It’s been a while since our last update. In fact it was 2009 since our last interview, when LeGrand just joined the band. How are things in 2016?
Things are going very well. We had some hick-ups the last few years, mainly due to line-up changes, but that’s all behind us now. We’re heading forward now. The new album has been released this year, the reviews are great, and finally we can concentrate on what we love doing most, playing live! We’re also in the process of writing new songs.
The main reason for this new interview is of course the new Cirrha Niva album ‘Out Of The Freakshow’. I waited on purpose to do this interview so I can ask how the album is received by fans, press and others. What are they all saying?
The press overall is very positive, we get some great reviews. We sometimes see the previous album is compared to the new one, so sometimes people like the old one a little less than the new one, or the other way around. This sometimes has its influence on the final outcome of reviews. It’s all a matter of taste I guess. Altogether though the press has been very positive. The fans are full of compliments, people tell us they love the songs. What we have heard a few times already is that you have to ‘get used’ to the new album, it ‘needs to grow on you’, which we take as a big compliment. We believe that the best albums are those that need to ‘grow on you’. So when people tell us this they make our day.
Funny thing; in the previous interview LeGrand was kind of relieved that the theatrics of before were toned down. And then I see the video for ‘Ego’…old habits return?
Well, there is a trade off, we didn’t want to do the ‘Liaison’ theatrics anymore, but that doesn’t mean we don’t want to have anything to do with styling in general. We just didn’t want to do such a theatrical piece like ‘Liaison’ anymore. We had some ideas about styling (we wanted it to be shady) and slowly it evolved into a dark vision in which we felt make-up could attribute to the image we wanted to create alongside the album. Besides who’s going to wear the bridal dress from ‘Liaison’? Not me hahaha.
The band welcomed two new musicians and worked with a few guest musicians for the album, can you tell us how this was established?
The two new musicians just were necessary. We had multiple band-changes, all in the rhythm section, due to different reasons. Finally when Nathaneal Taekema told us he was going to leave us we decided to put the bar pretty high concerning a new drummer. When Robert auditioned we immediately felt he was the guy for the job, He’s our age, he knew how to drum the songs (which a lot of drummers struggled with), he is a composer, he has some great technical insight and skills. he really is the full package and he’s a great guy, which is also very important to us. Michel Steenbekkers already was mentioned earlier by us when looking for a new bass player, but we didn’t ask him back then due to another band he was in. The last time we needed a new bass player Rob (who has known Michel for years and years) just wanted to give it a try. So we asked Michel and since then he’s a great addition to the band. Concerning the guests; Erik van Ittersum was proposed to us by Joost van den Broek, who initially would do the keys on our album. He didn’t have the time though so in came Erik. Joost supervised the entire keyboard recordings and Erik made a great piece of music to accompany our songs. We’re very happy with how things turned out. Concerning ‘Afraid To Bleed’: I wanted to have a female singer at the end of ‘Afraid To Bleed’, this has always been my idea for this song. I compared it to ‘The Great Gig In The Sky’ from Pink Floyd, that kind of vibe you know. So when other band members listened that song they told me they knew a female singer who was absolutely fit for such kind of feel. When Lisette came in she ripped it, she’s awesome. She has the skills, the musical insight and man does she have some power!!!! We’re very happy to have her on the album. About Devon Graves: Le Grand already was in touch with him for a long time, just talking you know…. When we started doing the final part of ‘Just Another Legacy’, Le Grand felt that the voice of Devon Graves should accompany the music and his own lyrics/voice, so he asked him. Luckily Devon said yes and when recording his voice he also decided to add some flute, which pleasantly surprised us as you may understand. We feel very fortunate to have Devon on the album, since we’re all great fans of his music.
’Out Of The Freak Show’ is a diverse, strong and steady album. The band of course spent quite some time with the material before actually recording it. Looking and hearing back; are you satisfied with the end result?
First of all: Thanks for the compliment! We’re very happy with the outcome. You know, when you record an album for a big part yourself there will always be things you hear and ask yourself ‘shouldn’t we have done this’ or ‘wouldn’t this have been’. But in the end what matters is you make a decision and act so the album gets done. Of course everything was done under the watchful eye of the guys from Split Second Sound, and they really were a big help in the recording process. They did the drum recordings, Le Grand his vocals, Rob his leads and the re-amping/mixing/mastering. They did a great job mixing such a big pile of tracks into one coherent and cool sounding piece of music! We are very happy with their attribution. And they’re fun as well! Good times….!
Cirrha Niva just played live on stage at Occultfest in The Netherlands, how was that?
Like the time before it was great to play Occultfest. It wasn’t very crowded but the people out there made us feel welcome and responded very well to our music. We feel great when we see people enjoy our music and it is fun to play it live for them. Occultfest really is what you call a cosy festival. It’s nice to play those kind of festivals, having fun and talk to the people.
As the landscape of metal widens even more these days, where do you feel Cirrha Niva ‘belongs’ to?
That’s a hard question, you know, we don’t need to ‘belong’ somewhere… we just want to make great songs, whether you call it death/prog/funk/whatever you can come up with. We love to compose and we get our inspiration from many kinds of music and all kinds of other different influences. We feel we should be able to do whatever we want musically and artistically. So if we decide to make an acoustic album, or to do an entire death metal album, we’ll do so. Whatever we think sounds good is possible. Whatever we think looks cool is possible. We always try to give it our own identity. We don’t set out to be prog-, or death-, or heavy metal. We just start with some idea’s, the others add their idea’s and then we start cooking. And we don’t follow a recipe so you never know what you’re going to end up with, hahaha. If we’re all happy, if we all believe the vibe is right…. that’s when we have a song!
Are there specific goals set out for the band? Something you want to do or somewhere you would like to play live?
We want to play as much as possible, on as many stages as possible! Playing live is what we really love doing, we love to see the fans have a good time and talk to them. It’s great to share our love for music with people who have the same mindset, playing live and meeting the fans is what makes us tick! When we see people sing along, or encourage us, sometimes we see women dance…those are the biggest compliments.
This question I often ask musicians and call it the lightning strikes moment; do you remember the very moment that you felt ‘yeah this is my music!’, a certain album, song, live show…
For me personally, yes, and I remember exactly. It’s a bit of a story but here you go.. I was seven years old, it’s morning and I’m playing with my cars at home. At a certain moment a police car pulls up to our front door and my dad came out. He came into the house, being pretty upset. Turns out he was in a very severe car accident the night before (his car literally was torn to pieces he later told me) and he just walked out having some cuts and bruises. He had these two ‘suitcases’ with him (turns out these were record cases), rescued from the car. He came in, put on Deep Purple’s ‘In rock’ and turned up the volume. So I heard the lead with which ‘Speed King’ starts and I am blown away. I’m in absolute awe. I immediately loved the roaring sound, the energy, the power. So I asked my dad: ‘what kind of music is this?’ My dad said ‘This is hard rock’. I immediately told him ‘I love hard rock’. Then I asked him ‘ what kind of instrument is this?’. He told me ‘This is a guitar, why?’ to which I immediately responded ‘I want to play guitar’. It took me five more years to start playing guitar, but from that initial moment on I was hooked to hard-rock. Still when I hear the lead prior to ‘Speed King’ I feel that this is what guitar playing is about; power, fire, emotion, energy, the absolute thrill of the lead….balls to the wall!!! It’s my first and one of the most impressive memories I have regarding music and I’m very grateful for it. I still have the album he played that day, it’s totally beaten up, full of scratches and dings, but I still have it.
Something else you would like our readers to know about you and/or the band?
Well, nothing special, only that we would love to see you guys during gigs, talk to you, share stories and the love for music. So if you would like to see us perform, make sure you tell your local venue! Furthermore, if you’d like some merchandise, we regularly have special offers at our online shop, which you can access via our official website. That way you can spare some money AND you will support us as a band. Thank for the interview and the well-wishing, we hope to see you guys in the future at one of our gigs!!