2009.08.30 – MANGROVE – Joost Hagemeijer (interview)

Mangrove are representatives of Dutch scene. Their melodic and spacious style should be fun for neoprogressive fans. Their latest album – „Beyond Reality” has already been available for some time. Althougth it’s hard to purchace it in Poland, you shoultd try to find it. Joost Hagemeijer , band’s drummer agreed to this interview

So, we’ve got a new album by Mangrove. In my opinion it’s probably your best album.

Well thank you, we fully agree with you ; )

Beyond Reality is the essence of neo prog rock. Beautiful solo parts, passages on keyboard. Don’t take it as a cheap complement but this year your album has a chance to appear on top of the yearly album rankings.

That’s wonderfull, thank you!

What did the recording of this album look like?

The recordings took place in studio Lobbes in the north of the Netherlands. It took us about 4 weeks to record all the material. We started off playing the tracks as a band without clicktracks, but only recording drums and bass. Then the guitars, vocals and keyboard parts were recorded seperately using the bandsessions as a guidetrack. We knew before we started it would work out all right with the songs. The sound and production however, were more of an issue to us. But when hearing back the first takes we were very satisfied with the power and the sound. We were very anxious to achieve a better sound and more power than on our previous albums. The reviews so far seem to confirm that we’ve made a major step forward in production.

Do you have any favorite songs? I’m impressed by Reality Fades. I’ve listened to it about hundreds of times.

Each member of the band has it’s own favourite song. Pieter loves to hear and play Reality Fades. Chris would vote for Voyager. Roland likes Time will Tell most. Joost would go for Daydreamers’ Nightmare. But we are all very satisfied with the album as a whole.

Guitar solos on Beyond Realisty are absolutely fantastic. You can hear the atmosphere of early Marillion and Steve Rothery’s style. I suspect that this band had an influence on what you’ve been doing.

Roland is a very talented guitar player, we think he has a style on his own, but we read a lot about references with players that he barely listens to. Nevertheless these references are not that surprising since we have chosen for a melodic approach of music and not for the mathematical or technical approach. The players he is usually compared with are mostly melodic players as well.

Instrumental parts play an important role in your music. Have you ever thought of making soundtracks?

No, that never came to our minds, but it would surely be a great challenge. A lot of soundtracks contain fantastic music. If we would be invited to do such a job, we would go for it for sure!

You have been to Poland. Are you planning to come back here? What memories do you have from your visit to Poland?

Yes, we have been in Poland in april 2008. It has been a fantastic experience for the band. We will never forget that. The Polish people responded very enthusiastic on our music. It gave the band a tremendous drive during the concerts. We think the Polish people are very into melodic and dramatic music, so we were playing our music in the right place for the right people. So if you ask us if we have plans to come back, I can say to you: YES!

You are from Holland, but are you popular in your country? Where do you get the most positive feedback from?

Well in Holland there is not a very broad interest in the music we are playing. Nevertheless we are reckoned to the top of Dutch progressive rockbands. But so far the reviews we get on our latest album give very positive feedback from all over the world.
How do you rate all of your albums today? Could you comment on them?

We still are proud of and satisfied with all the songs we’ve composed in the past, even though we notice we’ve improved our arrangements and melodic solutions. However, as the band developes a certain style you notice that some old songs don’t fit any longer the range of most popular songs you like to play for audiences. That’s why we don’t play any longer songs like Help Me or Penelope from the album Touch Wood.

From a productional point of view we think Beyond Reality is our best album so far. But there is enough to improve ourselves on our next album. The previous albums would all score a little less. Massive Hollowness for too much diversity in styles of music. Touch Wood for inferior drum sounds and vocals. Facing the Sunset for the weak overall production.

If you had a chance to organize a festival starring rock legends of all times. Which bands would you like to invite and why?

Genesis 1971-1975. Simply the best symfonic/art-rock band in those years.
Pink Floyd performing Dark Side of the Moon. Simply the best album of all times.
Yes performing songs from Yessongs. Simply the best rocking symfonic rock band.
King Crimson. Simply the most progressive rockband ever.

Thanx for this interview and see you soon

You’re most welcome and all the best !

Piotr Michalski

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