Interview by Tony Cannella
The Dutch metal band Delain recently embarked on their first extensive U.S. tour as the opener for Kamelot. The band has impressed the audiences with their high energy, powerhouse performance on each stop of the tour. I had the opportunity to see them live in Worcester and they did not disappoint. With their new EP “Interlude” available now, I had the chance to chat with lead vocalist Charlotte Wessels prior to their set in Worcester and we talked about a variety of subjects including their last album “We Are the Others”. It was a nice conversation and this is what she had to say… You’ve been on tour with Kamelot in North America for a few shows now. How has it been going so far?
It’s been going well. This is our first ever U.S. tour. We’ve done Prog Power before, that was one show, we’ve done the 70,000 tons of Metal Cruise, but that was also just one gig, so this is actually the first time we are doing a full-fledged U.S. tour. It is really exciting for us to see the audience response, even though we are with a little bit of an adjusted band because we have some people who are expanding their families’ right at the moment. It’s going pretty well; especially yesterday in New York we had a really cool reception. It’s been amazing.You mentioned that this is your first full North American tour. What are your impressions so far?
You never really know what to expect and how many people know you and how many people are going to sing along to the songs. We’ve actually had a lot of people knowing the songs already and wearing the t-shirts, so it’s good see that. This tour is a really great opportunity for us to win some new souls, but it’s also great to see that many people know us already, which is cool.You mentioned that people already know you, but do you find that you’re coming away with new fans on this tour?
Yes. Of course we don’t have anything to compare it with in the U.S., but at least we’re expanding from Europe to the U.S., so that’s already a big step.Your new EP “Interlude” is out now. What can you tell us about it?
Well it’s basically a collection of a lot of songs that we had written over the last couple of years. At one point we looked at what we had and we thought there was so much material. You know, sometimes you have some songs that you really like and you think “We could always bring it to the next album”, in this case we had so much material lying around and we thought we were going to re-record this and actually make this a record of its own. It’s a bit more of a patchwork kind of record.It’s a bit longer than your average EP.
Yeah exactly. We’ve got some live tracks, we’ve got some brand new tracks, we’ve got some covers, and we’ve got some alternative versions of songs.I thought the covers were interesting. You chose songs that are not obvious for a metal band to cover. Why did you decide to go that route?
It’s a combination of finding songs where you really like the original and finding songs that you can make your own. “Smalltown Boy” is probably one of my favorite songs in the world. We could kind of add something of our own with respect to the original because we just like these songs so much. Also, “Smalltown Boy” of course it kind of fits with the idea of “We Are the Others” quite well because it’s a gay anthem. So yeah, it’s kind of all puzzle pieces falling together with these tracks. We tried a lot but these were our favorites.“Interlude” also came with a DVD filmed live at Metal Female Voices Festival in Belgium. It’s a really cool DVD. What can you tell us about it and do you think that you’ll do a longer one in the future?
To be honest, I always find the process of creating a new album is much more interesting to me than doing a live DVD. It’s just more exciting to work on new music than I think a live DVD, but I know that people really like to have it, especially people who live in places where they cannot go see the band and just want to have a good representation of what the band looks like on stage. I can imagine that it would be fun to have an occasion where you really pull everything out and make a DVD of it. It’s not on our agenda right now, but I can imagine that we would do that in the future. Most bands have one at one point, so I think we should too.
Your last album, “We Are the Others” has been out for awhile. How would you describe it to those who haven’t heard it?
We had a really top-notch Swedish production team behind us, which was really cool and it really helped us in getting the songs together and to get them how they are sounding now. I would say that on this record, there are less ingredients, but the ingredients are heavier. It’s funny because some people say, “oh man this album is heavier” and some people say “this album is more pop” and actually in a way it’s both true, because the songs are really catchy but the guitar and drums are still heavy. So yeah, we tried to make a good combination, because we like both of those things. We like a very heavy sound, but again, as you can also see from our choice of cover songs, we also like this really catchy, pop kind of tune. So we tried to combine that as well as we could.You are often lumped into the symphonic metal category. There is that style, but so many different elements as well. Do you agree with that categorization?
Actually categorizations are so hard because it all depends on definitions and there is really not one definition on any of these genres. When somebody asks what kind of music we make, I just say rock music or metal. We’ve been described as Gothic quite a lot as well, I think there are so many definitions of the genre, but we definitely have that sense of drama. So, definitions don’t bother me.The song “We Are the Others” really stands out. It’s got an important message. It was written about the Sophie Lancaster case in England. What inspired you write a song about that?
Well, we basically were talking about the instrumentals for the song and I was listening to it and I thought it was such an upbeat song and I wanted the lyrics to be kind of empowering. Actually the words from the chorus “We Are the Others”, they were there from pretty early on, and I just wanted it to be about feeling outcast, not even being outcast – because who decides who is outcast. At one point I just couldn’t find the right tone and I remembered the case of Sophie Lancaster, and of course the song celebrates being different, but at one point you have to face the harsh reality that you can say we celebrate difference but in a lot of cases all over the word there’s violence because of the same differences, and there’s violence because of your sexuality or in the case of Sophie Lancaster just sub culture, or just the way you dress or the music that you listen to. I remember when I heard her case, I got so upset. There are a lot of nasty things happening in the world for some reason, maybe because where in the goth scene ourselves and it kind of reminded me about the way I used to dress in high school. It hit a nerve. I re-wrote the lyrics then. I was still kind of insecure and at one point I called the Sophie Lancaster foundation and I told them about our song and they really supported it and they really loved the idea of the song and the message and also the positive vibe of the song. For me, that was kind of a go sign that we could do this. I’m really enjoying everything that has happened ever since and we’re getting so many messages from people who say that they are getting some kind of empowerment from the song, which is more than we could have ever hoped for.One of the strengths of the song in my opinion is its up-beat vibe. I know people can draw strength from that.
It’s hard because since it’s so upbeat and it’s so happy in a way, and you’re talking about such a serious subject…Yeah, there is a fine line…
Yeah, I talked about that with the foundation as well. They said this is the way we work because they work on festivals a lot and they say that it is a good way to get to people through positivity instead of negativity, so they actually liked that.You also did the 70,000 Tons of Metal Cruise. That must have been a pretty unique experience. Was that your first cruise?
Yes, it was. It was amazing, I think it was the coolest things we’ve ever done. It was just amazing. It is just metal music playing from the four star restaurant, to the breakfast room to the pool deck. Having cocktails in the sun a couple of days, it was really amazing. At some point you forget that you’re actually working there, it was like a little holiday.Are you working on any new music at the moment?
We are actually. We’ve got a lot of songs for our new record already. We have to write some more and then we are going into the studio after this tour. We’re hoping to release it in the first half of 2014.You’ve done guest appearances on albums by Serenity and Nemesea. Do you like doing stuff like that?
Yeah, definitely. I just like music and singing so if you can do that on someone else’s project and if they want you to be part of that and you like the project, it’s very nice.What can fans expect when they come see Delain live?
It’s very upbeat. It’s a party; the goal is for every gig to be a party. We just want people to have a good time and enjoy the music.We’ve come to the final question. Thank you for taking the time to do this. It is really appreciated. Do you have any final messages for the fans to wrap this up?
We’ve seen a lot of people in the U.S. already who came to see us and we really, really appreciate it. I just hope we see many more people on the road. Thank you everybody for your support.
Photos by Sandra Ludewig