|How was the experience of playing as a support-act for Saviour Machine,
while presenting your new CD?
Gerben: That was great of course! We
met these guys (of the organization) at the Flevo festival where they were selling the
Saviour Machine CD and these guys were busy with Saviour Machine and they had to take
several secular bands in the program. So I asked them if they had enough bands for the
night. Though they had enough bands they wanted one more band but the budget wasn't
sufficient. So I said that we wanted to do our CD-presentation and he liked that idea. So,
we did our presentation. And it's of course awesome when you have lots of people gathered.
Sculpture is in fact quite an old band. We exist for seven years now. And the real metal
die-hards all have children and are no longer into metal. So, you end up with a whole new
generation of people who start listening to your music
Robert: Well, previously to the concert we were all pretty
nervous. More than usual. Nighttown is quite a well known club of course. But we had an
extremely great time. There were, I guess, two or three hundred people gathered, mostly
for the headliner, Saviour Machine, but they enjoyed it.
But is the kind of people who show up at a Saviour Machine
concert interested in your music?
Gerben: We had some good feedback, really. Before us Tefilla
played so that was also a metalband. You could feel that people were there for Saviour
Machine. But the feedback we got during our show was cool. The public was appreciative.
As a support-act, did you have a soundcheck?
Gerben: Well, that was hard. That's because Saviour Machine came
in late. There were some troubles and also due to the fact that these guys of the
organization did this for the first time. A band like Saviour Machine has high demands so
they took quite some time for their soundcheck. Fortunately enough we could arrange the
sound a bit during the Tefilla show which helped them too. We just plugged in and played
and it went well after all.
Your debut-CD should have been released by the new label Low Roof
of former Sculpture vocalist Arjan Nihot. Their logo is on the CD too but I'm told it's
not an official Low Roof Release. Why?
Gerben: Indeed, it's not an official Low Roof release. We did two
demos independently and of the first one we sold a 400 copies and of the other one 600.
So, that went well and we had that as a basis. Low Roof was something very new still. They
helped us get the CD done. Their graphic designer helped us. We do the distribution
Low Roof didn't want to do that?
Gerben: Well, there were negotiations but at that time it was
just too soon for Low Roof. They were nothing yet. And Sculpture had some experience
already. The CD was ready to go to be pressed and then the negotiations were still going
on. We simply wanted the CD to be out at the Flevo festival. We kept their logo on the CD
as a token of goodwill and the distribution we handle ourselves.
You joined the band in early 1998 as a guitarist. Before this
band you played in Beneficial. Now you're doing the bassguitar. How is that going?
Well, I'm a guitarist since my eighth birthday. Then I got my
first guitar and I started playing the guitar. But I went through the music classes and
there I also did bass and drums as part of my musical education. So, I knew the basic
principles of playing the bassguitar. I joined the band in January as a guitarist. They
were also looking for a bassplayer and because I borrowed a bassguitar from a guy in our
church I started playing bass. And that fitted the band so well. It was of course quite a
switch for a guitarist to do the bassguitar. Then I said I would do it with all of my
heart. So I sold my Jackson and my Marshall is gone now. It was a quite a change to get
used to but I wanted to go for the bass one hundred percent. It takes some time, you know.
In the beginning I played guitarriffs over the bass, the groundtones. And now I'm more
working with funk, concerning the bassrhythms, to get the real basswork. I have a
bassguitar on which you can slam really easy and you don't do that with a guitarpick. So,
I'm working on that. I will play with a pick for a while because there are some difficult
and fast parts. Meanwhile I will practice hard.
With you doing bass, the band's only got one guitarist, Robert.
How do you pull that off live because most of the songs on the CD are written for two
guitars. How do you pull that off live?
Gerben: Yeah, there are several songs that were written for two
guitars. "Grinding Sacrifice" for example and some parts of "Twilight
Traps". But we are rather greedy when it comes to writing new material. There we do
things differently. There we do it more with rhythmstructures common in hardcore. And that
you can pull off live very well with just one guitar. And when we record a CD we do
overdubs of course to make the sound more full. Bands like Living Sacrifice and
Mortification do that too. But you have to be abled to pull that off live. Right now with
the songs we play at the moment there are parts in which it's almost like it becomes
quiet, especially during the solos. Then it's up to Ardi and me to fill that gap up with
drums and bass.
Don't you prefer to play with two guitars for the extra power?
Gerben: It will certainly give more power. But the band as it is
now we just like it so we keep it this way. Unless we meet someone we like and who fits
After the personnel change the sound of the band must have
changed. The CD was recorded with second guitarist Walter Rietveld and bassplayer Stefan
Rietveld who both left the band shortly after the studio sessions. Is the Spiritual Matrix
CD representative for the current line-up?
Gerben: Well, we were sort of lucky that every single part was
recorded apart. So, at the end of the day we could mix it with the four of us. Then the
band was complete. And during the mixing process you can work on the sound and how you
want things to be. That would have been different with the old line-up. That was not the
case. We mixed it with the current line-up and we are satisfied with the result. In the
studio I wrote one of the song "A Contemplation Of David". Vocally we changed
our direction a bit in the song "No Respect".
On the CD there are four songs that were on the Death To Death
demo of 1993. These songs sound quite differently compared to the newer songs. Why were
Gerben: Well, that was what we choose at that time. It's all
newly recorded and arranged. At that time the guys of the old line-up didn't have enough
songs to make a full album also because the band had a few sabbatical years. So, they
choose to record these too. For us it doesn't matter because most people didn't know
Robert: For the real fans it's great to have these old songs on
CD and for the new ones it's a something new.
According to your biography the CD is about the spiritual
warfare. How is that worked out?
Gerben: Yeah, we added that to our biography because we didn't
necessarily want to be promoted as a Christian band. You can read that in Aardschok (one
of Holland's leading secular Hard Music mags, mpo). They never receive it warmheartedly.
So, we want to be promoted because of our music. Our lyrics are about the spiritual
warfare that you can have. We have an old song about Sodom and Gomorrah which summons not
to fall for it. And "Spiritual Matrix is a song about our creator and then about
Jesus Christ and finally about the holy Spirit. And "No Respect". Our guitarist
heard a song from Pantera from the album Disrespect or something. On that he heard a song
against God. Because of that track we wrote the song. If you don't have a personal
relationship with God you can't judge. Later on they wrote that there can't be a God
because people die of Aids. It has to do with the spirit of the age.
The review of your album in Aardschok was rather striking, I
thought. It was quite positive. But your lyrics were left out of it. I got the impression
that if the reviewer had taken your lyrics into consideration, the endresult would have
been less positive. Is that a kind of feedback you hear more?
Gerben: Normally non-Christians say that don't listen to the
lyrics. But I think that's bullcrap. You listen to it whether you hear something you can
sing along too if you like it. And in the case of Aardschok it was written by a Black
Metal specialist and then you know from what background he comes from. They are against
Biblical principles of course and they want to show that. Still, I think he set aside his
own musical preferences. That makes it a good review.
But, as he doesn't do anything with the lyrics, don't you think
you'd better wrap it up differently?
Gerben: I do think he read the lyrics but he didn't agree with
them. You can see that in Aardschok more oftenly. If it's a Christian band they burn it to
the ground and it gets 35 out of 100 points. And bands from the Tooth & Nail label get
bad feedback from that Onno Cro-mag. Then I think, are we dealing with music?
I don't agree on that. The guy you mentioned writes positive
reviews of Tooth & Nail releases too.
Gerben: Well, you're right, you're right. But you see that
frequently when a Christian band is concerned it gets bad reviews because they don't like
the lyrics though the music is sometimes way better than from secular bands.
But take for example a band like Veni Domine. They have very
plain lyrics but they get positive reviews and they were interviewed.
Gerben: Yeah, I don't know where exactly it's going wrong. Veni
Domine is of course more in the rockscene and we are metal. If we read the lyrics of other
bands they deal about sex, drugs and rock & roll. Or they have politically tinged
lyrics. You don't have bands like Prong nowadays that write political focused songs. Most
bands write against God or about parties. If a band writes about Christian values you are
dumped. But that doesn't scare us off. We chose to put these lyrics on the album. We let
most people just know about what we sing.
Last question. How do you look at the future of the band. All of
you are married.
Gerben: Well, all of us are married and we all have children.
Some of our children are about three or four years old. We found out that doesn't
necessarily have to disable us to play. We will keep on playing. But you do have an extra
responsibility. I don't see that as a handicap. Just because you have children, you see
the values of live better. And then you see youths that are on drugs or alcohol, ruining
their lives and then you see your own little boy and you think, "what if he ends up
that way when he is old". I mean, you can't manage that. You can be an example for
them but that doesn't have to mean that they follow your example. I would love to see that
there are young people who are going to these places then too, to preach the gospel.
We all married quite young so we're not that old. So we can go on for a few years still.