We recently had a chat with Clemens Wijers aka Ardek, the Orchestrator/keyboardist for Carach Angren. We had this interview done before the album, ‘This is no fairy tale‘ was released and the band is on tour now. The album released via Season of Mist records, has opened to great responses. Here’s an interesting interview with Ardek!
MJM. To begin with, I would like to say that I am a huge fan of Carach Angren and I have been following you guys since you released ‘Lammendam’. It’s a great honour to interview you.
Ardek- Thanks a lot!
MJM. You would be releasing your fourth album ‘This is no fairytale’ in February. Since your each album narrates a story, can you shed some light on what the new story would be?
Ardek- On this album we continued the trend to make up a story by ourselves. Seregor one day called me and said “I have an idea for a song”. He started talking and when he was done I was completely blown away and said “This should be the story for the entire album!” And so we started working hard on it. When we write a new album we always try to reinvent ourselves without losing that what makes the core of Carach Angren. We don’t want to do the same kind of stories as we have done before so this time the theme is surrounding a fairytale but set in a modern time with a lot of hooks, twists and unexpected clues!
MJM. You released two new singles from the upcoming album. ‘There’s no place like home’ with lyrical video. Any plans on releasing the lyrics of the second single ‘Killed and served by the Devil’?
Ardek- Yes we worked with Costin Chioreanu and he did an amazing job on the videos. Maybe we will have some more surprises in promoting the album… who knows haha! Yesterday we started streaming our album entirely through some media partners so you should definitely check it out!
MJM. You recently toured US. Tell us about the crowd and the overall experience playing with other great bands like Deicide, Septic Flesh, Inqusition and Abysmal Dawn.
Ardek- This was an amazing experience. We wanted to go to the US for a long time already and to go with such a strong package was just incredible. Also, we knew we had a fan base there but we were completely blown away by the amount of people coming to the shows and wanting to see us. We really appreciate our fans everywhere, it’s amazing to see how people enjoy our music.
MJM. What difference did you see in the metal culture of US and Europe?
Ardek- US is more passionate about metal it seems, maybe that is because Europe has a long history already with the darker sub-genres of metal, but that is just a guess. Overall I like the US a lot, we definitely want to come back there as soon as possible promoting the new album.
MJM. Seregor has a unique vocal style. He uses high shrieks, growls, whispers, moaning sounds, evil laughter in the songs which supports your keyboard melodies to create a very haunting and bleak atmosphere. How did you work on it? Any inspirations?
Ardek- Thank you!! We watch movies, listen to soundtracks but overall sit down and talk about sick topics haha! We work from emotions, scenes we make up in our heads and try to put it to lyrics and music. For example when Seregor talks about a piece of the story where the children flee the house, I can get very inspired, sit down at the piano and start playing music to this scene in my head he just told me.
MJM. You had Nikos Mavridis as a guest violinist on your previous albums. Will we be hearing his violins in the new album too?
Ardek- Yes he has played some parts again on this album, he is an amazing musician and we are always very happy to have him on our records or sometimes during our live shows!
MJM. Namtar recently played with Septic Flesh for some of their live shows. So how was the experience working with them?
Ardek- Namtar helped them out on one show indeed and he liked it very much. It was different from Carach Angren of course. Now SF have found a permanent replacement on drums again. The SF guys are amazing overall, we really like to tour with them.
MJM. The symphonic parts in your songs are written by you of course. Any plans of using a full orchestra in future releases?
Ardek- That would be amazing of course. I try to work harder and harder on the orchestral parts and am very happy with this result again. The mix on cd is right in your face (fantastic job by Peter Tägtgren) and the orchestra blends in really well with a lot of details.
MJM. You and Seregor used to play together in a band called ‘Vaultage’ before Carach Angren. That band split up and Carach Angren was formed. How did you discover Namtar and what were his previous projects?
Ardek- Namtar is actually my brother so when we grew up together I saw him become better and better at drums. Now he is a fucking monster! When Vaultage was still playing he already joined there and when this stopped it was logical to just continue. Now after all these years we feel like a machine, very tight and we want to keep things exactly this way.
MJM. The name ‘Carach Angren’ translates to ‘Iron Jaws’ in Sindarin which is an Elvish language. Seregor has stated in previous interviews that he had a fascination of Tolkein’s literature. Any thoughts about writing on Tolkein’s work in future releases?
Ardek- Probably not, we are horror story tellers, that is what we do and love to do musically so we will keep doing that!
MJM. Your first two albums ‘Lammendam’ and ‘Death came through a phantom ship’ were based on Dutch legends while your third album ‘Where the corpses sink forever’ was a war horror story entirely written by you. Do you plan on again writing a story based on another Dutch legend or will the future releases be completely new stories?
Ardek- Tough questions haha! We honestly don’t know. As it comes to writing we just go with the flow. We sit down and brainstorm about ideas and things naturally happen from that point. The trick is to keep an open mind. If we already start thinking in certain directions now we feel trapped. And again, like I said, we want to progress, innovate, not repeat ourselves but at the same time stick to what makes us Carach Angren.
MJM. What is your story writing process? How do you compose and plan out a story? Who writes the lyrics and choose a particular story theme?
Ardek- We usually have some kind of an idea about the story early on already. This time we knew we wanted to do something with fairy tales but nothing was certain yet. I usually start working on main compositions by composing orchestral structures with drum rhythms. Then when this is done Seregor creates guitars over this and Namtar finishes it with drums. In the end Seregor sings his lyrics. The whole process is eclectic, it’s non linear. We can go back and forth in the structure of the songs until it’s perfect but throughout the years I can say that we mastered this way of working, it’s like a machine.
Q. You guys started working with Season of Mist label after you released ‘Death came through a phantom ship’ which was also your last album with ‘Maddening Media’ How was your experience working with Maddening Media and what difference do you see between working with Maddening Media and working with Season of Mist?
Ardek– Maddening Media (Philip Breuer) was the first label that invested on us and that was really great. Philip saw something in us and that helped us a lot! Unfortunately he paused the label and we had to move on and were very pleased to step into collaboration with Michael from Season of Mist. SOM is a bigger label and they have worked and are working really hard to get us out there so we are very happy about this! Also we have a good management nowadays which really helped opening doors for us.
MJM. You have included various languages except English in your lyrics like French and German. Does anyone amongst you three know these languages or you use help of a translator or a friend who knows these languages to write lyrics for those parts?
Ardek- We know German and English but French is a bit more difficult. We always get in help to get things clear, we take it very seriously. Also, on this album we got the help of both a text editor and proof reader, like a normal procedure before actual books are released. It was edited by Aida Grimrin and proof read by Sylvy Notermans.
MJM. With so many gigs coming up, are you guys planning on doing an Indian tour sometime?
Ardek- We don’t have plans yet but we want to tour as much as possible to promote “This Is No Fairytale”.
MJM. Thanks a lot for your time! Any last words you would like to tell our readers?
Ardek- Thanks for this interview and great to know that you guys are passionate over metal in India!
Connect with the band-
Aumkar Lele (Metaljesus Magazine)