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Interview

Nemesea's Manda Speaks "Quietly" But Belts Out Strong Pipes

Quickly after releasing the debut album "Mana" in 2004, Dutch symphonic/alternative band Nemesea realized that they did not want to be another symphonic gothic metal band. After raising the cash through Sellaband, the band took a drastically different approach with the sophomore release "In Control." Adding electronic and alternative elements from the band member's personal influences, they created a sound that maintains a presence in the rock/metal scene, but which allows them to branch out into so many different avenues and reach fans of all likes.

Now, with the backing of Napalm Records, the band continues this progression with the forthcoming LP "The Quiet Resistance" (release date November 18, 2011) which adds even more influences to the sound that is still garnished with a dark edge with the assistance of After Forever keyboardist Joost van den Broek. Vocalist Manda checked in with Metal Underground to talk about the new album.

Carl Frederick (CROMCarl): How has the experience with creating "The Quiet Resistance" differed from the one for "In Control." Has the relationship with Napalm Records taken some of the stress off the band after the band had to push to successfully raise the funds through Sellaband to record "In Control" back in 2006?

Manda: In terms of creating a new album, no. There was still stress because you have to get the album done in a certain amount of time and stay within a certain budget etc. etc. But in the back of our minds we knew and hoped that there would be a lot more proper promotion for TQR. That Napalm Records would take care of that. That's where Sellaband fell short.

Carl Frederick (CROMCarl): You enlisted Joost van den Broek (Ex-After Forever) to help arrange the symphonic elements on the new LP because the band “needed someone to make our sound heavier." When you first started writing songs for the album, were the songs leaning too far away from the heavy direction then they were on "In Control"?

Manda: Not only heavier, but we wanted to incorporate the electronic elements better into the songs. Joost and Lasse did a great job at that. Joost made the band sound heavier in the mix. Not only with the symphonic arrangements. We pretty much had an idea of how we wanted the album to sound, but during the writing process that idea became clearer and clearer.

Carl Frederick (CROMCarl): Nemesea is not the first band to mix electronic elements with rock/metal and this seems to be a growing trend from the innovators like Samael and Invincible Spirit to more recent bands like Lunatica, Neurotech, Krypteria and Nemesea. However, what Nemesea does successfully is add the electronic elements without completely suffocating the heaviness, but at the same time sound completely different than any other band. The one thing I will call Nemesea is exciting, when I first heard "In Control" and especially with the intro "The Quiet Resistance” and “Caught in the Middle." Is that the general goal of the band with each new release?

Manda: Thank you. Yes. And we think our strength lies there. Combining different styles while not sacrificing what is important to the music and a song. We like to surprise our fans and new listeners and ourselves. Making the same music every album gets boring and isn’t really creative, for us. Doing something new and fresh with each release. That's a goal.

Carl Frederick (CROMCarl): The band has a very modern feel and I know people have described Nemesea as "nu-metal" or "alternative." Now if alternative means "different then the norm" then I agree. Still the band don't seem to me to be what I know as "nu-metal" or even "alternative." Without trying to label the music at all, I still find that I can flip from Nemesea to Evanesence to Epica to Lacuna Coil to After Forever and it all seems like it meshes well together. Do you find that the majority of Nemesea's fan base originate or gravitate from the metal or heavy music scene?

Manda: People want to put a label on everything, especially on music (I even like to do that. Keeps your iTunes list uncluttered haha). We tried to label it ourselves and it's not that easy. We combine multiple styles, it's rock, but there's absolutely some metal in it. Lots of electro stuff going on as well. I think we have a pretty diverse audience. Of course, most like rock/metal music but when I look at our Facebook page a lot of people seem to like other styles as well.

Carl Frederick (CROMCarl): I know you like to write lyrics that are based on your own personal experiences. Can you tell me about some of the lyrics for my favorite songs on "The Quiet Resistance" like "Whenever" (the chorus which reminds me of Lunatica's "Out!"), "Rush," "I Live," and "Allein" and the personal experiences that behind them?

Manda: I’m sorry but I don’t talk too much about my lyrics. I find it important that people can tell their own story while listening to my lyrics.

Carl Frederick (CROMCarl): I understand the band's influences are vast across the spectrum of music, but which singers have been some of the biggest influences on you personally? Would you count country mates Simone Simons, Floor Jansen and Sharon den Adel as some of those influences?

Manda: Singers I’ve always listened to are Anneke van Gierbergen, Kelly Clarkson and Cristina Aguilera. These singers have been a big inspiration to me. I also like the amazing voice of Jared Leto. He sings with so much passion, that’s something I admire a lot.

Carl Frederick (CROMCarl): Do you find that has been difficult to get recognition in the sea of female fronted bands around lately, especially in the Netherlands where it seems like one in every five people seems to be in a female fronted band?

Manda: Most female fronted bands are still doing the same thing. You know, with the singer wearing wide dresses, choirs etc. etc. the ones that stand out are doing something a little different. But it's never easy to get recognition. Regardless of style. There are so many bands out there. So if you want to get noticed and stand out you really have to think about everything you do.

Carl Frederick (CROMCarl): Tell me about the idea behind the new music video for "Afterlife." Is the band planning any additional videos for the album?

Manda: Not for the moment. But if there is enough interest in the band and the new cd we don't rule out the possibility! We hope so because it's fun making one. combining image with music. A very creative process.

Carl Frederick (CROMCarl): What happened with drummer Steven Bouma? How did you come upon Frank Van Der Star as his replacement?

Manda: Steven told us that he didn't want to continue. Maybe a bit understandable after the whole Sellaband thing. Someone gave us a heads up. And we approached Frank and told him what the idea was with Nemesea and he liked the music and what we were doing. So he joined up! And Frank is an excellent replacement. There are some good musicians out there, you just have to find them!

Carl Frederick (CROMCarl): Are there any current tour plans for "The Quiet Resistance"? If so, where will the travels take you? If the choice of bands that Nemesea would tour with was up to you, which band(s) would it be?

Manda: Well. Our booking agency and Napalm are working on it as we speak. We hope for the best and lot’s of shows. Our choice would be Rammstein, Metallica Or Evanescence. That would be cool.

CROMCarl's avatar

Carl Frederick is a staff writer for Metal Underground.com. From the early to mid-90's, Carl published his own fanzine called C.R.O.M. In 1997, he released a compilation entitled "CROM: The Resurrection of True Metal," which featured songs from bands from around the world, including the first U.S. release of any kind for bands like Italy's Rhapsody (n/k/a Rhapsody of Fire) and Brazil's Angra. Follow Carl on Facebook and Twitter: @CROMCarl.

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