(December 20, 2007)
Q: Hello Sons, how are you guys?
We are doing just fine, thanks. There’s been some positive energy going around lately since there’s a new album coming up. In the last few weeks we’ve just done a couple of shows , played a lot of new stuff and the crowds were very enthusiastic. That makes it all worthwhile.
Q: First of all, who are Rosemary’s Sons?
A: Rosemary’s sons started out as a trio back in 1998. I joined the band on keyboards by the end of 1999 and in 2002 Maarten joined the band on guitar. From that moment on we’ve been a group of five friends that loves to write and play music together. We’ve developed a sound and style of our own that can only be defined as ‘typical Sons’.
Q: How would you describe the kind of music that you make?
A: We always try to put a lot of emotion and warmth in our music. When it comes to musical styles you could say that we draw heavily on Americana-music and singer-songwriter stuff but you will find some serious traces of rock and pop in our music as well. When it comes to lyrics we like good storytelling and songs that take you away to new places.
Q: Who are your biggest influences when it comes to sound & song writing?
A: Of course, I can only speak for myself in this respect. I listen to country music a lot and I’m quite sure that country music is my biggest influence since this is the music I love the most. Bruce Springsteen is a major influence to a lot of guys in the band, including myself. You could say that we’ve grown up on his music. Another major influence in the band is rock and poser rock. Ad, Martijn and I used to be part of a hardrock band when we were a bit younger. Bart, our drummer, is a rock drummer so when it comes to the rhythmical aspects of our music you can hear these roots as well.
Q: You released two official albums, All In Hand & St. Eleanor’s Park and you are about to release a third album. How would you describe these albums, and what are the main differences between them?
A: The first album was quite heavy when you compare it to the second album. It contains a lot of rock. The production of the album is also rock-oriented. There are beautiful songs on the album that we still play in our live shows. St. Eleanor’s park definitely shows that we are moving more and more into the Americana direction. There’s a lot of good roadsongs and storytelling and singer-songwriter stuff to be found on this album. We are mighty proud of this album as well. Both albums were produced by Oscar Holleman.
Q: Can you tell us something about the upcoming album?
A: On the upcoming album you will find the Sons in optima forma. After a long period of writing we came up with a lot of good songs. It’s going to be an Americana/pop album. We really tried to focus on keeping the songs short and poppy. This means that each chorus has to be catchy and yet there has to be enough depth in the songs. Where the previous album has an autumn-kind-a-touch I would say that this album has to do a lot more with spring and summer. There’s a lot of happiness to be found in between the lines. It’s going to be a solid record.
Q: How did selecting what songs make and what songs won’t make the album take place?
A: The selecting process was done in close cooperation with our producer Patrick van Hofwegen. He’s a good friend of ours and has a pair of very good ears. Sometimes he would point at stuff that we almost forgot and tell us to work on it. In the end the strongest material came to the fore anyway.
Q: You have been touring all over the Netherlands. If you had a chance, where else would you like to tour?
A: People always tell us that we are born in the wrong country when it comes to the music that we play so it would definitely be the US; this would be a logical thing to do. I’d love to play in the Nordic countries as well. But right now if only Belgium or Germany would open its doors to us we’d be most pleased to enter!
Q: And if you could pick any band or musician in the world, who would you want to tour with? And why?
A: It would be an absolute honour to support for Bruce Springsteen. I think most of the guys would drop down to their knees if this chance ever came up. Personally I’d love to tour with Matchbox Twenty. I’m a big fan of this band and I think we’d make a good match.
Q: When you write a song, how does it usually go. Does an idea come to you and do you work that out? Do you start with music or with lyrics, or is it different every time?
A: What usually happens is that someone throws in a musical idea and we start working on it from there on. Lyrics follow later, at least most of the times. Sometimes someone has a verse and we’ll start from there on. Some songs write themselves, others demand a lot of work and re-writing. It can take months for the final version to occur. The interesting thing is that we all write music. I think the best songs are the result of some sort of cooperation within the band.
Q: If you could only cover one song? What song would it be, and why that song?
A: At this moment it would definitely be Home sweet home by Motley Crue. We’ve recorded this song for our new album and we’ve managed to turn it into a very nice version of our own. We consider it as an homage to a great band. We saw them in Brussels this year and the show was amazing. It inspired us to cover one of their songs. (click here to hear the RMS version)
Q: What is the best thing about being a musician, and what is the worst thing?
A: The best thing is working on songs and see them grow into entities of their own. Recording is great fun, at least to me it is. Then, when people like your music and you get the chance to play for them the room fills with a special energy. Sparks fly from the stage to the crowd, and back and then back again. That’s the best thing. The worst thing is that in order to reach the peak of the mountain you have to go through the valley first. It’s a creative process and the cliché that it might hurt a little is very true. Being involved in a creative process with five people is even harder since you have to deal with others people’s feelings and ups and downs as well. In the end when a record comes out it feels like a big relief that I wouldn’t want to miss. Making records with your friends is very special.
Q: Do you have any rituals before going on stage?
A: We used to do the put-your-hands-together-and-yell-thing. I think we have to re-introduce it since you focus on the group thing for a moment.
Q: Day or night?
A: That would be day. The nighttime has some darksides.
Q: Club venue or Arena venue?
A: Club venues for sure. I don’t like arenas. They lack a good sound and atmosphere.
Q: CDs or digital music?
A: CDs. I don’t have any digital music. I don’t have an I-pod. Tapes and records are even better.
Q: Okay, final question. What are your thoughts on people downloading music, both legally & illegally?
A: It’s an evolution that you cannot stop so don’t even bother. I think that people will always find their way in finding good music. If they feel like downloading us and come to a concert one day I would say ‘mission accomplished’.
Somehow I don’t like these fake CDs in my collection. I still like to buy an album, read the booklet, the liner-notes, who played what, what stuff did they use, who’s in the thank-you list etc.
Thanks you for taking the time for this interview Thomas, it was a pleasure talking to you!