Fourteen Twentysix is a band lead by Chris Van Der Linden. The band has been called a dark prog band.
I got in touch with Chris for the Fourteen Twentysix story.
Were you involved in any other
bands before you started up Fourteen Twentysix, which bands were you influenced
by and why did you choose that name ?
first bands were a doom metal band called Molestiah and a progressive/altrock
band called Sweet Assembler. I played the drums and did some of the lyric
writing and co-arranging of songs. Most people don’t know I started out as a
drummer, I remember wanting to become a guitarist when I was a kid. On the day
of my birthday I went out to to music store with my dad to buy my first guitar.
I listened to metal when I was a teenager, bands like Metallica, Slayer, Danzig,
Carcass and My Dying Bride. But before we went to the music store my dad said
“hey why don’t we check out this drum store first, I know the guy who runs it,
he’s nice”. Three hours later I was on the parking lot outside tossing my first
drum kit in the trunk of the car. I only returned to playing guitar again when I
started Fourteen Twentysix.
main influences are definitely metal, in particular the doom and melancholic
sub-genres. Bands like Paradise Lost, Anathema and My Dying Bride just struck a
chord with me, my teenage years were far from fun so it made sense. While I’ve
moved on since, enjoying almost any genre of music, I’m still a sucker for dark,
melancholic and dreamy stuff.
musical influence has to be 80ies music like U2, Depeche Mode and Duran Duran,
while it may readily audible in Fourteen Twentysix, the spirit is there. My
older brother listened to these bands and I think I owe a lot of latent
inspiration from those bands. Our new album we are recording features a lot of
arpeggio bass synths that will definitely remind you of Depeche Mode and OMD.
did you choose your type of music instead of other forms of less nerdy music
I quit playing drums in Sweet Assembler I had been running on for what felt my
entire life. I had to sort of press the pause button and start clearing up the
wreckage of my past. All the things from my teenage years and up to more recent
events had left their mark and I wasn’t in a particular happy state.
This made me want to write songs
just for my self, songs to forget about the troubles that I had. Stylistically I
wanted to make music that had an industrial, repetitive drumloop-oriented base,
layered with dreamy rock elements. I remember listening to industrial/drone acts
a 1990’s act that issued obscure CD-R’s. Distorted drums, noisy synths with a
haunting voice on top. It seemed the perfect vessel for the story I wanted to
go straight to your debut EP. Please tell us more about Songs To Forget from
to Forget are my very first songs I recorded all by myself in my bedroom, in the
year after quiting drums for Sweet Assembler. I couldn’t play a note of guitar
or keyboard. I had not recorded anything either so I had to learn it all from
zero. But I was so determined to “record my story” I just went with it and
learned along the way. I bought my first recording gear and spent nights online,
reading on audio engineering forums and music writing boards.
didn’t had experience with song arrangements so I mostly focused on “sound” and
“atmosphere” rather than worrying about a catchy song-structure. Vocal lines
where more than often strokes of recorded “luck”, not something I consciously
composed on top the music. Guitar lines where very simple, looped strums,
because I couldn’t play chords. In fact I sometimes held my left hand in place
on the neck, while setting up a microphone with my right hand, cause If I let go
of my left hand I would not remember what notes I had come up with.
way I make music is by going with the flow, pressing keys that feel right,
judging by what I hear. A minute later I couldn’t tell you what I did or play it
again. If you hear the music, you wouldn’t guess how bad I am at playing
instruments other than drums. But the truth is, I still dread playing guitar and
keyboard live to this very day, I’m really glad I have great band members now.
In fact, I wouldn’t be able to play my own songs live without them. It’s a
definite reality check and it keeps both my feet on the ground.
tell us more about your debut album Lighttown Closure from earlier this year.
Closure is our first full length album, with great material and numerous flaws.
When Songs to Forget was finally finished I was really quite exhausted. Its a
hell of an effort, writing, recording and mixing a bunch of songs. Especially if
you are doing it for the first time, it feels like puzzle you can’t figure out.
By the time I was finished I had met Jelle (guitarist,technician). He liked the
music and concept. We started talking about playing live as a band, something I
hadn’t really intended when I started the project, and I suggested to write the
next album together.
recorded about three new song ideas together on new years day. We recorded live
drums as an experiment to mix them with our drum loops. The sound totally blew
us away, we had three very exciting songs. The material was so far from what I
had previously done though it left me in doubt. Then Jelle became very busy with
his art education which forced me to continue working on my own again.
I finished Lighttown Closure
mostly on my own, which you can definitely hear, its turned out to be a really
dark record again. The more positive material I recorded with Jelle ended up not
being used. Apparently there were still some things from my past which needed to
be put to rest. At first I was really disappointed with the result, because I
wanted to make a different album. Now when I look back I love it for what it is,
a final chapter, like the title says “Closure”. The album got us great reviews
and impressed many people with its high production values. Not everyone liked
the lengthy and gloomy songs, but almost everyone recognised our potential.
is your creative processes from coming up with an idea to it's being recorded
start with creating a drumbeat most of the time, laying down an interesting
groove. Then I add “atmosphere” to it by layering in a field recording, synth
pad or other unique “sound”. Third step for me is adding a guitar line on top or
a synth melody. At that point, which takes me one or two hours mostly, I have a
sketch that sets the mood and direction for a complete song. I send it over the
my band members to see how they like it. If they do, we start working on the
project together to flesh out the song.
our new album we’ve gone a step further by following a strict “story concept” to
work from. This dictates the kind of songs we record to fit certain parts of the
story. To get started, I created a bunch of first “sketches” to set a certain
style/mood/direction we could then work on together. In this fashion we knocked
out a total of 15 song sketches in one weekend.
those of us unknown with your music; how would you describe you music and which
bands would you compare yourself with ?
have no clue. Its a mixture of industrial, electronic, rock, singer-songwriter,
pop, postrock and metal. We’d hoped you could tell us what kind of music we make
because we still need a good tag-line :)
get compared to Chroma Key and Depeche Mode quite often. Nine Inch Nails gets
mentioned because of our industrial edge. My voice is often compared to 80-ies
vocalists like David Sylvian (Japan) and Mark Holis (Talk Talk) which is a big
don’t think we really compare ourselves with other bands, we just try to make
the music we like. We do talk about music styles when writing and recording like
“Hey wouldn’t it be great to drop a sort of Dubstep bass synth on this chorus?”.
We also love to watch and read about other people’s studio approach or creative
motivations. Trent Reznor is someone who actively shares his experiences, so do
we, publishing a recording diary of our new album on our website.
two releases has been released without supports from a big record label and as
digital downloads. What is the pros and cons of going it alone ?
big pro is that you are completely independent. You can do what you like, when
you like it. You other big upside is that you can reach a large number of people
worldwide that will actually become loyal fans. Our music is available as a free
download and we managed to generate over 55.000 downloads this way.
We have a fair amount of Facebook fans and Last.fm
listeners. It takes a lot of hard work in the evenings to manage your online
activity/campaigns but you can definitely build up something yourself.
downside is that it is all a lot of work. I generally spend about 30 to 40 hours
on Fourteen Twentysix per week next my day job (running a company). You would
guess most time goes into making music but that's absolutely not the case. I
spend most of my time managing things (rehearsals, shows, planning) and doing
Internet promotion. The whole online digital social revolution is definitely our
cup of tea and I love doing it. The downside is that you are left with precious
little time to work on your new album.
is the gigs scene in your area these days and do you have any problems getting
gigs ? What
is your plans for next year ?
pretty tough. The scene is changing fast, where small venues and bars don’t book
bands anymore because of the financial risks. On the other side the big venues
only book established bands because of the same financial risks. I run a company
so I totally understand this practice, but it does make it hard for starting
bands to get going. Add our niche style music to that and you can imagine we
have to work really hard to get shows.
try not to worry about it too much and just stay positive. Work hard, meet
people, make good music and stay active online. If you have a busy Facebook
page, weekly updates everywhere and people Tweeting about you it definitely
helps making a good impression. Bookers look at your website too and it makes a
difference if they see you go a long way attracting fans and making something
wrap up this interview, is there anything you want to add to this interview
are very excited about our new album we are recording at the moment. It’s the
first new chapter after Lighttown and its very, very different. The entire band
is now writing and contributing which results in some amazing stuff. It feels
great to not do it alone again. I’m happy :)
like to invite everyone who likes our stuff to become a Fan on Facebook and drop by our website to read our new album recording diary. Also, we plan to launch a fund-raising
campaign soon for our new album. We will post news of that on our site after the
holidays. It will include a first sneak peak into our new music, its a great way
to support us.
everyone for your great interest and response! Thanks!
Thank you to Chris Van Der Linden for this interview
His PA profile is here and homepage's here
Edited by toroddfuglesteg - December 25 2010 at 15:57