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Delain (I)
Interview mit Charlotte [Delain], 22.08.2007, phoner        



Delain ist eine junge Goth-Metal-Band aus der Niederlande. Im vergangen Jahr veröffentlichen Delain ihr Debüt-Album „Lucidity“ bereits in den Benelux-Staaten. Nun ist auch Deutschland an der Reihe und darf sich auf das Album freuen. Die Band um Martijn Westerholt und Charlotte Wessels ist auch bald in unserer Lande auf Tour unterwegs. Ich telefonierte mit Sängerin Charlotte und konnte noch weitere Dinge über Delain in Erfahrung bringen.

How are you doing, Charlotte?


Charlotte: I`m fine and you?
 
Oh, I`m doing pretty good. It`s just a little bit rainy today. (laughs)
 
Charlotte: Oh, that´s okay over here.
 
If you don´t mind, we can directly start with the interview. Martijn Westerholt, ex-Within Temptation keyboarder, is founder of Delain. How did you find your way into the band?
 
Charlotte: I didn´t know Martijn at first. Martijn and me were in a same musical project in our hometown. So Martijn got a demo with my voice on it and at one point he came to me in a musicians cafè and he asked me to do some lyrics. He even asked me to actually sing on the album. I started working on the lyrics and one day I came to his place and I said, well, let me just sing the lines for you, so you know how it sounds like. And yeah, (laughs) he was very enthusiastic. We started working together more and developing the songs and that`s kind of how I ended up from just writing the lyrics to being the lead-singer of Delain.
 
Is Delain more a project or a fixed, permanent band? How would you call or describe it? Because there are so many guest-musicians on the debut-album “Lucidity”…
 
Charlotte: I would call it a real band. It was a project, when we started it, because Martijn`s health-conditions were very bad at that time, so we didn`t think that he would be able to do shows and really promote the album. So in the beginning Martijn just said “I want to do this project and I want to make a CD with all the guest-musicians!” But when the album was done, he was feeling much better and Martijn and I thought “Oh, we have this great album now and were are not even able to perform it live!” And also from Roadrunner they asked us “Can´t you really do gigs?” We started thinking and we decided that we really wanted to make a band out of this. We started looking for musicians who could fill in the places, because I think guest-musicians obviously can´t join the band, because they all have their own bands and schedules. Then we asked friends and friends and friends and we got a band together and we started doing a lot of gigs right away and we really got close together as a band. We are really a team now and we`re really satisfied with the band as it is now. We gonna record the second album with that band as well. We gonna keep the element of the guest-musicians in. But it will be Delain as a band and maybe one or two guest-musicians, but not as many as on the first album.
 
But how did the recordings for the first album “Lucidity” proceed with so many people?
 
Charlotte: (laughs) Yeah, that was really complicated. Martijn made it really complicated for himself recording with so many people, but he really adjusted to the schedule of the guest-musicians like with Marco. Martijn said “I don´t know when you are available and when you can do the bass-lines and when you could do the singing, but just tell me and I will come to Finland and we will record it in your studio!” And that`s kind of how we handled everything. Sharon recorded here in Holland, Liv Kristine recorded at Mastersound studio and so we kind of recorded the album in all places. I recorded the vocal-lines in Germany. Actually a lot of it was recorded in Germany. It`s kind of a German project actually. (both laugh) It was just a matter of adjusting to all the guest-musicians.
 
Who of you writes the lyrics and creates the music and what´s the inspiration for it?
 
Charlotte: I`ve written most of the lyrics and the vocal-lines. My inspiration can be anything that touches me in any why. Some of the lyrics are really personal and some are fictional, but still like (laughs) my feelings. It`s mostly things that I have seen around me happening to myself or to other people and it´s kind of my way to deal with things that I find hard. Then I write it down. I have this little book. And when I want to have lyrics, I look back at the stuff I wrote down in the little book and then I see one line and think like “Hei, this could be a lyric”. And I take the line and I write a lyric out of that.
 
Is the book like kind of a diary maybe?
 
Charlotte: Well, it´s not really like a diary (laughs), because I´m too lazy to keep a diary every day. But it´s just when something happens that I really want to write down, then I write it down.
 
Okay. The album has already been published in Benelux in 2006. But soon it will be released here in Germany as well. Why did it take so long and what do you expect from the release?
 
Charlotte: The release for Germany took so long, because it´s kind of a strategy that Roadrunner uses. They release the CD in one Country – because we`re from Holland, they started in the Benelux – and they attend to look, how is it doing there. And if it´s doing good, they`ll release it in other countries as well. When the album is released in one Country, we are sure that they are convinced, because otherwise Roadrunner wouldn´t have released it. So actually my expectations are really good, because everyone is doing the best and we have quite good reactions so far. And we have a tour coming up and we`re really looking forward to it. I`m just hoping the best for it. I think that Germany is a good market for this genre, maybe even the best market, so we will see. (laughs)
 
How would you describe “Lucidity” by yourself in a few words including three good reasons why everybody should buy the CD?
 
Charlotte: Oh, this is a question I really have to think about…well, I would describe “Lucidity” as a very melodic, here and there bombastic album and it´s full of emotions and that`s for me like the core of it. And why people should buy it? Well, at first I just hope that people will like the music and I think that people will like the music. The album is interesting for a lot of people, because there are so many guest-musicians. Fans of Nightwish want to hear how Marco is doing on this CD and fans of Within Temptation want to hear Sharon singing. Maybe that`s interesting for people to buy the album. And they should also just buy it to make us rich, no just kidding! (both laugh)…because of the diversity. I think it´s a nice diverse album and people will like that.
 
What`s the strongest song of the album and why?
 
Charlotte: Uuuuuh…I can´t tell you what the strongest song is, but I can tell you what´s my favourite song, because that´s really a personal question and everybody will name another song. But my favourite is “Silhouette of a dancer”. I really like singing the song. It´s really the most fun-song to sing for me on stage. I really feel the song. I guess, I heard the song a hundred times now and I still get goosebumps sometimes on stage, when I sing it, and I just love it. And I love the grunts in it. So that`s my favourite.
 
Did you ever go to a vocal-coach and learned the singing professionally?
 
Charlotte: Well, I had singing-lessons. I had two years jazz-lessons and I had two years classical singing-lessons. Especially I liked the jazz-lessons, because it´s really a different world. Classical lessons are great for your vocal-techniques, for your breathing and your standing. But in the end it was like…if you were trained professionally to sing classical, a lot of people sound the same. They really try to push you into the corner like “This is nice”, you know, “This is beautiful! In this way!” If you look at Jazz, it´s the totally opposite. Yeah it´s like “You should find your own voice and your own identity in your voice!”. Well and at one point my previous classical singing-teacher told me like “Ahh, the Jazz-band that you´re involved in is not good for your voice! You should quit it! You should just think classical!” So that´s why I quit classical singing. (laughs) But at this point I am really thankful that I had both sides, like both pieces of a cake, because I got the techniques and I learned to sing in my own way, in the way I like.
 
In which other band-projects or projects on the whole have you been involved before you started with Delain?
 
Charlotte: I`ve played in several bands, but just for fun. I`ve been in a Big-Band like Jazz for seven years. Then I´ve been in To Elysium. That`s a Gothic-Metal band from Holland. I was in there for a very short period of time. Lots of people write it down, because it´s the only band that really had a name that some people knew. (laughs) But I only did two gigs with them. But that was very useful to me, because that was really my first encounter with the genre and so I´m really thankful for that period, even though it didn`t last very long. They quit a little while after I joined. Then I got into a Rock-opera. It was called “Infernorama” and that is where I met Martijn.
 
If you look back in time, are there any events or happenings you would love to experience again?
 
Charlotte: That´s a nice question. Actually there are lots of things that I would love to experience again. I´ve quite some fun. (both laugh) But if I look back now, I would love to…when I was like 13, it was the first time that I sung solo in front of a lot of people. I did one song and I was soooo nervous. (laughs) Oh no, I wasn`t 13, I was 11…I really would love to do that again. That is really an event that I still remember very well like every damned second of it, because I was so nervous.
 
Which event was that? A birthday or where did you sing there?
 
Charlotte: I went to a school that was very cultural. They did a lot with singing and they also had a Big-Band. They were giving a few people extra music classes and extra art classes and things like that. And once in a while we had these “Open Stages” and you could just sign in to do whatever you wanted actually. You could do poetry, you could sing, you could perform with a band…that was really instructive. It was at school, but I think there were around 200 or 300 people watching and that was very exciting (laughs) at that time.
 
In this year Delain has already released two singles. And there are also two videos existing for “Frozen” and “See me in shadow”. The newest video is for the song “See me in shadow” that you actually sing together with Liv Kristine. But in the video you`re the one and only person. Can you tell me a little bit about the story of that video?
 
Charlotte: Well, of course there is me in a wedding-dress. I´m not quite happy and everyone himself can imagine what has happened. In the script stood that I had said “No” to the one that I was supposed to marry, because he had become so cold. For me the song is very special. It`s the first song that I did the lyrics for. And it`s the song of which Martijn said “Oh that is great, you should join Delain!”, you know? Yeah, so “See me in shadow” really has a special place in my heart and I´m very, very happy that the song is our second single now and we`ve done a video for it. It was also very special to me that Liv Kristine wanted to sing it, because at first we asked her to do “A day for a ghost”, but then she said “Oh no, I really want to sing >>See me in shadow<< as well!” So we made it a duet and it was very special for me to hear that she thought that this song was a good song that she wanted to perform it by herself. I`m really happy with our little duet. (laughs)
 
Charlotte, in your profile I read that you like drawing and painting. What kind of motifs and subjects do you prefer to draw and paint?
 
Charlotte: People especially. It`s really abstract. I also like just watching an object and draw it. But I did a lot of projects for my school as well, because they gave extra art-lessons that really triggered my interest in art. I`m going to study art-history soon as well. I like to draw anything. It`s also when I´m bored or something (laughs) then I just start drawing. But I haven´t been drawing a lot lately. I`m very, very busy.

You have other things to do since you rock with Delain! (laughs) But you will study soon besides?
 
Charlotte: Actually I will start with art-history next month. I`m very curious now how I will handle it, because I´m so busy with Delain, but last year I had a part-time job, so that I could have more time for Delain. But the job was sooo horrible and I thought like “I get trouble at school, because I quit too many lessons, because I was so busy with Delain. I`m just gonna go back, because it can´t be any worse than doing the job”, you know? So I´m really looking forward to study again.
 
Can you describe yourself in one sentence?
 
Charlotte: (long break) Yeah, I´m pretty self-conscious and I`m also quite a perfectionist. I`m not a hard person to deal with. (laughs)
 
Which three things do you need to be happy?
 
Charlotte: I think family, friends and music.
 
You`ve got a lot of favourite bands and musicians, those like Radiohead, Depeche Mode, Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd. But with which music-style you really cannot get along?
 
Charlotte: Uuuuuuh, (long break) In every music-style there are bands or artists that I do like. I can say that I don´t like Hip Hop, because I don´t. I don´t like most of the Hip Hop-songs. I don`t like the R&B-songs with all the naked chicks in the videos and stuff…
 
Then we have something in common.
 
Charlotte: I don´t think that´s about the music anymore. So no, I don´t like those things. Ohhhh, and Jump-Style! I hate Jump-Style! That´s something you can write down. I really don’t like Jump-Style. (laughs)
 
Jump-Style?
 
Charlotte: Yeah, you don´t know it?
 
No.
 
Charlotte: It`s a hype in Holland right now. It´s techno-music or something like that and you jump on it in funny dance-steps and all the 14 year old kids are doing it…
 
Okay, I`ve never heard about it yet.
 
Charlotte: Well, be glad! (both laugh)
 
Okay, please continue the following sentence: Music is…
 
Charlotte: (long break) Music is a way out of the day, out of daily trouble. Well, it`s really everything. If you have a bad day, you can listen to your favourite song and you can suddenly feel better. And it can also be the opposite. It`s like you have a great day and you`re listening to some depressing music that can really bring you down (laughs), but actually it can really be anything to me.
 
In the Netherlands Delain has recently won the Essent Award. How important is such a prize for the band?
 
Charlotte: It´s very important to us, because it`s a prize for newcomer bands that just have released their first album. It gave us some financial support which is always nice of course. But more important is that they have a contract with several big festivals in Holland and when you win in the Essent Award, they make a deal with some of them and you can play there. So we had a few big festivals that we rocked. We had the chance to play there because of the Essent Award. Some of the biggest festivals we´ve done, yeah, it´s been really helpful, really helpful.
 
How do you prepare yourself for a show?
 
Carlotte: I take a lot of time to put my make-up on. I try to be as easy and calm as possible. I drink a lot of water. I don´t know why. I just like drinking water. It´s not like it´s very good for your voice or something. I don´t drink tea and honey. But I drink a lot of water and…
 
So you don´t believe that tea and honey helps?
 
Charlotte: Oh yeah, maybe it helps, but some other people said that it dries your throat. There are many stories about what is good and what is not good for your voice.
 
Do you collect anything?
 
Charlotte: I collect old LPs, old records. I really like them. I got my first from my father. It was Deep Purple. And now I go to the markets and I pick them up for 1 Euro a piece. I don´t like to get them for 100, 200 Euros. But yeah, I search for them once in a while and take them home.
 
But for what would you spend the most of your money then?
 
Charlotte: Probably travelling right now, because when I start studying again, I get a card and I can go for free by train and everything. But at the moment I`m crossing the Country several times a week (laughs) and I spend most of my money on that.
 
What´s the best thing you can do on such a rainy day like today? Here it´s raining right now…
 
Charlotte: Oh, here it´s actually quite nice right now. But when it`s a rainy day and I really don´t have to go out, I like to just watching movies with my friends. Yeah, just chill a little bit. I really don’t have a lot of time to chill. Probably if you had asked me this question two years ago, I would have said I´d like to do all kind of exiting things, but right now it`s just chilling, (both laugh) because I do a lot of exiting things already.
 
Did you have a childhood-dream?
 
Charlotte: Ja, ja! Actually I wanted a record-deal. (both laugh) And I have one! I really love singing and I`ve seen and heard a lot of music. My parents really learned me to like music. I think I was like 9 or 10 or something, when I was really looking up to all the singers…
 
Did your parents visit the first Delain-gig?
 
Charlotte: Ja, they were present. Actually my Mom was quite sick at that time and even then she came, so it was very special for me.
 
Three things you cannot miss, you cannot live without…
 
Charlotte: (long break, suddenly laughs loudly) I would almost name the three things that you asked before as the most important things to make me happy. It`s friends, family and music. I really like that. I don´t think I can miss those.
 
Okay, there are still lots of gigs waiting for you this year. In coming October you will support Within Temptation on their Germany-tour. Will Sharon perform “No compliance” live on stage together with Delain?
 
Charlotte: I´m not sure, if she will do it this time. We had one gig in Paris together with Within Temptation and then we did “No compliance” together. It was really cool. But I really can´t make any promises about the upcoming shows, because that depends on the time-schedules. Maybe if she wants to and if time allows it, maybe she will sing with me, it would be nice. I always like it, when we have some of the guest-musicians performing with us and yeah, we really love Sharon. (laughs)
 
Are there more co-operations with guest-musicians planned in future for the next album?
 
Charlotte: Yeah, for the next album we`d like to ask some guest-musicians again, but we`re still at this point like who shall we ask and who would fit onto the next album. So we haven´t even asked anyone yet, but we are planning to ask a few. But that´s a surprise for the next album.
 
What will you do right after this interview? What are your plans?
 
Charlotte: I`m gonna go to the barber and get my hair done. We have a very, very important gig next Saturday. It´s a contest for the MTV-Awards – “New Sounds of Europe”. From eight countries there are four nomenies and then first they battle against each other and then the countries battle against each other and the winner will win the Award for MTV “New Sounds of Europe”. And we`re one of the four nomenies in Holland, so it´s really, really exiting. We got a gig and it´s gonna be on TV.
 
Wow! So you need a new hairstyle today…
 
Charlotte: Noo, (laughs) but it`s like the colour is all out…
 
Alright. Charlotte, I thank you very much for this interview. Have a great day and get your hair done! (laughs) Maybe we`ll see each other on the tour, when you´re here in Germany, because I`m planning to visit the gig in Cologne.
 
Charlotte: Ahh, very nice, very nice! Yeah, maybe we can meet there!
 
I hope I will find the time to come over. Good luck with your studies and a lot of greetings to the other band-guys!
 
Charlotte: Thank you, too.
                           


Interview: Lea S.
Fotos: taken from delain.nl
Website Band: www.delain.nl


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