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Cirrha Niva (June 2010)

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toroddfuglesteg View Drop Down
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    Posted: June 16 2010 at 13:19



Cirrha Niva from Holland has been around since 1993 and have released some albums. Although they are not the most known band in the scene, they are still an interesting band.

I got in touch with the band and Rob Willemse, founder & guitarist of Cirrha Niva, answered my many questions.


-------------------------

When was Cirrha Niva formed and do you have any background from other bands ?

I started this band long time ago, early ‘90’s. We’ve had several line-up changes in the course of time and made several records. Our latest release however is the result of all those changes over the years; For Moments Never Done is according to all the international reviews one of the finest progmetal albums ever, well, that’s what they wrote, I can’t help it. The current band members have all their individual backgrounds and played in several bands before Cirrha Niva, non of them however gained any popularity or satisfaction with it. We hope to change all that now with Cirrha Niva.

Whose bands were you influenced by ?


A lot to mention, we all have our own taste. Vocalist Legrand hardly listens to metal, he likes Blues Traveller a lot, even carries a tattoo of them, but he also like Johnny Cash and the Dixie Chicks (I guess for the music?). Carlo the guitarist listens to the heavy stuff like Meshuggah and Carcass, everything with lots power and Floyd Rose, hihi. Daniel our bass player also likes a lot of music for instance: Porcupine Tree, Dream Theater but his all time favourite are The Doors. Our new drummer Wiebe Slime is into Jazz and the progressive side of metal like Circus Maximus, Planet X and everything with Virgil Donati in it.

I myself listens and like to all of the above, I can even add Original Soundtracks, Singer/Songwriters/ Blues and the Frank Sinatra crooner style to it. The best band ever is and stays; Psychotic Waltz.

 

To start with; please give me your (long or brief) thoughts and lowdowns on.......

 



The Mirror World Dimension from 1997


This is our very first self financed CD ever. Before this we only recorded demo-tapes like the Alighieri’s Roots tape and After The Darkness. This CD is probably hard to get. I think we’ve sold the last copy somewhere during the Liaison shows in 2002. That particular one came with the autographs of the existing line-up of that time, even more rare nowadays.

We record TMWD in the winter of 1996 in a studio called Double Noise. In the mid-nineties this was a famous underground studio in Tilburg, nowadays it’s not in function anymore. In 120 hours we had to finish the job, luckily we came well prepared in the studio, so there weren’t many unpleasant surprises that I can recall.

 

Although the tracks on this album lost their strength over the years in comparison with our newer releases, I still feel very tight with this album. Maybe because it’s our ‘first born’, maybe because it’s so close to my roots, I don’t know. You should read some of the reviews that were written to understand that feeling and keep in mind: we were a ‘new’ band at the time.

The 4th song on the album ‘Weaveworld’, was the oldest one back then. Our 1st singer didn’t liked it that much, because it was something too progressive. This song was in fact the base of all the material we were about to write from that moment on. He left the band but turned up for a guest appearance on Liaison De La Morte (2001).



 

Enter the Future Exit from 1999


These are the first two songs composed in the line-up that recorded No More Psychosis, a demo-cd in between the 1997 and the 1999 album, we never sold NMP officially, but there must be some copies out there somewhere. Enter The Future Exit was recorded in our rehearsal room in two days. Only the vocals were done a few days later at the producers home. First we hit drum and bass on tape, after that we did the guitars and finally the keyboard player did his keys. Guitar solo’s were done at the latest possible moment and under great pressure, time was running out. That’s what I remember from it now. I wish I could travel in time. But still I am more that happy with the outcome. I would almost believe these are the best two song written in this line-up. We of course, for the first time, had the opportunity to involve keyboards into our music. That came to the point that we even have some guitarless minutes in Sky Décor. This is a way of composing we used in my opinion in a wider and better way on the Liaison album, which we recorded 2 years later.


The idea with this CD was the same as with No More Psychosis. That mend we wanted to get some record companies interested, so we made ETFE as a ‘promotional use only’ CD. But after playing these songs live during our gigs with Skyclad & Lacuna Coil, we soon realized that the response was huge. People wanted to buy the album with these particular two songs on it. But there was no such album. That made us decide to change the artwork and to search for some bonus material and to release it as a official mini-CD.

The live songs were recorded in the (at that time) newly built 013 venue, during The Heavy Metal Christmas Party Festival, were we headlined. Concerning the instrumental song The Dream, that was recorded on that evening, I can’t remember playing it live more often after that. It was in fact a re-arranged version of a song we wrote years before, that was called The Dream Or Reality, only we deleted all the vocal parts. And I also wanted a track from our 1st CD as a bonus track on this mini-CD. Luckily Redemption Denied was also the best recorded, most powerful and well played song, so we didn’t had any argue on that. I thought it would also be nice for the fans to have, because it was by all means the best track of our debut album, now to hear in a live version with a totally different and for that time improved line-up. Haha, we seem to improve with every line-up change, haha. Today I am still very proud of this album.

 


 

Liaison De La Morte from 2001

Nowadays I see this production as the closing of a chapter. The theatrical concept chapter. For sure ‘Liaison de la Morte’ is the most ambitious release we’ve done so far. It all came forth out of one little thought “Let’s make a concept album”

 We just had finished a song that we called ‘Nightwish’it clocked around 9 minutes. But still we had to leave out an enormous amount of ideas. So, we gave the concept album idea a serious thought. It was a lot of work, not only I had to write a concept story and re-write the ‘Nightwish’ lyrics, we also changed the song again. 

 

Our manager directly anticipated with the idea to visualize this story also on stage. Costumes, décor, attributes, dancers, theatre make-up (not the Kiss or Cradle of Filth corps paint thou), theatre, all of that! All the preparations took the band and the crew (approx. 25 devoted volunteers) 1,5 years of work before we could perform the story on stage.

 

But I’ll skip the live & design stories and focus on the album.

During Summer 2001 we booked 2 months in Dutch SingSing to record ‘Liaison de la Morte’. We came well prepared but changed a lot of things at the last moment. Spontaneous whispering vocal parts were added, other vocal parts changed ect. ect. All unexpected things that we couldn’t foresee. And I’m not even mentioning all the technical sh*t we had to go through.

It was not like the other albums we recorded. We didn’t play each and every song separately. Because of the length of the individual songs we thought of dividing each song in a few parts. The result was that the energy in the 11th  minute would still be the same as in the 1st.

 

We also worked with choir parts for the first time. On the album you can hear two choirs. The nicest thing about the first choir was that we thought of all the vocal lines ourselves. The 2nd choir was called PoS choir, and this is the abbreviation of the band Pain of Salvation, Daniel Gildenlow wrote and recorded this part for us.

 

A difficulty that we had never dealt with before was all songs had to be connected to the previous one Most difficult thing was to keep the structure of the songs in mind and not to forget something. I remember an evening were we listened to the recordings we’ve done the days before when someone said: “don’t you play strings here?” And yes, we forgot to record sounds produced by the SPD11 midi sound pads. These things were happening a few times and gave us a kind of scary un-relaxed feeling at certain points. Also unforgettable was the recording of a drum/percussion part in ‘Melancolique’. Peter was ill, so the rest of us had to play his part. “Does anyone knows what he’s doin’right there?’ Afterwards while listing the final recordings Peter noticed that we didn’t played the parts the way he normally did…Now we find it funny but back then it wasn’t, I assure you!

 

I’m very proud of this album. Although I also hear the lack of a real producer. If we recorded it like we have recorded For Moments Never Done I guess it would really be a killer album, production & vocal wise. Well, the years that followed gave us anyway a lot of name and credit. We played a lot, had great times and gained a busy touring schedule.



 

For Moments Never Done from 2009

Yeah, this is in my opinion the best Cirrha Niva album so far.

The line-up has changed in comparison to the previous album. It changed so much that we even considered changing the band name, but luckily we didn’t. First we parted ways with the guitarist, bassist and keyboard player and got Carlo and Daniel in return. They brought fresh ideas and new skills to the band. We also searched a while for a new keyboard player, but gave up in the end.

On the album you can hear Joost van den Broek (After Forever, Star One). We gave him carte blanc to dress up some songs on the album, which he did just fine. We are very happy and proud of it.

 

Also Legrand entered the band, this was the biggest and most important improvement in years.

Not only for the sound of our music but also for the direction that we headed.

You should know that we were writing a new concept album before Legrand joined the band. But as he isn’t very fond of this ‘arty-farty’ style, we skipped it completely…more than 70 minutes of music down the drain. Well, almost…we kept the best parts and even some songs made it on FMND, however drastically changed compared to their original form. We are talking about Running From The Source and Framed.  

 

After we had written and fine tuned all the songs we thought about some guest musicians. Vocalist Robin de Groot (Chiraw) emphasizes with his grunts and screams 'The Fooling' and vocalist Manda Ophuis (Nemesea) sings with Legrand in 'Dreamon'. Bouke Visser plays a heartbreaking Floydian Saxophone solo in 'Spring Before Winter'. And the spoken words in Hebrew of Yuval Kramer (Amaseffer) are completing the theme of 'Golan Heights'. And like I said keyboard player Joost van den Broek who added spherical elements to the album with piano, Hammond organ and soundscapes.

 

I mentioned the production of this album in the Liaison part above to underline it’s importance. We think all the songs are honest, well written and when stripped down to acoustic version they can still keep their strength (we know so because we played some acoustic gigs with FMND songs). But due to the Split Second Sound studio and their producers this album is what it is right now. And you should read all the reviews or listen to it to know what I mean.



 

There was an eight years long break between Liasion and Moments. What happened ?  

Like I said, we changed the line-up. After the release of the Liaison album in 2001 we played a lot. In 2003 we played the last Liaison de la Morte Rockopera, by that time we already had a replacement on guitar, as our guitarist was ill. Early 2004 Carlo and shortly after Daniel joined the band and we started to work on a new concept album, we made new songs, a new storyline, new photo’s, video’s artwork, backdrops and so on. We took the songs to Split Second Studio and they advised to spend some extra time on the vocal parts, which we did. But this resulted in the fact that our vocalist at that time didn’t felt very comfortable with that, so he left in February 2007. Few weeks later we came across Legrand and that was the beginning of the new Cirrha Niva era.

All your albums has been released through Parnassus. Please tell us more about this record label and how the distribution of your albums has been and is.  


It is our own label, we have a ‘do it yourself’ mentality. We are the ones who know exactly what we want, every time someone else is doing thing for us we are not happy with the outcome, so that’s why.

The distribution is done by Suburban, The End Records and EMP/Large merchandising and we are very pleased with them.



 

Your latest albums is from 2009. What is the latest update on your band and what is your plans for this year ?


The first thing is to get our new drummer Wiebe Slim familiar with our songs. Former drummer Tommy White was forced to leave the band because of health problems. His problems started at the end of 2009 and resulted in the fact that we played live with a temporary drummer, Eelco van de Meer. Eelco playes in a death metal band called Etherial and he helped us out during the live gigs. Wiebe also did one gig as Eelco couldn’t do that particular show. And Wiebe stayed!

Wiebe is very talented so we expect he has everything under control very soon. After that we start to write new songs and in between play on some great festivals like Alcatraz Metal Fest, Zwarte Cross Festival, Roadgrill and Occultfest to name a few.

 

How was the writing and creative processes in your band ?


Everyone has ideas and we try to use all of them. We simply jam a bit or work on a riff or a melody and see where it will bring us. That’s normally how it goes. If Legrand want some parts longer or shorter to match his vocal lines we do so…in the end we all have to like it and whatever we do: it must be an improvement to the song.

 

How would you describe your music and which bands would you compare your music with ?


That’s a tough one. Everyone files us under the progressive metal, and many bandmanes are dropped from Dream Theater to Nevermore, from Iron Maiden to Candlemass. Everyone should just listen for them selves I think.

 



You have a very good reputation as a live band. How easy/difficult is it to get gigs these days ?


Thank you, nice to hear that! Often people say that we have more power and energy live than on the album, that’s a good thing I guess. It’s not that easy to get gigs nowadays, but the new album and all the positive reviews seem to help us a lot!

 

What is your five favourite albums of all time ?


Are 6 albums also okay? I could think of many others like Ennio Morricone’s Once upon a time…and Misplaced Childhood by Marillion, but let’s stick to the following ones. It's a random order and it’s my personal list.

Pink Floyd - Wish You Where Here

David Lee Roth - Skyscraper

Eagles, the - Hotel California

Psychotic Waltz - Into the Everflow

Anacrussis - Screams & Whispers

Jeff Wayne - The War of the Worlds

 

 

Anything you want to add to this interview ?

Thank you for your interest in our band and thank you for the very cool review you made on our album!

Keep up the good work!! And we wish Tommy lots of good luck and a quick recovery.

Cheers Rob, Cirrha Niva.



A big thank you to Cirrha Niva for this interview.

Their PA profile can be found here and their homepage is here 

 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote progmetalhead Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 16 2010 at 14:02
Thanks Torodd. Excellent choice Clap
 
Great band, fantastic album, fully deserving their presence in my top 5 albums for last year.
 
Some excellent reviews of FMND particularly from Olav and Raff.
 
Do yourself a favour and get the album, you won't regret it. Big smile
 
 
http://www.last.fm/user/colt2112

Colt - Admin Team MMA

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