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Ravenheart Music: Interviews


Dutch Band Autumn is one of my fave bands, and I even have their hard to get hold of debut album 'When Lust Evokes The Curse', which did not come cheap to me I hasten to add. Their current label Metal Blade Records has given me the chance to interview the band, so I could not spurn the opportunity. So here goes:

Hi guys and gal, I am a total fan of your band, but for the more uninitiated amongst us, can we be introduced to the members of the band?
Hello! Great to hear all that. I don¹t even have 'When Lust Evokes The Curse¹ myself, haha! Ok, let me introduce the band. We have Jan Grijpstra on the drums. He is the only original member and the beating hart of Autumn. He keeps us all in check and does all the planning and communications. That¹s a daytime job in a six piece band. Marjan is our singer since ŒAltitude¹. She is a very loveable, yet tough lady who can hit and drink like a guy and cuddle like a girl. She has a great set of ears. She can plot complete vocal harmonies in her head and sing them perfect on the first take. Wow. On keys we have Jan Munnik. He¹s got some dry humor and he usually avoids the spotlight. He gives the finishing touch to our music in his small home studio and surprises us every time again. He¹s a subtle, yet very important part of our sound. Bass duties are performed by Jerome Vrielink. Our Teutonic metal hero, haha. He has a taste for vintage equipment that sounds and smells like it¹s been in an attic for to long. His lines are seventies influenced, with a modern approach. He and Jan Grijpstra provide the low end drive. My brother Jens van der Valk and I (Mats) are the strings men. We also write most of the songs and lyrics. We¹ve been close since childhood and we enjoy playing in a band together. We are surrounded by some cool, talented people who completely compliment our songs. They wouldn¹t be the same without these guys and gal.

Can you tell us how you guys and gal all came together?
Step by step. Autumn changed through the years when members left for various reasons. We (the songwriters) attracted folks with the right mind set, personality and talent. This is the second album with this line up and I consider them all friends. Previous vocalist Nienke left the band between the 'My New Time' album and the 'Altitude' album.

Can you explain the reasons for her leaving and do you still keep in touch?
Nienke is largely responsible for Autumn¹s good name and status. She worked very hard and had to deal with all the downs as well. She had to drag people by the hairs sometimes. By the time the line up was at it¹s best (the current one after we made 'My New Time¹), she was tired of the fight. She sort of collapsed. She made a fresh start with her new band. We parted as friends. I still perform as (live) drummer in her new band Dejafuse, which is great.

While your roots remain firmly planted in heavy rock/guitar-oriented territory, you seem to be developing a more progressive musical sound, with alternative approaches to the sound of individual songs. Is this the way you see the band moving forward in the future, perhaps becoming a more Progressive Rock Band?
Aren¹t we already? We will probably remain 'heavy¹. We love rock music and the power that comes with it. We never know what the next record will be like, except that it will have our own sound and that there will be heavy playing going on. It might well be a metal album next time. Who knows.

Your sound has evolved from the debut 'When Love Evokes The Curse' to a more commercial sound throughout the subsequent albums. The debut album has what I would call an organic more experimental sound. Would I be correct?
It turns out that 'WLEC¹ and 'Summer¹s End¹ were our most commercial albums. 'My New Time¹ had an almost completely new line up and the music changed. Not more commercial per se. There is stranger, experimental stuff on those later albums then there was on the first two. Sound wise, all albums are different. WLEC was the first record, so that¹s always one big experiment,

And the move to a more commercial sound, I assume that was a deliberate move? And can you tell us more about the Samhain Label?
I think what you mean by more commercial sound is what we like to call a better, more modern production, but I get the point, haha. I believe that Samhain was sort of a sub label of Epic. The don¹t exist anymore. I¹d have to ask Jan G.

Metal Blade, a label who I have always associated with heavier music, came onto the scene with the release of your third album 'My New Time'. How did the deal with the label come about?
We were looking for a new label for a fresh start. Jens had been working with MB when he was still playing in God Dethroned. MB had mentioned to him that they really liked Autumns style, so we contacted them. That¹s how it came to be. I think they must have swallowed a couple of times when we presented MNT, but they liked it and it was received very well. They¹ve been
very supportive and we are very grateful for that.

Your latest album carries on the awesome work of your previous releases. To those unfamiliar with your music, how would you explain the style of music on offer on your latest record?
Emotional, multi layered rock music with lot¹s of hidden surprises if you take the time to listen. This album is not your friend after one spin.

And what was the studio experience like?
We did a lot of stuff in our home studios, but the sound creation in the studio was marvelous. Selecting and fine-tuning the drums, tweaking vintage amps, etc. We had a great and inspiring time in there. The music really came to life.

And do you have any fave tracks throughout the five records you have recorded?
I am very proud of all of them. Even the ones from before I joined the band. I respect Autumn¹s history. I seem to have a weakness for our title tracks 'Altitude and 'Cold Comfort¹. Both were written by my brother. They give me the chills in a very good way.

'Cold Comfort'. Can you explain how you arrived at this title for the album?
My brother came up with that song. We all loved it and it was evident that we had found our template and title for the album. The music and lyrics just felt right for Autumn. It¹s a strange coincidence that the same thing happened when we made 'My New Time¹ and 'Altitude¹. My brother wrote those as well and inspired the lot of us.

There seems to be a fair number of Dutch bands on the scene, I am going to see one later today in-fact (Within Temptation). Would you know why Holland is producing such awesome bands?
Maybe it is because the Dutch are pioneers in the genre. There was a real hype here and new bands spawned quickly, even before it went international. I guess we had sort of a head start.

To any member of the band, who or what are your musical inspirations at the moment, and what/who do you listen to when you are chilling out or relaxing?
I simply listen to music. My inspiration comes from other things. Intuition and life in general. Ik like to listen to all kinds of stuff. Whatever catches my ear. I can wake up to Entombed¹s ŒClandestine¹ and go to sleep with 'Simple Things¹ by Zero7.

Are there any tour plans in the pipeline?
We are working on that as we speak. We keep our fingers crossed.

Well, thank you for your time and good luck in all your future endeavours. Finally is there anything that you would like to say to anybody across the world via this website?
Don¹t fight over music. It¹s supposed to be fun. Cheers!
Dave Smith (Nov 15, 2011)