Clemens “Ardek” Wijers - Composer, Keyboards & Piano
When did you start playing guitar/bass/keys/drums?
I started playing around the age of seven. As a kid I got this very small keyboard toy (a red one, I still have it) from my parents. One days we were singing songs in school and I would come home and play the melodies we learned on that keyboard. I enjoyed that a lot and my mother noticed that I was very good at it. The second instrument I got was a small electronic organ, I got it from my neighbour. Shortly afterwards I got my first more serious keyboard and started having keyboard lessons. I was made very much aware that the lessons and instrument had been expensive and so I was very grateful for this.
Part of it was paid from a small savings account my parents kept for me. Around the age of fifteen I was still progressing in music theory and keyboard lessons but also got in touch with metal. I started saving money from side jobs and bought more equipment. I remember buying another Yamaha keyboard, a GEM S2, Korg X3 and later Korg Triton. First I always thought that the better and more expensive the keyboard was the greater sounds it would host but I quickly learned this was not always the case. For example the Korg X3 hosts a collection of really dark sounds that kind of completely disappeared on the Triton series.
On which piece of gear do you keep your most beautiful memories and why?
The be honest I don’t really feel that much attached to a specific instrument or type of gear. I played a lot of different instruments, I sold some of them and bought new ones. What I can share is that when I was sixteen years old we would rehearse in a place that was fifteen kilometres from my home. I didn’t have a bag for my keyboard, so I would wrap it in a blanket, put it on my bike and then go there, sometimes even when it was raining haha. I was tenacious and determined.
Do you have an endorsement deal or a signature model? If so, could you tell us a little bit more about it?
No, I don’t have an endorsement really. In my work I use a lot of different brands and software from different companies. I like to keep things mysterious, especially because it fits the Horror theme of Carach Angren. Through our albums and live performances we try to tell stories and grab the listener’s attention completely. Showing brands would only complicate this process in my opinion.
In your case I think that makes perfect sense, yes. What was your worst purchase ever and why?
I don’t really regret any of the things I purchased. Along the lines of my career each instrument or piece of gear had its place. In the end it’s not so much about the type of equipment you have but more about how you use it. I came up with the best melodies ever on the supposedly cheapest instruments and even nowadays I often reach out to my older keyboards, synthesisers or first software to achieve a certain effect that gear from newer generations doesn’t come close to. In the end it’s all about my musical idea, that’s the guide. The equipment is like the name suggests, it’s equipping me in my craft.
Who are your influences (musicians)?
I often listen classical music from composers such as Tchaikovsky, Stravinsky, Prokofiev, Saint-Saens, Bach. When it comes to playing, I really like what Glenn Gould did in his approach of playing the piano. His technique and commitment to playing is one of the best I have ever witnessed.
What was your first keys?
As I mentioned in an earlier question, it was a very small toy-like red keyboard on which I would play melodies from signing classes. This got it all going.
What is on your wish list?
Right now nothing in particular. When I start working on a new album or project, usually only then I start looking for software or equipment that I might need along the way. I don’t have a separate wish list. Right now I’m playing the coolest thing on stage ever, a haunted moving keyboard. However, I won’t reveal how this one works ;)
Ultimate goal as a musician?
My ultimate goal is to compose music that really grabs people by the throats in an emotional way. I want it to move them, empower them, entertain them. This is what I try to accomplish in all my work and it guides me every day. There is nothing more grateful to me than coming up with melodies that move me as a musician and person and then to hear from people all over the world that it moves them in similar ways. The other day I met a guy who told me his house was completely destroyed by Hurricane Irma. But he said the one thing that got him going was our latest release “Dance And Laugh Amongst The Rotten”. This was very special to hear and I’m glad that my work contributes even the smallest bit to people’s lives.
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