Interview: Porselain

Last October Porselain released their debut album, called Duende. DutchMetalManiac’s Tim van Velthuysen recently mentioned Porselain in this part of Promoting Bands and reviewed Duende here. One day before Duende’s release show in the venue of Willemeen in Arnhem, The Netherlands on December the 20th, of which you can read our live review here, he sat down with Porselain for an interview.

Hey, congratulations with your debut album, Duende. How does it feel for you to have this debut released?

All: Thanks.

Micky: It feels good. It took some time though. The songs were already finished for quite a while.

Cas: I really like that it’s released now. It indeed took some time for us to find the best way to release it. We first wanted to look at the idea of releasing it via a label, but in the end we decided to just do it ourselves. Now that we’ve finally released it by ourselves, I think that is a much better choice. Now everything is up to us.

Micky: I think it also fits very well with us, because we also do everything else by ourselves.

When were the songs finished then?

Cas: We recorded it in November last year, so at that moment everything was finished.

Was the time in between difficult?

Cas: Yes, we were very busy with finding out how we wanted to release it.

Micky: I think that it’s a good thing that there was some time in between though. I think that we only really knew what we wanted to do with it once we were going to release it.

It seems difficult to me if you have something finished, but have to wait for quite some time.

Micky: Yeah, but it would also be a shame if we would have released it earlier in a way that didn’t fit that well.

That’s indeed also true.

Cas: We really were searching how to shape our image.

Wouter: On the other hand, if we would’ve released it earlier, we could have our release show at the Effenaar, or in Dynamo with Carach Angren.

Micky: Haha, but then we couldn’t have done cool exhibitions.

I’ll come back on those exhibitions later. The album is titled Duende. The only meanings of Duende I could find on Wikipedia were a supernatural being out of folklore and a Spanish term invoking emotion and authenticity associated with flamenco. What does that title mean?

Cas: Yes, it is flamenco.

Micky: Yes, we want our music to be used for flamenco dancing. No, haha. It is the power of art to let you feel something.

Your music sounds very special and unique, how would you describe it yourself?

Cas: I really don’t know, we are already talking about what it really is for two years now.

Micky: By lack of a better term I always call it avantgarde rock.

Cas: Yes, indeed, towards postrock/doom with a little bit of triphop.

Micky: But that soon becomes quite vaguely.

Cas: When you say avantgarde rock everybody gets that it is heavy and not that easy-listening.

Wouter: You don’t put on Porselain as some background music. That isn’t really the intention I think.

Your music also seems quite borderless. Are there borders to Porselain’s music?

Micky: No.

Cas: I prefer to not use electronic stuff on stage, no sample pad or laptop on stage.

Micky: I like that Porselain is such a free space and everybody is very open-minded in terms of music. So, it really doesn’t matter what you suggest. When you’ve come up with an idea it always gets accepted. In that way there are no borders.

Cas: I think that the border is where it doesn’t feel natural anymore.

Wouter: We shouldn’t make something like Toto all of a sudden, then it isn’t Porselain anymore, right? We wanted to stay in a specific direction.

Cas: Speaking about that there are borders of course, but I think that speaks for itself.

Those borders are far away at least.

Cas: Yes, we can come up with every possible idea and every idea gets a chance.

I just heard you (Micky and Wouter) pronounce it, Porselain as in porselein, in Dutch, while your bandname is written with an “a” and porcelain in English is with a “c”. So, the right pronouncing is as in the Dutch word porselein?

Micky: Yes, it is in Dutch, as in porselein.

Because Porselain is a combination of porcelain and porselein. Is there an idea behind that?

Micky: I think that we just really wanted that if someone would search for us on the internet, not only porcelain cups would be found. Aside from that we also think it looks nice.

Tomorrow is Duende‘s release show in Willemeen. Looking forward to it?

All: Yeah, very much.

The bands that are playing, in addition to Porselain, are Tjalling and Doodswens. Did you choose those bands yourselves?

Micky: Yes, we think it really is a challenge to find bands with enough things in common with what we exactly do. They both are playing quite different music, but it has the same essence. It all is pretty dark, that’s what we all have in common. We already knew Doodswens and we will be meeting and seeing Tjalling perform live for the first time tomorrow.

You also had a contest for winning tickets for the release show, where you hid parts of porcelain in Arnhem that people could find and share on Facebook for getting a chance of winning those tickets. How did you come up with this nice idea?

Cas: We were sitting in the pub and wanted to have a fun idea to have something extra in addition to the poster. So, we thought about breaking a vase, painting on it and writing Porselain on it. Later we decided to link it to the contest. It’s just a bit more than only a poster.

Micky: Which again fits with us very well.

Cas: Honestly it was just a pub-idea.

That doesn’t matter when it’s a good idea, right?

Cas: We also had some bigger ideas, but those didn’t make it.

In addition to the bands there are also exhibitions of all three bands to be found during the release show. Can you tell something more about those exhibitions?

Micky: I know that every band has some people in it who are also creating other things, it really varies what they do. I believe that Tjalling made some photo’s especially for this event, because he does a lot with photography. I am really curious to see that. I believe that Fraukje and Inge of Doodswens both have work to showcase. From us, Jim has a lot that he will be showcasing. We also are showing our entire stop-motion piece from our Mortiferous videoclip. Furthermore Jim chose the paintings he wanted to show.

Jim: A part of it are things we made with Porselain and a part of it is my own work. What can be seen here at this moment mainly is made for videoclips or to have on stage. That already turned out to be quite a lot. It is pretty difficult to see whether something is my own work or it is from Porselain. It could also all be from Porselain.

Because what’s your own work?

Jim: I made all of it, but the smaller works I made for myself. The album cover also is own work originally, but we used it as Porselain.

It indeed is very difficult to see whether it is your own work or Porselain’s. I really like Duende‘s cover, it has a lot of depth in it. Can you tell something more about the cover?

Jim: I make a lot of my paintings with a lot of water. This is a combination of ink, water and paint. The paint and the ink don’t mix with each other, which makes that those both repel each other a bit. At home I have a drip tray, so that I can work with a lot of water. Each day I work on it for a bit, then it dries up, then I work on it for another bit and it again dries up. In the end it became this. During the process it isn’t that clear how it will finish and that’s something I really like, it is a bit of fighting with the water.

And that’s what causes that depth?

Jim: Yes, indeed. It all dried up towards the middle, so there it became darker and darker. The light part of it mainly is just paint to which nothing happened and the black of it is ink. There still really is quite a bit of paint on it. It was quite a surprise that this was how it finished.

But you’re satisfied with it?

Jim: For sure, otherwise we didn’t use it as our album cover.

That sounds logic indeed. Can you tell something more about the idea of combining music with those exhibitions?

Micky: We already knew that we wanted to do something with some sort of combination for quite a while, but for a long time we weren’t clear about what combination we exactly wanted to do. It kind of is the same story as with releasing the album. It took quite some time to find out what we exactly wanted to do.

Cas: This isn’t definitely the form we are keeping forever. This is just what we wanted to do at this moment. We wanted to have a party together with Tjalling and Doodswens, because we knew those bands and because it is fun. This also is some sort of searching whether this works and connects or not, because we haven’t done this before. This is what we wanted to do ourselves and it’s nice to do it here, because I know Willemeen very well. It also is very easy to do it here, because we can already build things up today and we can also be here the entire day tomorrow. If this goes well, we want to do this same format more often.

Speaking about combinations, you create an intriguing experience that’ll stay with people through combining music with fine arts like paintings, videos, handcrafted clothing and instruments. Can you elaborate on that for a bit?

Micky: I think it really is our power that we do everything by ourselves. When, for example, Cas wants to make an instrument, we can also very well integrate that in our music. I like making clothing, so for the release show I made something for everybody. That’s how we do everything ourselves.

The videos are also really nice. When you, in a manner of speaking, remove the music out of it, they would still be very nice.

Micky: Thanks.

Can we expect some more Porselain show in addition to the release show?

Cas: Yes, for sure. We want to try this in other venues and we are working on that now.

Micky: We probably aren’t a band that will be playing live every week, but we mainly want to do shows that we really like and where we really can do our own thing. It’s fine when it turns out that that wouldn’t be that often. We are working on it.

In my opinion Duende became a really nice album and I can already tell you that it is on number one in my end of the year list that will be posted tomorrow.

Micky: Oh, really? Nice!

How are you going to surpass this with possible new material?

Micky: I think that we really don’t think about that. That we just keep doing what we already are doing. I think that we’ll keep on changing all the time. That we don’t want to hold on all too much on our first material, but that we are just doing what we like. I am really not thinking about it. We have a very nice concept idea in mind though.

Cas: I don’t think that we have to think about surpassing it or something like that, but more with what we’ll be making next compared to that it has to be better. As Micky said, our next album will be a concept album. The style is still the same, but all the songs will be very different. I don’t think we will really surpass it. I mean, we are going to surpass it, but we are not striving to surpass it. It’s not that we are thinking about that at all.

Jim: I think that some things changed though when comparing the first few songs that are mainly written by you (Micky and Cas) with the newer songs. I am really curious to the new songs.

Micky: For example, Mortala was the last song we wrote and that one was finished just shortly before going into the studio.

Jim: That really sounded as a new sound to me.

Cas: I think that also is because we started writing with all of us.

Wouter: I wasn’t part of the band when the older songs were written. First, those included other drums. I later joined and then I gave my own twist to it with feedback from the rest of the band.

During which songs were you already part of Porselain?

Wouter: I changed Selcouth and PORT for a bit and I already joined when the other songs were written. Il Est Mort really was a challenge, because on that track I am not allowed to play. I wrote some drums for it though, but it wasn’t allowed.

Is it still a challenge for you during live shows?

Wouter: Most times I turn around during that song.

Micky: That also is an extra show thing.

You were just talking about a concept for a new album, but you probably aren’t going to tell anything about it yet, or do you?

Cas: No…

Jim: It’s still in a very early phase.

Micky: It at least is a concept, that of course already is different compared to what we’ve done so far. The songs on Duende all were apart from each other because they were written in quite a wide spectrum of time. Now we have a better idea of how we want to do it, before we are going to start writing.

Since 2019 is coming to its end, what will 2020 bring to Porselain?

Cas: At least playing more of this kind of shows. I don’t think we will play every week, but there will be more than this year.

Jim: We played twice this year.

Cas: So, we are going to play three shows, haha. No, but we’ll play more constantly.

Micky: And writing new songs and making new videoclips. By the way, we’ll be playing one new song tomorrow.

Nice, what’s it called?

Micky: Eunoia.

Wouter: In my opinion it’s a bit like Duende and Mortala in terms of how crazy it is.

Micky: That song doesn’t belong to the concept by the way, it’s just a new song apart from it.

Are you going to release it?

Micky: To be honest I don’t know what we’ll be doing with it yet.

Thanks for your answers. Is there something you want to say to our readers?

Micky: We aren’t metal for 100%, but give us a chance. Maybe the readers know how to describe our music.

Cas: How would you describe our music?

To be honest I also didn’t know exactly. In terms of atmosphere I think it would better fit with the taste of metalfans compared to that of rockfans. It’s quite dark, experimental, special and avantgarde. But aside from that it’s pretty difficult to fit into a box.

Micky: When I say rock I maybe think a bit more about alternative rock from the ’90s like Björk and Portishead for example.

I still think it’s a bit heavier.

Cas: That will be a long name for a genre.

In the end it doesn’t matter, right? As long as it is nice. I am looking forward to tomorrow!

All: We are so too, nice that you’re coming!

Porselain Official Website
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