Genre-bending Dutch alternative metal band NEMESEA made their debut as a live support act with fellow Dutch band After Forever in 2002 and have been going strong ever since. The group have undergone somewhat of a sound-metamorphosis, shifting from symphonic metal to alternative in their 14 years, while managing to maintain a definitive sound that is uniquely and identifiably Nemesea. With a new record, Uprise, slated to drop on April 29, and a handful of European tour dates to accompany the release, we met up with HJ (guitars, keys, vocals) and Sonny (bass, keys) for some Q-and-A about where they came from and how they got here.
Thanks for taking the time to answer some questions for our readers!
Where are Nemesea now versus at the beginning in 2002?
Different in any way thinkable except for having the same passion for music!
You have a new record set to debut on April 29, Uprise. What can we expect to hear?
A very honest heavy rock oriented album with emotional layered songs and lyrics. We focused on a pure bandsound for this album instead of over-production.
What can you tell me about the writing process for the new record?
HJ is the song-writer in the band and worked on most of the songs for this release. During pre-production we focused on the "best" ones and worked on them with Dutch producer Guido Aalbers. On this album we first focused on Lyrics/ main topics and added the music/songs later on.
Nemesea have undergone a few lineup changes over the years. Has this affected your sound?
No, we don't think so. When making music you develop yourself as you do in life. When getting older you explore other interests, influences and develop another taste in music as well. It's really about what you want to create, what feels right.
Looking at your current lineup I see each of the current members wear many hats. What are your responsibilities with the band?
The basic band is Manda-Vocals, Sonny-Bass & HJ-Guitars. Manda and HJ write the lyrics and HJ is main song-writer. Sonny is in charge of the online promotion & social-media. Some of us play in other music projects but the main focus is on Nemesea.
One thing I noticed that stands out as missing from the current lineup is a drummer. What was the solution for this for Uprise? What about for your upcoming live shows in April?
On Uprise, our previous drummer Steven Bouma (In Control album and Live@P3 album) plays drums and he did a fantastic job! Steven will also be joining us live on stage. In a live situation we'll work with several extra musicians.
What can you tell me about Nemesea's change in sound over the years, from symphonic to a heavier alternative sound?
As mentioned before it's really a matter of growth, development. It's not something done deliberately, it's a natural process. We started out as a symphonic metal band because we liked that style at the time. But even during that period we had interest in other styles as well. Rock, pop, electro-- you name it. We come from a wide musical background. We felt less comfortable with doing only the symphonic metal thing. This was obvious after our first release, “Mana,” and touring with After Forever. We felt limited in a way and wanted to broaden our musical journey.
Do you consider Uprise to fit into any particular traditional genre?
Hmmm, good question and to be honest, not really. It's a heavy rock album for sure but that doesn't cover it totally.
What do you look forward to most with your live shows this spring?
Being on stage is what we love. Unfortunately we didn't have a lot of chances to play live due to different circumstances. Playing the music from Uprise in front of a live audience will probably be the best thing in years! The album has a live approach since we recorded quickly and with a live feel, so no over-production. Live, you can pretty much expect what you hear on the album.
Do you have a favorite memory or unforgettable moment with the band?
Lots of memories! The first show we ever did in P60/ Holland with After Forever remains our favorite. We had never performed before and were facing a big crowd. But from the first note it was spot on. We had so much fun and the crowd was amazing and very supportive. Glad that we send that demo to the venue. It started everything!
What is the most outrageous thing that has happened at one of your live performances?
Well, probably the thing that happened backstage some years ago. We were loading our backline into a venue and HJ brought it on stage against his will. [Laughs] At that moment a well-known band was playing and it was dark, loud and HJ couldn't see shit. At that moment he got overloaded with equipment so he had to do something. So pushed the backline on stage not knowing the main power cable was right in front of him. The cable disconnected and...BAM! No sound.... Complete silence, not even drums because the guy played a digital kit… [Laughs] After a short confrontation with the band’s furious tour manager all problems were solved and the band could continue playing their show but the “magic” was gone. Sorry!
Do you have anything else you'd like to add for our readers?
We hope you enjoy our new album. We really put everything we had into this album and are really proud of it. Come find us online and let us know what you think! Hope to see you all on the road!
Nemesea have four shows scheduled for April so far, including stopes in Prague, Andernach, Antwerpen and Zwolle. Check out www.nemesea.com for show dates and details, and make sure to check out their album teaser to get pumped before the April 29 release.