Ahead of Delain’s show at Manchester Club Academy, we sat down with frontwoman Charlotte Wessels for a chat.
First things first – can you introduce yourself and tell me a bit about the band?
My name is Charlotte Wessels and I am the vocalist for Delain. We’re a Dutch band playing symphonic metal rock goth something – people call us a lot of things but I think that covers the range of everything! This year we released our album The Human Contradiction which is our fourth studio record.
So you’re back in the UK for a few sold out shows – how was Birmingham last night?
It was great, but unfortunately we had a minor incident – our bassist got injured.
What happened? Is he alright now?
He got shot with one of our confetti shooters. He’s actually still at the hospital so we’re finding a way now to get his parts performed. Timo is actually recording the bass now, so we can do the show tonight since he will unfortunately not be there. But other than that, the gig was great and we’re very happy to be in the UK with three sold out gigs. It’s very rewarding to see all the shows selling out so fast and we’re really happy to be able to come back here so successfully and meet everyone again.
How does this tour compare, since you’re headlining this time round? (Note: they supported Within Temptation in April)
That tour was amazing! Of course, we had a shorter set since we weren’t headlining but we played the likes of Wembley Arena with 10000 people in front of us, which was so exciting and impressive, and such a great experience. However, coming back to do our own tour…sure, it was in smaller venues but they all sold out and people are coming just to see us, which is lovely! But both things have their charm for different reasons. I don’t know how many of the sold out shows we now owe to actually playing with Within Temptation in April – we’ve had a lot of people say that we saw us with them and now they’ve come just to see us. So it’s really cool to see those efforts rewarded.
What are you most looking forward to about playing Manchester?
We’ve played this venue several times and it’s always a lovely experience. Today, our friends from the Sophie Lancaster Foundation are coming again to see the show tonight. I was actually planning on meeting up with them earlier today, but considering the incident, our day ended up looking a lot different to what we expected. But we are here with The Raven Age and Wolf – they both did very well yesterday and I’m hoping to catch a bit of their show tonight as well.
On a more broader scale, what do you like most about touring the UK?
I like English breakfast a lot. Even though I went vegetarian some time ago. I’m like vegetarian plus, but I don’t call myself vegan because I cheat too much – I eat cheese every now and then. But you have the beans, and the tomato, and the mushroom, and the toast…I love it!!!
But we also have a couple of places in the world where it’s just very nice to play. We actually started coming to the UK later than a lot of other EU territories because our first record wasn’t even released here and the label we were with at the time only really stepped in with the second. So we started pretty late here but people all know the stuff here and are really enthusiastic, so the UK audience is definitely very good. For me, I always like when you have been to a place a couple of times and you get to know the people there. I suck at remembering names but I see those familiar faces on the front row and I’m like “I know you!”
Is there anything you dislike?
Hmm…well, the weather kind of sucks but we’re no better in Holland! I must say, I really like the UK and I have no particular dislikes that come to mind! Although saying that, there is a lot of deep fried food here, and I don’t necessarily like that.
Wait until you get to Glasgow tomorrow! Scotland is like the home of deep-fried stuff – you can get Mars Bars and all sorts up there!
That is very true! (laughs) But that’s the only thing I can think of.
If you could choose an animal to represent the band, what would it be?
I would probably go with the hummingbird because we’ve been using Glenn Arthur’s artwork for some of our records and they’re my favourite artworks that we have. The hummingbird is kind of his signature thing but we’ve noticed now that a lot of people that get Delain tattoos choose to get the hummingbird from his artwork to represent the band. So I’ll just go with the hummingbird too because I like that as a ‘thing’.
If you could replace the soundtrack to a movie with Delain’s music, what would you choose?
The Hunger Games.
Good call, I think it’d fit in pretty well!
I do too! I love the books and I love the movies. I know that a lot of people who love the books don’t necessarily love the movies but I love both.
I prefer the books personally, but the movies are so good too.
The thing is, in the book there’s a lot more emphasis on the political games and the social aspects – all the things that are nice are way nicer and all the things that are bad are way worse, so all the feelings are more intense.
Similarly if there was a movie released about Delain, what actress would you want to play yourself?
Let’s just say Jennifer Lawrence! (laughs)
I was wondering if she might crop up after your last answer!
She could dye her hair orange, and pink, and all the other colours I’ve done. She’s definitely one of my favourite actresses and everybody loves her – I guess for a good reason! She’s so down to earth.
If you could have a super power, what would it be?
Breathing underwater. There’s lots of things I could say, like reading minds, but that would give you this misplaced sense of power so I don’t think that would make you successful or happy. On the one hand, I’d love to understand certain people so much, but maybe if you understand why they do certain things, it might not make you happy. Flying would be cool, but I’m obsessed with orcas, for example. It would be so cool to be able to dive with those animals, and also I love the feeling you get where you’re underwater and you’re completely closed off from the world. Your sight is a little closed off, and you can’t really hear anything but I think that after a while, it would become a different kind of perception – a lot of animals actually communicate via sound underwater. I kind of regard it as some kind of alternate state of mind and it would be very pleasant.
And finally if Delain could put its name to a product, what would you choose?
I’m very tempted to say something like chocolate pie! And well, we’re not there yet but we will be in Scotland tomorrow and I’m a big big fan of a good single malt Scottish whiskey. We’ve actually been contacting some of our favourite whiskey brands to see if they’d be up for making a limited Delain edition! It would be very complicated because we’re very picky and Otto is also a big fan, we have whiskey tasting nights together! So I guess for me, that would be very very cool.