Orphanage interview (05/2004)

With: Remko van der Spek [Bass]
Conducted by: Jeff
Published: 31.05.2004

Band profile:


* For those who don't know Orphanage yet, Can you introduce the band?

Orphanage started out as a project in 1994. In that time it was rather new to combine grunts and female vocals in heavy metal. Other elements of our music are grooving rhythms and atmospheric sounds. We released four studio albums; the fourth is just released and is called 'Driven'

* Why has there been such a long time without hearing of you?

There was a lot going on during the last four years since the release of our third album 'Inside'. A major line up change took place. Three new band members needed to be found. Once the new line up was complete we had to rehearse the repertoire for a tour.

After a club tour and some festivals we gradually started writing new songs. As everybody in the band has jobs and/ or studies to do, the band activities needs to be done in spare time.

Making an album with songs like we do takes some time. The way we write songs is quite a long process. It always has been like that. We're perfectionists as song writing concerns. To make it even more time consuming we produced the album by ourselves. We do it all by ourselves to have full control on the end result, but the disadvantage is … yes, that it takes so much time!

* You've changed half of your line-up… What happened with the former members?

We're still in contact with former members. Ex-drummer Erwin Polderman sometimes leaves a message in our guestbook. He plays in a new wave band now with Jan-Chris De Koeijer (ex Gorefest). This band is called Cold Pop Culture.
Eric Hoogendoorn (former bass player) sometimes takes a visit to one of our concerts and plays in some local bands in Utrecht, if I'm right.
Lex Vogelaar (ex guitarist and founder of the band) wrote a new song for us, which is the last track on the album (Ender's Game). Besides that he's not into music at the moment.

* Has it been hard to write the new album with three new members? I mean, they were probably not used to writing in Orphanage's style…

I was a new band member, but I must say it was not that difficult for me to write songs for this band. When I'm writing a song I'm always aware of the basic ingredients of the band I write for. For Orphanage these ingredients are some nice rhythm patterns, contrasts between voices and parts and melodies full of atmosphere.

Of course the Orphanage style doesn't stay exactly the same, there are new directions. The doomy side is getting less and makes place for more aggression. Our sound is harsher nowadays.

* Can you explain a bit this new album, 'Driven'? Describe the music, the lyrics, etc…?

There are a lot of styles on the album but we tried to make the changes in songs feel natural. The diversity has always been there, but on this album songs are now better elaborated as ever. The sound of the album is more clear - and heavier at the same time - than our former albums.

The themes of the lyrics differ a lot from each other as many of us wrote the lyrics. There's no concept on this album. One song can be personal, based on own experiences, while the other song can be pure fantasy. In some songs the meaning of the lyrics are not that important; it's the sound of words and the phrasing that makes the music stronger.

* What do you think about the reactions of the fans and the press about 'Driven'?

Most of the reactions are very positive. In the press there are some people with certain backgrounds that do not like our music that much. Like someone who's is totally into pure gothic metal will find it to heavy. There are some power metalheads that think we sound too much like 'new metal'. And some fans of death metal hate female vocals. In press reviews it's often easy to spot the certain background of the reviewer. But in general the press is very positive about the album. And I haven't heard any complains of fans ;-)

* Where do you find your inspiration [music, cinema, books, news…]???

Most of my inspiration comes from music. This doesn't have to be heavy metal. It can be all kinds of music. It can be a melody you hear or an amazing sound.

* I know George has another band. What about you? Isn't it a bit hard to manage?

Sometimes it's hard to manage, in terms of planning gigs etc., but most of the time it only has positive aspects. I also play in other bands. For me it's nice to play totally another style or to play another instrument. Besides it's fun I think you can get better as a composer and a musician by playing in different bands.

* Honestly, what do you think of the fact that some bands younger than you are like Within Temptation or After Forever are more famous than Orphanage? If you could go back to the past and change things to be that renowned, what would you change? And would you do it (like go kill the other bands, something like that…)?

I totally don't have hard feelings. We did a small European tour with Within Temptation, and it was fun. Since the beginning we know each other. We will probably never sell more records than Within Temptation does, because their music is much more mainstream than ours. I wouldn't change anything.

* Have you planned a tour, or some random shows [with Within Temptation maybe?]? Are you going to play in festivals this summer?

We're doing a club tour in the Netherlands which started at May this year. Within Temptation have their own schedule. We have to wait and see what gigs are getting planned abroad. We're glad to play on the Wacken Open Air festival. Other festivals are not confirmed yet. We will also come and play in Brussel this year.

* What are your passions apart from the music?

I must say that by far my biggest passion is music. And then comes food maybe, and then music again…

* Orphanage has been one of the very first bands to use a female singer. What do you think of the fact that nowadays it seems to be trendier than anything else? [See Evanescence for example]

I think it's ok. It probably has to do with the fact that clean vocals, whether it's male or female, are getting more and more accepted in heavy music. But in fact I don't know anything about how trends come up…

* You had collaborated with Within Temptation on your last album, and vice versa. Do you think you'll do it again [or with another band]? Maybe a guest-appearance from an Orphanage member on the new Within Temptation?

On 'Driven' the only guest appearance is Lex Vogelaar, but It's hard to call him a guest because he is an ex member of the band.

There could be a guest appearance on a next album, but we haven't thought about that yet. Guus is helping Within Temptation with writing songs. Maybe he will play on their new album, but at least he will be a guest writer.

* Nothing to do with music this time: do you like football? Would you like to bet a few euros with me on the winner of the Euro 2004 this summer ;-) ? [I bet on France of course]

I'm not really interested in football, but my brother is, in an extreme way! ;-) So he keeps me informed about the results of the Dutch team. He totally doesn't understand my attitude towards the Euro 2004. I will probably miss every single game without feeling sorry…

* Ok thanks for your answers, now feel free to express yourself on any topic you like…

Ok, then I would like you to ask a question… Did you pass your exams for school? If so, congratulations! Have a nice summer!

Note from Jeff: Yeah, May = Exams at the faculty in France ) But it's finally over, and now =] Holidays, Sea, Beers etc... and a lot of Metal for me


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