Ilaender – “They said I was nothing…”? (interview)

Ilaender is a new alternative metal project from the East of the Netherlands. On May 3rd, they played as the opener for Grey Daze in Metropool, their second gig ever. The band also just released their debut single ‘I know nothing’. MetalFromNL was at Metropool to take photos, and we asked the band some questions about their music and their story so far.

See all pictures below the interview. Pictures and interview by Jose Ferreira.

As a new project, your artistic vision is continuously evolving. How would you describe the essence of the band’s sound, especially in terms of the emotions you aim to evoke? 

When we started the band our vision was pretty clear. We all have a huge heart for the late 90’s, early 00 rock/metal period and a common love for the band ‘Deftones’. Due to that, it was pretty easy to start writing the first few ideas. But indeed, it is also a long process of getting to know each other musically and as individuals. As soon as we felt that we were all on the same page, it got easier with every song to dig deeper into our own sound too. I (Martin) prefer to write lyrics about personal topics I have dealt with in life so far. It will probably evoke a certain melancholia, a feeling of frustration but also hope. Everything you deal with inside your head and heart is worthwhile to put on a piece of paper.   

What brought the band together and what inspired you to embark on this project? Was there a specific event that sparked the formation of the band?”

As said before, one of the elements was our common youth companion ‘Deftones’. 

I myself come from a rather pop/rock-based band Ten Times A Million, but always had the dream to start a much rougher project. When talking to my good friend Karel (Guitars + vocals) about starting this sort of band and Michiel and Oscar (Guitars + Drums), they had the same idea independently. I didn’t really know them much by that time, but how fate miraculously works sometimes, all of them play in the band No Gods No Master where they started talking about that idea. 

We met after their rehearsal randomly at our all-time favorite pub ‘Cafe Rocks’ in Enschede and that’s where it all began. We finally asked Frank (bass/Cryptosis) if he wanted to join the party and ILÆNDER was a fact.

Apart from music, are there any other artistic or conceptual elements that contribute to Ilaender’s identity? This could include visual concepts, like graphic style’s, photography, stage presence, and so on.

ILÆNDER is the last name of my grandfather. He stood for things such as integrity, family and friendship, eagerness, his passion for making music together and he was, and still is, my definition of a superhero. Everybody in the band could identify with these values easily. It’s like a code to live by. The band’s logo artwork is the engraving of a signet ring I inherited after he passed away. 

​​In your latest single, the lyrics express: ‘Give me a chance to understand what I’ve become.’ Taking this into consideration and looking towards the future, what does Ilaender aim to become?

In simple words: we just want to play as many shows as possible and have a good time with each other. Besides that, we surely want to leave our footprints in the (heavy) music scene. 

Now is the time to finish our first record and drop a few singles along the way until the record release at the end of this year. We further want to summon people around us that share the same passion of music and keep on growing with every step.  

Could you talk about the creation process of the recently released single? What is the message behind the music and what was the inspiration for it?

It’s funny to me because the first idea of the song was the drum groove during the riffs, which is btw. still my favorite element of the song. With that groove, the rest of the song almost wrote itself. Everything fell in the right places naturally. 

‘I Know Nothing’ is a song about not giving up, even if no one else believes in you anymore;  about a new start and leaving everything behind, as hard as it might be; It’s about taking your fate into your own hands. I’m still working and fine-tuning lyrics together with my good friend and lyric-writer Jim Irvin (Nothing But Thieves etc.) After I’d sent him the first draft of a lyric, he answered this: 

“…but what if the song were about someone who was once called Nothing, as in

“They said I was nothing..”?

So, I Know Nothing means, “I was this guy and came through it….” 

“It’s over when I say” is therefore empowerment, not suicidal (!)

 but “My nothinghood ends now…”

I loved this idea so much and used it as a guideline throughout the whole song. 

Music is a beautiful and powerful art form, capable of conveying profound messages and evoking intense emotions. How do you believe metal distinguishes itself from other musical genres in terms of emotional and creative expression?

Wow, this is a deep question. To me, metal music is the element of chaos I need to stay sane in today’s life. It’s a place where you can leave and scream out your anger, frustration, panic and pain. You can easily share these moments with fellow metalheads by just screaming together and without knowing taking each other’s weights off one’s shoulders. I really don’t want to miss this in my life. 

At the second concert, held at the mystical Metropool with a significant opening act and a full house once again, how does partnering with Metropool impact the band’s growth and the music scene in the Oversjisseel region?

It is always important to partner up / become friends with people who organize festivals or concerts. It doesn’t matter if it’s a small rock pub like Cafe Rocks or larger venues like Metropool, every stage is important! 

We have the obligation to deliver a show that justifies their trust in giving us these unique opportunities. 

But yeah, Twente is our home, and especially Metropool has a special place in our hearts. We are extremely grateful for their massive support. 

Thank you so much Ilaender for your answers!

You can find the band on their socials.

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