By Carl Begai
During a recent interview for the as-yet-untitled follow-up to his HDK album from 2009, System Overload, former After Forever guitarist Sander Gommans discussed his involvement on the new metal solo album from singer/songwriter and Avantasia / HDK vocalist Amanda Somerville. Gommans enjoys being his own boss, but he freely admits the creative process for the Trillium debut, Alloy, made him realize that even the master of the universe has to take the back seat once in a while.
“In the beginning it was hard for me because normally you wrote something for somebody and let it go, but since Amanda and I are partners, I didn’t let it go that easily. I wanted to make the best out of it, and I wanted Amanda to make the best choices. I helped her out with some of the administrative stuff and I wrote a few songs, but it was really Amanda’s project and I had to get used to her big involvement. Not so much in the writing of my songs, but in the vocal arrangements and lyrics. She had a really good idea of how the album should sound and what she wanted, and I kept telling her ‘It’s not metal enough… it needs to be more metal.’ And she would tell me, ‘This is my project, I want to have it exactly the way I want to have it…’ (laughs).”
“She made the choices in the creative aspects of the album, and now that it’s out, it’s about surprising to me how cool it is. It offers so much more than the average metal band, and it has so much more to it that you can really see what a talented person Amanda is when it comes to having her own vision. In my arrogance, I found out that I should stop being arrogant and shut up sometimes (laughs).”
Somerville went on record in a recent interview that she occasionally had to remind Gommans and long time friend and producer Sascha Paeth who was boss in the Trillium realm.
“Oh yes,” Gommans agrees. “When you work with Sascha and with me, you’re working with guys that are used to making decisions. We both had a different opinion, and the end result is the way Amanda wanted it, which is really cool. I’m really proud of her for pulling it off like that.”
Since putting Trillium to bed, Gommans has devoted his time to writing and assembling the follow-up to the HDK’s System Overload. At this point he’s unsure as to whether the new outing will be issued under the HDK moniker, but the project is on its way to being finished regardless.
“I hope to finish the album by the end of March, but I haven’t decided on who’s going to mix and master it, so it might take a little bit longer. I’m not in a hurry. I’ve started a new business here in Reuver (Holland), which is going to take a lot of time, and as we speak I’m building a studio in the high school where I work in order to have the students record stuff themselves, so it’s going to be a challenge to get all this stuff done. But, if there’s one thing I’ve learned over the year is that rushing yourself doesn’t help you at all. The good thing about having a project is that there’s no rush to get it done. When you get enthusiastic about a project, of course you want to have it out as soon as possible, but I also want it to be the best it can be. The one thing that is for sure is that this is a project, not a new life in a live band. My focus is still on writing music.”
Check out my interview with Amanda Somerville about Trillium here. In addition, an interview with Gommans from April 2011 is available here.
– Sander Gommans photo by Carl Begai. All rights reserved.
Check out the official video for the Trillium song ‘Coward’ here.