♦♦♦ Aurora Borealis ♦♦♦
Delain (III)
Interview mit Charlotte [Delain], 11.04.2012, phoner

Sie hatten keine Angst davor, dass zu viele Köche den Brei verderben. So holten Delain für ihren dritten Longplayer "We Are The Others" nicht nur zwei externe Songwriter mit ins Boot, sondern vertrauten darüber hinaus auf ein dreiköpfiges Produzententeam. Mit Charlotte Wessels, Frontfrau und Sängerin der niederländischen Gothic-Metal-Band, sprach ich über die Hintergründe.

Soon your third album "We Are The Others" will hit the stores. What have been your pretensions for this album?

Charlotte: When we start working on a new record, my main aim always is to make a very good record, so that we're able to enjoy the songs. We want to set ourselves a new goal and level. Other important aims are getting more exposure, touring in bigger venues and getting more financial freedom. But like I said, my main ambition is to make a really good album. And I'm really happy with the current outcome.

So did you achieve all planned results or is there anything you're not 100 percent satisfied with?

Charlotte: I wouldn't say that I'm not satisfied with something. I mean, it's been a very difficult process. Some parts of that I wouldn't necessarily want to repeat again for a next record. When I look at the end result, just the record as I have it now with the mastered songs, I am very proud.

In which points do you see the band's musical development if you compare "We Are The Others" to "April Rain" (2009)?

Charlotte: I think we really got pushed to the limits both in the songwriting and in the recording department. The songwriting was very good as the Delain songwriting team basically consists of Martijn, Guus Eikens, me and Oliver Philipps, who co-produced our previous records also at some points. Guus Eikens we kind of consider as our sixth band member. He's not live with us on stage, but he writes with us a lot. What we used to do and what we've still done for some songs on this record is to work on different islands and then come together. But now we figured out, what if we just come together in a room and then write songs from scratch? That was very challenging, but it actually worked really well. And when we had the songs ready, we travelled to Sweden, there we revised and rewrote some parts, we went over everything that we've written again with the Tripod production team consisting of Jacob Hellner, Fredrik Thomander and Anders Wikström. At the end we spent a lot of time getting each and every detail in place. But that really brought us to a higher level. The team effort made some of the songs really rock. Also in the recording process every tiny detail had to be in place. We were really pushed to work hard and challenge ourselves. This is the difference in comparison to the previous album.

Why do you work with musical partners like Guus and Oliver who are not in the band?

Charlotte: I think, Martijn already knows Guus for a very long time. For "Lucidity" he wrote the song "The Gathering" which is just an awesome song. After "Lucidity" we started meeting each other and writing songs together. It's just a good combination. Also the work that he's done for this album is just priceless. He's simply a good friend and songwriter. And that he's not on stage with us, doesn't make him less valuable for Delain.

Writing the lyrics is your part in the band. What have been your inspiration sources this time?

Charlotte: It's been multiple things. But I think the most important theme on the new record is the one in "We Are The Others". I remember, when we were writing it, I wanted to have this kind of outsider anthem, this kind of encouraging song for people who differ from the norm. Because one of the things I can get most upset about is basically discrimination due to skin color, sexual gender, sexual preference or cultural differences. We spent a lot of time looking at the lyrics and the theme to get that point across. I really had to dig, you know, and think how I can talk about exceptions without being preachy, but also without making it a smaller part than it actually is. Then I recalled the story of Sophie Lancaster. I've seen it in 2009, it was not even on the news here in Holland. Sophie Lancaster was a British girl. She was kicked to death truly by the fact that she was a Goth. This is such a tragic incident and even more close to home, because of course we're part of that subculture as well. When I recalled the story of Sophie, which is so terrible, I thought we don't have to be preachy and we don't have to say "Don't you see how bad this is", because people will know and understand. It's not the main theme of the album, but I think it's the most important.

Can we also find lots of your own personality in the lyrics?

Charlotte: Well, I mostly write about my own experiences. When I write about Sophie, it is of course not about me experiencing this, but it's about me being so upset about this happening. So in a way every song is personal whether it's fiction or autobiography.

To what extent are you open to criticism by family, friends and the rest of the band regarding your lyrics?

Charlotte: Actually I'm very open to it, I just never got so much criticism…

So your lyrics are just perfect…

Charlotte: [laughs] Oh no, that's not what I'm trying to say. The guys are really occupied with the music. They usually read them, but they're not as much as into lyrics than into music, I guess.

Do you also show your lyrics to your family members and friends just before presenting them within the band?

Charlotte: No, actually I never do. Sometimes I let my partner read them. But no, actually I don't do that. Is it strange? [laughs] Maybe it is, I'm not sure. Maybe it's also because I think a lyric without the music is not complete. If I want people to read the lyrics, I would like to have them reading the lyrics while they're listening to the music. Maybe it's also a bit of insecurity to give them just a piece on paper. I don't know if you have ever tried reading some lyrics out loudly without the music. It's sometimes just silly and you don't get the point across. It is only with the emotion and the accord progression of the actual music that it becomes valuable. I almost never write lyrics without thinking of a melody for them as well. It really goes hand in hand. But yeah, I am really open to criticism, although I keep the lyrics to myself for a long time.

We already talked about the title track "We Are The Others". In the song you're supported by a children's choir. Who's idea was that?

Charlotte: I wished it was my idea, but it was Martijn's. [laughs] It was a brilliant idea, though… In our songwriting sessions we sometimes talk about things that we think are cool. One time we talked about a children's choir, but actually we just dropped it, because we never found the spot. And now, when we were in the studio working on the break in "We Are the Others", Martijn said: "We have to include the children's choir here!" The kids in the choir are actually all kids from the producer's team and their friends. I am really happy that we have this part in the song! A kid's choir is just something special…

Another special thing is that Fear-Factory-shouter Burton C. Bell contributed some guest vocals to "Where Is The Blood". How did this collaboration come about?

Charlotte: I remember I met Burton C. Bell at Wacken Open Air when we played there. We just had a chat and kind of stayed in touch afterwards. And when we were working on this song, I originally sang all the lyrics in the chorus, it was really aggressive. But we thought it would be nice – also because the song is about a certain male figure – to have that male aggression in the vocals as well. And at the point that we were thinking to have a male guest vocalist in there, I immediately had to think about Burton. I just asked him if he'd like to collaborate and he liked that idea, so it actually went remarkably natural to figure the collaboration together. I really, really like it! Also I heard that Fear Factory's new album is coming out around the same time than our album, so we're kind of in the same boat now. [laughs] That's cool!

The lead single of Delain's new album is "Get The Devil Out Of Me". Why is this track a good foretaste and representation of the new CD?

Charlotte: It's not the most commercial track, but we really like it. Well, it still takes some time before the album gets released and we didn't want to keep people waiting. So we thought about having this extra track, which is going to be like indeed the lead single, and just give people something to make the waiting a little bit more bearable. And we all just love this song.

You already mentioned that the album was produced last summer in Stockholm with Jacob Hellner, Fredrik Thomander and Anders Wikström. Why did you choose to work with this production team?

Charlotte: You know, Martijn is a really big fan of Rammstein and we got in touch with Jacob, before we got in touch with Fredrik and Anders. But they were a great contribution to the team. I think, from the start Jacob really challenged us, you know. Already from the start we worked really hard and met with criticism just to get to a next level. But it was really for the best to have this production team for the record.

What have been Fredrik's and Anders' tasks?

Charlotte: They were very much involved in the songwriting sessions and recorded my vocals. They have also contributed to the later arrangement work.

Which obstacles did you have to overcome during the recording process?

Charlotte: Do you want to hear them all? [laughter] I mean, it was a challenging process. Martijn was kind of used to play the production part by himself or together with Oliver Philipps on the previous albums. So having not one, but three producers, this is something that required a lot especially for control freak Martijn. At the point when there is a creative flow, it is really cool to be in a room with not one or two, but six talented people. But in difficult moments it's much easier to get two or three people to agree than six. But then again I think, friction isn't necessarily a bad thing when it comes to music. The best songs are those where you really jumped through the fire to get something happening, you know.

One saying is: Too many cooks spoil the broth. How did you avoid this danger?

Charlotte: Yeah, I know the saying. We have been saying it at several points in the process. [laughs] But you know, during the songwriting process we were with that many people in a room. But during other processes like the mixing I wasn't there. There was just Martijn and the mixers. Also during the recording process it was just me with Fredrik, or me with Fredrik and Anders. So we were kind of working in different work stations which actually made it possible for us to create the album in the given time. The guitars, drums and vocals were recorded at the same time in different studios. So it was also very practicable to work with so many people, because we could do things at the same time.

The Cover Artwork was done by Glenn Arthur from US. Firstly, why did you choose him? Secondly, how many liberties did you let him in the creating process?

Charlotte: I've been a very big fan of Glenn Arthur's work from the moment when I saw his work. I imagined it being on the cover of an album. I just never imagined that it would be our album, but I got in touch with Glenn. And at one point he mentioned that he liked the "Smalltown Boy" which is a cover what we've done. Well, I asked him if he would be interested in making an artwork – and he was very interested. What I basically did, was to give him the lyrics to "We Are The Others", so he got inspirations from that. I am really proud to have his artwork on the cover.

In May you'll play a few gigs here in Germany to present the new album live on stage. What can we expect from the shows?

Charlotte: We will play new material from "We Are The Others", but we will also play enough material from "April Rain" and "Lucidity", because we realized that the new album won't be out yet when we're on tour. And from personal experience we know that it's good if the audience is able to sing along with the songs. So we'll make a good combination of all our material and hope that the people will like it.

Which other plans do you have with Delain for 2012?

Charlotte: We're going to get the album released, we're hopefully going to get a good single released after "Get The Devil Out Of Me" and I'm just looking forward to get back on the road, touring and meeting lot of fans. Also I hope to get soon back to the writing table as soon as possible for going on with this writing process, because the last things that we've done together were just really awesome.

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

(c) Zillo Musikmagazin / Ausgabe 06/12 / www.zillo.de
copyright: Aurora Borealis 2007-2015
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