CiLiCe - Getting to know...
Just recently Holland’s mad math metal formation CiLiCe released its new album Deranged Headtrip on PMM Records. The review for the album will be online soon but in the meantime, it’s important for you to go see this band live. Why? ‘cause they rock! I did an interview with vocalist Daniël de Jongh first and decided to send another bunch of questions to guitarist Theo Holsheimer later on. Below you’ll find the result of an interview with a very interesting and good band. Read it, listen it and check ‘em out!
Hi there, how’s life?
‘Live is a bitch and than you marry one, haha! No seriously, everything is alright. We just released the new CiLiCe album Deranged Headtrip and will promote the album on our European Deranged Headtrip Tour 2009 which will be from March till June 2009. We will be gigging in about 20 different countries.’
Please introduce yourself and your band.
‘I’m Theo Holsheimer, guitarist of CiLiCe. I played in the Mendoza Dance Parti for years, recorded five albums with them. Later on I played for two years in the Dutch rap-hardcore band N3UK! When this band split up I joined the gothic metal pioneers Orphanage for about a year. Our other guitarist Remko van der Spek joined for about six years Orphanage and produced their last album Driven, which was released on Nuclear Blast. Daniël de Jongh was member of the new metal band Smogus. They did really well in the Dutch club and festival circuit for years. Philipp Moser came all the way from Germany to study drums at the Conservatorium Amsterdam and graduated at the jazz department.’
Daniël once read the word cilice in a book and you guys decided to use it for the band. Since it is kind of a religious object, why did you choose it anyway?
‘We were looking for a good name and Daniël saw this word in the book Da Vinci Code, which he was reading at that time. The cilice is a belt which had pointy needles on the inside which would leave big wounds after wearing. The device which we are talking about is an old cleansing device monks used to put around their thighs as they thought they would be purified. It’s not that we are religious of any kind, but we thought the name sounded cool and the meaning is pretty sickening, same as our music is. So in the nutshell, CiLiCe are four badass crazy motherfuckers who will make your ears bleed and let you make moves you didn’t even know you were able to make!’
CiLiCe stands for Circulating Intelligent Listening Instigates Cerebal Evolution. What exactly do you mean with that, I mean, could you simplify that in other words?
‘A long time ago we already had the name CiLiCe, but we were trying to give another swing to it. Then we were chatting away with the first vocalist of the American band Periphery and asked him if he could make up some cool sophisticated words with the letters apart from each other. Then he came up with: Circulating Intelligent Listening Instigates Cerebal Evolution, and it sounded so cool, that we just decided to use it. We are still Dutchmen and not English or American, so the people who speak the language as natives are better in it than we are (laughs).’
You claim to be influenced by great bands such as Meshuggah and The Dillinger Escape Plan, any experience so far that put a lot of pressure on the band because of this? Why do you think that is?
‘Yeah, we are influenced by the bands you mentioned, but we never felt pressure about this fact and I don’t see why we would feel that. I mean every band on this planet is influenced by music that surrounds them. When we write songs we use the same kind of rhythmic concepts but we ain’t about copying riffs or song structures. When I talk about myself I write and arrange songs the way I hear them in my head. It could be that I or Remko has a very clear vision what or where the vocals should be in the song but most of all Daniël is just jamming his vocal parts on those songs or song structures. So the whole process of writing songs comes to us very naturally.’
You all played in different bands before, what’s the most important thing from your careers you guys used in CiLiCe?
‘I think our experience in bands and the music scene. We all know if you wanna grow as a band and wanna reach people with your music you have to get out as much as possible. That’s how we started in the first place. When we finally found our drummer Philipp Moser, we rehearsed all songs in three weeks time and got on stage right away. Another important thing is to release an album. So after the first gigs we did we took a break and started to build our own rehearsal space where we could record an album, and that’s exactly what we did.’
You recorded some songs for this album before you even had a drummer and a singer, do you feel like recording these songs twice (again WITH a drummer and singer) improved the songs? If so, in what way?
‘Yeah, the song ‘Golum Servants’ for example. I wrote and recorded this song already about six years ago but if you work on it again as a band and the chemistry between bandmembers feels alright, songs develop and of course sometimes go into other directions than you thought of in the first place. An important thing is that you have to be open minded for other peoples ideas. We don’t have a problem with that, we all respect each other on a musical and personal level.’
How did you come up with the title for the album?
‘When we were recording the full length and as we approached the end of it, which made the puzzle fit tighter and tighter, you could hear the complex diversity in the music which already gave us a head trip to listen to. It gave us such a rush to hear that what we wrote became something so heavy and intense, that it almost sounded so deranged and deformed at some certain points. So when the recording was finished, we didn’t have to think about the name. It just existed and soon it became the name of the record.’
Deranged Headtrip is your first full-length album. Of course you’re touring and promoting it as much as possible right now but still I’m wondering, have you worked out any new songs already for a possible follow-up album? If so, in what way are they different from the songs on Deranged Headtrip?
‘Well, that’s a good question. If you are on the road as much as we are, there isn’t that much time to rehearse. When we rehearse we are working on new ideas and play them as soon as possible in our shows. We are not afraid to jam a little bit on stage, so we play fragments of new material on our live shows. Another thing is that before CiLiCe even started me and Remko already wrote a lot of riffs and songs, so we have a big library of song ideas. Of course on a musical level we grow personally and as a band, but that’s the fun part of it. Never stand still , keep on moving.’
What steps in your career are you most proud of?
‘I’m not really thinking that way, always looking forward and setting new goals. What’s history is history. Maybe I’m proud of the fact that we only started as CiLiCe two and half year ago from point zero and already did about 160 shows in 16 different countries and released the album Deranged Headtrip, which we get very good comments on by the way. But we all know we still have a long way to go to get things done more easily. Also we wanna record more albums, so many songs in the pocket.’
What’s up with the touring plans for now?
‘Well, the Deranged Headtrip Tour 2009 will start on the 5th of March, we’re heading over to the UK first. From there on we will be touring whole Europe, being three and a half month on the road. It’s gonna be a big adventure again, meet a lot of crazy and cool people, bands and we’ll come home with a lot of on-the-road stories for sure.’
You’ve done tours in Brazil and in other European countries. How did the crowds there react to your music back then?
‘It’s different everywhere. We had some very good shows in Brazil, but we also found out that the Brazil metal scene is still back in time. The oldskool thrash metal, grindcore and hardcore scene is big over there but they are not really aware of all new developments in the metalscene. Bands like The Dillinger Escape Plan, Ion Dissonance, Soilwork, Sikth etc. etc. they just don’t know. So we were a little bit strange to them. The reactions on our music in the Baltic states, Italy and France were awesome as well.’
And how’s that now your album has been released? Noticed any changes in the reactions already?
‘Yeah, you can say that. We get more response on our shows. People start to know the songs and that’s good. They can scream, sing and grunt along, haha. When people hear our music for the first time they often don’t know how to handle this. Our songs sound very complex for the first time but if you listen to the album and start to know the songs you’ll find out that we work just with standard song structures, a chorus, pre-chorus, verse and a bridge, nothing special.’
What was the most memorable gig up to date and why?
‘Memorable could be explained in a lot of different ways .... good, bad, funny, scary. I think a pretty weird gig we did was at the Beringer Death Festival in Germany last year on the Hellbound Tour. On our way to the gig, we came from Poland, we got a flat tire, so we arrived late at the festival. What surprised us, when we finally arrived at the festival, was that all bands and the organization were waiting for us, because the organisation didn’t arrange backline at all and were counting on us, how professional is that? Really strange ‘cause it was quite a big festival in a sport hall with thousands of people. The next thing we found out, when the program started, was that this festival was all about grindcore, so we were the only band without pignoises and constant blastbeats. Playing for a grindcore audience that only wants to hear pignoises from the slaughterhouse is quite an experience, haha. On this festival we met our Dutch fellow metal wariors Rompeprop. They were headliner and they did an awesome show, blew away all the other grindcore bands, made us proud.’
What goals would you still like to achieve?
‘We feel we just started CiLiCe. I mean, two and a half years of existence is not that long. We just wanna tour more, record more albums and hope that people who dig the kind of metal we play, will find out about CiLiCe and will come to our shows, go crazy and will support us by buying our albums and shirts. We don’t have CiLiCe condoms yet, hehe.
What’s the most precious thing you would give up to achieve that?
‘I don’t think I have to give up anything. To be a musician is just a way of life, which I’m already in for such a long time. The only thing is that you should be aware of the fact that if you do your own thing, you have to work ten times harder. I hope things will be more easy in the future. More promoters and press will find out about us, more tours will come up and that touring conditions and the money will be better.’
Touring this much is all about networking and keeping in contact with many people that can have things done for you, Daniël explained to me before. What’s the most important advice you can give to other beginning bands to achieve what CiLiCe achieved so far in a relatively short time?
‘Everybody is different, so in a band you’ve got to respect each other, that’s very important. Stick together if you’ve got a winning team and set goals. Don’t be passive. Sitting on your ass waiting for people who come up to you is a waste of time, because they simply don’t . Be aware nobody is waiting for you, there are a zillion bands around us, so you have to create your own market. Also be aware there is a lot of scum around in the music biznizz. There are those promoters around who ask money first and then promote to get work for you done. I’m very suspicious about this fact, I think a lot of those promoters make a lot of money from innocent bands, which pay them and then just don’t get anything from those promoters. In my opinion, you should first show what you’ve got.’
Well, that was my final question. Anything left to say to our readers? Here’s your chance!
‘We love to see ya all out there at our concerts, bang your head, go nutz and party with us, hell yeah!’