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Interview : A New Dawn

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   Coming from the Netherlands, "A New Dawn" was created on 1997. Their powerful music pushed me to know more about them.
Hell’s Angel:  Hello! How are you doing?

   All: Fine and busy :), thank you


Hell’s Angel:  Could you please present your band and yourselves?

All: We are “A New Dawn” a Dutch “Double Female Fronted Metalband”, and the band members are:

Elbert: Guitars
Willem: Guitars
Sanne: Vocalist
Jamila: Vocalist
Monica: Bass & Grunt
Peter:         drums


Hell’s Angel:  What was your principal aim with creating "A New Dawn" on 1997?

   Elbert: With recording the first demo tape in 1997, I really just wanted to record a few songs that I wrote or co-wrote with a previous band I played in. Also, two cover tunes were recorded, that I used to play with other bands. Recording the first demo was basically a learning experience, as I did not have a lot of experience in recording songs in a real studio. Although we played a small number of shows, A New Dawn was not a real band at that point in time. So, I mainly look at it as a learning experience.


Hell’s Angel: How were your conditions at the beginning? Tell us more, please, about the band's birth.

   Elbert: After the first demo in 1997, nothing really happened with A New Dawn. I started playing in a new band and A New Dawn basically was put on a shelve for, I think, over six years. But after releasing the second demo “The Wisdom of Hindsight” I formed a band together with Sanne in order to perform the songs live. Only when we kept receiving enthusiastic responses from all kind of people and the media we realised the potential of A New Dawn.


Hell’s Angel:  "Gothic. That doesn't cover it by far! Add a big dose of Heavy Metal, a few teaspoons of Prog, a dash of Thrash and a pinch of soul." This is a perfect description of your music style. What could you say about that? Which are your principal influences.

   Sanne: We are a band with six band members who have completely different musical influences. The music is as various as the people in the band. We all have different tastes and different influences. Our influences are more then just metal, there’s some classical, pop and soul in it as well. It seems that these influences combined bring out some sort of mix that we all seem to enjoy.

   Elbert: My musical influences come mainly from mid 80’s metal with bands like Savatage, Iron Maiden, Metallica. But I also like many bands that originated in the 70’s like Kiss, Queen and Van Halen, and some progressive metal bands. As long as it’s interesting to listen to, it really doesn’t matter what style of music it comes to, I think.

   Monica: I listen to all kinds of metal, but also pop and classical music. My favourite singer is Bruce Dickinson of Iron Maiden. Other bands I love are: Iced Earth, Dimmu Borgir, System of a Down, Blind Guardian, Old Man’s Child, Testament, Slayer, etc.

   Jamila: I listen to all kinds of music. But I prefer all rock-oriented music, but I also listen to jazz, blues and soul.


Hell’s Angel:  Does the name "A New Dawn" refer to hope, nature, light? How did you choose it? From what is it inspired?

   Elbert: When my old band decided to split up, I felt it was time for a new beginning, a new chapter if you like. The name “A New Dawn” fitted perfectly. Not only can it be interpreted as “a new beginning”, but as you said, it also has a reference to hope. It’s not the “macho”-type of name that a lot of heavy bands tend to use.


Hell’s Angel:  Your first Demo "A New Dawn" was appeared on 1998. What could you say about this first release?

   Elbert: The first demo was basically meant to close a chapter (my previous band) and start a new one. It consists of three original tracks that I wrote or co-wrote with my previous band. These songs had never been recorded properly, and I felt it would be shame if they never would be recorded. The demo also contains two cover tunes, I used to play with other bands: Once Solemn by Paradise Lost and I Will Remember by Queensrÿche. It was always good fun to play these tracks, so I wanted to add them to the demo.


Hell’s Angel:  In 2004, your ep "The Wisdom of Hindsight" was launched. How was it’s making?

   Elbert: After having played in a new band for a few years, I felt the need to record a few songs of my own again. They were songs I felt did not really match with the style of the band I played in. So, I recorded them under the name “A New Dawn”. On the first demo, a cover version of Queensrÿche’s “I Will Remember” was recorded with a female vocalist. I felt it was the best track of the demo, so decided that A New Dawn needed a female vocalist for the e.p.
I met Sanne who wrote the vocal melodies as well as some lyrics for the songs. I told Sanne, I really wanted to record some grunts for one particular track (“Victimless Tragedy”), and asked her if she knew anyone who could do the trick. Sanne asked Monica to record the grunts for the track and they sounded awesome. The recordings were all home recordings. The drums were recorded with a drum machine and I recorded all instruments. The vocals were recorded by Sanne, Monica recorded the grunts. Sanne introduced her sister Josta to record some additional vocals.
The recording of the e.p. again, was a big learning experience and a lot of fun to do. Shortly before it was completed, Sanne suggested to form a band to promote the e.p. Until then, it had never really crossed my mind. But I’m so glad that we did.
In addition to the people who had recorded the e.p., Willem joined on guitar. I had met him when we played a few shows together with his band. On drums, I asked Gijsbert Spek, who I had played with for quite a few years. With the line-up complete, we started rehearsing and soon would start playing our first songs. A New Dawn was transforming into an actual band.


Hell’s Angel:  Your Second Demo was released on 2006. Tell us more about it.

   Elbert: Actually it’s the 3th ;) After “The Wisdom Of Hindsight” was released, the project “A New Dawn” had gradually transformed into a band. With the 2006 release we felt it was time to present A New Dawn as a band (not as a project). It were the first recordings that we did as a band. The recordings were really low budget. The drums were recorded at our rehearsal space and the other instruments and vocals were recorded at home. We choose to record two new songs (Ascension and Darkness Falls) and Victimless, because this song had become a live favourite.
But even though the quality was not top notch, the release showed the potential of the band. The reviews we got were really positive and I think that the promo opened up new doors for us.


Hell’s Angel:  Your first cd, "Falling from Grace" was a revelation for the Dutch scene. A new release which brings new success to the band; how was its making?

   Elbert: It was hard work, that’s for sure. I think, we learned a lot about recording in a studio. A lot of the things we learned, we can use in recording a next album. Although a little stressful at times, for me it was a lot of fun to do.
Willem: It was a lot of fun. First time in a studio, hard work, but mostly fun.

   Sanne: First of all, thank you very much! We chose to record the album in the Excess studios which is renowned for it’s work with bands like After Forever, Asrai, Gorefest etc etc.  Because the demos were recorded at home we decided to rerecord all our own material and put it on the album. This way Falling from Grace was also a way of closing the chapter of the “old” A New Dawn and therefore is was a new dawn for A New Dawn ;)

   Monica: It was a great learning experience for every one of us. We tried to do the best we could in a short time, so it was also very hard work. But we had great fun doing it.

   Jamila: I really love studio-work. You learn so much about yourself, the music, your other members. It was hard work, but I loved it.


Hell’s Angel:  So which are your favourite song from your demos or cd? Why?

   Willem: My choice is Descending because it was my first song with my vocals on it and it sounds groovy!

   Elbert: There are a lot of songs that I have great memories with. It’s fun to listen and think about these memories. Therefore, it’s difficult to choose a favourite track. When I listen to the “Falling From Grace” album, I think Winter and Ascension (part III) are my favourite tracks. They’re the most bombastic tracks on the album.

   Sanne: My favourite songs of Falling from Grace are Winter, this song really worked out well in the studio and of course the intro Black Lotus which also features the vocals of our manager and great friend David van Santen.

   Monica: For me it is Winter, on ‘Falling from Grace’ because the song turned out great on the album.

   Jamila: I really like Kissed Goodbye and Winter. Why? I really can’t explain, it’s all the emotions I feel when I hear the songs and when I sing it.


Hell’s Angel:  Your line-up undergoes many changes since the beginning as the departure of your guitarist Mark Barth on 2004. Tell us more about those changes. How could you explain them?

   All: To play in a band, it’s important to have the same goals and the same will to reach these goals. If not, you can stay together as a band and except that you will not reach these goals, or go look for other people, so that you can try and reach the goals you want. These are probably some of the hardest decisions to make. As we explained before, A New Dawn started out as a project, nothing to serious. As time whent by things became more serious and more professional. Priorities changed and so did the line-up.


Hell’s Angel:  You speak about things like hope, life, death and even music! Is your music a way to transmit a message? What inspires you to write? And how do you choose your albums names?

   Elbert: Making music to me is not a way to force my ideas to other people. The lyrics that I wrote in the past were about things that I felt were interesting to write about. If there is a message in these lyrics, they are hidden between the lines, to be found by the people who care. Inspiration can come in many ways.
When I sit at home, I usually have a guitar around and new ideas come quite naturally. I cannot sit down and plan to write a new song. Inspiration has to come naturally.
About the album titles: I choose the album name for the “The Wisdom Of Hindsight” e.p. The album name is about learning from the things you did in the past. Although it is not what the song “The Wisdom Of Hindsight” is about, the title fitted the idea behind the e.p.

   Sanne: For my own lyrics I usually get inspiration from the song itself, I keep listening until I get and idea of the lyrics or melody and from there on it kind of unfolds. Other inspiration sources are for me books, movies, or things I have experienced myself.
I came up with “Falling from Grace” because this theme (an angel being banished from heaven) is represented in a lot of Elbert’s lyrics as well as mine.

   Jamila: I’m with the band over a year now and first of all I didn’t need to write the lyrics, because I was singing the songs who were already made. But now I try to write lyrics as well and come up with melodies. My inspiration comes from the song itself, or things I have experienced in my life.


Hell’s Angel:  Well, I think you know that there's no really bands with an equal number of girls and guys. So how is to play in such band? Did this help you on the band's career?

   All: Actually there is one, ABBA! Just kidding. Well we didn’t do it on purpose, it just sort of “happened”. Man and women really can complement each other so that is a plus and of course it’s great not being the only woman around. Actually people do tend to be a little more impressed when they find out that there’s a girl grunting. Perhaps that’s the way things go with A New Dawn: a little out of the ordinary.


Hell’s Angel:  Last month you supported "Epica" during their concert, but you also participated on a Gothic and Fantasy Fair. How were these experiences?

   Willem: We’ve been sharing the stage a couple of times now with Epica and they are nice people and it’s nice to see a lot of professionality from two bands together.

   Elbert: We have just finished the show with Epica, which was absolutely awesome. One of the great things about playing with a band like Epica is that you can perform in bigger venues for larger crowds of people.

   Sanne: This was the third show we did with Epica and they were all great. Gothic and Fantasy fairs are great because it’s quite a various crowd you get to play for. The biggest difference with a regular concert is that people will be more standing still and watching rather than rocking their socks off :)

   Jamila: The show with Epica was awesome, again ;) The crowd was great and there were a lot of people who sang our songs together with us. The Gothic & Fantasy Fair in Leeuwarden was great also. The sun was shining and it was a beautiful day.


Hell’s Angel:  And in general, what can you say about the concerts you make? Which are your best concert and your worst one?

   Willem: Most of the shows are great, but the one with Epica, Delain and After Forever was my favourite. And the worst was on my birthday when there was a huge cake fight after hahaha.

   Elbert: I think the show that we did for our CD presentation is one of the highlights to me. It was so awesome to see so many people attending to see the band. But of course there are many more highlights. Almost every show has things to look back at that were cool and things that did not go as well as planned.

   Sanne: There are not really “type” of concerts which are the best or worst. Of course it helps when the technical stuff is all there and works properly, but sometimes the feeling is just “there” and everything else is not important anymore, you just go for it.

   Jamila: I agree with Elbert that one of the best shows we did was our CD presentation. The crowd was really great and they all came to see A New Dawn with their new album.
There are a lot of great shows that we did and of course you make some mistakes, but you’ll learn from them.
The most important thing to know about us is that we do quite a show. We love to perform and laugh with each other and the audience. We take ourselves seriously, but not to serious, because we love to play and you will see it on our faces everytime we do a show.


Hell’s Angel:  Are you satisfied with your work? How do you see the future of "A New Dawn"?

   Willem: I am very satisfied and my future is to give the people what the want and play on large festivals.

   Elbert: I am happy when I look at the things we have done in such a short period of time. Of course, I am not satisfied yet. There are so many things to be done, so much music to be written and so many venues, that I want to play in. There is a lot of things to be done. It is now time to work hard on achieving the new goals we set for the future.

   Sanne: Yes, I am very satisfied with where we are today, but for me: the sky is the limit. I think A New Dawn could have a really promising future if we continue growing the way we are doing now.

   Jamila: I’m also very happy where we are right now. I see so much potential in A New Dawn, I just hope that it works out for us. We just keep doing our best and the best is yet to come. Like Sanne said: The sky is the limit. We will keep growing and we will keep playing and we hope that you all we keep coming to our shows ;)


Hell’s Angel:  How did you begin playing music?

   Willem: I was 12 years old when I bought my first guitar with the money I got working on my school holiday’s!

   Elbert: I started playing at the age of 16, I guess. A guy I knew from school knew how to play a few Iron Maiden tunes and I was determined to learn them as well. I started with Iron Maiden and Metallica songs, later followed by Ozzy tunes. It was not until 6 or so years later, that I started writing original material.

   Sanne: I started singing when I was about 14 years. First I sang in a church choir and after that I took private singing lessons. I also play bass guitar but because I’m so busy with AND I don’t have time for that anymore.

   Monica: When I was 19 I joined my first band. I didn’t play bass at the time, I only did the vocals. I couldn’t really sing, not after a few lessons, I started to sound better. In that band I also tried grunting for the first time.

   Jamila: I started singing when I was 7 years old. I participated on talentshows, had a couple of bands before I began to sing in A New Dawn. And since a year or so I take singing lessons as well. Very important! I also play the piano, learned myself some guitar and I play djembé (African drums).


Hell’s Angel:  Who are your favourite musicians?

   Willem: My favourite musician is Zakk Wylde from Black Sabath, The Black Label Society.
When I have some free time I work on the guitar skills of Zakk :)

   Elbert: My favourite bands are Savatage, Iron Maiden, Queensrÿche, Queen, just to name a few. My favourite musicians are Randy Rhoads, Criss Oliva, Brian May, also just to name a few.

   Sanne: Anneke van Giersbergen (ex-the Gathering, Agua de Annique), Freddie Mercury (Queen), Christofer Johnson (Therion).

   Monica: Iron Maiden, Iced Earth, Dimmu Borgir, System of a Down, Blind Guardian, Old Man’s Child, Testament, Slayer, etc.

   Jamila: My favourite bands are: Aerosmith, the old Nightwish and a little Therion. My favourite musicians are: P!nk, Tina Turner, Jennifer Holiday, Steven Tyler, Better Midler and many others who inspire me.


Hell’s Angel:  Which are your favourite metal albums?

   Willem: Zakk Wyldes Maffia and Blessed Hellride

   Elbert: Many of my favourite live albums are live albums, like “Live After Death” (Iron Maiden), “Tribute” (Ozzy Osbourne), “Live Killers” (Queen), “Alive!” and “Alive II” (Kiss). Of course, I cannot forget our own album “Falling From Grace”!

   Sanne: Cradle of Filth – Cruelty and the beast & Nymphatamine, Therion – Theli, Gothic Kabbalah.

   Jamila: To be honest, I don’t have a favourite metal album.


Hell’s Angel:  What are you actually working on?

   All: We are currently working on new material. After the release of “Falling From Grace” it’s now time to start a new chapter. It’s going to be exciting, writing the new material and playing it live.


Hell’s Angel:  What are your other occupations besides the music?

   Willem: I’m a constrution worker

   Elbert: I work at an accountsdepartment.

   Sanne: I’m a fulltime financial and I’m also studying.

   Monica: I am a teacher. I teach art and music to teenagers at a high school.

   Jamila: I work at a sort of daycare center, but for kids of the ages of 8 ‘till 12. When they are finished with school, their parents still at work, I take care of them, give them something to drink and eat and do activities with them.
Next to my work I also like to hang out with my friends and family.


Hell’s Angel:  What can you say about the metal situation in the world of our days?

   All: Despite all changes in music, heavy metal has always been around in one way or the other. Lately, there has been somewhat more interest in classic hard rock and heavy metal. Iron Maiden seems to be bigger than they ever were, Kiss has just finished their most successful European tour ever, festivals with bands that have been around for over 20 years are attracting huge amounts of visitors. As a fan of more old-fashioned metal, I sure like this, of course.
But when we compare the metal situation in The Netherlands with other countries like Germany or Scandinavia we’ve noticed that, although we have great world leading metal bands like Within Temptation, Epica and After Forever, metal is so underground here. That’s a real shame.

   
Hell’s Angel:  So, What do you know about Tunisia?

   Willem: I’ve never been there, but buy me a ticket and I will come over there haha.

   Elbert: Although I have never visited your country, I know that Tunisia is a popular holiday destination for many Europeans. Besides that, I have of course heard about the archaeological sites of Carthago, but I must admit that this is where my knowledge stops about your country.

   Sanne: I know it’s a country in Northern Africa. I’ve been to Morocco and Egypt, but not yet to Tunisia.

   Monica: To be completely honest: not very much.

   Jamila: I’m half Moroccan, so yes I did know about Tunisia, but really not that much.


Hell’s Angel:  Did you expect the existence of a Tunisian metal scene?

   Willem: I think every country has metal and I’m happy with that.

   Elbert: The mainstream Dutch metal press does not pay a lot of attention to other than Western European and American bands. Therefore, to me the Tunisian metal scene is kind of an unwritten page. Thanks to zines such as yours, I can learn more about your metal scene.

   Sanne: I sort of did, because I knew that Epica and After Forever performed on a festival in Tunisia.

   Jamila: Why not? Again, here in The Netherlands, the metal-scene is so underground, but it exists. So why not in other countries around the world.


Hell’s Angel:  During this two Last years we have seen many international bands even from the Netherlands, as "After Forever" and "Epica" on our scene. So, will we have the pleasure to see you one day in Tunisia?

   Willem: That would be my pleasure to play for you all.

   Elbert: I definitely hope so.

   Sanne: I really hope so, just send us an invitation :)

   Monica: I truly hope so very very much!!

   Jamila: Yes please :) It would be great to play in your country.


Hell’s Angel:  I think that's all. Thanks very much for the interview. Last words for the Tunisian metalheads?

   Willem: You’re welcome and invite us over there and we will rock you all.

   Elbert: I hope you enjoyed reading the interview as much as I had, writing down the answers to these questions. Thank you for your interest in the band and hopefully we might meet in the future! All the best!

   Sanne: Rock on!

   Monica: Thank you for showing interest in A New Dawn. Keep it metal.

   Jamila: Thank you for this interview. Stay metal and if you have the chance, come to one of our shows, we won’t disappoint you :)
Oh, and keep checking our sites: www.anewdawnband.nl or www.myspace.com/anewdawnband.

Par Hell’s Angel

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