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Sun Caged - A chat with Rob and Marcel
[b]It was a beautiful day in Limburg, Lottum, and a perfect location for an interview with progressive metal sensation Sun Caged. Metalrage reporter Mat-Core, spoke with Marcel Coenen and Rob van der Loo.[/b] [img][/img] [b]M: First question then, how did Sun Caged came to exist?[/b] MC: It started in 1999. With the drummer I�ve played in a Pantera cover band. That worked out well. Then I called Rob, who I knew from a demo he once put in my hand. Then we started out with 3 men, writing some songs. In the first beginning we had drawn 3 guest musicians�.. 3 Guest vocalists and a keyboard player. With them we made an album, Scarwinter. That was somewhere in 2000. Short after that we begin searching for some musicians for a steady band. Then Joost came with us, and we recorded the songs Killer Banshee and Caught In A Web by Dream Theater in the Harrow studios for a Tribute, but that wasn�t brought out after all. We had some guest vocalists for that one too. Then Sascha came with us and we recorded another Demo, Dominion R: That means we only exist since 2001. MC: Then Sascha let us know it was starting to get busier every day, and then he told us he wanted to play for the fun of playing, and that it was getting out of hand for him. Then we were looking for another vocalist, and then Andre joined us. R: A year ago MC: Yes, then we recorded the promo and that�s a little bit how it went. [b]M: Okay, well the next question is about the name Sun Caged. The band name is Sun Caged, Your album is called Sun Caged and the second song on the album is also Sun Caged, what is the thought behind that name?[/b] R: Hmm, that you should ask Dennis MC: Ehmm, well, I believe it was because Dennis heard a song from Simply Red on the radio, and in that song they sang about something like Caged and Sun and he actually thought it was funny and then we took that name. But you can see it on different ways. About humanity in the world that on all fronts is working against each other in the sense of wars and you name it! And that you actually are caged. You can also go deep into the meaning but actually we don�t have a message with it. R: We just wanted to have a name (laughs) MC: Yeah, gheghe [b]M: How have you become playing progressive (power) metal. You all have different influences in this band, like Meshuggah and even Fusion.[/b] R: Well, in the first beginning it was the plan to begin a project like Ayreon and also with more vocalists, guest vocalists. Well, then we decided to play Progressive metal, because we all had some experience with that music style. I was in some progressive bands before Sun-Caged and Dennis was in Within Temptation. We wanted to mix different styles into the music, like Fusion and the harder kinds of metal. MC: We also love the harder kinds of metal R: Yeah, a bit Meshuggah like. [b]M: Well about your album then, is there a red line that a listener can follow when he listens to this album, or are they just some songs packed together?[/b] MC: It isn�t a concept album. The songs on the album are a compilation of the older songs and the newer songs. We just put together the best things we�ve made in the last years and put that on the album. We wanted to create it in our own style and that�s how we�ve recorded the album. There isn�t a red line like a concept album, but we are planning to do a concept album for the next record. We are thinking about that. R: I must say that the songs are a little bit moderated in comparison to the older versions. When Andre entered the band it just was right to make new lyrics for the songs. That were the songs that Sasha wrote, which were moderated. Andre moderated the lyrics and the titles of the songs. That means that Andre wrote all the lyrics for the album. MC: In the older versions you can hear prominent differences, the title of the demo Dominion was called Closing In and what now is called Closing In is there called Sides and what now is The Eight Day was called The Escape. So there are total different lyrics in the song. A typical example is the song Scarwinter. Which is now Sun Caged and that was the first song we have ever written. That was kind of the idea for the title of the album, as Sun-Caged was our first song. The fact is that this song kind of tells you the whole concept idea behind the things where Sun-Caged stands for, heavy metal as well calmer songs. So there is a little bit of everything in this record. [b]M: About the promotion of your album, how is that going? Have you had some nice gigs or opportunities for it and stuff like that?[/b] MC: Yeah, well, the album isn�t brought out yet, it will be released at the 22nd of October and then we�ll start promoting the album. We do have a cd presentation planned. We have done some cool shows indeed; we were for instance the opening act for Queensryche. We opened for then in Juny of this year and that was a great experience and I think we�ve certainly won some metalhearts. The reactions were above all positive. R: That we�ve gotten some new fans yes. [b]M: Yeah, that surely should be a great experience, I saw it on the bill and was quite impressed by it too.[/b] R: Hehe, yes indeed. MC: Yeah we�ve had some, but we hope to play a lot more after the cd release, we are going to be doing a mini tour with Amaran, a Swedish band. We have 3 shows with them and uhm, the cd presentation, as I said before and we are going to play with Dead Soul Tribe in December. We are hoping for some more opportunities for the promotion. R: I have to say that we had about 10 reviews on the new album and they were very positive. I haven�t seen one review with a mark below the 9. So that�s quite good I have to say. We are quite proud of that [b]M: Yeah, I sure believe that, well next question then. What is the future going to bring for you?[/b] MC: That�s a difficult question. Well, first of all, many gigs to play of course. To promote the album and the name Sun Caged has to be known with the audience. I think that�s to be reached by playing many shows and to let your face be seen. And the play your balls off as to say it. Of Course we have to keep writing new material we already have some material for the new record. We�ll be putting different styles in it, like Fusion, as we had in our older songs, those influences will be be more prominent on the next album. They are not so prominent on this album so that�s why. I think we�ll be playing a lot and then somewhere in Spring next year we�ll start to begin the writing process for the next album. We hope to finish that record in about 2 years. [b]M: Well, now I have a question as a musician, as I play the bass guitar myself. In one song you play the Chapman Stick. What do you want to create with that?[/b] [img][/img] R: The Chapman Stick, well I don�t know how well you are familiar with the Stick? [b]M: Only from seeing it and hearing it.[/b] R: Well the Chapman Stick� [b]M: I saw you use it on Jamrock, and that�s why this question popped in my mind.[/b] R: Owh, okay. Well, the Chapman Stick, is, as the name foretells it, invented by Emmet Chapman. It created a huge development of the tapping technique and he invented an instrument were you could play Bass and Guitar at the same time. It�s a bit like a piano, with the independency of the different fingers etcetera. What you can do with a Stick is to fill a lot of guitar parts and playing bass fills. The fine thing about the Stick is that it gives a much different sound that an ordinary bass guitar. You can play more Funky like stuff and that�s the reason why I use it in the song Four Gilders now. That concentrates itself more in higher regions of tunes. MC: Sometimes, it sounds even like a harp. And you can play nice spherical things with it. R: Yeah, if you play a lot with effects then you can do some enormous cool things with it. We want to work with sounds capes more often and with those effects you can do incredible things. It�s because Marcel and Joost play more twin voice parts and I want to fill that up. I used the Stick a lot in the band where I played before Sun Caged, Rock Fiction and that was a three men band with drums, guitars and bass. There was no vocalist and we just tried things on the instruments. [b]M: Well, You use 7 stringed guitars. I thought that was quite uncommon in progressive rock/metal. Why did you used them?[/b] MC: Yeah, well, you just have more possibilities; you can reach more �ranges� and a much bigger sounds cape. I use 7 strings in the low region. You can use it in many ways and tune it from E to a high A. But I use a low B. I enjoy the heavier sound and that may be used sometimes. I�m looking for that low, pumping sound and that I want to use in the music too. But I must say now that we will be going even lower on the next record R: Yeah, a lot lower. [b]M: That was what I enjoyed on Jamrock, as I expected just an ordinary prog metal band. I liked the phat Meshuggah riffs in the songs.[/b] MC: Well, I must say that there are some other bands which do the same thing. Dream Theatre uses it also, so. R: Yeah, but it depends on the way you do it. [b]M: Marcel, you have brought out your solo album Guitar Talk. How have people react to this album and what brought you to the idea of making a solo album?[/b] MC: Well, I was in the Dutch Guitar Championships in 1998 and I needed some songs for that. I had to write some instrumental things, which I could record on a demo and send that to the DGC. So I recorded 4 songs on a tape. It was done with ideas I already had for a long time, which I combined in a song. That wasn�t that much and it was more `gepiel` on the guitar. Well, I sent that demo in and the reactions were good enough to enter the DGC. Very well, I finished as fourth on the championships and I was first in the Rock Guitarist section. That gave me an endorsement with Ibanez. Then I stood for a problem. They asked me to do clinics, well, I wanted to do them, but I hadn�t any songs. So I started to write solo songs to explain my ideas. So that�s when I started to write songs, I had some ideas left from the past. Things I used to play. I came out with 9 songs, and in 1999 I had a CD-R with the songs on it, which I sold as Guitar Talk at my clinics to people who were interested. When we signed with Lion Records, I eventually got a mail with the question if Guitar Talk was still available, when it wasn�t an original released record. I asked Lars ( Lion Music, Mat-Core) if he was interested, and he was. Then I sent him a shitload of things which I mastered again. I also let the artwork be redesigned and that�s how it is now be found in the stores. [b]M: Well, if I wanted to buy this album, what can I and the other people who want to buy it expect from it, a prolonging of the Sun-Caged material or different things?[/b] MC: No, not in the smallest thing. There are of course some Progressive influences in it but it�s completely instrumental and there aren�t any vocals on it. It isn�t just some nice riffs after each other, but a real song. There is a structure in it, like an intro, a chorus and an ending. A little bit on the Satriani (Joe Satriani, Mat-Core) way. I tried to make it a little catchier. There are very spherical, at ease song like Moyra and Endless and there are heavy songs like Independence Day. [b]M: I enjoyed the cover of the Dutch anthem `the Wilhelmus` too.[/b] MC: Yeah, well, that was an assignment I got for the Dutch Guitar Championships. [b]M: You played that song on the clinic at Jamrock[/b] MC: Yeah, true. [b]Well, now I have a question for both of you. How have you started with your instrument. You, Rob on the bass, and you Marcel on the guitar? Who were your first influences? Etcetera[/b] R: Yeah well, in the past I was more in the Hard Rock scene, Thin Lizzy and Protocol. I picked up the bass and my thing was to mutilate the strings with a plectrum and go as hard as I could. Yeah, well, my musical taste changed a lot through time and in the first beginning I was already proud when I could produce some tunes. When time flew by I started to listen more to Guitar music, like Satriani and Dream Theatre of course and suddenly I got the chance to play in a Progressive band. I really enjoyed that because of the other techniques, most of all the tapping technique. That the technique I use a lot nowadays. That also includes Slapping, that developed quite well. Also I changed a little in the amount of strings (laughs) That increased a little bit ( Rob uses 7-stringed bass guitars and a 12 stringed Chapman Stick, Mat-Core) [img][/img] MC: A little bit ghegheghe R: Once I started to play fretless also. I also got a little endorsement with Warwick. So I could got a 6 stringed fretless custom made bass guitar. Then I started to deepen into Fusion, like Sean Malone and Gary Willis of Tribal Tech. Then I got an endorsement with Conklin guitars and I have let build the 7 stringed bass. In a few months, a few weeks actually my signature model will be brought out and that will be a 9 Stringed bass! [b]M: I know of Conklin guitars by a bass player, Bill� Something[/b] R: Bill Dickins [b]M: Yeah him.[/b] R: That bald man. M: Yeah, I saw a video of him playing that 9 string beast. R: Bill is indeed a very good bass player and very nice guy. I had contact with him a couple of times through Conklin. They make instruments for many musicians, for instance they created a guitar for Steve Vai. They are very high quality instruments, which are greatly finished and worked out. And the hardware is very good. You also can let build anything you want. If you have an idea and you give it to Conklin, who is a great master, he�ll create it for you. MC: Well, for me it started out when I was around 11 years, when I visited a Golden Earring gig. Then I saw that podium, and I told my mother: I want that too. Then the misery started and my mother bought me a guitar for Christmas. Then I started with guitar lessons and when I was 13 I played in some cover bands. We played things like Iron Maiden, AC/DC and things like that. When I was 16 years old, there was a band here in the neighbourhood, Speedica was their name, who fired their guitarist and asked me with the question if I wanted to play with them. They saw me once live, and I guess they found it interesting enough to have me, I don�t know. I wasn�t familiar with speed metal then. I knew Slayer a little bit and I hated it then. My world was Iron Maiden and nothing much more. But I entered the world of Speed metal then and I began liking it very much, when I finally entered that band. And in 1993 I came along some guys at Dynamo Open Air and they asked me if I wanted to begin a Progressive band with them. That was the beginning of Lemur Voice, where I recorded 2 records with. And in 2000, uhmm, 1999 actually I began with this sir over here, (laughs) [img][/img] R: Gheghe MC: I was influenced by a great many of things, in the beginning it was Iron Maiden, I really enjoyed that and Thin Lizzy of course. I listened to Metallica a lot and I figured those songs out note by note and I kept going for that. I found it very cool to play that too and for years I was a Die-Hard fan. Well, throughout the years many things were added to that list. At a time I discovered Rush and I bought many albums from them. I also was somewhere in the Symphonic corner in the time I started with Lemur Voice. And Satriani of course, I listen a lot to guitar music. That was very important to me. A long time ago I also listened to Malmsteen (Yngwie, Mat-Core) but now I don�t listen to that anymore. Now I�m totally into Steve Morse, I really enjoy that guy. Eric Johnson, and Allan Holdsworth, who I�m going to see live again soon, so�. ( makes a delightful sound) [b]M: My last question is about the future after guitar talk. Are you going to record something after Guitar Talk?[/b] MC: Ehmm, yes I�m working to get a band formed around it because I don�t want to do my next Solo album all by myself. I want to record the songs with a drummer and a bass player. I�ve found those musicians already. The Drummer is Roel van Helden, and the bass player is Arnold Rerimassi and we intend to jam a lot and to write some songs. It will be a different style; it won�t be that much metal as Guitar Talk was. It will more tend to Jazz, Funk, Fusion, Latin and Pop. Owh, there will be Rock and Metal on it of course, but it won�t be only metal. I think that depends a little on how Sun Caged will do it. If Sun Caged becomes big, then this will be put lower on the priority list. And when not, then I�ll give it more attention. [b]M: Okay, well, same question for you Rob. Are you planning a solo career?[/b] R: (very eagerly) Yes! I intend to. A little while ago I recorded a MCD, a demo cd called Six Arms. I played some Stick work on that. Its more easier listening music, like Fusion and things like that. And now I have got the interest with Lion Music, It couldn�t be more obvious of course, gheghe. And I intend to begin a new solo project, this time including vocal lines. I�ve asked some vocalists already. Ehmm, Andre Vuurboom of Sun Caged, Nick Hameury from Form ( Muffled voice�. Mat-Core), I don�t know if you know him. He sang with the Scarwinter demo. Ehmm, Irene Jansen, that�s the sister of Floor Jansen (After Forever, Mat-Core), she sang with Star One. And Ron Thal, with who we did a tour together once. He�s a killer guitarist by the way and very good vocalist. And the drummer is Peter Wildoer, from Darkane. [b]M: That isn�t bad!![/b] R: Not very bad indeed gheghe, yeah and Joost from Sun Caged for the keyboards. Myself, I�ll do the bass work, Stick work and a little bit of Baritone guitars. I also have some guest musicians. On guitar, Of Course, Marcel here. Ron Thal, who I mentioned earlier. James Murphy plays along, who also played with Testament. On the bass I have Steve Digorgio ( Ex-Death, Testament, Mat-Core), Sean Malone, of Cynic. And two Stick players, Greg Howard and Ron Baggerman. I don�t know if you know them, but in the Stick world they are the 2 biggest names. [b]M: Greg Howard is to be seen in a instruction video on the site, and yes him I know, but the other guy not.[/b] R: Greg Howard is known as the best Stick player in the world. I know them all personally because the Stick world isn�t that big and everybody knows each other. Ron Baggerman is a Dutch stick player from Gouda and he is a master in this area. Yes. [b]M: That was the end of it, and I wish you good luck with the show to come. Thanks for the Interview[/b] MC & R: No Problem. For more info about Marcel, Rob and Sun-Caged [url][/url] [url][/url] [url][/url]
Details Written on 2005-01-01
Writer @Mat-Core

Tags: #Sun Caged