Delain Interview with Charlotte Wessels

Interview by David McKnight

We managed to squeeze in a quick chat with Charlotte before she went on stage with Delain frontwoman Charlotte Wessels in Birmingham.


You’ve been on a pretty long tour, just back from South America?
We had three days there.

Do you notice much difference as you gig in different regions of the world?
Sure. Already in a country as small as Holland there is a big difference between the North and the South. And you see that every country or every city respond to music in their own way. For example we went to Japan and the thing right there is that people go completely crazy during the songs and then afterwards they are quiet and we were wondering is there something we are doing wrong – and then we were told that is just politeness because they are expecting you to speak. They can’t be making noise when you are about to speak. So sometimes it is good to know these things. And here we are travelling and touring all over the world and so we are learning. And it’s great.

You’ve got a new member in the band now. How quickly did all that fit together?
It took some time. We’ve had her on tour a few times to fill in for Timo or to play extra. Last year around this time we did a tour in the UK where we had her with us. So it took some time to confirm that she would be our new member. It adds a lot to have two guitars on stage. During the writing of a song – if the album asks for 6 lead guitars we will put 6 lead guitars onto the album. The result is that we have some songs that we can’t play all the relevant guitar parts with just one guitarist. So we already are playing some songs that we didn’t used to play live.

On your tour last year in the UK there was a bit of an accident at the Birmingham gig. How to you feel about tonight?
I am not that nervous . Whether Otto is nervous I don’t know. I haven’t seen whether we are using the confetti shooters tonight. We have used them a few times afterwards too. I always glance at Otto to see if he is alright. But he has recovered so that’s good.


On your album you have a lot of guest vocalists. Do you enjoy having other sing with you?

Yeah, for sure. When we write a song it is about how we want to mix the sound and there is an intention there. It is always interesting to see how someone else interprets the song and sometimes it is exceeding what expect or better than what we would have done ourselves. And I think that the variety is very interesting. So it is something that we really like and we will continue to do on future albums.

If you could pick any vocalist from any time to guest with you who would you choose?
Nick Cave.

You have been going as Delain for about 10 years now. What did you do musically before that brought you into Delain?

Several bands and projects. Nothing too serious back then. I was still in high school when we started. I did the high school band and symphonic orchestra and choir and next to that I had a singer songwriter duo with one of my friends and also had a full band. It was a band from my home town called To Elysium. They had two albums out and their singer left and I replaced her. And the guitarist for that band had a project called Infernorama. I was in another band at the time with my partner and that was it. We met through the project that we both did. There was a lot of different things from the classical symphonic orchestra to the school band which was doing big band style jazz. To Elysium which was very … loud .. classic metal.

How is the dynamic for the creative input with Delain. Is it a group effort or do people have particular sections they work on.

We start writing the songs with 3 of us, Martijn Guss Eikens and myself. Once the song is done, or at least the basis of the song is in place, we send it around to everybody and we get input from everybody. So we write the basis of the structure and then we get the rest to the band in because it is much more interesting when it is a drummer contributing to the drum parts rather than a drum computer. Yeah, everybody contributes to their parts and often more than their parts like arrangements. But it is mostly the three of us in the writing team.

You were in a film, Soaring Highs and Brutal Lows. How did you find the process of making that film?
It was multiple interviews and I thought it was very interesting. It was kinda hard to answer some of the questions because I was studying gender studies at that moment and in a very frustrated place with the whole sexism and discrimination experienced by women in metal. I really didn’t know how to present myself but in the end Marc really took the time to speak with me and also not get one answer but really get into the questions quite deeply. By the end I really enjoyed the process. I haven’t seen the final result but I saw one of the very late edits.

And you are happy with it?
Yes, I am happy with it!

Tonight you are playing above one of the other ladies in the film. How do you feel headlining above Anneke Van Giersbergen?
Weird as fuck! It is. I think that it is only by the fact that The Gentle Storm is a new project. Whereas she herself is one of the founders of the genre. Yeah, it is nuts.

Thank you very much for your time and good luck tonight.