SYNCARDION - Raymond (Guitars) (14 January 2009)
(Interviewer: Ad van Osch, Tilburg, The Netherlands)
AD: First of all, can you tell us, for the readers of MMM, a bit more about the history of SYNCARDION?
RAYMOND: The band started in 2002, but the foundations were made many years earlier. It grew out of the ashes of Unification, a Breda-based metalband that was active from 1996-2002. Our former drummer Rutger Schouten and guitarist Rob Lips formed 'Catharsis' when Unification broke up. I joined them and soon we found a singer (Sjors Maas) and a bassplayer (Niek Boonman) to complete the line-up. We always played a rich mixture of metalstyles, but the last years we're heading more and more towards some sort of melodic deathmetal with some metalcore/groove elements.
AD: Does the name of the band mean something, and who came up with that name?
RAYMOND: Our solo guitarist Rob Lips came up with that. It's in fact a symbiosis of the Greek words 'syn' and 'cardio', which together stand for something like with, or from the heart.
AD: In 2005 the band had released a 3-track demo. Have you sold a lot of these demos so far?
RAYMOND: The demo sold pretty well, especially at gigs. But we also gave pretty much cd's away. We thought and think it's more important to spread our music than to make money out of it.
AD: Did you get good critics about that demo in magazines and webzines?
RAYMOND: That was really a strange thing. A guy at AARDSCHOK, for example, was very negative, but on the other hand we got some raving reviews. Some of them expected we were touring the world right now, haha.
AD: As usual like many other bands, also SYNCARDION has had line-up changes too. What I know is that you have changed your drummer after recording that demo. So, since March 2007 the band has Pascal Payens as their permanent drummer. Is this the definite line-up for SYNCARDION?
RAYMOND: No. Pascal isn't part of the band anymore. He being in two bands just didn't work out, so he can fully concentrate on VERMIN right now. Niek Boonman, our former bassplayer, but also a drummer, is filling his spot permanently and that seems to work out very well. But it also means that right now, we don't have a bassplayer. Our vocalist Sjors Maas is learning bass right now, so we're in the middle of a line-up change here and we're looking for the best options right now to be back at full strength as soon as possible. In the coming period we'll focus on writing new material and promoting our cd, since gigging without a bassplayer isn't really an option.
AD: Now the band has recorded their first full length album. So far, it's a self released album. I know you have been working a couple of months on the album, and at the moment you are trying to get a deal with a record label? What are your own expectations about finding a label?
RAYMOND: Well, actually we tried to find a label in the last couple of weeks. Without success so far, so we'll bring it out ourselves. We've put the whole CD for free on the web, as some sort of marketing stunt, to reach as many people with our music as possible. We want every metalhead out there to hear our songs. For us, that's far more important than earning some money. If people really like it, they can buy the real CD with booklet and everything.
AD: I recently reviewed your album for MMM. I gave it 85 points out of 100. Not bad, right! To me it reminds me very much to CARCASS' album "Heartwork" (their best album ever, in my opinion) but also influences of bands like AT THE GATES and IN FLAMES can be heard. Do you agree with me?
RAYMOND: Yeah, thanks for the review! We really worked our asses off in the studio to make it sound the way it does, both recording- and production-wise. Really funny you noticed that CARCASS-thing. In fact, no-one of us has intensively listened to that band. Of course they set the basic outlines for melodic death metal on the record you mentioned, but for me and the other guys bands like IN FLAMES, PANTERA, DEATH and DARKANE are of much greater influence. But we take it as a compliment whatsoever!
AD: The only negative point of the album is, with 8 songs and 29 minutes, it's just to short? Why haven't you put four or five more songs on it?
RAYMOND: Of course we had more material, but some of the old songs were to different from the music we make nowadays. So that's why we never rehearsed those songs with Pascal, our former drummer who drummed the CD. We simply hadn't more new songs before we went into the studio. That's why we'll release it as an EP.
AD: Have you ever supported a well known Dutch metal band so far, like example GOREFEST, DEAD HEAD, OUTBURST etcetera? If not, with which bands would you like to play sometimes?
RAYMOND: No, actually we haven't. We've played with FUELBLOODED, but not really as their opener. They accidentally were at the same festival. To me it's not really important with who we play, but that we get a great response from the audience. But playing with more well-known bands would be great, because they can really make the difference between a larger crowd and an near-empty venue.
AD: Also wishes for playing as a support act of a foreign metal act? If yes, with whom?
RAYMOND: You mean the other way around? We'd like DARKANE to open for us, haha.
AD: What would you like to reach with SYNCARDION?
RAYMOND: Make great music, having a great time. Making musical progression. Getting our asses on stage as much as possible and getting our music heard as much as possible. Sounds cheesy, but these are the most important things for us.
AD: What are your own favorite bands at the moment?
RAYMOND: Right know I listen a lot to GOJIRA and DARKANE. But to say that are my favorite bands... I don't really have any all time favorites, it depends on my mood and what comes along. Generally I'm into Swedish and technical death/thrash metal. Bands like IN FLAMES, DARK TRANQUILLITY, HATESPHERE, SOILWORK, OPETH. Technical music, that's still brutal and melodic at the same time, that's my favorite formula. But I also like some mellow stuff like ANATHEMA and some really brutal deathmetal bands. Anything but power- and blackmetal, hehe.
AD: What are your favorite songs to play live?
RAYMOND: It really depends. The best songs to play live are the songs that get the best response. I rather play an oldie where the crowd goes wild on, than playing a new song that gets hardly any attention. But if I have to pick some, then I'll go for "Embraced" and "Above it All".
AD: Would you like to say something special to the readers of MMM?
RAYMOND: Buy our cd, or download it for free! :). And come and watch our shows in the future when we're a full line-up again, haha. Our new website will be online at www.syncardion.nl, were you can order the "Embrace the Inevitable" EP and download our album for free!
AD: Thanks for this interview!