31/03/2005 § Leave a comment
Band Interviews – Band Interviews
Written by Sam Grant
Thursday, 31 March 2005
By: Sam Grant
With: Manda Ophuis of Nemesea
By: Sam Grant
With: Manda Ophuis of Nemesea
Sam: Nemesea deserve to be the next big thing on the Gothic metal scene. Are you surprised by how quickly you’ve attained a notoriety and following?
Manda: Yes and no. We work very hard and we are very ambitious but It went quite fast thanx to for instance After Forever and our label Ebony Tears.
Sam: Nemesea was founded in September 2002. Give us a brief rundown of what got you to where you are today since the inception of the band.
Manda: We started this band in September 2002. In April 2003 Ebony tears offered us a record deal and we got a call from a venue in the Netherlands. They heard the demo we recorded in November 2002. He asked us if we would like to play as support act for After Forever. After Forever liked our music and performance so they asked us to tour with them. This was great and we thank them BIG time!!!
Sam: Mana has been out for nearly a month now and it is a startlingly good debut, one of the best I’ve heard. Was it a lot of work to put together and did your personal lives suffer at all in making it?
Manda: Well, It was a lot of work and the fact that we had no experience at all made It even harder. We give 100/150% in everything we do and we are very demanding If It comes to creating something. All these things made It hard to get something done but when we got the hang of It and the locomotive got on speed the things went quite well. And we had to because we had a deadline that was approaching fast.
Sam: My favourite songs on Mana at the moment are Empress and Disclosure. The latter in particular seems to be quite a personal song. Can you tell us what these two songs are about?
Manda: Empress is about a female character that takes advantage of people, men in particular. Basically she pretends to be someone/something while she isn’t. And that’s a situation that’s quite common these days. Lies and betrayal to get what you want. Disclosure is indeed very personal. I would like to keep It that way. The idea and reason why we put the song on the album is that people can interpretate in their own way.
Sam: What is the story behind Mortalitas?
Manda: The story behind Mortalitas is the struggle with death and how we all, sooner or later, will find out what happens in the afterlife. Or .. If there is an afterlife. We wrote It like a short story. It’s about a boy/young man who wakes up one morning and has to confront death. Part 1, The Taker, is about the confrontation with death/The taker telling the boy his time has come. Part 2, Dies Irae , are the Taker’s words going thru the boys head and he almost has accepted is faith. Part3, Moriendum Tibi Est, is the fight that follows. The one last breath you could say played in an instrumental form. Part 4, From Beneath You It Devours, is about defeat and the fact that mankind is mortal.
Sam: Some of Nemesea’s lyrics concentrate on the occult and the supernatural. There is also clearly a strong interest in Mythology. What drew you to these subjects and what interests you about them?
Manda: I’m writing most of the lyrics. I write about things that bother me or interest me very much. Wicca is my religion, I have written a lot of lyrics about that. A couple of them are found on Mana. But also things in life that you hear from the media can be used to write about.
Sam: Caretaker Creations are responsible for your album’s artwork. What does the cover of Mana represent?
Manda: This is a face of the goddess “Nemesis” as we see her. Her face is made out of the wings of a butterfly that stands for her judgmental side, but there’s also the dark side/environment present. You could say it is Nemesis looking over the remains after her revenge. Caretaker Creations did a great job, we are very satisfied.
Sam: After Forever have always been keen to say they don’t make Gothic Metal, whereas Epica say they do. Bearing in mind that people will always wants to label music, what is the definition of Gothic Metal and are you happy being described in this way?
Manda: The definition…..hmmmm that’s a mean one. I think people label a band with gothic/metal If It has female fronted vocals, combined with classical vocal elements and heavy music combined with classical/symphonic orientated orchestrations. We don’t mind If people label our music, we hope they like It, that’s more important.
Sam: Tell us a little about your personal history. Where did you grow up and what kind of music were you into when you were younger?
Manda: I started to play the recorder when I was 7 years old. When I was 9 my parents bought me a flute and I played it for 9 years. I even took pre-education at the conservatory for two years. When I was 18 I found out that I liked singing very much and took singing lessons. After a year I took an entre exam for the conservatory again, but this time it was for singing. I was admitted. Only two years ago I started classical singinglessons.
Sam: When you were at the Noord Nederlands Conservatory you were one of the only ones who was into metal. I myself also found this in the past, which is unusual since my education focussed on classical music. What first got you interested in metal and why do you think it has a reputation in the music world for being a slightly unusual music format?
Manda: The first metal band I ever heard was Metallica. I also listened a lot to classical music as a child. But I found out that the emotion I Found in classical music, was also used in metal ( Fade to black – METALLICA). I loved it immediately.
Sam: Holland is one of the most successful countries for Gothic Metal. What do you think it is about Holland that produces this sort of music so well, while other European countries are struggling by comparison?
Manda: I really don’t know , maybe because of the fact that when there is a great band other/new bands try to get better but … maybe It is just that there is a lot of talent in this country. Not only in metal or even music but in a lot of things.
Sam: What other bands do you think are up and coming on the scene, and which aren’t as good as they used to be?
Manda: Up in the scene I think are After Forever, Within Temptation, Epica and they deserve It. Upcoming are (hopefully) Nemesea and Autumn. There are a lot of other bands in the scene but lack (this is my opinion) the talent or devotion to reach top level. All bands I’ve mentioned get better and better each time they write a new album. I think Nemesea and Epica will too so…. Great isn’t it?
Sam: I hear you will be writing new material soon. Can you tell us anything about the musical direction you want to go in? What other elements, themes and sounds would you like your music to employ?
Manda: The music will become tighter and more compact. We learned a lot about our strong and weak sides in our music and playing so we expect to make a better album. The songs will be shorter but stronger in melody, rhythm and harmony. And of course, how could I forget, the band plays a lot better now so we have a lot of faith in the future. We will use choir and string arrangements even more, and of course more beautiful. Samples will be an element we will expand.
Sam: What albums have you been listening to and enjoying recently?
Manda: I’m still enjoying Fallen/Evenescene and I play it quite often. I’m a DVD freak and recently bought Linkin Park’ live in Texas’ and it’s great. I listen to Invisible Circles/After Forever a lot, it’s a great album!
Sam: Finally, thank you very much for the interview! Do you have any final words for the dedicated [and slightly obsessive] Sonic Cathedral readers?
Manda: Stay tuned and let us know what you think of our debut album ‘MANA’. We hope to see you during our gigs and go and have a visit at our web site http://www.nemesea.com
Enjoy the music!!!