I think most of our readers won’t be familiar with Spectrum of Delusion(yet). For those that have never heard of you before, can you tell us a little bit about the band?
Well, Spectrum Of Delusion was formed in 2012 in Katwijk, by Jeroen Mostert (drums) and Nathan Bonkerk (guitar). At first they named themselves Dark Assail. They mostly played covers until I (Frank van Rijswijk) joined to group begin 2013 as guitarist. I was already busy writing my own songs and got Jeroen and Nathan to play them with me. Mid 2013 we found our bass player Jerry Kamer. The first album was written in 2014, but didn’t fit our style anymore. We played a lot together and our skills went up so we wanted something more challenging. Mid-2015 our debut album was finished and Douwe Negenman joined the band as vocalist. Then, the long recording process started late 2015 and ended in begin 2017. On the 18th of August 2017 we released our album ‘Esoteric Entity’, and we’re very proud of it!
Based on the musical expertise in both playing and song writing that is audible on ‘Esoteric Entity’, what can you tell us about your musical backgrounds?
I am not schooled in music. I learned all that I know at home. Internet has a lot of knowledge for free. Also, a lot has been trial and error. We've had two albums of material before this one, but were not satisfied with the quality of the songs, so we've thrown those out. The result is ‘Esoteric Entity’. We're quite satisfied with how it came out! The only person that's being trained in music is Nathan. Not only in making compositions, but with mixing and such as well.
Could you tell us about each of the members of the band what they bring to the group both musically and personally to make Spectrum Of Delusion what it is?
Nathan helps us out a lot with audio quality. He knows what to do when we sound like sh*t. I value his opinion a lot. Jeroen is great in making order out of chaos. He takes care of all non-musical business. For example, ordering merch, making riders, set lists, keep an eye on finance, making band plans. I could go on and on. Without Jeroen this band wouldn't exist. Jerry is great with visuals, Photoshop and such: shirt design, the booklet (along with Nathan), lyric video, etc. Also, he learned fretless bass in a year, just for this band, which is a massive achievement on its own. Douwe has all the contacts. He's a very charismatic person, and thus very helpful to the band. He's the friendliest guy in the world. Thanks to him we're able to play gigs. Also, without Douwe we wouldn’t have our current logo. I contribute to the band by composing the music.
For some technical death metal bands it seems that writing a good song is less important than writing something that is highly technical and varied as possible. You have avoided falling into that trap and you seem to have made writing good compositions a priority. Is that something you consciously had to look for or is it more or less a natural process for Spectrum Of Delusion? Could you tell me a little about the writing process in Spectrum Of Delusion?
You could have the best riffs in the world, but that doesn't make a good song. That's why we've thrown out a lot of material. We were not comfortable with the structure and pacing of the songs. They may be gone, but I learned a lot in the process, which made me a better songwriter. I am very conscious when making songs, keeping an eye out for dynamics, how crowded it feels, etc. When I feel that a track is done, I pass it along to my band mates and see how they like it. With their constructive criticism I might change around some things. If there's one thing I hate, it's a song with continuous blast beats without breathing space. Still, a lot of people like it this way, so who am I to judge? It's all down to personal preference.
How does Spectrum of Delusion compose a song? How do you determine whether a track is good enough for you/fully after your liking? You use a lot of different influences on the album; where does the interest in these different styles come from?
I start by writing guitar parts and then I add the other instruments. One thing that is so important to us is composing the bass guitar of the song, rather than just putting it beneath the guitars. That's kind of obvious when listening to ‘Esoteric Entity’. A song is good to me, when it gives me an ambient feeling, maybe a little floaty. I don't really know how to describe it.
The difference in styles just comes from listening to a lot of bands in the past years. I've listened to bands ranging from Avenged Sevenfold and Trivium, to Spawn of Possession and Obscura, just to name a few.
Lyrically the album seems to be about a range of subjects. How is it tied to your personal lives? Is Douwe, being the vocalist, the one who comes up with the subjects and lyrics? Can the other members contribute as well? What is your biggest inspiration when it comes to lyrics? Personal life, books, movies, nature, politics?
Douwe is a special guy. He likes to read a lot of literature about philosophy. Most of his lyrics are based upon this, mixed with things that happened to him. I had a hard time understanding his lyrics, but with some explanations I understand them fully. This gives the songs so much meaning, I get goose bumps when I sing them along in my head. Also, he likes to have a smoke and a drink when writing. This might explain why some lyrics seem to be vague, but they really do have a lot of depth.
The album sounds, partly due to the variation in tracks, as a composition in itself. How do you experience that? Is the order of the tracks on an album important for you or, given the current generation that hardly listens to full albums and prefers to listen to single tracks, does it not matter? Why?
The order of the songs was a subject we discussed a lot. The songs are placed in an order so that it stays pleasurable to listen to. This of course is the dynamic I talked about earlier. We've tried to make a balance between chaotic and smooth, I think it worked out great. The songs are all separate, but the order of the songs made the album as whole.
In these days there is an overload of good music available for people. With Bandcamp, Spotify and so on it is almost impossible to keep up as a listener. It also makes it very difficult for a band to stand out. What do you do to have Spectrum Of Delusion gain some extra attention?
Before the album release we made a plan to gain some attention for our upcoming album. This plan included a lyric video and a play through video, which helped us a lot getting some attention. We were lucky that some admins from a Technical Death Metal Facebook group noticed our album and shared it in their group. The most attention was reached due to this group and we’re very glad that happened. Unfortunately, the Tech-Death community isn’t that big in The Netherlands so we are still very underground in our home country, but we’re trying to play as many gigs as possible and get our name out there!
When the album was released you received a lot of praise from people in the death metal scene. Has it also attracted attention of record companies? What should a record company bring to the table to get you interested to possibly sign with them?
We've had some interest from smaller labels, but we prefer to keep things under our own control. A label has to be pretty big for us to be interested, not out of arrogance, but rather to keep the band safe from scams and such. There's nothing worse than giving something you've worked on for years, to a bunch of greedy people who only like money. They have to be just as passionate as we feel about the music.
Making a living out of music is not an easy thing. I assume you are not being capable of doing so (yet?). What do you guys do to earn a living? If the chance to make a living out of music ever occurred, are all of you willing to go for it?
We are absolutely not capable of living of the band, which is a shame, but a reality for many, many bands. Especially for extreme metal bands. But if we could, we would. So I work to make all this happen. We've invested an insane amount of money to get this band rolling. I am a service man in ventilation systems, Douwe works as an electrician, Jeroen has just finished his study for electrical engineering, Jerry is hard at work getting his degree in applied physics and Nathan is following a study to become a professional musician, making soundtracks for movies, games, commercials and such.
Are there any other happenings or things going on with you that you would like to let the people know about? Do you have anything to say or add for closure? If there is anything left that you'd like to mention, please do not hesitate…
Making this album was a blast, and a fantastic learning experience. Not only in making music, but also about self-improvement. I've put my band mates through a lot of sh*t to make this happen, as I can be tough to work with, because I am very passionate. So I learned to control myself, and give control to other people. Because recording and producing this album took such a large amount of time, I started writing the next. We are already far into the writing process musically, being close to finished. It's going to take a little while, but it's going to be epic!
Thanks to Lords of Metal for the review and Interview!