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Last month you could read about the great album Nem-Q released to the world. Since this band could well be as new to you as to me, a wise decision is to do an interview. No, we are not curious! Guitarist Mark Reijven kindly answered all our questions.

By: Bart D. | Archive under prog / sympho metal

Welcome! We're all Dutch here, but as 'Fault Lines' is an album worthy of international attention, we'll go the English route. Could you introduce the band to your new listeners?
Nem-Q is a progressive metal band from the south of the Netherlands. We are influenced by many artists, like Pain of Salvation, Porcupine Tree and Riverside. Sometimes we are compared to bands like Fates Warning and IQ, mostly from reviewers. We all have different rock and metal influences that we blend together. It’s because of that you cannot compare us to one band in particular.

'Fault Lines' is out right now. What have the reactions been like so far?
It’s always an exciting moment for a band when an album is released. We are very happy with the results and we think that’s the most important. ‘Fault Lines’ is a big step forward if you compare it to the last two albums, not only because of the production but the record also sounds more mature. The reactions so far are very positive and the reviews are very good. We are really happy to see that other people like the songs as much as we do.

You have been around for quite some years. Has the line-up always been the same? And how do you feel you've developed, as a band, together, and individually as musicians?
From the original line-up (2004) only Paul Sieben (guitar and vocals) and myself are still there. Dennis Renders (keys) joined the band in 2006 and Twan Bakker (drums) in 2008. So the current line-up has been playing together for quite a while now. Bass player Maarten Meeuws joined us in 2014, but most of us already knew Maarten for over ten years. If you listen all three of our albums from the first one to the last, even the neutral listener can tell there is a huge progress noticeable. The songs have a better storytelling and musical complexity. Also individually we are getting much more out of our instruments than years ago.

'Fault Lines' is made up of two EPs, but feels like a cohesive record. It feels like a concept album to me. Am I correct? And if yes, or no, what are the lyrics about and what inspired you?
We didn’t bring it as a concept album this time, but I can understand it feels that way. The songs and lyrics fit together, the two parts really feel like one. Our previous album ‘301.81’ was a concept and had a very clear story to tell in a third person context. Because ‘Fault Lines’ is much closer to the bands own believes and written from a personal perspective, we don’t think it’s a concept album. The lyrics are about the inner struggle of decision making and about trying to understand the consequences of the choices you make. Not only rationally but also emotionally. The songs tell about the highs and lows and infinity of life and the media that leaves us deliberately ignorant. Heavy stuff, but the music at the other hand is easily digestible.

band image

You have great dynamics: the softer parts are convincing, and the harder parts really manage to kick in. How do you compose: do you start with jams, or do you really write-before-play?
This is something we’ve also developed during the years. On the first two albums we started off with guitars. Paul and I came up with the riffs and the rest of the band followed. For Fault Lines the new ideas came from everyone. This was something we talked about before we started writing the new songs. As a band you have to try something differently from time to time, to keep renewing yourself. Before Fault Lines we didn’t do much jams, but they really helped us to bring more dynamics and spontaneity to the songs.

You've been around, so you must know the Netherlands are really, really, small when you play progressive rock/metal. Is it hard for you to keep finding a stage to perform?
Yes, it’s really hard to find a decent place to play. I think for our genre it’s even more difficult, simply because of the genre and the fact that we bring a lot of gear to the stage. A small café is not working for us. Besides that we are very keen on a good sound and atmosphere. About six years ago we decided to play less, but in cooler clubs and don’t do any band competitions. Most of them are just not fun and also not fair or objective. By doing that we noticed the focus on our live performances got better and we felt much happier after a show.

Now that 'Fault Lines' is released, are you planning to do extra live shows to promote the record and Nem-Q?
We have some options open and we hope they’ll work out to something. We are getting a lot of reactions on the new album from abroad, so hopefully we can play some shows outside of the Netherlands.

What can we expect in the future from Nem-Q? Did you have plans to reach out for an international audience with 'Fault Lines'? And is there already new material in the works? What can we expect?
We immediately started working on new material after the release of ‘Fault Lines’. It’s going to be a little different but still very Nem-Q. This year we hope to do some live performances and spend most of our time creating new music. Besides that we will record a video clip this year and re-release one or two songs of the ‘301.81’ album.

These were my questions. Thank you for answering them. Feel free to mention or add anything you like. Also: the parting words are all yours!
Thanks for the interview and thank everyone else for reading! Come check us out sometime soon and don’t forget to support your locals!

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