only the burgers are blackened
While enjoying some blackened burgers and steaks the big Druantia interview-barbecue took place, I had a nice chat with Nick and Lotte of this Dutch band. It sounds a bit like a butcher judging his own sausages, but we were of the opinion we should do the first ever Druantia interview while Nick is a member of our team. Unfortunately we were beaten, and we couldn’t publish it as first.
Please introduce yourselves to a larger audience.
N: We are Druantia. We are a folk-metal band from Breda, the Netherlands. Our style could be describes as a mix of Eluveitie and Amon Amarth, so quite loud and solid, but melodic at the same time.
L: I find it hard to make a good comparison with another band, but to keep it simple, I would say we make quite normal folk-metal in which there’s a large part for the flute.
Are you influenced by the same bands?
L: Well, I’m influenced by a lot. You can hear in my songs where I was listening to at that moment. We have a song with the working title Svartsot-song, because we were of the opinion it sounded a lot like Svartsot. At the moment I wrote it, I listened a lot to Svartsot and you can hear this in the song. At this moment I listen to Finsterforst and Garleben a lot, and I’m influenced by that. But you can hear a bit of Amon Amarth in all our songs.
N: Yes, especially in the guitar-riffs it sounds a bit like Amon Amarth. And the flute sounds a bit Eluveitie-like.
And besides metal?
N: Well, I get a lot of inspiration for the lyrics form the Nordic mythology and the Edda.
L: I listen mainly to metal myself. I listen to folk of some other artists, but not a lot of folkbands. I listen to other music as well, but it’s not to use elements of it. I’ll probably be influenced by them but I can’t say this band or that singer.
N: But eventually by a lot of band we listen to, that’s what a lot of bands say. All things you listen to has an influence on your music. And when I didn’t listen some particular bands I wouldn’t have become interested in Nordic mythology and I wouldn’t have written lyrics about it.
Earlier this year you released a demo. Did you receive good reviews on that one?
N: We didn’t really release it. We use it to let people listen to what they can expect from Druantia. We could enter the studio all of a sudden. There wasn’t much preparation and we don’t want it to be a end-product. People can get to know us better, they know what kind of music we make. We can send it to venues to try and get some shows. But we don’t see it as a product we can release officially. That’s why we don’t have hard copies of it.
L: I’m very critical. I’m the one who writes the music. I’m the one who want high standards and I’m the one who’s breaking first when I don’t think it’s good enough. We have learned a lot from this demo, we had never recorded in a studio, but there are a lot of things which should be done different.
N: It’s good enough to present yourselves, but it’s not good enough to immortalize yourself.
Do you have a physical demo scheduled?
L: We’re haven’t really decided on that. I want to do a re-release with some extra songs, so we can make an EP of it. Then you get really something for your money in stead of only three songs. But we want to release a good product soon, because my voice isn’t done nicely on this demo. I’d lost my voice due to a throat infection, but I also sound very different than I do live. We haven’t mixed it ourselves and it didn’t sound really nice after the mix. I sounded that different, I would feel awful when it would be released. So we want to record it again as soon as possible so we could release that. People ask a lot about it.
It seems your a bit reserved to put something down. But don’t you think it would contribute to the success of the band?
N: We don’t want to rush things and when we do something we want to do it good. With the studio it was the fact we got a nice offer to record three songs. And yes, you do it. We have learned a lot of it and we know how it could be done better.
L: And the funny thing is we got everything thrown at us it seems. But it goes a bit fast sometimes. Nick is doing the PR mainly and I have been very busy the past year. So we have to work on the musical part of the band, surely with our new bass-player. I rather do bigger shows when it goes well. It’s better to wait a little than make a bad impression.
It’s going quite fast in this way, there are big names on your schedule.
N: We are really lucky, but that’s a combination of all kinds of things. I’m doing a lot of things with two venues and we’re up to our necks in the folk metal scene. In this way you learn to know a lot of people and for some reason everything is rolling our way. The scene is rather small, everybody knows each other. A good story for instance is how we got our first gig: It was 2 pm at Wacken, it was raining and there was a bad band playing. So, the fact was, none of us wanted to listen to that and went the shelters to drink some beer. Germans everywhere of course, but at one point I hear Dutch, from Limburg. I speak to them and it turns out to be Thijs of the Dutch band Viatora. We talked a little and he told me they had a show in Tilburg with Amorgen and Shade of Hatred, but they were looking for a support act. So, I told him we were living in that neighbourhood and wanted to play. They liked it, and we became the support act. He had never heard of us, but wanted to arrange things perfectly. I thought it were the tales of a few drunks, but he searched us on facebook and it was settled. That became our first show.
That’s probably the most important think in the music scene, a good network.
L: Yes, we noticed that to. Before we recorded anything we get all kinds of offers for shows and even when we visit a small festival in Germany we meet people who recognize us. It’s wonderful you know all this people, you have done a show with one, you’ll do a show with the other. Everybody knows and is helping each other.
N: I like that in the folk-metal scene, everybody is helping each other. Everybody thinks the music world is very hard, but in the folk-metal scene it’s all quite jovial.
L: The audience is very loyal. The was a fan in Best who came from Germany to see us. He travelled over five hours to see us play for half an hour. You can’t call this normal.
What’s the cause of this?
L: Nick does a very good PR and the fact we speak to a lot of people and people like us because they think we’re fun to hang out with. This in combination with the fact people like folk-metal and we sound rather contagious, so they party along. You experience socializing really works. And we have very nice fans.
You see them as real fans already?
L: Yes, a lot of them are friends, but we have a lot of fans by now who know us of the band only.And funny enough they’re very serious in this. They’re asking us if we could burn a CD for in their car. People form Mexico, Spain and Czech republic etc.
N: We had contact with an Italian who had found us recently. He had written a book on folk-metal and of course Druantia was in it. We didn’t find it that obvious, but we think it’s very cool to be in it.
L: There has never been written a book about folk-metal. I wrote an essay about it a while ago, but there’s couldn’t be found any literature on it. He was going to write universal book on it with an index in the back and we are in it.
N: Folk-metal is a scene which is very divers. When you look at trash where everything is sounding pretty much the same way. In folk-metal the difference between Amon Amarth and Otyg is very big and it is all folk-metal.
We are straight with our folk-metal name. We don’t deny it, we are folk-metal. We don’t have to wrap it up and give it all different names, we sound very folk-metal. Everybody knows what he can expect with that: flutes, party .
L: I wouldn’t know how we should call ourselves something else.
Did you had some difficulties with your name?
N: There’s a band in Spain with the same name, but they’re making totally different music. They play Gothic metal.
L: Well, it’s not that far away, when you ook at the clip they released recently, that’s rather folky. But they’re clearly very different from us and we had no problem ’till now. But it could always happen. Well, we just call ourselves DruantiaNL.
But imagine you become very big, and they become big and there is some kind of festival which programmes you both.
N: Then we are DruantiaNL. A name which stands.
N: Druantia is a Celtic Goddess by the way, a rather local one, especially in Ireland. She’s the patroness of druids and the goddess of the woods, fertility and there are a lot of things which she is associated with. We thought the name should be in line with the music you make.
We searched for a long time, non-stop for a week. And every time we thought we had found something there turned out to be a band with that name already.
L: Druantia is a name which sticks and it suits the character of the band, a little bit more friendly. The other names were a bit harder and more bitter.
You mentioned it fitted the music. So, you make music with Celtic influences?
N: No, not really. Maybe we will in the future. I’m busy to learn more of it.
L: Our flutes are quite Celtic. But we may be not very straight in this. But you have to realize we’re only busy for a short time. It has to get it’s final shape, our definite style has to come out yet.
N: There’s a lot to get inspired by in the Nordic mythology and I think less from the Celtic mythology. It’s interesting, but not as epic and huge as Ragnarok for instance. That’s why I’ve chosen to use Nordic Mythology for a couple of songs.
Druantia is quite a Dutch name, not a really nice one in English.
L: I think you should pronounce it like the Celts did. You don’t have to pronounce everything in the English way. But fortunately it’s not like in Eluveitie, where nobody knows how you should pronounce it. And besides that, that huge internationally, that’s not going to happen.
N: First, we have to build it up musically. As long as we are recognisable, it’s not that difficult to pronounce our name of remember it. We do like to perform in Germany, that’s kind of our ambition this moment. It doesn’t matter with the Germans if you’re playing 3 o’clock at night or 8 o’clock in the morning, they’ll hit the roof. Even when you don’t know them they’re pitting and there is response.
L: You can have big ambitions, but when you’re only playing far away from home, it becomes all very expensive and you have to ask yourself if it’s all affordable. Unless you’re going to do it full-time. And we are all students so that’s not real at the moment.
At this point we think it’s cool to perform. We look what’s fun and what could be realized. In this way we choose our gigs, if we don’t get payed a lot, we look if it gives us a kick and if there would be a lot of fans. Like the gig with Vogelfrey, we arranged that at our own risk.
You can do put an awful lot of effort to get gigs in Italy. It will cost you a lot of time and money and you’ll find yourself playing for 5 people.
In that case the packages like heidenfest are nice.
N: How things are evolving with Heidenfest lately, is exactly what I had hoped for. All bands involved get a lot of attention and are able to start their own tour after that.
Don’t you think, you need a goal to get somewhere?
L: We didn’t discuss this particularly, but I think everyone agrees when I say our next goal is to play a festival and a gig in Germany. But, our goal is mainly with writing a few good new songs, study them and do something about our podium-presentation.
N: We continue to grow. We’re still on our way up since we’ve started and as long as it stays that way is fun to do.
I hear people say they saw us at a birthdayparty two years ago and we were really bad at that time.
L: Yes, we came from afar.
Do you have a kind of timeline on which your goals are marked?
L: No, we liked to do a number of shows this summer. We wanted to have some new songs before that. Due to circumstances the new songs aren’t there yet. But after the shows we’re working on our act and improve our skills as a band.
N: It’s often the case we get a nice offer, and we have to decide at once, if we’re going to do it or not.
L: Fun to tell: We have a song in which is a little ‘wall of death’ moment, there was a girl a year or so ago who smashed her against the wall. During a recent gig she broke her arm during the same song. Cool. We’re not simply folk-metal, we’re bone-crushing metal now.
Is your songwriting a group-process?
L: No, we’ve tried that, but it didn’t work. Most of the time I write something. I play it during our rehearsals and everybody can contribute their own ideas to it.
N: I had the feeling with Valkyries cry I had the feeling this was the right topic for the lyrics and I wrote it. Despite the fact I had already 16 pages of lyrics.
L: Before Druantia I had never written anything, but I manage. It comes in handy I play almost all instruments to write the songs.
The only thing which is done separately are Mitchel’s drums. I play him the song and he makes something beautiful of it. Most drummers like to do things in their own way.
You write a song for about 80 or 90 percent and then you take it to practice and you’ll finish it with the whole band. We have written a couple of songs and you notice it becomes better with each song.
When do you get a new logo? Visually this one isn’t very attractive.
N: Unfortunately we have heard that more often.
L: I think you have a point there. When we just started, we were a real small starting band and this looked very folk-metal. At that time it was OK, but I think when we have become bigger, it doesn’t fit all standards. It’s to messy.
Maybe we have to work on that once. But it doesn’t have priority. It says we’re a folk-metalband. When you want a really good log, especially in folk-metal where logo’s are more complicated, it simply costs money.
Well, Druantia is on it’s way to become bigger and better, so you better watch out for them!