First of all Thanx for taking the time to do this Interview! You're welcome, our pleasure!
I guess "Beyond Reality" are you´re fifth outing?! That's right!
After hearing said album im really surprised that I havent heard you guys before! Well we're on a mission to resolve that problem !
I think it is a superb album!! Well, thank you very much ,your opinion is confirmed by many reviews. We believe it's just the beginning of a lot more.
So my first question is:
1. Who are your inspirational sources? I realise there are several, so dont hesitate to name them all....and why!!
For Pieter, it's most of all Billy Sheehan, outstanding bassplayer in Niacin, Mr. Big, Talas and David Lee Roth. Mostly because of his fabulous technique, but also for his wonderful sound.
Roland has got a great variety of inspirational sources. Starting with the impressionist composers from the early twentieth century like Holst, Strawinsky and Szimanovski. But off course I have to mention Yes, KingCrimson, Pink Floyd and Genesis. Last but not least his great example on guitar is Alan Holdsworth, perhaps the best guitar player in this world.
Chris probably has got the most up to date interest in neoprogressive bands. But his great bands are Genesis, Yes, Pink Floyd, Marillion.
Joost has probably got the smallest variety in inspirational sources. It's all about Genesis, Pink Floyd, some Yes and some Marillion.
2. Nice cover art by the way! While we are at that topic....is cover art important? If yes, please tell why!
Well thank you. It's the fine result of a coproduction between graphic designer Jochem Nijs and photographer Bert Lukkien. Yes, we do think cover art work is very important. In our opinion it ought to express the emotions of the album. Since the main subject of each song on Beyond Reality is related to elements of time and space, we think the cover fits the music and lyrics very well.
3. I see by the liner notes that it is a collective compostion/songwriting process!How do you come to terms, when creating a track, a song? An idea emerges and one musician brings forth his idea or? Please elaborate on how you create songs amongst you!?
Well sometimes one of us comes up with a nearly finished piece of music. But it nearly always ends up in rewriting certain parts and all kinds of extensions that it ends up in a different kind of song then we started with. But in other cases songs are created in a series of jamsessions. We just start playing on a riff, a chordsequence or on a certain drumgroove. Even during these jamsessions we always keep in mind that our music has to be one story of the band, and not 4 stories of each player. We record these sessions and send them in MP3 format to the band. Each of us selects the most attractive parts and then we start working out the best parts.
We spend a lot of time in working out the transitions between different parts. They have to be fluent and comprehensible. Listening to long pieces of music with a lot of different parts can be difficult to follow or even understand. That's why we use as many guidelines as possible. Repetitive themes, clear melodies and well considered use of dynamics can be quite helpful to that.
4.Do you find that lyrics are as important as the music or vice versa?Please elaborate!
Not when we are writing the music. It's always afterwards that the lyrics are written. But nevertheless during the writing of the lyrics we listen carefully to what the music expresses and we translate that to words. Of course there is some sort of theme or motto in our minds before we start of writing the lyrics. In this album each song approaches a different experience of Time and Space related problems, that only seem to occur in human minds. Time and space are the borders of our observations. These observations are what we call reality. But what's beyond reality? Well there are some signs of the other world we know of: We have dreams, there is a future, there is love, and death. Interesting stuff : We all know that they exist but no one really knows what they are and why they are there. But we all love to have a dream for the future, even though every dream that comes true leads us one step further towards death.
5. As a band, what is your dream? Yes I realise that question is simple, yet difficult!What are your dreams as a band? You wanna be a big band, big venues or you wanna be a progband/artists that is remembered for their music, no genre´s attached?
Our dream is spreading the emotions of our music all over the world, sending out the message we have put in our songs. We believe that music can unite people, give them strength, it's a universal language. We just want to write good music that touches people. And play it as often as possible, because we like doing it. And if that also results in becoming big that sounds good to us!
6.Dutch prog bands have really placed themselves on the progmap in the recent years (again) and deservedly so! Which Dutch progband (any year) do you guys...respect..look up to? Appendix question, which Dutch progband paved the way for others to come??
As I said before we don't look at ourselves being a progrockband. It's only the music we write that counts for us. For that reason we don't keep a close eye on other bands in the so called same genre.
7. Is it important to be categorised as a progband or other, or do you see tag´s, genre´s, labelling categories as an obstruction to reach more listeners?!
No it is not important at all to be categorized as a progband. We only want to write good music, with emotions that come from our hearts. Of course that music might be influenced by the music we all love to listen at. Therefore there is a chance our music can be categorized as progressive rock, symphonic rock or maybe artrock. But that is not a main target. As if we would start off writing songs with some sort of manual in our hands like: "How to make good progressive rock".
8.On a fictive concert poster/event...with Mangrove as top of the bill, whom would you most like to see supporting you? Please name several bands/artist´s!
Could be every band that writes and plays music with the heart and that's capable of telling an exciting story.
9.Playing as brilliant as you guys do. I really have to ask...are you selftaught or classical trained/both?
We all learned to play by ourselves, but for Chris and Roland this was preceded by a foundation of (classical) training. Most important is that you got to have that curiosity to find out how your favourite parts of music are played on your instrument. It's just a matter of trial and error. Later on in the process you find out how to use these techniques in your own compositions.
10. Name 3 progbands/artists that you (all agree) to admire, envy, like?! Please tell us why!
Since we have a broad variety of musical interest over the bands' members I'm afraid we can't even give you one single name.
11. Which of the music process appeals more to Mangrove, the recording or the live performance?
Given these two alternatives we would choose live performance. Being in direct contact with the listener is very important. Gives you direct feedback on your musical and visual performance. But recording is only registrating the results of a creative process. It's fun, especially when the sound turns out to be very good, but in the end it's nothing new. Should we add the alternative "writing the music", it would be hard decision whether to choose for this or for live performance. Writing the music is very unpredictable but always very satisfying because we allways end up with a song we all love. Simply magic how you create something out of nothing.
12. Mellotron, has become a symbol of progressive music, whats your thought´s on that and indeed do you like/use this particular instrument (I guess the latter part of the question mostly is for Jonker)?!
Well, the Mellotron creates an astounding dramatical sound. It's maybe because of the fact that progressive music contains more dramatic elements then mainstream music, that we can hear the Mellotron more often in that specific genre. Chris uses samples instead of the real Mellotron. But most of all, for us, we just love that sound and that's why it is used!
13. While the subject are on instruments, please elaborate on each bandmembers fave instrument!! I am of course talking make or brand!!
Pieter plays Yamaha Attitude bass,(4 string) for it's unique sound, double output( one for each pickup), so he runs two preamps with different settings (one clean superlow-end and one high with a little distortion at the same time!)
The bass has also the Hipshot D-tuner, perfect for him, he can switch in a split of a second from a low E to a low D and back..
For amplification he loves the Ampeg preamps and amps and the Bag End and Ampeg speakercabinets.
Chris loves his Korg M3 the most for it's great sounds and diversity in sounds. Furthermore he is now elaborating his latest addition: the Nord Electro 3 which is well-known for it's supreme vintage sounds like Hammond organs, Mellotron, Rhodes and Clavinet sounds.
Roland plays a Fender Stratocaster (Eric Clapton signature) amplified by Hughes and Kettner Duotone amp and cabinet. Roland uses a Lexicon mpx G2 effectsunit and Seymour Duncan pich up booster. For acoustic (6 en 12 string) simulations a Roland VG 88 is being used. If live circumstances make it possible a Guild D55 is used to play the 6 string acoustic parts.
Joost plays his favourite SONOR S-class drums. Layers of Maple and Birch for a solid warm sound. Cymbals are from Zildjan, Sabian and Ufip. They just have to sound good, brand is not important. Drumsticks are Vic Firth 5A.
14. I find the booklets lyrics (only readable in mirrors) a nice touch, even though some might find it tedious, how did that idea come about?
Mirrors are a daily life symbol for the world Beyond Reality. You will never be able to touch the things you see in the mirror or to enter that world on the other side of the glass and silver. That is what the album is all about, so we decided to put the lyrics in a mirrored way so that the readers would have to use the portal to the other world to translate. But you can also find the non-mirrored lyrics on our website: www.mangrovemusic.nl.
15. Talking booklet and cover ideas, what´s with the frontcover gimmick, a lightbeam projecting an M on a building (like taken out of a Batman film) please tell !?
That's an idea from Bert Lukkien. He thought it might be more of an eye-catcher to beam our logo out of the #00008b on that building. Apparently he was right. The original idea was the M painted on the building.
16. Of the many interviews ive done over the years, several artist´s have mentioned Beatles as the ultimative progband (without them no progmusic as we know it today) do you guys concur with that notion??
We disagree. Of course in their later years the Beatles were extremely experimental. But they did that because there was a movement ongoing in the western world to stand up against the establishment. Hadn't there been the Beatles some other band would have picked up the instruments and led the people to a new kind of social and musical awareness.
17. Finally, any words or thoughts to our readers and your listeners?? Please feel free to elaborate collective or individual.
Well first of all Mangrove would like to thank all of you, the fans, around the world for your support, for buying our music, for visiting our concerts. So far we are overwhelmed by your positive reactions on Beyond Reality. In case you believe in what we're doing, please don't hesitate to share your feelings with others around you. It can make the difference........ Thanks again!
18. Thanx so very much Mangrove, here´s hoping for many more fine moments of your music in the future!!
You are most welcome. Thank you for giving us the opportunity to say a few words to your readers. The same hope here to share our music with you in the near future. Until then, all the best from Mangrove.
Tonny Larsen Caerllysi Music.