Interview with Knight Area (May 20th 2007)

Knight Area has just released their second album ‘Under a New Sign’, has put a few investigating questions together for them…

Answers by Mark Vermeule (guitars), assisted by Gerben (keys) and Joop Klazinga (flutes). 

Hi, first off I just want to congratulate you on ‘Under a New Sign’. To me this album sounds like a big step forward for you guys, everything is a tad better…

Knight Area – Thanks! That’s what we were going for. As you might know, the first CD (The Sun Also Rises) was a project of Gerben and Joop Klazinga, and some of us didn’t play on it. After the release of the first CD, the band was put together to do the live performances. On stage and during rehearsals, we had a lot of chemistry going and we were very eager to do the second album with this band. During the gigs we did for The Sun, we also played some of the stuff of the second CD, and had the opportunity to let it ‘grow’ a little, before going back to the studio. So, in short, what you’re hearing now are the same good songs by Gerben (our composer), influenced by the arrangements of the band. Besides, Gerben also has grown in his mixing abilities, and the mastering was done by none other than Bob Katz from the USA.

Going back to the first album, what kind of expectations did you have for it and have they been fulfilled?

Knight Area – We knew we liked it, but had no idea of how it would be received. It all became very easily because we took the time and we had a lot of fun during the recordings. The difference for Gerben was that he had to write the songs in a short time instead of the debut where he used songs from the past. But he is also satisfied.

Second album, what hopes do you and the band have for this one?

Knight Area – It’s always difficult to do a second album, especially when the first got quite a few good reviews. We already did some of the songs live and the response of the audience was great! Since the release in April, we’ve got a lot of enthusiastic responses, so our hopes are good. Still, fingers crossed...

How has your new album been received by the media?

Knight Area – The webzines and other media have received it well. In Italy, we even have been nominated for the Progawards 2007 (!!

If you should choose one song, which represents the essence of Knight Area on the album, which one would that be and why?

Knight Area – Man, that’s a difficult one, because Knight Area consists of seven very different musicians. That’s our secret ingredient (well, not so secret anymore, now). Some of us are really into the old school symphonic rock like Genesis, Marillion, Rush, Yes, etc., while others are more into progressive metal a la Dream Theater, or good old rock like Queen and metal like Metallica. Putting these different influences together, and putting up with each other ;) , is what makes our sound. But returning to your question, we think that a song like Dreamweaver has everything where the Knights stand for: power, passion, flow and a great theme.

If you had to describe your music to a complete musical ignorant – what would you tell him?

Knight Area – Emotion, layers, heavy riffs, lots of melody, and loving music!

How important is the lyrically side of Knight Area – and what has inspired you on the album?

Knight Area – Joop Klazinga very often uses biographical things in his lyrics, for example, the lyrics in Courteous Love and A Different man, part 2 are about his a former girlfriend who ended here own live when she was only 17 years old.

Mark Smit usually writes about current events or social problems in the world around us.

Tell us a bit about the album art work.

Knight Area –  That’s a tuff one… We were just a pain in the ass for Mattias Noren. The man created a few options, but we turned them down. At last our record company came up with a great idea and Joop Klazinga made some additions to it. After all we are very happy with the artwork!

How did you get the name Knight Area, and is there a story behind it?

Knight Area – The story is quite simple. One of the founders of Knight Area, Gerben Klazinga, lives in a small town in The Netherlands. The street he lives in is the ‘Ridderbuurt’, which translates directly to Knight Area. Brother Joop came up with the name…

What do you consider to be the biggest accomplishment for you and Knight Area, not necessarily sales wise?

Knight Area –  To us, our biggest accomplishment is performing at Nearfest 2005. At the time, we had only been together for about a year and a half, and we considered it an honour to be invited over there. We had a lot of fun! It was organized really well, and the fans were awesome.

Do you have any touring plans for 2007, maybe on the European Festival scene?

Knight Area – We’re still planning for a tour in September and hope to be on some festivals.

Let’s speculate – you have been granted a free slot on a tour of your own choice – who would be your ideal touring partners?

Knight Area – Considering we all have such different influences, we can give you over 7 different bands. In the past, we have played with Riverside a few times. These guys are doing great, so that would be a name. Other bands would be The Flower Kings, Marillion, or Pain of Salvation, Saga, Porcupine Tree.

What are the strengths and where can Knight Area improve?

Knight Area – Our strengths are our diversity of playing styles, and definitely the fun we have when we’re on stage. To me, I’ve always been impressed by the professional attitude of the band members during rehearsals. You don’t have to tell anyone how to play something, they just prepare and do it. Something to improve on would be the way we plan our gigs. It’s always very difficult to get all these different calendars together, when we all have our own lives at home, at work, in our other bands, etc.

Name an album, person or event that has had a huge influence on your life … and why?

Knight Area – To me (Mark Vermeule), that would be (believe it or not) The Shadows. Because these guys made me wanna play in the first place. From there my musical taste has evolved a bit. I guess Images and Words by Dream Theater got me into progressive rock music, so that’s the second major influence. To Gerben, he was together with his Brother Joop influenced by the band Camel. In their early years.

Which five albums would you bring on your iPod to a deserted island?

Knight Area – I don’t have an iPod ;-) I’d just bring my guitar and make my own music. Listening can be nice, playing is great!!!

Which album(s) have put a big smile on you face and has made you bang your head in past year?

Knight Area – One of the best albums I have listened to last year is Ghost Reveries by Opeth. There really isn´t an album worth getting a headache over. I really don’t like MTV R&B music, so pick one…

I thank you very much for participating in this interview and sharing this information and your thoughts with us - these last lines are entirely for you. Any final words you would like to round off with?

Knight Area – Thanks for the interview, all the best for your readers (specially the Danish ones) and we hope that you’ll enjoy our music as much as we enjoyed creating it. See you on the road!

Interviewed by Kenn.

Knight Area - Under a New Sign

Album available on The Laser's Edge.

For more info on Knight Area - click on the album cover.