Kingfisher Sky - Interwiew @ Boerderij (Zoetermeer, NL) - 27.12.2008
Just before Kingfisher Sky's second concert in the Boerderij, we met with Ivar de Graaf, the drummer and co-founder of the band. We talked about the debuts of Kingfisher Sky, especially their first album Hallway Of Dreams. We also discussed the writing process of the second album, which has already started.
Metal-Ways: Can you describe the musical style of the band in a few words?
Ivar: It's a combination of everything that we like in music. So it's a bit of progressive rock mixed with folk music and some modern metal and rock.
M-W: It all started a few years ago with you and Judith [the singer] ; how did the two of you meet?
We started working together in a rock cover band. We played all kind of things: Deep Purple, The Police and that sort of stuff. And then we had another band which was sort of a rock group. It lasted about a year. So we worked together long before starting Kingfisher Sky.
M-W: There are a lot of contrasts in your music, does this variety come from the alliance of Judith's tastes and yours?
We like contrasts in music. When we listen to albums, we like it when it's really hard, but, to contrast with it, really soft parts, because then the hardest stuff will sound harder when there's something soft besides it. That's what we wanted to achieve. That's something that we both like.
M-W: When Kingfisher Sky became a band, how did things happened?
I knew Eric, our bass player, from Orphanage, from the old days. I've known Edo, our guitar player, for 17 years now.
We met George, our keyboard player, through an ad on the internet. And we met Daan, our other guitarist, from Ruud Jolie (guitarist of Within Temptation). I just asked him: "Do you know any good guitar players?", and he pointed at him.
M-W: Did they bring something new to what you already did with Judith?
When I wrote the music, I also played instruments but I'm not a real guitar player and I'm not a real keyboard player. I just do something that sounds good in my head. They did something new with it, that I couldn't come up with. So they brought a whole new dimension, they lifted it to a higher plan.
M-W: The writing of the album took a few years. Do you think that contributed to bring all those contrasts?
There are a few songs that are older, but most of it is quite new. Ideas were maybe a few years old, but those songs were written not so long ago. And the new songs we're writing right now also have strong contrasts.
M-W: What would be the oldest song of the album?
I think it's The Craving because we played it in our previous band. It had a different name.
M-W: If you had do choose a picture or a mental image to describe the general spirit of the album, what would it be?
The bird from the cover: the kingfisher, because it's a small beautiful bird but it also has a very sharp pointed beak that is dangerous... hum for fish anyway! That's a good image because it reflects the contrast of our music.
M-W: Even if you don't describe yourself as a metal band, a lot of people who're coming to your shows are female fronted metal fans. What kind of feedback do you get from them?
Our audience is really diverse. Of course we have the Within Temptation fans, the female fronted rock fans: they like it because we do have elements from that genre. But we also have progressive rock fans that like the progressive side of our music. All the elements that we have in our music, that's also the stuff that people enjoy.
M-W: Do you already have fans that go to all of your shows?
Yes, we see people that travel all over the place to come see us and that's a very good support.
M-W: When you're used to metal music, your way of playing drums sounds really special because you put a lot of variations into it. Can you tell us about it?
Thank you for noticing! No one ever notices the drummer! I think that's because I'm not primarily a metal rock drummer. I come from a different background. My drum teacher taught me to play funk and pop and rock and a little progressive rock, that sort of thing. I like metal, and I listen to it and I pick something out of it but I'm not really a metal drummer. I try to put a little bit of "swing" into it.
M-W: Hallway Of Dreams was released in the Netherlands, in the US and in Japan. What about the rest of Europe?
They're still negotiating with Germany, and France also. So I think it's going to happen, but I'm not sure when.
M-W: You released your first single and music video last summer. You chose the song November because it was initially supposed to be released in autumn. Are there other reasons why you chose that song?
It was a bit hard because we tried to decide what will be the first single. First we thought Big Fish, but then we thought that starting of with a ballad may give people the wrong idea. We didn't want one of the hardest songs either, so we searched for a "medium" song, and November was the most suitable for that.
M-W: Do you think that there will be another video release for this album?
Yes, I think there will be, but we're probably going to do things differently this time. The reason why the release of the video took so long is that we felt there was something missing in the first shoots we made of the video, so we had to go back and shoot some more. And then we released November in the summer!
But I think that we'll actually do another video.
M-W: Do you know which song it will be?
We're still hesitating between Big Fish and Balance Of Power. We don't know yet.
M-W: So you already have some ideas about the scenario?
Judith has very strong images in her head when she writes a song or when she writes lyrics for a song. So we have a pretty good idea of what we want for the video.
M-W: In which way do you think that videos clips bring something more to the music?
It gives a visual, a sort of movie along with the song. You don't only hear it, you see the song. But the hard thing with videos is that if you don't have the budget, then the video can look pretty cheesy. And then it kind of brings down your song.
M-W: Your favourite Kingfisher Sky's concert took place here in the Boerderij in May 2008, what was so special about this show?
There were a lot of people, and there was a sort of connection with the audience. There were not only applauding at the end of the songs but on different occasions. The energy glowed off the audience. That's something we can't explain seeing it doesn't happen all the time, but it does make us come to life more.
M-W: A few months ago, you played as a support act for your old band Within Temptation, how was it, and how did people react?
It was really great because we never played for so many people before. There was something like 2500 people. I know that Within Temptation fans are really open to other bands, so we had a very positive reaction.
M-W: That day, you also did an acoustic set. Is it something you enjoyed?
Yes, because our songs were written acoustically, so it wasn't really hard to switch. We like doing it because it's a different way of making music.
M-W: There were two more gigs planned after tonight, and one of them has been cancelled, the one with Delain, is it only postponed?
It's going to be in May now.
M-W: What's planned for 2009?
We do want to keep playing, but we also want to develop the new songs. We have a few songs already finished, so it's going really well, but we need time to develop them also.
M-W: And is there a tour planned?
No, there's no real tour planned yet, but there will probably be one when the next album comes out.
M-W: Do you have an idea of when the new album will be released?
No, cause right now we're still writing. We thought we had 8 songs finished, but as it turns out we're not happy with half of them! So we're back to 4! We're still rewriting. We just record it, we listen to it and if after a few weeks we still like it, then we know it's good. And if we feel like "we want to skip this song", then we know it's got to go and we need to do something new.
I don't think it will be released in 2009, unless it goes very fast.
M-W: You had a long time to write songs for the first album, which you don't really have now. Is the writing process different in any way?
No, not really. For the first album it took so long because we weren't really sure of what kind of music we wanted to make. It takes a lot of time when you don't know your style, what you want to achieve as a musician and what you want to show to people. Now we have a style, and we have a form of writing for Kingfisher Sky, so it's going fast, we don't have to wait 6 years!
M-W: Now that you are a band, is everyone contributing to the writing?
The majority of the songs comes from Judith and myself, but Edo, our guitar player, has also written a song, and everybody in the band is welcome to put in their own ideas, and if it works and if it's suitable for Kingfisher Sky, then we'll use it. But still the majority comes from us.
M-W: Could you tell me a little bit more about the direction you want to take with this new album?
There are more progressive elements I think. We're going to try to be a little more adventurous and challenging. Maybe the contrasts will be even more contrasted.
M-W: To conclude, when you look back on 2007 and 2008, what are the highlights?
Well, that show in the Boerderij here, the last time, and the show with Within Temptation.
Check Ivar's video message here!