DATE OF INTERVIEW:
22nd March 2010
Formed by ex-Within Temptation keyboardist Martjin Westerholt and vocalist Charlotte Wessels, Delain began life as a studio project which spawned impressive debut album 'Lucidity', an ensemble effort featuring the guest contributions of many luminaries from the scene (Sharon Den Adel; Liv Kristine; Marco Hietala; George Oosthoek et al). Since then, the Dutch symphonic metallers have transformed into a full-on touring outfit and released sophomore full-length album 'April Rain' to glowing critical acclaim, hitting the number one spot in their home country's Alternative Top 30. On a short UK tour towards the end of March 2010, Metal Discovery's Adam Parrot met up with Delain's frontwoman to find out more about symphonic metal's fast rising stars...
METAL DISCOVERY: How do you feel to be back in the UK after your first tour?
CHARLOTTE WESSELS: It's awesome! Actually, for us, it really feels like our first headline tour and that's always special; people are coming for you otherwise we're doing something wrong. We've been here before with Sonata Arctica...
(Charlotte Wessels on the touring vibe)
“...when we’re not touring I'm just at home doing laundry and feeding the kittens. On tour it’s very different; the highs are very high and the lows are really low...It's like being in a kind of high state of mind because everything is extreme.”
Charlotte Wessels backstage at Rock City, Nottingham, UK, 22nd March 2010
Interview by Adam Parrott; Photography by Nicholas Dishington
Albums & EPs
Official Delain Website:
Official Delain MySpace:
Thanks to Michelle Kerr at Roadrunner Records UK for offering, and arranging, the interview
Photograph copyright © 2010 Nicholas Dishington - www.metal-discovery.com
April Rain (2009)
MD: Ah yes, I saw you in Birmingham.
CW: Birmingham was brilliant, we were totally overwhelmed. We didn't have the release yet then, or the interest of people wanting to release the album then, so I think that was a very important gig for us. After that we got the phone call from Roadrunner UK saying “OK we'll do it!”
MD: You did well too, back in January, entering the rock charts at number 14 - how do you feel about that, and have you been surprised by your growing popularity in this country?
CW: Yeah that was great; I've heard you've got that music channel Scuzz here, they've been playing ‘Stay Forever’. With this album, we haven't been played on Dutch television a lot so I was really surprised that they were playing us in the UK. It's really nice.
MD: Rob has recently been replaced by Otto on bass - how does he work with the dynamic of the band?
CW: Yeah, I think it’s kind of typical for the phases of the band. You're growing and, as it gets more and more time consuming, people start making decisions - like, of course, our guitarist leaving. It’s not nice but I totally understand and respect their decision and, of course, we will miss them although I'm really happy with the new guys that we got. Otto did his first show ever yesterday; it went very smoothly. Even though he had very little time to learn all the songs he did so without any problems. Yesterday the London audience was really crazy so he got a really warm welcome. I think it was a really good first gig for him.
MD: When composing material, do you write collectively as a band, or individually and then get together with all your ideas?
CW: No, not really. I mean, in the beginning it was really mainly Martin who wrote the music. Now I'm contributing a lot more which is nice for me to kind of have creative input, and then there's the third guy, Guus Eikens, who's the core of the song writing and he's not even in the band. Actually, we call him our sixth band member! He writes along with us, I write together with him which is really awesome. The rest of the band, they have a lot of input, like Robert and Ronald both contributed quite a lot of the basis of the songs on the previous album. Of course we haven't known Ewout and Otto that long yet so we don't know how they write their music, but surely hope that we can have them contribute to this new album and leave a satisfying result for everyone.
MD: Do you gain any creative inspiration from all the countries and places you visit on tour?
CW: It's funny you mentioned it because this morning, in the car, I was thinking of lyrics from a song because yesterday was really great. When you go touring you enter a different way of living; when we’re not touring I'm just at home doing laundry and feeding the kittens. On tour it’s very different; the highs are very high and the lows are really low. You get can tired and sometimes you don't get to eat but I actually like it a lot. It's like being in a kind of high state of mind because everything is extreme.
MD: Was Delain always originally intended to be just a studio project with the release of 'Lucidity'?
CW: I don't think Martin ever made the decision to make it just a studio project. It was just that in the beginning he had an illness that makes you very tired, so he never thought he'd be in a touring band. That's actually why the first album was a project like it was but, of course, we could have all these guest musicians which was very awesome! After the album we were really enthusiastic about it and Martin was getting a little better with his health so we thought we could get a band together to play a couple of times. So we did that but then the couple of times became a lot of times and we all got so into it that when we started writing the second album we'd grown together so close as a band it was actually only logical we would record this as more of a classic band album. It was never like we had a strategy or something it was just that we saw what worked. At that time the studio project was a good approach and now here we are!
MD: On ‘April Rain’ you only have grunting vocals on one song, ‘Virtue and Vice’. Why did you decide to keep the grunts to a minimum on the second album?
CW: Actually I don't know. There were quite a few grunts on ‘Lucidity’ - I think it’s just something in the style of writing. I wrote lyrics for grunts on the first album, but when I think of songs or write songs I mainly don't write for grunts, because for me it’s so hard to imagine how. I can't even emulate it, you know. It’s not a guest project anymore. Of course, when you have a grunter like George on there you want to use that in a lot of songs.
MD: You have Marco Hietala of Nightwish performing some guest vocals on the new album but you sing all of ‘Nothing Left’ live - was that track originally intended to just have your vocals?
CW: It’s actually very easy to perform the parts because, at the beginning, when we wrote the songs I’d just do the vocal lines then we’d see what would be cool for Marco to do and we’d send the stuff over to him. He has such a high voice which is really rare for guys to just take on a woman’s vocal line and do it in one and to have it sound as powerful as he can. Actually we are in the same vocal registry. He also does vocals on ‘Control The Storm’; there’s a lot of aggression in that which is one of the reasons we asked him to do that part. The song is about all aggression building up inside your body; you have my sweet girly vocals doing that, and we were like “No, this needs the pirate!”
MD: Do you have any summer festival appearances planned for the UK this year?
CW: We are going to Wacken this year; it’s going to be really good. We’re hoping to catch a festival here in the UK because, of course, we are doing this tour and we want to come back as soon as possible. Because we’re working on our third album already I don't know when we’re going to do a full tour again so we’re trying to do some festivals and were also going to Atlanta and Mexico.
MD: Do you have any plans for a possible live DVD release in the future?
CW: No, not yet. Of course, we want a DVD sometime but it would be cool to have really cool live show and to have it recorded. That’s something we want for the future but at this point we are just working on the third album.
MD: Finally, the third album - have you begun composing for that yet, and what can you tell me about it at this time?
CW: We are trying to really put lots and lots into it. We are currently working on finding Mr. Right when it comes to the producer. Up until now it’s always been Martin and he worked along with our manager. He also did a part of the producing so the albums were made and self produced, but we want some fresh input.
MD: How are you finding writing the new material, is it as hard as it appears?
CW: It’s not so hard to write new songs, it’s just the standard of the songs gets higher and higher. We are going to puts lots and lots of effort into making it as good as possible. It’s actually been quite some time since ‘April Rain’ was released in our home country. I still feel that this album was just good; there’s not a lot I would have done differently other than making it better, bigger, with orchestras and more real.