A Conversation: Autumn Isn’t Just a Season Anymore (It’s Also a Killer Band): A Conversation with Jerome Vrielink of Autumn

Autumn Isn’t Just a Season Anymore (It’s Also a Killer Band): A Conversation with Jerome Vrielink of Autumn

They have been in existence for 14 years, have released four records, two on Metal Blade, and have cycled through more tough-names-to-pronounce band members (including Hildebrand van de Woude and Welmoed Veersma) than you can shake a stick at, yet there is a very, very good chance that you have never heard of them. Autumn’s presence in the states isn’t what it should be and that in itself is a crime due to the fact that they will sound strikingly familiar to those people who are fans of bands like Lacuna Coil and Evanescence.

You would think it might be hard for a band to regroup as quickly as Autumn has after replacing their lead singer as recently as last year, and release an album this soon, one as good as ‘Altitude.’ Yet somehow, this band from the Netherlands has persevered and not only released a new disc, but released their best disc to date.

During some of his downtime, I had the chance to catch up with bassist Jerome Vrielink and chat about everything from how the recording of ‘Altitude’ went, where the bands draws their intense sound from, and just how soon we might see the bands tour stateside.

Get eXposed: First off, to those who may not have heard you, can you describe your music in your own words?
Jerome Vrielink: Autumn’s music can be best described as atmospheric and dynamic heavy rock with a progressive edge. This is of course is my interpretation, who knows what any other member would say (laughs).

GE: You have a pretty unique, ethereal, rich sound. Who are your musical influences as a band, and how have they helped to form your current sound?
Vrielink: The musical influences of all our members are very diverse, mine range from 70’s psychedelic bands like Pink Floyd, old school death metal like Entombed and more modern bands such as Burst or Interpol. Everyone has a broad range of influences and I think that is reflected on ‘Altitude.’ The influence of all those artists is not so much noticeable in a direct manner, but every song we write is of course a result of the total musical heritage each member has.

GE: Tell me about the recording process of ‘Altitude.’
Vrielink: This was the first time we recorded a great deal of the material at home, to later be processed in the studio. We recorded the majority of vocals, guitar, bass and keyboard parts at home so we could spend more time perfecting the sound, mix and master in the studio. It was a bit awkward at first, because the producer (Arno Krabman), who’s also sort of a coach, was missing, but in the end we managed fine and this way of working will definitely be the way we’ll record the next record. It was also rather fun to have all my bass parts come out of the studio monitors with the real sound for the first time, without me touching any strings and just setting the amp right for each song. Apart from that, it was really interesting to see how Marjan (Welman, vocals) would fill Nienke’s (de Jong, former vocals) spot on vocals, and she did an excellent job. Her style of singing matches well with the new songs.

GE: How does this album differ from those you have released in the past?
Vrielink: ‘Altitude’ covers a wider range of atmospheres and emotions than the previous records, where the songs were of course unique, but you can easily hear they are part of one album, whereas on the new album it is not at all obvious that ‘Answers Never Questioned’ belongs to the same disc as say, ‘Sulphur Rodents.’

GE: Is ‘Altitude’ the best record you have put out yet?
Vrielink: Though cliché it may be, I definitely think so. People who like the ‘1995 Autumn’ best would probably disagree (laughs), but in terms of musical skill, songwriting and production ‘Altitude’ tops all previous records. It’s also in some respects heavier than previous records, but no so much in a metal way. It’s more in terms of impact and groove.

GE: How has the reaction been to the album so far?
Vrielink: The majority of the reviews have been very positive, even better than we expected. People seem to have little problem accepting Marjan as the new singer and after the ‘My New Time’ album they understand where Autumn is going musically. Fans from the beginning era of the band may lament the lack of gothic style in the newer albums, but we would never conform to a formula solely to maintain a certain fanbase. When the band started out, the gothic genre wasn’t very popular and when the scene grew and developed, so did Autumn.

GE: Do you find the reaction different in Europe than in the States?
Vrielink: For many people in the States, our third album ‘My New Time,’ the first on Metal Blade Records, was our introduction so I guess over there people have to deal a little less with the history of the band, which may facilitate a less biased judgment. That doesn’t mean of course, that in Europe we’re haunted by ghosts from the past, but in reviews here, we are more often compared to other bands in the gothic metal genre than abroad.

GE: What’s next for Autumn in 2009?
Vrielink: We’ll be doing a lot of promotion for ‘Altitude.’ Hopefully a European tour and we’ll release a video for ‘The Heart Demands’ within a month or so.

GE: Can we expect to see the band tour the States anytime soon?
Vrielink: If it were totally up to us, yes! But in current times it’s always a challenge to see how and where to get the possibilities for a trip overseas, it would be great and it’s certainly something we’ve set as a goal!

Check out all things Autumn over at www.myspace.com/autumnband.