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In April van dit jaar verscheen de vier-track debuut-EP ‘The Struggle’ van de Nederlands band Chigurh en ik moet zeggen dat ik zeer aangenaam verrast was door de no-nonsense hardrock die men op dit schijfje liet horen. Er werd contact gezocht met zangeres Frederique “Friek” de Beer om wat meer achtergrondinformatie te achterhalen over dit talentvolle gezelschap.

Door: Sjak | Archiveer onder hardrock / aor

Hi Frederique, when did you start singing and when did you discover that you had a certain talent for it?
I discovered I could use my voice for singing at a very young age already and I wrote my first "song" when i was six years of age with the help of my dad, a microphone and a tape-recorder. At the age of fifteen I recorded a song from Chris de Burgh ‘Lady In Red’, wich was an eye opener for me. From that time on I knew making and recording music was definitely my kind of thing and at sixteen years old I joined a coverband that was playing songs from Nirvana, Metallica and so on.

Did you receive any vocal training to develop your voice or was it just a talent from some deity?
No, not from a professional or whatever, I learned by singing along with several vocalists, trying to feel what my vocal chords were doing and reading a lot of documentation about whatever I could find on vocal usage. We had no internet back then and I made it a challenge to try several techniques by singing songs with non common lines or melodies.

Which male and/or female singers have influenced you, especially in the early days?
Wow, so so many and various influences. From Ann Wilson, James Hetfield, Freddy Mercury to Mariah Carey and Celine Dion. Those last two were mostly for techniques in melody, breath control and having fun in daring myself into singing impossible parts which some I eventually had to give up on hahaha.
I grew up listening to David Bowie, Frank Zappa, Tina Turner, Queen and Pink Floyd. Chris Cornell showed me everything I wanted to learn, that man was a genius to me together with Mike Patton who also has great and diverse techniques. To me they truly rock!

How did you end up in the metal genre?
I kind of always been in the metal genre even though I am always open to non-metal music as well. When it hits me I know it's good, no matter what artist or band it is from. I started out with rock, on to melodic metal and from there on I knew what I wanted. It took a bloody long time but I finally got it hahaha.

Have you been active in any other bands before joining Chigurh? If so, which one(s) and did you do any recording with these?
Yes I have and the first band writing their own material was called Logo, whjch was an alternative melodic rockband. We recorded a tape ( was a long time ago!) called ‘Livewire’ which had actually great songs on it and it was recorded at Sunrise studio in Drunen Netherlands. That band fell apart and a few years later I joined Gate, which played very alternative melodic metal with a lot of synths and variations of melody and rhythm. I've learned so much at that time, it was a great experience. We recorded one EP at our rehearsal space where I used a shower-unit to record my vocal parts. Those were the days man! Throughout time I tried different types of music, all project-style like blues, alternative rock and even dance! I always say "Challange yourself to grow".

Can you tell me when how Chigurh was founded and can you introduce the other band members to us?
Chigurh was founded in 2012 by solo-guitarist Ed Persijn and bass player Marco vd Schans and not long after that drummer Arjan van Beurden and guitarist Rob Tabbers joined and they started writing more songs. Personally I was done with bands at that time as I had struggled for so long and could never seem to find musicians that lived up to what I wanted to create, that it until Chigurh came along. First I declined but after hearing their songs and the feeling it gave me…man I was instantly in love with the vibe.

What was the game plan that you had back then when founding the band?
What can I say about that ? We love to make music, great songs where people can relate to, share our passion.

Drummer Arjan van Beurden has left the band recently and was replaced by Ramon van Hamond. What was the reason that Arjan left?
Rob Tabbers left the band in 2015 to become the awesome singer of Pearl Jam tribute Jeremy as he simply discovered he had a voice and wanted to explore that, mission completed! He was replaced by Berry de Kleijn which all worked out really well. Arjan van Beurden left the band because he lost his motivation, these things can happen and he's still active behind the Chigurh-scenes, Ramon van Hamond replaced him and we’re so happy with the set up right now. What drives us is a shared respect towards each other, I love that about these guys. No egos!

Your band name is not a very usual one, so can you explain the meaning of it?
Chigurh got his name thanks to the movie ‘No Country For Old Men’ where Anton Chigurh is a true bad-ass and asshole. Not that we see ourselves that way, but it just was the right name for us.

Did you record any demos with the band and if so, which one(s)?
We recorded a demo before we released ‘The Struggle’ but we never released it as it was purely made to send to bookers and places we wanted to play.

How does the song writing process in the band look like and what are you looking for in a typical Chigurh song?
Mostly one of us comes up with a tune and when we all truly feel it, the process starts of adding and deleting things and slowly a song is created. When it's almost done I can start putting the whole vibe of the song into words. We're searching for a certain flow that works for all of us, we all have a say in each song,which is what gives us our own sound.

band image

You’re responsible for the lyrics within Chigurh, so what are typical subjects that you like to write about?
I write about everything in daily life. When I start feeling a certain vibe or emotion from the music I try to relate it to something I've been through in the past or present and then put it into words. Melody and words go togethet for me. I've never first had a melody without words or vice versa. It has to flow.

When did you start with the actual preparations for your new EP ‘The Struggle’ and when did the recordings take place?
Around 2014 we started recording songs for ‘The Struggle’ and it took us a very long time to release it. That’s the reason why it’s called ‘The Struggle’.

You probably will have more songs available, so why did you pick these four specifically for the EP and can you provide your comments on each song on the EP?
The four songs on ‘The Struggle’ were chosen because we wanted to let the audience know the variety in our music and these four up to know are our favorites. ‘Not Like You’ was the first song I wrote lyrics for and it's about being happy with who you are and not take shit from people who try to pull you under. You stay above it by thinking to be happy not to be like them. ‘Envy’, yeah, love that one, second song on the EP, is about insecurity and jealousy, how you can turn it around by seeing their envious thoughts as compliments. ‘Payback’ explains itself, just listen to the song and lyrics!

Which of the four songs on the EP represent the band best in your opinion and why?
I think the song ‘Chigurh’ stands for the whole band and it is about not giving up what you want and breaking free from the boundaries of life that can keep you down for the wrong things. Instead of standing in line we want to matter, whether you're "famous"or not, just do your thing and enjoy the hell out of it.

The artwork of the EP was done by Jeroen Bouweriks. What was the assignment that was given to him and what do you think about the actual end result?
Weird question hahaha, Of course we all love the end result of Jeroen's artwork, otherwise we'd never had used it for our cover. The only assignment we gave Jeroen was to listen to the band and give his own perspective on it all. In short words, metal but with a certain stretch wich makes it stand out in HIS perspective.

Sound-wise things can still improve a bit. Was this due to the limited budget and how do you feel about the actual sound of the EP yourself?
All I can say is that recording this EP was a true struggle as so many stupid things occured, from lost recordings to software problems, Arjan leaving the band right after the photo shoot and on it goes. I really do not want to go into detail about it, eventually we came to a point of no return, we promised ourselves to immediately start working on a full album after the release of ‘The Struggle’. At least we can show ourselves now.

The EP is out now for a short while, so what are the reactions of the both the press as well as the audience?
The response is very positive despite the sound quality and we're thankful folks can listen through it and still get excited about our music. That's what it's all about, right?

What are you own personal expectations from this album? When will it be a success for you?
It's here ! That's what matters ! Chigurh is still growing and getting people excited with our first EP is a good motivation to keep on going. All we want is to be heared, what comes from that will remain a mystery until it actually happens. Personally I want to accomplish turning emotions and passion into a song people can relate to personally and I guess that goes for all of us.

What are your plans for the next six to twelve months? Any concrete live shows booked already to promote the EP?
Well, we play live as much as we want or can, every gig is a kind of promotion. The next six to twelve months we are mainly focused on writing, creating and recording for our full album and during time we won't be playing live that much but the result should be worth it. But we'll make sure to keep everyone updated via our Facebook page and Instagram. We are also working on a new website, which should almost be finished by now.

What do you want to accomplish with Chigurh? What are some of the dreams that you have and that you still want to make happen, both as a person and a musician?
All we want is to be heard, enjoy people and ourselves and keep on creating what is in our minds. Of course a big stage with a big ass crowd would be awesome, who would't dream about that? We played in a container set-up at Elastiek-Muziek Hilvarenbeek some time ago, seeing a big crowd cheering and enjoying themselves through our music was such a great feeling! That's what we want!

Okay Frederique, I would like to thank you for your willingness to answer my questions. Is there anything that we didn’t cover that you want to express to our readers?
You're welcome and thanks for your interest and invitation. All I want to say is whatever you do, do it with passion!! I hope to see y'all very soon!!! For news updates and other things you can check us out on Facebook or Instagram Chigurh_band.

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