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Frank Boeijen (The Gathering)

Interview with Frank Boeijen from The Gathering
by Yiannis Mitsakos at 09 June 2004, 4:56 AM

The Gathering is a band with the gift to unite some of the extreme ends of today's music fans with great ease. It's not a strange thing to find yourself between a guy wearing an Iron Maiden t-shirt and a girl that you'd swear that she doesn't even know who these Maiden guys are. Frank's performance during the semi-acoustic Gathering gig was amazing during that night. But before that and after an entertaining sound check he had some things to say first.

Hello Frank, first of all how was yesterday’s gig at Thessalonica?

It was great, very crowded and sold out. It was at Mylos club and there was a great atmosphere, people were really into it, it went perfect.

I read in an interview that if you don’t play older material for the Greek fans they will probably get crazy and stick you to jail (laughs).

Oh yeah, but I think the Greek audience has developed quite a lot and they are quite open minded enough.

That goes generally to the metal audience considering that you do have lots of metal fans?

Still yeah, but I am also convinced that they are very open minded in our days and you could see it in the audience yesterday; stereotype metal-heads really going totally into the semi-acoustic stuff as well.

You recently had a tour in America; US, Mexico, Canada and Chile where as far as I know you’re doing great.

The thing for Chile is that we are very, very huge there, all of a sudden. I think it has something to do with the amount of airplay we got there, because we’ve been played a lot, on television and radio.

Especially Liberty Bell…

Yeah, I’ve heard about it. There were a lot of people during those concerts as well, ‘cause we did two in a row for 1500 people, so at least 3000 people saw us in these two days, pretty great.

Do you prefer to perform live in large places or festivals or are you into smaller, more comfortable clubs?

I actually prefer small clubs, because you can create there a much more intimate kind of atmosphere. On the other hand if you play in a bigger place most of the time the equipment you use is better. So I can find in both, lots of advantages and disadvantages.

There’s a soundtrack for a movie, The Quiet One…

Oh, we are still busy on that, it’s not finished yet.

Is it Gathering music or something else?

Yes, it’s Gathering and it’s just two songs, for the starting and the ending credits.

Do you want to do any other soundtracks? Is it just a start?

That’s really something we always loved to do, stuff like that, we are really into that kind of things to do, soundtracks for movies.

Have you seen a movie that made you say I wish there was a Gathering soundtrack in there?

Yeah, lots of movies!

…except Lord of the Rings which I know you like…

(Laughs) I’m not really into this typical Irish-folk kind of things. There are some other things for the LotR which I do like, this female singer…

Enya?

No, Elizabeth Frasier from Cocteau Twins \[Note from Yiannis: Strike one].

If there was a soundtrack for your life, which one would it be?

That changes a lot with time, but I am really thinking a lot of different things. If I had to make a movie about the story of my life -which is of course ridiculous- then choose music, I would choose a lot of things….

Something particular?

No, it’s all kind of mixed, I like lots of kinds of music.

Where does the inspiration for the Gathering lyrics and songs come from? Is there just a general path you follow or does it depend on the current course of your lives and the changes?

I think it depends heavily on the course of our lives and the direction they’re going. Especially lyric-wise of course, you can adopt on it and make some kind of therapy out of it to write music and lyrics from that, you know, what you experienced; it helps a lot to cope with things.

What is trip rock? Do you find any other bands falling into that category?

That’s difficult to say. What we are doing is a kind of cross over, but we’re also into lots of alternative guitar music as well, not only electronics and things like that. We are influenced by lots of different kinds of music but I am not really aware of bands doing the same kind of crossover. I can name many which are using the same kind of tools to make music like drum loops and electronics, or also heavy guitars. I do not know of any bands right now that I can mention but of course I am sure that there are lots of bands that are doing quite the same things.

Bands that have followed your lead?

Yeah, but also bands we are not even aware of which are doing this for years and years.

The Century Media DVD, according to your words, sucks big time. Do you want to make another DVD with your record label? Are there any plans about that?

That’s true. Probably we’re going to do it this year. How and what, we don’t know yet but there are already some very early plans to do this kind of thing. We haven’t recorded anything yet.

What are you listening to these days?

The last few months I am really into a band called Interpol, do you know them?

No… \[Note from Yiannis: Strike two]

They are from New York, it’s a kind of mixture between Joy Division, Placebo and Muse. It’s very interesting, low dark voice, very beautiful music, lots of guitars, I like it a lot. I am also very into a band from England called Archive, do you know them?

Errr, no… \[Note from Yiannis: Strike three, y’er’out…]

They seem to be quite big in Greece as well.

You’ve had your own record label for some time now. How are things going with it?

These are difficult days because lots of CDs are just copied and we are not selling anymore… I’ve noticed that a lot of record companies are having problems with that so if you compare us to them, we are not going very well…

So you have a big problem with piracy and the Internet…

Oh yeah, big problem, the internet, the CD recorders, everything spreads so quickly…

Because I see, that as a band you support the Internet, you have a very good website, you have lots of other websites from fans and I always wondered if the drop of sales is that huge since the companies are blaming mainly the Internet for that.

It’s not just the Internet; it’s also the principal of buying a CD-R and just copying. A lot of people do that I am sure, just copy, copy, copy…. I think if you sell one CD it gets copied with the CD-R twenty times. If you multiply it with all the sales you did then you can see that you missed a lot of sales…

Have you considered taking any measures against it, like other bands in the past?

Of course you can do a copy control kind of thing but it doesn’t work that good because you can always play it on a computer and make mp3 files out of it, rearrange it into wav files then burn it on disc, there’s no working protection.

I meant measures as in lawsuits and stuff, you know, like Metallica…

I’ve respect for what they’re doing but they’re fighting against a huge sea of impossibility.

Even though your record label is not doing well due to piracy issues, have you considered signing more artists?

No, it’s mainly focused on the Gathering right now and some other smaller things, like this movie we are doing the soundtrack for. We’ll have to see what happens in the future and if we can find any other good acts or projects we can release but that’s not yet the case.

You have a new bassist, how are things going?

Very well, she’s a very good musician she’s quite a lot younger than us, so she’s quite enthusiastic and keeps the spirit alive…

I read somewhere -and that impressed me-  that boredom keeps you going on…

(Laughs) I get bored quite soon actually… You can change the boredom into humor quite easy, and that’s of course fun to do, just make jokes out of it and have fun, during doing nothing, that’s quite ok. But sometimes it can be very boring because it’s 80% of dull job, just waiting; waiting for this to happen, waiting for that to happen, waiting for the airplane, waiting for the bus, waiting for soundcheck…

So you don’t spend all your free time in a studio recording all day long…

No, I wished… Because of course you can bring some kind of a mobile studio but it doesn’t work that good, you know, it’s difficult to get you into another kind of atmosphere to write music like this you know.

Do you have any plans for a new album?

Yeah, of course. We haven’t released anything yet and we don’t have any recordings yet but we are already writing new songs. If you compare it to the last album, I think it’s going to be a bit more organic, a little bit less electronics and if there are electronics, they will sound more organic.

More acoustic perhaps?

Yeah maybe, but also a bit more up-tempo as well so you never know; the main sound will be more organic, I think.

Do you have anything to say for the Greek fans today?

Thank you for coming and I hope you’re doing fine, we love Greece, especially the food, it’s been great.

Thanks a lot and have fun!

Thanks, you too!

Photos © Peter Blok, Dirk Moens



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