With a new album in their pocket, SENGIR from Belgium is ready to strike back again. Some line up changes have occured, and the band has definitely created a sound of their own. The release of the new album was reason enough to get in touch again with singer Ellen Schutyser and ask her what happened between the release of their debut album and its predecessor “Sign Of Devotion”....
Congratulations on your new album. How are the first reactions of the press so far?
Ellen Schutyser: "The reactions are very good, far better than we have ever hoped for!"
I believe that the band have matured a lot in the short time between debut album “Guilty Water” and “Sign Of Devotion”. Did you change a lot in the way you wrote the songs on this album?
Ellen : "Our debut album "Guilty Water" was written by our former keyboard player, while "Sign Of Devotion" was created by the whole new line up of SENGIR. We have put more energy in the structure of the songs. Because of the new bandmembers we had a lot of inspiration for making the new album."
Your style has changed a bit too. I’d like to compare you a bit more with a band like THE GATHERING now, instead of all the gothic metal bands that overfloated the scene. Can you agree with this? You’re sounding much more progressive on “Sign Of Devotion”.
Ellen: "There are too many bands who use bombastic elements and choirs nowadays. We wanted to keep our music rather down to earth: catchy songs - nothing more, nothing less. We have lots of respect for other gothic bands, but you cannot compare their music with our music. That is why we keep saying that we play gothic rock, and not gothic metal, although there are some metal elements in the songs on our new album."
Is there a deeper explanation for the title of this new album?
Ellen: "The title of the album refers to the difficult period we have been through between the first and second album. I guess that without this devotion, there wouldn’t have been a new CD anyway."
What’s your favorite song on this album and why? (My choice would be “Day You Take Me Over”, by the way, because you sing it with so much emotion!)
Ellen: "My favourite song on the album is "Disbelief". I think, that song has a great vocal line and a moving uptempo rhythm."
How did your CD presentation go on January 20th in Opwijk, Belgium? And how did your fans react on the new songs you played?
Ellen: "The "Sign Of Devotion" release party went very well. It was the first time that we have played the whole album live. We did get a great respons from the audience. We also played “Soul’s Alive” and “Guilty Water” from the first album."
Will there be a single release from this album, and if yes, for which song?
Ellen: "The song “Time” will be released as a single very soon."
Svencho (ABORTED) did the artwork for the album. Does it represent something special, or is it just an abstract art outing that we see here? And why did you choose this particular piece of art for your frontcover?
Ellen: "We had given Svencho the title of our new album and he made some art work for it. We have chosen this artwork because it shines from within."
There also have been some line up changes in the band. Founder member Kris Scheelinck decided to leave the band. Not again the usual musical differences I guess, because after all as a founder member he must have had a vision about the sound and the goals with SENGIR?
Ellen: "His future perspectives did not stroke to the global vision of the band. It was better to go further without him."
Recently, you also said goodbye to drummer Flip Vinck, what happened to him?
Ellen: "He became the drummer of BEYOND THE LABYRINTH. They are doing a great job now with their first album."
Was it difficult to find new members Bruno Goedhuys (drums) and Frederik de Dobbeleer (guitar)?
Ellen: "We have selected our new members very carefully. We did a lot of auditions, so we could find the perfect new members."
It’s been a few years, since your release “Guilty Water”. If you look back at this album, what would you change about it, if you had the chance or are you completely satisfied with the final result of the album?
Ellen: "It was not bad for a debut album. At the time we were happy with the result. But the second album had to be way better, so we searched for a good producer, who could gave us the sound that we were looking for."
I have seen some dates of gigs, you will be playing in Belgium this year. Are there any touring plans for other countries or festivals aborad, or is it too early for that?
Ellen: "At the moment we are touring through Belgium, but we also have touring plans for The Netherlands, France and Germany."
What was it like to play at the annual Graspop Festival last year? Which other gigs did you see there, and what did you like the best of this whole experience?
Ellen: "Playing at the Graspop festival was a dream come true! When we were younger, we went to the festival as a fan. This time we were playing, and people came to see our show. It was an amazing expierience for us! I guess the day we played Graspop, was the hottest day of the year. The temperature in the marquee was somewere between 40° and 45°! But eventough we were sweating like hell, we had a good time! Other gigs.... Well, the musical taste of the SENGIR members is very wide, so everybody went to see his own favorite bands."
Ellen, you and SENGIR appeared two times at the well-known Metal Female Voices festival. To be on the bill twice in a row, must be very special for you, and a great compliment for your voice as well. What do you think of festivals like these, where female fronted bands are put together on one bill. It is something special for you, or just another festival?
Ellen: "The Metal female Voices festival is very known in Belgium and other countries so it is a honor to be two times on the bill. It is a good thing, that Belgium has it’s own festival in that style of music. We hope we can be on the bill of MFVF4."
What’s the metal situation like in Belgium nowadays? Are there many clubs, where you can play live, or is it still a difficult situation to find suitable clubs where you can play metal gigs?
Ellen: "You only have a couple of suitable clubs in Belgium. There is a huge edge between the little youth clubs (who are not sponsored by the community or governement) and the big concert places in Belgium. You don’t have much suitable clubs in between."
Maybe you can share some nice or funny stories with our readers about the many gigs you played with so many other bands. You must have experienced some funny situations sometimes?!
Ellen: "A funny story?!?? There were so many. The funniest thing I can refer to was our trip to London with EPICA. So much crazy shit happened these two days. Someone (no, I’m not telling, who it was) was using the bathroom of the tourbus a little too much. I don’t want to know what he had for dinner the day before!"
Are you still into the reading of Tarot cards, and can Madam Ellen tell us, what the future will bring SENGIR?
Ellen: "If I read the cards, the future for SENGIR will be very bright...."
Any latest news, you’d like to mention here?
Ellen: "We are playing with THEATRE OF TRAGEDY in Ghent, with LEAVES EYES and ELIS at the Biebob club, we also are on the bill of a festival with DORO, SONATA ARTICA, JON OLIVA’S PAIN and lots more. We also are negotiating with promotors to get us on the bill of other festivals, but nothing is 100% sure yet."
The last words are for Ellen and SENGIR....
Ellen: "In the first place, we want to thank you for the interview and the readers of Metal Maidens for reading it. We hope to see our Dutch fans at a show in Holland real soon!"
Visit SENGIR's website at: http://www.sengirweb.com
*Guilty Water (CD 2003; Buzzville Records)
*Sign Of Devotion (CD 2006; Buzzville Records)