Interview with Joseph Black about “Excipere”6 min read
On February 6, 2015, Aron Verbogt joined me (Ferry Meštrović) for an interview via Skype in which we talk about Joseph Black and his new single “Excipere”, which he released on 21 January 2015 via social media.
Thank you for attending this interview, Joseph. Can you tell me something about yourself?
Thank you for having me. My name is Aron Verbogt, I am best known as Joseph Black, which is my stage name. I am 29 years old and currently live in Enschede, where I study at the Artez Conservatorium. I am a songwriter, vocalist and lead guitarist.
My musical interests started since I was four years old. I was inspired by children’s songs, it was very playful and I learned a lot during that time. When I was 18, I truly discovered my passion for music. I was heavily inspired by artists such as Kamelot, HammerFall and Symphony X. I knew that music would be my life, I just had to get there somehow. Fortunately, both my parents and former in-laws helped me buy a guitar. I immediately started practicing by playing songs from my favorite artists. I practiced day and night until I thought I was ready to form some sort of band.
About four months after I got my guitar, I formed a band called “Pure Power”, which was a power / gothic metal band that consisted of four members, including myself. We quickly started writing songs and almost immediately went on stage. I felt like we made it as a band. We had big plans to release an album with 12 songs, although we barely got 5 songs. Three of them were played live, and we were even broadcast on television. I thought that we would become the artists you read about in the magazines. I was really full of myself then, but I was wrong.
Looking back, our first version lacked a lot of technique, and although we were praised by the public for our performance, we later received a lot of negative feedback. I think I often damaged my vocal chords during this performance. It was a difficult time for me to face the fact that we were not as good as I had hoped we would be. After some time, Pure Power split up and I joined a number of other bands such as Artemis Circle. I gained a lot of experience during that time, but that was clearly not enough.
In 2005, I took guitar lessons from Joos de Lange, who just started giving guitar lessons, but I think he did not know exactly how to do that. Fortunately I am a teacher by nature. While he was learning me to play guitar, I taught him how to teach. It was a fun experience. I wanted him to teach me to play songs like “King of Terrors” from Symphony X and “Autumn Leaves”, but I think he could not touch me this, that’s why he taught me how to play Jazz instead. It worked surprisingly well for what I was hoping to learn. I quit after about 12 lessons, but it felt like I had 100 lessons. I have improved a lot and I felt motivated and confident enough to make music again.
You have already answered a number of questions that I had for you, which of course is fine! Have you followed other lessons besides guitar?
A friend of mine told me about a singing teacher in Terneuzen (Zeeland, the Netherlands). Her name is Ana Rossi. I have followed a few lessons, enough to learn how I do not damage my vocal chords (laughs). It worked better than I had hoped, although I stopped after a few lessons.
I also want to learn how to play the cello one day!
It sounds like you have learned a lot over the years, I understand that you later joined other bands, can you tell me something about it?
That’s right, in 2008 I joined a band called “Crimson Black”, a metal band that consists of four members, including myself. I was the main vocalist and guitarist of the band. We made three records, our most notable record is Secedo, which was recorded in Avalanche Studio. Eventually I left Crimson Black because I felt that the band was not progressing.
Ah, I remember Crimson Black. I recall helping you record a demo song of ‘Retaliate’ in 2008.
Yes that’s right! Actually, the main reason I stopped was because we were about to sign a suspicious looking contract with a Sony-related label. Something just felt away and I did not want to be a part of it.
How did the other members respond to your decision?
They understand why I left, but I did not feel like I had left in a good way. Later we officially made the announcement and the band quickly found another singer.
Correct me if I’m wrong, but you’re now progressing as a solo artist, right?
Yes that’s right. But before that, I was a guitarist for a band called “In Dismay” which is now known as Fire Within. I have been in various bands for many years and had to adapt to the genre of other people. I want the freedom to do whatever it is that I want to do creatively. It was also an opportunity for me to give other artists an idea of what I want.
I still want to form a band, but I want to have the freedom to express myself creatively. In Crimson Black, I felt much of that were declined.
You recently released a single called “Excipere”, can you tell me something about this song?
For a project I did at the Artez Conservatory, I had some time to record a video clip. I did not have much time, so I immediately thought of a song that I wrote a while ago, called “Excipere”, which is actually planned for a full album release.
I think it’s a great opportunity because I get a lot of feedback.
You say you want to release a full album, can you tell me something about it?
That’s right. The album will consist of about 12 songs, which I am still working on. I am very busy, so I do not have much time for that. I intend to release it in a year or so.
What can the listeners expect from this album?
I want to surprise the listeners. Emotions such as violent aggression, melancholy become the main theme for this album. I want it to sound “in your face.”
That sounds very exciting, I am looking forward to hearing your new album next year! Thank you very much for your time.
I am also enthusiastic about it, but at the same time concerned about the deadline. (Laughs) Thanks for having me, I’m looking forward to reading it online.