Maria, when did you discover that you had a talent for singing and how did you end up in the rock scene?
I come from a very musical family (as a matter of fact my father met my mother when he was DJ-ing) so I had a very broad musical education and I had the luck that my three and a half year older brother was really into bands like Nirvana, Soundgarden and Pearl Jam. When I was twelve years old, my brother had won a band competition and the winning band was invited to play the opening tune and one more additional song in the television show of Paul de Leeuw. The opening tune was from the Dutch TV series “Goede Tijden, Slechte Tijden”, which featured a female singer and my brother then mentioned that he had a sister that was capable of doing that. From that time on I’ve always been in band situations, from school bands to band competitions. When I was seventeen I joined a great symphonic metal band called Horizon and at the same time I had a pop band together with my brother called Eeek. A little bit later I was invited to participate in the second season of “Idols” and quite surprisingly I made it to the second round and later even to the finals. Because of that I could really live from the music for a couple of years, but I got stuck then because my own repertoire wasn’t very well suited for the general public and the festivals didn’t want me because an Idols-candidate wasn’t very credible. Looking back at it I absolutely wouldn’t have wanted to miss the experience, but I did feel kind of lost at times back then.
How did you get introduced to Robert?
In the beginning there were many line-up changed in my band(s) and I still was known as Marlies from Idols, until one of the drummers stated that to create a real breakthrough better song material was needed and he knew just the right guy for that. Well, that guy proved to be Robby Valentine and he indeed had great songs, so we started with a new band concept and that proved to work.
Was that already the first incarnation of Aniday?
Yes, it was. We started to record the songs at the end of 2007 and finished the process in 2008 and after these recordings the band name became Aniday At that time we really had the hope, maybe a bit naïve, to find a record company to release the album but that proved to be very difficult. Next to that we entered the “Grote Prijs van Nederland” competition where we reached the semi-final and although we had sixty-six percent of the people’s votes, we were not allowed to go to the finals. For me this felt very wrong and as a result of this our creative fire was really extinguished and we went into hibernation mode….
What was the trigger that relit the fire?
Last year around September I was doing some cleaning and I stumbled upon that album again. I gave it another listen and that relit the fire again! So we decided to bring it to market this time, because the music was just too good to be neglected.
Why didn’t you have the balls to do this six years earlier?
Well, at that time we thought that we really needed a record company to be successful. We were waiting for the golden partner to make things happen, while nowadays you see a lot of bands that are doing things on their own, so therefore now we decided to give it a shot as well and release it as an independent album.
Is the band still the same one as in 2008?
The only thing that’s different is that my brother is no longer part of the band because he got too busy with other things. Because of the fact that Robert and I got romantically involved at that time, which is not really professional hahaha, it was the obvious choice to get him into the band, also because he had written the majority of the songs.
Weren’t you afraid that it would be seen as Robert’s band instead of your band?
Of course it also has an advantage as he’s quite well-known as a musician, which is good for the CD sales especially in Germany and Japan where Robert is quite popular. Furthermore I think that because I’m the face of the band, people will always see it more as my band than Robert’s band.
Why the band name Aniday and why is it written like this?
There’s a book ‘The Stolen Child’ by Keith Donahue, where children are shadowed intensely until all the characteristics are known upon which they are replaced. This book is about a change that hasn’t succeeded very well with a child called Henry Day, because normally you don’t remember anything about the change, but this time he still remembers something. Very complicated story, but we really liked the name and it kind of reflected on my period when I did feel a bit lost in the music scene. As a competitor in Idols people saw me as a musical or pop singer and now finally, like a changeling, I am allowed to be myself and do the things you really like.
Still you entered another competition “The Voice Of Holland” last year?
Yeah, my god, my brother had applied me for that competition! At that time Aniday was still in hibernation mode and we didn’t really know which way we would go, so after rejecting at first I just thought to give it a try, because you never know… but when none of the chairs turned I really felt the dumbest on earth. But aside from that this competition also helped to relight the fire as I then clearly understood that performing and singing is really what I want.
Although the chairs didn’t turn the comments from the judges were quite good. Didn’t it frustrate you that some performers which were not even half as good as you went to the next round?
The frustration that I had with “De Grote Prijs Van Nederland” really repeated itself there. But music is all about emotion, so sometimes you think things are not fair…and that can be a frustrating experience.
What was the game plan that you had when you decided to release this album after all?
For me the main purpose was just that the CD would be out there, that I could show my daughter years from now that her mother has really accomplished this. My original wish, to release the album and to do a great presentation show, has already been fulfilled, but now that the album is out there and it’s received quite positive, you of course want more…like performed in bigger venues like 013, Melkweg, Paradiso.
Is the music on the album all from the 2007-2008 time frame or did you also add some newer material to it?
No, this is really the album as we have recorded it in 2007 and 2008. The luck that we have right now is that this type of music hasn’t been really popular the last ten years and that it slowly starts to become popular again.
Although you’re a female fronted band, you’re more traditional rock than gothic or progressive metal. What are typical elements that you’re looking for in a song before it’s really a good Aniday song?
First of all the Valentine specific things like backing choirs and bombastic elements, but an Aniday song also needs my typical screamy vocals. It shouldn’t be too modest…although there’s a lot of variety in my vocals parts on this album.
Robert’s music is very bombastic. How is he able to limit himself when writing for Aniday?
He had written some of these songs for another project at first and he had really chosen to write somewhat more accessible music for that female fronted project called Kismet. That didn’t really work out, but he still had the idea to start a more accessible but heavy band and in the end that became Aniday.
Why did you decide to change your artist name to Maria Catharina?
Besides doing our things with Aniday we’re also still working the cover circuit, because there’s still money to be earned. Just like we needed the name Aniday to distinguish ourselves as a rock band, I thought that this was also needed for me as I otherwise would still be remembered as the Idols girls singing covers. Furthermore Maria Catharina is my full name that’s also present in my passport. Next to that Marlies Schuitenmaker isn’t really a name that you can use if we want to start doing things outside of the Netherlands.
I’m quite impressed by ‘Can’t Take No More’, ‘Hole In My Heart’, ‘When Loving You Is Wrong’ and ‘Lost The Way’, but what is for you the best track on the album and why?
Difficult question…I think I would pick ‘Buscando La Vida’ because that song has everything in it what we’re capable of as a band. The tracks that you mention certainly are the strongest ones from a commercial perspective.
So the album is out now and what’s going to happen next?
Now we really want to get the word out there by means of doing interviews and performing live as much as we can.
How do you cope with the fact that Robert also has his own projects besides Aniday, like the Queen tribute and his own Valentine album, which detracts the attention from your band?
He’s the star in the house and I’m the housewife…hahaha! On a more serious note, we both think that we deserve most of the attention so that can create some issues but we always have been able to resolve that.
Are the songs that are to be found on this album all there is or do you still have some more Aniday material hidden in the vaults somewhere?
We have some more material written and I’m playing with the idea to do a re-release of this album with an additional four new songs or so.
Do you have plans to write some more new material in the near future?
As a matter of fact Robert and I discussed today that we will give each other some more room to start working on new songs again. There are people that can write songs in the hectic situation of a family life, but we both need some more peace around us to be able to become really creative.
What is the ambition level that you and the other band members have with Aniday? To what level to you think you can grow in the music scene?
I think we need to create a buzz in the scene first and then my dream would be to be able to fill venues like Paradiso but at the moment we’re still far from that level and there are a lot of dependencies whether you will be able to get there. And don’t forget the factor luck…
Okay Maria, thanks for your willingness to answer my questions. Is there anything that we didn’t cover that you would still like to mention to our readers?
No, not really as we’ve covered quite some ground. Thanks you for the opportunity to do this interview and I hope that all the Lords Of Metal readers will go out and listen to the Aniday album.