At the Mountains of Madness
CoC interviews Orphanage
by: Pedro Azevedo
Fresh originality is usually a good thing, and Orphanage have struggled to achieve that since their debut, _Oblivion_, in 1995. Mixing an unusual kind of melody (based mostly on choir singing and keyboards) with an even more unusual rhythmic section was a daring move, as these two might have clashed instead of actually fitting together. But the fact remains that _By Time Alone_, in 1996, was a clear improvement over their debut, while focusing on the same ideals and similar techniques. Orphanage is based around George Oosthoek's death grunts and occasional screams, Rosan van der Aa's female voice, Lex Vogelaar's unusual guitar sound, Guus Eikens' keyboard, Eric Hoogendoorn's bass, and Erwin Polderman's drums. Coming from Holland, this DSFA Records band had a big performance at the Dynamo this year, including a choir in their set; they are now ready to think about their next album. Here is my e-mail interview with bass player Eric Hoogendoorn.

CoC: How would you describe the differences between _Oblivion_ and _By Time Alone_?

Eric Hoogendoorn: The most important difference between _Oblivion_ and _By Time Alone_ was the fact that we worked with a steady lineup on _By Time Alone_. That's why the album sounds more live and more Orphanage. We made the songs with the whole band and we grew as a band. In a way, we work the same way as on _Oblivion_, but now we do it together, so we can make better songs.

CoC: How well have the fans been reacting to your band's rather unusual style?

EH: Well, in the beginning of Orphanage (when we made our first demo), the people reacted a little strangely to our music, but at the time we recorded _Oblivion_, more and more people liked our style. In about a year, we had our own fans and that's still going on. Each year that we play in clubs, there are more people coming to see us and like us (magazines always say good things about us, so that helped too). It's going very good for Orphanage, we are very happy with that.

CoC: Why did you choose to mix the excellent melodies mainly provided by Rosan and the keyboards with the puzzling (yet good) rhythmic section?

EH: When we were thinking about the concept of Orphanage, we wanted to put very heavy guitars, bass, drums, and melody together in a way we had never heard before, so every part had to be original. Lex came up with the polyrhythmic, and Guus came up with the melody. We experimented a lot with that concept, and after some time, we found Orphanage.

CoC: Does Rosan have any previous professional singing experience?

EH: No. She sang in a choir for a while, that was her experience.

CoC: How did you meet her, and why did she choose to join the band?

EH: Anthony [van den Berg, DSFA Records] met her and introduced her to the band. She was just the one we were searching for and she liked the band, so she joined us.

CoC: I gotta ask you this, about the choir you work(ed) with: what's the story behind a name such as The dB's Monkey Spanking Choir?

EH: dB's is the place where we [Orphanage] practice. We have a lot of friends there and we recorded our CD in Studio Moscow, which is part of the dB's building. At the time we were working on "Ancient Rhymes", we asked everyone to sing with us how was in dB's. We called it the Monkey Spanking Choir because of Ren and Stimpy.

CoC: What are the chances of further live shows with large choirs?

EH: We have done Dynamo Open Air and Best on the Rocks with a big choir (and our CD presentation), but that was only for these concerts. Now we don't do that anymore because we don't want to do something for too long.

CoC: Did everything go well for you at the Dynamo this year?

EH: Yes. Dynamo was also, as last year, a great experience, but this year we played on the main festival. You wouldn't believe how big that is. When you see so many people there, something happens to you. We played with a big choir and many musicians, and that was a lot of work to practice, to do a concert with so many people, but everything went okay for us and the people loved it, so it was great.

CoC: Another DSFA band that played at the Dynamo was Within Temptation. Would you like to tell us more about Orphanage's role in their remarkable debut album, _Enter_?

EH: Within Temptation made all the songs themselves, so Orphanage had nothing to do with that. Guus gave some advice about keyboard sounds, Lex played on a song and did the production, and George sung on a song. That's all Orphanage did on the album. I think Within Temptation did a very good job on their album. They are big in Holland already and I think the rest of Europe will follow.

CoC: What's your personal opinion about that band after having worked with them?

EH: I didn't work with them on their album but I recorded an album with a new band of mine and Erwin's called Siliconhead. Sharon den Adel [:excellent: singer -- Pedro] did a song on our album, so that's the only experience I have with them. I can tell you we had a lot of fun together (Sharon is a great singer).

CoC: What's your view on the current Dutch metal scene?

EH: There are a lot a good bands right now in Holland. Other countries in Europe see that too, so there is a lot of interest in Dutch bands on this moment. I hope it will stay this way.

CoC: Is a new album scheduled yet?

EH: We are going to record a new album in February 1998.

CoC: Any idea of what will change in your sound?

EH: I think not much will change, but the songs will be (also with the last album) better than _By Time Alone_.

CoC: No more questions, time for a final message to the readers...

EH: Maybe I can express my feelings of what we are about in a live situation, so I hope to see you all on tour, okay? Greetings to all the readers of Chronicles of Chaos.

(article submitted 14/9/1997)

5/13/1997 P Azevedo 8 Orphanage - By Time Alone
12/13/1995 A Bromley 8 Orphanage - Oblivion
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