Πέμπτη, 3 Νοεμβρίου 2011

EMERALD - An interview of Iron on Iron...


Back to the mid 70s two school friends, Bert Kivits and Allard Ekkel, formed a band under the name WARRIOR. In 1976 they released a demo (including “Sirens” and “Hell Racer”) but there were later a number of other bands called Warrior. At the end of ’83 the name is changed to EMERALD, inspired by the classic song from THIN LIZZY and in 1984 the band records a 4-track demo. What everyone directly hears is the extremely high pitched voice of Bert Kivits but besides that, Allard’s Randy Rhoads style playing is remarkable and gives EMERALD their own unique sound. With Essie Zagers on bass and Gert Slot on drums, the band signs a deal with Megaton records on January 1985. The album “Down Town” is released and it contains the four songs from the 1984 demo plus the new compositions of the band. Songs like “Shadows of Allmighty”, “D-Day”, “Hell Racer”, “Witch” and the emotional ballad “Suicide” are indicative high quality pieces of 80s Heavy Metal. Emerald played lot of gigs back then and they had a very good reputation in their country but after a while, Megaton records gets bankrupt. 
In the meantime they replaced drummer Gert Slot with Rudy Marissen from Revenge. With him they write new songs like “Robin Hood”, “Karen”, “Wet Dreams” and “Back to the Future” which were played only live and never recorded on a demo tape. Unfortunately the band didn’t get a new record deal and at the end of the 80s they split up.
It takes till mid 90s when few fanzines and underground magazines started to mention Emerald and in 1999 the German record label Iron Glory records released “Down Town” on cd. They changed the artwork and the title into “Iron on Iron” and got very good reviews in several magazines. The band decided to get back in action and do a reunion gig and in 2002 at Heavy Metal Maniacs festival with Paul van Rijswijk (ex-HAMMERHAWK) as a second guitarist. The news reached Germany and later the band hit the German ground for the first time in their career followed by a number of other gigs there. Most memorable live shows are Keep It True festival (2005 & 2010), and the amazing show in Greece at the Up the Hammers festival (2009). At that time, the riots in Athens - Greece inspired the band to compose a new song, entitled “New Gods (Of Athens)”.
In October 2011, “Iron on Iron” is finally re-released on vinyl including for the first time two new songs from EMERALD’s new line-up, “New Gods (Of Athens)” and “Sting Of Death”. 

(Based on Stefan van Zijl’s article on Holland Heavy Metal website and taken from “Iron On Iron” vinyl re-release © 2011)


With the re-release of “Iron On Iron” on vinyl, Crystal Logic took the opportunity and interviewed singer Bert Kivits and guitarist Paul van Rijswijk. After all, here, I present only my favourite bands, and EMERALD is among them…


The first form of EMERALD was called WARRIOR back in the mid 70s. What do you remember from your early days and which songs were recorded back then?

Bert: In the mid 70s we recorded some songs with a band Called trash. There were two other members at that time. Besides me and Allard there were two brothers, Joop Schipper on bass and Henk Schipper (R.I.P.) on drums. We recorded 3 songs, “Warrior”, “Hell Racer and the third I don’t remember. In 1979 that band split up and Allard and I went on so we invited Essy and Gert to play with us in the band Warrior. During that time we were writing songs and recorded them in 1984…

In 1983 you changed the name to EMERALD and later recorded a demo tape but how did you get in touch with Megaton Records for the release of "Down Town"?

Bert: At that time we had a friend who tried to contact record labels and many weren’t interested but Bram Kloos working at bodisque in Amsterdam was.

What can you recall from the Dutch metal scene of that era and how did the album was received from the fans and the press?

Bert: There was a solid Dutch metal scene and our album was received well, but here, there were so many metal bands at that time that we were snowed under.

Paul, how were things in Holland for a metal band or a fan back in the 80s?

Paul: Much better than it is now! The scene was strong and united, and there were lots of places to play and many bands, even radio shows that played Heavy Metal. So for both fans and bands those were the best times!

How easy or difficult was for EMERALD to play live back then and how was an EMERALD live show in the 80s?

Bert: We lived in the east of Holland and it was better those days to live in the west, because there were more places there so we had to travel a lot.

Did you record any other songs except the ones in "Down Town" after that album, and why you couldn't find another record deal?

Bert: We wrote new material for a new album but at the time we were ready for recording, the band split up…

You also played in another great band called STASH. When did you join them and what's the story behind them? Which are their releases and do you have any plans about bringing these songs out of the closet?

Bert: I joined Stash in 1987 after a recording session on a local radio station. They were searching for a singer and I was available. There are plans for bringing the songs on cd and vinyl…

In 1999 Iron Glory Records re-releases "Down Town" with different cover artwork and name ("Iron On Iron"). How did they contact you?

Bert: First there was this red book from Germany… there was one review of the “Down Town” album. So Iron Glory was getting interested. Stefan van Zijl, our Dutch metal brother brought us together.

After a while you started playing live gigs. Among them, you played twice in Keep It True festival (Germany) and at the Up The Hammers (Greece). When you came in Greece in 2009, there were riots in Athens and you inspired from this for a new song entitled "New Gods". Which are your strongest memories from these days and that gig in Athens?

Bert: When the other members of the band tried to find a restaurant, they were confronted with the strong arm shooting teargas. I went straight to the Hotel and I could smell the burning of the trash containers in my apartment… The gig was great, so many fans singing along and a chance to meet the other bands, Titan Force and Harry.


Paul, when did you join EMERALD and how do you remember the band before that?

Paul: I joined Emerald in 2005 around the time of the first Keep it True gig. Before that I had already wrote some songs and recorded some songs with Bert Kivits for the Heavy Metal Maniacs FC compilation cds. And of course I knew the “Downtown” album, which was always one of my favourite Dutch Metal albums.

Which were your previous bands?

Paul: My previous bands were Cerberus (1986), Afterdark (1987-1989), Goddess of Desire (1994) and Hammerhawk (1989-2003) and I did some playing on records of other bands as a session musician.

How were your first live shows with EMERALD?

Paul: The first shows were great! All shows are great, I really enjoy playing with Emerald all the time! Actually for the first show I didn’t even played with the complete band before, had to learn everything from the record so that was kind of scary hahaha !

There is a strong bond between EMERALD and the Greek fans. So, in January 2012, you are coming back for a live show in Athens and "Iron On Iron" is re-released on vinyl from Iron On Iron Records. A Greek record label that whose name is inspired from EMERALD. How do you explain this bond between the fans and the band?

Bert: The real first fan I knew was Eleni Papadea. We were social contacting on MySpace and when we went down to Greece she picked us up from the airport. She showed us that night, Athens and we felt very welcome. I cant explain the strong bond, it’s just there… See you in January, Andreas.

EMERALD will play live in Athens, Greece on January 29, 2012.
Kyttaro Live Club (entrance: 10 euro)
Free entrance for kids under 17 years old and unemployed people!
Presale starts at January 5 at: Eat Metal Records, No Remorse, Sirens and more places in Athens.
Support the Heavy Metal Faith.

 
The new songs, “New Gods (Of Athens)” and “Sting Of Death” were recorded at www.voodoosoundstudio.com



 




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