The Dutch atmospheric metal band The Gathering are on tour with My Dying Bride. A package which seems not to be perfect for the bands. I thought that it would be interesting to talk to the Dutch and so I ask their long-time friend and sound tech Raymond, if he can ask the band to give me an interview. It wasn't planned and so it was up to the band... And they were so kind to spend some time for this interview! Bass player Hugo Prinsen Geerligs took me on the bus for this little chit-chat...
The Gathering is around for quite a while and even Anneke is in the band for several years. Now you released a live album which you recorded in Holland which I think is a reminiscence to your fans. But why you decided to do a live album instead of a studio album?
Well, take it as a bonus and we recorded it in Holland, coz we play a lot live in Holland. And we always have better conditions in Holland and it ain't that expensive for us. That's the reasons for recording it in Holland. To release a live album doesn't count in the meaning of our contract with Century Media. It's something special which we thought was nice to do at this certain time. We exist for 10 years and so it's kinda anniversary thing. Well, it's nice for the fans, too. Often fans tell us that they prefer our live sound. So that was the initial idea to do it.
As far as I remember for the album two shows been recorded. Was it hard to choose the songs? After releasing several albums you have a lot of songs to choose from...
What we did, we just recorded a show of the How To Measure A Planet tour. Therefore we play more songs of the latest album and than we selected the songs which came out the best. We had the feeling that the album shouldn't be too long. We just wanted an album of an hour something, coz when you listen to a band for more than an hour you start losing your concentration on it. Up to an hour it's nice and you maybe feel to listen to it again.
Most live albums are double CDs....
That's a remark we got several times! Why don't you do a double CD? And we answer, coz it's no rule! *laughs* And we already released a double CD studio album, so a double CD live album would be too much. Personally I think that the double CD studio album is more interesting than a double CD live album. Another remark we got is that there are too many songs from How To Measure A Planet on it, but what most people don't know is that we think about releasing a compilation of the B-sides. The idea behind that compilation is that pretty often the singles haven't been easily to get. So on the compilation will be many songs people don't have and most of these will be live recordings. Recordings we done also with our former guitarist and if you own both album in the end, it's an almost complete thing.
Okay. When I arrived I was wondering that you play as second, coz in the announcements it always looked like The Gathering been headlining! What happened?
Well, the tour was planned as a double header. We have the same sound, the same lights and our sets have the same length. When we started planning the tour they really wanted to finish the night. We went like "Okay, so that's early time for us and we have more time after the show..." So it was no problem.
The ads and the posters show The Gathering as the headliner, but as long as you have the same conditions and time, I think it's okay for the fans.
That's true and My Dying Bride complaint, coz The Gathering logo was much bigger at the posters and it also shows parts of our live album cover. I can understand that, coz it's strange.
That's my opinion as well. To play on second position is better for us, coz we have a live album out, but no new songs to offer and they do have a new album. We feel that it's more appropriate that they finish the night.
I think people are just wondering, coz they didn't know about it. How is it going with My Dying Bride? Musically you differ, a band like Lacuna Coil who toured with you in the past, is musically closer to The Gathering than My Dying Bride.
That was a really strong package with Lacuna Coil and Segmen!
For me it's this time like bands from different genres are touring together, so how is it going?
Yeah, I know what you mean. That was something we though about as well. We don't know if it'll work and it's quite a difference. They are more connected to the really old stuff of The Gathering. That's also one of the reasons why we prefer to play before My Dying Bride. Some fans of us will like them as well, but most fans who are in our new songs won't like them. For these fans it would be a tough time to stand them for 90 min.! The other way around it's easier! If you are into MDB, it's easier to stand The Gathering for 90 min.
I think that's true and the package with Lacuna Coil was almost perfect!
Yeah! And also Seigmen fitted very well into the package.
Is it a kind of challenge to play in front of a mixed audience like you have on this tour? With Lacuna Coil and Seigmen you attract almost the same fans...
No! There are two reasons for... First, we play in a totally different genre and second, I don't like the idea of a contest thing in music.
I don't thought about a competition with the other band. I thought more about trying to turn the MDB fans on listening to The Gathering...
Oh, now I got it. We don't think about it that way. Sure, it's interesting to try to capture their fans as well and the other way around.
Have you ever thought about showing a The Gathering show at the internet?
No, but we thought about taking some web cams into the studio. We are in the middle of the recordings. We been in the studio for about 4 weeks already and we recorded about 11 songs so far. After the tour we'll continue recording. So we thought about that, but the studio doesn't have cable internet and so it would be pretty expensive. Probably next time...
You talked about the new album.... What can we expect and when will it be in the stores?
It's planned for June.
You said that 11 songs are already recorded. Does it sound like the last album? Or do you changed?
It's a development, but we tried to include all the strong elements of the former releases....
... Tried to take the best out of everything.
Right, that's it! For example the way we did the songs and how we did them for How To Measure A Planet we liked and that we kept. The Mandylion album was very powerful, a strong album. The strong unity of Mandylion was something How To Measure A Planet lacked of. So we tried to combine this. The songs will have more diversity and we try to use different tempi and feelings. The songs became much shorter which is really surprising for ourselves. It's like "Hey, we can do a 5 min. song!"
Then it was time for Hugo to get prepared for the show. This interview was done spontaneously, so I wasn't prepared, but I think it cleared a few things about the tour and gives a little pre-view for the coming album...
And now it's show time for The Gathering!