Interview with Charlotte Wessels (Delain)

Ahead of the release of their upcoming album “The Human Contradiction”, Charlotte Wessels, the singer of Dutch symphonic metal band Delain answered some questions about the new album and the upcoming tour with Within Temptation:

The concept of the album “We are the Others” was based on the tragic murder of Sophie Lancaster, and it was a really powerful one, about how it is to be different in society, and our treatment of others. Is the Human Contradiction a continuation of this theme, or different?

In a way the songs on our upcoming record continue on the topic of “otherness” which was initially introduced on our previous album We Are The Others. The title The Human Contradiction is taken from Octavia E. Butlers trilogy Lilith’s Brood. A post-apocalypse story, in which the fact that humanity did not last is explained by our two most contradictory qualities; the fact that we are as a species both intelligent and hierarchic. This human contradiction causes an ‘us versus the others’ mentality; an attitude which makes humans randomly select qualities in others and use those qualities to justify ranking them higher or lower on the constructed ladder; it allows for the creation of dualisms; of man and woman, black and white, human and non- human, nature and culture… Basically it is an attitude, which in the book – as well as one could argue, in reality – proves to be most self-destructive. In that way, The Human Contradiction presents a broadening and deepening of the lyrical concept of our previous record We Are The Others: ‘otherness’ and how people relate to this, is a topic that I have been obsessing over both artistically and academically for the last couple of years and it has become a reoccurent theme in Delain’s lyrics. Whether it is otherness within our species, so towards people who are perceived as ‘different’ by other people (which was ‘We Are The Others’ main focus) or in our attitudes towards nonhuman ‘others’, which is the lyrical addition made by our new record.

You’ve said this is your heaviest album to date. What did you do differently when writing and recording the human contradiction compared to previous albums?

We took a very inward turn and relied more heavily then ever on the efforts of the Delain writing team (Martijn, myself and our long time musical partner Guus Eikens), with Martijn back in the producer seat, and basically not involving any third parties until we really had to. It allowed for a creatively free process, which was enjoyable, even considering the crazy time pressure.

Do you have a favourite song from the upcoming album, or one you’re particularly proud of?

At this point my favorite would be The Tragedy of the Commons featuring Alissa White-Gluz. I think the track has many different elements like the epic choirs, Alissa’s awesome vocals and the catchy verses, I really like how the combination of all these elements came together.

For the third time you’ve chosen to collaborate with Nightwish’s powerful singer Marco Hietala. He must be a really good singer to work with, how much do you feel his voice adds to the songs, particularly on the new album?

I think Marco adds greatly to both the melancholia of “Sing to Me”, and the power of “Your Body is a Battleground”. We always know that whenever we ask him to contribute, the outcome will be great.

Other guest vocalists on the album include George Oosthoek and Alissa White- Gluz . How well do they fit in with Delain’s sound?

Very well! We’re really happy with the reunion of having George back on the record, his last collaboration with us was on Lucidity (on stage however, he joined us often also recently) and Alissa really kicked ass on “The Tragedy of The Commons”.

It seems the Symphonic Metal scene is really close knit, with a lot of artists appearing on each other’s albums. You yourself have appeared on albums by Nemesea and Serenity, and Liv Kristine and Sharon Den Adel among others have appeared on Delain albums. How strong is the friendship between bands in the scene?

In a field where so many bands within a similar genre are fishing for the same spots on festivals etc., it always surprises me how the sense of comradery is much stronger than the sense of competition, which one could also expect… It is one of the things that makes this such a cool scene, if you ask me.

Are there any artists you haven’t collaborated yet who you would like to worth with?

Nick Cave!

On the compilation album Interlude, you recorded covers of songs by Talk- Talk, the Cranberries and Bronski Beat, bands that you wouldn’t be expected to be influenced by, as a Metal band. How was it adapting these songs to your own style, and also which metal bands do you consider an influence?

We as a band are inspired by different bands, not at all limited to the genre of metal alone. But actually I think that within the Delain writing team we personally influence each other more than any outside band could influence as a group.

At the last instalment of the Metal Female Voices Fest, Sharon Den Adel came on stage to perform “No Compliance” with the band. Given that you’re touring with Within Temptation in April can we expect to see her sing with Delain again, or for you to sing on any Within Temptation songs in return?

These things usually happen spontaneously, so I wouldn’t know at this point.

On the Within Temptation tour you will be playing at huge venues such as London’s Wembley Arena. Are you surprised at just how big Delain is becoming, with you playing venues of this size?

‘surprised’ is not the right word; we work very hard as a band so it is not like we coincidentally end up in these places. However I am totally aware that working hard is never a guarantee for anything so I am very gratefull for every time that the odds are in are favor enough to give us awesome experiences like this.

Thanks for your time Charlotte, I’m very much looking forward to the new record and the show at Wembley Arena. Do you have anything else you’d like to say about the new album or the upcoming tour?

I would like to thank everyone for their continued support, hope they like the album, and hope to meet everyone on the road on one of our upcoming tours!

“The Human Contradiction” will be released on April 7th, on CD, 2CD Special Edition, and Vinyl.

1. Here Come The Vultures
2. Your Body Is A Battleground
3. Stardust
4. My Masquerade
5. Tell Me, Mechanist
6. Sing To Me
7. Army Of Dolls
8. Lullaby
9. The Tragedy Of The Commons

Bonus Disc:
1. Scarlet
2. Don’t Let Go
3. My Masquerade (Live)
4. April Rain (Live)
5. Go Away (Live)
6. Sever (Live)
7. Stay Forever (Live)
8. Sing To Me (Orchestra version)
9. Your Body Is A Battleground (Orchestra version)

UK tour dates:

April 11 Manchester (UK) O2 Apollo TICKETS
April 12 London (UK) Wembley Arena TICKETS
April 14 Newcastle (UK) O2 Academy TICKETS
April 15 Glasgow (UK) O2 Academy TICKETS
April 16 Birmingham (UK) O2 Academy TICKETS

Listen to their new song “Your Body is a Battleground”:


3 thoughts on “Interview with Charlotte Wessels (Delain)

  1. Pingback: Delain – The Human Contradiction | swirls of noise

  2. Pingback: Delain release new video ‘Stardust’ | swirls of noise

  3. Pingback: Within Temptation and Delain at Wembley Arena 12/04/2014 | swirls of noise

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