Caroline Westerndorp – The Charm The Fury

Interview by Ary R. and Miriam Cadoni

Described as Holland’s best kept secret, The Charm The Fury debuts into the metalcore music scene this year with their full length album, a great record that will push these guys from Amsterdam on a higher level. On the occasion of the release of “A Shade of My Former Self”, we got the chance to exchance a few words with the lead singer Caroline Westendorp, that kindly tells us the latest news concerning a dream that came true. Exclusively for Femme Metal.net, here you are the chat with miss Westerndorp!
 
Hi Caroline, welcome to Femme Metal. How are you doing?

Hi! I’m doing very well, thank you so much! Currently still in my bed, with my laptop in front of me. I’m rather tired from a weekend full of good stuff such as birthday parties ;-). How are you doing?!

I’m totally fine! Dank je wel 😀 Let’s begin talking about The Charm The Fury. Would you mind to give a short biography of the band to the people that still don’t know you?

We are The Charm The Fury, a fronted metalcore band from Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Our music is heavily influenced by bands such as Underoath, Architects, For Today and August Burns Red. We formed in 2010, when Math, Lucas, Mathijs and I met through an online advertisement which someone has placed looking to form a metal band. There was a huge personal click, so we started out as a group of friends jamming the music we love. A year later Rolf joined the band and we knew we had our definite line-up: we started writing songs for our debut EP but first released the song “Virtue of Leadership”. The reactions to that track were overwhelming, that’s when we knew we had something rare in hands. Now almost 1,5 year later, we are on the verge of releasing our debut full length “A Shade Of My Former Self” via Listenable Records & Pavement Entertainment. We have played awesome shows and festivals with bands we look up to in 2012 / 2013, and will continue doing that in promotion of the new record. We’re truly living the dream!

Shortly your record, “A Shade of My Former Self” will be out soon. Would you like to explain us the album title and to give some tips about the artwork?

“A Shade of My Former Self” is actually about the personal development that the band has gone through these past few years. The themes of the songs include disappointment in others – in personal experiences or relationships with others, as well as societal issues such as the financial crises or the limited rights of gay people in the world. We show our listeners the darks side of humanity, but let them see that we ourselves can be the axis of evil as well. “A Shade of My Former Self” shows that it is important not to close your eyes for these dark things, but learn to look at it in another way, learn from your experiences and turn yourself into a better person to lead a better life. The artwork is about a woman that’s hidden in a shade. She has words tattooed on her face, she’s scarred by her personal experiences. The shade could tell that she’s a dark person, with a dark past. But it’s also a shade, so that could mean that she’s not that person any more, that’s merely a shade of what she used to be.

Let’s talk about the writing process of this album…

We’ve started writing late 2012. Mathijs (drummer) is the main songwriter, he has some clear ideas about what he wants to hear. He creates the main musical arrangement. Together with Rolf, the guitarist, he arranges the total song including every musical detail, bridge, chorus etc. After that me and Mathijs will sit down on the lyrics. We write the lyrics together. I think we finished our last songs in January 2013 and after that we immediately started recording the album.

Reading the tracklist of the record, we see two important guests: Jamie Graham and Daniël de Jongh, respectively on the tracks “The Enemy”, already premiered on Metal Hammer, and “Colorblind”. How did this cooperation come to life?

Jamie Graham is in Heart of a Coward, and we share the same manager. Our manager introduced us to each other and it clicked. HOAC is such an awesome band, and luckily he thinks the same of The Charm haha! Jamie has such an angry shout, he’s of great addition to our album. Daniel de Jongh is a very very very close friend of mine ;-). When we thought of guest vocalists, we immediately thought of him: he has a very warm singing voice and a very full scream. Our voices blend in so well! He immediately wanted to do is.

Maybe a few people know it, but you’re in a relationship with Daniël. How did you feel like working with your boyfriend? Personally, I think it’s a very romantic thing!

Hahahaha, a ‘very very very close friend of mine’, hahaha, but yes ;-). It’s actually a very cool thing, being in a relationship with another musician. We understand what we both are doing: rehearse, play shows, just being extremely busy with ‘band stuff’ and we respect that each of us put a lot of time and effort in our bands. We share the same passion. Our cooperation went very natural. I asked him and of course he wanted to do it. It was kind of: we were hanging out at my place, recording the songs, drinking some beers. he did some screams, I did some screams, we had a few laughs, a few drinks, and recorded again etc. The vibe was just 100% chill – but the song is rather angry.

You’ve announced also the attendance of your sister for “A Shade of My Former Self”. Is that true that she got involved in the record?

Yes! She plays the saxophone, she’s actually a very good jazz saxophonist. She recorded some lines for the intro of the record, but unfortunately we couldn’t use it due to time issues. Such a pity, cause it sounded amazing!

There are also some instrumental songs in this record as well: “The Unveiling” and “In The Wake of Pride”. What could you tell about these two tracks?

The musical arrangement was created by Mathijs Tieken. He arranged the songs because we wanted to create some air and variety on our album. The instrumentals are electronic, epic and give the listener an opportunity to recover from the angry breakdowns, to get some air.

“Colorblind”, if I’m not mistaken, deals with equal rights and about gay people. Would you mind to explain us in detail something more about this song?

There’s a lot going on in our world, for example: the issue concerning the limited rights of gay people in Russia. It’s 2013, we still can’t believe that there are actually people who are suppressing others. Everybody is the same and needs to be treated in the same way. We’re from Amsterdam: a really freethinking city. We celebrate homosexuality on ‘Gay Pride’ and we are all about happiness and peace. We want people to be ‘Colourblind’ and for gays to be proud of who they are.

You’ve also included a song called “Virtue Of Leadership”, that was previously contained in “The Social Meltdown” EP. You’ve filmed a videoclip for this song as well… A few days ago, you’ve announced the recording of a new videoclip. Any little suggestion?

We’ve chosen that song to be on the album because we are aiming for a bigger audience than we had with our EP. We believe that a lot of people has never heard of us before and has never heard the song “Virtue of Leadership”. We still think it is a great song and want the bigger audience to hear it as well, therefore we put it on the new album. We’ve added a little of new things to the song, changed some sections, so the new  “Virtue of Leadership” is fresh and renewed!

Personally, I think that this album really deserves a huge attention from the media and from people. It’s a noteworthy record. As soon as the album comes to an end, the first thing you’d like to do is to listen to it over and over again. The press is already giving its personal opinion about the record. Have you got the chance to see what webzines and magazine have told about your music?

Thank you so much :-), I’m so glad you like it!!! We’ve had some amazing reviews, people really seem to like it and appreciate our songs. On the other hand we had a couple of less exciting reviews as well. Some have said that it is not as true as Arch Enemy or we are a band for the bandwagon: just another metalcore band. We’re not trying to be anything like Arch Enemy and if people think we are just another metalcore band: that’s fine. We play the music that we love, and we listen to a lot of metalcore bands. We’re proud of the songs we have written, and tastes differ: not everyone can love what you do.

Recently you’ve been on tour with We Came As Romans and you’ll be on the road again in two months with Heart of a Coward. Is there any chance to see TCTF in some other countries like Italy, France, Spain and so on?

Our bookings agency is currently working on European tours.. More news soon ;-). And yes, then we will definitely head to Italy, France, Spain and so on. I’m guessing it would be later this year ;-).

You’ve made your debut a few years ago. It seems that NL is giving a lot of new fresh bands in the last few years. What do you think about the Dutch music scene? Is there any band you like the most?

I find it hard to tell you about the current Dutch Music Scene, a few years ago there were local shows in Amsterdam almost every day of the week. You’d go there to meet all of your friends and see good young bands. That scene kind of died out here in this city. There are some guys trying to put on new shows, but it’s hard to find a new generation of metal heads coming to these shows. You only have the bigger metalcore bands from other countries visiting the big venues. Overall, a lot of bands from The Netherlands quit recently, it’s quite a pity. However, you do have a province in The Netherlands, called Noord – Brabant, where there seem to be a lot of going on at the moment. It’s a 2hr drive from Amsterdam but I feel that the music scene moved from Amsterdam to that part of The Netherlands. There you have a lot of new hardcore/metal/punk bands. Some of them are very good! They bring a new music scene to live with fresh new bands, often pop punk influenced. A Dutch band I like the most is John Coffey. They are a southern rock / metal band, heavily influenced by bands I love (such as Every Time I Die). I believe they are currently one of the biggest bands in The Netherlands. And our biggest Dutch metal pride Textures can’t be forgotten as well 😉

I know you’ve very active on your social networks, how do you manage your “relationship” with fans and people that support you, that trust you and that keep on spreading the word?

Facebook really the place to be! It’s the medium that enables you to directly talk to your fans and followers. We try to post interactive stuff & keep fans up to date about everything we do. It’s cool that we can connect to every part of the world! By posting about what we do often, always reply to the messages we get and show our appreciation towards everybody that likes what we do and help spread the word we hope that we can create a personal bond with our fans. We even want listeners to feel part of the band, part of the music and the things that we do, because if it wasn’t for them, we wouldn’t be here.

You’re 24 years old. You’ve a very young and talented singer. What could you tell about your voice? How do you manage to sing with both harsh and clean vocals? Is that hard for you?

Thank you so much :-). Well, I was a self taught screamer. I used to look up videos on YouTube (How To Scream) and watched Melissa Cross’ Zen of Screaming DVD’s. I started out on my bedroom, screaming to songs of Underoath & Every Time I Die. At first I couldn’t scream for more than 10 seconds without losing my voice, but practice makes perfect. When I felt confident that I could throw out a decent shout I started looking for a band. By doing it on regular basis you train your voice. I did however have nodes on my vocal chords. About 1,5 year ago I started working with a vocal coach and a speech therapist. They changed everything! They taught me (and still teach me) how to use my voice with the right technique, both screaming and clean singing. The nodes disappeared! It’s very important to use a right technique, you don’t want to damage your voice: then you might have to stop making music ;-). I do vocal exercises everyday, sleep well and try not to drink too much to retain my voice.

You’re the only girl in the band. How do you manage to be in a band formed by males?

Haha it’s actually cool cause the guys are really straight forward. They are also my best friends and we have a lot of fun together. But it can be tiring sometimes: I don’t party as much as they do, so I’m often the boring one sleeping in the van while they are screaming their lungs out to happy hardcore and dutch folky songs!

Any future plan?

We want to play as many shows as possible all around the world in support of the new album. We hope that more and more people will get to know The Charm and like it! We want to travel to new places, meet new people and have a blast performing. Hopefully we can tour Europe at the end of the year, and who knows we can get to the US next year! For now we have Vans Warped Tour NL and UK lined up, a UK tour and some cool Dutch shows. The bookings agency is currently working on a European tour.

The final words are up to you, Caroline! 🙂 Femme Metal will keep on spreading TCTF’s music worldwide.

Ha! Please have a listen and.. Enjoy :-)! Thank you for this great interview! Cheers – Caroline

 

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