The NWOTHM, a visit to Amsterdam, meeting Dio TWICE and H.P. Lovecraft
These Dutch newcomers (conveniently shortened to DT4TD) are five men bent on proudly flying the flag of Metal. Specifically, the New Wave of Traditional Metal (NWOTHM) Featuring a tight twin guitar attack, lockstep galloping rhythm section and vocals reminiscent of Priest and Maiden, they are clearly influenced by these bands and the 80’s vibe. However, they bring a modern flair to the mix, creating a sound all their own. They’ve recently released a self-titled collection of 6 songs that absolutely deserves a listen. We had a chance to talk with them recently. Very cool guys and we wish them all the best.
Bjørn Ciggaar (vocals)
Thijs Bouwman (guitar)
Dave Pilon (guitar)
Gerrit Proce’e (bass)
Jeroen Vermeer (drums)
Greetings from Metalheads Forever and Colorado!! How are things in your part of the world?
We are doing fine, considering the state the world is in right now! I guess all around the world we are fighting this battle and we are doing our part. Things could be better, but they also could be worse. Now let’s talk about metal.
2. You’ve all played in other bands previously; how did you all get together and form DT4TD? Also, what key element does each member bring from their prior affiliations?
Oh yeah, we have members that originate from all different kind of hard rock and metal bands, but the thing that really unites us is the love for the classic, traditional heavy metal. We went to the basics and built up from there, so that’s what drives us and creates this sound.
As the lead singer (Bjørn) I have fronted a couple of heavy metal/hard rock bands and probably have the most experience in fronting a NWOTHM band. I have been in a hard rock band with Dave and Thijs (both play the guitar) for many years, and in a “proto doom” band with Dave for a while. We picked up Gerrit (bass guitar) and Jeroen (drums) through auditions when we had our mind set on starting a true NWOTHM band. And we just clicked. It was magic. Sometimes you just know when you’re in a band and things just go automatically. Songs just pop out, we can all get along, a lot of room for creativity… But most of all, we all have our unique skills and put something to the table.
3. I’ve read you are a true “do it yourself (DIY)” band. From recording and mixing to artwork, you’ve done it all. What has been the most challenging part of the process and what has come surprisingly easy?
It was surprisingly easy on how easy it is to work together. Of course, I knew Thijs and Dave and we how way back. So that works. And Gerrit is just amazing, his skills in writing and composing are a true asset to the band. On top of that, he’s doing all the recording, mixing and mastering. So I believe that really helped us getting further as a band, instead of being stuck in the rehearsal studio playing the same songs over and over again and not really getting anywhere (been there). However, it’s been a bit of a battle of trying to get noticed amongst all those other bands and music out there. Trying to get gigs and such. And right when we were about to start on our first little tour with gigs, COVID happened. But that didn’t get us down. We just put all our effort and time in writing, recording, social media and online promotion. How to get yourself heard without the ability to play live gigs… I really, really miss that…
But besides that… It’s all fun, and when you’re having fun and doing the stuff you like, challenges are fun too!
4. Generally, in the magazines, your names and instruments are listed, but not much about the members themselves. Tell us about the guys in the band.
Jeroen is our drummer and he’s been in a couple of bands. He’s this really down to earth guy. You really need someone like that in the band. He’s steady. And he’s taking care of business. Very focused. And dependable.
Gerrit our bass player is a man of many talents as I stated above. Also very flexible and nice to work with. When I do my vocal recordings he gives me great feedback and pushes me to do a better job. Without annoying me!
Dave is this cool guy with a really great musical taste. He keeps introducing me to new great stuff. We really had fun playing in a proto doom bands where we played obscure early metal, stuff like from
Josefus, Roky Erickson, Lucifer’s Friend, Blue Cheer, and all that other early metal. He’s really into that and you can hear also hear that coming out of his guitar. At a loud volume!
Thijs is the other guitar player, and he’s more into hard rock and heavy blues. He also plays a Les Paul which is kind of a debate if that is a guitar suited for metal? I love the sound he brings to the mix and I love it, so I’m on the side of people who say hell yeah a Les Paul can play metal!
And for myself, Bjørn, the vocalist and front man…
Although metal is my favourite genre, I am a big fan of The Who. I used to follow them around and must have seen them live for about 40 times. Found myself backstage and in the dressing room a couple of times… I was also fortunate to have followed around Ronnie James Dio too, and the same persistence got me to meet him as well a couple of times.
So that’s just some fun facts other than our names and instruments!
5. Tell us about the new album. Any particular moments that make you especially proud?
We are actually building up to our first album. We are releasing a new song every two months or so. And once we have recorded 10-12 tracks we’re gonna release them as a compilation, probably with a (or some) bonus tracks… We’re looking around for a label to release it on.
I think I can say we are proud of every song we release. As you know we do everything ourselves, so with every song we put out we learn more; about songwriting, recording, mixing, mastering, promotion, social media, etc.. I guess I could say I am most proud of what we learned. And that’s also why I believe this would also make an interesting album. It really reflects our journey…
6. You wear your influences on your sleeve. Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, and the overall sound of the 80’s is clearly heard (not a bad thing ). Tell us some influences that may not be so obvious.
Our musical inspirations come from all over the place. It’s whatever we think is cool. We don’t really set out to mimic 80’s metal bands, but reviewers keep writing that we were “clearly influenced” by these obscure metal bands we never heard of before. Then we go check out those bands and actually discover some really great music!
To name a few of these bands;
Manilla Road, Cirith Ungol, Brocas Helm, Jaguar, Tokyo Blade… I actually made a playlist containing all these bands called “Dangerous Associations…”! Hahaha!
7. “The Cats of Ulthar”, obviously inspired by H.P. Lovecraft. Tell us how this song came about. Who is the bibliophile of the band? Can we expect more literature influenced material?
That’s me. I write the lyrics. And I always like something that really has a story or a meaning. I like the stories of H.P. Lovecraft and the Lovecraftian fantasy realm. I also dedicated a playlist to that as well called HP Lovecraft Music. That story was Lovecraft’s favourite and I like it too. I read the old Lovecraft stuff, which is sometimes difficult to read. 19th century literature is quite different to the stories of these days. So I think I read The Cats of Ulthar a couple of times and the story just intrigued me. So I set out to put music to it. In my mind I wanted it to be inspired by Uriah Heep’s “Easy Living”, hence the shuffle! Somehow I always get asked about that song, and I hear people really like it. Maybe it’s because it appeals to both fans of H.P. Lovecraft and cat lovers. I actually had penned down a couple more H.P. Lovecraft inspired tracks that will probably see the light of day sometime in the future. Another author that has influenced me is Philip K. Dick and I might write a song about one of his short stories.
8. Assuming there was no Covid and I travelled to The Netherlands, what is the one thing I simply must see? We know you are busy and we thank you for your time. Any parting words for our readers?
Well thank you so much for inviting us! Of course, everyone would say you’d have to visit Amsterdam. But there’s so much more. It’s a really small country, but you’d be surprised of the diversity there is to find here! I’d say take your time and get to know the Dutch people. We may come across a bit reserved or shy, but once you get to know us (I’m generalising here of course) you may have made a friend for life. And once you’ve made that friend, make him/her show you around. And if you can’t find anyone, look us up on social media and we’ll let you know what’s hot and happening!
STAY SAFE & STAY METAL!