I have a special place in my heart for Dutch metal bands of all kinds. Which is why an interview with DISINTEGRATE was a must. Interview questions answered by Danny Boonstra – Vocals/Keyboards. Anders Ekdahl ©2012
I always imagine that Holland is only the bigger cities like Amsterdam, Rotterdam etc. and that that’s it. What is it like to be a metal band in a smaller place in Holland?
-We’ve experienced some difficulties in finding good musicians in the past, so perhaps that’s something that’s easier in bigger cities. But Leeuwarden, or Friesland for that matter, has a very lively and vibrant metal scene, with lots of great bands and great venues to go to. I think there is more harmony and it’s less competitive in a smaller city than it would be in a bigger city.
What is it that has shaped the way you guys sound like? What would you say is the single most important factor for the way you sound?
-The style we play has developed over the years and perhaps changed a bit with the coming and going of members, but the main thing for us is and has always been to write a good song and find a clear balance between aggression and melody. That is very important to us and shapes the sound of the band even today.
When you get praised by everybody and his mother (social media) and it doesn’t mean shit in the real world, how much of it do you take to heart?
-It can be frustrating at times when you get told how good you are but you have nothing to show for it. All you can do is listen to both the good and the bad criticism and learn from that. You have to be open to both or you’ll keep hitting the wall.
How hard is it today to get noticed when there are bands coming out of the woods left, right and centre? How do you stand out?
It’s very hard to get noticed solely on your music, these days. So it’s important that you have your act together as well. Try to stand out from the mediocrity. We try to provide quality in everything we do, from our music to our shows, artwork and videos.
I’m old enough to remember when we were all into the same kind of things because that was the only option. Today you got to appeal to a whole different specter of sub-genre fans. When have you spread yourself too thin and ended up a shell of nothing? Basically when have you sold out completely?
-It’s hard to say when you’ve sold out, when the development of the band comes naturally. Playing in a band means to develop yourself as a musician and your musical taste can change over the years. If you change styles merely to appeal to a bigger audience and sell more records, you are on the wrong track. But if you develop over time and your audience grows with you, I’m sure you can maintain your dignity as a musician and a band.
Massacre seems to be releasing a hell of a lot of records each month. How did you end up with them and what is it that you expect to get out of it?
-When we released the album in 2011, we decided to do some promotion on our own, just to see how people would react to the album. Get some reviews and insight in what “the general public” thinks of it. When we received a lot of good reviews for the album, we decided to see if we could get the distribution set up. We went looking for a partner in this and we had some offers. Massacre appealed to us the most. We hope that we get some more attention with the backing of a label and get more people to listen to our music. It’s our debut album, so we are hoping to make a name for ourselves with this release.
What does it mean to live in a country that most major metal acts visit on tour? Do you get opportunities to play with some of these acts?
-It depends on the venue, the deal that is made with the acts and what supports they bring. We have had the opportunity to play with Sepultura, Heathen and God Dethroned, which gives you a bigger audience to play for and that’s good for the experience. Also we have some festivals who have local opening acts and that’s given us the opportunity to play a festival with Carcass and Killswitch Engage a.o.
What is the metal scene like in Holland today? How much of DIY attitude is there to it?
-It gets more and more difficult to play a lot of shows and actually get paid for your efforts. So many bands have adopted a DIY-attitude towards recording and mixing an album. We do the same when it comes to recording an album. But we do like an outside view when mixing. Also we do our videos and artwork ourselves. But since it’s difficult for bands to get backing from a label you see a lot of them starting up their own label, so they get taken seriously by the bigger magazines etc.
How pleased are you with the way the outcome of the album? What do you expect that it will do for the band?
-We are very pleased with the album. Especially since the album was not written as an album, but was written over the years to give us a live set. Overall I think it is a great first album and we have nothing to be ashamed of. I hope this album will get us noticed and gets us a name as a promising band, so people will be interested in hearing more of us and come to see us when we play a show.
What future plans do you have now?
-We’ve just released a video for the song “Shatter Them” and we are making plans for a second video. We are also working on shows to play to promote this album. Besides that, we are working on our second album. We are always in motion. Thank you for the interest in our band and the opportunity to talk about it. Hope you and your readers like the album