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Nicolas Van Dyk – Guitar, songwriter for Redemption

Venue: Redemption’s Tour Bus
Date: 09/24/07
Interviewed By: Rich Catino and The Goat



Our conversation began with Asylum writer The Goat expressing his more than positive reaction for Redemptions latest release “The Origins of Ruin” (he also reviewed the disc) to the guitarist. Nicolas proceeded to tell us that he remembered the review and that he does read every review of Redemption’s music and so our interview began….

1 .So you do read all of the reviews for Redemption’s albums and how do you take the criticism?

NICOLAS: I read every single review, and sorry about our first album (self titled), laughs. I mean you can’t please everybody all of the time and I probably take it a little too much to the heart at times but I do like to read what people think of the music. If you please people all the time then your really not making any kind of statement really. I’d really like to have 95% of the people like it and 5% hate it (laughs).

2. Do the reviews ever effect how the music will turn out for future albums?

NICHOLAS: Yeah I think it does as long as its constructive criticism. I know I have too many lyrics per bar of music, Haha, and that has improved from the first to the second and second to third records and particularly with a vocalist like Ray who likes to stretch out some words. So for me to give him too many lyrics doesn’t allow him enough space.

3. A lot of your lyrics reflect moments in time when a relationship has gone bad and similar topics.

NICHOLAS: You know what we are a Heavy Metal progressive band and there is only so much you can work with lyrically you know, because I’m not gonna sing about trolls, laughs. I mean what is the deal with trolls, Haha?

You know its like a little of the teenage thing I guess but its not something I can see me writing for this band. “Dr. Stein loves funny creatures” (Helloween) Haha, Blind Guardian..but they veered away from the Tolkken stuff as of lately. Don’t get me wrong I do obviously dig that stuff, look I just recalled the line from Helloween’s “Dr. Stein” (laughs).

I like writing songs that people can relate to and writing about relationships, failed ones, which everyone can relate to.

4. So what type of things are you writing about on “The Origins of Ruin”?

NOCHOLAS: Well on the first record a lot of the lyrics were kind of third person story telling like we had four songs based on a Steven King book and a really long song based on a Ray Bradbury book and that’s ok but it felt a little sophomoric. Our music is written based to work whether or not its connection can be made to the listener and the lyrics need to touch the listener as closely as they can.

5. What really caught my (The Goat) attention was the song “The Death of Faith and Reason” and I was curious where you stood on that?

NICHOLAS: Well I stand on the side that nobody has a monopoly on the truth. And anybody who believes whether it be Atheism or be it the other side, better have a big dose of humility and if you have strong opinions keep em to yourself. Even the guys in the band don’t talk about our beliefs and you can instill your beliefs on someone else be it by a gun or at the end of a sword, you know.

6. Tell us about the song “Parker’s Eyes” from “The Fullness of Time”.

NICHOLAS: Well that is a song that references the events of 9/11, like Dream Theater did something a lot more specific about that topic, but that song is one of the few examples of the horrible things people do to each other and its about the loss of innocence. I was holding my daughter, who is four and a half, the other day saying “A child is born perfectly innocent wouldn’t think of doing any harm to anybody else” and sooner or later I have to explain to her of these horrible things people do to each other. Like the other day she asked me why people lie, and hearing that from a blank slate was really hard to hear. And then I have some sound bytes and things making it a little more depressing unfortunately.

“The Suffocating of Silence” off the new record is about not keeping these dark issues inside allowing them to fester. Its about communicating and releasing those feelings which is a freeing experience.

7. In Redemption we hear some influence ironically maybe from Fates Warning. What influences the music and your sound?

NICHOLAS: Well I’m a huge Fates Warning fan and I met our singer Ray Alder, who also sings for Fates Warning, at a Flotsam and Jetsam concert and I went up to him and did the whole “Ooo I’m such a huge fan” and two weeks later I was going to a Saxon concert at the same venue, and by the way Ray is not really a metal fan believe it or not, and I saw him we started talking, became friends, he invited me to a Fates rehearsal, then I played him some music I wrote, he used a song for his first solo record and it progressed from there. I mean I grew up on Metallica, early Megadeth I love, Anthrax, Exodus, and then I got into more progressive rock like Rush and Kansas and then of course next was getting into bands like Fates Warning and Dream Theater. So all of that kind of becomes part of Redemption but with the Metallica Megdaeth influence I think it separates us from other progressive bands because our music is more aggressive and heavier.

8. How much touring has Redemption been able to do?

NICHOLAS: Well I have a pretty demanding day job so we have not had the chance to do much. This Dream Theater tour made for a great opportunity. I have literally been working during the day in between traveling from gig to gig so it has been crazy but this beats stamp collecting.

9. Have you done any touring over in Europe?

NICHOLAS: We have done the Headway festival in Amsterdam and we had hoped to set up some more dates around it but it didn’t work out. The festival was mostly prog metal, a band called Sleepy Time Gorilla Museum who were amazing played before us, their music is like King Crimson meets Mr. Bungle on crack with some Death Metal thrown in. and then there was a band Zero Hour too who are really good technical players.

10. Have you started working on the next Redemption album?

NICHOLAS: Yeah I have written a song called “Love Kills Us All” which is some more depressing shit Haha, and I have some others ideas. We are not a political band but I am writing a song based on the movie ‘V for Vendetta” just because I thought it was an excellent movie. But I am looking to have the writing done for the record done by the end of the year.

11. I (The Goat) would really like to hear the first album with Ray Alder singing. What do you think of that idea?

NICHOLAS: Well we have been doing “Nocturnal” which sounds killer but unfortunately because of a curfew we can’t fit it in tonight.

12. Does touring with a band ever effect your writing style for a record?

NICHOLAS: I think it probably will for this next record. Our guitarist Bernie Versailles does some really interesting things when he plays and I think for the next record we will use more of the two guitar work. That seems to do well for Redemption.

Official website: www.redemptionweb.com

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