Interview by Roberta Ilaria Rossi
After the recent release of the third Nemesea album, Femme Metal crew has the pleasure of exchanging some chats with Manda, that did the honors and that has revealed all the hidden details about “The Quiet Resistance”. Here you can find all the details of our chat with this amazing Dutch singer.
Hi Manda and welcome to Femme Metal. How are you doing?
Hi, I’m doing fine!
Recently, you’ve signed a deal record with Napalm Records to release your third album, “The Quiet Resistance”. How was this decision born?
When thinking about doing a 3rd studio album the band wasn’t sure about how to release it. We had some contact with NR in the past and at the right time both Nemesea and NR agreed to work with each other on a new Nemesea album.
This last album is such a great masterpiece, that mixes some genres like electro music, trance and some alternative rock. It seems that, compared to previous albums, TQR has taken something from the other two. “Mana” was an album with progressive tendencies, a little gothic, the second one, “In Control”, was more symphonic. For this album, you wanted to try something innovative. What causes this decision? Why did you want to create a new experiment, if we can call it like this?
We always try to develop/progress. It’s true that the TQR album combines elements of our previous albums and for this album that was the plan from the beginning. With 2 new members on board (Lasse – Keys & Frank – Drums ) a band sound changes as well. Especially Lasse who is also a sound designer had a major influence on the sound this time. We were always looking for someone that had interest in rock as well as electro music. Lasse is the perfect guy for that. The whole band is interested in all kinds of music and especially in rock and electro oriented music. It’s normal to us to combine those styles/influences..
What’s behind the title of the album? Why have you chosen it?
“The Quiet Resistance” is about that resistance/feeling within you but are afraid of, not allowed to speak of. We came across the intro when going through some older audio material that Lasse had. We had al lot of songs written already at that point and lots of them were about speaking your mind (for example the songs “Say”, “Caught in the Middle”, “Whenever” ). When we heard this intro lyric we immedialtely knew it had to become the album title.
The artwork shows you, Manda, in a lost location, with you holding a long sword. Could you explain us what’s the meaning of it? Who created the artwork?
The artwork was created by Stefan Heilemann, a very talented artist. I’m in a lost/quiet environment (desert like) and the sword represents a quiet resistance as well. You can’t hear but can see the resistance.
The opening title track, “The Quiet Resistance”, starts with a very male mysterious voice, like a “hard breath” voice. Why did you decided to open the album with this song? Is it just to create a sort of “wonder” in the listener?
To us it’s a strong lyric and is a good opener for the album. When making intros like this we always look at it from a live point of view as well.
Taking a listen to the song called “Rush”, I’ve found a similarity with Evanescence’s sound. In a first moment, it was seeming to listen to Amy Lee in “The Open Door”. Do you agree with this statement?
As much as I like Evanescence and Amy Lee I can’t really hear a similarity. We have a different way of arranging and sound design compared to for instance Evanescence. The song was more influenced by Bjork than Evanescence but… when i say that of course Amy Lee is a big fan of Bjork so….
Listening to the album, my attention ran upon the song called “Allein”. There is a clear reference to Rammstein influences. Indeed, we find the great vocal by Heli Reissenweber (singer of the Rammstein cover band Stahlzeit). Why have you decided to create a track in Rammstein’s style? Had it already been decided previously or have you wanted to create something new for this album?
It started with a electronic pattern Lasse wrote. When HJ started to write a song around it a Rammstein feel occured. At some point we had to decide if we wanted to go for a Rammstein influenced track or to step away from that and go for something else. Since we are all big rammstein fans we decide to go in that direction. We went all the way when asking Heli Reisenweber. We see the song as written by Rammstein & Nemesea together. At least, something like this would come out if we did… we’ll keep on dreaming ha ha.
TQR has been mixed and produced by Joost van den Broek, better known for having played in a great Dutch band, After Forever. Nemesea toured with these guys a very long time ago, is there any particular reason about this choice?
Joost is a multi-talented person. He’s a great keyboard player but is an equally talented producer, arranger and mixer. We got to know him during the shows we played with AF. HJ had worked with Joost on some other projects as well so it was very logical for us to ask him to work on TQR.
The first single taken from this album is “Afterlife”. Why have you chosen this single as the first song to record a video clip as well?
Both band and label agreed this song to be the first single. The song is HJ’s favorite so he really wanted to start with that song as well. We believe lots of people like melody, the song and it represents the Nemesea sound in a way.
How did the recording last for TQR? Your last album, “In Control”, was released over four years ago. Is there something that has forced you to such a long break? Or did you wanted to take your own time to work on this album?
To be honest, we had a bit of a difficult time after our album “In Control” since nothing really happened with that album. We worked very hard on “In Control” so we were very disappointed when the high expectations didn’t follow through. Everybody took some time off and lots of us worked on other musical projects. After a while we started to get inspired again and started writing new stuff.
Some great guests on this album were chosen, as Charlotte Wessels (Delain), Marcus Klavan and Matt Litwin (Bulletproof Messenger) and, as I said before, Heli Reissenweber (Stahlzeit). What were the foundations for these choices?
We know Charlotte personally from some gigs we did with Delain. When HJ wrote the song “High Enough” he immediately thought of asking Charlotte because he thought both voices would match nicely. Marcus and Matt recorded an album through Sellaband as well and they had sort of the same experience as we did. We always had contact through email and we love Bulletproof Messenger. When working on “It’s Over” the turntables and voice contribution of both guys seemed to finish the song, great! Heli we didn’t know but asked to sing on the song because he was the only one that was able to do it ha ha. His voice is amazing!
If you could describe this album with 3 words, which adjectives would you use?
Best so far!
Where do you find the inspiration for your lyrics?
That differs for every lyric I write. Sometimes it’s just a word or sentence, sometimes it’s a movie or things that happen to me or people I know.
How much time do you spend to train your voice?
I’ve taken singing lessons for over 12 years now and I sing every day. I love singing and developing my voice. There’s still so much to learn. I still take singing lessons and I started speech therapy also a few months ago. I love working on my voice and technical skills.
Is there any particular singer who could have been a source of inspiration for you and for your professional growth?
There are a few. First of all there’s Anneke van Giersbergen. She’s the reason I started to sing. Nowadays I listen a lot to Christina Aguilera and Kelly Clarkson. They both have such powerful voices that inspire me to work hard on my voice. Also Jared Leto is someone who inspires me. He has a very unique way of expressing lyrics and their emotions. I love his voice and way of singing.
Nemesea is a Dutch “trademark” and comes from a fact from which many important names have emerged, such as After Forever, Within Temptation, Epica, The Gathering – what do you think of these important bands? Would you love to work with one of them?
All the bands mentioned are great and have their own style and talents. The Gathering and Within Temptation are bands we would prefer to work with because we can relate to their music a bit more.
Having mentioned Charlotte Wessels from Delain before, I’d like to ask you: how was working with her? She is one of the best Dutch singers you can find around and her voice is so magical. Listening to “High Enough”, I’ve found that the duo fits your voices perfectly, you bring the listener to a magic mood, your voices take over the listener’s attention.
It was great working with her. She loved the idea of doing a duet with me and work really fast. I’d love to share stage with her one day to sing “High Enough” live. That would be just amazing.
What do you think of Dutch female fronted bands? And what is your personal opinion on all these new bands that necessarily want to have a female voice?
I’m very proud of the fact that such a small country delivers such a unique music style and bands that do very well internationally. The Netherlands has 2 big music export products, Dj’s ( Tiesto/ Armin van Buuren, etc ) and Female Fronted rock/metal bands (WT, Epica, The Gathering, Delain)
Now that TQR has been released, are you going to tour within Europe or to tour in general? In my honest opinion, I would like to see Nemesea playing in Europe, at least once…
We are doing a tour with In Extremo this December throughout Germany. We are working on more shows/tours as we speak. Playing live is why we make music, we hope to do it a lot in the future.
If you could tour with some bands, which bands would you like to support?
There are a lot of bands we like to tour with, Rammstein, Metallica, Within Temptation, Lacuna Coil, 30 seconds to Mars etc…
What’s new for Nemesea now? Do you have already some new projects or do you want to focus your attention to this album and all that follows?
All the band member or working on several musical projects next to Nemesea. We started to write some new songs for the next album already and we are preparing for live performances..
Ok, thanks so much for this interview you gave to Femme Metal. Is there something you would like to tell to all Nemesea fans out there?
We hope that everybody will check out our new album and hope they like it, let us know what you think on www.nemesea.com.
Photos by Stefan Heilemann / www.heilemania.de