Brutality and beauty don’t often go hand in hand, yet IZAH manage to accomplish this partnership flawlessly with their debut album ‘Sistere’. From black metal to brass, the Dutch band varies its sonic palette widely over the course of the album and rewards dedicated listeners with its close attention to small details. A wonderful heavy mix of genres, the album has earned widespread praise. We had a quick chat with them about the new release, the work that went into it and the band’s history.
Netherlands, Tilburg Nordvis
Tijs van Wegberg – Drums
Frans Terhorst – Bass and Live Visuals
Twan Bastiaansen – Guitar and Graphic Artwork
Roel van Oosterhout – Guitar and Songwriting
Michel de Jong – Synth and Guitar
Sierk Entius – Vocals, Lyrics and Noise-synth
We are a metal/rock band from Tilburg, Netherlands, called IZAH. We play music somewhere in between sludge, post-rock, hardcore, black metal and basically anything we feel we can express ourselves through.
IZAH IN PRESS
Angry Metal Guy
“Astonishingly, this is the band’s debut, and it manages to transcend genres to offer a segueway for fans of hardcore, post-rock, doom and black metal alike… it is quite apparent that something special has taken place and the world that remains seems inferior and bland.”
Zero Tolerance Magazine
SHARED THE STAGE WITH
Baroness, Mono, Cult of Luna, Celeste, Wolves in the Throne Room and The Ocean among others, and all the awesome bands at this year’s Roadburn.
Sistere, February 2015
Split EP w/ Fire Walk With Us, December 2012
Finite Horizon/Crevice EP, December 2008
LINKSWebsite Bandcamp Itunes Facebook Twitter
Congratulations on your debut full length album, sounds fantastic. Anything you’d like to share about the making of “Sistere”?
Roel: It was really quite intense seeing this album take form. There’s a great intensity in playing live, but also in laying down a track exactly the way you’ve intended to. There’s so much more audible detail in a good studio recording than you can ever get in a live setting, which makes recording music a whole different deal from playing live. Experiencing the songs for the first time in this way actually had me biting my lip a couple of times. After laying down the main tracks for the album we had quite a long break from recording before picking it up again. This break proved to be quite fruitful in the end, as it was where the ideas for a lot of finishing touches took shape. The brass section at the end of Sistere for instance was one of the last things that were added and it’s one my favorite parts of the album.
Michel: Looking back on the making of ‘Sistere’ I can say it still feels rather surreal that it’s actually done now. For me, a record is never truly done, though. I still hear little details I’d probably change myself, but overall I’d say I’m happy with how it turned out, especially seeing how exhausting the entire years-long process has been for most of us. There was a lot of puzzling and experimenting going on and during the creation of ‘Sistere’ – seeing and hearing how it slowly took shape was something truly motivating and definitely helped to keep us all focused during its long and tedious journey.
How did you guys come up with the band name?
Tijs: While searching for a band name I came up with Isabelline, the mane of a colour of which I found the description very fitting with our music: ‘one of those intermediate or indeterminate colours for which the creators of paint catalogues must search creatively to find a good name’. The rest however didn’t really like that name, until we found out that the word, meaning ‘lion coloured’, was derived from the Arabic word for lion: Izah. All of us instantly liked that name, as it suited the music we (try to) make: powerful and aggressive but also with beauty and grace.
What and who were your musical influences growing up? And how about today?
Roel: As a kid I was very heavily into classic metal stuff like Iron Maiden, Anthrax, early Metallica, Slayer etc. At around 14 years of age I started to discover punk and all its different subgenres. Stuff like Ramones and Dead Kennedys, but I also got totally hooked on Sonic Youth, and they have remained a major musical influence on me to this day. Listening to their music taught me that there are really no creative restrictions or obligations in songwriting. You don’t need steady structures, you don’t need scales, you don’t even necessarily need chords or rhythms. The only thing you need is creativity.
Other artists that appeal to me for going beyond limitations are Godspeed! You Black Emperor, Suffocate For Fuck Sake or Kate Bush. If you’ve ever listened closely to Bush’s albums you know she’s not ‘just’ a great pop artist. She has an incredible capability of taking extremely diverse influences and crafting these together into a coherent song that is very easy to listen to, yet there are all these different layers moving in often opposite directions at the same time. The welding together of sounds and genres for me is also apparent in GY!BE’s or Suffocate For Fuck Sake’s (greatly overlooked) music as well. More inspiration I find in the dark passion in the music of David Eugene Edwards (Wovenhand, 16 Horsepower), the trance inducing repetition and heaviness of AmenRa, the epic themes of Mono and the explosive chaos of the early Shora releases, to name a few, but I could go on and on…
Michel: When I was young I’d say my musical taste started off as pretty standard for an ‘alternative kid’ – listening to Papa Roach, KoRn, Limp Bizkit, Marilyn Manson, Deftones, etc. I slowly gravitated towards more synthpop, like DEADSY, Orgy, The Birthday Massacre, Depeche Mode and more electronic acts, like Röyksopp, The Postal Service, Radiohead, Daft Punk and Boards of Canada, the latter opening up my eyes towards an ambient and post-rock taste during my late teens; listening to a lot of Sigur Rós, Jónsi & Alex, Hammock, This Will Destroy You, Björk and modern classical, which is what I still feel most comfortable with; music with a certain melancholic atmosphere. I feel I’m still in that spot, years later, though the heavier post-metal and sludge stuff like Cult of Luna, Amia Venera Landscape, Russian Circles, Deafheaven, Callisto and more have definitely creeped in. Hence why I feel comfortable and in my place in IZAH, which for me has a good balance between that heaviness and a melancholic atmosphere, the latter having stuck with me for years and being my primary angle and focus in IZAH.
What does the future hold in store for you? Any upcoming tour plans?
Indeed we’re planning to be on the road later this year, but no concrete dates to be announced yet. Furthermore we’re working on new material which is starting to come around quite nicely.
Anything else you would like to share with our readers?
Support music, not hypes. Thank you for your interest in our band.