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A New Dawn Interview

A New Dawn Interview

Doctor T. interviews Elbert, Sanne & Jamila

A New Dawn 

Doctor T of the Sonic Cathedral Staff interviews Sanne Kluiters and Jamila Ifzaren, vocalists from A New Dawn and guitar player Elbert de Hoog.

A New Dawn

Doctor T:  As a band, in one form or another, you’ve been around for some time. What has been the goal, or motivation, if you will, that has driven the direction of the band?

Elbert de Hoog:  The basis for A New Dawn in its current form was made somewhere late 2004 by Sanne and myself. Almost everybody in the early line-up played in different bands and A New Dawn was basically a project. As time proceeded, it showed, that A New Dawn had way more potential than we could have expected. And all by just making the music that we loved and performing the way we though to be right. That and, of course, lots of hard work. So, I guess the motivation (for me) has always been playing the music that I love for as many people as we can reach. I think being honest with the music is essential.

Sanne:  I presume our goal has changed over the years. When I first started with A New Dawn in 2005 I thought it would just be amazing to do a support for bands like Epica and After Forever once in a while. But since then so much great things have come our way, for nowadays the sky is the limit.

A New Dawn 

Doctor T:  Could you talk to themes that have influenced your musical direction, what are the interests that serve to direct A New Dawn?

Jamila:  The themes that influence me the most are your daily influences. Think of emotions, hope, faith, war, family and friends. As for the band, I think we really don’t have one theme that influences us. We just create a new song with whatever comes to mind. Same goes for the lyrics.

Elbert de Hoog:  Although we all come from various musical backgrounds, we all appreciate good music, no matter what style. Everybody puts in a little of his or her background. It makes the music sound fresh, but recognizable as A New Dawn. I don’t think that we have put any limitations to our songs. No “does it sound brutal enough” or “does it sound mellow enough”. When a song feels right, it’s right. Of course there are some ingredients that are typical A New Dawn, like the double lead vocals, and the strong sense of melody. But they are things that come very natural to us.

A New Dawn 

Doctor T:  This is your first big CD release, are you satisfied with the results? Do you expect to continue with a similar musical direction in future efforts?

Jamila:  I am satisfied with the results yes. I could not have imagined that our album would be bought all over the world. It’s so great to see and hear that people all over the world like our music so much. I don’t expect that AND will continue with a similar musical direction. We will still sound like AND, but with the new members and all, we are creating a new AND-sound. I think it’s just great that we have different taste in music and different taste in what we want to hear/play in a new song. All combined together makes a great new song.

Elbert de Hoog:  Releasing an album is like documenting what a bands stands for at a particular point in time. Although I do not think that our musical direction will be changing very drastically, I am very positive, that the band will grow with future releases, and explore some new musical grounds. I am already very happy with the new material we wrote after the release of ‘Falling From Grace’ and look forward to writing and recording new tunes.

Sanne:  We are very happy with the results. Our decision to record “Falling from Grace” was mainly because of the demand from our fans. Making a full-length CD was logically the next step for us at that time.

I’m sure our music will evolve over time, first of all the songs from “Falling from Grace” were written over a long period of time (even before the band existed) and secondly we have three new members who, of course, will bring along their own influences in our music. But A New Dawn will always be A New Dawn of course.

A New Dawn 

Doctor T:  In America, female fronted bands are not all that common. In the Netherlands, they seem to be far more numerous. Any thoughts on why that is the case?

Sanne:  I think that Europe was very much influenced by the two biggest bands in female fronted metal: Nightwish and Within Temptation, (who are of course European bands). Also at that time there where much more female fronted bands coming up, not clones or anything, but more like they all had the same idea at the same time.

Elbert de Hoog:  I really wouldn’t know. I think The Gathering was one of the first Dutch bands that was actually a female fronted metal band as we have come to know it. With their third release “Mandilion” the whole thing exploded and one after another Dutch female fronted band emerged. Among these bands were Within Temptation, After Forever, Autumn, Epica, just to name a few. With these bands, it seemed that female fronted metal (or Gothic metal as it was and is often referred to) somehow seemed to have became a Dutch ‘thing’. Why it is not all that common in the U.S., I would not know. It’s a good thing, however, that companies like Sonic Cathedral are giving this much attention to the genre.

A New Dawn 

Doctor T:  There were a lot of personnel changes following the development of A Falling From Grace. How do you expect those changes to affect the band, musically and otherwise?

Elbert de Hoog:  A line-up change can be regarded as a problem, but on the other hand, it sometimes is a solution to a problem (evident of lingering). The change in the line-up has made us more determined to show that A New Dawn as a band is stronger than the sum of its individual band members. I think there’s a strong synergy with this band. Due to our determination, we have not cancelled a single show and delivered with each performance. Musically, I think we will definitely grow. With the new band members came a fresh wind and a lot (A LOT) of musical talent to the band. I am really happy to have Rik, Michel and Michiel in the band.

Doctor T:  What bands tend to influence the musical direction of A New Dawn?

Sanne:  I think that the answer to that question is different for everyone of us. I myself listen to classical music, bands like Therion, Queen, Serj Tankian but I am also open minded about modern rock and pop music.

Elbert de Hoog:  There’s so many. I am mainly influenced by mid-80’s metal bands, like Savatage, earlier Metallica, Iron Maiden, Queensrÿche, just to name a few.

A New Dawn 

Doctor T:  Sanne, you mentioned during our correspondence that you were quite busy, with a job, I assumed. Are the rest of the band members also involved in non-musical activities and, if so, how does this influence your ability to tour and do live performances?

Sanne:  I myself have made arrangements with my job to have more days off and my boss is really flexible about things like that. He knows what the band means to me.

Doctor T:  How about the rest of the band?

Elbert de Hoog:  As a dayjob, I work as a bookkeeper. The company I work for gives me a lot of freedom and space. It’s never a problem to get some time off when we have to play somewhere. My bosses are really supportive.

Jamila:  I work with children in the ages of 8 ‘till 12. I take care of them when they are finished with school ‘till their parents are done with their work and come to pick them up. My boss is not a difficult one. She knows that AND is very important to me and most of the time I can take days off to go and perform with AND. So for now it’s not a problem. I love my work and I love AND.

A New Dawn 

Doctor T:  From the videos I have seen, A New Dawn is a strong performance band. How do you compare the band’s interest in studio work compared to live performance?

Jamila:  Studio work is nothing compared to live performance. In the studio you are recording the stuff you want to perform live, so you have to take it seriously. But we wouldn’t be AND if we hadn’t had a great couple of laughs and fun. AND is a band with a lot of fun and joy, crazy people and crazy ways. That makes AND what we are today. On stage we are taking our music very serious. The music we play have to be good, but also our performance. But that doesn’t mean that we can’t have a lot of fun on stage. Because everywhere you look, there’s always something to see when you come and watch our show. We just love it like this. The audience is having fun and we are having fun. What more do we want?

Elbert de Hoog:  Recording a song in the studio and playing it live are two very, very, different things, of course. Both have their charms. As far as I am concerned, I think that a song should sound great when it’s played live, without any frills. When it is recorded in a studio, you might want to add a little more color here and there with additional parts. On the ‘Falling From Grace’-album we added color with various acoustic guitars, e-bow or extra harmonies and the occasional orchestration. It’s fun to see a song grow this way. Bottom-line, however, is that the song will stand when it is played live without any tricks or whatever.

Sanne:  For me those are 2 completely different things. We perform live quite often (about 30 times a year) which is a great thing to do. The bands performance has grown a lot and you can really see we have built a fan base over the past few years. The recording of “Falling from Grace” was my first real studio experience. In the studio you mind every detail and spend hours doing the vocals for one song, which takes live about a few minutes.

A New Dawn 

Doctor T:  Your lyrics all tend to be in English. Many bands on the continent tend to do at least some of their music in their native language. What are your thoughts on that and would you consider doing music in other languages?

Jamila:  I can’t talk for the rest of the band, but I really don’t like to sing in my own language. It just sounds awful. But that’s just me J

And I really don’t think that AND will make a song with lyrics in Dutch. I just feel that I can express my emotions better in English.

Sanne:  For me lyrics in Dutch wouldn’t be an option; Dutch is quite a harsh sounding language. I find that there are very few bands who can really make their Dutch lyrics sound beautiful. Other languages like Italian of maybe French would be an option, but I don’t know them well enough to make a good lyric out of them so I’d rather not do it myself.

Elbert de Hoog:  Some verses in some of our songs are in other languages. I think however, that not every language sounds as good as English. This may be a conservative look at things, but I simply think English sounds best.

A New Dawn 

Doctor T:  Are there some things that A New Dawn considers unique to their sound? What makes you different, what separates you from other bands in this genre in your opinion?

Elbert de Hoog:  Most bands will tell you that their music sounds unique. That there is no other band in the world that sounds like them….. So do we, LOL.

I think what separates us from the masses is twofold:

Music-wise, there’s the rawness of the music. Our music is very guitar orientated, there’s no keyboards or synthesizers. The rawness however is combined with a great deal of melody, which makes the music accessible for many people.

Vocal-wise, there’s not one, but two female vocalists, combining vocal melodies throughout the songs.

I think the combination of these two, makes us very different from the other bands in the genre. So: our music sounds unique. There’s no other band in the world that sounds like us!

Jamila:  First of all that we have two female singers. That gives you the opportunity to do a lot more live than when you are singing alone. The voices of Sanne and me are so different, but that just makes it interesting.

Second, we have two guitarists doing kind of the same thing that the singers do. They combine, they play twin-solo’s and play their own solo’s with their own unique sound. That’s what makes AND so special. Next to that we have a really steady foundation: Rik on drums and Michel on bass. They keep the heart of AND alive.

Sanne:  Actually there are lots of things that make A New Dawn unique! First of all we have two singers and also a grunter. This gives us the opportunity to use different types and styles of vocals where they are best in the music and also we are able to perform our music live the same way as on the CD without using tapes for extra vocals. Compared to other female fronted or gothic bands we are much more guitar based and we don’t use keyboards.

Doctor T:  You have done some touring with other bands that have done work in North America. Would that be an interest for A New Dawn? Assuming you might work with another band, who might that be? Do you have people you prefer to work with?

Sanne:  Of course that would be interesting! Any band that would offer us a tour in the States would be great. Being one of my favorite bands, Epica, for example would be nice.

Elbert de Hoog:  In general, all bands that we have played with have treated us good. We had a great time supporting the bigger bands, like After Forever, Delain, Epica, Autumn, just to name a few. The bigger the band, the bigger the audiences you can play for and the more people we can reach with our music. If there is a possibility to come to the U.S. I would definitely love to come over and play. The fan base is the U.S. seems to be growing and many people ask when we can come over and play.

A New Dawn 

Doctor T:  Well, I appreciate your comments, any final thoughts you might like to add to our readers here at Sonic Cathedral?

Elbert de Hoog:  First of all, thank you for this interview. To the readers, I want to thank you for reading this interview. Thank you for the interest in the band. Hope you enjoyed it.

Jamila:  Thanks for reading this interview. I hope to see you someday at one of our shows. Keep listening to our music

Sanne:  Thanks for this interview and of course the great review you did on “Falling from Grace”. I hope everyone is going to listen to our songs on Myspace http://www.myspace.com/anewdawnband and visit our website http://www.anewdawnband.nl and don’t forget to order your CD’s at Sonic Cathedral!

Thanks again to Sanne, Elbert and Jamila for your comments. We hope to see you in North America soon.