The band's history dates way back to 2000 and the band was on hiatus for two years, all members except Stefan quit and I was wondering what kind of problems made them quit?
Well, some members decided to quit the band due to motivational problems. They got other priorities and the spirit was gone to put a lot of their free time into the band. This all happened in 2005 and at the end of that year Stefan was the only member left. However Stefan refused to give up Persistense so he started his search for new members. First he found me and almost a year and quite some auditions later we finally found the right musicians for Persistense. Since the end of 2007 until now we are in the following line up;
Your new record "In Blood And Heart" has been out for about six months now, how about the sales? Knowing that bands no longer sell 100 000 records a week like SLAYER did back then with "Devine Intervention" how do you keep up the spirit?
Well, how about the sales? I can tell you that we sell pretty good at our live shows. I can't tell you exact numbers but every show we did, since In Blood And Heart came out, we sold our record to 10-20% of the visitors. Also the sales through internet stores, local music stores etc. are doing well but it doesn't even get close to 100.000 records a week like Slayer, haha…
How does your songwriting process work? Is there a "bandleader" who is responsible for everything or is it perfect democracy?
The basics of a song are composed by me. Usually I have some kind of idea, a song structure, or a guitar riff in my mind which I try to translate with my guitar. Then I'll start working out those ideas and the song gets shape. When I'm satisfied with the result I'll record the whole thing and send it to the other guys so they can have a look at it. When we enter the rehearsal room we start working on the song with the whole band. All the other instruments are filled in and we work out the details. The last step is to fill in the vocals which is done by Stefan and Bram.
All of your shows seem to be well frequented in the Netherlands, do you already have an insider tip status and do you work with a booking agent. If yes, what are the advantages?
We work with a booking agency called The Prophecy Agency. Good thing for us is that Stefan is the owner of that booking agency. That makes it a lot easier for us to get our shows and play a lot. Besides that it's so important to get in contact with the right people and to actually have their phone numbers instead of just a mail adres. To get them on the phone is much more effective than to just send an email and I believe Stefan has a big talent for that.
What bands inspired you to play Death Metal or music in general and how would you categorise your sound?
Listening to bands like Arch Enemy, Death, Lamb Of God, Opeth, Nevermore makes me pretty happy so I guess you could say I'm inspired by those bands. But every member has his own inspiration which makes Persistense to what it is right now. Our drummer for example is very inspired by technical death metal so he brings in influences from that genre. Therefore I find it difficult to categorise our sound because it's not bound to one typical style.
Many bands use quite a lot of tools in the studio to compensate their lack of technique, does your drummer work with click, do you allow the producer to trigger things so the guitars or drums come in at the right bar? What do you think about those modern ways of making a record sound perfect?
Personally I haven't got any problems of using modern ways to make a record sound perfect, at least to a certain level. When you have the money you can make every band sound perfect, however to play it live that way would be a hell of a job. So in my opinion it's very important to enter the studio well prepared and try to stick to your time schedule. We managed to do that so our producer didn't have to spend much time correcting a lot of things.
I ask that question because I think "In Blood And Heart" is a very natural sounding record, that has plenty of power without sounding artificial. Did you get involved with the production?
I think with metal the challenge is to sound as tight as possible without sounding complete like a machine. For example Bram worked with a clicktrack to get his drumming tight as hell and we also triggered the bass drums.
And yes, we did get involved in the production process. The cooperation with our producer was very smooth. He listened to us and we listened to him which resulted in a pretty good sounding record. There are always things that could be better and we take this experience with us to our next record.
What kind of dayjobs do you have and do you think becoming a professional musician is something that could still work and pay the rent if one tries very hard?
Jacques and Mark both have fulltime day jobs, Bram is still a student and Stefan runs his booking agency together with a part time job. I have a family and work part time. To play in a band, especially when you have a record deal, can take a lot of time which depends on what you want to achieve with the band. We are willing to get as much as possible out of It, so sometimes Persistense almost looks like a full time job to me.
I believe with the right motivation and a lot of talent it's possible to become a professional musician but it won't be easy.
Could you tell us some details about Deity Down Records. How did you get in touch with the company?
Deity Down Records is a small but professional dutch label. Owner and godfather of DDR is Gerard de Koning who started his company in 2005. His mission is simply to release music which HE thinks is good and not because the genre is hot at that moment. Gerard is very dedicated in what he does and the cooperation between us is simply great.
We got in contact with Gerard after we recorded our promo in 2008. He was very enthusiastic about our promo and after we impressed him during a live performance we could sign a record deal.
You played as an opening act for TESTAMENT at the Dynamo Club, did you have the chance to chat with the guys? What are they like and did they watch your show?
Hell yeah, we supported Testament and hell no, we didn't have the chance to chat with the guys, so unfortunately I can't tell you what the guys are like. Besides that it was a great evening!
Thanks for the answers!