Kingfisher Sky is the brainchild of former Within Temptation drummer Ivar de Graaf. For this new project, he brought in vocalist Judith Rijnveld, guitarists Daan Janzing and Edo van der Kolk, bassist Eric Hoogendoorn, and keyboardist George van Olffen. Their debut album, Hallway Of Dreams, neatly juxtaposes quiet folkiness with moments of great power. Ivar de Graaf takes us through the Hallway Of Dreams track by track...
1: The Craving
IDG: This was an instrumental acoustic song at first written a while ago. When Judith was working on the vocal melodies she wasn't comfortable with the key it was written in. After the song was transposed a few tones she came up with a great vocal line and the rest of the song just came out. The lyrics deal with obsessive love (is there any other kind? ;-))
2: Hallway Of Dreams
IDG: Judith wrote the intro to this song on the piano. Our keyboard player George van Olffen arranged it to a more classical type piano piece. I got the ideas for the chords in the chorus immediately when I heard Judith's vocal line. We thought it was fun to have a kind of standard heavy metal double bass drum rhythm in the second and third chorus while the rest of the instruments remain very open. We like contrasts! Hallway Of Dreams became the title track of the album because of the double meaning of the lyrics. On one hand it's about a woman once famous and admired who is now living under a bridge with nothing but her memories and on the other hand we recorded the first demo for Kingfisher Sky in our hallway at home so that was also our Hallway Of Dreams.
3: Balance Of Power
IDG: I wanted to do something with a repeating melody that stays constant while the chords underneath change. A trick often used by U2 and of course Tubular Bells by Mike Oldfield (that piece from The Exorcist ;-)). I started to play with that idea and that is how Balance Of Power was created. You don't hear that intro lick throughout the song but it could! We wanted a Porcupine Tree like middle part with a staccato riff that goes wild after a few bars. The album In Absentia by Porcupine Tree had a big impact on us and inspired a lot of the songs on our album.
IDG: This is one of our most personal songs. Judith lost her father six years ago in November and every year when autumn comes with its grey and cold weather (here in Holland at least, people in California won't know what I'm talking about probably) that feeling of loss and sadness always comes back. I like the traditional folk music from Scandinavia and the Balkan and I wanted to create that atmosphere in the chorus with the 7/4 time signature and the Bazouki-like guitar. Guitarist Daan plays a very "bluesy" solo in this song and I had a more "slick " solo in mind but this way worked much better.
5: Big Fish
IDG: One of our favourites. For this song we used a guitar that was tuned in a folk tuning (for the connoisseurs EADGAD) and a capo on the third fret to get a "Jethro Tullish" mandolin type sound. We were very glad to have the opportunity to use real tin whistle and violins on this song. We experimented a lot with different arrangements during recording but found that it worked best to keep it as pure as possible. Judith wrote the lyrics inspired by the Tim Burton film Big Fish. The lyrics are a mix of fragments from that movie and Judith's imagination.
6: Through My Eyes
IDG: This song was written like most of the songs on Hallway Of Dreams sitting on our couch with me playing some chords on the guitar and Judith singing vocal lines. I played something I had in my head for a while and when Judith started singing the song almost seemed to write itself. A big advantage of being a drummer as well as a songwriter is you can give yourself little "drum-moments". After the string section underneath the open guitar chords I gave myself some room to go a little crazy. Our guitarist Edo has composed a wonderful solo part over the drum fills going into a Brian May like triple guitar barrage. Judith has a chance to showcase her classical training in the last few bars with some intricate vocal harmonies.
7: Seven Feet
IDG: In this song our Porcupine Tree/Blackfield influences are a bit more apparent. The crackling noise in the beginning are two flowerpots from our balcony rubbed together! Judith found this sound by accident while gardening. This song is about a stalker who is always near his (or her) idol without the person knowing about it. Dalbello had a very haunting song called Close to You and these lyrics are inspired by that theme.
IDG: Another one of my favourites. It's based on a Greek Myth about Perspephone being captured by the lord of the underworld Hades. Persephone's mother was so saddened that the sun no longer shined and the harvest was destroyed. There was a deal made with Hades that Persephone would be allowed to leave the underworld six months. The folky part represents the mother changing the seasons when Persephone is among the living and the heavy riff takes you right back to the underworld.
9: White Dress
IDG: By now it's no secret that besides rock we also like traditional folk music. This song kind of has the same atmosphere as Big Fish only with more instruments added. One of our producers Bouke Visser played tin whistle and added a phrase at the end of the song that gave Judith and myself goose bumps when we heard it. This song has some elements of the great folk guitarist Bert Jansch and the band Jethro Tull.
IDG: One of our older songs. I like the structure of this song because it doesn't have the "verse-chorus-verse" thing. The story is about a young talented man discovered by a record company and is then styled and groomed for success. He desperately wants to show he can do much more than sing songs that makes girls cry but is not given a chance to do so. At the end of the song we take the time to build up to a crescendo and subconsciously give a nod to my old band Within Temptation.
11: Sempre Fedele
IDG: The last song and the "grand dessert" so to speak of Hallway Of Dreams! This one also was created on our couch with the acoustic guitar. Judith wanted a very specific mood and tempo and I worked with that. The lyrics come partly from an old Italian Aria and means "I will be faithful to you". The lyrics are written around that theme and have no specific meaning but are open to interpretation.