Interview: Clemens Wijers of Carach Angren

Carach Angren has just recently finished up an extensive European tour with Wolfheart. Prior to their show in Glasgow, we had the opportunity to chat to keyboardist Clemens about the tour so far, the most recent album and how he got interested in cinematic music.

We’re about two thirds of the way through the tour now. How have the shows been so far and what would you say was the best date?

It’s been excellent. It’s the longest tour we’ve ever done at 7 weeks and during the summer which means it’s bloody hot. There’s been a lot of people coming out to them which has been killer and the festival slots we’ve done have been great. I’d have to say With Full Force was the best one personally for me. We played around 2am in the day where folk were quite drunk and jumping up and down like it was a big party. I had to hide my laugh behind my corpse paint as it was really funny.

This is the second tour you’ve done with Wolfheart. How’s it been touring with them again?

It’s been really good. They are really cool guys and a really good band which is great. It’s essential that you all get along as it’s a long time to be together on a bus for 7 weeks! But yeah, they are super easy going guys and on the same management as us which makes it a lot easier. It’d be cool to tour together again in the future.

Carach Angren (c) Bukavac Photography

It’s been about 2 years since Dance and Laugh Amongst the Rotten. How do you feel the album has been received?

Very good. The previous album divided the fans a little as it was a bit darker and different due it being a modern take on Hansel and Gretel. This new one though incorporated a lot more of the older elements but also featured the newer elements as well which people really seemed to like. The reaction from the press has been amazing as well with some great reviews. There’s a fourth dimension to the album as well with the pitch black box element which some people like. There’s obviously fans that don’t read the lyrics which is good as well. I like to have that duality that people can enjoy them and not have to understand the story.

When writing an album is there a clear concept or does it evolve naturally?

It depends on the album. With Death Came Through a Phantom Ship that was an existing story which we put to music in our own interpretation based on the narrative. With This Is No Fairytale however, that was more of a broad idea and Seregor went crazy on that modern take of Hansel and Gretel. We’re writing now a new album which is coming along quite nicely. The music for that is coming along well and the story is slowly starting to come together.

I like to take a break from writing after doing a lot of touring. If you work on it all the time then you can get burnt out by it and it doesn’t come together. With the break, we’re able to take a step back and then come into again with a fresh mindset. I started writing last year so I am taking my time with it! We’re aiming to go into the studio in the fall to record it.

How did you get interested in cinematic music?

I’ve always been interested in soundtracks and always enjoyed playing keyboards. You can compose for other instruments as well with the keyboards as it’s a very harmonic instrument. I studied at the Conservatoire in cinematic music in Holland which was really fun and learned how to score to picture. I’ve always scored Carach Angren like it was a movie ever since the first release. I scored the Ex Deo album recently as Maurizio is our manager and came to me asking if I was interested. I really enjoyed doing it as they gave me carte blanche over it so was able to do some really interesting things. It was a lot of work, but I thoroughly enjoyed it and would happily do it again.

Your keyboard stand is rather unique. How was it made?

My brother made it for me as he’s very much into engineering. I was interested in having one that moved up and down and he said that he could make something more interesting. We’ve only been using it at the festival shows as you need a slightly bigger stage for it and it’s quite a production to set it up. It’s really awesome though and I love using it.

Tea or coffee?

Sometimes it’s tea but mainly coffee. I’m a bit of addict and love having coffee.

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