Hi there, how’s life treating you? Could you introduce the band to our readers and tell us about the history of the band?
Jeroen: Hi Marcel, doing fine over here. Into The Arcane consists of Erik Noten on vocals, Tijl Jacobs on bass, Harald Bouten on drums and myself (Jeroen van Riet) on guitar.
The very beginnings of Into The Arcane were in the autumn of 2015. After Gunther Weerepas (original drummer for the Dutch doom/death metal act Dead End) and I left Dead End I wanted to start something new. When I joined the reunion of Dead End in 2014 I hadn't played guitar in over 20 some years (all this time I had been in several bands as a singer though) but found the energy and the joy of playing guitar again. I loved it! I wrote tons of riffs, and still do, actually. So I asked Gunther and we got together for a few rehearsals. After that first few weeks, Alwin (original bass player for Dead End) heard what we were doing and joined in on bass. Not long after that (February 2016) Erik joined on vocals.
So you could say Into The Arcane started as a band around February of 2016. I had a lot of material written, and in those days as a four piece we completed a new song almost every rehearsal. Ideas were flowing. In April 2016 we hit the studio to record with Rick Bouwman for (what we then thought) just a demo, but it later became the ‘Het Verlangen der Geest’ EP. We did it live, four songs, in one day. I just dubbed a few tracks and Alwin did too, but that was it. Straight from our heavy hearts. I remember Rick saying he didn't want us to pay for the recordings, as he loved what he was hearing. That was a great compliment of course. Up until those recordings I didn’t really know what Into The Arcane would actually sound like.
A few months later David van Heijnsbergen joined on keyboards and he recorded keys for the already done recordings. We all had a vision of our music as being heavy but melodic, melancholic and constructed around atmosphere, not so much around aggression or brutality. It has to touch your soul but shouldn't feel as a punch in the face. So we wanted keys, instead of a 2nd guitar player.
We rehearsed for several months, writing. But then, due to various reasons, first Gunther, than Alwin and then David all quit the band. Not at the same time, but within a few months from each other. Of course this was a setback for Erik and me, but what can you do. Mind you, we are still friends with those guys, and I wish them all the best. Harald Bouten (also in Dead End and Pictura Poesis) replaced Gunther on drums and Tijl Jacobs (also in Mouflon) joined on bass. We decided not to recruit another keyboard player, because we could not find one who understands the music and/or was willing to put a certain amount of effort in it without a paycheck. When we play live, the keys from the EP come from a tape and that works fine for us.
Despite the line-up changes we still believed in the energy of the recordings. In the winter of 2017 we decided to go through with it and release it as an EP. It was released by Doc Holliday Music Productions and Vic Records and mixed and mastered by Robin Cornelissen (I knew him for his work with Pentacle) and we are proud of the way it turned out.
You just released your debut E.P. ‘Het Verlangen Der Geest’. How has it been received by both the ‘press’ and other people up to now?
Jeroen: Actually I’m very pleased by the reactions so far. Reviews are good. The Facebook page is growing and the EP is doing well, both by sales and streams. So no complains here.
How did you go about writing the music? And recording it all?
Jeroen: The way we work is that I come up with one or more riffs and most of the time some sort of scheme or chronology. We write by jamming those riffs and take it from there. Ideas come up and if we like them, we use them. Simultaneously Erik starts writing vocal lines and lyrics, he then shares the general idea of what the song is about, which is important. The music has to support the lyrics and vice versa. It becomes one. We recorded the EP in one day. Started from 10 am until 10 pm, and that was it. We added keys after and made a general pre mix ourselves (Harald did). After that we handed it to Robin (Cornelissen) and he mixed and mastered it. I think he did a great job.
The title is in Dutch but the lyrics are all in English (unless I have missed something and my ears need to be replaced) What is the reason for that? Will you be writing lyrics in Dutch in the future?
Erik: Your ears work just fine. At some point we had to choose a title for the ep. All of our songs are thematically linked to psychiatry. Be it psychiatric studies or psychiatric illnesses. So I opted to have a title that ‘reflected’ that. We could have gone for ‘Desires Of The Mind’ or some variation on that but it just didn't stick. So the decision was made: Let’s name the EP in Dutch. A lot of Scandinavian bands have titles in their own language but sing in English, so why shouldn't we? In the end is just about creating music and being in free in the process. This also reflects in the title because we think that ‘Het Verlangen Der Geest’ is to be free. And it circles back to the songs because can one's mind, with having a mental disorders, really be free? One of our new songs, by the way, has a Dutch chorus but that doesn't mean that we’ll have that in every new song.
What are the influences for Into The Arcane both musically and non-musically?
Jeroen: That is a tough one. I have been making and listening to music all my life. So the music I write is an accumulation of everything I ever listened to. I never sit down and think ‘let’s write a death metal riff’ or ‘doom’ or whatever. It’s what drops into my head at that moment. Most riffs I write in my head anyway. I hear them in my head, I hum them and record them on my phone, and afterwards I try to play them as they sounded in my head on guitar. It’s weird, but I think that is how much art works. It’s the heart, not the mind. You open up and It comes. Sometimes I can hear a certain piece of music in my head so many times, I get anxious because it must be from another band then, haha. For me personally the influences for Into The Arcane are very diverse. It goes from Type O Negative to Paradise Lost, to Katatonia, Tool, Morbid Angel, Celtic Frost, Trouble, Candlemass, Therion, Black Sabbath, Cathedral, Kyuss, but also bands like Gojira or even Queens of the Stone Age or AC/DC. To me, music is about atmosphere, soul and heart. Musical skills are nice, but also dangerous. I consider myself a very mediocre guitar player, but not a bad musician. Music is not a game. There is no competition.
Erik: Regarding lyrics and even more so, the flow of lyrics through the songs I really like what Nick Cave, The Handsome Family or Leonard Cohen do. They tell their ‘stories’ in the way they want to. Other bands I really admire that have, in my opinion, a unique style are My Dying Bride, Hell and Ghost. Not only music wise but also in their stage performance. They take you with them in their world. That’s something Into The Arcane tries to do as well. We take you with us into the arcane and invite you to explore the dark regions of the human mind with us.
Will the band be playing live as well? If not, why not?
Jeroen: We did only one show so far, our EP release party in June 2017 in Arnhem. That was great. We don't want to tour too much. I want to enjoy a show, live it and feel it. It must never feel like a job or a conveyor belt kind of thing for me. So rather just a few good shows for people who understand what we’re doing, than playing every week. That would kill my creativity I’m afraid.
So we will play a select number of shows before we set ourselves to the writing of our new full length album:
Sept 2 Muziekcafe, Helmond (+ Metal Attack NL)
Sept 9 Rocking Bull, Antwerpen (+ Dead End)
Nov 17 De Meister, Geleen (+ Acid Death + Mouflon)
Dec 1 The Saint, Eindhoven (+ Beyond Our Ruins + Treurwilg)
Do you guys consider Into The Arcane as your main band or as a sort of project?
Jeroen: It is the main band for Erik and me. Harald is also in Pictura Poesis and Dead End. Tijl also in Mouflon. So they have to divide their time, but it works. We rehearse the set and I try to bring new riffs as often as possible, that way we can start creating immediately.
How would you describe the music you play?
Jeroen: We call it atmospheric doom rock. It’s just a tag, a name, nothing more, nothing less. People have been asking me if we don't consider ourselves metal. Of course we do. But we think we have a lot of (hard) rock influences as well, that’s where the rock moniker came from. Actually I don't care. I saw Megadeth not long ago and was surprised by how soft they have become. Is that still metal? Or is the rest of the world heavier nowadays? I don't know. And I don't care either, because it doesn't matter. As Ozzy once said: ‘There’s two kinds of music; good music and bad music. Which one is which depends on what music you're into’. Haha. Exactly.
What are your future plans?
Jeroen: We want to release a full length album. There are two to three new songs and lots of ideas. Can’t wait to put it all together and connect all the dots and release it somewhere in 2018, who knows when. Hopefully it will be good.
Erik: As I mentioned earlier, the stage performance is important to us too. So we will try and stretch the boundaries for what is possible onstage, given that we are a band that's just starting out. We hope that when people come and see us they won’t only remember us by our music but also the stage presence.
This about wraps it up. Thanks for answering the questions. Is there anything you would like to add?
Thank you for the interview man. Our music is here!!!