Hello guys, how are you? Congratulations with the new album 'Circadian Rhythm', it is a stunner!
Thank you very much. We've put much time and efforts into this album, so it's nice to get some good remarks.
One of the highlights of 2006 was your tour with Novembers Doom, Saturnus and Agalloch last November. So let's start with some stories about that… How did you get into this tour and what are your feelings now looking back?
The tour was organised by Carl of the LSP-shop in Vosselaar. He mentioned us that there was still a spot left on the tour and that we would blend in perfectly, music-wise. Of course we didn't have to think this over, for this was the first time we had the chance to go on a real European tour. We did some gigs abroad in the past, but nothing special. The tour itself was a superb experience. All bands got along very well, fortunately, which resulted in some infamous after-parties. Also the reactions of the crowd were very cool. We were the opening band of the tour, but every night by the time we hit the stage, the venue was almost packed. It was nice to get through to an entirely new crowd. Also the touring itself was great, nothing cooler than to play in one country, have an after-party, get on the bus and to awake in an entire other country. So nothing but good memories...
But it has a continuation, because at the 21st of April you go to Chicago (USA), to play at Chicago Powerfest. Can you tell a bit more about this brand new big event?
In fact it's gotten much better then that. We start at the Chicago Powerfest with bands as Atheist, Solitude Aeturnus, Martyr among others. But after that we get to play three more gigs in the States, namely in New York, Cleveland and Springfield. All thanks to the endeavours of our homies from Novembers Doom. Saturnus is also joining the party, so it is going to be killer for sure! A new big step for Thurisaz.
My first encounter with Thurisaz was your first self-released album 'Scent Of A Dream'. But can you go a bit deeper into the history of the band. Who were the founding members and what preceded this self-financed record?
We started out in 1997 as a four-piece band, with me on guitar and grunts, Mattias on guitar and screams, Pepijn on drums and Lars on bass. Kobe (synths) joined us later on. Back then, we played a mixture of death, doom and metalcore, with mainly grunts and a few specks of clean vocals. After a year, we felt that the time had come to release our first demo-cassette called 'Never To Return'. I recently listened to those recordings again and besides the fact that it's pretty damn hilarious, it's also interesting to hear that all the elements of our sound nowadays are already there, but in an early stadium. We were already experimenting with a combination of grunts, screams, clean vocals. It's also the first time that the keyboards were introduced into the sound. In 1999, after a year of searching for a permanent synthesizer-player, Kobe joined the band. We went back to the studio to record our second demo 'The last Embrace'. You can clearly hear that we were searching for our own sound and style in that time. I think we finally found that style with the third demo 'Anno Viroviacum', released in 2002. In that year we also won the “Belgian Metal Concours”, which meant a big boost to our self-confidence. From that time on, things started to get better and better, which finally resulted into the recording of 'Scent Of A Dream', our first full CD.
Which influences would you like to mention when you started the band?
We were all listening to different styles of music in that time. Pepijn and Lars were influenced by bands as Metallica and Sepultura, while Mattias was more obsessed by hardcore bands. You can hear all those different styles in our music from that time. Later on the metalcore influences disappeared and the melodic parts were introduced.
What were the reactions on 'Scent Of A Dream' and did that open new doors for you?
The reactions were really amazing. Everyone seemed to really dig the album, with as a result some very good reviews. Unfortunately we didn't have a decent label or distributor back then, so the album never really made it to the record stores. But it opened some doors for sure. We sold a lot of copies on gigs and through the internet and slowly on our reputation began to grow. We owe a lot to that album, and I can only hope the new one will open even more doors.
At the time of the November tour, you had recorded a part of the new record 'Circadian Rhythm' already. Let's now have a look at the recording process, studio, did you use a producer, and how long did it take?
We went back to the same studio where we recorded the 'Scent Of A Dream' album, namely the infamous CCR-studio in Zulte. We were very content of the quality of that album so we saw no reason to change the studio. Kris is a very cool guy to work with, with a lot of experience and knowledge about how metal should sound like. Just like the first album we produced it ourselves, with the help of Kris. All together we recorded and mixed more or less twenty-five days, and I think that shows in the sound quality of this album. We took our time to record everything as we wanted it to be. After the good reviews of the first album, we felt the pressure to surpass ourselves and make an even better second one and I can honestly say we succeeded in doing so. The new album sounds much more mature then the first one and the song structures and vocals are better worked out now and go much deeper then they did on the first album. But it's still Thurisaz of course.
One of the fine characteristics of Thurisaz is that you have the luxury of having many vocalists in the band. Not only Peter (grunts, clean vocals) and Mattias (screams), but I guess there are three or four people in charge of vocal duties, isn't it?
Yeah, I think the diversity of vocal use is where Thurisaz distinguish themselves from other bands. Like I said, that's something we've been experimenting with throughout the years and every recording we make, every song we make, the vocal structures become more and more complex. Bands as The Devin Townsend Band and Porcupine Tree surely had an influence in that, as everyone in the band is a huge fan of these bands. The growing complexity of the vocals makes it also harder to bring it live, but we are working hard to make it work.
Thurisaz' music is multi-layered. How do you write songs? Who are the main composers of the band or is it a band effort in the rehearsal room?
Mattias and me are the main composers of the band, but the music itself is definitely a band effort. Usually Mattias and I come up with the basic riffs, the basic structure of the song. Then all five of us get together and try to make a well-structured song. Maybe this way of working does slow us down a bit but in the end we get a result where everyone of us is satisfied. Everyone in the band has the equal right to express their thoughts. I guess that's why we're still here after ten years, without line-up changes.
This time you release 'Circadian Rhythm' through a label, Shiver Records. How did you get in contact with them and can you mention some of the differences now?
Working with Shiver Records is definitely a big step forward for us. For years we've been searching a label that was willing to put efforts in the band. Shiver Records is turning out to be the ideal partner. They have years of experience in the branch and they are really enthusiastic about the upcoming release. We're confident that the new album will be distributed in a decent way, with a decent promotion.
Though Thurisaz' music does not need any comparisons and appears to be rather unique, two of the names that popped up in my mind while listening are Opeth and Empyrium. And what about some influence of Novembers Doom?
It's true that the bands you mentioned are or have been influences in the past, but it goes much further than that. Throughout the ten years we are playing now, we never stuck to one genre and bands as Porcupine Tree, Devin Townsend and even Pink Floyd have as much an influence on how Thurisaz sounds nowadays. But we're not trying to be copies of the bands we just mentioned. We just try to make music that we like.
On the record I also enjoy the beautiful calm songs a lot, live Thurisaz is more a vigorous outfit. Never thought about bringing one of the introvert songs on stage? (though I understand that's not preferable in a support situation hehe )
We do have plans to bring them live. On the 19th of May we're playing acoustic in JH De Bierpompe in Wervik. You can see it as a pre-release-party where we'll play all the calm songs we've written in the past. After the gig the new album will be played integrally. So it will be a once in a lifetime to see us play the calmer songs. But on the other hand, never say never again, who knows what the future will bring.
Was there a main lyrical theme on the album(s)? Who writes the lyrics?
Actually, we all write the lyrics so there's no main writer. 'Scent Of A Dream' was about dreams and atmospheric moods, but we tried to write something different for 'Circadian Rhythm'. The main theme now is the cycle of life and everything around it, from birth till death. 'Circadian Rhythm' is a term for a roughly-24-hour cycle in the physiological processes of living beings, including plants, animals, fungi and certain bacteria, how they adapt to life, to dark and light, etc. The term “circadian” comes from the Latin circa, "around", and dies, "day". So it literally means "about a day." So, basically, we looked at different people who are in different stages in their lives and look at how they adapt their lives to the situations they are in.
Here in Belgium and the Netherlands, we can see Thurisaz live as well soon. I heard you are playing with Oceans Of Sadness on their CD presentation in both countries. Any details on that?
We have two concerts planned, where we support Oceans Of Sadness for their CD-release.The first is in their hometown Dessel on 6th of April and the second show is on 5th of May in Eindhoven. We are very excited about this because Tijs (singer Oceans Of Sadness) assured me that both gigs would be big, big parties. So everyone, get your ass over there!!!
Do you plan a CD presentation of 'Circadian Rhythm'? If so, when and where?
Yes, we have plans for a release-party (besides the acoustic gig in Wervik) but unfortunately nothing is confirmed yet. That's all we can say about that, for now. But you can expect some news very soon...
If there is any news about the band, please go ahead and tell us….
Well, the new T-shirts are in and they really look killer! You can check them out on our myspace-page, www.myspace.com/thurisazmusic
What are the plans for the near future and the rest of the year?
There's nothing we like to do more than to play live concerts, so we plan to do several gigs in the next months in Belgium and other countries. We'll try to update our website and myspace-page as much as we can, so stay tuned if you want to know our future plans.