"The Dark Groove"
Interview with: Autumn
(Enrique Aracil) Following the release of their fourth studio album "Altitude", we sent a questionnaire to Dutch goth metallers Autumn to know a bit more about the new album and the band. Drummer Jan Grijpstra kindly aswered our questions, as you can read in the following...
Q: Arno Krabman is the guy you trusted with the production of your last albums, "Altitude" (í09) and "My New Time" (í07). Whatís special about the Graveland Studios? Have you found your definitive sound thanks to Arno?
Jan: Arno is a very talented musician and producer and we like to work with him because he knows what he is doing and knows what we want. The studio is run by Arno and Nienke, our former singer, and that was the reason why we tried the Graveland Studio to record the my new time album. This was to our full satisfaction, that is why we chose this studio again. Our sound is also defined partly by Jochem Jacobs from the Splitsecondsound studios, who mixed and mastered both albums.
Q: Do you consider "Altitude" your most complete album to this moment? In which ways is it different from your other albums?
Jan: I think is is the most dark album we made so far. Since the "My New Time" album we introduced more groove into the albums. "My New Time" was a real statement and harboured very to the point songs. This time we used more layered structures and tried to put more different themes in one song. Of course without losing the more groove-rock approach of the "My New Time" album.
Q: Do you plan to release a single for "Paradise Nox" or some other track? Have you made a video for any song from "Altitude"?
Jan: Yes, we are planning this at the moment. Since we have to be careful with the budget, we chose for a more live and performance approach. I think the video will be finished within a few weeks, so around then we will announce what song we used for the video...
Q: The structures of the guitar solos are more melodic and more complex, especially on "Sulphur Rodents" and "A Minor Dance". How do you compose them? What are your main guitar influences (meaning guitarists)?
Jan: Our guitar players have a lot of different influences, like Katatonia and Nevermore, to name a few. Most solos are done by Jens, and he makes them from scratch. In the studio he plays a few of his favourites and then melts them altogether.
Q: When you compose, do you do it based on Marjanís voice or is it the other way round, the vocals follow the music?
Jan: Mostly we come up with the structure and the riffs of the song and based on that, the lyrics are written and the vocal arrangements are made. We all think and design the vocal arrangements and Marjan gives her final touch to them.
Q: [Question for Marjan]: You worked with Arjen Lucassen in Ayreon, how was the experience?
Jan: I will answer this question for her, since I know that Arjen was very happy with her performance. It took her only a few hours to record the vocals, which was very impressive. Marjan is very good in being on the top of her game during recording and she has the ability to nail the vocals only within a few takes.
Q: Itís a surprise to see a band like Autumn on a label like Metal Blade, which is normally related to more extreme music (thrash, death...). Whatís the relationship with the label like? Are you satisfied with the promotion, distribution etc? Why did you choose this label? Did you get any other offers?
Jan: When we were looking for a label to release our third album we also informed with Metal Blade since Jens had good experience with this label from the time he was the guitar player in the band God Dethroned. Since they are a label specialized in extreme music we also were surprised that Metal Blade was enthousiastic. The coorporation with the label is great. They are very enthousiastic and do a great job in promoting us. Also very important is the fact that they give us total freedom in creating the albums, musically, but also with artwork. There were some other labels that were interested, but Metal Blade felt best for the band.
Q: Why did you modify the logo of the band? Did that happen at the same time that you changed the label?
Jan: Well, we were thinking of changing it a bit, already during the "Summer's End" album, and we thought of a good idea during the "My New Time" record, so it was more a coincidence. We only changed the the font of the letter, the real logo (the tree like symbol), was kept intact.
Q: Youíve released four studio albums already. Have you thought about recording a live DVD or a compilation? What are your immediate plans?
Jan: Well, we recorded these 4 albums with three different labels, so a compilation album will be difficult, but we are enthousiastic about a live DVD. Hopefully we get the opportunity soon.
Q: Do you consider the goth-rock-metal scene to be saturated? Do you think thereís more quantity than quality?
Jan: We are already there for some 12 years, so we have seen a lot of female fronted bands come and go. I think, as long as bands keep on innovating, the so-called genre is still open for development. There are a lot of bands, but then again, the genre is very wide (from metal- to rock oriented bands) so I think the most talented bands will definitely stay alive.
Q: Nowadays itís complicated doing a tour because of the high costs... do you prefer to play festivals than playing as a support band for some "major" band?
Jan: Yes, we love to do play shows, but it becomes harder to keep it healthy, financial wise. I donít think we can do support tours, simply because the label, and we, cannot finance this. We are however trying to setup a small tour for ourselves. Festivals are always great to be a part of!
Q: Last not least: any last words for the Spanish fans and the readers of Dark Music Site? Thanks for your time and all the best for the future!
Jan: Thank you for your interest in the band! I hope your readers will check out the "Altitude" album. For those who first want to listen to the album before buying it, we have put the complete album as a stream on our myspace, www.myspace.com/autumnband. Hopefully we will see you in Spain some day.
Photo: Metalblade/ Leonie Hoogeslag