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Interview - Douwe Talma (Enraged)

Interview with Douwe Talma from Enraged
by YngwieViking at 27 August 2014, 12:02 PM

Recently the Dutch ENRAGED, which is far from a newcomer band, worked with some renowned artists for the release of their new album “It's Your Fear That Feeds Their Power”. Still provoking Extreme Metal, their efforts were critically acclaimed. YngwieViking talked with Douwe Talma of the band regarding the new album and more…

Hi Douwe , First congratulations , my Metal-Temple’s colleague H.P. Buttcraft just rated your last album “It’s Your Fear That Feeds Their Power” with an almost perfect score of 9 out of 10…What will be your own words to describe it?

Thanks! I really appreciate that high score. Especially considering the fact that it took me a hell of an effort in finishing up this new album. Although the album already got a whole bunch of good ratings (mostly rated 8 out of 10), it's an excellent score of our new album: best rating so far! Good to hear that our hard work finally pays off!

Can you first tell us about you, your background as a musician…Your past or actual involvement in Other bands  ! I want to know everything…Go

Gladly! I've started playing drums in the early nineties. Very much influenced by Igor Cavalera and Lars Ulrich in those days, I really wanted to play metal myself. My first band was Asfive: Obituary/Sentenced kinda instrumental death metal, during my high school days. Although we've never really released something, we've recorded a rehearsal tape in 1996. Songs of that rehearsal are on MySpace these days if you want to check that band out.  That band split up in 1996.  Soon after I've founded ENRAGED, back in 1997.  Next to ENRAGED I've also did drums in Mortuary I.O.D. for 5 years (1999-2004). That band played a thrashy version of death metal and we've released a full length ('Distorted Massacre: Fear The Madness) and a MCD ('Damnation') and split up because of changing interests of most of the band members. Although that band wasn't as tight and as experienced as it should have been, we did a lot of shows in Holland and other European countries and quickly gained a lot of public interest. Locally and beyond. Furthermore I've also did some session drums on a bunch of live shows of local heroes Disintegrate in 2008.  That's a befriended band of mine, who play death/thrash and released a full-length album on Massacre Records 2 years ago. After that I've also did drums for a year in a band called Existence Denied. Them guys played a very melodic and cheesy kind of metal in my honest opinion, which wasn't really my cup of tea. Not metal enough for me.  Besides ENRAGED I'm also playing drums in a very qualified melodic death/thrash band called Insurrection nowadays, since 2010. We've mainly focused on playing live a lot during the last couple of years (did shows with Hypocrisy, Darkane and Destruction amongst others) and have been recording a MCD called 'Catatonic' in the meantime. Hopefully we'll be able to release that MCD as soon as possible, since the release has been delayed a little bit too much. We have been writing  a lot of new tracks in the meantime, so we will be able to release a full-length soon after. Hopefully :-)

Could you tell us the history of ENRAGED?

ENRAGED was founded by former guitar player Martijn Linker and me in 1997. We wanted to play an extreme version of death metal, but with a lot of guitar melodies. Aggression combined with melody, but not in a cheesy or poppy way. We had a lot of line-up changes in all those years, but managed to release a demo ('Tirade' - 1998), a mcd ('Counterblast' - 2001), a promo ('Resist Or Serve - Promoting Our Contemptuous Resistance Against Human Treason'- 2004) during our first years. We also did a lot of live shows all across Europe in those years and played with Deicide, Arch Enemy and Gorefest for instance. After the release of 'Resist..' some of the band members left. Only bass player/vocalist Peter Hagen and me remained. Since we had a lot of trouble of finding some good replacements, we've finally decided to record a full-length first. During that recording process Peter left ENRAGED also. I've decided to finish up the recordings and mixing on my own with help of some befriended session-musicians and with our previous vocalist Jitse Schregardus.

Why do we have to wait so long to finally enjoy “It’s Your Fear That Feeds Their Power” as it was recorded and released in 2012…

Well, because of the long delay and a bunch of set-backs during the recording process. I've recorded drums in 2007, but had to find some qualified session musicians to volunteer on playing guitars and bass on the album. Most of them volunteered but did not have the proper motivation in finishing up the job. So I was forced to find replacers at least 5 times during recordings. It was not until 2010 that Tjaard Walstra offered to do the job on both rhythm guitars as on bass guitars. From that moment on everything went a bit quicker. We've done Jitse's vocal recordings at the end of 2011 and in the meantime Jens van der Valk (Autumn, God Dethroned) recorded most of the guitar solos. It wasn't until summer 2012 that everyone finished their recordings (James, Andy, Jos, Pieter and Christofer). So that's why the mixing and release of the album happened 5 long years after I've started.

You seems to take the meaning of the lyrics quite seriously, can you tell us more about your operating when it comes to write those words?

Sure! I've always liked lyrics with a message more than just the average blood-splatter-gore kind of lyrics that are very common in extreme death metal. Already on our first demo the ENRAGED lyrics dealt about personal frustrations, so that's actually something that has always been a part of ENRAGED. For the new album most lyrics are basically about the message that one should think for him (or her) self, instead of just simply believing everything you read, watch or hear. In specific the album concept is about scary people who use fear in manipulating the masses through media. Just take a look at the album cover, because the artwork really represents the concept very good. Life itself is a good source that inspires enough for writing lyrics. Just watch around you on a planet scale: it looks like humanity never learned anything at all of all our massive past failures…

In the review for the album “It’s Your Fear That Feeds Their Power” i reads that the album is pretty much dominated by the Scandinavian Melodic Death sound style merged with the brutal sound of the early  Technical Death Metal bands from USA and a few Nostalgic Thrash Metal overtones…What is your feeling regarding this quote?

Well, you might be right about that. We've always tried to create the perfect blend between aggression and melody and I guess that takes a bit of both worlds. We've always liked bands like Death, At The Gates, Carcass and Suffocation. Bands that are extreme but had some melodic aspects as well. Besides those influences we're also into bands like Dillinger Escape Plan, (early-) Sentenced, Dream Theater (at least our former guitar player Martijn was), Atheist, Meshuggah and even a less known band like Eucharist. So that probably explains some of the technical influences. But most of all we never try to sound like a particular band: we've just used the riffs we liked most and tried to make good songs out of them. Songs that work out very well in front of a live audience. We always tried to create catchy songs as well, because we like the crowd to go berserk on our music.

In the same review , H.P. also pointed that your band has acquired quite an impressive list of guest musicians on this record .Indeed the album features magnificent solos from James Murphy (OBITUARY/ DEATH / TESTAMENT), Andy La Rocque (KING DIAMOND /AT THE GATES /DEATH), Christofer Malmström (DARKANE/) and Jos Hindriks (DISINTEGRATE)…How did you concludes this incredible trick?

Jochem Jacobs (former Textures guitar player, who did the mixing of our album) suggested during the recording process to invite some special guests. Since I liked that idea very much, I've made myself a list of my all-time metal guitar heroes. Basically I've been asking every one of them whether they would be interested in doing a guest solo. The musicians that finally appear on our new album liked our music and were willing to participate on our album. That's it.

Do you think that the complexity of some of the structures, and the technical parts can be a block for some listeners, do you keep this aspect in mind while composing, or did you just get the inspiration flows!

I very much agree on that. Like I've said before, we always wanted to write songs that are catchy. Very technical music might be an obstacle for listeners to enjoy music. So that's why we've tried to sandwich them parts between more catchy elements. Especially former guitar player Martijn liked to come up with very complicated riffs and I've always tried to mix them with more catchy riffs to keep the songs listenable.  So we've just followed the inspiration at first and then, during composing the tracks we alter them a bit to just create good songs.

Tell us what is hiding between the weird title “It’s Your Fear That Feeds Their Power” does it contains a political degree?

It's about manipulating people by making them afraid. People are easy to be controlled if they're afraid. Through control you gain power, an endless cycle of fear. That cycle of fear is also in the booklet of our new album. It's a very interesting theory.

As you are a Drummer playing a challenging kind of music, what is your best practice tip for our young musicians readers?

Thanks! Practice a lot and use a metronome! Try to create stamina by practicing is important too. And of course be creative in your playing, it's all about the details. Play a lot and practice a lot and you'll notice the difference within weeks.

Did you plan on touring in Southern Europe and elsewhere? Tell us, what we have to expect from your side in the future to come?

At this point we're planning to do a video for one of the new tracks. We haven't decided yet on which one exactly, but it might well be "Global Conspiracy / Invisible Oppressors". That track really fits to the concept and artwork of the album. No touring plans yet. Although we might consider a bunch of shows if a lot of people are eager to watch us playing live of course.

As a band from the Netherlands, with a plethora of band out there, what do you think about the Metal scene in your country  ? Are there new undergrounds bands that we have to recon within the next years?  Maybe some new acts that you want to produce by yourself?

Although Holland is a small country, we have a lot of metal bands. Sometimes it looks like every Dutch Metalhead has its own metal band. Unfortunately not all of them are very talented. Some good bands that are my cup of tea and are very much worth checking out are Disintegrate (Frisian death/thrash), The Scarlet Claw (extreme melodic death metal), Icons Of Brutality (Swedish styled death metal), Undawm (Metalcore) and Entrapment (black/death). Bands that are tight as hell and offer quality. Besides them bands, I would also very much recommend Insurrection, my other band. If you're into ENRAGED you might like Insurrection too: melodic death metal, but a bit more straightforward as ENRAGED. Less technical too, I guess. Definitely check out our upcoming 6-track MCD 'Catatonic', which will be released by Big Bad Wolf Records in a couple of months and check and like us on Facebook too: www.facebook.com/insurrectionofficial

What do you think of the state of the market in 2014! What is your opinion concerning digital downloading legal and illegal?

It has become way more difficult, compared to the days when we started.  During our first releases we were able to sell a lot of our albums (the first 2 of our releases are sold out since ages for example), but as soon as downloading on the internet came up, it became very hard. I'm not that fond on illegal downloading. Perhaps I'm a bit old-fashioned, but I am still buying albums instead of downloading them and if you're really supporting the metal scene you (as a reader) should do as well. Although I have to admit that I only buy the albums that I'm really looking forward to. Anyway, bands are investing a lot of money in releasing their albums and it's hard these days in earning all that money back. A physical copy of an album offers you so much more, thanks to the artwork and booklet and stuff that really give an extra dimension to the music. Furthermore I think that the scene is completely packed with bands these days. So much more than, let's say, 15 years ago. Unfortunately not all of them bands are offering quality or have a unique selling point. So it's hard for a fan to discover bands that are really offering something special. And in case of a band that really offers something special: it's hard to reach an audience because so many bands are trying to do the same…. Especially in our case, since the album is self-released so far, I need to do all promotion by myself, while I have to compete for attention with so many other bands. It's hard to get the proper attention.

What is the last CD you have purchased?

The new Carcass album: 'Surgical Steel'. I'm very chuffed that they're back and like their new album too. I bought it as soon as it got released and probably will buy the new At The Gates album too: I'm very curious if them guys manage to write another good album…

Please let us know your Underground Metal TOP 5 (album)?

In no specifix order:
Eucharist - Mirrorworlds
Sentenced - North From Here
Carcass - Necroticism/Descanting The Insalubrious
Atheist - Piece Of Time
Dark Millennium - Ashore The Celestial Burden

Please let us know your All time TOP 10 (album)?

In no specifix order:
Eucharist - Mirrorworlds
Sentenced - North From Here
Carcass - Necroticism/Descanting The Insalubrious
Atheist - Piece Of Time
Dark Millennium - Ashore The Celestial Burden
Metallica - …And Justice For All
Death - Human
At The Gates - With Fear I Kiss The Burning Darkness
Suffocation - Pierced From Within
Meshuggah - Destroy, Erase, Improve

Now it's time for the Chinese portrait aka Le questionnaire de Bernard Pivot , which is inspired by Marcel Proust but This questionnaire is probably more familiar to English audiences as the one that journalist James Lipton asks at the end of  the TV show "Inside the Actors Studio."

What is your favorite word?

Metal.

What is your least favorite word?

War.

What turns you on creatively, spiritually, or emotionally?

Craftmanship, kindness and sense of humuor.

What turns you off?

Arrogance, insolence, lack of interest and greed.

What is your favorite curse word?

Fuck.

What sound or noise do you love?

Wind.

What sound or noise do you hate?

Explosions.

If not yourself , who would like to be ?

None.

What profession would you not like to do?

A butcher.

Who would like to see on a new bank note ?

Carcass :-)

If you reincarnated as some other plant or animal , what would it be ?

A cow in India.

If God exist , what you like to hear him say at the gates of Heaven ?

"You've did well" :-)

I wish to thank you for this interview and wish you guys the best of luck with the album and on the path ahead . Anything else you want to share with the fans and our readers out there?

Yes, everybody should check out the teaser on Youtube of "Confusion", one of the tracks of our new album which features a guest solo by Andy Larocque:



Just to get a good impression of the new ENRAGED album. And finally ofcourse: buy our new album! Available through our website: www.enraged.nl or on Amazon and I-Tunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/its-your-fear-that-feeds-their/id811061131

Thanks for the interview Cedric, cheers!



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