Knight Area interview August 2007.
The Dutch Knight Area is absolutely one of my favorite prog-rock bands.
Q: How do you see the CD's chance on a very complex market of today? To me "Under a new Sign” is a superb album in the progressive genre. I really liked your first album – but it seems that you have taken the best of all these prime years and updated the sound and you maturing along the way?
A: Gijs Koopman: Like I said before, the first album was a project. The songs where constructed on the hard disc recorder. To make the new album we used a totally different approach. We worked all the songs out as a band and everyone was able to put his own idea into it.
Mark Vermeule: I think it’s quite natural for a band to evolve. Even if all the musicians had participated on the first album, the second would have been different. About our chances on the market: I would be lying if I said that we don’t care about how much records we sell, but the important thing is that we all have to agree on the final result. We have to like what we hear ourselves. If there’s a market for it, great! If not, well, we have a lot of fun discussing ;)
Q: What are your main influences in music? You have of course been there for a while – and naturally you (both as a member of a band and as a solo artist) being an influence to young bands, too! But who did you listen to when you were 15 (and performed in front of the mirror;-) ? I know your music has been compared with the works of Pendragon, IQ and/or Marillion in the past...
A: Gijs Koopman: I consider myself as one off the “old school”. I’m influenced but names as Chris Squire and Michael Rutherford. I wanted to play like Chris Squire when I was around 15. The fact is that I bought my first bass guitar at the age of 23. I learned myself to play. 7 months after I took up the bass for the very first time I did my audition for Cliffhanger. Of course I told no one that I was green as grass because after only 7 months I could play very well for a beginner. No one noticed and I was hired!
Mark Vermeule: I started playing about 15 years ago, because I liked … The Shadows!!! I actually played in a Shadows cover band when I was 13. Since then I’ve really been into solo guitarists like Hendrix, Satriani, Vai, Malmsteen, etc. It wasn’t until 1996 I guess that I got interested in progressive rock / metal, after listening to Dream Theater.
Q: The hard rock genre as well the more melodic genres – but also the more digestible progressive genre has suffered from less attention the last 5 years, but I think I can sense a certain optimism nowadays with new record companies, lots of websites, and lots of discussion groups on the Internet - how do you see the genre? And do you think the Internet is a help to promote your genre in general? You started out on a major label and has been on a small one – but this one is independent (and your own) isn’t it?
A: >Gijs Koopman- Our label is independent indeed but, it’s not ours. It is managed by Ken Golden. The Lasers Edge is one of the biggest labels of our genre. Progressive rock is doing very well in Europe at this moment. It will always be hard of course because we don’t want to make commercial concessions. We all have a regular job and it’s a hobby. It would be great to make a living out of this but that is beyond our reach I’m afraid. Nevertheless we have a lot of attention on the radio as well in the media. If we’ll continue what we’re doing now we’ll never know what lies ahead…
Q: Can you give a detailed describtion of the tracks on the album? Do you have a concept or are the tracks fragments from a life in the Netherlands;-)?
A: Gijs Koopman: I think it’s not easy to do that because the album is one peace to me. We gave it a feel of a concept album. Some theme’s and tunes are repeated all over the album to make it coherent. The album opens with "DM (A Different Man) #1" with fade in of storm sounds. The album end’s with "DM#2" also fading out with the same storm sound. When you replay this album in repeat you experience it as a circle. DM 1&2 is the “epic of the album and it’s a great pleasure to play this live. I like "Exit L.U.M.C." because it has a real “progressive” feeling. All the elements of the genre are in it. It’s a mini symphony. "Mastermind" has a more “prog metal” approach but than in our own distinguishable way. The title track is the instrumental. It is very groovy and a bit jazzy. I played the best bass parts on this peace.
Mark Vermeule: I also like "Dreamweaver" very much. This song has got it all: a bit prog metal, a bit symfo, dynamic, catchy chorus, great solo …
Q:How about yourself? What are you up to these days? And how about a tour in the future – including Denmark of course;-)?
A: Gijs Koopman: Recently I was a whole day with Gerben in the studio to record sound effects for the next album. We are thinking of a concept album. I think it will be a darker album then the previous one. Yes we’d like to visit Denmark and do a tour through Europe. When the time is ready we’ll come! Thanks Steen!
Q: I hope to see you in Denmark or some place in Europe then !?
Thank you very much for your time. I hope that Knight Area will give it a go in 2007! Good luck with the new project, too!
Steen E. Pejtersen