Cosmic Lava interview with Zonderhoof

Zonderhoof at an early gigZONDERHOOF belong to the kind of new bands, which instantly attracted my interest. I never heard anything before from this UK band, until their debut CD-EP seem to appear from nowhere and found their way into my mailbox and then into my player. My interest in instrumental heavy rock is superabound, and this powerful music unit tangented my heart within a few minutes. This four guys use extreme heavy riffs, which are integrated in memorable song structures and they always achieve an authentic and bodacious result. Once in a while, they surprise the listener with short experimental passages, but it's still music from the heart and for your heart. For me ZONDERHOOF is the perfect personifiaction for exciting instrumental rock/metal, that draw influences from several sources, but never curries favour by a specific genre. I sent over a couple of questions to Didier, because I was really interested in this crushing musical phenomenon called ZONDERHOOF.

Hello! Your debut CD-EP was one of the biggest positive surprises of the last year. It's an extremely refreshing release, and maybe one of the heaviestrecordings of 2007. What do you think about it? Are you content with the result or would you change something about it, if you had the chance again?
Cool, thanks - we're happy with it and it's always rewarding when other people respond to it in a positive way, especially as it's so difficult for us to be objective. There's nothing we'd change as it best to move forward and focus onnew writing tracks.

You recorded the CD-EP in Norway and not in the UK. It's not usual, that anew band did record their debut in a foreign country. What's the story behindthe studio recordings? Do you have friends in Norway and how do you get incontact with the studio?
We found out about it through some friends of ours who're into telemarking and stuff. It took us ages to get there and we almost got completely lost tryingto find it. The whole atmosphere of the place helped to keep us in the right state of mind to create an intimidating and sinister mood for the EP. We recorded all together in one room so it was just like playing live really. No sitting about waiting for the drum tracks to be finished etc.

I was really blown away from the powerful production of your debut, because it sounds as if you would play live in my appartement. Is it an analogue or digital production?
It's all recorded digitally but most of what you hear is live. We don't let the technology take over or smooth things to make it too polished. Recording in digital means that we can transport our equipment wherever we want more easily.

Can you imagine to integrate more experimental parts within your music?
We're always trying different things and draw from a wide range of influences. It's also important to focus on what the band is about, which to us is great riffs and seeing where they take us.

Maybe some of the readers will remember the fantastic Dutch instrumental band Gore, which I've seen for several times in the 80's. I think, your heavy sound is comparable to that band, although you have carved out your own identity. What do you think about my comparison and do you like Gore?
Yes, that's very flattering as we're fans of early Gore. We're also jealous as we never got to see them live.

I love instrumental bands, and I like to ask you why do you play this way? Did you never find a good singer or was it planned right from the start?
We started as a three-piece and added another guitarist rather than a vocalistas we're into the whole instrumental thing.

Have you played in any other bands before ZONDERHOOF?
Yes, we've all played together doing this sort of thing for on and off for years before finally focusing on this as our main band.

From where do you have taken the name ZONDERHOOF? In my ears, it sounds very interesting and fits perfectely to your crushing sound.
Otto (bass) came up with the name and it's something to do with a tank he sawin a museum. All the crew had mysteriously suffocated after they became trapped inside it.

Who had the idea for that funny and untypical cover-artwork? It seems as if you want to confuse some people...
It's really cool that you like the artwork in that way. The story that threads the cover imagery together is based on an old tale from my (Didier Baja) home village. The villagers fled their homes, only to find an even more lethal danger in the forests where they took refuge. The images are those types of things that at first glance come across as happy/funny but the more you looking the more menacing it becomes, that is also what we have tried to achieve with the music. As you said in your review - we aim to do what we wanton our own terms and let everyone think for themselves.

How important is the internet for the band, especially myspace?
The internet is important but the main thing is playing live. That's one thing you can't get on-line. Also, artwork is important and that's why we try to make an effort with the CD booklet etc.

Have you ever played outside the UK?
We're hoping to line-up a few dates in Europe this year.

What is the main inspiration for the music you write: other bands, personal experiences or the environment you life in?
We get inspiration from all sorts of things; books, horror movies, comics, art, everything.

What are your plans for 2008? I really hope, that you will finally record your first full-length and come over to Germany...
Thanks, Germany is one place we'd love to play as we know it's got a healthy music scene thanks to people like yourself. Do you know of any good venues/promoters?

Yes, I know a lot of good venues and I'll try to support you! Thank you so much for the interview! I wish you all the best for 2008 and good luck for the mighty ZONDERHOOF!
Cheers!