Beyond the black album teaser: Beyond the black

Dear all; we have been working the last couple of months on our song called “Beyond the black” which names the whole debut album and which is a very special song for me that I wrote some years ago. The lyrics were originally a nihilistic poem that one way or another inspired the music with its own musicality; I leave you a teaser here.

Regarding the soundscape for the album, I think I have it very clear right now, and that we´ve learned while recording and producing this track besides our beloved mexican guest singer Maly Reyes, who is a great fit for this incredibly number, and who co-wrote part of the new melodic lines, making it her very own song!

Thank you dear Maly; the whole number will be available until October, when the whole album is expected to come out!

Have a great week!

-D. Heksolson

One on one: Marike Groot.

By: Aleyda Ortiz.

When we found out it was official that Marike Groot was part of the Red Page Project for the first álbum “Beyond the Black”, the news themselves brought joy and satisfaction among Danny Heksolson and all the staff members because we have always rejoiced with her work ever since her participation in the dutch band The Gathering. “We are recruiting a very unique and awesome line up” said Danny at the time.

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So, “One on one” requested an interview with Marike Groot in order to get to know better about the substance of the album, about her and the songs that she will record. Being always friendly and profesional, she agreed on talking with us about her childhood and her early approach to music, about her dreams, about her life:

“I cannot remember when my fascination for music started, it probably was at a very young age. I do know that my parents listened to The Beatles, Crosby Stills Nash and Young and jazz music round about the time when I was very young.”

“I probably sang along with those from a very early age. At the age of six I was already actively looking for music and my father started introducing The Beatles’ albums to me, which I devoured one by one. I remember thinking at that time that it would be no more than natural for me that I should do what The Beatles were doing: playing the guitar, singing, performing and recording. Ha ha!! How convinced you can be at that age!”

“I was born in IJmuiden in the Netherlands, on 28 January 1968. It was the place where I was born but I had never really lived there as a child, now I’ve come back here for the last five years. Actually it can be a boring place, I sometimes miss a nice place to have a drink and all, but apart from that it’s lovely. People are friendly but they also leave you to yourself; We live close to the beach, a lovely park and a wonderful nature reserve; historically it is also a fascinating place.”

The Marike´s route inside the musical world, it is not limited by her time with The Gathering, it is more, like she says: “a history of ups and downs” that has carried her to develop her voice, to improve her performance quality and ultimately, to experiment with writing and arranging her own tracks.

“I joined my sister’s band when I was eighteen. My sister Tetje played bass, we had a fantastic guitar player, Wieger Janse, and we were called The Grabbits. We recorded a single in the days of punk rock, when fellow musicians The Vernon Walters set up their own record company LMOOR.”

“After The Grabbits split up I joined Thank God For Us, with guitarist Jacob de Greeuw who later formed the wonderful Johan. We renamed the band Little Mary Big when bass player RJ van der Woud joined us and we really got going, I mean, we were doing quite some gigs and we felt that we were really getting somewhere until we split up in January 1992.”

“By some wonderful coincidence the last demo we recorded was brought to the attention of The Gathering, who were recording Always in the very same studio, owned by Han Swagerman. They were looking for a certain something and found it in me; I was heartbroken from Little Mary Big’s split-up and my break-up with my boyfriend at the time so I welcomed the opportunity to record with The Gathering, who I did not know before then. I listened to their demo and just jumped at it. I was not at all familiar with death metal, but I was intrigued by what they were doing and immediately felt that I could do something for them. The Gathering had only just begun as a band and we were from such different worlds, geographically and musically, that we never expected to do more than just record a CD together, but I joined them on stage for fun one day and just stayed. I think we never expected the way things turned out and we were probably overwhelmed by success, then one day you find out that although you feel it is absolutely great to be on stage together, you drift apart again because you view things differently and back then I found it hard to communicate this sort of thing. I also thought that in the end the music and the band itself would become too big and too loud for me to handle, and that at the same time I would not find fulfillment with the minor role that I played, contributing to just half of the songs and half of each gig. But I felt I could and should not change the way they were, so I decided to leave The Gathering. Because I wanted to take composing and recording in my own hands I started learning to play the guitar.”

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“I took a while off to graduate in English linguistics and think about my future in music, I always seem to have periods in which I don’t do music at all followed by periods in which I am totally going for it, so I started composing and joining and forming bands, and playing and rehearsing as much as possible. I formed a band with guitarist and singer Tjarko Edzes, drummer Reinier Claessen, and one of the best bass players in the world, Arry Niemantsverdriet, who now plays in The Jig. This band was called Mae West and it did not last long: sadly Reinier, who is my favourite drummer ever, left in 2002 and the band fell apart.”

“A few years later I got together with Tom van der Nulft, my cousin, and Sander Brink, who is now my partner, and decided to form a The Beatles tribute band, The Weavils. We took on Maikel Voors and after he split Erik Seyferth on drums, this was so much fun! “

“I really learnt a lot playing guitar and bass in this band, I discovered my voice really blended well with Sander’s and so I felt like starting my own band again, together with RJ van der Woud and Maikel Voors, called Wonderlust. This is when I first started to really enjoy writing songs and working them out together, however, in the end we felt rather pressured by work and other activities and so in 2008 Wonderlust broke up.”

The Weavils lasted until the end of 2010. By 2011 I gave birth to my son and decided to concentrate on raising him and devoting my energy to my work as a translator for a while. I have taken up singing lessons again and now and then perform as a singer for the Liedjesdag, a workshop in which translators translate songs from several languages into Dutch.”

You have already explained about your “The Gathering” contribution, could you tell us, which is your current perception of the band?

“We reunited in 2012 to do a series of concerts performing the CD Always in full. We had not really parted on very friendly terms in 1993, but I think we all loved to see each other again and perform this magical CD once more.”

M3“It was so great that all of us were enthusiastic about the reunion, even though four of us were no longer part of the present Gathering! I was really impressed with Bart Smits and how he led The Gathering onstage, superb! I felt so much at home again with them all, perhaps even more so now that we were all a little older.”

“They are great guys and I would very much enjoy to see them all again sometime, onstage or off. And though I have a different taste in music to what The Gathering are doing now, I love the passion with which they craft their music and I hope they will reach even more people than they are doing now.”

Talking about musical tastes and preferences, what are your musical influences, favourite bands, singers and composers?

“I already mentioned The Beatles, who will always remain very important to me. It’s funny when you think about how out of style they were in the seventies and how they are now kind of like ‘classical pop music’ as if they have always been so.”

“I never used to listen to female singers much for inspiration, funnily enough, because I never intended to ‘sound like’ anyone, I just admired certain musicians and bands, like U2 and The Smiths (and many more) when I was in my teens, and Soundgarden, The Posies and Alice in Chains (and many more) when I was in my twenties. When I was in my thirties I discovered Joni Mitchell and she really blew my mind, I delved into her work as I did with The Beatles before, and I still get a lot of inspiration from her. But there are lots of other influences as well, for I will be influenced by any music that gets to me.”

Do you have any favorite mexican or latin-american rock band?

“No, I don’t, I’m ashamed to say, that’s because I don’t know any. In The Netherlands we are so much oriented to English spoken popular music that it is almost self-evident that you look to British or American bands or artists or at least English spoken music, perhaps you can name me a few I can explore?”

Tell us about your collab with Red Page, about the “Beyond the Black” songs that you´ll be recording and about your long distance work with Danny Heksolson.

“I think it’s been a year ago, or maybe it’s been two years already? Danny asked if I’d be interested to work with him, I listened to what he was doing and I said yes. I will be performing Will to Deny, a beautiful song which I fell in love with right away! I went to my favourite rehearsal studios, the Rock Supplies in Amsterdam to get really inspired and recorded vocals on four tracks, I sent them to Danny and he was inspired in turn to add to the song again.”

“I have also been working on a song called Strøm, but that proved a lot harder. I like the song, but it didn’t get me as much as Will to Deny, so I was not really satisfied with the first take, so we keep on working with them; to my surprise I have been engulfed by work these last one and a half years so that sadly (well of course it’s a good thing, really) I have little time for anything else but my son and my work. Luckily Danny is the most patient musician in the world!”

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“I find that the distance up until now is not a problem at all, Danny is very easygoing and we have a lot of fun communicating. I must admit that we haven’t got very far up until now, but it amazes me that nowadays you can communicate so easily and send bits of music right around the world for someone else to work upon. It’s wonderful!”

For Danny, the guest singers selection was a long process which resulted from an organic way: a song conceived with a voice in particular and the circumstances were in charge of finding the ideal performer, such way was no different with Marike, her voice captivates the listener:

“It’s safe to say that I am a soprano, which you probably already know from my work on The Gathering’s Always, but as far as I know I can also manage the lower ranges. I think I have a wide range, but I couldn’t tell you how wide exactly.”

What does a normal day looks like in the life of Marike Groot?

“A normal day… that’s easy, because my life nowadays is highly regulated most of the time. Because I have a little boy my life partly revolves around him: me and my partner share the responsibilities equally! I wake up when my son wakes up and then I or my partner takes him to the daycare centre three days a week, after which I sit down behind the computer and work all day translating books, together with my partner. Or we take care of him at home. We have dinner, the three of us, which is always very enjoyable, and then spend some time with him before taking him to bed and reading him a bedtime story. Then we work for another one or two hours before sitting down on the couch to watch tv and then go to bed, is that exciting or what? When my son doesn’t go to the daycare centre we spend the day caring for him and playing with all kinds of toy cars at home, or making trips to the beach or the playground, or go cycling or swimming, or visiting friends or family. These days we usually work seven days a week. It’s a simple life, really, but we enjoy it very much.”

What are your future goals Marike? What are your dreams to achieve both professionally and personally?

“I’m not sure, I hope to be a good mother and continue doing the job that I love, which is translating books. I guess you could say that my dream is to combine the peace and quiet of the life I have now with the excitement and satisfaction of making music that I really love and feel good about, and getting better and better at it in the process. But all that may just be a dream…”

Certainly, real dreams are those that Marike produces with the gentleness of her voice and her stage presence. I let you all with this piece that I´m sure will make you fly! We read each other on the next “One on One” interview.

Photographies: boekblad.nl / Bart Smits / schaikr.home.xs4all.nl / Lijst van de Boekvertalers (as well as the vid).

Emmanuelle Vigneron: Vocals

Emmanuelle

Name: Emmanuelle Vigneron
Country: France

Emmanuelle was born in Strasbourg (France) and moved to The Netherlands 10 years ago, where she currently lives.

She started to play keyboard and to sing in some bands during high school for fun, but she already knew at that time that music was all she wanted to do.

She played in several bands, but never found her place until she met Dutch guitarist Peter Bloemendaal. Together they founded Chemical Days in 2012; a shoegaze, alternative pop rock band, difficult to tag.

Their first album produced by René Rutten ( The Gathering ) should be available this 2014 spring.

Emmanuelle has this soft but passionate color in her voice that would make you fly through out  the sound textures, our understanding was unique.” –D.Heksolson.

As for being part of the Red Page project, this is what Emmanuelle tells us all:

I feel honoured being a part of Danny’s musical universe. I really like the diversity of his music, and his open-mindedness. I like musicians who are receptive to new ideas, and I like this one!

The first part began

Many have asked what is happening, if anything, on the first pre-demo recordings, therefore I thought it was a good and interesting thing to update you all about where we are right now. So, here we go!

First of all, from the seven guest singers, are Larisa and Mavi the only ones whom I´ve worked previously with, so thats why we need to find some sort of equality in the processes, and that means letting the songs at the same level of construction with all the singers.

Since the very begining, I wanted everyone to be involved with the creation process, and thats why I´ve chosen creative artists who feel how the music takes you all along the waves. Lets say we are in that part of the recording process where all the singers are about or have received their songs from me in its primary form, (except of course the one with Larisa ShelestCaged blue girl“) so they can add new ideas enriching and making them theirs. We are there and we have no rush. That means we have no dead lines yet and we all can let the music do the talking.

Besides, we all have been very busy with activities outside Red Page and the idea is to avoid forcing things under any kind of pressure, working with our music at our own path just having in mind we want to release this album by the end of this year or the begining of the next one.

We are there now, developing slowly the songs. For how long? Lets see, the music itself will say!

Mavi Solano: Vocals

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Name: Mavi Solano
Country: Spain

Mavi is a singer from Malaga, Spain who also works as a group coordinator for a spanish-for-foreign-people school. She is the vocalist for the Overdub progressive rock band.

From a very young age, she dreamt with being on stage as a part of an important band; then she follow that path and were singing in different bands as Shawen and Mercy, performing various styles until she finally landed as the main singer for Overdub where she feels satisfied.

Willing to collaborate with other bands and side projects, she has participated with Overdub and Danny Heksolson himself, as well as with some other musicians for the Cycling Colours tribute to The Gathering albums, because this Dutch band is one of her favourites. She is also influenced by Craig Armstrong, Bruce Dickinson or Dream Theater.

Danny met her in Madrid back then in 2003, at a The Gathering concert, and Mavi and Curro -the Overdub guitar player and composer as well as Mavi´s couple- gave him their first demo cd.

“When I first heard her singing those nice progressive tunes, I became addicted to her unique voice that is perfect for sound experimentation; the years passed by and from the beggining of my project she has been in my mind to be one of my guests, this is finally happening and I think she is now a more mature singer” -D. Heksolson.

Marike Groot: Vocals

Picture by: Oscar Anjewierden.

Picture by: Oscar Anjewierden.

Name: Marike Groot
Country: The Netherlands

Marike Groot was born and raised in the Netherlands. Until 1992 she was part of Little Mary Big, together with Jacob de Greeuw who later created Johan.

In 1992 she was asked by The Gathering to add vocals to their first album Always. After recording the cd she also joined them on stage until 1993, when she left to pursue other musical styles and activities.

She started several musical projects, among them Battle, Mae West and Wonderlust, and joined The Beatles tribute act The Weavils in 2003.

In 2012 she took part in the joyful reunion tour of the first line-up of The Gathering and performed the entire album Always on stage with them.

She is currently working as a translator and taking care of her young child. Now and then she performs translated songs for the translation workshops at the Vertalersvakschool, a Translation School in Amsterdam.

Marike is such an impressive singer, she dominates several styles and what else can I say? Simply she is part of the history of dutch rock; it is a pleasure to work with her!-D. Heksolson.

As for being part of the Red Page project, this is what Marike tells us all:

I am singing with Red Page because I was grabbed by the music, and because I am curious about working with talented people from all kinds of different countries.

Simone Alves: Vocals

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Name: Simone Alves
Country: Portugal / France / Turkey

She is from a portuguese migrant family and was raised in France. From a very young age she had a great interest and passion for popular crafts and arts: music, dances, popular tales; as well as for minority languages. As a teenager she attended many art classes, but she was already attracted by music and singing.

In 1996, at the fest-noz (traditionnal Breton ball-room) she heard for the first time the fascinating voice of Erik Marchand, and after many workshops with other Breton singers as well as self-practice, she became her student. By 2003, Simone started her professional career performing solo -a Capella- or fronting local bands, then within meaningful projects like Kreiz Breizh Akademi. She also learned the Breton language in the meantime.

Her late project, The Astrakan Project, is a way to explore more vocal techniques and styles, like polyphony, as well as improvisation.

“This was musical love at the first sight, as soon as I heard her voice singing with her marvelous Astrakan project, I started to figure out a song for her; she has this authentic oriental musicality that have always fascinated me”D. Heksolson.

As for being part of the Red Page project, this is what Simone tells us all:

Generally speaking, I love collaborations. When I heard Daniel’s proposal for an “oriental” like tune, I thought that together with my own vision of orientalism, it could lead us to something unexpected.

I also just loved the name of the album “Beyond the black”, I like dark and melancholic sounds…

I feel honoured and excited to find out what is beyond!

Larisa Shelest: Vocals

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Name: Larisa Shelest
Country: Ukraine

Born in Belarus, USSR on 24th of August of 1988, she left for the Ukraine in 1994. When she was 5, she started to take piano lessons and after some years, she took singing lessons. Then, she participated in singing contests being 14 years old.

After a while, she was the lead singer of jazz orchestra “Quite A Band”, pop rock band “Aquatorija”, where she composed her own songs; and was a featured artist of “The Lighthouse Party Band” covers band.

In 2012 Larisa performed on the cruise ship “Le Boreal” for half a year, sailing all around the polar world and getting true inspiration as she visited places like northern Canada, Iceland and Greenland.

A participant of many international and Ukrainian singing contests from 2003 till nowadays, a winner of various singing contests such as “Chervona Ruta” (2009), European contest of young pop-rock singers (Bulgaria, 2009), participant of Ukrainian National Selection round of well-known singing contest “New Wave” (2010), International TV festival of Music “Amberstar”, M/S Tallink Romantika, Riga-Stockholm (2009), Larisa is the most tenured Red Page singer since 2007.

“I discovered Larisa back then in 2007, and inmediately fell in love with her voice; she has a strong bluesy one blended with a very unique colour, which gives it that very special tone that she cant be confused with anyone else; to me, she is a great talent and I´m very glad to have her in the project and to see her evolve!” -D. Heksolson.

Always open for musical experiments, she is also currently cooperating with electronic musiс producers from Germany, Spain, Sweden and the USA.

As for being part of the Red Page project, this is what Larisa tells us all:

I believe in rock. Sounds hilarious? Neh… Even if I could be disappointed in rock music I still belive in a rocker mind. Me and Daniel, we still believe in the idea that the music can join people from different countries and backgrounds, which is magical.

Red Page was my first international collaboration EVER. And it is still the most confident one. It is good when you can be yourself, say what you want to say, and not to hide your rock n roll soul, not afraid to make experiments, not afraid to look funny, not afraid to look too serious, just expressing yourself. This is how I feel with this marvelous project.

Maly Reyes: Vocals

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Name: Malinaly Reyes
Country: Mexico

Born in october 5th in Mexico City, she, besides of being an extraordinary singer, is a broadcaster and a professional translator.

She is the lead singer for the well-known mexican gothic metal band Fractalia, but she also enjoys working in different musical projects.

Also collaborating with other bands as a vocal coach, or just singing and writing lyrics for them, Maly shows her passion for her singing habilities since quite time ago.

Maly is a mexican metal queen for the dark scene in our country, I always had her in mind when thinking about the “Beyond the black” number; she has this melancholic voice that adds the perfect mood for the song” –D.Heksolson.

As for her participation within Red Page, this is what Maly tells us all:

Now it’s time to work with Red Page and I’m very excited to show my voice trough the beautiful music and lyrics of Danny Heksolson! Enjoy it!

Bhetzy Velvet: Vocals

Bhetzy

Name: Bhetzy Velvet
Country: Mexico

Bhetzy was born on february 22nd, 1982 in Mexico City. She caught the eye from very small, performing for different estudiantinas and mariachis bands.

In order to pay her studies and feed her two children, she started to sing in the Subway & in local small markets with her amplifier, cover music and a microphone. Later on, she studied dancing and acting at the CCA and a pair of years later, when finishing the college degree she started her bachelor one on Performing Arts at the CNA (National Center of Arts) but her singing passion was urgent, so she started to look up for singing opportunities with rock bands as she wrote rock and blues songs, that later would give birth to the “AeroSoul” project.

Playing in very different stages such as TNT, Six Flags, Palenques, CableCom, mexiquense TV, among others. Recording for the “Denver” record company the numbers of AeroSoul, her songs were broadcasted trought Radio Kaos and Radio Zapote (internet radio stations) as well as Exa F.M. inside a new bands votation.

With her natural gift, she searched people specialized on the voice in order of keeping the voice healthy. Thats how she met Dr. Karina Rocha (her phoniatrician) and John de Loza Meruvia (Producer).

Music and animals are her passion, “the voice of the voiceless”, that’s how people sees Bhetzy , for defending the rights of the most defenseless beings: the animals, and when presented with the opportunity to combine these two loves she don´t hesitate. Extroverted, enigmatic, rebellious, honest, are defining characteristics for Bhetzy Velvet.

Her mental strength and determination have helped her to reach each of her goals to this day, keeping in mind her unique charisma that enchants more than one with the strength of her performances on stage and her powerfull voice. Her flag: “ respect “, her motto: “ nothing stops me“.

As soon as Daniel interviewed her for the guest singer spot, her willingness and commitment were obvious as well as her desire for doing great rock music. But it was her impressive vocal range what defined her participation in this project, as Daniel was looking for a mexican singer who could be capable of carry the load for possible live shows within the country.

“Bhetzy just impacted my senses when I heard her singing classic rock, she has a powerful voice filled up with contrasts and with a highlighted technical handling, very hard to find overall in our land; it is a true pleasure to have her in Red Page and surely yuo will enjoy the power of her voice live and loud.” -D. Heksolson.

About her invitation to Red Page, Bhetzy tells us all:

I feel blessed for being collaborating with such a real project, so professional but first of all, with musicians who, love music as much as me, the one that goes beyond the sounds, beyond a good music score, beyond any word, beyond

Alis Heded: Vocals

Alis Heded

Name: Alis Heded Loza
Country: México

Alis started her singing career when she was 5 years old, taking singing lessons for three years. By 2003 she started her front woman experience as she was the lead singer of the alternative rock band “Zéjel” until 2006.

She continued studying music and she mastered the opera singing style, when she was 18 years old, she used to sing arias for some cultural festivals as she became a professional opera singer.

By 2010, she started her bachelor degree studies specialized in gregorian chants at the Guadalajara´s Sacred Music School while she also performed with a melodic metal rock band named “Opera noir”, what she did until 2012.

Now she is a vocal teacher and a well respected opera and sacred music singer in Jalisco, but of course a rock band is always present; thats why she is part of the “Abyss of time” melodic folk metal project as vocalist and composer, area in which she has developed as well.

Miss Heded is a musical culture enthusiastic, as she organizes cultural events all around her state.

She is young, proud and sensitive when she is under her musical trance, and her passionate style caught me inmediatelyDanny said once about her, and thus far, as he required an opera style powerfull singer, she has been a perfect fit.

As for being part of the Red Page project, this is what Alis tells us all:

I think Red Page is a new, fresh and innovative project and well, Daniel is an excellent musician and I can see it has a bright future ahead.

I feel honoured for being part of this project.

Our BTB guest singers!

So here we are, proudly announcing our guest singers team for the upcoming “Beyond the black” (BTB) album! It has been a long trip for the previous three months of the year, and finally we reached this point; tons of hard work are ahead us but now you have a better idea of what to expect! All right, this is assumed to be as simple as name them, so lets lose no more time, in order of confirmation, they are:

1. ALIS HEDED from Guadalajara, Mexico.

2. BHETZY VELVET from Mexico City, Mexico.

3. MALY REYES from Mexico City, Mexico.

4. SIMONE ALVES from Istanbul, Turkey.

5. MARIKE GROOT from IJmuiden, The Netherlands.

6. MAVI SOLANO from Málaga, Spain.

7. EMMANUELLE VIGNERON from Strasbourg, France.

8. LYALL from Guadalajara, Mexico.

So there you have it, the complete list! I have been working with everyone of them and I can tell you they are all born with the music inside, they have different styles but each one of them have captured my mind and soul with her singing, pure magic!

Click over every name to obtain a full bio of them all, feel free to leave them your comments and Keep on Rockin!

Please have a nice Week!

-D. Heksolson