Dutch prog-metal band Delphian caused some ripples a few years ago with their debut album Oracle, and now, this female fronted powerhouse return with their Lion Music follow-up Unravel, which hopes to drive them closer to international acclaim with their brand of hard-driving, melodic progressive metal. Sea of Tranquility's Richard Barnes tracked down drummer Roel van Helden and bassist Sjoerd Hoeijmaker to get some insight into the career of Delphian and how they feel about their exciting new release, Unravel.
Read on for the full interview!
Sea of Tranquility: Does the name Delphian have any significance at all for you or is it just a neat name?
Roel: "Del" is a Dutch expression for "tramp" or "slut". And our bass player Sjoerd is a real tramp! I won't go into details here… And the "phian" part is just to make it sound better.
SoT: The female fronted prog-metal format is becoming very popular these days. Did you set out to be different in any way and if so how?
Roel: Well, most female fronted bands operate in the gothic metal genre. We have more of a connection with the progressive genre. We differ because we leave out the bombastic keyboards, strings, choirs, etc. We play more straightforward rock/metal.
When we (guitarist Coert Bouten and I) started out back in 2000, we didn't even intend to have a female singer. We were just looking for a good singer. We tried a couple of guys, but nothing worked out until Aniek came along.
Besides that, most female fronted bands are mainly presented by their singer because of the rest of the band are such ugly dudes. We on the other hand are very good looking (especially the drummer, the lead guitarist isn't that handsome). That's why you always see the whole band on pictures.
SoT: How has the band changed since the release of Oracle?
Roel: I don't think we changed that much. We did however try to write more easily digestible songs, instead of playing technically difficult ones. We tried to make the songs a bit simpler, so that we can still play them when we're drunk on stage.
Oh yeah, and our drummer got even more good looking since Oracle. (laughs)
Sjoerd: I don´t think the band has changed. The musical style did change a little bit. As individuals we are still the same.
SoT: Did you consciously try to develop the musical style of the band after Oracle?
Roel: Yes, because of the alcoholic reasons mentioned above. (laughs)
SoT: Are you more satisfied with this album than its predecessor and what have you learned from the experience of two albums under your belts?
Roel: I can only answer the first question in a few years, when I'm able to be more objective listening to the albums. Of course now I think the last one is better.
What have we learned? It takes a lot of hard work to get somewhere...and, unfortunately, we learned that being in a band doesn't get you more chicks or groupies, no matter how good your band is or how handsome you are…
Sjoerd: Yes, I am more satisfied with Unravel than with Oracle. I think the whole production is better and more raw. Unravel is for most people more accessible than Oracle. Some reviewers expected the same progressive style as Oracle, but did not get that. They were a little disappointed.
SoT: What are the pieces which gave you most collective satisfaction on the new album?
Roel: The bands favorites are "Sleepless Lullaby" and "Creation", because of how the songs work really well in a live situation. My personal favourite is "Air", mainly because I wrote the music for this one. No, just kidding, I did write the music, but the end result came out really great. With a very good contribution of the guest musicians René Kroon on keyboards and Leon Brouwer on vocals.
SoT: Are you touring with this album and if so, how is that progressing?
Sjoerd: We don't have many gigs at the moment. Last month I was on a holiday and Marcel became father of his second daughter. So we had a little time out. I hope we get more gigs in the rest of the year. I also hope we can do some gigs abroad.
SoT: Do you have any material for a third release?
Sjoerd: Not yet…
SoT: How would you expect the direction to change if at all in the future?
Sjoerd: I hope we don't change the direction, but it could be possible that we change into a boyband. The reason of that is that there are too few groupies at our gigs. (laughs)
Roel: That's a very good idea Sjoerd, but we'd have to playback then, because apart from Aniek, there's not that much vocal talent to be found in Delphian. (laughs)
SoT: What other musical projects are Delphian members involved in? I know Roel is also a member of Sun Caged.
Roel: Coert also plays in an acoustic group called Coma. They play campfire songs like "Kumbaja My Lord" and "It's Raining Men". He thinks this will make him popular with the females, but it doesn't… (laughs)
(Click here to read our review of Unravel)