1. Could you briefly introduce yourselves and talk about your roles in the band?
Dalton: I’m kind of the founder of the band and one of the guitarists. And alongside Jasper I also do the marketing and management behind the band for now until we find a manager because it’s kinda tiring to do that (laughs).
Melle: I’m Melle, I’m 25 years old and play guitar.
Dalton: Oh, I’m 21 years old by the way.
Jasper: Zoomer (laughing)
I’m Jasper. I sing, do marketing and sometimes write music. That’s about it.
Douwe: Hi, my name is Douwe. I’m 25 years old and I play the drums.
Dylan: I’m Dylan, the bassist and my pop-punk roots came from when I picked up the bass and guitar. But I also made the cover art for the EP. I’m also the designer.
2. What type of music do you play and which artists influenced you in particular?
Dalton: In general, the music is inspired by the 2010-ish wave of pop-punk, like THE STORY SO FAR and KNUCKLE PUCK, oldschool TURNOVER, that kind of stuff. Maybe we could do one influence per person? The biggest influence for me is old TITLE FIGHT, the first two albums.
Melle: It’s kinda hard to think of one but I think one to pick which reflects our sound the most would be HOT MULLIGAN.
Jasper: I’m influenced by NOTHING, NOWHERE and started listening to him when he was still doing his emo thing but now he’s doing more pop-punk.
Douwe: The funny thing is I don’t really have a lot of pop-punk inspirations because I come from more of a hardcore and metalcore background, so drummers from metalcore bands like Dan Searle from ARCHITECTS and Craig Reynolds from STRAY FROM THE PATH are my two main influences right now.
Dylan: A recurring band that kept popping up when we were talking about starting a band is TITLE FIGHT. There is a lot of influence from them behind the songwriting. I don’t write a lot, Dalton does most of the writing and Jasper a lot of the lyricism but I can really make the bass parts my own. I would say TITLE FIGHT is a main influence sound-wise.
3. Before putting out any music, you started to build up a following on social media. Apart from that, you’ve got a clear visual style when it comes to both your EP and social media presence, so you obviously know about the importance of marketing.
As an upcoming band with a punk/hardcore and DIY background, what do you think are the chances and challenges of making music in the age of social media?
Melle: I think the main thing we get from this are chances, not challenges. You get a further reach than without social media. Previously, you would have to rely on local shows, venues and papers to talk about you and now you can send your stuff out all over the world. Like this for instance. This is our first face to face interview and it’s with a German journalist and that’s quite different than it would have been a while ago. The only challenge that comes with it is that this is also an opportunity for so many other bands.
Jasper: There’s like 20 million people making music nowadays.
Yes, you have try and stick out.
Dalton: Yeah, it’s kind of like figuring out what works on Instagram and getting people’s attention. The biggest challenge I think is sticking out and actually getting your music to be heard by people instead of just fading out and getting lost in the sea of posts that are out there, but as Melle said, there’s a lot of chances as well. It’s different from what it used to be but the time’s are changing.
Dylan: I think social media lends itself to setting things up. We created a lot of assets that we can use if we have a photo shoot for example. Afterwards, we can go through the photos and see: “Yeah, that kind of photo works really nicely with this type of post”. So you don’t only have an engaging message but it also fits in with the post because the first thing that people see is the post, right? Afterwards they read what’s written down below. So if you’ve got a post that already touches on both, that’s two birds with one stone, I guess.
Social media is a challenge. We picked up some of the basic stuff. We looked up how to track what we do and how it gets out there but fully grasping and understanding that and “how you are an influencer” is really difficult, also because it is unpredictable and a lot of factors go into it. We’re not the only band who wants to get out there, so there’s limited space for so many people.
There’s so much work to planning this all out and making sure that what you post represents you well.
Dylan: Yeah and the cover of the EP helped us to create a look and branding. We can use it in different ways and create a branding and familiarity attached to it.
4. What gives you inspiration for your music? And what does your song writing process look like?
Dalton: January of last year, a little over a year ago, I started writing some music myself. I contacted the singer of HOMETOWN CREW, Daan. He’s a really cool guy. But anyways I contacted him because I wanted to start a band, so I asked him how to get going with that. He told me to start writing music in advance so I can show people what music I want to make, so I started to do that.
Usually how it goes for me is, I am inspired by other music or I take a walk through the woods. Or I just have a random melody stuck in my head, which I record. Usually, I have an idea in my head, based on either some random influence or music. Then I write a small snippet of a song, record it and send it to the other guys and then we work it out together. Melle will add a lead part for example.
Another example: the title track has a hardcore-ish breakdown in the middle and Dylan worked that out with the rest of the band. That’s usually how it works: someone comes up with an idea and we work on it together as a band.
Dylan: Not one single person writes an entire song. Maybe someone creates the foundation for a song, but you pass things around. First, someone has an idea, then another one adds something to that idea and if that fits, you make it work.
The track where I added the breakdown is the title track of the EP. It was an old demo and we were at a rehearsal room, thinking about how we can expand the song and add a chorus. Then I thought it might be fun to add a breakdown, so we did that. There is a lot of forwards and backwards in songwriting to create a dynamic flow with each other.
5. Your first EP my fantasy // my enemy released on 20th April. How does the aesthetic of the EP tie in with the creative process of making the music? Did you already have a vision in mind while working on the music or did you settle on a visual style once the music was finished?
Douwe: The visuals with the TV and the flowers on top came from a house party. It was already like 10 am and I saw the TV with the plants on top, sent that into the group and that’s how that worked out. Dylan is really good at rendering stuff, so he just played with it and this is how it turned out.
That also fits in with the pop-punk thing: you just took that picture at a house party and made it work out.
Jasper: It worked out perfectly. It’s a TV, so you can put any information in it.
Yeah, a great social media template, essentially. A frame where you can put stuff in via photoshop and stuff.
Jasper: Dylan did most of the design work. He added pastel colours, matching the flowers.
Dylan: I really like to be creative and learn new stuff, so for this cover I used blender. I’m not a veteran, because I’ve only been using it for a year now, but I like to be creative with it and I get to express myself through that programme. That’s nice.
Jasper: Originally, there were four vases with flowers on the TV, so we thought: “Wait, there are five songs on the EP, so let’s make it five” and we changed that.
Dalton: It was definitely a process of its own, right? (the others agree). The album cover came first and then we did the branding afterwards. We try to create a cohesive picture, at least on social media, so it isn’t all over the place.
Dylan: Design-wise, the TV, flowers and vases don’t represent too much concerning the lyricism of the songs, but we played around with them. At first, there were four vases, as Jasper said, and we thought it would be fun to make them into five, representing us as a group of five and our EP with five songs. That makes the design tie in with us. After Douwe had sent us the picture of the TV, I took it upon myself to work on it and turn it into a cool render. We really liked the TV screen, so we didn’t think about an alternative cover either because we just liked it so much.
6. A question to all bandmembers: Do you have a favourite track on the EP and why is that?
Dylan: My favourite song would probably be break my bones. When I first listened to the demo I really liked the flow of the song and the bridge with its build-up. But it’s also a fun song and works nicely with what we want to be as a band. There are some nice lyrics and it brings some of the heaviness that we like to bring, not the standard heaviness of “breakdown here, breakdown there” but a more subtle one. It’s not really a hard song to play either, so we also really like to be goofy while playing it and I’m really looking forward to doing that live.
Dalton: I think my favourite song is summer end, the closing track. It doesn’t really follow the traditional pop-punk sound but it captures the essence of what pop-punk sounds like in a way. The intro is really long with a build-up and there are lots of different signatures.
Jasper: It does have some of the metalcore-ish elements of our sound but it’s still pop-punk.
Dalton: The ending is my favourite part of the EP.
Douwe: It sends the EP off nicely. -Dalton: Exactly. It’s a heavy hitter at the end.
Melle: I’m gonna be unoriginal and say summer end as well. Like Dalton said, there are lots of different textures and guitare-wise it is really fun to play. The leads are kind of all over the place, going from rhythm to slapping and shit and I just like playing that. The end from the singalong up to the last breakdown, it’s just cool. I like the live version more but that’s up to Douwe.
Jasper (in an ironic voice): Well, then I’m gonna be different… No, I generally like the entire EP but if I had to choose one, it would be the title track my fantasy is my enemy or summer end. My fantasy is just a slap in the face and that’s why I like it so much. It’s the hardest track on the EP (everyone agrees) and a perfect transition in my opinion: the first track is very pop-punk, the second one a little less and the third one slaps you in your face and that’s how it continues.
Douwe: I think my favourite song would be in my coffin, the first single that we released. It was the first demo that Dalton had shown me and I instantaneously thought “this has potential”.
Jasper: The first line on summer end is the first track we’ve ever written. I was already following Dylan and saw that they were looking for a singer and I was like maybe I can sing and they sent me the demo. I wrote that line on the same day when I heard the demo and it’s still there, so that’s a cool story.
It sounds like everything came together nicely. Having these instantaneous ideas and making them work together seems like fun.
Douwe: Yeah, it’s really fun because everyone can come up with an idea and we can try to make it work. If it works, it works, if it doesn’t, we work on a different idea and move on to the next thing. We work really organically and that’s what I love about our working process.
7. You’ve got a release show coming up on 4th May. Apart from that what are you up to and what are your hopes and aims for the future?
Dylan: I’m really, really excited for the release show, especially because I haven’t played live in so long and this is going to be the first time standing on stage with these people. Today, I got the first burst of excitement and healthy nervousness.
Jasper: For the release show, we’re expecting lots of fun and lots of people coming around. But we hope we get to play a lot of shows and keep on writing. Earlier today, in a meeting, I was asked about my goals for the future and I said we’ll play Lowlands in five years.
Melle: I think everyone feels the same way about it. Everyone wants to get out there, play as many shows as we get and see where this thing is gonna take us. That’s what motivates us.
Dalton: It’s nice for me because we’re really motivated but it also motivates us, so it goes both ways and is kinda cyclical.
I think one can already tell from your social media presence that you’re taking your music seriously and enjoying it, so I think you’re already on the right track.
Dalton: We’ve gotta overcome the bridge of being present offline instead of just being present online. But I think that comes with time and playing shows, getting yourself out there.
Melle: We’ve already gotten to know a few bands with whom we are going to play the release show and there are a few more that we are already in contact with.
Dalton: It would definitely be great to do a tour somewhere. – Jasper: Everywhere.
8. Is there anything you would like to tell your followers or anything you would like to tease? Beyond the release show.
Jasper: Of course we want to thank our followers. The amount of support we got is insane. I’m really curious about how the EP is going to be received but the first single is looking good, so we want to thank everybody for listening and for the support on social media.
Dylan: The amount of support we got on the first track alone was mindboggling: reaching 1k views in little more than 24 hours was amazing and I can’t wait for the EP to release and people to hear the new songs.
Jasper: We’ve already written new songs, so that’s a thing as well.
So you’re keeping busy and staying productive.
Jasper: Exactly, there’s like three songs already.
Douwe: Yeah, we’re not stopping.
The next one is already incoming.
Dylan: As of now, an album is not planned because you have to keep people’s attention span in mind, so EPs are a better way to do that. I’m really looking forward to writing more and letting you guys listen to our music.
Another thing we want to do is to show that there’s a sound in Europe that resonates with that new wave of pop-punk that is currently mostly situated in America. It’s kinda going mainstream again but it’s not really coming over to Europe and we want to change that.
Douwe: Stay tuned!
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