Sea of Tranquility writer Murat Batmaz shared some time with one of the brand new stars on the Laser's Edge Sensory label, the Dutch band NovAct. Singer Eddy
Borremans took the opportunity to discuss the brand new CD Tales From the Soul, as well as future plans of the band.
Read on for the complete interview!
Sea of Tranquility: What can you tell us about NovAct and the type of music you play?
Eddy Borremans: Melod(ramat)ic Heavy Progrock. We try to make music that people like to listen to, means something to them emotionally rather than trying to be original.
SoT: What is the relation between Morgana-X and NovAct - why the name
Eddy: The name change was more or less required by our label (Sensory Records). Even though we were free to keep the name we were strongly encouraged to change it since at least in the States a lot of people wouldn't take a new prog band with a name ending with an 'X' seriously. Of course you know the reason why. So after a lot of internal head butting, nose punching and my-name-is-better-than-your-ing we came up with NovAct which indeed means: New Act.
SoT: What bands do you guys listen to when writing music?
Eddy: Writing music and listening to bands is quite separated. In that respect we DO try to be original, that is, we do not try to imitate a style nor a band. But the roots of the composer (Wouter Wamelink) are with metal so that is why it sounds like metal. The bands we listen to: POS, Dream Theater, Devin Townsend, Evergrey, Nevermore, Zappa, Muse, Steve Vai, Joe Satriani, Spocks Beard, Sun Caged, Jeff Buckley, etc.
SoT: . The first thing upon listening to Tales from the Soul is its slick production. Who did you work with recording and mixing the album?
Eddy: Oliver Phillips and Christian Moos of Everon/SpaceLab Studios which was a real joy to work with.
SoT: Did you ask them to go for a special sound you had in mind or did you leave everything up to them?
Eddy: Yes, we did try to go for a special sound. We purposely tried not to make it too slick and keep some punch in it. Nevertheless I think that the expert can still hear the hand of Oliver and Moschus in it, that's inevitable and probably a good thing.
SoT: I'm reminded of Wolverine's The Window Purpose which was also done by the Everon guys? Have you heard it as well?
Eddy: Yes, when Martijn and I were reviewing different studios one of the recordings for Spacelab were indeed parts of the Wolverine album. Definitely one of the reasons we chose them.
SoT: Are you pleased with the production? Would you have done anything differently?
Eddy: Very pleased. Maybe some things could have been done differently but if you look at the time and resources we had, we really squeezed the best out of it. Things can always be done differently and / or better but we're definitely very pleased and have no regrets whatsoever about the result.
SoT:Your vocals mostly remind me of Threshold, Vanden Plas and Pain of Salvation. Would you agree with these comparisons?
Eddy: I can imagine the comparison although I am personally not in the slightest influenced by any of them. Before joining NovAct I had never even heard of these bands (I do not have a metal background as a singer). Still I consider it a great compliment to be compared with them.
SoT: How did you hook up with Sensory Records and are you going to release your new disc with them as well?
Eddy: We sent our promo "Misunderstood" to Sensory and we were approached by
them when we played Headway 2003. We might release the second disk with
them as well although the current deal is a one license deal.
SoT: Your lyrics are about some serious subject matter. Where do you get your inspiration and what do some of your songs deal with from a lyrical
Eddy; Let's start with the way that are compositions are created. For starters there is the great composing talent of Wouter. He really is the founding father of the band. He writes the music from a pure musical point of view. Pure in a sense that he focuses fully on the emotional atmosphere of the music rather than explicitly relating to any real life political or whatever topic (or at least he doesn't tell us ;-) and no lyrics or vocal melody. Even if he has some ideas about what should be chorus and what should be verse, this is never fixed beforehand. Then I listen to the concept of the song several times (somewhere between 5 and 30 times). I try to determine the emotional feeling that I get when listening to the song and then I try to relate it to some of my real life experience (or sometimes a story that I read). In the mean time the rest of the band start rehearsing the song instrumentally and once they are able to play the song I join them improvising. I sing along inventing English sounding words and I record what we play on minidisk. Most of the time, this way the melody of the chorus is created. Then at home I listen again to the improvisations and start writing the lyrics based on the aforementioned emotions that I had. After this all that is left is polishing both musically and vocally. This is roughly the process that most of the songwriting follows. For the second album this might be slightly different since both me and Michiel (keyboards) have already composed music for two new songs. But in these two cases also the music was created before the vocals. With this most of our artistic view has been said. Wouter has the most influence in the composition but the entire band is responsible for the arrangement. All the instruments roughly invent their own interpretation of their part. Chorus basics from Wouter are of course maintained but the actual implementation is done by the guys themselves. For instance: for drums Wouter programs a very simple base line in the concept but Martijn creates all the really magic drum stuff. Same with the bass and the keyboard.
SoT: Many Dutch bands (Sun Caged, Lemur Voice, etc) have excellent debut albums. Unfortunately few of them can keep it going, since they either break up or lose key members. Do you think NovAct is here in the prog world to stay or can we expect solo releases or other side-projects from you guys as well?
Eddy: I think that success for NovAct might bring more opportunities for the individual band members but nothing specific is underway at this moment. I think the most can be expected from Martijn since he is most active in other projects at the moment. And yes, I think NovAct is here to stay!
SoT: Any touring plans for this summer?
Eddy: Nothing other than supporting After Forever which will keep us busy for quite some time I think.
Photos courtesy of the NovAct website and their respective photographers