Ethereal Spawn a different kind of satisfaction

interview Ethereal Spawn

Hailing from The Hague, Holland, Ethereal Spawn was formed in May 1998 by guitarists Christiaan Waalberg and Peter Reedijk, who had already played in a couple of bands together (Nidhug and Charybdis), but they never really found what they were looking for. Until Ethereal Spawn took form at the end of 1999 with Dave Ploeg on bass, Laurens Ludolph on drums and Tim Polderman on vocals. The music of the band almost naturally evolved into an extreme mixture of melody and intensity, which proved to be exactly what all band members were looking for.

After a number of setbacks and having postponed the release of their CDemo several times, Ethereal Spawn’s debut, “Ablaze in Viral Flames” (with cover artwork by Niklas Sundin) was finally released March 28th 2000. It counts nine melodic Death Metal tracks including a cover of Dark Tranquillity’s “Punish My Heaven” and two instrumentals. The band received a lot of positive response to this release, the best example being the review that appeared in Aardschok magazine in july 2000. Ethereal Spawn also competed in Aardschok’s Metal Bash 2000 and the Metal Battle of 2001 and songs of the band were featured on several compilation CD’s.

The recordings of their follow-up, “The Glint of Eden”, took place on the 7th and 8th of june 2001 and this new demo-CD will probably be released in the beginning of October.

interview with Chris on 18-10-2001

Please give us a short introduction of yourself?
Name: Chris Waalberg Instrument: guitar

Is Ethereal Spawn the kind of music you searched for?
It certainly is. When I started playing in bands I just wanted to play metal. A more precise definition of my own style came with the experience I gained from playing in these bands. Even when Peter and I started Ethereal Spawn we didn’t know exactly what kind of music we were aiming for. Ethereal Spawn actually started out as a brutal death metal band called Spawn, but for some reason this time our music evolved naturally into an extreme mixture of melody and intensity.

Peter and I had played together all of the aforementioned bands, but had never been able to accomplish this. We soon realised that we now had found what we had been looking for. The music of Ethereal Spawn still evolves though, as do the tastes and the experience of its members. As our horizons widen, our influences multiply and that makes our music grow.

My own style and taste have grown beyond the boundaries of Ethereal Spawn’s music though. That’s why I have started another project, together with Laurens Ludolph (the drummer of ES) and with my sister, Michelle Waalberg. It’s a new experience for me to work with clean vocals. With Ethereal Spawn we have used some clean vocals on our latest recording, ‘The Glint of Eden’, and I wanted to take that a step further. It’s a challenge for me to write songs with only clean vocals, and so is writing music in a different style than what I am used to. Still my enthusiasm for playing in Ethereal Spawn is just as vivid as ever and will remain that way for a long time, I’m sure.

What kind of music do you listen to yourself?
I currently enjoy (in no particular order): Dream Theater, Dark Tranquillity, Anouk, Depeche Mode, The Police, Pain of Salvation.

Did you pay for the artwork of Niklas by recording a song of him?
Haha! No, we paid hard cash for his artwork, recording our own version of Dark Tranquillity’s ‘Punish my Heaven’ had nothing to do with that, although he was very pleased with it.

How did you get in contact with him? Just by writing an email?
It’s not a very cool ‘metalish’ story, but here’s how it happened. I use the program ICQ to contact people of the internet. My nickname used to be Hedon, which is a song from Dark Tranquillity. One day I was adding myself to someone else’s ICQ list, working at this person’s computer, so I searched for the nickname Hedon. That’s when I saw that Niklas Sundin himself had the same nickname. Being the impulsive metal-head that I was, I immediately contacted him, asking loads of silly questions about Dark Tranquillity. That’s how I found out that Niklas is quite a gifted artist and that’s why I asked him to design the artwork for our debut CDemo. He accepted.

That was about three years ago. I still speak Niklas regularly over ICQ and he advises us about labels, artwork and other related things. That’s why in the Thank You’s of our new CDemo, ‘The Glint of Eden’, he is called ‘our advisor, guide and guru’. He didn’t design the artwork this time by the way. I designed the artwork myself for this CDemo.

Do you have a lot of contacts with other bands? Feel any profit with this?
We try to keep in touch with the bands we like to perform with and we give them a call when we have room for more bands in one of our gigs. We can only hope these bands will do the same for us when they have a gig.

Your fav item at Jerry Springer?
Aren’t the Jerry Springer shows all about the same thing over and over again? I haven’t watched the show for ages. I got kind of tired of watching extremely simple-minded people degrade themselves to new-found levels of degeneration.

’Ablaze in Viral Flames’ got good reviews. Any interest from labels?
We have talked to a couple of interested small labels, but nothing worthwhile has come out of these conversations. We don’t ask much, but we are careful not to be ripped off. That’s where the advise and experience of Niklas Sundin is very useful.

Do you think labels are needed? Or just self release it by CD or MP3 etc?
I don’t think any band has the finances to produce an album of the same quality that a label can produce. We work hard on our self-released cds, but if having a record deal allows musicians to focus on the music and not also everything else around it.

About the mp3’s. I’m really not in this band to become rich, but it would be nice to cover the costs with our music. I don’t see how spreading mp3’s can accomplish this. We have some mp3’s on our website for promotional purposes, but we it wouldn’t be very wise to offer all of our recordings to the listeners for free over the internet. Besides, these mp3’s are derived from the cds we have made, so the first argument also applies here.

So yes, labels are needed. Now we just need one to need us.

What do you do with the royalties flushing in?
The money we make with the selling of our CDemo’s and with our performances is all pumped back into the band, plus more money coming out of our own pockets. Most of the money is spent on the production of our two CDemo’s.

What thing would you buy when money is no problem? Any dream (besides a wet one)?
I would buy my own studio. I’ve got a simple four-track recorder hooked up to my computer here at home, making it a digital 64 track recorder, which is nice, but incomparable to the possibilities and comfort of a ‘real’ studio. I love to record new written music and to try different things. I’d also love to work with other bands in a studio. It’s a nice dream...

Your fav albums you project with your life?
I find it very hard to choose a couple of favourite albums. Every album I like is good in a way that’s incomparable to another. I don’t think I could name just a couple without feeling like I forgot a lot more.

Ever bought an album that you regret?
I sure did! Ever heard of the band Goatlord? Probably no. I bought their cd, ‘Reflections of the Solstice’, for just a couple of guilders, only because it was so cheap (I now understand why it was). I solemnly swear that it is the worst kind of music that I have ever heard in my entire life. It’s so horrible, that it’s funny. Even the band picture is hideous!

Your fav girl in your dream? And why, tell us her plus points?
The girls I have dreamt of have all been phantom angels so far. You will have to read the lyrics of ‘Phantom Angel’ from to understand.

Is it easy to get to do shows? Had any? How were they?
It’s not really easy. We have to make a lot of calls and send out loads of demo’s to get gigs. Only some of them are offered to us without us pursuing it. We have done quite some gigs so far, but we feel we should perform even more frequently, so we are sending out a new load of cds and hope this new CDemo will interest even more stages.

None of them were a total disaster, but every band must have had a gig where there weren’t that many people present. Luckily we haven’t experienced this very often, but when we did, we still gave the few people that were present the best show we could give them. Most of the gigs we have done so far were a success though, with a good amount of people present.

A bigger satisfaction from a gig or a studio session?
Tough choice. It’s a different kind of satisfaction, but if I had to make a choice I’d personally say a studio session. It’s amazing to hear your music in all it’s glory when it has just been recorded. Still I don’t think I could play in a ‘recording-only’ band.

Your opinion on forbidding crowd surfing?
It’s a shame. I really enjoyed it myself, and as a band it’s beautiful to see people floating around, while enjoying your music. I understand it’s a bit dangerous, but people who visit metal shows know what to expect and if you don’t want to be involved with crowd surfing, then just don’t stand in front of the stage. Mojo had to come up with a rule after the Pearl Jam incident though and it’s a shame they decided on this.

Ever met Haagse Harry?
Haha! No, I haven’t. We all love reading his comic books though.

How do you see the band in 5 years?
Perhaps it’s wishful thinking, but in five years I see the band having recorded several albums and having done several European tours. We work hard on this band and I am sure we will get our hands on a record deal some day. Besides that we are all good friends and I am sure we will still be in five years.

Do you think you can become better as musicians? How do you try to achieve this?
Our skills will always continue to grow. In some periods I work on my writing skills, in other periods I work on technique. It’s a natural process and all of the band members go through this. It’s good to sometimes look back to the past, and to be proud of what you have learned in the passing of time.

Why is ’The Glint of Eden’ better than ’Ablaze..’?
An artist will always claim his latest recording to be better than the rest before. Perhaps only because it’s new. We feel that the songs are better structured and that our playing skills have improved dramatically. The best way to decide this for yourself is to buy both the CDemo’s of course. ;-)

Give us some info for ordering. Prices, address etc.
The Glint of Eden’ contains four songs and can be yours for €10,- (€11,50 with shipment costs). For people living outside of the Netherlands the price is 5 US$.

‘Ablaze in Viral Flames’ contains nine songs and can be yours for €20,- (€22,50 with shipment costs). For people living outside of the Netherlands the price is 9 US$.

Prices for both CDemo’s:
Inside Europe: 11,50 US$ Outside Europe: 12,50 US$The Netherlands: €28,50

These cd’s can be ordered by sending an e-mail to in which you state which cds you want to receive and how you want to make your payment, either sent well hidden in an envelope or by bank transfer. In case of a bank transfer you will receive the necessary information by e-mail.

The envelopes can be sent to:
Ethereal Spawn
Weigeliaplein 53
2563 PJ The Hague
The Netherlands

As soon as we have received your payment we will send you your cds.

Glad you reach the end of this intie?
No, I like doing interviews. If the questions are good it gives me the opportunity to reflect on my own feelings and actions.

Last rites?
Feedback is always encouraged. Feel free to visit the site. Until then, metal up your ass!;
Interviewer: twansibon
Oct 18, 2001

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