Congratulations with the new CD 'It's Your Fear That Feeds Their Power'. It's been about twelve years since the release of the 'Counterblast' EP and about nine since the 'Resist Or Serve' promo. Please could you point out why it took so long to release the band's first full-length?
Haha, logically that's the first question everybody asks me when it concerns the new Enraged album. Basically it comes down to line-up changes. The writing process for this new record was already finished in 2005 (except for the song 'Respice Finem', which was written in 2009). Nevertheless our whole line-up collapsed in early 2006. Previous bass player / vocalist Peter Hagen and me remained and we refreshed the line-up and did some gigs again with a new line-up. But in my honest opinion the new line-up wasn't as strong as the old one, Especially concerning the musical chemistry. So we've parted ways and from 2008 on, I was the only band member.
We already started recording drums at the end of 2007 but I had to find some qualified session members to record the rest of the music of course. First of all, I've asked Jitse Schregardus (our first singer, who appears on all the earlier Enraged releases) whether he was willing do the vocals. He was very excited to do so. Tjaard Walstra (who was our live bass player during the last shows we did back in 2008) volunteered to do all the bass parts. The biggest challenge finally was to find somebody who was willing to do all the rhythm guitars. A lot of work. Several guitar players passed by, but despite their promises, all lacked time or motivation to finish the job properly. That really delayed the recording process most. It wasn't until 2010 that Tjaard also offered to do the guitars. From that moment on things still went slow, but a bit quicker than before. It took yet another year and a half to finish all the guest solo's, the vocal recordings and mixing.
Let's focus on the recordings of the 'It's Your Fear That Feeds Their Power' CD now. The first thing that draws attention are the awesome guest solo's by the likes of James Murphy (Obituary, Death, Testament), Andy Larocque (King Diamond, Death), Christoffer Malmstrom (Darkane), Jens Van Der Valk (God Dethroned, Autumn) and Jos Hindriks (Disintegrate). How did they end up on the album?
Great to hear you like all the guest solo's! I am very proud on their contributions as well. From the moment on that it was obvious that the recording process would take a while, Jochem Jacobs (who mixed the album) came up with the idea of fixing some guest contributions. Just to give the album some extra attention as soon as it would appear. So I came up with the plan to ask some good guitar players to guest on the album. Jos Hindriks was the first I've asked for this job. He is a local guitar player and I did some session drums with his band Disintegrate back in 2008. I liked his guitar skills and he liked the thought of featuring on this album. He eventually just did some guitar solo's on the opening track (but wrote the guitars for the song 'Respice Finem' as well), even though he was supposed to do a whole bunch on the album. Because Jos had a lack of time, the situation more or less forced me to ask some others as well.
I then asked Jens van der Valk because I always liked his guitar solos with Cantara and God Dethroned very much and figured that his solos would fit to our music as well. He immediately volunteered and really did an excellent job. Because of the withdrawal of Jos, he eventually did most of the guest solos on the album. I also made a list of my all-time metal guitar hero's ever and asked them all whether they were willing to participate on the album. Those who liked to play on the album (and who's schedules matched mine) finally contributed on the record. And I am very proud and satisfied to have Andy, Christofer and James playing on the new Enraged as well!
It was rumored that Jens Van Der Valk is a full-time member in Enraged nowadays. What's the current line-up and is it stable at the moment we are doing this interview?
Enraged has a very stable line-up these days: just me! Haha. As a matter of fact, since the last line-up collapsed back in 2008 I have been the only member ever since. The other guys only contributed as a session member to record this album. That's why it says “recording line-up” in the booklet of the album. None of the other guys are a full-time member. But all who participated on this album really put an effort in getting the best result and I am very honored to gather so many good musicians just for this album. Well known or less known. And concerning future plans: it all depends on what the public response is on the new album. But Jitse already offered to join our ranks again as soon that would be relevant. Same goes for Tjaard, doing the bass guitar duties. I'm not sure about Jens though. We haven't been discussing that option. It all depends on the response of this new album.
The sound of the recordings is very clear, it sounds if the individual musicians are in my room raging their instruments. I've read the CD was mixed by Jochem Jacobs, but can you tell us more about the recording sessions?
Thanks for the compliments once again! Yes, the album was mixed by Jochem Jacobs and he did an excellent job on that. He already did a very good job on several metal albums before, so I really wanted him to do this. Just giving that extra to the album, instead of just blending in between a lot of mediocre releases that lack a really good sound. Be sure it was a hard road to finish all the recordings. Because of all the unnecessary delays with the guitar recordings it sometimes was a bit hard to persevere in finishing this thing up. Nevertheless I really believed in the quality of all the tracks and as soon as Tjaard offered to do practically all the guitars on the album, he also became very motivated in pushing through.
Back in November 2007 we (Peter Hagen and Sander Elbers, who still were band members at that time and me) recorded my drum tracks at Peter's own studio in Harderwijk. It wasn't until 2009 that Tjaard started recording the bass tracks at his own Audioshape Studio's in Leeuwarden. He also recorded his guitar tracks in that studio in several occasional sessions. Every now and then I dropped by to check his recordings and giving some feedback about them. All the guest guitar players recorded their tracks in their own studio's. They mailed me the final result as soon as both of us (the guest guitar player and me) were fully satisfied.
Finally we did the vocal recordings during occasional sessions in Stiens, engineered by Danny Boonstra (who does vocals in Disintegrate and has a home studio). It took us almost six months to finish all the vocals, particularly because of schedules that had to match for all the three of us (Jitse, Danny and mine). Besides all the main vocals of Jitse, me myself and Danny also did some backing vocals to give it some extra layer on some parts. All the recordings were finished at the end of last summer and after that we did the mixing in about two month's time during last autumn.
Douwe, I cannot help feeling there's a lyrical red thread throughout the 'It's Your Fear That Feeds Their Power' CD. Could you give us a glimpse about the concept of the album?
You're very right about that. Although fifty percent of the lyrics on the album are more based on my personal views on some bad experiences with other persons in the past, the other half of the songs all deal about manipulation through fear. I think a lot of people are not aware of the fact that we are being flooded by threats in daily life. Especially by all media. And fear is the mind killer: it makes you “shrink” and easier to be controlled. Defenseless even. The title of the album is to make you aware of the fact that it's not wise in believing everything you read or listen to, but always think for yourself.
The band choose to self-release the 'It's Your Fear That Feeds Their Power' CD. How does something like this work?
The choice of releasing the album by my own, is because of the fact that I already invested a lot in this release and wouldn't approve if somebody else would earn money with our music which is rightfully mine. Besides that, the influence of record companies has diminished big time thanks to all the downloading of the last couple of years. And still, if I choose to get this album released through a record company, Enraged wouldn't end up as one of the main bands at such a company. I am quite aware of that. So the best alternative for now is that I am promoting the album by myself and distribute the album digitally by myself as well. You know: fixing packages and posting it. No other parties involved and I am very ok with that. It takes a lot of time, but hey: I am already used to that since the last five years. Nevertheless, I am still looking for a qualified distro for the international physical distribution of the album. That's something I cannot do on my own. So get in touch if you like our album and think you can help me out with that!
Enraged hails from the Northern states of Holland, the state of Friesland to be exactly. Back in the days there was a really strong metal and punk scene from Friesland like Disgrace, Kadaverbak, Hideous Sun Demons, Mortuary I.O.D. and Lunacy to name only a few, but it seems that most bands are inactive or split up nowadays. Could you share us your opinion about the current metal and punk bands in Friesland?
It's really funny that you're mentioning Mortuary I.O.D., because that's one of my previous bands! That band split up back in 2005, because all the other band members one by one chose to focus on different things in life back then and me myself basically was the only remaining band member. Enraged already existed before I joined Mortuary I.O.D. in 1999, so I focused more on Enraged as soon as that band split up.
Concerning the general metal scene in “Fryslan”: there are and have been so many bands playing this kind of music. I'm not that much into punk though, but I know we still have various extreme metal bands in Fryslan who certainly have some quality. Ranging from gothic metal such as Lyonite, progressive stuff such as Dimaeon and Insidiae, death metal by bands like Braincasket and Coldblooded, heavy metal by Methusalem, grindcore bands such as Blood I Bleed and Stoma and more thrashy kinda bands such as Disintegrate and Insurrection. Most of them already released some stuff and did a good bunch of gigs. Others are yet very promising.
Nevertheless, most of them musicians all know each other or played with each other in various previous bands. By the way, the last mentioned band (Insurrection) is my other band since 2010. It's a bit more thrashy and to-the-point as Enraged is and we are now recording our first MCD (entitled 'Catatonic') at Audioshape Studios Leeuwarden. Which happens to be the studio of Enraged bass / guitar player Tjaard Walstra. He will be producing this album and it's gonna be a killer as well! I've also heard some rumors that there's gonna be a documentary on Dutch National Television (Nederland 2) in autumn about the Frisian metal scene. So anybody who's interested should check that out. It's supposed to be broadcasted in October or November 2013.
Could you also share some info about the scene in Friesland. Are there any good record stores and places to chill and bang your freakin' head off?
There are a bunch of metal record stores in Leeuwarden. Even though they're complaining a lot about all the downloading these days. Shops like King Kong Records and Big Bad Wolf Records in Leeuwarden offer a big variety of good metal albums and are quite known locally. As far as it concerns the venues: we have a bunch of venues who feature some metal every now and then. Bolwerk at Sneek, Iduna at Drachten and of course Romein at Leeuwarden. Especially the last one really offers all the northern metal heads some big metal bands on stage. Obituary and Cradle Of Filth played Romein last year and Hypocrisy is coming up at the end of March (and Insurrection will be supporting them!). Besides those bigger venues, there are also some bars and youth centers that also do metal every now and then. And of course we have two big metal festivals: Into The Grave and Dokk Em Open Air as well. A lot of people most of the time show up at gigs. Even at shows of less known metal bands. So there's some true loyalty for the music as well by the Frisian audience.
To close this interview off: I'm very interested in seeing the band live. Is there anything happening on the live front this year?
Nothing confirmed yet! But that could change if there's a lot of interest for the band. Our main focus now is to promote the new album and to make sure that it's available worldwide a.s.a.p.
I advise everyone to buy the 'It's Your Fear That Feeds Their Power' CD, so read my review here and get in touch with Enraged soon. How and where can people order this fucking great CD?
Thanks, man! It's available for 12,50 euros (excluding P&P) and can be ordered at: info (at) Enraged (dot) nl or just visit the Enraged website. The album is also available on I-Tunes and Amazon.
Let's wrap it up Douwe, do you have anything to say or add?
Thanks for your great review, interview and interest for Enraged, Koen! To all readers: go check out our new album! It took some time to finish it, but it's a true killer. Something