SINISTER (Aad Kloosterwaard) INTERVIEW
There are hundreds, if not thousands, of bands that play Death Metal music nowadays, but not many of them are like the Dutch trio Sinister who have been persistently releasing good quality albums and which have been serving this extreme genre for the last twenty three years! My initial intention was to arrange a quick chat over the phone with the band’s vocalist Adrie Kloosterwaard, but as the band is currently busy rehearsing for a short European tour, I had to rely on the wonders of modern technology to get some answers to my questions. Well, a week or so after I sent my questionnaire to the band I received Aad’s responses regarding the band’s latest opus “Legacy Of Ashes”, the band’s current situation and their plans for the future.
By Yiannis (John) Stefanis.
1. Aad, thank you very much for taking the time to do this interview. First of all, I want to wish you a happy new year and my hopes for health and personal happiness! How did you spend the festive season?
Aad: Thanks for your friendly words and of course no problem for doing this interview with you. I think what everybody is doing is spending time with their families.
2. How are things in the Sinister camp at the moment? We are aware that the band is looking for a new bass player, so, can you please tell us what are the attributes that a musician ought to have in order to become a member of the Sinister family?
Aad: At the moment we practise really hard for the upcoming live gigs that we have to start doing again… (laughs) At the moment that we are doing this interview we have already found a new Bass player for Sinister. What you need to join Sinister is first love for death metal. Then, of course, you need to have the skills and that is the most important, when you don’t have this the story is over right away. Also really important is to give 100% for Sinister when you like doing things 75% it is pretty much end of story (laughs)…simple but the way things have to be for us.
3. “Legacy Of Ashes” is one hell of an album, one that I am fairly sure that you are really proud of. Have other music journalists been equally enthusiastic about it? Are you satisfied with the reviews that the album has thus far received?
Aad: Good to hear that you like “Legacy of Ashes” that much – we feel the same about it! Yes man, of course I am proud of this record! I think we made a lot of old school Sinister fans really happy with this record. Till now we can be really pleased with the reviews that “Legacy of Ashes” gets. Of course there are magazine that say that “The Silent Howling” was better, but this all has to do with personal taste, right?
4. As far as I understand “Legacy Of Ashes” was recorded by a trio, so am I to assume that it was Alex Paul who handled bass as well as guitar duties for this one, having already performed such duties for the band in the period between 1997-2003.
Aad: Yes we did this as a trio because there was no other way as Bas (note: Van Den Bogaard/bass) left the band one week before the recordings. Alex was the one who did the bass as you know and I see you know he was first our bass player so for him it was no big deal to do this.
5. The album has a very modern but also quite meaty production which enables all instruments to ‘breathe’ freely and stand on their own. How much time did you guys spent at Soundlodge Studios and how would you describe the overall experience?
Aad: The sound is outstanding I think. You are right in saying that you can hear every instrument really clear and that is the way it has to be. Even though Sinister is an old school Death Metal band we don’t want to have this sound anymore. Nowadays, you can create such a great sound that you will be stupid not to take advantage of it. We had a complete time of three weeks to record, mix and master this monster. For us this was more than enough because when it’s good its good – why go on for weeks when it’s already perfect in a shorter time?
6. As the leader of the band your word must be the law, amongst the members of the band. Did you ‘impose’ similar authority in the studio too, or did you allow Jörg Uken to call the shots? Did the fact that Jörg worked with fellow countrymen God Dethroned make him the obvious choice for the role of the producer of the new album?
Aad: First of all my words are not the law at all! Alex and I have been working together for more than twelve years in this band so his words are as important as mine – believe me when I say this. Now we record what we like and nobody else can say to us how we have to do this or not – not even Jorg Uken! Jorg is a great producer so when he comes up with an idea and it sounds good for us, we will listen to what he has to say, but if after that we still don’t like it, nothing will happen with it (laughs).
7. When it comes to recording material you never seem to follow a conventional approach in the sense that, and with the exception of the debut “Cross The Styx”, no other Sinister full length has reached the ten track limit. That is something I personally admire, especially as it means that albums such as “Legacy Of Ashes” has no fillers whatsoever! Do you deliberately stay away from the ‘filler’ track?
Aad: Man, it’s so good to talk with somebody how knows what he is talking about… great! Yes, we will never record fillers to enable the album to reach a certain playing time! It’s better to record eight good tracks than eleven, when some of those will be sh*t. Of course I know that record companies like to have long CDs as they sell better and we understand that, but for us it’s hard to record more songs knowing for ourselves that we won’t like some of them.
8. Your album covers have always been quite emotive and powerful. Is there a special message that you want to convey with Mike Hrubovcak’s offering? How does it relate to the music on offer?
Aad: I am always the one that comes with a new cover idea for the next record and the band lets me free with this. When I have an idea, I will contact Mike to say what I like to have. This guy is so good and he understands right away what I mean and need. As every artist does, he will add something from him into it and that is really OK with me. When I came up with the title “Legacy of Ashes” I started right away thinking what kind of cover would fit to the title and I came up with the one you saw. Of course I have to thank Mike so much for this masterpiece he created.
9. Aad, much as I like every single composition on offer there are a few that really stand out, such as the opener “Into The Blind World”, the quite dynamic “The Sin Of Sodomy” as well as the quite atmospheric, in parts, “Righteous Indignations”. Can you tell us a few secrets behind these little gems?
Aad: There are no secrets behind these tracks, I am sorry to have to tell you this! Every track comes out the way it does! We always try to make our songs as good as possible. Sometimes we are working on three songs at the same time time and when some parts don’t fit in one song we try them in another order and that is the way we move things forward. It is absolutely great to hear from you that you like these tracks, but maybe someone else will think differently and like the other tracks more… it’s, once again, all about personal taste.
10. Your vocals are quite brutal yet, at the same time, far more comprehensible than those of most ‘throat-orientated’ singers nowadays. Is there a specific technique that you are using which brings such impressive results?
Aad: Thanks man… I do not really have a special technique or anything like that when it comes to my vocals. I open my throat and this is what comes out! Of course, I don’t like to sing simply as deep as possible so that the end result is only brutal and nothing more, but I try to sing in such a way that you can almost hear what I am saying without the lyrics in front of you. This is they way I like it and the rest of the band agrees with my approach.
11. Aad, without wanting to steal anybody’s thunder here, I believe that “Legacy Of Ashes” would not sound the same had it not been for Edwin van den Eeden’s contribution. Having yourself been the drummer of the band in the period 1988–2003, how would you evaluate Edwin as a performer?
Aad: Edwin is a great drummer that’s why he is in the band by us. Don’t forget that Alex had a big hand in this. He is the one how makes the tracks and know what kind of drum parts have to come in his music. He is telling Edwin what he has to play. Of course we are happy that Edwin is able to do this, so Edwin came to this great result also because of Alex, I have to say.
12. What are the plans with regards the promotion of “Legacy Of Ashes”? Are you planning on shooting a video, something that most bands do nowadays?
Aad: It’s funny that you ask me this now because not so long time ago we were talking about this. Maybe it will be cool to do a video as we haven’t done this so far so…who knows – maybe you will see one out soon!
13. I am ashamed to admit that I have not yet seen Sinister live, something that I hope will change in the near future. So far, you have advertised a few gigs in Poland, Russia and France – is there any chance that we might see you on UK soil also?
Aad: We like to come to the UK of course. So if there will be an agency who would like to bring us over there, then we will come for sure.
14. According to Blabbermouth, Poland’s Metal Mind Productions is planning the release of a box set that’s entitled “Altered Since Birth” – a box set that will contain all of Sinister’s studio albums and your DVD “Prophecies Denied”. Is this release endorsed/supported by the band?
Aad: We are proud that this will box will come out and we simply cannot wait! This will be cool, having all our CDs in one box together with the live DVD and a ninety six page booklet with tons of pictures in it… fu*king cool. Metal Mind contacted me with an idea to bring out a Sinister box with all our CDs except “Legacy of Ashes”…what else can I say than…yes – killer! So if what I say is right, the box set will come out on the 14th of February.
15. Aad, as a founding member of the band, what are the proudest moments thus far in your career with Sinister and what is it that you would further like to achieve with them?
Aad: There are so many moments to be proud of. What do you think of being able to travel around the world and see every country? And, of course, all those killer live shows we did throughout the years while making records. It would be great at some point to play all the big festivals…we have already done a lot but there are still a few big festivals for us to play at.
16. Death Metal has changed a lot since the late 80s when Sinister were first put together. As a veteran of the scene, what is your opinion of it?
Aad: Is not an easy thing for me to say. One thing’s for sure – back in the days, a lot of bands had their own sound; nowadays most bands sound the same. And another thing; back in the day, bands became big simply because they were fu*king good – nowadays it looks like what is important is to know the right people who will make you big…so music tends to come second place.
17. Most Dutch Rock & Metal bands have a very unique style and sound, regardless of style and genre – from Picture and Golden Earring to Pestilence and Sinister. Why is that, in your opinion? What is it that makes you different from other European scenes and that of the States?
Aad: For sure you are right about that. The reason for that? I don’t know! Maybe it’s because our bands like to be different than others. You have countries where when one band becomes big, all others will start playing like them! You get this a lot in the USA but, still, these guys also have a lot of amazing bands.
18. Do you listen to new music? Are there any bands/releases that you would readily recommend to us?
Aad: Of course, man, what do you think? I still love brutal music a lot. You have Ichor from Germany with a CD that’s called “Benthic Horizon”. These guys fu*king rule and they are more of a new kind of Death Metal so check them out when you can. And you also have Supreme Pain which is my other band that is really good (laughs). We just signed a contract with Massacre records – the same label as Sinister. We recorded our new CD at Soundlodge studios with Jorg Uken as a producer, some weeks ago. It is brutal evil Death Metal and our new CD will be given the title “Divine Incarnation”.
19. How would you describe a typical day in the life of Aad Kloosterwaard and what are your interests, if any, outside the band?
Aad: Going to my fu*king day job (laughs). Playing Death metal will not get me loaded with money so I need to do this. I also have a family; I live with my girlfriend and our little boy Tobias who is almost four years old, and with them I never get bored!
20. Aad, thank you for taking the time to answer my questions. The last words are yours – perhaps a message to the band’s UK fans?
Aad: Hope that you will all check out our new record! You never know – maybe you will choose to buy it and not download it (laughs). Thanks for the interview and Hail the Beast!
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