixed crowd, it feels more like I'm really making music.

So the EPs is out in February. What next?

Well, we're about to head off to the USA and Canada with Nightwish and Sonata Arctica and definitely this will be a party! We know these guys really well, we've toured with both of them, so it's almost family. After that we have to finish the album! So in April and May, it's all hands, if you know what I mean. I want a release at least by the end of the festival season, though in the middle would be even better. So we really need to finish it, but without rushing it.

You have some festivals lined up?

Yeah, we are really spoiled with that as well. We have the best festival season ever. In the UK for example, we have Download, which is really cool and in Belgium we have Graspop, that's a big whopper. And we've got HellFest, we've got Tuska in Finland, MetalDays in Slovenia, a couple in Germany and the Netherlands, so we're really happy. We have a new agent, Rock the Nation, and they've done really good work.

So when can we expect to see you live in the UK again?

Well, we're actually working on a headline tour for the Autumn but the dates are not announced yet.

Do you have a name for the new album?

Yes, we do, but I don't think I should spoil it yet! [Laughs] It has something to do with the moon, I can say that. That's why the EP is called 'Lunar Prelude'!

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