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Progressive Rock Interviews

Splinter

Interviewed by Josh Turner
Interview with Marcel Everts and Menno Broer van Dijk of Splinter From 2005
MSJ: This interview is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2005 Year Book Volume 4 at lulu.com/strangesound.

I'm very impressed with the new album. Your band demonstrates outstanding songwriting and the execution of the material is quite phenomenal. Do you plan to showcase this material in any upcoming tours or concerts?
Menno Broer van Dijk: We've already played all of the songs featured on "The Jigsaw" live on stage on several occasions. In order to reach a similar sound as on the records on the CD's we make use of a lot of effects, including a real telephone through which Rock sings.

We also play a little addition to the song "Reflections" which we wrote after the recordings.

At the moment we haven't planned any tours or concerts yet, we're still busy working on new material. But we hope to be able to do a lot of shows next year.
MSJ: How did you get to be the support act to Karmakanic?
Marcel Everts: I just got back from vacation when I found a mail from the "Karmakanic" tour manager in which he asked us if we were interested in being their support-act in Essen, Germany.

We readily agreed and it turned out to be one of the best shows we did in 2004.

Afterwards we had a complementary "meet and greet" with the guys from "Karmakanic" (Berry even had some private drum-lessons by Zoltan after the show). All in all a very rewarding evening.
MSJ: How did you come up with the name Splinter for the band?
Menno Broer van Dijk: Nothing quite that spectacular actually… We just needed a name. I had awkward revelation one night just waking up out of a fever with the name "SPLINTER" raging through my head. Spooky…
MSJ: This album is one of my favorites of the year. I hear this wasn't considered a "full" release. That's hard to believe. Please explain.
Marcel Everts: We want a record deal! In order to achieve this, we recorded all the material we had in a single weekend so we could send the stuff to the various record companies. Initially the recordings were never intended to be released. But when hearing back the things we did that weekend we felt it to be packed with emotion. Maybe not technically perfect but still so full of energy that we felt we had to share it with the fans.

Another thing about the album is the fact that it contained all of songs we had so far during the "Reflections" period. We couldn't make a balanced album with the material at hand.
MSJ: I really enjoy the melodies that come out of your songs. How do you come up with them? Please describe your songwriting process.
Menno Broer van Dijk: The songs I write start out on the piano. I have a "Beatles" and singer-songwriter background, so at first the songs are just a few chords with some tacky sequential melodies. Then I start singing some loose words on the chords trying out various melodies. After completing the melodies and lyrics I start working on the "progressive" part using a Sequencer on my PC, working out the arrangements. When most of this is done I record it for the rest of the band and they give comments on their parts and the structure. To try out the piece we play it several times during rehearsal sessions.

Berry works in a similar way his compositions (Paradox Overture on the "Jigsaw").
It usually takes 2 to 3 months for a song to mature to a level at which we can play it live on stage, depending on the length of the song because we work on several songs at the same time. At the moment we just completed a new "Devil's" chapter called "Bio-Engine", "Korsakov" and "Goodbye", and are still working on "Paradox - Phase I".
MSJ: What should we expect from the upcoming album?
Marcel Everts: We want it to be more balanced than the "Jigsaw" with songs that are better attuned to each other. We feel a bit of pressure concerning a debut album because of the good reviews we had on "Reflections" and the "Jigsaw". We never really expected these recordings to be received so well. When it comes to a debut album we feel the stakes are tremendously high.
MSJ: I hear Queen in your music. Traces of Izz, Violet District, Transatlantic, Spock's Beard, The Flower Kings, and even Dream Theater can be heard as well. The music reminds me a lot of another up-and-comer that goes by the name A.C.T. Have you been influenced by any of these bands? Who would you say are your musical influences?
Menno Broer van Dijk: Those are a lot of names! Personally I'd say most of my influences lie with the "Beatles", "Genesis", "Paul Simon" and "Yes". Berry and Didier are the "Fusion" guys of he band (with Didier listening to bands like "Guns&Roses", "Dream Theater" and "Extreme" as well). Rocky is mostly influenced by "Sting", "Camel", "Guano Apes" and "Living Color". Marcel brings the sympho into the Splinter-sound with "Saga", "Rush" and the old Soul Masters (Donny Hathaway).

And yes, most of us like "Spock's Beard", "The Flower Kings" and "Dream Theater" as well.
MSJ: How did you decide you wanted to be a bassist?
Marcel Everts: I considered the bass guitar to be the only instrument capable of having sex with on stage
MSJ: When did your involvement in music begin?
Menno Broer van Dijk: I started to play the piano at the age of 7 and apparently I never stopped.
MSJ: How did you meet your band mates?
Menno Broer van Dijk: From the foundation of the band to now, only two members remain being Berry and I. In the course of development, which you go through as a band, you have to work with people with the same drive to create something beautiful (and the same definition of beautiful).

I met Marcel in a pub in our hometown Zutphen (NL) to replace the first bassist. After that I got Didier's phone-number from a musician I worked with.
And Rocky, found on the web, was the last piece in the "Splinter Jigsaw".
MSJ: Can you recall any Spinal Tap moments that occurred with this band?
Marcel Everts: I always get pulled over by the police after a gig. One time, after a show in Venray (NL), having had one beer I got pulled over. To get rid of the alcohol smell I used a little breath spray (note: containing alcohol!). When I had to do the breathing test it came out positive. They put me into a patrol car and took me all the way back to the station (note: 3:00AM). After doing a blood test (note: by a rookie - it took him ages!) the test turned out negative. The policemen apologized and I could finally be on my way home.

But, seeing Spinal Tap, it's probably a bass player thing with the bad luck…
MSJ: What's the last CD you purchased?
Menno Broer van Dijk: "Rhythm of the Saints" by Paul Simon and "The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway" by Genesis.


Marcel Everts: "One" by Neal Morse.
MSJ: What is your favorite album?
Menno Broer van Dijk: I still have a weak spot for the first "Saga" albums.

Marcel Everts: Hmmm, dunno, maybe Genesis' "A trick of the tail"… Hard question…
MSJ: What is your favorite movie?
Menno Broer van Dijk: "The Shawshank Redemption"

Marcel Everts: "Star wars IV, V and VI". Period.
MSJ: What is your favorite book?
Menno Broer van Dijk: "The Lord of the Rings"

Marcel Everts: The "Discworld" series by Terry Pratchett.
 
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