At Keltfest 2015 we had a nice chat with the guys of Pyrolysis about all sorts of topics. How their musical careers started, about hopes and dreams, and their upcoming performances at for instance Castlefest.
Mind you, it’s audio only, though you can find the written text right here. 🙂
CeltCast: So, we’ve gone somewhat full circle at Keltfest this year ’cause last year we met a couple of people who were playing acoustically. They weren’t invited by Vana, they were just playing and drawing at least our attention, but no really a lot of people’s attention, and we met again at the Midwinter Fair which we wrote to you about and this year we thought we would have to get back to these people because to us they are very special and we’re going to have a little talk with them and show you why. So please, could you first introduce yourselves?
Sven: Hi, I’m Sven, 23 years old and I’m a chemistry student and guitarist of Pyrolysis.
Stan: I’m Stan, I’m 22 years old. I’m a psychology student and I’m the lead singer and drummer for Pyrolysis.
Rikke: Hi, I’m Rikke, I’m 19 years old. I study biotechnology and I play the violin.
Laurens: Hi, I’m Laurens. I study biology and I try to play the accordion.
CeltCast: So, you are a diverse group of people and so is your music. Because, we have been in contact the last year and we heard your acoustic set which drew us to you. And when we got back in touch via Facebook we said “Please give us some tracks and we’ll see if they are suitable for our station.” And what did you do?
Laurens: Well, normally we do something entirely different then we show on these, like, sort of fantasy festivals and we play with heavy electric guitar, electric bass, drumkits, we play some sort of rock, folkrock.
Stan: So we might have sent you something that sounds more like punk than like folk.
Sven: Something Flogging Molly like.
Laurens: Silly us, of course. We should have known.
CeltCast: Well, it was brilliant music, because we could still hear the quality of you guys, but it wasn’t what is played normally in our stream. So when we met up at Midwinter Fair you kind of had a surprise for us, because you were recording a CD, which was like total death metal, or not?
Stan: Well, sort of…
Rikke: Maybe not death metal, more punk, like we play normally. But then we also thought well, CeltCast liked us so maybe we should make some acoustic music and put it on our album.
Laurens: Well, actually we thought, all these festivals are really great, and we like all the bands that play here. We like this kind of music more and more ourselves now, like live, and the last two years done that more and more and started to like it more, a bigger repertoire.
Stan: It was kind of like when we switched from metal to punk, which not, like, to folkpunk, which happened very early on in our band. But now lately we’ve been trying to, actually, not trying to, it just happened, we’ve been starting to feel drawn towards actual folk more then punk folk.
Laurens: And more people seem to like it actually, so…
Sven: We want our album to show our different styles which we play. Acoustically, non-acoustically.
Stan: Yeah, ’cause not only does our album have like folk, but it also has the more metal-like songs that we wrote, so there’s a great diversity.
CeltCast: Yes, you have sent us a couple of tracks already, thank you. And what we heard, even within that selection, is that you are very multi-talented and diverse. The quality of the music is very good, for such a yound band.
Laurens: We have invested all our money.
CeltCast: Well, you have our attention now. But, you already said, the album…something is about to happen now, right? So tell us more about the time schedule.
Laurens: So we have our release date, and also of course our release party at the 26th of June in our very beautiful hometown Zaltbommel. We are all from there and it’s a very cosy place, very nice.
CeltCast: For those who haven’t picked up on the accent yet, that’s in the Netherlands.
Laurens: And there we will present the album and we have avery nice group of friends that we met at these festivals called Fiddle ‘n Drum.
Sven: Last year at Keltfest actually.
Stan: Exactly one year ago.
Laurens: They also crashed the festival, we crashed the festival, and we played some songs together which is, I think, very common and very nice in this scene. And they will support us, they will play with us together. Then we will also play of course more the rock songs and the acoustic songs that we play, I think everything.
CeltCast: So you’ll be playing in both styles? Acoustic, as well as more rock or punk?
Laurens: Yes. But next to that are very other things on the programme as well. We’ve got Castlefest this year. We play at the campsite. I think it’s actually the first year that a band is allowed to wake all the people up.
Stan: Everyone at Castlefest is going to hate us!
CeltCast: You are warned!
Laurens: So at nine o’clock we start to wake everyone up and it’s going to be a party from nine to, I don’t know…
Stan: We’ll try to play metal there sneaky so (…inaudible…)
CeltCast: Ehm, remind us to book another camping.
Sven: Acoustic metal…great idea!
Stan: Definitely. We will start to sound more like classical music maybe.
CeltCast: So, but, you’re really doing rather well. I mean you were just crashing the festival last year, I would like to paraphrase you, you were crashing the festival last year, this year you are actually without any instruments, sadly, I should add.
Stan: Yeah, we are fully reparing for the return of our bass player.
Sven: Which will be in half a week.
CeltCast: We should say we are of course now lacking Tim in this interview. Tim is over in England right?
Stan: Yeah, he’s in Leeds.
Sven: He’s an English student, so now he’s half a year in England.
Laurens: And very happy there. Drunk all the time, maybe that’s not a good thing when releasing an album.
Sven: Not missing us at all, the bastard.
Laurens: No, but he will return coming Tuesday and then the group will be whole again and we will start writing songs and…
Stan: Rehearsing of course.
CeltCast: So, Pub stage in Castlefest, and…what’s beyond this year’s Castlefest? Where do you see yourselves in, like, five years?
Laurens: That’s a tricky one, because we never plan anything, we never think about anything, we just, I mean, we’re very happy now that we got in to Castlefest, but hopefully next year we will be able to play a stage where no one will hate us, and also we would like to go to Keltfest of course this year again, next year I mean, and be programmed, maybe in the Pubstage.
Stan: We were a little late this year.
Laurens: Yeah, we were a little late this year but next year maybe, hopefully, we can do all summer festivals, but also still probably electrically. And you know, we hope to support some cool bands that like us, that we like of course and maybe, I think after our show everyone is very warmed up so that’s nice.
Sven: And drunk!
Stan: Generally quite drunk yeah.
Laurens: So for some sort of main act that is very nice. For us also but…
CeltCast: I’m fully convinced that you can go way beyond Pubstages so…
Sven: We hope so too.
Laurens: In five years we will be the main act hopefully. That’s the plan.
Sven: Let’s hope the post-student life doesn’t break us up.
Laurens: Yeah, so, we’re almost all finished now with our bachelor, with our masters, except for this young girl. But then we’re not very sure where we’ll be. Sven and I are probably going to do a PhD afterwards, hopefully in the Netherlands so we can still play together.
Stan: So I’m still not allowed to go to Scotland.
Laurens: No, but so far the vibe in the bands is very good.
Sven: I’m staying the Netherland at least, I don’t know about you.
Laurens: I don’t know either so, as mentioned, I don’t plan anything.
CeltCast: So you’re all studying, you’re all still learning, where did you learn to play your instruments? Can you give us some background on how you got to be in the music scene, especially how you grew into this part of it?
Sven: I got my instrument quite late, I got it for my 16th birthday, and then I started learning it myself first and a few different teachers and different styles, some rock and metal, and now I have more blues and folk oriented lessons, mainly thanks to these guys.
Laurens: Yeah, I basically dragged him into the band very quickly. Because I’ve been playing piano, I must say forced by my parents, I was forced to play classical piano. In the beginning of course, and then I started to like more and more and I had lessons for like twelve or thirteen years and then I got into this weird kind of band and then I had to pick up the accordion of course.
CeltCast: You don’t strike me as traumatized by it.
Laurens: No, no, I’m very happy.
Sven: He’s traumatizing us.
Laurens: But Classical music is less free than this folk music is so I had a very strict teacher that taught me to play very clearly and very well.
Stan: But not how to play in a rhythm.
Laurens: No. He’s always angry with me ’cause I always play…
CeltCast: Why is rhythm so important to you?
Stan: Well, I’m the drummer so…obviously.
CeltCast: Can you explain how you got to be a drummer?
Stan: Ah yeah, ehm, well, I don’t know. I think, we had a drumkit at home, when I was like six or seven, because my parents are really into music and they all play instruments, they both do, and so they wanted me to play an instrument, so they tried guitar and piano…
CeltCast: Oh, you were both force fed.
Stan: Yeah, both parents. But I wasn’t very good at guitar or piano, so I played drums. So I started lessons when I was seven and then I played a few gigs with a few other drummers, but then I got in a band with these guys and I started learning more instruments. I didn’t learn them from, like, teachers. I did have some singing classes, but then I taught myself how to play harmonica, mandolin, bodhrán, stuff like that.
Laurens: Well, he definitely, the only thing he didn’t want was to sing, but all the other ones really can not sing and we just forced him, eventhough he’s behind the drumkit all the time.
Stan: We were a band with four guys, we had a different bass player when we started, but we didn’t have a singer. I was like, yeah, I learned how to sing like six years ago for a few weeks, so I had to sing.
Sven: Then we shoved a microphone under his nose.
Stan: I got a microphone…I just wanted to drum though, I didn’t want to do anything else. But I had to sing. And I kept having to sing. And now I still sing.
Laurens: Well, hopefully you’ll start to like it.
Stan: It’s not that bad.
Laurens: It’s a bit scary maybe.
Stan: I don’t want to be at the front of the stage. It’s good I still have a drumkit to hide behind.
CeltCast: So after you were force fed by your parents you are now being force fed by your colleagues.
Stan: Yeah, kinda…
Laurens: But it’s still great fun you know?
CeltCast: To you three yes! What’s your story?
Rikke: Well, when I was six or eight, something around that, I learned how to play keyboard. My dad played keyboard so I was like, oh I want to play keyboard too! But then after half a year I quit because I did not have the motivation. So when I was fifteen my physics teacher brought her violin to class to teach us about strings, that they get a higher tone when you shorten the string and such. So I fell in love immediately, at the violin.
Stan: Not with the teacher?
Rikke: No, that would be just weird. Well, and the I asked my parents can I please please get violin lessons, but they said no, you’re too old, you can not…it will not have a gain. But then I just asked the teacher, the violin teacher, myself, can you teach me how to play violin without, really, my parents having to give a fuck about it. They just pay it and then ok, just go do it, but they did not think I would really pull through playing the violin, because I quit at playing the keyboard very early. And, well, after a few years I played in the school band, and then one of my, one of the colleagues at the school band mentioned my name to these guys because they were looking fo someone to play the violin and that was quite a coincidence. Because at the time that they asked me to play in their band I was looking for something to do…
Laurens: With your life.
Rikke: With my life yeah. I was in my last year in high school, well, at school, so I did not have anything to do after school and well, I had lot of free time. Yeah, poor me. And I visited one of their rehearsals and I thought it was amazing so the click was already there.
Laurens: Yeah, it was great, because we are just four guys that are very annoying to be with.
Stan: And very nerdy. Very important to mention.
Laurens: But she just fit in almost immediately.
Stan: She was just as nerdy.
Sven: When we said our nerdy shit, she replied with more nerdy shit.
Stan: She was like “Oh I already know that, do you know this?” and we were like WOW!
Laurens: Yeah, so she was really the last piece of the puzzle I think.
Sven: Well, we think. There might be more pieces.
Laurens: Yeah, but so far it feels very nice.
Stan: I think it’s good like this. Maybe a piper. I’m not going to play pipes guys! Don’t force me! It scares the shit out of me.
Sven: We don’t have to force you, you’ll do it by yourself.
Stan: Yeah, maybe, eventually, probably.
Laurens: Well, I think we’ve got the most important people now, the most important instruments, and the most important creativity that we need to write more songs. To hit the stage.
CeltCast: Because that’s another thing, you do write your own songs.
Sven: Mostly, yes.
CeltCast: For a band that’s quite this young that’s very special. Most start out as a coverband.
Sven: We started out as a coverband.
Stan: Yeah, but then we got Tim and then songs kept flowing.
Laurens: Tim is an English student and he writes most of our, he writes the best of our lyrics. All the not so good lyrics are made by someone else, no offence to anyone, but…
Sven: Including yourself.
Laurens: Yes, of course. So he writes most of the lyrics and also a large part of the music, but we also try to ll add our own meaning to the music, I think that’s why it sounds…
Laurens: Yeah, complete, but also, well, fresh, you know? Because everyone is putting something in.
Sven: So often we start out just with a bit of music and then we just add stuff, change stuff and eventually we end up with, well, our songs.
Laurens: Well I think we’re still changing songs but…even the songs that are recorded on the album.
Stan: Even the songs that we play for, like, five years. Small adaptations…
Laurens: I think it’s never finished.
CeltCast: It shouldn’t be. I think it’s good to keep it in a steady state of evolution. You evolve as a band, as a person so, so does your music.
Laurens: Yeah, you must kep it fun to play.
Sven: Eventually we had to add violin, so we had to change the music anyway.
CeltCast: For bands that are starting now, would you have any special advice for them to grow into this scene, apart from crashing next years Keltfest?
Stan: Get a job, make sure your wallet becomes heavy, buy very cool instruments, buy many of them, learn all of them, learn all the jigs, play together with everyone and you’ll just meet awesome people and then you’ll roll into the world automatically. If everyone knows you you can get everywhere.
Laurens: Yeah, but I think the most important thing that has helped us to get so far is that we didn’t want anything really. We just wanted to be a group of friends, we wanted to play music that is, has some sort of high level, that sounds good. And we didn’t want to do this show, we didn’t want to do this very quickly. I mean we’re already playing together for five years now and well, some people say we are “only” here, but I think well, we’re still here as a band and so many bands that we met during our five years of playing everywhere, they are all gone.
Stan: All the local bands just vanished.
Laurens: Yes, and we are still here and we’re still making fun and progress. Slowly, but we have fun and we don’t set any particular goal for next year, we want to have so many gigs and so many sold albums, we just, I don’t know, we just…
Sven: Everything is a great bonus that we do.
Stan: We just play for the music and not for anything else.
Sven: We love playing together, surround yourself with friends, keep playing music, keep doing what you love and you’ll just grow into stuff.
Stan: What helps is that we as friends, we don’t just, we really became friends. We’re just real friends, if you play music together with other people, if you can’t be friends, if you didn’t like each other, don’t play music with each other.
Sven: Your band lasts mostly a year then.
Laurens: Yeah, and I think, especially in this scene where there is I think so much friendship and everyone knows the tunes so, I don’t know, when you’re open to play with other people you can play with everyone in the scene because almost everyone knows exactly the same songs which is very very cool.
CeltCast: Even in the Netherlands, here we now have Irish sessions in pubs. So yeah, I love going to those. So what are you off to now, today, in Keltfest? Are you going to see Soar Patrol that will finish the day?
Stan: We already saw it.
CeltCast: Yeah, they are here twice.
Laurens: But probably we will check them out again yeah, that would be nice I think. I liked it.
Sven: Very nice music.
Stan: No, I really liked it! I mean finally a band actually has an awesome amount of drums, so many drums! It was awesome! Three freakin’drummers!
Laurens: Yeah, and the Scottish accents.
Stan: An actual genuine Scotsman!
Laurens: We couldn’t understand it, but he goes to Scotland all the time, so he was…
Stan: Not all the time, like two weeks every year.
Laurens: Every year yeah.
Sven: He’s the Scot over here.
Stan: Well, I’m the local Scot.
CeltCast: Well, make sure you team up and you’ll be supporting them maybe. Alright, well, thanks very much. I hope you enjoy the rest of the festival and we’ll be sure hearing more of you at CeltCast!
Pyrolysis consists of:
Vocals, Drums, Harmonica
Bass, Drums, Backing Vocals
Keyboard, Accordion, Backing Vocals