Congratulations with your official debut album folks. How does it feel to have it out?
First off, thanks for taking the time to interview us! Thanks on the congratulations! We are all very pleased it's released. The sells have been great so far, especially at live shows! But also lots of orders through MySpace and Facebook. We recorded the album at Hooiland Studio's with Hans Spijker, which was a very good experience. Obviously, he is as pleased as we are.
Did the recording process of the album took you a long time?
Well, first off we only discussed a test recording at Hooiland Studios. By the time we were ready to make a test record, we all decided to record the actual album. We had our numbers ready, ideas about the sound and we had a deadline. Unfortunately, our bass player/vocalist Sven and our drummer Yelmer decided to leave the band, since they had less and less time due to their other band. So the recordings laid still for a little while. All together we still finished the recordings, so Dictated could still move on and look for new band members. The process has been long, longer than we expected. All of us put their blood, sweat and way too much beer in it.
Have there been any contacts with record labels already?
Yes, there have. We had contact with a few record labels since we sent out a few promo packages. Most of them are death metal labels, but we've tried and contacted a few grind labels as well. You never know which gives the best offer. So there has been a lot of contact, but no decision yet.
One thing I noticed is that two guys form Erebus left, while another one came in. What's the connection?
The connection lies in the location. Both bands are stationed in Kampen – Overijssel. We have known each other for many years and so when Dictated came to Kampen, we asked Yelmer to come and help us out with the drums. A few weeks later we asked Sven to play just bass guitar in the band. Later on he was asked by Erebus, so it's like trading band members. Like I've explained in the earlier question, they left due to shortage of time. We got in return a very good drummer (Marten) and bassplayer (Bart), but still didn't have a vocalist. We've tried a few people, had a few auditions, but then Sven said he had sorted everything out and we were more than happy to welcome him back.
Do you feel this line-up is steady now?
We couldn't be more sure of it! Besides that people can get great opportunities and choose for their own development, we all are individually highly motivated and besides being band members, we have become close friends as well. We strive to become international with Dictated, everyone has his own share in the band and we give a full one hundred percent to get there.
You hail from Utrecht, which I haven't lived in for eighteen years now. What's the heavy metal climate like there?
Well, the band started off in Utrecht, since I used to live there. Great city and especially Tivoli De Helling promotes lots of metal. Me and Yessica had the idea of creating the band, but after a year I moved to Kampen. For my experience, we've practiced a couple of times at DB's Studio's and it always has been very popular for metalbands. I can't really tell you how the metal climate is now.
Are there a lot of bands, besides Erebus, that you hook up with?
Many bands! Holland is a small country, especially for metals. Besides Erebus, we hook up with Cliteater, Toxocara, Victimizer, Ichaos and many more.
I'll keep the suggestive joke inside. I am deeply, terribly and awfully sorry that I should ask this misogynous question in the year 2010 still, yet I can't help but think this is what everyone is eager to know. So, do people tend to be surprised to see two she-guitarists shredding and grinding?
(Death) metal is a men's world and I'm not gonna start blabbering about how tough this world is for women. I think it's equally tough. People are always ready to judge, man or woman. With men, they have high expectations. So being able to live up to that expectation is hard. But for a woman it's “easier”. They expect less, thinking they will get less, but when they see we can actually play death metal, they are immediately surprised and therefore entertained.
Most off the people are surprised that two women are able to make death metal. A couple of times we have been asked if we were the girlfriends of band members! We laughed and confirmed this right away. The surprised faces we get when we get on stage is worth millions.
Have you ever had any drunk man's valour induced indecent proposals shouted at you?
Hahaha, they don't need to be drunk to shout out indecent proposals!
What kinds of stuff is shouted at you
Stuff like: Get down and drink beer with us! Can we play with you? Can we take you home? Most of the time we don't even hear it or pay attention to it. And if we do, we just laugh. There are decent guys, drunk guys, annoying guys. They all are probably very surprised to see two chicks play, so whatever pops up in their heads might be the best think they can come up with. I had a stalker once. At the end of the evening we sorted him out, outside on the sidewalk.
That's heavy stuff. I'll burry the topic. How did the two of you meet?
We met at a Cryptopsy show back in 2006 in Groningen – Vera. We had one similar friend who introduced us. And ever since, we hit it off !
Did you help eachother with the guitar lessons?
Guitar lessons not too much. I had only one year of lessons and Yessica about four years. Sven is a former bass player in Dictated and Bart, who's very exceptional in his play, we find the perfect balance. We all write the music together, comment eachother on riffs. Our tastes of metal are so diverse, that we combine our preferences and with the creativity of Marten, we create the music that we make.
You both have a lip piercing, you even dress the same and have the same haircut. What other things did I miss you have in common?
Everybody always asks if we are sisters… We simple answer: No.
No, I could see that.
We actually don't think we look alike, but I can imagine people do. What we both have in common is being absolutely annoying! It's amazing that our band members are able to cope with us.
Can you give any examples of that?
We drive our bandmembers nuts! We love to embarrass ourselves, we are extremely loud, love to make our presence and drive ourselves or others in awkward positions. Our drummer made a remark. He said: “I have to withdraw my opinion. You are absolutely no ladies!” And most of the time, that's true. I guess sometimes we lack of female hormones.
If you had the change, would Dictated be an all female group?
Never!! We had offers of women who play bass or vocals. But two women in one band, is more than enough! We are death metal, not chick metal.
Well, I won't bug you with that anymore. Why did you decide to pick the name you have, Dictated?
Every starting band has problems creating the perfect band name. We tried many variations. One time I was watching a TV program and I heard the host say: “He dictated the people”. The name Dictated is what we represent. The songs, the lyrics, the title of the albums all combined is Dictated and it has absolutely nothing to do with a dictatorship of the Second World War.
The songs all seem to carry familiar death metal topics. Could you tell me something about their lyrical content?
You nailed it right there. The lyrics I write are probably similar to others, but as everybody else, we try to be different. The general idea is to write about frustrations, depressions many people have encountered. We give great thought to the lyrics, because that's what we represent. Some have a historical touch, some are situations I or we have come across.
Are lyrics important to you, as a guitar player? I mean, with changing singers, it might be risky to have one leave something behind you might not completely approve of.
Yes, for me the lyrics have great value. For both the promo and the album I wrote the lyrics, except 'Lack Of Purity', which is Sven's creation. But with the new line up, the writing process has progressed. Bart and Sven both participate in writing the lyrics. And when it's finished, we criticize and perfect it until it is Dictated.
What kind of lyrics would never go with Dictated?
Probably the lyrics about ripping babies apart, cutting out organs and raping women. Nor about love, but that hasn't been done much in the music industry, has it? ;)
No, it hasn't. Well, Gorefest have and Carcass have made a song about the insincerity of love songs. And I figure some songs could project feelings of love or lovesickness into another situation. But most of expressions of loving admiration in our industry tend to become slightly too aggressive for the label “love song”, I totally agree. I can understand the topic of “raping women” would be less interesting too and ripping babies isn't that noble to sing about either. Do you mind that others do?
Hell no! In some types of music it's indispensible. Their music creates an atmosphere and those lyrics are best applied to that kind of music. And it's hilarious at some moments, right?
Well, there is a point where I think lines are being crossed at times, but that's just my opinion. We agree that love is not a common topic in our industry. Then again, isn't love the most important colour on someone's emotional pallet?
It's still a mystery what the origin of the emotion 'love' is.
What would you consider to be your most important musical influences?
Personally, it's bands like Carcass, Napalm Death, Obituary that inspire me the most. Death metal of these times are Suffocation, Dying Fetus, Decapitated and Krisiun. In the band it varies from black metal to American death metal, but I won't go into their detailed influences, cause I might get it wrong and get lynched ;)
Hahaha, I will let you get away with it then, given the risk you would take otherwise. Are there any big plans coming up for the band?
We have a great show coming up at Protzen Open Air (Germany), together with Cliteater which we owe many thanks to, Ivan Cuijpers in particular. We are still searching for a booking agency, but Doomstar Bookings has done a lot for us so far! Obviously we'd love to tour, get international and live the dream of every band. We have some other good shows coming up, which will be confirmed soon on our MySpace
What has been the highlight to date?
To play with Lividity. That was an amazing experience for the both sides and we hope we'll get to play together again. We've played with many bands we always wanted to play with, but the list is long, so we have a lot of goals to achieve.
Are you already in writing mode for new songs?
We most certainly are! With the new line up we have combined many musical flavors. We all are curious were it leads, but we have our guideline: Death Metal. As a band, you constantly need to create, progress and develop yourself in which it becomes more and more challenging.
I guess I'll leave you here, so goodbye. Is there anything I forgot to ask about or you would like to say in general?
Thank you for giving us the opportunity to explain/promote the album 'Summary Of Retribution', the obvious female questions and the properly formulated questions. We would like to thank all the people who read the interview and bands we've played with so far.