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Spitting Nails

Na het uiteenvallen van de Limburgse death metal formatie Mangled was gitarist Erwin Hermsen voornamelijk actief als producer van andere metal bands in zijn Toneshed studio. Samen met voormalig Mangled drummer Floris de Jonge werd er aan de zijlijn echter ook gewerkt aan een muzikale comeback van beide heren. Tien jaar heeft de zoektocht naar het ideale bandgeluid moeten duren, maar het eindresultaat mag er wezen. Begin deze maand kwam het debuutalbum 'Red Dawn' uit, een ijzersterk metalcore album waarop ook ex-Dawn of Anger zanger Frank Litjens te horen is. Wij waren dan ook benieuwd naar het ontstaan van de band en het debuutalbum 'Red Dawn'. Erwin Hermsen staat ons te woord.

Door: Dennis | Archiveer onder metalcore

’Red Dawn’ was released on 12 May 2017. How have the reactions been so far and what is happening in the Spitting Nails camp at the moment?
The reactions have been great so far and were mainly from people close to us. I have not yet seen reviews online. Just last week I got notified about a review in the Dutch physical magazine Aardschok. It was very positive and we scored 8 out of 10. We are a new coming band and people still have to get to know us, but I’m confident the feedback will be positive. Our music could potentially attract a broad audience since it is brutal, yet melodic, with great emphasis on head nodding metal riffs. The vocals are angry and there are a few clean parts as well for variation and atmosphere. We wrote it in a way we always liked to hear it.

Erwin and Floris were both in the death metal band Mangled during the 90s and early 00’s. What was the reason that Mangled split up back in the day? The band had been going from 1989 to 2006, that’s already a pretty big run if you ask me…
Answer: It sure is…haha… We did some awesome things along the way. Played gigs all over Europe, got signed by several small labels, released some albums, made new friends and had a great time overall. However after the release of ‘Witness Disposal Program’ in 2005, we didn’t have the mutual strength for the process to repeat itself for the fourth time. We just had to stop and all went our own way.

Pretty soon after you already formed Spitting Nails. What was your goal when you formed this band?
Initially we wanted to start a project to be able to continue our passion for writing music and simply stay in contact. Eventually it became more serious and we wanted to be different in the same way as we’ve been different with Mangled all those years. We wanted to stand out in a positive way, doing things in a way only we could do. We felt the urge to prove our musicianship for some reason as well. We wanted to create and release a full-length album within a few years but we failed miserably as it took way longer in the end…haha!

Between the break-up of Mangled and your new album are more than ten years. According to your biography Spitting Nails was formed in 2006. Why has it taken so long to release this album?
Answer: The main reason for this is that we were unable to practice on a regular basis. We live 150 km apart nowadays and both had some life changing events happening. Besides that we have both a demanding daytime job and getting in the car to drive three hours at the end of a working day was often just too much.

What have you been doing mainly since the breakup of Mangled? I’ve seen a pretty impressive reference list on your Toneshed Studio, can you tell us something about that?
Yes you’re right about that! Another reason for the time it took to complete the Spitting Nails album. Building the studio started in 2003. It took three years to complete it. Everything was designed and built by myself in my spare time. The first bands that came to the studio were bands that I previously recorded with my mobile rig years before that. Bands like Collision, Cliteater and Cirith Gorgor were amongst the first customers. Along the years new customers found their way to the studio and made it possible to expand the tools and possibilities of the studio. Nowadays I typically record a handful of bands a year and do some mixing and mastering projects as well.

band image

With this band you are taking a whole different approach than with Mangled. From your biography I understood that it took some time before you had found your own/new style. Can you tell us something about this search / process?
Floris and myself became band-less after the Mangled break up so we had some time on our hands to explore new and interesting musical directions. We grew some interest in more progressive and atmospheric styles of music. I remember listening a lot to A Perfect Circle at that time. We explored this direction and created some songs. As time passed by and we were stuck on a song we always started jamming heavy shit and it just sounded good and felt familiar. So eventually, after a lot of trial and error, going back and forth in several musical directions we decided we wanted to write brutal songs but without the typical death metal restrictions that we knew too well. We allowed scream and clean vocals, guitar riffs that would not exclusively consist of power chords and we wanted it to be musical and brutal at the same time. I was not always easy to find the right combinations. But it turned out fantastic in the end.

Eelko Lommers was responsible for the lyrical concept of the album. Why did you use someone outside of the band to write lyrics? What can you tell about the lyrics?
Initially it was only Floris and myself so we created a MySpace profile called “looking for a vocalist”. We got some people over to jam and eventually Eelko joined us. He came up with the lyrical concept and wrote all the lyrics. After a few years Spitting Nails couldn’t fulfil Eelko’s ambitions as a vocalist, he just needed to be on a stage whereas we were still working on song number three. As I explained, it took a hell of a long time. Eelko eventually joined Phoenix’ Ashes, who are also on RVPrecords. After Eelko left we worked on the rest of the songs and only started looking for a new vocalist when all the songs and lyrics were completed. We did some auditions and finally found an old time friend, Frank Litjens, who became our new vocalist. This was absolutely awesome since he was able to adapt to our style and requirements in no time. It felt as if we made up some of the lost time. About the lyrics… Well, it’s basically a post-apocalyptic theme and every song describes the processes going on between groups and individuals in a devastated world. When resources are scarce and anger and despair cause conflicting interests our world is on the verge of total downfall. It fits the music very well.

’Red Dawn’ will be released by RVP Records. How did you land this deal with them and what do you expect from RVP?
I knew RVP because I recorded Defcon One (now Mass Deception) who is also signed on that label. I contacted label owner Twan Bakker and after sending him the raw mixes he was very enthusiastic about Spitting Nails. RVP was able to release the album in physical format and not only online. This was one of our main requirements since we like to be able to hold our music in our hands. RVP made the album available through all modern streaming platforms as well. I think nowadays the availability of a large network is still important to get your music heard. RVP has this network and it will help us to spread our music.

When I did some research on Spitting Nails I found two other bands with the same name (from the USA and Germany), are you all aware of each other’s existence? And will this not lead to confusion?
Yes, I’ve seen some profiles on Facebook as well. It happens more often of course and I don’t see the problem. I think that when you listen to our music the confusion ends right away haha… At this point we are the only Spitting Nails with a release on Spotify. That will definitely help.

Are you also going to play live with this band?
We have not yet decided on that. We are currently investigating the possibilities and availability of the required band members to complete a live band. Just keep an eye out…

Do you have any last words for our readers?
I would like to thank all readers of LoM for their time reading this interview. Check out Spitting Nails on Spotify, like us on Facebook or just buy our CD from RVPrecords. Either way: Support the Dutch metal scene!!

Spitting Nails on Spotify
Spitting Nails on Facebook

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