DELAIN (English Version - 2016) - Martijn Westerholt (Keyboards)

2016 is a year to remember for DELAIN. Ten years of existence. Ten years of music and touring. As an event never comes without gifts, the band is about to release their brand new record, « Moonbathers ». I took the opportunity to talk with Martijn about all the things done and things to come.

SBM: Hello Martijn, thank you for the call.

Martijn: Oh you're welcome.

First of all I'd like to which to you and the band a happy birthday for these 10 years!

Oh thank you very much!

How do you feel about the decade that have passed?

Looking back on it I think I'm really grateful for what happened, what we developed, what I have learned personally, what it has brought me. I've been honored to make people happy with our music, I did not expect this, it was not a set-up plan or something, it just developed like it did.

And as a birthday never happens without gifts, the first one you brought is your new record, “Moonbathers”. I really loved the album and I think it's the best gift you could offer to your fans.

Oh thank you very much!

You're welcome. Actually the record is… how can I say… Viral. On the first hearing I thought “Yeah Not bad”, but the more you listen to it, the more you're into it! It's crazy!

Well it's funny because most people are saying that! (Laugh)

Ok so I'm not crazy! (Laugh) Now that I've listened the album a several times, it makes me feel that a new era opens up and you could go for ten more year.

It's funny you ask because in the past there were moments where I thought “You cannot do this forever, what I am going to do after that?” I had no clue. But right now I do not have these thoughts at all, now I feel like I can do this until I retire and I just love it. In case it stops at a certain point we'll see what happens then but how I look at it right now I could do it for ages.

Well I hope things will go that way. You have once again worked with Ted Jensen as a producer, you're doing it since 2014. How have you started working with him?

Well somehow it came on line that he was a producer but actually he is the one who mastered the album. I would call it the icing on the cake for mastering, he's really good. He complements the mixing, I've produced the album myself, he mastered it at the result is astonishing, it's exactly the kind of production I love to have. So I'm very happy with that and the guy is unbelievably good at what he does.

Yeah he did a great job on the records, it sounds very powerful, and the thing I love the most is the orchestration. Have you used samples or have you worked with musicians?

It's a big compliment that you ask this question because it means that you don't know if it's real or not! (Laugh)
Actually on the way through our preview album “Human Contradiction” I came in contact with a Finnish guy named Mikko Mustonen because I listened to some work of Marco Hietala and Northern Kings and about the orchestrations down there I asked myself “Is it real or is it fake? I don't know!”. So I asked Marco and he turned out to be Mikko Mustonen with samples.
So I contacted him and said “Look, what you do sounds so real that I really would like to work with you”. I was able to do it on a couple of songs on the previous record but not all because it was already almost done. But for this record I was able to work with him from the very beginning, we both make orchestral arrangements, I can do it as well but he is specialist as song writer or theme writer so it went to him, he orchestrated everything and then it came back to me. Then we treat the stuff and we have the result, so it's all samples but the quality is just amazing thanks to him.

I have to admit that the quality of the samples is amazing. We really hear the difference on that record. The other new fact on the record is the arriving of Merel who recorded her first album with DELAIN. How did it go?

Indeed Merel was welcomed to the band after she replaced Timo at the Sabaton tour last year and she's a full member now. However for the record she was not yet active because she still had to finish her music education in the Rock Academy in the Netherlands and some musical projects so she was not yet fully contributing to the album but we do expect to have her on the next album and live of course, she's very important to us and I think that right now we have the strongest group of people in the band ever and we've got a very good vibe and atmosphere.

Yes it's true because I saw you at the Hellfest Open Air in June and there's a good energy on stage. Smiles, complicity, something we could really feel.

Oh it's cool you've noticed that, it's true that we got a good chemistry going on in the band.

I suppose it's one of the most important thing.

Yes absolutely.

Chemistry might be good with Alissa (White Gluz) because she is back as a guest on the first track “Hands Of Gold”. I really like that contrast with Charlotte but it's been a while since we had a male vocalist in DELAIN. Does Charlotte bite? (Laugh)

(Laugh) No she doesn't bite at all. Actually the reason why we don't have more guest musicians is time. Normally you need time to prepare that, getting in contact with somebody you'd like to work with but we didn't have time because we had so much touring going on that the time was simply not there.
Of course it's always possible to ask musicians you worked with in the past but sometimes you'd like to work with new musicians. We had Alissa for the second time but asking Marco again for the fourth time is getting a little bit much. I'm not saying I'm never going to work with him again because he is a fantastic guy, a good friend and I'm a big fan of his voice so I would really like to work with him again in the future. The other thing is that this time, songs were not really asking for a male vocalist. That's the reason why, time and also creativity.

I think it could have fit, we have a lot of different moods on the record, powerful stuff sometimes with symphonic elements, and also some strange bits such as “Scandal”. It seems that you have fun trying new things.

Yes absolutely. I got a lot of questions about the aim when I started working on the record. It has always been to make it heavier, to offer more contrasts, and each song you write, you want to do the best you ever done! (Laugh) That's the only aim you have all the time. Then what comes out comes out and in that case songs that were heavier than ever and songs that are the softest DELAIN songs, so the contrast is bigger on this record.
Why? I don't know, it's just the magical thing about creativity.

You're true about the heavy side of the record. “Suckerpunch” is one of them and was the first extract of the record and it's one of the most powerful song DELAIN has ever written. Is that why you chose it?

Yes and no, actually the problem is that we had so many requests for touring and shows that it was very difficult to finish an album. So we split everything into pieces. Usually you record everything, you mix everything but this time we recorded and mixed a couple of songs and then we wrote new songs, we recorded and mixed them. At the time of “Suckerpunch” it was one of the songs that was already done, one of the earliest song and we thought it was really strong.
And people are often asking for new materials, so let's give them new materials. We had both pieces of the cake: we could continue saying yes to the touring requests and yes to the fans with new materials.

You've chosen well because it gave me big hopes about the record actually and I'm not disappointed, as I said it's a great gift for the fans. The other special gift for the DELAIN birthday is the upcoming live DVD that you will record at The Paradiso. Is it important for you to do it at this venue?

Important is not really the word. It's special. It's king of holy grail in Netherlands, Paradiso is a legendary venue, all big names played there, from Nirvana to The Police, so it's an honor to be able to play there as well. And it's also the biggest venue we have as headliners, about 1500 people and we're about to sell it out and the vibe is very good for a DVD because it was a church.
So I think it's a very good place to celebrate our first decade and the plan is to do the biggest and most special show of our carrier until then.

So will the fans have the chance to have some clues about what's coming or is it a total surprise?

The average set-up is to have guests on stage which were present on our previous albums, we would like to surprise with special effects, special versions of songs and make a huge party out of this, that's the plan.

Well sadly I won't be able to be there, it's kind f far from home!

Yes I imagine that.

Surprisingly you've used crowd funding, apparently to the closer to the fans. How did that idea come up?

Well we easily could have released it through our record company, this was not really a money issue. But we think you are here thanks to the fans, therefore we wanted to involve them in the making of this DVD. The request of making a DVD came from our fans, we had a lot of requests, so what better way than involving them through a crowd funding campaign.

I've taken a look at the pledges you've proposed, I would have done the whisky tasting session! But as I said it's far from home, I think you should do this on every show! (Laugh)

(Laugh) Sadly I don't think it's possible. If we do it on our headline tour, dates are so crowded, you go to bed around 3 to 4 a.m, after the show, then you sleep for about 8 hours, so you wake up around 12, you have breakfast, you take a shower, then you do the sound checks and it's already diner time. After that you have the meet and greet session and then it's showtime. Days are going so fast that there's no time left for that.
The other thing is that Otto and Charlotte are really into whisky… I'm a whisky barbarian, if you give me Jack Daniels I put it in cola and then I drink it. Some whisky that are really expensive are a waste if you give it to me because they're all the same! (Laugh).

Alright, no whisky for you! I'm gonna be in Lyon to see your show I could have brought one! Which songs will you play from the new album?

Well I'd like to play all songs but of course it's impossible, we have to mix new stuff and old stuff because that's what people want to hear. But right now I think we'll play at least seven new tracks, I think there will be “Glory and the Scum”, “Hands of Gold”, “Suckerpunch”…

Fire with Fire” ?

Yeah “Fire with Fire” too. At least seven songs.

Yeah that's a great news, I'm sure it'll be a great show. I'm looking forward to be there!
I think I've reached the end of the interview, so if you want to say something to the French fans it's up to you!

I'd like to say that I'm really thankful for the fans, and in France we have really loyal ones and it's always a pleasure to play there. In Paris for example the crowd is so out of mind, they're crazy but in a good way and I love that so I'm really looking forward to it.

Me too! Thank you again Martijn, I wish you a good evening and I hope to see you on tour!

My pleasure, thank you very much! Good evening !
Critique : SBM
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