On January 16th, Carach Angren was playing a show in Doornroosje, Nijmegen, The Netherlands together with Fleshgod Apocalypse and Nightland. Before the show, DutchMetalManiac’s Tim van Velthuysen spoke with Clemens ‘Ardek’ Weijers, Carach Angren’s keyboard-player. Read it below.
Hey, can you tell your name?
Clemens Weijers, Ardek, from Carach Angren.
Today (in Nijmegen) and tomorrow (in Eindhoven) are the two Dutch shows between a lot of shows in other countries. Since you are a Dutch band, is it good to be here for the moment?
It’s very good, because today is a sold out show apparently and that’s amazing. We just played Amstelveen and that was also for a lot of people. So, for us, The Netherlands has been very good lately, thanks to a certain party. Not only that, but it’s nice to get all the recognition, because we are Dutch and we tend to be proud of that. It’s really cool to see that so many people come out to a metalshow. I was just downstairs a little bit and it was awesome.
You also mentioned it, you played in P60 in Amstelveen on Christmas Eve and it also came in a lot of mainstream media, because an Christian political party wasn’t happy with it. How do you look back at that show and the time before?
It was really unexpected, because I was with my girlfriend in Mexico for a month after our US tour and then I landed here. Literally one day later all this started. So, I was like wow, we have been touring the whole world basically, also places where you would expect complains. Then we return to the most liberal country in the world and then it was like that they wanted to forbid us. They wanted to stop the funding for P60. Then all the reporters started calling, from all the mainstream media. Those people also said that it was ridiculous and we would make a story out of this, so for us it was only good promotion. With that I’m very happy and we were able to make a point out of the fact that we can say whatever we want. People can come or stay away and I think the guys from the party made a little bit of a fool out of themselves, to be honest. The show was amazing, a lot of people, it was a great night, so it was win-win-win in the end for us.
What are the most important differences between playing in your home country and playing somewhere else in the world?
Well, it always feels as home and sometimes that’s difficult, because we started here. Twelve years ago, we were playing a lot in Holland, so people also know us as ‘that little band’. Like playing for ten people, because that’s how we started. That also keeps us normal, we never tend to be like rockstars or something. For us, it’s a challenge, because we want to prove and show that we have grown, that we bring a better show every time. It’s really nice that people are recognizing that. Home country is always special in a way to prove ourselves once more.
For the differences, for example if you play in Japan, that’s really crazy. We play songs, people know the songs. Those are songs that I made in my little attic or something and that people on the other side of the world know is really special. That is something I will forever take for granted.
To come home here and play a sold out show, it can’t be better, it’s awesome.
You saw a lot of the world, what was the most special place?
It’s really hard to say, because every country is so different.
For example, the US is very good for us, cause the people in the US love us, people are crazy and really outgoing. They come to me and start hugging. Euro people are a little more distant, they enjoy it probably as much, but they show it in different ways. Mexico, for example, is completely crazy, they go out of their minds, even before you played one note. That gives you a good vibe. Some audiences are more like watching, they are more distant, but they love it as much and they come afterwards and say that it was amazing.
Every country is a bit different, for us the US is amazing right now.
This tour is with Fleshgod Apocalypse and Nightland. How is it so far?
Very good. We know the guys from Fleshgod Apocalypse a long time, we toured with them in America, in Europe with Septicflesh. We go along very well, we know each other. We know what to expect and it clicks very well.
The Nightland guys are great too, so it’s an amazing package and I am very happy to be on the road all together.
You are also back in the studio, right?
Yeah, we’re done, but you’re right, we just finished!
Can you already give us a sneak peek of info?
Yes, we went a bit silent in the studio, because we were very busy and usually it’s a long time until release. We went to Peter Tägtgren’s studio to record drums, we recorded guitars at Tidal Wave Studio in Germany and I recorded vocals and orchestra at my place, my studio. Then we went to the mixing process at the end of December and literally when you heard the fireworks of New Year, I was sitting behind my computer mixing the orchestra. It has been crazy, but that’s what we love. It’s done now and we are super proud of it, it’s amazing.
It’s another horror story again, it will have different substories, a bit like Where The Corpses Sink Forever again. The last one was really dark and in the face, now we are a bit more melodic again. It also have a lot of clues, there are a lot of things in there that people can discover, but if you don’t want that, there is still a lot of metal, a bit for everyone. Can’t wait to release it.
So, you hope to get a lot of new fans?
I hope so, that’s what it’s all about of course. To spread the music and built everything.
You already mentioned it, you are also working with Peter Tägtgren. How is working with him?
Super cool, he is a great guy, great musician and producer. He did some awesome work, but at the same time he is just a very hardworking guy, we get along very well. I know how he works, he knows how we work. When I was in his studio with my brother Namtar, it was all really cool, it went really fast. So it sounds a bit boring but it’s awesome. It’s all super hard work and passion about the end product. I worked with him, I had the privilege to work with him on Lindemann and Pain, that was awesome. The songs he writes, to be able to work on that, it’s amazing. Every time we work together it goes more smooth. Also this time, when he was mixing the guitars, drums and bass I was already listening to it and tweaking my orchestra to it, that’s why I think the end product is the best we have ever done. Sometimes you go into the studio and it’s a total chaos and it’s done before you know it. Afterwards you wish you could have done another detail or something. To me it’s like 100 % now. It was always 100 %, but you know what I mean.
You and Namtar are brothers, how is it to have some family in your own band?
It is different than otherwise in a way, because we are brothers, but it is the same with Seregor, the three of us have this kind of pact, because it’s hard. We are in a band, we have to work a lot, to sit in a tourbus together. It’s not just sitting on a chair and enjoying the rockstar life, it maybe looks like that on the outside, but it is actually super hard work. So, we are all like family, we talk a lot, discuss a lot. Everyone has a specialty in the band and you have to recognize that from each other, respect each other. For me and Namtar, we have two younger brothers, they help out sometimes. It’s awesome, we are the same in some way, but we also have our differences. For example, my brother Namtar is very good at technical stuff, that’s his thing and it’s really amazing. He build this new thing I have on stage, my new toy, which you can see later.
Your lyrics are all about stories, what made you decide to do it that way?
Well, when we first started I was talking a lot to Seregor. We are both dedicated horror fans, he came up with all those little stories he had read, Limburgian saga’s and stuff. Then I said, okay let’s do a quick demo, I want to get something out there to say that we are alive. So we did The Chase Vault Tragedy because we found some links on the internet. I thought it was easy to use one story to build the music upon that. I thought like yeah, but probably everyone is doing that, but it turned out that not many people would do that. We also do it in an different way, we took that and developed it and we always try to be better at it. Now we can’t do without it, it has to be a story all the time. I think we became very good at it, people like it. For example, when I start composing, I need a story in Carach Angren to feel what it is about. I can’t just write a song about the weather or something. Maybe I could but it is not what I want.
Also, like Seregor, he is a storyteller. If you see him on stage you’ll see that. It is all fitting together like that.
What is your favorite Carach Angren track ever?
Haha, difficult question, it’s hard to say. I mean, now I am of course completely into the new tracks, that’s always the newest baby, but people don’t know it yet. Every track is a bit different, for example live I like songs like Departure Towards A Nautical Curse and Sir John, but to listen or compose The Funerary Dirge Of A Violinist is cool, The Sighting Is A Portent Of Doom is nice as a keyboard-player with a lot of layers in there. Every song is a bit different, that’s because it is a story. It is hard for me to pick one.
You are already in a band for a while. What advice would you give to young and starting bands?
Don’t give up too soon. What I’ve seen a lot, is that they start a band, they buy all the right equipment. They start and after two years they think like ‘We don’t have any success, maybe we should quit.’ That’s really sad, because I think you should never quit, only when you think that you don’t want to do it anymore. In this day and age, even more than before, you need many years to establish something. For us, it took maybe already 5 or 6 years to our first album, now we have been together almost 14 years until things are really moving. I always say you need at least ten years to establish a band and you should never forget that you should have fun. We started playing, the three of us, in a caravan in our mother’s backyard. She thought like what the fuck is happening there, but we had fun, drinking beer and jamming. There was no audience, no one and we had fun. We still try to remember that every day and it’s really amazing that so many people enjoy it. If you go in like you need success within two years, you are doomed. So I would like to advice, be passionate, be patient and work hard, then eventually it will work, I am sure.
What does success in a band mean for you?
To me, to write songs that we like and that other people enjoy. When I write something, people come to me after a show and say that it is really helping them, that gives me goosebumps, because people are struggling out there, have a hard life, have to work hard and if that somehow gives them joy, that’s amazing. For me, that’s success.
And of course, that we are able to do this every day, that’s also amazing.
Because it is just 2017, what was the band that surprised you most last year?
That’s difficult to say, because I don’t listen to a lot of bands these days, it’s really hard to say, to be honest.
Can you say what band you are looking forward to the most, in 2017?
Also really difficult, because we do this every day, we sit a lot in the tourbus. Sometimes people think that it’s all about metal and in the tourbus it goes on. Because we do this all day, sometimes we listen to classical music or whatever, something else. There are cool bands, for example a band like Ghost, I respect that a lot, the whole imagery and how they exploded, I respect that. To be honest, there’s not really a band I am really into right now or looking forward to. Maybe it’s really bad, but I always look forward to soundtracks and stuff, that’s what I am into. Sometimes I even listen to old soundtracks from games of the ‘90’s, like Doom soundtracks. I am really an old school guy, right now I am playing this game, The 7th Guest on my phone, it’s from ’93.
I am more of a maker, I started with the piano. Also with the album, I had an old organ that I have since I was 10 years old, I plugged it in, that’s what gets me crazy.
Where would you be without music?
Like dead. I can’t do without it, I would probably do some other art then, because I have to get it out somehow. I always have this vision about what I want to do, right now we are developing in this horror metal band, I am a creator, it’s not only about the music, but always thinking like what can we do. Even with Instagram, some bands post them sitting on a table, but for us it’s always like, fans are looking there, and almost everything has to be a piece of art. So, I am always creative, without music, I would maybe make paintings, photographs or something. Music is my thing, I can’t think otherwise.
Besides new music, which is upcoming, and this tour, are there already other plans for the future of Carach Angren?
Yeah, of course the new album and we want to be more around in Europe, because it’s been like 4 years that we did this. Sometimes it’s difficult, because there are so many bands. It’s really hard to get the attention, because bands are touring everywhere. Although you have fans everywhere, not every promoter knows you. This is now very successful for us, and for us it is important to return again soon and tour more.
Anything else you want to share with the readers of DutchMetalManiac?
Thanks for the questions, thanks for all the support and looking forward to the show and the other shows in Holland.
I’m Tim van Velthuysen and I started DutchMetalManiac back in 2014. I’m 27 years old and I live in Nijmegen, The Netherlands. Of course, I like metal, but I can also appreciate other musical styles. However, metal is what I mostly listen to. I also like going to concerts, meeting with friends and watching movies (especially arthouse).