Dutch thrash/death metal band Izegrim hung up their gear in 2020 and except for the drummer, who joined For I Am King, everybody then faded into oblivion. Not a word from the two most prominent members, singer/bassist Marloes Voskuil and guitarist Jeroen Wechgelaer. Until now! As blood is always thicker than water, we suddenly see both Marloes and Jeroen back in a new band called HALIPHRON, named after a giant octopus. The band just released their debut album “Prey” on Listenable Records and we had a nice little talk with Marloes.
INTERVIEW BY: HENK VAN NIEUWENHOVEN
HELLO MARLOES, SHALL WE SAY: “WELCOME BACK”?
Hi there and thank you. It’s been a while. 😉
WHAT WAS AT THE TIME THE REAL REASON THAT YOUR FORMER BAND IZEGRIM SPLIT UP?
After such a long time being together and having played so many shows, we all felt that the motivation and inspiration was becoming less and less. And you really need motivation to keep a band going! And it’s not fair to the fans and the audience when you are performing without motivation. For us, that was a no-go. Don’t get me wrong, we are still best friends and see each other almost weekly, but being in a band together didn’t work. Simple as that, haha.
THE NEW BAND THAT YOU’RE IN, HALIPHRON, STARTED WITH BLEEDING GODS GUITARIST RAMON PLOEG SHOWING IZEGRIM’S GUITARIST JEROEN WECHGELAER A FEW GUITAR PARTS HE HAD WRITTEN. THEN A DEMO WAS RECORDED AND SUDDENLY HALIPHRON’S NAME WAS ON THE POSTER OF THE ALCATRAZ FESTIVAL IN BELGIUM IN 2021. THAT’S A REAL KICKSTART!
Well, that would be awesome but that’s not what happened. I don’t know where you saw that poster because our name wasn’t on the Alcatraz poster, perhaps we missed our first gig, hahaha! But no, I am not aware of an announcement that we would play Alcatraz, although that festival is one of the best fests ever. I always go there as a visitor, hopefully we will be on the poster of next years edition (note: obviously, I misinterpreted an interview with Ramon and Jeroen in Dutch hardrock/heavy metal magazine Aardschok).
AND SINCE IZEGRIM WERE ALREADY ON LISTENABLE RECORDS, THAT CONNECTION WAS EASILY MADE AS WELL?
Sure, at the time with Izegrim we were very pleased with the cooperation with Listenable Records. They did a brilliant job promoting us, so it did not take that much time to make a decision to sign a deal with them. For Listenable it’s also good to know that they know the most of us, we are a very serious and hard-working band. So far cooperation is amazing and everything works so well, a lot of attention and positive feedback.
ONE MIGHT EXPECT THAT WITH JEROEN STEPPING IN HALIPHRON AS A GUITARIST, MARLOES VOSKUIL WOULD JOIN THEM AS WELL VERY SOON. BUT IT DIDN’T GO THAT WAY, DID IT?
Jeroen and I joined HALIPHRON at the same time! Ramon had written some songs and he was looking for members to join him. We are longtime friends and we didn’t have a band anymore so he had send us some songs he wrote. We listened to it and we were very enthusiastic about it. And that’s when we both decided to work with Ramon.
UNLIKE IN IZEGRIM WHERE YOU DID THE VOCALS AND BASS PARTS, IN HALIPHRON JESSICA OTTEN IS THE BASS PLAYER AND YOU ARE CHARGED WITH THE VOCALS. DOES THAT MEAN YOU’VE HUNG UP YOUR BASS FOR NOW?
Actually, I hung up the bass during Izegrim in June 2018. The freedom on stage, interaction with the crowd and having only one job in the band felt so good that I decided not to play bass and doing lead vocals at the same time anymore. That’s the reason why I am on vocals and Jessica plays bass. This doesn’t mean that I won’t play bass anymore. I still have my awesome axe.
THE MUSIC ON HALIPHRON’S DEBUT ALBUM “PREY” IS A LOT MORE SYMPHONIC THAN IZEGRIM EVER DID, THANKS TO DAVID GUTIERREZ ROJA’S KEYBOARDS. WAS THAT A DIFFICULT TRANSITION FOR YOU AND JEROEN?
First of all I want to say that David did an outstanding job on the album. And yes, it was a transition for us, but that’s not only because of the keyboards. The style is different from Izegrim… and that’s exactly what we wanted. For me it was a nice style change. These songs give me more space and opportunities to do something else with my voice as well. So I also used my clean voice for spoken words and there are even whispers. It was quite a challenge sometimes, but in the end the result is something of which I am really proud.
THE NAME HALIPHRON, BY THE WAY, COMES FROM THE GIANT SEVEN-ARM OCTOPUS HALIPHRON ATLANTICUS THAT LIVES IN THE DEEP WATERS OF THE PACIFIC AND ATLANTIC OCEAN. WHERE DID YOU FIND THAT NAME?
We were looking for a name that hadn’t been used already. I was also writing lyrics for “Unidentified Mass” at that time and that’s about a monster that lives in the depth of the ocean. That’s why I was looking for a Latin name of a deep sea creature and there it was…. Haliphron Atlanticus! We skipped the Atlanticus and our name became HALIPHRON. So there’s a link between our band name and our first released song. And besides that, it’s a short name, easy to remember and on top of that… we get a lot of questions about it, which is good, haha!
YOU WROTE ALL THE LYRICS FOR “PREY” AND THE ALBUM IS ABOUT BOTH SIDES OF THAT WORD, ‘HUNTING’ AND ‘BEING HUNTED’. CAN YOU EXPLAIN THAT A LITTLE MORE WITH EXAMPLES?
I wrote ‘almost’ all the lyrics. Lyrics for “The Killing Spree” and “Human Inferno” are from Ramon’s hand but are also part of the hunter or being hunted theme. Let’s start with the title track “Prey“. It’s about a 15-year old kid that is bullied so bad that he sees no other option than commiting suicide. That’s the prey part. After his death his spirit haunts the bully so the prey becomes the hunter. In every song there’s a link to a hunter or being hunted. It goes from drugs to revenge. From a cult to a mysterious creature in the ocean.
THE ARTWORK FOR “PREY” THAT WAS MADE BY DIMITRIS TZORTZIS, A GREEK ARTIST WHO HAD ALSO DONE THE COVER FOR BLEEDING GODS’ ALBUM “DODEKATHLON” IN 2018, IS REALLY BEAUTIFUL. ARE YOU GOING TO WORK THIS CONCEPT FURTHER OUT?
Oh, that is a difficult question for me to answer, because Ramon had al the contacts with Dimitris (who did an awesome job on the artwork). We also got questions if the creature on the cover will be our mascotte (like Eddie of Iron Maiden). That might be a good idea, so who knows… we have our own mascotte some day.
THE FIRST OFFICIAL VIDEO OFF THE ALBUM FOR “HUMAN INFERNO” IS ALSO VERY IMPRESSIVE AND EVEN A LITTLE SCARY WITH THE MONKS. WHAT IS THIS SONG ABOUT?
“Human Inferno” is about the end of the world because of mankind and its stupid behaviour in general. We are all part of destroying the world and part of destroying ourself. The video was shot in one of the oldest venues and we used the monks…. well, because you hear monks in the song, haha! And you are right, it gives a good atmosphere to the clip.
YOU’VE BOOKED SOME FESTIVALS FOR THIS YEAR: COPENHELL (DENMARK) IN JUNE, METAL EXPERIENCE FEST 5 IN SEPTEMBER AND EINDHOVEN METAL MEETING IN DECEMBER (BOTH IN THE NETHERLANDS). AND NO DOUBT THERE WILL BE MORE. NOT A BAD START FOR A RELATIVELY YOUNG DUTCH BAND WHO’S DEBUT ALBUM IS HIGHLY PRAISED BY THE PRESS ALREADY.
We are very, very happy with the gigs and reviews so far. In the meantime we are also confirmed for Into the Grave in Leeuwarden, also one we can tick from our bucketlist. Indeed, more shows are coming, keep an eye on our socials. And we are all very grateful for this rollercoaster that is taking place right now. We are all experienced musicians, played all great shows. But we couldn’t imagine that it would be such a blast from the beginning of this band. Again we are really grateful for all the positive feedback and insane great places we will be playing in the near future! See you all there, we can’t wait!!