Sea of Tranquility staff writer Murat Batmaz recently had a chance to speak with Robbie van Stiphout, lead vocalist for Dutch prog-metalers Day Six. Hot on the heels of their recently released album Eternal Dignity, Robbie speaks about the new CD and how their sound combines the best of 70's prog rock and modern day progressive metal.
Read on for the full interview!
Sea of Tranquility: The original name of Day Six was Peanuts. When did you change the name and how does Day Six' music differ from Peanuts'?
Robbie: In 1997 we started the band Peanuts. The intention was to make punk rock (That explains the name) We actually never made that kind of music. Since the beginning symphonic influences have been present in our music, mainly because of the use of synthesizers. After a while we started to listen more to symphonic and progressive metal, therefore automatically our music evolved into our music of today. The name "Peanuts" wasn't suitable for a progressive metal band, so in 2002 we decided to change the name into Day Six. "Day Six" was the title of one of our songs. It is a good, catchy and timeless name. At the time it wasn't easy to change our name. We had a good reputation in the Netherlands, and with a new name we had to start al the way from the beginning. In the end we're very glad we made that decision.
SoT: Can you talk a little about the music Day Six plays? How would you describe your sound to those who've never heard your music?
Robbie: Our music is best described as progressive metal. Instead of the complex, technical music people think of when hearing the term 'progressive metal', we focus more on the atmosphere and the use of different styles in our songs. The total image is more important than the performance of the individual musicians. To complete the atmosphere, we include symfonic, funky and jazzy parts.
SoT: I hear a good dose of Opeth, Riverside and Pink Floyd mixed with Kansas in your sound. Would you consider these bands influences? What other bands inspire your songs?
Robbie: At the time we wrote the songs for Eternal Dignity we listened a lot to bands like Dream Theater, Symphony X, The Gathering, Spock's Beard etc. After reading the reviews after the album was released, Day Six was compared to Pink Floyd, Rush, Opeth etc. As a reaction to reading those reviews, we got more interested in those bands. I think it's explainable that you can hear their influences in our music. For instance, a band like Dream Theater was inspired by bands like Rush, Pink Floyd etc.
At the moment all four members listen to several kinds of music. Our interests range from Porcupine Tree to Dream Theater, from Nevermore to Red Hot Chilli Peppers and from Pink Floyd to Type O Negative. It will be most likely that our new songs again will be influenced by several styles of music.
SoT: The production of Eternal Dignity is a little thin. What was the recording process of the album like and what's your opinion on the mix? Are you going to work
with a professional producer next time?
Robbie: The recordings of Eternal Dignity was a huge project. In december 2002, in our own studio, the pre-productions got started. The official recordings took place in three different studio's.
Thanks to several band contests which we've won, a lot of recording time in two studio's was won.
We recorded drums, a bit of the synths and a female choir in one studio, the guitars, bass, vocals and the rest of the synths in the other studio. All samples and male choir were recorded in our own studio.
For the mix we wanted to have a clear and bright sound where you could hear each and every note. It worked out very well. You can hear every detail, but the production indeed sounds a bit thin.
Of course, for the next album we would like to work with a professional producer. To work with, for instance "Steven Wilson", would be a dream come trough. To work with such a professional producer is, of course, dependable on our budget.
SoT: In the USA, your album is distributed by Progman Records. Are they distributing a remastered copy or the original version?
Robbie: Progman Records released the original version of Eternal Dignity.
We only changed some parts of the booklet to make a difference between the American and the European edition.
SoT: What can you tell us about the Egyptian themes on your album?
Robbie: Because of the mysterious and unknown ideology we thought the Egyptian history would be an interesting theme to explore, especially in the songs and artwork. Eternal Dignity contains seperative songs, though several songs contain some eastern influences.
At this moment the concept for the next album is in progress. It will have a complete other main theme, but maybe some parts of Ancient Egypt will return.
SoT: Eternal Dignity was recorded almost 3 years ago. Are you working on a new disc yet? What's your new direction going to be and when can we expect the CD?
Robbie: Yes, we are working very hard on writing new songs for a next album. In fact, a few weeks two brand new songs for a promo-CD (total length 18 min.) have been recorded. These recording will only be used for promotional purposes. The album will not be for sale, though within a month the complete promo-CD (including booklet) will be downloadable for free on our website. www.day-six.com
On the next album, you will hear a band that has gone trough some great developments, indiviually speaking, as well as a collective. Eternal Dignity will stand out as a great predecessor for this new album, but the contrast between heavy and calm will be more dynamic.
SoT: Have you got any other musical projects besides Day
Robbie: I have done some vocal parts for a few solo-albums from Dutch musicians but I think for the rest all our musical ideas can be used in Day Six. So really, there is no need for side projects.
In the past we have participated in several project with Day Six as a band.
In 2000 we wrote music for a theatre play, played live and recorded as well.
In 2001 and 2003 we worked in a project with a orchestra, choir, dance-, percussion- and theatre groups and some solo artists. For the entire project, a few Day Six-songs, along with other well known songs as "Final Countdown", "Nothing Else matters", "Feel" and even "The Phantom of the opera" were re-arranged. More than 100 people on stage, participated in a few concerts and a complete show. Those songs were recorded in a professional studio. It's a great feeling to hear and see so many people using your music with everything happening on stage.
Day Six On Stage
SoT: Are there any live shows in the plans?
Robbie: After the European release of Eternal Dignity, a lot of shows followed. At the moment three shows have been planned. After these gigs we'll take it easy. We have collected so many new ideas in the last years, but haven't had the time for the creative process that comes along with it. The rest of this year we will be using to write new material. But if there would be a great offer, such as a tour with a great band or some shows in The States, we wouldn't turn these down. Of course!