Armed And Ready

How about this: A relatively small metal band from Amsterdam (The Netherlands), who started somewhere in 2010, got recently signed by Nuclear Blast, one of the leading record labels in the metal scene. Of course we are all aware of the killing competition out there in the field because every band on planet earth want its claim to fame. But it is the heavily grunting and screaming Caroline Westendorp, together with her band The Charm The Fury, who convinced Nuclear Blast of their heavy, old school inspired, metal music and attitude. On 17 March 2017 these `Dutchies’ will release their new, second CD `The Sick, Dumb & Happy’, on which the five-piece makes loud and clear to be armed, ready and hungry for take-off. The super enthusiastic sounding Caroline Westendorp is thrilled to talk with HeadBangers LifeStyle about certain topics and facts, like her band, the upcoming CD release, her passion for fashion, make-up and the heavy metal lifestyle.

17 MARCH 2017: Save the date
,,On this date we will release our new, second full length album `The Sick, Dumb & Happy’ via Nuclear Blast/Arising Empire, which is pretty awesome! When we were writing this album our plan was to release it in 2016, but the writing and recording process took way longer than we expected. We also wrote a ballad, ,,Silent War’’, for the first time. It felt super uncomfortable and it took us a while to actually get into the whole process of writing a ballad. Plus we re-recorded all the instruments for this album, which was awful, but we weren’t happy with the first recordings at all and in the end we have worked with 3 different mixers as well. So yeah we practically took our time for this album and that’s why we had to push the release date. This date seems to be perfect because we don’t clash with other releases.’’

A DEAL SEALED: With Nuclear Blast
,,It is quite an honour to release our album via Nuclear Blast/Arising Empire, something that was really on our bucket list. When I was younger I always went straight to the website of Nuclear Blast to check out new bands and now we are part of it as well, which is pretty honourable. We talked with a few other record labels too, who were initially very interested but in the end they didn’t have the right audience or their release schedule was full. We have been talking for over a year with Nuclear Blast, at some point it fell quit for six months and we thought the deal was off the table, but suddenly we got an e-mail from the US department, saying they wanted to do this. It was a big surprise. Nuclear Blast was the only label that gave us a solid offer and a long-term contract so we will be able to make a few albums. It is pretty cool, because we are a super small band from The Netherlands, but it is also a bit scary. We’ll see what happens.’’

`THE SICK, DUMB & HAPPY’: The album
,,All the songs have their own theme, a few are very personal and a few are about how we see the world, but the over all theme is that the media gives us this one sided perspective of the world and it is drenched with commercial purposes. So `The Sick, Dumb & Happy’ is actually about a fat guy who is sitting on his couch in his trailer, voting Trump, eating his hamburgers, only watching mindless, awful shows and who just doesn’t look further than his own surroundings and becomes blind for the real problems in the world. As far as the music goes, on our former album `A Shade Of My Former Self’ we played metal core in its worse way and we were another one for the bandwagon. When we started listening to metal core we were really into bands like Underoath and As I Lay Dying, but the metal core scene has evolved into something really poppy now, so at one point it didn’t feel right for us anymore. When we started brainstorming and writing for this new album we basically killed our darlings and started writing over and over again. During that process we always went back to the bands we used to listen to when we were younger, like Metallica, Pantera and also Slipknot. These timeless bands influenced us, so this time we weren’t focused on the song structure anymore but we just worked around a good riff or a great vocal line. We kept it simple and just kept going from that starting point. I guess you can call our music metal now, because it isn’t metal core anymore.’’

THE WORLD IS FUCKED: But it’s great food for writing
,,Back in the days when we wrote our tracks they always had this positive outcome or positive message. But now it is like `no, we are kind of fucked!’ Everything that is currently happening, like Trump becoming president of America and we are having Geert Wilders who probably get most of the votes in The Netherlands. Wow, we are going to shit! I am not sure if there is an answer or a good outcome at all. But it is a good inspiration for writing lyrics though. Yeah, it is pretty negative, but that’s what you can expect from metal I guess.’’

BURY TOMORROW: On tour in April 2017
,,We have done a few shows with them before and our guitarist is good friends with their bass player, so we know the guys pretty well. It is going to be a rather small tour though and we only will play in Germany, Belgium, Switzerland and The Netherlands but I am really excited to do these shows with them. Lately we just did a few gigs here and there and actually we have been waiting for a tour like this for so long. Bury Tomorrow has a younger metal audience and for us it is a good way to get our name out there. But of course I also would like to tour with bands that are around in the scene a bit longer. But hey, it is a nice start for us and we can grow from there. After this tour we will go to America to play at the Welcome To Rockville Festival, Carolina Rebellion Festival and the Northern Invasion Festival, which is pretty awesome. After that we will do about 25 festival shows in Europe, like Download Festival, Fortarock In The City, Reload-Festival and we will open the main stage of Graspop Metal Meeting this year. We don’t tour in a luxury tour bus, because we are poor as fuck. We will drive around, old school, in our mini bus and just get cramped up at each other and make the most out of it!’’

,,I am the really super boring mom on tour [laughing]. I don’t drink. I sleep 8 hours per day and I only drink water because when I start drinking alcohol I loose my voice. But the guys are really the worst party guys ever. We now agreed on they will drink only 2 beers before we go on stage, otherwise it would get messy. But after the show they will go out, because they want to party every night. I just don’t understand how they pull that off for like 2 or 3 weeks. It is insane! And while I want to sleep they listen to happy hard core until 3 o’clock in the morning. Yeah, it is kind of a challenge with these guys in a way but I think when we get the bigger tours and we have to be on the road for a longer period of time, they will tone it down a bit. At least I hope [laughing].’’

AMSTERDAM: Your hometown
,,I was born in The Hague but I moved to Amsterdam about 10 years ago. I think Amsterdam is the best city in The Netherlands you can possibly live in, but maybe one day I would like to move abroad just to explore more parts of the world. It is nice to live in Amsterdam because on one hand it is like a big town where you have all these facilities, you can go out every night if you want to and there are nice neighbourhoods with upcoming food areas. But this city is also cosy and small in a way because you can basically cycle everywhere within 30 minutes. You can just practically do your own thing, you can be who you want to be and you can create your own group of friends, your own little world in this big city, so in that sense Amsterdam is inspiring. But metal or music wise I am not sure if there is a lot happening. Back in the days when I just moved there, weekly there were a lot of local metal shows and we went to The Cave, Panama or Winston, but that kind of died out. I am not even sure if there are many metal heads in Amsterdam at all. Although since a few years we have Amsterdam Metalfest, which is a super great initiative.’’

LOS ANGELES: City of angels
,,It is where our entire story with Nuclear Blast began. A year ago we were invited to play the Global Rock Summit in Los Angeles. We also did a show in the Whiskey A Go-Go, our manager had invited all the record labels but it was super empty, it felt awful and like a total disaster because we even saw people leave while we were playing. But in the end Nuclear Blast was very enthusiastic. It was also my first time there and it felt like I was in a movie. How cliché, I even took a photo with the cops on the street who were eating a donut. LA is such a big city, there is so much going on and in the US in general there is just a way bigger audience and way more nice venues where bands can perform. Every night there is something going on and people are way more rock ‘n roll and alternative and definitely more open to metal as a lifestyle. The metal genre as a whole is more accepted, while in The Netherlands metal is still sidelined. I would definitely move there if I had the chance, but it is so damn expensive over there.’’

CAROLINE: The charm
,,I am always smiling, even to a sense my band mates say that I am smiling too much on stage. They think I should act more angry and to show more balls to the walls to match the metal image, but I am a happy and spontaneous person and that is how I act.’’

,,Underneath my happy and spontaneous appearance there might be some frustration and anger that I ventilate through the metal music. It is just so weird to me because in a way I am always very happy but I also like extreme sports and extreme music and I am in a metal band. I am not sure what my attraction to the dark side is but I am guessing there is a second layer from the past somewhere present and that is where my fury side comes from. I mainly scream and grunt as a vocalist because that is what I am most comfortable with. It is just a way to let it all out I guess. At first I couldn’t scream and sing clean at all and I have done years of vocal lessons, hopefully I can deliver now.’’

(Photo taken from TCTF Facebook)

CAROLINE: The make-up junkie
,,Yes I am a make-up junkie! Wearing make-up makes me feel more comfortable and it gives me more self-esteem. I started using eyeliner when I was 12 years old. It is kind of an addiction and I can’t live without it. It actually got to a point where I feel really naked and awful when I just go to the local supermarket without make-up. So I don’t even go to the supermarket without make-up anymore because I then feel like a different person. Make-up also kind of reflects the person I want to be, which is more ballsy, because honestly I am a bit of a pussy. I am not really tough and I think make-up gives me that edgy image and makes me the person I want to carry out and want to be. Through the years I have expended my make-up products and it’s got from worse until even worse. I have so much make-up and I use it every day. Yeah I am a junkie! My make-up behaviour has definitely changed over the years and in a way it has become more extreme I guess. My best make-up tip would be: Use a primer before using foundation or other products, because it smoothest out your skin and it makes it matt and it makes the make-up last longer on your face.’’

HAIR: the crown on your head
,,Hair is something that bores me easily and because hair is something you can change often, I often put a weird colour in it. When I decided to go blond I immediately got way more attention and it is funny but blonds do really have more fun [laughing]. At the moment my hair is pink for the time being but I probably see my hairdresser next month again. If I have a bad hair day I wear a beanie or a cap to cover it up.’’

CAROLINE: The Fashionista
,,I feel so girly for doing it but I aware all these fashion blogs and follow them on Instagram. I’m usually addicted to shopping. I always check Zalando if there is new stuff but it is very frustrating there are no really cool alternative clothing brands here in The Netherlands. Either way it is fashionable or it is super gothic and there is nothing pretty cool and edgy, something with spikes and studs, in between. But I am really into clothes, it is just like being a poor musician, I don’t really have a lot of money to spend on clothes. My biggest addiction is leather jackets and I only wear black skinnies and Chelsea boots with platform heels. This is what you mainly find in my wardrobe and I actually don’t have anything else than the colour black in my closet. The items are all pretty basic and I try to spice them up with studs here and there or a cool band tee.’’

DO IT YOUR SELF: Because you can
,,I have two left hands, really. I just can’t do anything and I am just the worst when I try to cut up t-shirts. I sometimes succeed but half of the time I fuck it up. So I am not good at it at all but I also don’t have the patience for it. When I want something done it needs to be done right away. Regarding the band, Mathijs Tieken, our drummer, handles all the creative stuff. He is also the main writer of `The Sick, Dumb & Happy’. I am the one who sets up the promotion, label talk and merchandise. Together we handle everything that needs to be done. We don’t have a European agent so all the festivals and tours we do in Europe we did ourselves as well.’’

SUCCESS: Whatever it takes
,,Yes! My parents are asking me: You are almost 30 years old now, shouldn’t you settle down and get yourself a real 9 to 5 job? Although I am kind of on the verge of a financial crisis, I would basically give up everything just to be able to do this full time and make a living out of it. And even if I don’t make money out of it, being able to do this full time, just to stay on the road and play shows, then I would be content.’’

TATTOOS: Your story
,,I have always been a tattoo enthusiast. When I was 12 years old I was already talking to my dad about having a tattoo, but I had to wait until I was 18. When I got 18, I immediately made an appointment. My mom passed away when I was 15 so a few of my first tattoos have a meaning to it, like kind of our broken home and losing her. But after a while also the art sense of a tattoo became more important to me. So the last few tattoos are basically because I like the artist and the use of the colour. So during time having a tattoo kind of lost a meaning. To me a body is like a blank canvas and it is nice to have tattoos to make yourself a bit different and to carry out what you like.’’

HEAVY METAL: Not a choice, it is a lifestyle
,,Definitely! It is a lifestyle. I listen to metal music since I was 12 and it is a lifestyle for me. It is a way of looking at life and trying to find yourself and to make yourself different from the rest of the mainstream audience. It is not only the music but also the entire vibe, the people in it and everybody has its own personality and its own way of carrying themselves out. It is kind of a movement to be yourself and just be the person who you want to be and not one of the masses. Heavy metal is way more than only the music!’’

,,Give our album a chance and I hope you guys like it. This album is like a celebration of the metal genre so it has a lot of influences of the big titan names such as Pantera and Metallica combined with our own new edge The Charm The Fury twist to it. So give it a chance and spin the album one or two times.’’

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