When I got your new album to review and decided to interview you as well I realised the last time we interviewed you was back in 2012, when you just released your second album ‘The Clouds Are Burning’. At that time one of the main topics we talked about was the line-up. Between 2012 and now you have had a lot of people coming and going as well. A new bass-player, a new guitarist, a couple of keyboard-players and a new drummer. Basically only Pascal and you (William) are still in the band compared to the line-up that recorded your previous album. Can you tell us a bit more what happened with all these changes of personnel?
Haha, well that is a difficult one. We have had a lot of previous members. When Ward decided to quit Faal we were lucky that Sarban was willing to join. Even though he was involved in several bands. After a few years he decided to quit because of medical problems. He injured his knee and that was basically the reason to stop playing in Faal. We are still good friends and meet often. After Yara we had the honour of having Marcello on keyboards. And of course that was for a short time since his studies involved a lot of travelling and work in the rest of Europe. After Marcello we got Remco on keys, but because of the departure of Sarban he became our drummer (he is a multi-instrumentalist haha). Now we have Catia on keys. She was already involved in Akelei with Pascal and Remco so that connection was made very easily. When Alex left we asked Gerben to join (who already played with Sarban in Gigatron 2000). And then of course we had several bass players haha. When I joined Faal they also needed a bass player so I asked Harrie to join on bass. In that time I was also playing with him in Foretold and Spina Bifida. Harrie quit because of other interests and then we had Geert who stopped because he had no interest in the music anymore and Martijn basically the same. Luckily we met Vic and asked him if he was interested and he has been with us for a few years now. Long story but all fits well!
When you listen to ‘Desolate Grief’ I guess most people wouldn’t even know that it’s almost a complete different line-up that recorded this new album. I mean the main ingredients are still the same. The differences will mainly be in the details. How do you look upon this yourself? In addition, has anything changed in the way you write songs?
Well I think so, back in the time of ‘The Clouds Are Burning’ it was mainly Ward and Pascal who wrote the songs. And there was not much room for opinions haha. Now we all write the songs and everyone can give their opinion. In my opinion that works really well and the result is more satisfying. And of course Pascal still delivers most of the riffs and leads. So that is still the same.
Would you say you finally have a solid line-up now?
Well, we cannot look into the future but this line-up should be the one that hopefully will hold on for many years.
In 2015 you released a limited split EP with Eye Of Solitude, which contained a new track. I assume you wrote this song particularly for this EP? Or were you already in full writing mode for the full-length by then?
We basically started to write for a new album but that got setback because of the line-up changes. When EOS asked us to do the split we recorded the song.
Said EP was released through Kaotoxin Records. So, it seems Ván Records allowed you to do this EP?
Yes it was released by Kaotoxin Records. That was the Label of Eye of Solitude and they were enthusiastic about doing the split. And Ván Records didn`t mind so we did it.
I assume you recorded the track of that EP in the Double Noise Studio, which is run by your guitarist Gerben who was part of the band by then?
Yes Gerben was already involved in Faal. We started writing that particular song in late 2014. But we basically never finished it because of several setbacks haha.
You recorded ‘Desolate Grief’ at Double Noise as well. Was it easy to record in a studio that is owned by one of your members?
Yes that was really easy. We started rehearsing in Double Noise Studio when Sarban joined the band so we were well known with the studio and rehearsal room. And we know many bands from Tilburg that also recorded with Gerben. He is a perfectionist in recording and always stays calm and relaxed so that makes recording really nice. And what also helps is the fridge with cold Hertog Jan beer haha.
From what I’ve heard you had to mix the album several times to get the result you were looking for. I even think you had former bassist Harrie involved as an “outsider” to give his opinion. So can you tell a bit more how ‘Desolate Grief’ came to be what it is now?
We did mix it several times but we never asked Harrie for his opinion. After every mix everyone took it home and basically listened to it to review and write down the parts that they do not like or think that should sound different. In the end we involved our sound engineer with it and Gerben and Marco finished it together. (I guess that’s what I heard and I simply mixed up things – PB) So in the end there were not much mixes of the new album.
Over the years you turned into a solid live act too, regularly doing gigs. Do you feel it is important as a band to go out and play shows? And is it easy for you guys as a doom band to get booked?
We love doing live shows and that is one of the reasons to play in a band. You write something and you want people to enjoy it on record and live of course. But there is also a down side on the genre and that is of course a matter of taste. Doom is definitely a difficult genre compared to death metal or thrash metal. It is much more intense and slower so you either like it or not. And that also means that the shows are more restricted then a more mainstream thing. But we played a lot of cool festivals and shows with excellent bands so that makes it worthwhile any day.
Being part of the doom scene for a while now, how would you say the scene is both in the Netherlands and internationally? Is it a scene you feel you are at home with?
I like the doom scene a lot. As well in the Netherlands as internationally. We have always been welcomed by many so that gives us adrenaline to continue. The scene is a very loyal scene and keeps track on what you do/release. Even if you take five years on a new album they still remember you haha.
To end this interview perhaps you could finish by telling what you guys have planned for the immediate future?
For the immediate future we have the release of the album and a few shows planned. Hopefully more shows but basically having fun and enjoying!