TALKING WITH THE FIRST KNIGHT
An interview with Knight Area’s Gerben Klazinga by Michel Scheijen.
It’s been 6 years since Knight Area’s debut-album ‘The Sun Also Rises’ saw the light of day. What started as a project between Gerben Klazinga and his brother Joop, turned into a complete band with remarkable success. Their third album ‘Realm Of Shadows’ appeared in 2009, and was their first concept-album with a kind of dark, mystical touch. The album was a big hit, and peaked on top of many progcharts. Because of that, Mostlypink talked to bandleader Gerben Klazinga about his prosperous crusade.
MS: Hi Gerben, how are you?
GK: Fine, thank you.
MS: Are you satisfied with the reactions, reviews, and sales according to ‘Realm Of Shadows’?
GK: More than satisfied. Most of the reviews are very positive. According to our last releases, the reviews are a bit different. But that’s O.K. It’s just a matter of taste.
MS: ‘Realm Of Shadows’ used to have a darker and hard edged sound. I can’t agree with that, because it still sounds very classic-prog. This can be very confusing, can it?
GK: You’re absolutely right. The lyrics are a bit darker, but musically there hasn’t been any change.
GK: We would like to develop, but not in a rush. Development takes time. On our forthcoming album we will use more modern keyboard-sounds, and less vintage sounds like the Mellotron. But we will use our voices as Mellotron-samples. That’ll give a special kind of atmosphere. Our music will always be melodic and progressive with a retroprog touch because we adore that style.
MS: I can imagine that development isn’t easy with five strong characters in a band, isn’t it?
GK: There’s a lot of respect between the band members. Nowadays it isn’t easy to come up with surprising new ideas or concepts. You’ll get development by practicing and playing. Step by step we try to achieve something different on every album.
MS: A concept-album needs a different approach. Can you tell something about the difference between the previous albums according to composing and producing?
GK: I just started working the same way as I always do. The idea for a concept album by when our lead-singer Mark Smith came up with a whole story. I had to write songs with some adjustments so that they would fit in the new project. The whole band wrote the arrangements during the recording sessions, and they combined perfectly with the lyrics.
MS: Were the band’s musical desires fulfilled, as far as possible?
GK: Of course! Every band member has his influences and favorite kind of music. But that’s no obstruction. As a band we combine these influences in our music.
MS: How did the band react when Mark came up with his story?
GK: Very positive! We could find ourselves in his concept. We worked it out so everyone can make his own story of it.
MS: I saw some live-pics from recent shows where Mark Smith wears a cape and plays a portable synthesizer. It looked like a Rick Wakeman-tribute.
GK: Ha!Ha!Ha! No, that shouldn’t be! Mark is also a keyboard player, and plays the parts from former band member Joop Klazinga. There are a lot of keyboard arrangements in our music. I’m happy he’s playing them live on stage, and it sounds very good. Mark is also playing the main character from ‘Realm Of Shadows’. The black and white cape regards to the concept of the story.
MS: On ‘Realm Of Shadows’ you hear that every band-member made a giant leap forward. The fruitful result of hard edged discipline?
GK: Again, thank you! In my opinion our guitarist Mark Vermeule really has developed himself. Mark Smith has recorded his vocals in his own studio. He could go on until he was truly satisfied. Every band member delivered 100% of his best. It’s very common for us to do that.
MS: Can you tell something about the cooperation between Laser’s Edge and Knight Area? For example: how did it started?
GK: When my brother and
I had a couple of songs for ‘The Sun Also Rises’ we sent those to some
companies in Europe and
MS: Wasn’t there any Dutch label who could release the debut-album?
GK: Yes, there was. But their distribution was based on a very small scale.
MS: Are you a classical trained musician?
GK: Yes, and no! I was educated in piano-lessons when I was eight years old, and it stopped when I was twelve. After that I started composing. The fun kicked-off when I bought the ‘Seconds Out’-songbook by Genesis. Much of those chords I still use nowadays. Tony Banks and Steve Hackett are highly talented musicians.
MS: In what kind of way are you influenced by Tony Banks and Steve Hackett?
GK: Both are unique when it comes to effective and fantastic chord changes. These chords are not just chosen. They are well planned and arranged. It still fascinates.
MS: Like the song ‘Entangled’ ?
GK: Yes! You know exactly what I’m talking about!
MS:: What’s your ultimate musical desire?
GK: First of all: the fun of making music and playing in a band. To support each and every band-member in making great music. Nowadays the musical business is very hard. Especially for prog-bands, because they don’t produce hit-potential records. It’s very special that in todays musical climate, our albums are well receveid. Because of that, we played at the Loreley Festival and FMPF Festival-Montreal in 2008. That gives you a lot of confidence.
MS: Can you tell something about the new Knight Area-album?
GK: It’ll be a bit different than our predecessors, but with some surprising elements and a Knight Area-touch. We are also planning a double live DVD-release for this summer. If things work out well it’ll contain the complete show from September 26th-2009 at Het Kasteel in Alphen a/d Rijn. ‘Realm Of Shadows’ was presented there.
MS: Thanks for your time and answers, Gerben.
GK: You’re welcome, and thank you very much!
Michel Scheijen for www.mostlypink.net.
Pictures of the band and Gerben by Wil Delissen.
More live pics from Poppodium de nieuwe Nor / Heerlen/ 14 May 2010.