A Few Words With...Knight Area

Interview by John A. Wilcox

Hailing from Holland, Knight Area have been making quality heavy prog since 2004. Realm Of Shadows, their 3rd album, is their latest. Progsheet managed to grab a few moments with Gerben Klazinga, Mark Smit, Peter Van Hoorn, and Mark Vermeule to discuss the latest release and much more...



PS: At what age did you start playing an instrument?

MS: I started at 12 on piano, and later changed to keyboards.

GK: I started to play the recorder at the age of 6, then I took classical piano lessons for 5 years.

PVH: Started playing the snare drum at the age of 7. Two years later I started to play the drums. At the age of 14 I did my first international tour (one week in two countries ;-) ) with a new age / punk band.

MV: I started playing the guitar at age 10.

PS: What was the first concert you ever attended?

MS: The first one that really counts is the Freddie Mercury Tribute at Wembley Stadium, 1992.

GK: Genesis live 1981 Groenoordhallen Leiden, The Netherlands.

PVH: First concert ever was 'Normaal' in de Achterhoek (NL), first international concert was Deep Purple in Ahoy, 1987.

MV: Los Vast in Ahoy (Rotterdam, The Netherlands) in 1988 or something, or maybe it was UB40 (same place).

PS: What do you feel is Knight Area's greatest strength as a band? What sets it apart from other bands?

MS: I suppose the songwriting and the atmosphere. We always try to write accessible songs, with a good balance between the delicate and heavier parts.

MV: In addition, I think it's the mix of our musical tastes. It ranges from old school symphonic rock, to hard rock, metal, blues and progressive rock. I guess that makes it harder to 'label' us.

PS: What was the band looking to do differently on Realm Of Shadows than it did on Under A New Sign?

MS: Realm Of Shadows is a concept album, we made the songs to follow the storyline. Personally I believe I pushed the limits with the vocals more than on Under A New Sign. I also included more vocal layers.

MV: A big difference was the people in the band that made the album. On Under A New Sign, Joop Klazinga and Rinie Huigen also participated. Between Under A New Sign and Realm Of Shadows, they left the band, and we wrote the album with the remaining five members. As a consequence, I'm the only guitar player left in the band and have more work to do.



PS: Knight Area is very much a progressive band. What attracts you to playing such adventurous music?

MS: I always like variation in music, and with Knight Area I think it always sound natural, we don't force the difference, it comes naturally.

PVH: I am always trying to develop my own skills, I think this music gives you the opportunity to stretch and to try doing other things.

MV: I think that with everything in life, if you have to put in more time, effort or energy into something, the result is more rewarding. It's the same with music. There are songs that you don't "get" the first time you listen to them. You have to re-listen and read between the lines to hear what's really going on. In the writing and recording process, sometimes I'm surprised at what the addition or omission can do to a song. It's so much more fun to make music not by 'the rules' that are dictated by the mainstream world.

PS: Please give us a bit of background on the stories behind a few songs. Let's start with Mastermind.

MS: Mastermind is inspired by the madness of someone who is so influenced by religion and a sense of sacrifice that he is losing control. Feels like he is being called by his master to be blindly led to his doom.

PS: Dreamweaver.

MS: In Dreamweaver, someone is dreaming about a lost love. When he is awakened by a hand on his shoulder, there are tears on her portrait. It seems like dream and reality have been intertwined.

PS: Antagony.

MS: The main character in Realm Of Shadows has taken possession of a living body. The two spirits are struggling without him being aware. A mark on his body appears, which comes with dark thoughts. A mix of alienation and attraction.

PS: A Million Lives.

MS: The sister soul of the main character in Realm Of Shadows has just died, she has given him something which gives him the confidence to break the curse which is holding him and all the other dark souls in the realm of shadows.

PS: And finally, Dark Souls.

MS: The sister soul and the main character in Realm Of Shadows are being outcast and attacked by the people in their village because they fear them, they feel an unnatural and supernatural power within them.



PS: What do you miss most about home when you head out on tour?

MS: Sleep.

PVH: My family.

MV: My wife Petra and son Chris.

PS: When the band is putting an album together, how much thought goes into composing songs that can be recreated in a live setting?

MS: We sometimes discuss it, but personally I believe it should never withhold you from recording something worthwhile. Live and studio are two different worlds, with different rules and things of importance.

MV: Yes, I agree. We first make the album the way we want it to be heard. Then, we think about how we want to play it live. There are about a hundred lines of music into a song, and only 5 musicians on stage. That's why it's still a lot of fun to go out and listen to a band live, because it will always be different from the album.

PS: Has any thought been given to recording a show for DVD release?

Mark S: Yes :-)

PS: Any plans for Knight Area to play in the USA in 2010?

MS: We don' t have anything definite yet for the USA. Of course we would be proud to come to play for our American audience if when get the chance!

PS: Please tell me 6 CDs you never get tired of listening to.

GK:
Genesis Seconds Out
Marillion Seasons End
IQ The wake
Camel Breathless


PVH:
Opeth- Damnation
Porcupine Tree- In Absentia
Judas Priest- Sad Wings Of Destiny
Flower Kings- Stardust We Are
Metallica- Master of Puppets
Xtra Lars- Punch In


MV:
Luv - Het Mooiste Van
Dream Theater - Metropolis
Kabouter Plop - 10 Jaar Plop Hits
Symphony X - Paradise Lost
Corry Konings - Mooi Was Die Tijd
Living Colour - Vivid


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