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Sylver Myst Interview 2006

Sylver Myst Interview 2006
By: John Wolff

Interview Part 1
This portion of the interview was conducted with Marjolein, via telephone, in March 2006.

John: Tell us a little bit about how you got involved with Sylver Myst?

Marjolein: I had been wanting to explore singing in a gothic metal band and had mentioned this to one of my friends. She knew of a band that was looking for someone that fit my singing style. This band is now called Auracle. After the audition we discussed the opportunity for our mutual working relationship and I decided to join the band. We worked together for about a year and a half. Marc (Drummer for Sylver Myst) used to be this band's drummer, but had left earlier. When he found out I had quit Auracle he phoned me to ask if I wanted to join his new band called Sylver Myst. And here we are....

John: How did you fit in when you joined the band in 2003?

Marjolein: I really felt at ease right from the beginning but there was a little bit of pressure because I was replacing someone else and had to learn the material very quickly. It actually felt quite good because I was able to immediately step in and interject and change some of the lyrics, vocal lines, and song structure. The others were receptive and open to my suggestions and it worked out rather well.

John: What was the easiest thing for you during your transition into band?

Marjolein: The fact that I felt right at home right away and feeling that way allowed any nervousness to disappear. This allowed me to better concentrate on my part more effectively and perform to my ability.

John: What was the hardest thing?

Marjolein: Learning the bands material in 90 days or less. The band had performances lined up and there was pressure to prepare for the pending events. It was also a little harder for me at that time because I wanted to rework a good bit of the lyrical content and compose and learn that in time enough to allow the band to feel comfortable with changes. We worked very hard and that allowed us to be happy with the outcome.

John: How hard has it been since you have had to move to Amsterdam while the rest of the band resides a couple of hours away?

Marjolein: It has been a little difficult but I needed to move here for work as a 3 HOUR commute to work each day left little time for anything else. We all try to get together as much as possible to make sure we can be creative together.

John: What do you enjoy the most about being in the band?

Marjolein: Most definitely the live performances. I really thrive on stage and I feel like I do my best when I know I have to perform to an audience. I always get a little nervous right before we go onstage but I think most people are a little nervous if not apprehensive especially with larger crowds. I know once I am onstage the butterflies go away and I start to feel normal and a little more at home performing for the audience.

John: Tell us a little bit about your vocal training.

Marjolein: I am taking singing lessons to improve my technique. I work on all kinds of techniques including classical, belting and so on. I also take lessons with a director who teaches me to show more emotion while singing to enhance my overall performance.

John: What are some of your goals in 2006?

Marjolein: We are hoping to play a few large festivals and have some good opportunities performing with some of the bigger female vocals bands in Europe. I know the band is really excited about the pending studio time and putting forth a quality full length CD.

John: What other bands have you enjoyed performing with most recently?

Marjolein: Well, we really get along with just about everyone but lately I have really enjoyed playing with Helena Michaelson and Imperia/Angel, Asrai, Nemesea, and an up and coming band from Belgium called Valkyre.

John: What bands in the female vocals metal/rock genre appeal to you personally?

Marjolein: Within Temptation, Nightwish, After Forever, and Epica are the bands I really like but I also like Skunk Anansie, Sass Jordan, Janis Joplin, and some of Björk's work.

John: Like most members of a band, I am sure you "Moonlight" with some other form of work. What is your profession?

Marjolein: Recently I had done work as a content writer for a large company. I was in charge of translating and doing the conversion of content for the company website into Dutch.

John: Well then, that must mean you are a bit of a linguist? What languages are you comfortable with either writing or speaking?

Marjolein: My native Dutch and English are the most common for me but I also use French and Italian to some extent.

John: It seems more than a few bands are now starting to write a song in their native language for use on a cd. Would you consider writing lyrics to a song in Dutch or another language besides English?

Marjolein: I am open to any language there is and have sung in a lot of different languages like Japanese, Slovakian, and Latin. Who knows what language future Sylver Myst songs could be in.......

John: Besides music what are your other hobbies or interests?

Marjolein: Too many to name but I especially like to relax and have downtime drinking tea (no coffee please) and walks on the beach. Anywhere BUT work.

John: Sylver Myst recently remodeled the website. I must say that I am quite impressed with the new look and functionality. Care to comment?

Marjolein: Well I am sure that Marc our drummer and webmaster will be happy to hear that! We really are happy with the new look and hope everyone reading this will come and see what they think as well. Sylver Myst Website We try to keep it updated and interesting to visit and we also wanted to make it easier to navigate.

John: How have things changed for the band with the addition of Jean Roumen from Female Fronted Gothic Bands Agency?

Marjolein: Jean and the FFGB Agency Website have really made it easier for all of us to concentrate on the music. I think in the music industry it is essential to have good quality management and most bands out there are lacking in that category. We have been very pleased with our cooperation since we began working together in January 2005. A lot of venues and booking agencies won't even talk to you unless you have management and Jean has made things run a LOT smoother and that has garnered us a lot more attention.

John: What comments do you have that we may not have covered in this interview?

Marjolein: I'd like to mention that classical music has always been very important to me. I actually own more classical cds than pop or rock cds. I like to visit opera and classical music concerts and love to listen to classical radio a lot. Classical music really inspires me.

 Interview Part 2

This portion of the interview was conducted with Didier and Rob, via email, in May 2006.

John: How did you guys prepare for the recording of the first full-length cd?

Didier: Marc and Martijn made a click-track, which we could use, in the studio and for home practice. At our full member rehearsals on Fridays, and in little various teams on Tuesdays, we worked at fine-tuning the tracks and coming up with different additional parts such as counter-melodies or more powerful rhythm guitars. Some of them were to over done and not used in the studio, other times Hans challenged us to put up something totally different or new. For most of the distortion guitar parts we didn't change a lot, but the clean parts did sometimes interfere with each other. We then decided whether we used Rob's part or mine and made up a new one.

John: How did you like working with Hans Pieters and Excess Studios?

Rob: It was a totally new experience for us. So we didn’t know what to expect. Ok, so we'd made 2 demos and 1 mini cd, but they were recorded in smaller studios and we recorded them in 2/3 days. You cannot compare that with the recordings in the Excess Studios. This time the people from the studio coached us, helped us, and challenged us. I think the more important thing is that they only want to make a good product, so they were very critical about the way we played. What was also nice is that we had the possibility to stay in the studios, so we didn’t have to drive home every day. That also gave us the opportunity to stay with each other. The time together made us stronger as a band, because we had the chance to talk and be together in a different situation.

John: You've re-made some of your earlier material for this new cd. What kinds of changes are you making to the music?

Didier: It came from the new members Marco and Martijn for the most part. Our style has changed or grown and made us come up with other musical phrasings. What changed it the most was that we took almost 5 hours in balancing our guitar sound. Rob and I concluded that if we could get both sounds interacting with each other in one of the new songs, it would be the overall sound. We did try a lot of guitar combinations as well as amplifiers and speaker cabinets before we were happy.

Rob: Also important is to say that the sound engineers of the Studio had some influence on our sound. They have so much experience that they know when music parts will work or not. Even in the older songs, which we recorded earlier, we had to change some parts.

John: There seems to be a lifeline story behind the theme of the cd. Could you fill us in?

Didier: I've found that a lot of lyrics are from the heart, and they almost tell "A Life's Tale". I suggested that to make the story complete we should write the last songs so they fit. We already had some songs about life, love and death so.... But the pieces stand on their own, they're all little tales. That makes things easier on stage; we can and do change the set-list all the time. To fill you in a little bit, "Devoted Yet Unable" is about growing up. With all the things you've learned you still fall short in helping others or in finding your own inner peace. But lyrics seem to age with time, meaning that sometimes they could be interpreted a little differently than when I wrote them.

Rob: That’s also the reason we called the cd "Emotions Revealed", because every lyric comes from the heart and has something to do with the emotion of the person who wrote that song. Bring all those emotions together an you have the title of the cd.

John: What do you think of Emotions Revealed?

Rob: I think it’s crap. No, just kidding!! I’m very proud of the result. What can I say about it? We had an opportunity to record our songs in the best possible scenario. There is no song on the cd that I hate or have doubts about. I can only be positive. Now it’s up to the people who will listen to our cd to decide.

Didier: For myself I must say that we tried to stay true to our moods in creating the music. I like to come up with different playing techniques that are more challenging to broaden our sound. We've made a new style of Female Fronted Gothic Music by mixing all these styles.

John: Does one event stand out that Sylver Myst sees as a first step to the next level?

Didier: The doors opened for us in 2004 playing Summer Darkness in Tivoli Utrecht. After this gothic festival we performed as opening act for Tanzwut, and Imperia among others. Our mini cd "Depth Of Illusion" got us great reviews and some label interest.

John: I visited the Leaves Eyes/ Elis show at Plato Helmond, Holland where Sylver Myst also performed.

Didier: And what do you think, did we cover your expectations?

John: I was impressed with the stage performance of the band. I really liked the other 2 bands that played as well, so it was nice to hear Sylver Myst perform on the same stage. The sound was not the best but for the club setting was still very enjoyable. It looked like the band still had a lot of fun on stage even though you had quite a few important people in the audience. That was impressive, to perform under stress. It was nice to see the band throw you a surprise on stage for your birthday as well as give you a chance to use your new guitar.

Didier: Hell yeah that was the best birthday ever! I didn’t have a clue I was getting an ESP guitar that day. What a wonderful gift. I must admit I have a lovely girl and nice family.

Rob: I think it was a nice evening. It was also very special for me because we were playing in my hometown.

John: Which show sticks out most in your mind and why?

Rob: Certainly for me it was the gig we did with Tanzwut in Tivoli de Helling. It was de first time we played a sold out concert. The crowd was standing so close to the stage, which was a totally new experience. I want more of that kind of gig in the future.

Didier: The show we did with After Forever in Hengelo. Although we were only allowed to play a 30 minute set, we won a whole lot new souls. We had a great sound and although the audience did not know what to expect they banged their heads like insane. I was very pleased After Forever approached us and dug what we were upto. They are very friendly.

John: Do you have embarrassing stage moments?

Didier: My guitar’s electric circuit once broke during a contest. I wanted to leave the stage but was drawn back using a borrowed guitar. Unfortunately I did not please the jury with that action and we ended up last. We decided never to do another contest again. Yet we did and won Stoepslag at Boekel.

Rob: My embarrassing stage moment. I think it was the same show Didier told us about. It wasn't only the problems with Didier's guitar. Everything that night went wrong, but you know shit happens sometimes.

John: Rob, you recently bought a new guitar Amplifier? Why?

Rob: First I have to say is that I was never satisfied about the way my previous amp sounded. For the recordings of Emotions Revealed I want to have another amp. But I didn't know what to buy. I can assure you, when you do not know something about guitars/amp/stack you have to ask Didier. He is like a walking library. He told me, I know what you want, so that is the reason I bought the London City amp/stack. Yes, I am satisfied very much with it.

John: And what went through your mind when the fuses blew during the recording settings?

Rob: At that moment I think Hans Pieters had the only good words for it: " London Shitty". At that moment we didn't know there were fuses inside the amp, because there was a big fuse on the outside. But we asked Dr. Tube to look at it and he fixed the problem in 1 minute, so I'm still very pleased with my London City Amplifier.

John: Future expectations?

Rob: The nicest thing of having a future is that you never know what will happen, but I’ll hope that we can play live as many times as possible. We enjoy playing live, and we look forward to playing for larger audiences. We’ll hope more people get interested in Sylver Myst and will come out to see us.