When we talk about theNAME, we are not talking about gothic metal band number so much. theNAME is different. Let me rephrase that. theNAME is something special. They mix elements of pop with rock and metal. Their music is groovy and their star is rising faster than every other band in this scene. Hadassa Kosten is the metal maiden in the band and no one but her deserves that title. She even wrote an essay about frontladies in the heavy metal scene. All the more reason to interview theNAME, who are a very talented band from Holland, that obviously have a great story to tell. Read on and hear all the ins and outs of this band with an easy “NAME” to remember....
When did theNAME get together as a band, and how did the band members meet up with each other?
Hadassa: “theNAME was founded by Silas in 2000. The band had quite some different band members since then. I joined the band two and a half years ago. One evening I was waiting in front of the practise room for another band I sang in back then, when the guys of theNAME passed by and asked me if I was a singer. Their previous singer had just left and they were searching for a new one. I listened to their demo and really loved the combination of metal and pop (although I wasn’t really into metal at first). After auditioning for theNAME, they didn’t wanted me to leave anymore and luckily I didn’t want to leave the band anymore either.”
Silas: “I started the band, based on some songs I wrote together with a friend, who was a drummer. Just to try it out. After a while, it became more seriously and after a long search and many line-up changes, I finally found the right people to rock with me in theNAME.”
Mike: “I met Silas as a drummer in a former band I played in. After a while, Silas asked me to become the bass player of theNAME as well.”
Salvador: “Some time after moving to The Netherlands, I realized that I really wanted to play, so I decided to look for a band. In my search, I came across an ad from theNAME, who were searching for a new drummer at the time. I contacted Silas and an audition was set. That was the beginning of theNAME for me!”
Did you play in other bands before theNAME? If yes, please state here in which bands you played and if you recorded something with these previous bands?
Hadassa: “I only sang in stoner rock band PIGS IN SPACE for six months, before I joined theNAME. That was my first band and it was a good band to start with. We recorded one demo, called “Deep Impact”. Nowadays, I also sing in the all-chick rock band VON TEASE, but that’s more or less for fun. We recorded two demos with VON TEASE: “Not Enough” and “Girls”. theNAME is my main band and I’m very ambitious with them.”
Silas: “I played in many bands. Too many to name them all here. The few, that jump out were QUESTIONMARK and KISS-THIS. QUESTIONMARK made some demos and KISS-THIS was a KISS cover band of course. Also I did a lot of projects, that actually only involved studio work and no live shows.”
Mike: “A few. The last one was CIRCLES END, here I met Silas.”
Salvador: “Back in Spain, I played in different bands and some side projects, covering a wide range of styles. Some recordings happened indeed, but I guess everything got lost in the pre-internet era.”
Who can we see as the musical influences for theNAME? Maybe you can all name some influences?
Hadassa: I think I’m unconsciously mainly influenced by pop singers. I can’t really name singers I’m influenced by, but I do have some favourite female singers of course. I really like Floor Janssen (AFTER FOREVER), Simone Simons (EPICA), Amy Lee (EVANESCENCE), Gwen Stefani, Anneke van Giersbergen (ex-THE GATHERING, now AGUA DE ANNIQUE), Tori Amos, Chibi, Lacey Mosley (FLYLEAF) and Angela Gossow (ARCH ENEMY)."
Silas: In the beginning, the influence of theNAME was none. When I had the idea, it was actually still quite original to combine metal with female vocals. Of course there were all kinds of rock bands with female singers, but not like we do. And still there aren’t many that you really can compare to us. However, my own influences vary from AL DIMEOLA to KISS, from KYLIE MINOQUE to DISTURBED and from DORO to KILLSWITCH ENGAGE.”
Who came up with the band name, and why did you actually choose this name?
Silas: I did. I wanted a name that was short and easy to remember. Also it had to have some arrogance like ‘this is the band’. To make sure it wasn’t overdone, we made the “the” in the logo smaller than the “NAME”.”
How would you describe the music of theNAME yourself?
Hadassa: “Groovy female fronted rock/metal with female pop/rock vocals and rough male screams.”
Who writes the lyrics for theNAME, and what are they about?
Hadassa: “Silas, friends of Silas and the previous singer wrote the lyrics before I joined the band. Now I mainly write them myself and if I cannot find the right words, I call my best friend who is a writer. If I explain to her which story the lyrics should tell and if I share the images with her that came along with creating that story, she usually understands what I want to say. Therefore she is usually able to write down the words I couldn’t find, which describe my feelings and story perfectly. The lyrics are usually very emotional. They are a lot about love and friendship and the troubles and joys those relationships can cause. Seduction, anger, fear, faith and hurt are the keywords of my lyrics.”
Silas: “The few lyrics I wrote and the ones, that were written before Hadassa joined, are mainly about love and sex. There is actually a connection between the lyrics of six or seven songs. They are all about one relationship and the aspects from that relationship.”
What are the reactions of the press like towards your albums?
Silas: “Some are great and some are not. The usual, I would say. It’s all a matter of taste in the end and I do not believe in press objectivity.”
Did you also get any negative reviews, and if yes how do you deal with negative reviews in general? Do you try to learn from it, or do you rather like to forget about it as quickly as possible?
Hadassa: “Yes, we also got some reviews that weren’t that positive. I’m always curious what people think about our music, so I always read everything carefully. Everybody is of course allowed to have an opinion about our music. I don’t mind if that’s a negative opinion as long as they treat us with respect and explain their opinion. I think a reviewer should know what he/she reviews, should know about the scene and should be able to write on a professional level. If that’s the deal, of course we could learn from the critics.”
Silas: “If the critics are negative but with a tone of advice, I take it very seriously and try to learn from it. However, some reviewers base their negativity on nothing and just want to put you down. With reviews like that, I can only hope people that read it become curious and form their own opinion. Besides, negative publicity is also publicity, so it’s never a real huge problem to me.”
Mike: “If we get a bad review, that is based on some good arguments and they also name positive aspects (every music album ever recorded has at least SOME) I don’t care. It’s mostly a matter of opinion. We also learned that a lot of reviewers don’t know a lot about metal. I don’t care about negative reviews, that show that.”
Hadassa: “So I guess we all agree on that than…”
Salvador: “We do indeed.”
What’s your personal favourite song from the most recent album “Recognition” and why?
Hadassa: “I think “Recognition”. I like the story the lyrics tell and the interaction they create between me and Silas. I like my melody line and I like how it fits with Silas melody and screams. I like the dynamics of the song and that I am able to sing dynamically as well. I like the Arabic guitar part and I like that we can really make a show of this song. A good number two would be “Lies”. I really love to sing “Lies”, because I can be really theatrical in my performance, while singing it. I also like the interaction of the lyrics and the melody between my vocals and the vocals of Mike and Silas. “Lies” is a seductive song with a black core.”
Silas: “I’m afraid I’m not going to be very original with this one. “Recognition” and “Lies” are definitely my favourites as well. Not because of the lyrics though, but the music just rocks and it is great to play live. Also the arrangement and structure of those two I really love.”
Mike: “I would say “Lies”.”
Salvador: “Recognition” stands out for me. I think, it’s the best-rounded song in the album.”
What can people expect, when they come to see a live show of theNAME?
Hadassa: “An energetic, dynamically, tight show with guitar players that jump around and band members who bang their heads off.”
Silas: “So true. We really love to play live and I think, that enthusiasm is something the audience will notice and will enjoy. Energy and connecting are the keywords to us. If I go to a show I wanna be entertained, otherwise I could just listen to the CD. We try to live up to that.”
Do you also play any cover songs during your live gigs, or do you stick to your own penned material only? And if yes, which covers do you play?
Hadassa: “Yes, we do and I really like it. Sometimes we play a cover of BRITNEY SPEARS “Hit Me Baby One More Time” and sometimes of KYLIE MINOQUE “I Just Can’t Get You Out Of My Head”. When we play them, I can be really theatrically and I love doing that. Silas made the arrangements and I think they rock! As we’ve been playing them for a while now, I think it’s time to do a new cover in our set and I think we have a great one in mind already.”
Silas: “Yes, work is in progress on the new one. It’s fun to do a cover everyone knows and we don’t want it as a real serious thing. More like a fun, relaxing moment in the show.”
What’s the biggest gig you played so far?
Hadassa: “I think our biggest gig so far was the combination of two great gigs on one evening. On January 11th this year we played at the Patronaat in Haarlem as the support act of EPICA and at the Paradiso (Amsterdam) in the Dutch finals of the ‘Bodog Battle of the Bands’. It was a great evening and both venues were jam-packed. I especially loved playing at the Paradiso. What a beautiful stage and what a beautiful view I had, as I was on stage in front all those people in the venue.”
Silas: “That sure was a great evening and it must have been the biggest show so far indeed.”
Are there any important shows lined up for theNAME in the near future?
Hadassa: “Yes, we are the support act of KINGFISHER SKY at the Fenix in Sittard on March 15th and at the Underground (Lelystad) on May 10th. On April 19th we’ll also support AGUA DE ANNIQUE at the Escape in Veenendaal.”
Maybe you can share some funny stories here, that happened while being on the road?
Hadassa: “Well, Mike is our living funny story. Mike: shoot!”
Silas: “ I agree… This one is all up to Mike…”
Mike: “Well, there was that time Silas drove over my foot with the car, a time I laid down in front of the smoke machines and inhaled a shitload of smoke (and believe me: it is a lot different then when you just breathe it on stage or in the hall!). Then there is a lot of public exposure going on, on the highway for example. There was that time I broke the stage by jumping too hard, etc.”
Hadassa: “There was that time you broke me…”
Mike: “And then there are a lot of things that I thought were funny, but the rest of the band didn’t.”
If you could go on tour with any band of your choice, who would you pick then?
Hadassa: “That’s a difficult question. I know a lot of bands I would love to go on tour with, like EVANESCENCE, EPICA, LACUNA COIL, WITHIN TEMPTATION, NIGHTWISH or DELAIN.”
Mike: “AC/DC, AEROSMITH, GUNS ‘N’ ROSES and THE CULT.”
Silas: “Any band? Well, then definately KISS! But a bit more seriously would be LACUNA COIL, FLYLEAF or any band, that has a great time on the road.”
Salvador: “ANVIL OF DOOM.”
What’s the hard rock and heavy metal scene like in Haarlem? Are there many clubs where you can play live, besides the well-known Patronaat?
Hadassa: “There are some rock bars in Haarlem and there are some small stages, but the Patronaat is the biggest stage to play at in Haarlem.”
Allright, that was a lot about the present. I hope it’s okay to dig a little into the past of theNAME as well? Why did Denise, your first singer, actually leave the band?
Silas: “She wasn’t the right person for the job. I don’t like to get too personal on this.”
Mike: “She didn’t really treat us right.”
How did you get in touch with Hadassa?
Silas: “We saw her in the practise room and Mike did the rest. Mike...?”
Mike: “I asked: hey, can you sing? Hadassa said: yes. Then she came back to check us out in the break of her former band.”
Hadassa: “Actually, I left that band for you, guys… I wanted something better and more serious. And so I found.”
In which way does Hadassa’s voice differ from Denise’s, and is her stage presentation much different too?
Silas: “Her voice is much more poppy. Denise has a rock voice (more cliché in this genre, if you wish). Performance-wise, Denise didn’t really have the time to grow with us, as the gig-period was too short. Hadassa does a great job now on stage. But to really compare them both is hard, as they are completely different people.”
Mike: “Hadassa uses technique and is more poppy.”
How many copies did you sell of “Remedy” and of “Recognition”?
Silas: “Remedy” sold about four hundred copies and “Recognition” about six hundred now. It’s really hard, if you can only sell them on your website and at gigs. We need a distribution contract!!! Know anyone?!”
Who sets out the musical direction for theNAME?
Silas: “That must be me. So far, I wrote all but one song. Since Hadassa is in the band, she is more involved in the vocal lines and Salvador is great in changing the stuff I come up with, so it is getting more a band thing.”
Hadassa, did you know theNAME, before you joined them?
Hadassa: “No, I didn’t. I live(d) in Utrecht and I wasn’t into metal at all. I started listening to metal once I joined theNAME. I already loved rock music, but I thought metal wasn’t really for me. Nowadays, I really love it and I even finished my bachelor musicology at the University of Utrecht with a thesis on female vocalists in temporary metal bands.”
Do you also play any instruments, besides the fact that you have a very beautiful voice?
Hadassa: “Well, thank you! No, I don’t play another instrument. I wish, I could play bass or guitar, but I think I don’t have the patience to learn that.”
Are you working on new material already, and if yes, what will it sound like?
Hadassa: “Yes, we are.”
Silas: “We definately are. There will be more variation and in general I think it will become a bit heavier.”
Hadassa: “Yeah, I really like that it’s getting heavier.”
Salvador: “I think, you can get a good idea by checking out the video of “Mirror” on our website.”
Mike: “I think so, too.”
In what way will it differ from the songs on “Recognition”?
Silas: “Well, if you listen to the whole album, you will find a lot of different songs there already. The main change in the new stuff is the contrast. There will be more heavy guitar riffs and more double-bass parts, but at the same time more catchy choruses. The songs that go a bit the direction we are going now are “Recognition” and “Lies” I think, but that were the last songs written for the album, so there is logic!”
How important is the internet for a band like theNAME, and where can people find your website(s)?
Hadassa: “I think it’s very important as a promotion tool. We do interviews with online magazines, online magazines also write reviews about our shows and demos, online magazines have done contests so people could win tickets to our shows, photographers put their pictures of us online and we can link that all from our websites. We have an official website [http://www.thename.nl], a My Space website [http://www.myspace.com/thenamemusic] and a Hyves website [http://thenamemusic.hyves.nl]. From our My Space and Hyves, we can reach a lot of people easily and spread our music. That’s really a great thing!”
Silas: “Internet is marketing tool number one at the moment and we try to use it as good as we can.”
Mike: “Are you telling me the internet is used for more than downloading porn? WTF!”
Hadassa: “Thank you for this addition, Mike…”
How's theNAME doing in the Sellaband race?
Hadassa: “We’ve been really busy with other things like the Bodog Battle of the Bands, great gigs and writing new material for our new demo, so we haven’t promoted Sellaband as good as we could lately. We want to make more time for that soon. Actually, a Sellaband-band member organized a Sellaband-bands 'meet and greet' evening in Almelo last month and we played there. It was a lot of fun!"
Silas: “I think, we are doing well for the time we have spend in it. We really need to start promoting it more, but as Hadassa said, soooo many things to do!”
What are the future plans for theNAME?
Hadassa: “Play as much as possible, develop our show and our music and write a lot of new songs!”
Silas: “I really like to focus on finishing the new material and CD, so people can hear the stuff we are doing now. After all “Recognition” is already almost two years old! Playing live shows is like breathing for me, so of course I hope we can play as much as possible.”
How did you get on the compilation album “Kill City Vol. 6”?
Silas: “They contacted us via My Space and Salvador did the rest.”
Salvador: “We are always open to new opportunities to reach more people with our music, and this compilation was a good chance. As we have said earlier, we think the internet is a very important marketing tool nowadays, and it is probably the best way for an independent band like theNAME to reach its target audience. In this case, it allowed 272 Records to get to our music.”
Hadassa, is there anybody you would like to sing a duet song with?
Hadassa: “Yes! I would love to sing a duet with Floor Janssen, Anneke van Giersbergen, Doro, Amy Lee or Simone Simons. Although I must say, I heard the singer of KINGFISHER SKY recently and she really rocks as well!”
Any other projects or bands that you’re involved in at the moment?
Hadassa: “I still have my all-chick band VON TEASE. We are rehearsing like crazy, but we still have a lot of work to do, so now it’s not that serious yet. Furthermore, I’m really focussed on theNAME, but if a cool project would come along and I would have the time I wouldn’t say no. But that would have to be small projects like singing one song for a project of another metal band or participate in a rock opera or something. I think that would be cool things to do.”
You also wrote a paper (essay) about female fronted metal bands. Why did you choose this topic?
Hadassa: “I wanted to know more about metal in connection to female musicians and the changes feminism created to make it possible for females to participate in a male dominated music world. I thought it was interesting to research that as a musicologist and a metal fan, but also for me as a female vocalist in a metal band. I just wondered who to thank for being able to be a female vocalist in a metal band these days and I wanted to know why it still is hard sometimes to be fully accepted as a full female or female vocalist in the metal scene.”
You describe three different front ladies there. The femme fatale, the tomboy and the girl. What kind of a front lady do you see yourself?
Hadassa: “I think, I show a lot of aspects of myself in theNAME. I wouldn’t say I’m a tomboy, but I do think I combine the girl and the femme fatale in a lot of different ways.”
Can a tomboy become a girl or a femme fatal, if she wants to?
Hadassa: “Sure, if she could make the aspects that make a girl or a femme fatale her own. After all, it is a performance.”
What’s the conclusion that you can draw, after completing this essay?
Hadassa: “Female vocalists these days still show themselves mainly in stereotypes as the girl, femme fatale and tomboy, but because of their relation to feminism, these female singers also represent heroines.”
Did you get a good mark for it?
Hadassa: “Yes, a 9. I was so happy, when I heard that! I must say, I worked really hard on it. I really liked writing it, reading about metal, feminism and female metal musicians and listening to/watching metal bands.”
In another interview I read that you would also like to have some experience in a jazz band. Why is that, and isn’t there a huge gap between the world of rock and metal on one hand and the world of jazz musicians on the other?
Hadassa: “Yes, that’s true; I would love to sing in a big band just for once or a couple of times. I just really love Marilyn Monroe and other fifties and sixties pin ups like Bettie Page, so it had to be in that style. I would love to dress up in a fifties/sixties dress and get my hair done as a fifties/sixties girl. I don’t know if you noticed, but I kind of already wear the make up that goes with it: the black eyeliner, red lipstick and red nails. Rock and roll started with the fifties/sixties look, so that kind of matches with rock and metal. These days I think you still find the sixties/fifties pin ups in images of metal and gothic (bands), but of course that’s only about the look and not the music.”
Do you have any other unfulfilled (musical) wishes?
Hadassa: “Right now I would like to focus on theNAME, but if I would hear about a cool rock opera to play on stage or just to record I think I would audition. I did a lot with theatre and musicals before I started to sing in bands three years ago and that would be a great way to combine it all again.”
We are an on-line ‘zine that is completely focussed on female musicians in the hard rock and heavy metal scene. Do you feel that women still need this attention or do you think they already get all the recognition that they earn so much?
Hadassa: “No, I don’t think they already get the recognition they deserve, so I think it’s important to give them some extra attention. It always has been more ‘normal’ for a girl to sing than for a girl to play an instrument, so I think especially the girls that play an instrument in metal bands still have to fight for their recognition.”
Do you have any hobbies, besides playing music in a hard rock band?
Hadassa: “I love to go to rocking concerts (mainly metal, pop and gothic), I hate shopping but new cool clothes are worth it in the end, so I do that too much, I’m addicted to painting my nails red, I love to talk to and learn from wise people, I love to watch movies, I love to sleep, I love to go to a good restaurant (tapas!) and I love to spend time with my friends or my boyfriend.”
Mike: “Listening to all sorts of music, philosophy, religion, history, visiting museums, porn, etc...”
Hadassa: “It seems the rest of us don’t have any hobbies… Guys? Or would they be afraid to share them?”
Is there anything you’d like to add to this interview? Maybe there is something we forgot to mention here, which is essential for the story of theNAME?
Hadassa: “I wouldn’t know what to add…”
Silas: “I think you did a great job and you’re really up-to-date of what we are doing, so everything is covered. Or I will think the next day. Damn, I forgot...”
Do you have any personal messages for the readers of our ‘zine?
Hadassa: “Check our websites and come to our shows!”
Silas: “Rock on!”
Mike: “Well, that!”
Salvador: “Hope to see you all at one of our shows!”
The last words in this interview are for Hadassa and theNAME....
Hadassa: “Thank you for this interview! Your online ‘zine rocks!”
Silas: “Last words... last words... sounds so definite… Thanks!”
Mike: “Thanks, hope to see you all on the road one day!”
Salvador: “Thanks for the attention!”
Visit their official website at: www.thename.nl
or look for them at My Space www.myspace.com/thenamemusic or Hyves www.thenamemusic.hyves.nl
Other interesting links:
*Download the essay about the female vocalist in today’s metal scene by Hadassa Kosten here [Dutch ONLY]: MUSICFROM
*Read more about the essay here: METAL RAGE