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Last year's debut full-length from Façade intrigued Comrade Aleks, so he chased up vocalist Ben and bassist Pim to have a more in-depth chat about the band.

Interview with Façade.
"Although Façade was created back in 2011, their first full-length work 'Loathe' took a lot of time and effort. A two-song self-titled EP was released in 2013, but it was another four years before the album was finished. The band is a large one: they have three guitars (Berend Klein Haneveld, Conrad Stroebel and Ghislain van der Stel) and the necessary set of a rhythm section (Korijn van Golen on drums and Pim van Dijk on bass), plus duly growled vocals (Ben de Graaff). With 'Loathe', Façade delivers profound, melodic yet heavy, slow and massive Death Doom metal with their own individual touch. I like the album, it stuck in my memory from the first spin, so I sent the band a message to see if they're willing to answer my questions, and soon enough Ben and Pim replied."

Façade: Korijn van Golen (Drums), Berend Klein Haneveld (Guitars), Conrad Stroebel (Guitars), Ben de Graaff (Vocals), Ghislain van der Stel (Guitars), Pim van Dijk (Bass).

Hi Ben and Pim! What's the story behind Façade? When and how was it started?

Ben: Hi! It started somewhere in 2011. Korijn and I were just talking about forming a Doom Metal band and we both knew people who might be interested to do that as well. So after a while we rounded up these guys, started jamming and that's how it started.

Do the band's members have other musical background besides Facade?

Ben: Yes, Pim actually performed with Clouds recently, Korijn is also drumming for Onheil, and Berend just started an experimental band called 'Ilse Jopie'. I am also doing the vocals for Sepiroth, Phlebotomized and Night of Suicide.

Phlebotomized is an old band - as I understand, it was resurrected by Tom Palms just a few years ago. Do you have any news about new material? Will it be the same Avant-garde Death Doom band as it was back in the '90s?

Ben: Yes! There will be new material and we will enter the studio in January 2018. And yes, the style will still be the same.

Your Funeral Doom project Night Of Suicide have a new album out as well. How would you describe the new material? How does it differ from the things you and Markus have been doing for almost ten years?

Ben: I think it is the best thing we have done so far. The concept is still the same but I think it sounds much better if you compare it with our previous releases.

Live in Malta, 2014 (photo: Monica Carolina).

As the band was born in 2011 and the the first self-titled EP was released in 2013, you took four more years to complete 'Loathe'. Why did it take so much time?

Ben: Yes we took our time, haha. For a couple of reasons. First of all, we wanted to be really satisfied with the songs, taking our time fine-tuning each song.

Also, during that time four of the guys were actually graduating university. Two of them for a master's degree, so you can imagine that this delayed our recording progress. Once that was over it went a lot smoother. We also did more gigs during that time. This year we didn't do a whole lot but we did focus on writing new material.

Your debut record leaves the impression of a matured, professional work: under what conditions did you record these songs?

Ben: Thank you very much, I'm glad to hear that. Actually only the drums and vocals were recorded in a studio. All the guitars and bass parts were recorded at home. We did put a lot of time and effort in it of course, it's very flattering to hear that it sounds professional.

The album is calm and melodic despite some necessary elements of extreme doom metal. Was it your initial intention? On which qualities of sound were you focused during recording it?

Pim: Yes, that was our initial intention. Façade is about those contrasts. Quietness versus loudness, sudden stops and changes versus long build-ups. I think it enhances the lyrical theme of dealing with mental- and cognitive conflict.

Live in Belgium, 2016.

One of Façade's features is triple guitars - how did you come to the conclusion to work this way? How do all three guitarists share their roles?

Pim: We've actually had 3 guitar players since the very first practice session. We didn't want to do the typical epic doom stuff with string pads on a keyboard and such, so we thought that 3 guitars would be cool.

When it comes to "roles" I guess we feel it's kind of like braiding; there's a point where all parts meet each other and a part where they split, but together they make a strong rope.

You've mentioned keyboards, and indeed they would fill well with Façade, but actually the album sounds more authentic without them. Can you name any bands which use keyboards in the way you really like? It's no secret that over-use of keyboards can spoil the impression of a whole album if a band doesn't know where to stop.

Pim: Personally, I really enjoy bands like Leprous and Solstafír. Both bands incorporate synthesisers in such a way you're almost unaware that they're constantly playing.

The lyrical themes are centered on negative states of human mind, did you choose this topic because of genre rules or because playing in the band helps you to endure these states this way?

Pim: 'Putting up a façade' is what people do to cover up how they truly feel, whether that feeling is anger, jealousy, sadness or self-loathing, what they send out is not in line with how they truly feel. We came up with this name and lyrical theme because some of our members had to - and still deal with this kind of behaviour in their personal lives.

Façade - 'Forlorn' (Live 2016):

So it's your way to get rid of negative states you have in your everyday life, right?

Pim: I think so, yes.

You released 'Loathe' on your own, and I'm surprised, given some labels released much weaker albums. Didn't any labels show interest towards the album?

Pim: We were actually contacted by two or three labels, I think? But we decided that we wanted to release this independently. Maybe for the next album.

The album's artwork is remarkable and impressive, who was the author? How did you explain your demands to him?

Pim: Yes, it's amazing! It was painted by Wietse Treurniet, a very talented artist from Rotterdam. He is a friend and former classmate of mine at the art academy in Rotterdam. I asked him if he was interested in doing the cover art and he said "yes, but only if I can work full-colour" haha.

I explained the concept to him and the elements we wanted to see in the cover. He came up with a sketch we liked and then started painting away. He really tied the songs together in a single painting, making it more than just "nice cover art". To me it's really part of the music.

How do you manage to do all the things concerning promotion and distribution? Do you feel that you do it effectively?

Pim: Ben does a lot of managing stuff when it comes to gigs and merchandise and I help him where I can. Maybe we're not always doing things as effectively as one wishes, but we love what we're doing.

What are your plans considering the next Façade release? How soon would you like to return in the studio?

Pim: We are actually going through new material, getting it pre-production ready. The concept is very clear and a solid foundation has been laid for all songs. We're pushing to get the instrumentals studio-ready somewhere in the first quarter of 2018.

We've learned a lot from our creative- and recording process with 'Loathe' so our approach to new stuff and recording is a little different now. I feel we're working more as a unit now instead of doing stuff separately, get together, see what works and what doesn't and do the whole thing over again. It might work for some, but for us this wasn't a very efficient way of working; another reason why it took us so long.

Live in Scotland, 2016.

Ben, you take part at least in three more bands. Can you give a lesson in time management? How do you do all of this?

Ben: Well that's because I don't have to rehearse with all the bands very often. Most of the time I only go to rehearsals when we're having gigs coming up with either one of the bands. Or when there are new songs finished which we need to rehearse before going to the studio.

With Façade for example the songs are usually written at home, we do a rough demo and when we think the time is ready we will go to the rehearsal room to play the songs all together.

Thanks for the interview gents! Any last words for our readers who're about to turn into Façade listeners?

Pim: The pleasure was ours! as for any last words; take your time to really listen to the record. I think there's some cool, subtle stuff going on that you could miss if you'd just put it on and start doing other stuff.

Ben: Enjoy it, come see us live when we're around and have a beer with us!

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Visit the Façade bandpage.

Interviewed on 2018-01-29 by Comrade Aleks Evdokimov.
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