With the release of the debut album „Mana“, published in 2004, the Dutch with singer Manda Ophuis have already achieved great success. After all, they started off from Groningen with a well arranged Symphonic Gothic Metal.
Over time, the musical face of the multi-capable trio changed, which increasingly led to innovative (Alternative) Electro Gothic Rock fields. In the following, guitarist and songwriter Hendrik Jan de Jong aka HJ as well as bass player Sonny Onderwater showed with their attractive and powerful frontwoman that they are very close to their musical freshness.
I catch the formation, which was founded in 2002, at the Giesound Studio in Zwolle in the Netherlands, where the work on the new and fourth album "Uprise" was finalized recently.
I speak with Sonny and HJ.
How do you feel now, after the band have finished this new collection of outstanding and good danceable Electro Rock songs?
„Thanks for your positive words! It's always a relief when an album is finished but this time we are extremely happy with the final result. We worked very hard on making this the best Nemesea album so far and we feel that we have succeeded in that. We really like the sound, production and vibe of the songs and hope the fans will too.“
What still counts most for you in making music with Nemesea?
„Being creative! Starting something from scratch, reinventing ourselves and aiming for a better, more personal result.“
Please report from time in the studio and bring some relevant facts from there closer!
„In short: HJ started out writing songs in his home studio. When we had a couple of basic songs and had a good idea for a certain sound and approach we started looking for producers. Guido Aalbers was one of the first producers we contacted and after listening to the new songs Guido agreed on recording, producing and mixing the “Uprise” album. During the summer of 2014 we did a pre-production with Guido in the Key Studio’s in the north of Holland. Here we tried different approaches of gear/recording, etc. and laid down the basis for the recording/production process later on. We continued writing more material and even did some co-writes with external writers. When we had 20 songs give or take we did another pre-production round in a different studio. Then we moved all our equipment to the Giesound Studios in Zwolle/Holland and there we finished the songs that we choose for the album and started recording in the summer of 2015. Steven, who left the band in 2010 due to personal circumstances returned and sat behind the drumkit once again. Unfortunately Lasse, our keyboard player and sound designer, couldn't be present during the recording sessions so we worked with the talented sound designer Bas Veeren on this release. Guido mixed the album in December/January and mastering was done in Amsterdam by Darius van Helfteren.“
For which musical ideals does stand these new album release?
„This time we wrote more from the heart. It's the emotional level that was the inspiring factor for this new album. A lot of things happened these past few years on a really personal level and it was impossible to ignore this and not write about it. Once you have a feeling where the song should be about, where it takes you, melodies, sound, structure, etc. start to come naturally. Then it's a matter off combining the pieces so that the lyrics and music connect and become one.“
Be so kind and describe the main musical character of the new release with your own words!
„We feel that it's a Rock oriented band album. We aimed for a more pure sound and let the band shine instead of making an over produced album. We gave priority to drums, bass and guitars and added keyboards as a flavour instead of letting them be dominant.“
Which noteworthy differences to the previous album(s) are waiting now for the curious listeners on „Uprise“?
„As mentioned earlier this album is all about our personal emotions and experiences. You will hear the band, songs, and lyrics coming from our hearts in its purest form.“
The album sounds crystal clear and often very powerful too ... fits perfect to the songwriting itself. Please mention the most important things about it!
„Our songs are always written in a basic form so on guitar or piano and basically the song has to move us emotionally. If we can 'feel' the song in this simplest form then we are satisfied. We feel it's important songs connect and become a unity. We spent a lot of time on this basic song-writing, making the melodies and harmonies fit/connect until it grabs us. Then you know you’re on the right track. The arranging and instrumental completion comes later.“
The clever arranged, female vocals fit simply perfect to the material, in each facet. Your opinion about it?
„We think this is because of how the songs are written, in its basic form as we explained before. We don't look at it as being clever because all is done from the heart, from emotion and feeling so... not from a thinking/calculating situation.Absolutely not. HJ is very picky and sensitive when it comes to writing/ playing melodies. When it sounds good and touches you it is good.“
How long have you worked on the new songs until everything was finished?
„Most of the songs were written during 2015 and they feature on the new album. Some songs were written in 2014, and we used a few ideas that were written even before that. Basic songs often are simply there, written in a couple of hours. It's the finishing/completion the songs that takes more time. Again, we react on how we feel about the song and when it doesn't really connect yet we'll work on it until it does. When it doesn't feel right and we can't complete the song we'll just drop it and move on.“
The well made, catchy contrasting melodies are a main part of the extremely well balanced material — how much importance the melodies have for the band?
HJ: „To me the melody is very, very important. There are a lot of melodies out there ha ha so... why do certain melodies stick and most of them do not? I strongly believe that when a melody moves you, captures and becomes a part of you the writer felt this too. If it's real then it can be really magical. I always try to create melodies that move me, make me feel something and hope this will connect to the listener. That the listener feels what I felt when I wrote it.“
I appreciate the theatric nuances in the new music of Nemesea ... is a correspondingly music video planned?
„We recorded the first music video last weekend in Sweden at the Gothenburg film studios. We worked with Patrick Ullaeus from Revolver and even though we didn’t see the final result yet we’re sure it will perfectly complement the upcoming single “Forever” and the new album “Uprise” as a whole. Video release will be in April.“
© Markus Eck, 21.03.2016
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