After I heard the excellent two-track
promo Meditation Among Demons from the Dutch band Septuagint I felt that
I needed to find out more about this band. I got in touch with the drummer
Berry Loeffen from the band in order to find
out more, and here is the interview:
Thomas: Hi Berry. Let me just start with
saying that I really appreciate that you are taking the time to answer
my questions and letting me and the readers of Metal Covenant know what's
up with Septuagint. So, lets start with the questions: Apart from your
promo Meditation Among Demons I'm sorry to say that you are unknown to
me, can you start by telling us a little about the band?
Berry: We've started out in 1991, and since
then we've had a lot of line-up changes. In fact, the only original
member left is singer Cees. Over the years we held on to the traditional
thrash, speedmetal, and of course we're also influenced by new styles
that has come by, but the roots always remained. Our
first release was in 1994, our demotape 'Septuagint'. After that came
the mini-album '...My Darkest Domain' (1998) which resulted in our
first Dutch clubtour. It attracted the attention of a small record
company who signed us and with them we recorded our first full-length
CD 'When Good & Evil fall in Love'. But before the album was released,
the company broke up, so we had to bring out the CD ourselves, even
though the result wasn't what we had hoped for, due to the production
which wasn't what Septuagint should sound like. That's the reason
why we took the lead in our hands again, and recorded the promo 'Meditation
Among Demons' to show what we are really about. Now we finally have
a recording that we believe in again and all of us are working hard
to promote it throughout the world. And by the reactions we get, our
believe grows stronger every day.
Thomas: The name Septuagint, is there a
story behind your choice of name? And what does Septuagint mean?
Berry: The story behind the name has been long
forgotten, since the guy who came up with it had left the band many
years ago. The meaning however, we've looked it up in the encyclopedia:
the English spelling of the Latin appellation for the Greek translation
of the Old Testament. That's it...
Thomas: Listening to your promo I sense
a lot of American thrash music in it, am I wrong or is it that kind of
music that is your main influence?
- Berry: We all listen a lot to the American
thrash scene, we grew up with it! We're all influenced (consciously
or subconsciously) by hero's like Testament, Exodus, Forbidden, Metallica,
Slayer, Iced Earth, Nevermore and all the others. But we're also great
fans of the European scene, like Iron Maiden, Saxon, Helloween, Judas
Priest, Motörhead, Destruction, Kreator.
Every bandmember brings in his favourites, and combined you'll get the
music that we make.
Thomas: How is the song-writing process
in the band? Do you come up with songs individually or do you write together?
Or does someone write the music while someone else writes the lyrics?
Berry: The main song structures and riffing
are written by Mike (guitars). Then in the rehearsal room the whole
band kicks the song into its final shape, filling it in with their
own ideas. I (Berry) write all the lyrics according to a story line
which started with 'Good & Evil'. Then Cees and I adept them to
the songs. After that we play the song intensively so all the weak
points come out so they can be corrected and after a month or so,
a new song is born.
Thomas: Your music is in the trash-genre
whilst the lyrics seems to be more of the powermetal-genre, how do you
combine these two elements? Where do you find inspiration for the music
as well as inspiration for the lyrics?
Berry: The music and the lyrics are written
separately. While the music is a combination of all the members of
Septuagint, the lyrics come only from me. The influence for the music
are the bands we listen to. The lyrics are telling a story I came
up with during writing the lyrics for the 'Good & Evil' CD, and
it turned out to be more than just one part. So I kept on writing...
Cees combines the two by singing the lyrics over the songs, and cursing
me when a lyric is far to difficult to be sung. Then it's back to
the writing table...
Thomas: When I'm looking at your promo I
doesn't seem to find any information about any record-label, have you
produced and released it by yourselves? And if so, will that be the case
with your forthcoming album?
We have produced and released the promo ourselves, because we didn't
want anyone to interfere with our music or the production this time,
because with 'Good & Evil'we experienced towhat result that can
lead. This time we wanted to be sure it would sound like we wanted
it, without having to argue with someone else. For the next album
we hope to get a new record deal who will record the album, but it
will have to be a company who has the same ideas as we have. If not,
then we'll record and release it ourselves again. But we have good
hope the perfect company is out there.
Thomas: Comparing with the promo, is it
the same kind of music that we can expect from the coming album?
Berry: Yes, it's the same kind. In fact, the
two songs on the promo will also get a place on the new album. The
rest of the songs are almost finished, all in the same style but with
a lot of diversity. From very high speed thrash songs to heavy mid-tempo
powers songs to semi-ballad songs, all in Septuagint style. We're
really looking forward recording and releasing it, and to hear what
the people think of it.
Thomas: What else can you tell us about
the upcoming album? What will it be called, where are you recording, who
is producing and when will it be released?
Berry: There's no title yet. Although I write
all the lyrics, the album title will have to be one that we all can
relate to, so it won't be final until we're going to record it. But
when we know it, we'll let you know. Where we're recording will be
depending on what label we sign to, but we hope we can go back to
the studio where we recorded 'Meditation Among Demons' and work with
the same people again. We hope we can release the next album in the
second half of the next year.
Thomas: Are there any plans for future
touring after the release of the album? It would be really great to see
you live, and why not as special guests to a "bigger" band,
so that we in the north of Europe can get a chance to see you performing
Berry: It's difficult for an unsigned band
to plan a whole tour, but we're planning a lot of concerts in Holland.
We also have a few contacts in Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg and Sweden,
and we're talking with the German band Exotherm to form a package
to play concerts in Europe. So we hope it won't take long before you
see us live!
Thomas: Which is your best concert experience,
both with Septuagint and other bands you've seen?
Berry: The best
concert experience we had with Septuagint was definitely the clubtour
we did in 1999. So many gigs in such a short time, it was great! That's
what we are doing it for in the first place! For me the best other
concerts are the first time I saw Iron Maiden ever!!! Wow, my heroes...
live! The other one I'll never forget was a concert of Rammstein in
the Melkweg in Amsterdam. There were only 100 people in the audience,
but they burned the place like there were thousands... Those two I
will never forget.
Thomas: Which albums is your favourites?
If I asked you to list the top five albums of your choice, which ones
would it be?
1. Powerslave - Iron Maiden
2. Reign In Blood - Slayer
3. Tragic Kingdom - No Doubt
4. The Gathering- Testament
5. The Sound of Perseverance - Death
If you want to know what the favourites are for the rest of the band,
just look on the website.
Thomas: Having little or almost no knowledge
about metal in Holland, what can you tell us about the metal-scene there?
How does people respond to metal in Holland?
Berry: There is
a very large scene in Holland, a very diverse scene too. There are
also very many good bands, so it's hard to stand out, to break through
to the top. The Dutch audience knows what it likes, and demands quality,
so as a band you'll have to give everything to satisfy them. But that's
also the challenge.
Thomas: And to round this off I would only
like to say a big thank you for taking the time to share this with us,
and if there is anything more you would like to add or share with the
readers of Metal Covenant, please do
Well, that will be all the questions I have for now Berry,
thank you for bringing metal music to us and Metal Covenant wishes you
all the best for what the future has in hold for Septuagint.
Keep it heavy,