CYANIDE PARADISE: An interview with Liv Linn and Jeff Wennekes


Interview by Miriam C.

This promising Dutch band from Eindhoven is unstoppable. Melodic death metal band Cyanide Paradise has digitally released back on the 8th July their début EP “Reach For the Stars” and their already planning their next moves. Before going too much further, let’s start from the beginning by asking for more information to the singer Liv Linn and bassist Jeff Wennekes.

First of all, Linn Lin and Jeff, welcome to Femme Metal Webzine. How you and how life is treating you?

Liv: Everything is going really great. We had an exciting week, as you noticed the EP come out the last Monday [on the 8th July] and so far, we have some really positive reactions and we are really excited about it.

For what, I’ve learned Cyanide Paradise was founded this year [in 2019]. So, how you did come up together and collectively speaking, what’s the main idea behind Cyanide Paradise?

Jeff: It was started by me and Martin. Together we also played in another band before this one and unfortunately, that one didn’t work out so well but we really like each other when we were working together and musically, we just clicked. So, we immediately knew that we wanted to start a band together. It took a while for writing the songs but after a while, we had composed enough songs that were suitable to be recorded and it was pretty much how it did happen. Then, my girlfriend Lin joined the band and she wanted to help out, naturally, she also liked the music as well and mainly, it’s how the project was born.

I also know that Linn and you were part of Pictura Poesis, is that band still active?

Liv:Yes, it’s very much active and I joined it around 3 years ago and Jeff joined it only this year but yeah, we’re still in it both of us and we really like it. It’s a different genre, a different type of music we are composing with them.

Considering that Pictura Poesis and Cyanide Paradise are completely two different musical genres, how the musical approach change when composing and writing the new band?

Liv: I think the biggest difference is the use of guitars and keyboards because Pictura Poesis is more like symphonic black death metal and there’s a lot of orchestrations, a lot of keyboards in it. Instead, with Cyanide Paradise, we mainly use guitars.

Jeff: And the way the songs are written for Picture is that everything is written pretty much by the drummer Harald [Bouten]. He writes everything from scratch including the instruments and each and every one of us adapts and improve their line a little bit but, as I said before, everything is written by Harald and everyone plays its own part. On the other side, Cyanide Paradise is a more of cooperation between me, Linn and Martin. We really sit down together and write. Martin writes a lot on its own, as well but usually, we end up taking up that and working on that all together.

Liv: Actually, this summer we have already a week planned for writing and a recording session.

On the 8th of July, it independently released your debut EP “Reach For the Stars”. Considering how recently the band got together, it’s unbelievable how mature it does sounds, so how this EP was created and how was its process? For the sake of the clarity, 2019 marks both the band formation and the EP’s publication…

Liv: Yes, in a way, it was fast and easier because we already knew each other. As we previously said, Jeff and Martin did already know each other from previous experience with another band which, a couple of years earlier, I was playing with them. On top of all, we were already friends so a lot of the songs were written basically before.

Jeff: Martin has written a lot of the music from a previous band session but unfortunately, all that material was used in that band and we used a little bit that material as a base and we built on from that.

Liv: Communication is really easy between us. So, it really adds up.

Also, I’ve read in the press release that Cyanide Paradise is still looking for new members to add to your line up. How the search is going?

Liv: Well, up to this point we didn’t actively search for additional members. In the beginning, we tried to reach out for a drummer but we thought it was much important to release our material out. In order for people to listen to it and know what they get into. Consequently, this can help to build a band reputation, hopefully for future members too.

What I’m wondering is if you any plans to promote live this EP?

Jeff: First of all, for playing live we need a full band and right now, we don’t have it. We essentially need a drummer and an extra guitarist. As Linn said before, we weren’t actively looking for it because we wanted to publish our EP. We produced it ourselves however to perform it live we need more members but right now, we have just started to search for them and probably, pretty soon we’ll more active on that front so we are starting to reaching out to people and as soon as we have these new members, we will begin to write a little bit more of material so we can play a full set instead of 4 songs but only after this we will attempt to play live.

Liv: We have already several experiences with live performing and it’s a big plus for us. And, we really cannot wait to do that [laughs].

So, getting back to your debut EP “Reach For the Stars” which contains 4 songs. Do you mind to talk a bit about the lyrics and its thematics? What would you like to convey with your lyrics? What is your goal?

Jeff: Well, it depends. Of course, we all contribute to the lyrics. For example, the title track tells about a story. It’s just the beginning of this story and we’ll release maybe another EP or a full-length and the story will continue over those releases. Also, it depends on the songs, for instance, one is about religion and our idea about that. For us, it’s quite random, what it comes up. It’s not a defined plan.

Liv: If you all are interested in reading the lyrics and learn more of what I’m screaming about [laughs], you can find them on our website.

Can we consider your debut EP as a sort of preface for a possible concept album?

Liv: Yeah, you can call it like that!

Jeff: Yeah, probably it’s gonna be a concept album spread out over multiple releases and complemented with other songs.

More in general, since you are a pretty young band, I was curious to learn more about your musical influences and how they vary between each member?

Jeff: For me, it’s really hard to pinpoint an exact musical influence. I listen to a lot of different music and sub-genres. Even some non-metal music. I write whatever comes up for me. Also, it’s quite difficult to say on what’s based on. The musical lines are mostly written by Martin and one of his big influences is Devin Townsend and Amon Amarth. Especially, for the latest one, you can totally listen to some elements of it in our music. As per other bands we like Scar Symmetry, Mors Principium Est.

What 2019 has in store for you as a band? Did you already settle down a plan?

Liv: Like I just said before, we have planned a week solely dedicated to composing and writing. We’re also aiming to work on a single, the idea is just to release a couple of EPs and continuing the story that way. We don’t want to have a lot of time between the release because the promotion gets much easier if you aren’t quiet for two years or more. So, it’s much more our plan.

Jeff: Of course, we are also working on our live performances and hopefully, the beginning of the next year.

Liv: Everything depends if we manage to fill those two missing positions in our line-up.

Now, please indulge my curiosity: do you plan to continue to independently produce the band or are you seeking out for cooperation with a record label?

Liv: It depends if they propose a good offer to us. Consider that it’s really easy for us to do all the recordings, all the mixing and all the master ourselves.

Jeff: It’s not easy [laughs].

Liv: It’s not easy maybe it’s the wrong word [laughs] but we would like to collaborate with some professional for the mixing and the mastering. Though, if someone comes along and it has a good deal for us, why not?

Jeff: At the moment, we are not actively reaching out to labels but once again if someone presents themselves with a good offer, we’re open for it.

So, this was my last question and I really thank you for your kindness. This is your space, be free to say hi to your fans and our readers.

Liv: I would like to thank you so much for reading this interview. I hope you’ll check out our material and please, leave us a comment or like our Facebook page. We really want to know your opinion and I hope to see you soon.

Jeff: If you like our stuff, please reach out to us, we always like that and we always try to reply to your messages. I hope you’ll enjoy it.

Liv: Thank you so much for this interview and for giving us the chance to present ourselves in a different way.

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