Some time ago I did a review on the Virus EP by a Dutch band called Schizoid Lloyd. I was totally blown away by this release, so I wanted to do an interview with these guys rightaway. On behalve of the band, skinsman Ruben Kuhlmann answered all my questions in true Monty Python style. Welcome to the crazy world of Schizoid Lloyd!
Before we get started can you give us a short introduction of who’s in the band and how Schizoid Lloyd came to be?
Band members are: Remo Kuhlmann (guitar/lead vocals), Guus van Oosterum (bass guitar/vocals), Daan Divendal (keys), Thom Lich (guitar/vocals) and myself. It’s a pretty boring story how Schizoid Lloyd came into existence: Remo and I were in a band that fell apart due to ‘different paths in life’s musical progression’, then we advertised on the Internet for fresh blood, brilliant skills and insane minds, then we found them.
In my review of Virus I compared your music with Porcupine Tree, Tool, A Perfect Circle, Psychotic Waltz and Opeth. How close am I? Can you elaborate some more on the band’s influences?
Pretty close, though I had never heard of Psychotic Waltz until now (thanks!). Thom undoubtedly knows them ’cause he is all-knowing in that area. Anyway, those bands are definitely in our top ten bands we listen to. Some other influences are: Radiohead, Pink Floyd, Sigur Rós, Mozart, Bach, King Crimson, Katatonia, Ulver, Lamb, System Of A Down, Muse, Mastodon, Meshuggah, Textures, Thomas Feiner and a lot of other crazy Arabic black avant-gardish speedcore tango crap. I guess we mix it all up and make something that’s both unique and familiar to our ears.
It’s been a while since Virus was recorded. What are your fondest memories of those sessions?
How do you look back on the end result of your EP? Are there things or elements you would like to have done differently in retrospect?
Yes, but that would’ve required a lot more money. (Endless experiments with a lot of gear for example.) Though we are quite satisfied with the result. It’s been a good start for us and a good learning process. We received a lot of reviews and really all of them were very positive. Of course there are a few things that could have been better, especially the drums, which were recorded a bit poorly, in my opinion. The songs are also a little bit ‘upgraded’ now, but all those imperfections are just part of its virgin charm.
The song emerged out of the ruins of a very old song, which Remo and I played in our old band. We have fought with it for a long long time, adding riffs, choruses, cutting them again, etcetera etcetera. Then one day, not too long ago, we put a ‘gabber-hardcore’ beat under the main riff, just to have a laugh. Of course we liked it a lot and the song progressed with the next brilliant idea: “How about a jazzy verse?”, into a solid base structure. From there it was just a matter of adding more crazy stuff.
The music video was made in cooperation with the band contest NH-Pop Live. It needed to be shot in one day, at one location, so we thought the best place to shoot it was our own rehearsal dungeon, which is located in a huge empty building. It’s a perfect place for a ‘haunted house-attraction park’ kind of thing. We just decorated the dungeons with a lot of craziness and let the NH-Pop Live-crew walk through it with a camera. It’s supposed to be the refuge place for the ‘you’ in the song.
The name Circus is actually a working title that stuck. We would’ve liked to name it something like ‘I will always be truthful to you and love you until the end of times, oh yes I will, my sweetheart darling’, but Circus is catchier and better for commercial purposes.
Circus is also a one-off in our repertoire, which doesn’t contain much songs. Most songs we make are dramatic, long and epic. But the vibe on Circus is a direction we could make more use of, and probably will in the near future.
The band have also won a couple of prestigious band contests. How do you look back on the experience? Did it translate into anything tangible like increased press attention, label attention or more groupies?
Mixed feelings, most of them positive. It’s fun to win a contest, you get a lot of publicity, you win some studio time, a music video, and of course have a good time while playing shows for a lot of people in cool venues. The negative feelings exist because we like to fuck ants and have a problem with authority.
In principle, music and competition are words that don’t fit each other, but you may not complain when you win one. In any case, we like to do things our own way, in our own pace and not deal with deadlines/organizations/people in general. Maybe we will reach that goal one day.
We did meet a few skillful people though, who would like to work with us, and a couple of offers including contracts about rights and more legal stuff. But we didn’t feel like we were ready for them yet. First we’re going to make the album pre-production, then we’ll decide what to do next based on what comes along.
The landscape within the music industry has changed dramatically thanks to the internet. It also gives bands the opportunity to promote themselves via social media like Twitter, Facebook and MySpace. What are your personal thoughts on these developments and how do they affect a young band like Schizoid Lloyd?
I have no idea, but it’s probably a good thing. Though I can’t help think of Roman empires collapsing under their own weight. And I find it annoying and tiresome to crawl up every new born giant and stay on top of old trolls. At least there’s an ocean filled with gems for the archaeological nerd out there. (….aaand we’re done with the bad metaphors.)
When are you going to record your debut album? Are there any plans in that direction and if so: what can we expect?
We are currently busy with the last bits of song writing. I think we will start with pre-production next month. This will take quite a while, but we will work very hard on it. You can expect a true masterpiece! It needs to be right at the top of truly great albums. You can expect string quartets, choirs, church organs, trumpets, doom jazz, fat and sludgy riffs, hysterical vocals, roars, grunts, chuggah chuggah, epic guitar solo’s, acid synths, heavenly atmospheres, you name it, expect it! It will be Virus + Circus and a lot of new stuff you don’t know from us.
How far do you want to pursue a career as a musician? What are your personal goals?
Let’s just say that if I could make enough money with making and playing music to buy food and a roof above my head, but I would also have to kill you… you’d better run.
Time for my final question. What’s on your mp3-player/iPod?
Harry Potter audio books!
Any final thoughts and shout outs?
– I hate interviews;
– But I love my grandmother;
– Thom wants to let you all know he visited a place called Scharendijke, which means Scissoring Dykes;
– World peace;
– Peanut butter.
written by Raymond Westland