-- Solitude Within gets shredded --

Stijn Daneels
On Friday May 25th I went to metal youth bar Asgaard to check out a couple of bands supported by my friends at Hardlife Promotion. One of those bands were a local band of mine called Solitude Within. I already met this act a month earlier at Rock Balegem and also reviewed their debut release Disappear (a very solid album). So it was about time to get together and discuss their recent trip to Spain, their successful strategy of first releasing an album before doing many shows and veteran guitarist JP talks about the three types of music artists.

BMS: Hello there! A week ago you were playing in Spain and me being a huge Spanish aficionado, tell me how it all went down.
Ash: It was a fun coincidence, actually. One of the people who bought our album on our website was a Spanish booker and he asked us if we were interested in doing a few gigs in Spain. We instantly jumped at the opportunity since we love playing across all corners of Europe and the rest of the world!
JP: Indeed and we’ve never had a gig in Spain before so that was a great opportunity to promote our band to new potential fans. The main issue, however, was that the Spanish booker didn’t speak English and we didn’t speak Spanish. But despite the language barrier we all felt a sense of mutual trust and respect between each other. So after a couple of weeks and many emails sent back and forth we had everything ready to head to Spain. Originally we wanted to take the plane but the days we wanted to book for our flights were way too expensive so we decided to ride all the way to Spain! It was a very long trip (over 3000 kilometers), but it was well worth-it! We ended up doing two gigs in Spain (and played for about 400 people during our second show), made several new fans and we’re heading back there in October for a longer tour!
Quincy: Yeah, we had a great time there. We had good accommodation, a local crew to help us with our material and we even had an interpreter. Can’t wait to get back there again!

BMS: This wasn’t your first gig outside Belgium, wasn’t it?
Johan: We already did gigs in the Netherlands, and we also played at the prestigious Vots Festival in Malta. We’ve also got a spot on the finals of this year’s FemMe Metal Battle and of course we’ve already played a ton of shows here in Belgium!
JP: This fall we’re heading to Paris and we’ve also got a couple of local gigs with a German band and hopefully they can return the favor and help us arrange a few shows for us in Germany. In any case, I’m very happy with how things are evolving with Solitude Within at the moment!
BMS: Now, tell me how Solitude Within began?
Emmelie: Ever since my childhood years I was fond of singing and playing piano and obviously I wanted to form my own band and live the dream! Me and bassist Quincy have been long-time friends and we decided to put some online advertisements to see who was interested in joining us! As for the songwriting, my songs are always piano oriented. I write a piano melody and then I think about how the other instruments and lyrics can fit in.
BMS: And now tell me something about the making of your debut release, Disappear.
JP: After we had written a few songs and sent them to various promoters we were contacted by Mausoleum Records who were very interested in signing us. Since such a prestigious label (after all, they released albums from the likes of Ostrogoth, Killer, Warlock, Anvil and Flotsam & Jetsam) saw good potential in our band we had a huge motivational boost and so we decided to put all our energy in writing and recording a great debut album and leaving a positive first impression. However, the death of the Mausoleum Records’s founder, Alfie Falckenbach, in 2016 did force us to change our plans. But his faith in Solitude Within gave us the confidence to continue working on the album ourselves. Eventually we did all aspects of the album on our own (except for the mastering) and we’re very proud of the end result!
BMS: Yeah, it was an enjoyable album for me to shred. So, what are Solitude Within’s future plans?
JP: Our main ambition is grow well enough until we reach a point wherein we no longer have to invest our own money into the band. What we mean by that is that we can eventually earn enough money from touring and album sales to completely cover all expenses we make with the band. You know, in the music industry you have three types of artists, those who constantly have to invest their own money into their bands, those who reach break-even and those who are severely overpaid. We hope to one day end up in the break-even category and that’s why we’re working so hard on writing new material and playing as many gigs as possible. To prove to the labels and promoters and more importantly to ourselves that we’re capable of drawing a good enough crowd so that people are willing to put sufficient money into our band.

BMS: Well, although I had received your album earlier from Hardlife Promotion I’m still going to buy a physical copy of Disappear because I genuinely want to support your act and to get your autographs, and your break-even point, of course!
JP: Thanks a lot! You know, I played in several bands in the past but one huge mistake that many young bands (including those I used to play with) make is that first they play several low-paid gigs for four years or so and then they finally decide to record their first album. As a result they end up losing their motivation because things haven’t moved forward in those four years and quit. But for Solitude Within, me and the guys planned to do things the other way round. So first release an album and then focus on doing as many gigs as we could get.
Ash: And it definitely works! By the end of this year we’ll have played more than twice as many shows compared to the number of gigs we did in 2017!
BMS: That’s great! You know, one thing I’d love to hear in a future Solitude Within release is a piano-oriented instrumental. Something similar to the track the Eyes of Sharbat Gula from Nightwish’s latest album Endless Forms Most Beautiful. It would be a great way for you, Emmelie, to show off your piano skills.
Emmelie: Sounds like a great idea. I’ll keep that in mind.
BMS: What other stuff do you have in your lives aside from Solitude Within?
Emmelie: I’m an avid reader and I also write fantasy fiction. I hope to one day find a publisher. In addition I’m learning the art of knitting and sewing. I’ve made a dark blue cape that I wear during all the Solitude Within gigs.
BMS: Ah, that’s a beautiful piece of clothing. I recall seeing you wearing that cape and being engulfed in smoke and darkness during your gig at Rock Balegem back in April. I admit, that was a magnificent sight to behold!
Emmelie: Thanks! Eventually I want to make more stage clothing such as gothic corsets.
Johan: Like Emmelie I enjoy reading.
Ash: I love horse riding. I own six horses and the bond and respect I feel between me and those majestic animals is indescribable.
Quincy: I’m a basketball player and although I’m a little short for a typical basketball thrower I always have a ton of fun playing matches. In addition to playing bass I also play regular guitar and I own a home studio. I help Emmelie with the Solitude Within songwriting but I also write songs for my own enjoyment.
JP: My wife and I play in a cover band called Undercover (I know, really original) in which we play classic and modern rock. My other hobbies include scuba diving, photography (both on the surface and underwater), badminton, motorcycle riding, reading, recording in my home studio and playing other instruments like drums, bass and keyboards. And no, doing Kerry King impressions is not part of my life. Although we both have an epic chrome dome, sunglasses and beard! Ha, ha, ha!
BMS: Nice, nice! So, is there anything else you guys wish to add before I ask my friend Fabrice to take the band picture?
Ash: It was a pleasure talking to you and we hope you’ll enjoy our gig tonight.
JP: Many thanks to everyone who supports us! Without people like those from Mausoleum Records, Hardlife Promotion, Let It Happen and of course the Belgian Metal Shredder we probably won’t be at the place we are right now! So once again, thank you for everything!

Solitude Within - Fade Away