• Hello Elizium! Can you tell us about your band?
Hi! We started our band a long time ago and categorize our music as Dark Rock. We have a passion for music that has a strong emotional impact. We released two albums so far, the first named 'Angel of Mistrust' and the latest release called 'Relief by the Sun'. You can view our latest video on Youtube called 'Violent Flower'. We are from the Netherlands, but are playing a different kind of music compared to the Gothic metal bands our little country is known for in the international metal scene.
• I saw that you were formed in 1991. Your first demo, « Angel of Mistrust » was released in 2003. Can you explain such a long period of time?
After we started Elizium back in 1991,the first two years consisted mainly of line-up changes and playing covers of other bands, so it took a while to find the direction we wanted to take. After that Elizium became quickly familiar in the local underground scene and in 1995 we recorded the first demo ; ‘War and Knowledge’. In 1996 the band members went their separate ways and Peter Berends, Peter Röge and Gerard Manoch individually played in several other bands, only to find out we each missed the atmosphere and belief we had in Elizium. In the year 2000 we decided to bring Elizium back to life again. Unfortunately we still had some line-up changes. Peter Deurloo, our keyboard player at the time died in a car accident and it took some time to find the right bass player. Finally Erik Dijkstra joined on keyboards, and Marco Snoek on bass. And that’s why it took until 2003 to realease the ‘Angel of Mistrust’ demo.
• Now, I would talk about your new album, « Relief by the Sun ». First, what were your main influences to produce your album, is that this idea of mixing doom and gothic atmospheres you come from bands that you particularly enjoy?
Well, I guess we are all influenced by a lot of bands and the individual band members all have their own personal favourites. Those influences seem to mix very well. Peter Berends is influenced by a lot of Scandinavian metal bands (Tiamat, Paradise Lost, Amorphis, Lake of Tears, Dimmu Borgir, Arcturus) and music from the eighties (David Bowie, Talk Talk), Gerard Manoch likes to listen to older rock bands (Genesis, Rainbow), Michael Paap is a big fan of the more obscure music (like Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Ulver, Year of No Light), and Erik Dijkstra and Peter Röge are influenced by American Metal bands (Type O Negative, Life of Agony). It's not that we try to mix those influences on purpose though, we just create our music together and we all need to feel the same emotional punch in the stomach before we all accept it as appropiate.
• I notice that your musical style is rather particular, how can you really define it? I think it's hard to categorise our music and limit it to one particular genre.
There are definatelly a lot of Doom, Gothic, Metal and Rock elements in it. We prefer to call it Dark Rock. • Most of your songs are really epic.
Do you think it helps to give another dimension to your music?
The Epic dimension to our music is something we need and crave. We like to make music that you can feel, music that introduces a strong feeling of melancholy, or makes you feel like you have been punched in the stomach. We essentially make music for ourselves, and the stuff that we make needs to fit our moods and wake something up within. If we do not get that feeling about a piece of music we have made, we throw it in the garbage bin. It’s all or nothing really.
• In the song “Relief by the Sun”, you have placed electronic elements. Is this done to make your music more accessible?
Not really, it was just the right sound for that song. Hell, if the song needed a ukelele we would have put it in there... Fortunately it didn’t need a Ukelele hahaha!
• I talk about now of your first album, « Angel of Mistrust ». The quality of sound is some worse than “Relief by the Sun”. Is it because of problems with the studio or is it as if it was done on purpose, just like the black metal bands?
It's probably a combination of budget and experience. We put a lot of ideas in that album which took a lot of time to produce. Back then we didn't have the budget to spend a lot of time in the studio, so we had to do a lot of recording ourselves. Luckily that changed with the release of our second album and now the album has the production quality it deserves. Nevertheless we still are very happy with the first album and to us gives us a nice nostalgic feel.
• The artwork of « Relief by the Sun » is very mysterious. But in your texts, you speak clearly of rope (I would make the connection with the hung corpse) and tree, and the burning sun, madness, sadness, love ... Can you make the connection between all your texts and artwork, and where do you find all these ideas?
I tried to embed elements of all our songs in the artwork, so your observations are correct. Another broader element is the ever ongoing struggle between good and evil, light and darkness. The music we make always has those elements in it, regardless of the subject of the song. One of the reasons our music has an Epic touch I guess is because we try to strike a balance between strength and tragedy. No matter how dark your world might be, there's always a shimmer of light at the end of the tunnel. The cover art supports this vision by painting a stark contrast between light, happiness and beauty versus decay, darkness and tragedy. All these elements combined together with details found in the songs on the album overall visualise the universe that we try to create in our music.
• Which bands would you like to tour with? I saw that you are about to do a concert with Lacrimas Profundere. What do you feel about playing with such a big group?
Well, obviously the bands we like to listen to. I think we would put everything aside for having a chance to play with Paradise Lost, Amorphis or Lake of Tears. But in general it's great to play with bands who share the same passion for this kind of music as we do. The gig we had with Lacrimas Profundere was great, our music fit very well together that evening and there was quite a crowd attending the concert that evening. They were a nice bunch of guys so we had a very good experience there.
• What do you think about the metal scene today?
The great thing about the metal scene is the everlasting support. People embrace it like a lifestyle which is never going away. What I miss these days however is the experimenting that happened in the early days. A lot of releases these days seem to mimic other bands. But luckily there are still a lot of gems to be found.
• The French metal scene is huge, do you think that turn in France could be a good experience for your group?
For sure! A lot of really great music comes from France (like Year of No Light, Alcest, Les Discret, Amesoeurs, Celeste, Blut aus Nord, Peste Noire) which shows that there's a lively underground scene. I regard France as a country with immense creativity and sense for beauty, and it would be great to perform there. It's a shame that in Europe there is such a big focus on the regular commercial stuff (mostly from the US) while there's so much to find if people are willing to look a little bit beyond the stuff which is usually aired on the radio and on TV. We are from the Netherlands and our label is German so it's not very easy for us to find the right venues to create a tour. But we're always open to suggestions so hopefully we will be able to visit France anytime soon.
• Do you have projects for 2012?
We're trying to release our next album sooner so we are already busy writing new material. We also have discussed some thoughts for a new video. Keep an eye on our website (www.elizium.nu) for any news in 2012.
• One last word for the French fans and to readers of Les Chroniques de Béon?
Thanks for reading this, enjoy our dark music and hopefully we will meet soon!