Rock Impressions

by Michele Maestrini

Can you introduce us the band with a brief history?
I started Flamborough Head somewhere around 1990 with two other local musicians (Frans Wolf and Wiebe Wolf). We made instrumental progmusic using keyboards, midi, drumcomputers and electric guitar. Not satisfied with this static approach we were looking for a drummer and Koen Roozen joined the band. Koen introduced bassplayer Marcel Derix. After a period Frans and Wiebe left and were replaced by Siebe Rein Schaaf (vocals & keyboards) and Andre Cents (guitar & backing vocals). This line up recorded our demo Bridge To The Promised Land, our first album Unspoken Whisper and Defining The Legacy. All these albums were released on Cyclops and were well received. After Defining The Legacy Siebe Rein and Andre decided to leave Flamborough Head. Eddie Mulder became the new guitarplayer and Margriet Boomsma joined Flamborough Head on leadvocals, flute and recorders. With this line up we recorded our latest album One For The Crow.

How is the prog scene in Holland and how do you think to belong to it?
The Dutch progscene is alive compared to other countries. There are some very good Dutch progbands around (Salmon, Odysice, Plackband to name a few) and there are quite some venues who are organising prog-gigs. Having said this, progmusic will always be a marginal cult genre and we all know the seventies are over now. I think Flamborough Head is a well known progband in the Dutch scene, partly because of the fact that we organise our own annual festival ProgFarm.

Your kind of music can be described as New Prog, what do you think about epithets and do you think to be described well with this one?
Our first albums were in the neo-prog style. With One For The Crow we were looking for a seventies orientated style. It's difficult to define New Prog. It's not important how you will label our music as long as you like it we are happy:-)

I think that the new prog in general can be very schematic and formulaic but your albums are always original even if there are some clear influences on them, how is the compositive process of your songs?
Eddie and I are writing all the music for Flamborough Head. Normally Eddie will write a piece of music and he will also arrange most of it. When I write music I will tell the other bandmembers as little as possible so they can have their own input as much as possible. At the end all members will contribute to make it a typical Flamborough Head song.

What are the main differences between your three albums?
There are two keyboarplayers on the first two albums which makes these albums more bombastic in some way. On One For The Crow I do all the keyboardparts myself which makes it less keyboard dominated. On our last album we have a female vocalist which is really different compared to the first albums with a male vocalist. Margriets also adds flutes and recorders which is a nice contribution to our new sound. Eddie, our new guitarplayer, is more capable of playing acoustic material than our previous guitarist. So due to the change in line up there is also a change in sound on our last album compared to the previous cd's.

Can you explain me how did you choose the name for the band? is there some little history about it?
Not really. On one of my holidays I visited the cliffs of Flamborough Head on the eastcoast of England. I liked the place and I liked the name. There is no more to it.

What are your favourites bands in the prog scene and what kind of music do you like apart from progressive rock?
Speaking for myself, all my favourite bands are from the seventies; Renaissance, Yes, Genesis, Camel, Gryphon, Gentle Giant, King Crimson, England, Focus, Caravan and a lot of others. Besides prog I like classical music (Bach, Purcell, Handel, Telemann).

Many progressive groups aren't able to live just playing music... how is the situation inside your band?
We have the same problem, we cannot make a living by playing prog. We all to combine Flamborough Head with a normal job. I myself am a teacher.

There are rumours you will come to Italy for a little festival (near my home). Can you confirm that? And how do you feel about it?
We can confirm that. We are very pleased we are invited to come over to Mantova to gig at a festival on October 11. It's difficult for a progband to gig so we welcome every gig but we feel it's very special to go to Italy and play our music over there. We have invited Mangala Vallis (Italy) last year on our ProgFarm festival and this year the Italian band Odessa will gig at ProgFarm, we were struck by the fact that all these musicians were very friendly people so we are very pleased to be able to do a gig in their country.

Did you have the opportunity to tour after the realisation of this last cd? what is your relationship with the audience?
No we cannot tour (although we did several gigs in Holland and two in France (Bordeaux/Sarlat and Marseille/Progsud), it's impossible with all the jobs we have and it's financial suicide. We loved to but even Camel is doing a farewell tour because it's impossible to tour for them. Everytime we do a gig and we meet all sort of friendly people who like what we are doing and it's a pleasure to talk to them.

What the title of the album referes to? Can you tell me if there is a concept behind "One For The Crow"?
Not really a concept but Margriet, who wrote all the lyrics, is telling us we should use the opportunities we get in life. Life is to short to waste it. It's very positive compared to the theme of our Defining The Legacy album.

The previous album was in my opinion more oriented to a standard New Prog while this last one is more on a classical Prog Rock vein. We noticed that two people changed inside the band, did this thing influenced the creative process of the new release?
Yes, I told some of it in answer 5 but Margriet and Eddie changed the band in a very positive way. For me Flamborough Head is evolving from a standard neo-progband into a more original progband thanks to the input from these two fine musicians.

How did you choose to have a female singer for this last release (i think it was a very good choice)?
We were looking for a replacement for Siebe Rein and we organised all sort of auditions which did not work at the end. I am married to Margriet and she was involved in several other musical projects and I asked her if she was interested to audition also. She agreed and not because she is my wife but because of the fact she was simply the best we asked her to join Flamborough Head.

A final typical question: what are your projects for the next future?
Eddie and I are involved in Trion, sort of a 'in-between' project. We do this together with Menno Boomsma, drummer of Odyssice. This trio will release an album this autumn also on Cyclops, it will be an album with seventies instrumental progmusic with only the mellotron(sample) as my keyboardsound. For the rest we are working on new material for Flamborough Head which we hope to record next year and we are preparing ourselves for Mantova and ProgFarm later this year.


Review (in italian): Defining the Legacy; One For the Crow; Tales of Imperfection

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