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Navarone

Onderstaand interview had eigenlijk tijdens de release show van het nieuwe album 'Oscillation' gepland gestaan, maar door omstandigheden kon dit niet plaatsvinden. Gelukkig heb ik de show zelf wel kunnen meemaken en was drummer Robin Assen bereid per email mijn vragen te beantwoorden, want een paar vraagjes had ik toch wel na dit indrukwekkende optreden.

Door: Cor | Archiveer onder hardrock / aor

Hi guys! The release show was great; truly impressed me! Are you satisfied with the performance and the new album?
Absolutely! This record has come closest to our preconceived expectations. And any artist will recognize the joyful experience of a plan coming together. As for the release, playing in front of an 1100 piece sold out venue is nothing shorter than a profound privilege. So yeah, it was epic.

The audience was quite enthusiastic also, especially given the fact most of the songs being pretty unknown to most of them; wasn't it a bit of a risk to leave out old stuff from the encore also?
An album release show is a weird show, because you're playing a show you've never played before, and which you'll probably never play again. So yes, it's risky. But isn't that just the place where all the fun stuff happens?!

Roman had to change from guitar almost every song. He didn't complain with putting the set list together?
He did. But being the Benjamin of the tribe we overruled him ha, ha. No, we do consider the guitar changes when we put together the showcase in order to make the show pass as fluently as possible. You don't want to push the audience out of the magical bubble you've worked so hard for to create by mere logistics. So yeah, we do think about that kind of stuff. That, and we have a great guitar tech, who saves our lives every show. Thanks, Bas!

The camera man on stage was quite annoying at times, how will we see the contributions of this extra band member in the future?
Well, we wanted to shoot a couple of songs with a single cameraman to make a video for the audience – and other interested people – taken from the actual stage in order to enhance the relationship between us and the audience, merely by sharing our beautiful view on so many people. It was the first time we tried this and it worked out great!! Have you seen the live footage of Snake? We do take note of the fact that the presence of the cameraman took a few audience members a bit aback, but we've had many very positive reactions to the video. So maybe we'll do one song per show in the next tour or so. We'll see.

To me it seemed at times that Kees has some preference towards the solo's in the newer songs, or is he just getting even better with the new songs?
Don't exactly know what you mean by that, but Kees is just fucking amazing on a guitar, old or new songs. The kind of craftsman you hardly find anymore these days. And anyone who's heard differences in tone or intention between old and new songs, has better ears than I have.

Last week you played Noorderslag, a festival with great opportunities, when talking about networks and stuff; how was the gig and do you have any news about future developments coming from your presence there?
Actually we played Eurosonic, not Noorderslag. But a lot of people confuse those two. But yeah, we headlined the main stage and it was great. And given the reactions – also from people from the industry – we did what we came for. What the direct results of that will be we either don't know yet or can't share with you yet ha, ha.

What is it with Navarone and food (Cas Spijkers project)?
We just love food. And cause we got fed up with the local snack bar, we figured let's ask the best cooks in the country in training to cook for our fans, while they listen to the new record for the first time. Bram, our bass player, dug up this idea and it turned out to be a fantastic evening. For the cooks, for the other students who helped us out serving the food, for us and most of all for the fans.

Great idea! But maybe the orchestral stuff could be even more fitting while sitting at diner? Any plans towards some more orchestral projects by the way?
Would make sense, right? But making sense tends to get boring after 15 minutes. This record kept people from hitting their forehead to the bottom of the soup bowl, I assure you. And with this band, there are always plans. And we love orchestral projects, as we play every December with our own small 9 piece ensemble. It's kind of a small orchestra and they play phenomenally! We're talking to a couple of bigger ensembles as well. It would be awesome to play with a big orchestra at some point. But those kind of projects demand careful planning and organisation. An orchestra is a living creature and should be treated as such in every way.

You guys have so much know how in the band, so much musical education/knowledge from re-arranging for classical instruments to video/film and management skills. Still you decided to work with an external producer, why?
Because when you get involved in a creative project – like making a record – you tend to get into detail too soon. It's nice to have “an extra pair of ears (and brains!)” in the room putting things into perspective. That makes the decision making process a lot more effective. At least it worked very well for us. And it isn't as if we would've picked anyone. We picked Joost van den Broek because we trusted his ears (and brain) like no other.

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A pretty bold question: Being pretty independent from "the big guys" (who make most of the money in the business), is there enough for you as musicians to make a decent living?
No. Don't do it, kids. It's awful! Just get your real estate license and pretend to be happy for the rest of your life, like the rest of them.

According to my information 'Darker Shade Of White' was mainly written by Merijn and Kees, and 'Vim And Vigor' more a band thing. How was the writing process for 'Oscillation'?
You understood wrongly. Both records were written by the whole band. The only song that's on ADSOW that was already written by Kees and Merijn in earlier days is December. And in addition to that, trust me when I say that the song turned out quite different compared to the first demo's.
The main difference in the writing process of Oscillation was that we involved Joost already in the writing process. We worked out the first demo's and then Joost stepped in to the rehearsal room and carved, shaped and fine-tuned the songs with us, until they were ready to be recorded.

Listening to the new songs, it seems to me as more back to the seventies (lots of Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin influences again); something you're very good at in my opinion. Although the more "alternative" influences from 'Vim And Vigor' were performed with passion on stage, it always seemed to me as if you felt more at home with the balance towards the seventies (with your own flavour of course), or is that just my personal impression?
Thank you for the compliment. And it's hard to debate over any man's opinion or views on creative expressions, which a record simply is. So yeah, if you feel like that, then it must mean we did something to evoke that feeling in you. But it's hard up to impossible to either gain pride, be insulted or anything in between as an artist, because the actual creation is – hopefully – an expression that you'd like to keep as unbiased as possible. At least that's how we like to work. And if you are able to maintain a level of creative integrity, the opinions and/or views by others on the matter become more and more reflections of those people's own internal world views than actually a take on our creative product. Man, it gets hazy over here. Look. We love the 70's. And we love the 90's. And if there's one influencing force around, it must be love, right? So yeah, one could probably hear that. But we've never had the talk amongst each other which decade we love more.

Making the promotional video for 'Soon I'll Be Home' ,one of the most poppy tracks (even without a guitar solo), is a pretty safe choice on one hand, on the other this track is not really representative for the album in my opinion. Why the choice for this track?
We released Snake as the first song of the new record. Soon I'll Be Home is the second release we did. So first we picked probably one of the most aggressive tracks, and now we picked probably the most catchy track. Like you said before, we love doing a lot of things. And making eclectic records is a big thing we love doing. So why not share that?

As final question, is there any hot news or gossip you want to share with our readers, and an honest answer to this what if: you were given the chance to do the release party of your album in Washington (as replacement of 3DoorsDown at the Trump festival, at the face of a worldwide audience) instead of in Nijmegen, would you have considered this?
Like Frank Zappa once said: “We're all in it for the money!” As far as the gossip goes, don't be surprised when you'd feel like “Soon I'll Be Home”, while enjoying a whopper in one of 430 Burger King's in the near future.

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