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Neerlands nieuwste supergroep heeft onlangs een nieuw album uitgebracht, dat kan u nauwelijks ontgaan zijn. ‘Antagonise’ gooit overal hoge ogen en wordt door praktisch iedereen gelauwerd. In ons gesprek met gitarist Frank Schiphorst echter kan je lezen dat het maken van een geweldig album niet noodzakelijkerwijs moeilijk noch duur hoeft te zijn.

Door: Wilco | Archiveer onder death metal / grindcore

What can you tell us about the attention the release of the album attracted? Are you busy at the moment?
O yes, busy as hell right now. Making the music is only a small part of the things we do right now. It is busier than it was with ‘Quarterpast’. Mark is very busy with Epica right now, so Jack and I get a lot of work now. Nuclear Blast arranges everything, but we have do the interviews. It is very nice, but tiring. I have to get up al 6:15 am, do a days work and do the interviews in the evening. But, I get much in return, so it is ok.

What about the opinions of the press and others up to now?
Very positive really. But some guy gave us only 4 credits out of 10. He said that we had no idea what we were doing and that we had no idea what metal is about. Oh well, he was only 21 and was not a journalist of an important magazine haha. But, we have also read a number of times that the sound of this album is closer to the sound of Epica than ‘Quarterpast’ was. Of course, we do not agree.

I think you are right. Any opinions from abroad?
Certainly, we get reviews from all over the world. Just like interviews. And all reactions are positive, I believe the lowest rating was 7,4 credits out of 10.

What are the German ratings? That is a very important metal country.
Yes I know. The ratings were very positive as well. But it was strange; the tour we did after the release of ‘Quarterpast’ hardly attracted any audience. We have no idea what caused that.

Was ‘Antagonise’ produced in the same way as ‘Quarterpast’?
No. We had an agreement with Nuclear Blast: when we could sell 10.000 copies of ‘Quarterpast’ we could stay there. In the end we didn’t, but still they wanted to keep us on their roster, though they cut down our budget with 2/3rd. So we had fewer budget to record the album. We solved that by recording as much as possible at home and that worked out very well. The drums and the vocals by Floor and Laura were recorded in a studio. Even Marks vocals were recorded at night at his house, he is at his best then.

What are, from your point of view, the most striking differences between ‘Antagonise’ and ‘Quarterpast’?
I think this album runs more smoothly, the previous album had more focus on technique and hooks, on this album the music itself is more important. Metal is more prominent. I am more satisfied with this album as well. I think we really made progress and honestly, I can’t wait to start to work on the next album! I would like to make even more brutal metal, but I think it always needs to run smoothly en should be entertaining.

Who is responsible for the music? In other words; who writes everything down?
Mark, Jack and I write everything, except for ‘Bloodline Forfeit’, that was written by Rob, our bass player. Often, we are just jamming and showing some ideas and Jack is able to make a song out of those parts. Sometimes we have a song just after a day of jamming and trying. Mark is the one who gives it all a finishing touch. He is also the one who writes the lyrics.

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Are the singers free to arrange their own melodies or arrangements?
Yes, Mark and Henning write their own melodies and so does Floor. Laura is also able to write her own melodies, but she was assisted by her brother Roberto who is on tour with Andrea Bocelli right now.

I’m sorry?
Yes, music runs in that family.

Where do you get your inspiration from?
Haha, no idea really. We just do it. We just jam and think of things. But we also try to inspire each other. On the previous album the things we wrote were more stressed on technique, on this album the music itself is more important. But I have heard some things and than I knew that I wanted to make such music as well, for instance Fleshgod Apocalypse. Behemoth is also a source of ideas to me.

Can you tell me something about the lyrics of the album?
Mark is responsible for the lyrics. They are about control of the governments, corruption, the NSA. That guy, Edward Snowdon was a great source of inspiration to Mark, a sort of hero really. Just like the sample in ‘Enemies Of Freedom’. Because of the sample we wrote that song in just one day.

Recently the band played some release shows. How did you guys like the gig in Breda and Utrecht?
Superb! It was really crazy. We really experienced the energy of the audience. And we really liked to perform with each other. It gives so much satisfaction! The sound was great, just like the venues we played in.

And did the soprano’s like it as well?
O yes. Laura sings classical music, but she really is a metal chick.

Can we expect that to happen on every gig? That everyone is present?
No, these gigs were really exceptions I fear. Henning and Laura will always be present, but for the other musicians? No that will be very hard. And the guy who played the violin is a friend of Marks. He volunteered to travel to The Netherlands to perform during our gigs, so he could get out of Greece for a while.

What about a tour and festivals this summer?
No, nothing yet, but we really want to go en perform. We are currently looking for festivals to play on. I think we have been confirmed to play on BPM festival in Belgium. But it is hard because Mark lives in Italy now and is very busy with Epica.

For closure: Why do you make music and why metal?
Good question! I don’t know really. I think because music was always important to me. When I was little I was always fooling around on a piano when there was one present. I think I turned to metal because the sound of a distorted guitar is awesome. I think with metal everything is possible, you can add almost everything without leaving the sound of metal.

Any last remarks?
Yes, buy our albums!

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