Pandora’s Key come from the European Metal stronghold of the Netherlands. From Breda in the Noord-Brabant region. Founded in 2016 according to a short info sheet, which I think you can trust more than the Encyclopaedia Metallum, where you can read the year 2014. What is certain, however, is that the first EP “Prometheus Promise” was released in 2017. This was presented at the FemMe 2019 gig. However, the release of the debut album was delayed until January 2024. I asked the band why this was the case and many other things.

MHF: Hi, I’m Rainer and I write for Keep on Rocking and Metalheads Forever Magazine. Thank you for letting me do this interview with you. How are you doing?

PK: Hello Rainer, Sebastiaan (lead guitarist of Pandora’s Key) here. Exciting times right now! The release date of “Yet I Remain” is almost there and we’re very much looking forward to a sold out release show in our hometown of Breda.

MHF: You are not yet well known outside your home country. Please introduce yourself briefly.

PK: We are Pandora’s Key, a melodic metal band with a symphonic twist! In our early days we started out as a purely symphonic metal band, but as time went by, line-ups changed, and musical taste developed we’ve become less traditional symphonic metal. In 2017 we released our debut EP “Prometheus’ Promise” and over the years we released a few singles. Now we’re ready to release our debut full-length album “Yet I Remain”.

MHF: I have found different information about your founding year. The Encyclopaedia Metallum states 2014, but the short press release I received says 2016. Which date is correct?

PK: I get the confusion there. Pandora’s Key evolved from another band called “Lucid Dream”. Lucid Dream was an all-female rock cover band that has been active in the late 2000’s/early 2010’s. At a certain point Lucid Dream was looking to expand musically and they were letting go of the all-female formula. It was in this period that the first incarnation of Pandora’s Key came to be and that our official Facebook page was made. It wasn’t until 2016 that Pandora’s Key was really ready to go and write and publish its own music. In the end both dates are correct, the earliest formation of Pandora’s Key (and the claiming of our Facebook page) happened in 2014, but it was 2016 that marked our start with our first steady line-up.

MHF: There were quite a few line-up changes after your debut EP, especially on the microphone. Has your sound changed as a result?

PK: It is impossible not to change a little bit once somebody departs from a band and is replaced with a new member and in the end it is something that you can hear on our album. The songs featured on “Yet I Remain” have been composed over several years during different incarnations of our line-up. In the end I do like to think that the heart of the sound of Pandora’s Key has not changed over time, that heart is made up of the friendships for each other and love for music by the bandmembers.

MHF: There were seven years between the EP and the first album “Yet I Remain“. Why did it take so long?

PK: For starters, the line-up changes did not speed up the recordings in any way 😉 But I think that the most important reason in the end is that we made the choice along the way to do everything the way we felt was right. When you are at the point where we are as a band, the most important thing is that you love what you do and that you are satisfied with everything that is released. This meant that something progressed slower than strictly necessary. We probably could have released the album earlier, but that would have meant that things would have felt not right for us. The way we went about it now makes that we can release our album on the stage that we wanted (Mezz, Breda), could work with the studios that we wanted (Fieke van den Hurk of Dearworld Studio and Florian van Tuil of Firmpro Recording Studio) and have the art we envisioned (by Jan Yrlund, Darkgrove Design).

MHF: How did the songwriting process work? Were the songs written together in the rehearsal room or studio? What inspired you to write the songs?

PK: Our process works is that a song is composed outside of the rehearsal room. Most of the time the music is written by one or two persons and when they feel it’s right, they take it to the band. From that point on we start rehearsing and adapting to song until each and every one in the band is satisfied with the new composition.

Inspiration is a funny thing; it can come at any time and place. Some melodies or guitar riffs ware made while (for instance) watching a movie and doodling on an instrument at the same time. I personally don’t have a specific thing that inspires or drives me. Sometimes it’s everything, sometimes it’s nothing and something it can be a very specific thing or emotion.

MHF: What topics do you use in your lyrics?

PK: Over the years we mostly drew inspiration from historic events, myths and legends. With Vera in the band the lyrical content is shifting ever so slightly. History still inspires, but she has a way of infusing those themes with modern issues that occupy her mind.

MHF: Speaking of the studio. Where were the recordings made? Who was in charge of production, mixing and mastering?

PK: For our recordings we chose to work with Fieke van de Hurk of Dearworld Studio, Fieke has an impressive resume, working with bands like: Solarcycles, Heilung, Myrkur, Eivør, TVINNA, DI-RECT and Kingfisher Sky. I’ve known Fieke personally for a couple of years and I always thought that she’s a amazing person. The ways she has to add on to an existing composition without taking over the sound or vibe is unlike anything I’ve ever seen. It was simply a no brainer to ask her and we were more than happy when she agreed! Fieke recorded all the instruments except for the guitars, those were recorded by Florian van Tuil of Firmpro Recording Studio. Florian has been a longtime friend from before Pandora’s Key and finally working with him was a pleasure. The mixing was done by Fieke and for mastering we went back to Florian.

MHF: You were able to inspire many guest musicians for the album recordings. How did you find them and how was the collaboration?

PK: All the guest musicians on the album are friends that were made over the years. Our choir was put together by Shannon Brink, someone I’ve known since high school. Irma Vos on violin and Jimi Hellinga on hurdy gurdy are both musicians I’ve worked with over the years in various projects and bands. Fieke, of course, was already in the studio so we had to have some accordion on “Yet I Remain” as well.

MHF: How satisfied are you with your debut album?

PK: We’re very happy with our album! For me and Regine it has been a rollercoaster for a long time to get here, but in the end, we were able to make something amazing with some of our closest friends. All of us are very much looking forward to the future and are curious what music will come next. The first riffs and melodies have already been written and we’re very excited!

MHF: You released the album on your own without the support of a label. Why did you decide on this approach?

PK: Releasing independent is not just a choice, it is almost a necessity at this point. Recording and releasing music has never been easier and in reach for everybody. To get the attention of a record label has become more difficult than ever. Another big thing is what I mentioned earlier, we wanted “Yet I Remain” to be exactly what we wanted it to be. You can’t do that when there’s a label putting pressure on the process.

MHF: There will also be a release show in your home town of Breda on the release of the album. Are there any shows planned outside the Netherlands?

PK: At the moment we’re working on several leads to get out there, not just shows in The Netherlands, but shows all over Europe. Nothing is set in stone yet, but things are in the works!

MHF: Will fans have to wait another seven years for the successor?

PK: Hahaha, let’s hope not. We’re already working on new material!

MHF: Thank you once again for this interview. Is there anything else you would like to say to the fans at the end?

PK: Thank you for reading all of this! We’re very excited for our debut album “Yet I Remain” and we hope that you are to! If you want to support us, come see us at a show or buy our music on physical CD and/or online!

Pandora’s Key are:

Vera Veldhuizen – Vocals
Rik van Schaaik – Vocals
Sebastiaan Pongers – Guitar
Bram Luiken – Guitar
Regine Lotstra – Bass
Dimmy Marcelissen – Drum


Prometheus Promise – EP 2017
Live at Sound Dog – Single 2019
Ephemeral Ethernity (Acoustic) – Single 2020
De Bockereyder – Single 2023
Falls the Shadow – Single 2023
Yet I Remain – Album 2024

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