"I never like prog music just for the sake of being complicated"
Ruud Jolie is most known as the guitarist of Within Temptation, but For All We Know is his personal vehicle to express his love for progressive rock/metal music. After the beautiful, self-titled album he returns with the second one, "Take Me Home", which is equally if not more interesting. He took some time to answer our questions regarding its making, the successful crowdfunding campaign, the Dutch scene and much more.
Hi Ruud and congrats for the new For All We Know album. It’s yet another beautiful effort, so let us know a few things about its creation.
Thank you so much for checking it out.
First change that someone would notice is that there are not so many guests like there were on the first album, just Anneke on one song. Does it feel that it’s becoming more of a band than a solo project or is it my idea?
Yes, indeed. When Wudstik was recording the vocals for the song “We Are The Light” in my studio he stopped mid-sentence and exclaimed “do you know who would sound great on this song as well? Anneke van Giersbergen!”.
And to be honest I had to get used to the idea because, indeed, I never planned to have guests on this album. But, since I really like Anneke, both as a musician but also as a person, the decision was made that same recording session, hahaha
Keeping in mind that it’s basically a solo project of yours what’s the role of the other members in the making and the shaping of the album?
This time around I collaborated more with Wudstik. I would usually come up with an instrumental demo which I would send to him. He would come up with vocal ideas (even though I already had vocal melodies) and if they were better than mine (which was often the case) we would go for that. And he is a master in creating awesome vocal harmony arrangements.
The rest of the stuff was pretty much arranged by me the way it is on the album. Even drums for 80%.
I think it’s Wudstik’s best performance in any other work I’ve ever heard him. What is his main strength as a vocalist that you try to take advantage of when you collaborate with him?
I’m glad you are saying this because he would be the first one to agree. I would be second hahaha.
Well, like I said, he’s really a genius when it comes to making really cool vocal harmonies. You know coming up with one harmony isn’t that hard. A second one, sure why not? But then he comes up with a third and a fourth that you will never it will work but then you listen to it and you’re blown away.
Plus, his range is incredible. And he also did a lot of screams/grunts. They’re not always on the surface but they are definitely there.
"I never like complicated (prog) music just for the sake of being complicated"
Musically, other times it’s closer to rock music and other times it’s closer to metal music. Also, it’s prog but it’s not over-layered or too much technical. Is this in between situation and a certain balance that you’re trying to achieve with the music of this project?
Well, first of all I never like complicated (prog) music just for the sake of being complicated. I don’t want my music to be an egotrip. I think the song and the melodies and the lyrics are the most important thing. But then again I also like to look for harmonies/melodies/rhythm that are not predictable and that in combination with the instrumentation is what qualifies this album as a ‘prog’ album I think.
"This project doesn’t make me any money, even though I’m doing a lot myself"
You produced the album yourself. Is it because you had it exactly in your mind how you wanted to be? Did you think of using an external producer?
Yes, exactly! But, I also feel I’m still learning a lot as a 'producer' so I wanted to explore the boundaries of what I was able to do. Since the first album I’ve upgraded some of my equipment so that automatically helped as well. But you never know, I might work with an external producer the next time. On the other hand, this project doesn’t make me any money, even though I’m doing a lot myself (producing, releasing and promoting), so I don’t think there will be budget for an external producer.
I guess there is a concept behind the lyrics of the albums, based on the fact that there are three “Breathe” songs in it and because of the melody of the title track appearing back in the end. Tell us a few words about it.
Well, it’s not a concept album in the classic sense but of course there is a thread through out. It’s about a person with a dark clouded stone mind who is going on a soul search to return back to his normal self, to go back to finding the light inside of himself again. And the “Breath: In”, “Breathe: Hold” and “Breathe: Out” titles were inspired by Zen meditation. I (try to) meditate twice a day…
One of my favorite tracks is “They’ll Win”. What is it about lyrically? Do you have any favorite tracks and why?
Thank you. I like that song as well. But then again I like all these songs otherwise I wouldn’t have released them, hahaha. I guess my favorite track is “We Are The Light”. I like how the lyrics came out and it’s a pretty heavy yet positive song. I’ve been trying to combining heaviness with positivity a lot on this album.
"Whenever I come up with stuff that is too much like another band I delete it"
“Colours” gave me a Pain Of Salvation flavor and since you have both Kristoffer and Leo on your solo project - while Daniel was a guest on the first album - someone would say that you’re a POS fan. Is it true? How important do you think they’ve been for (progressive) metal in the last 20 years and how much have they influenced you for this project?
Yes I’ve been a fan since 1998. So, of course, I’ve been influenced by them. But whenever I come up with stuff that is too much like another band I delete it. I really try to come up with my own sound. I know how difficult that is these days with everybody being able to record and release music but still I think that, especially with this new album, For All We Know has its own sound. Well, at least that’s what I hear from people who have heard it.
How come you had Anneke on “We Are The Light”? I guess it has to do with you being a member of The Gentle Storm, but then how big is the Dutch metal scene… I mean most of you must know each other really well by now…
Yeah, we all know each other I guess. I teach at the first Metal College of the world called ‘Metal Factory’. It’s based in Eindhoven and some of my teaching colleagues play or used to play in Epica, Textures, VUUR, Mayan, Gorefest, Stream of Passion, so it’s a small world indeed :-)
Speaking of the Dutch scene, you’re a member of the most successful band, Within Temptation and you’ve collaborated with many musicians from other bands in various projects. Which artists and albums have been the most important till today for the scene to emerge and bloom in your opinion?
I have no idea to be honest.
"Take enough time to prepare your campaign"
You had a successful crowd funding campaign for this new album. How difficult was it to reach your goal and what does it take to run a successful campaign these days? Many new bands seem to rely on such help to make it through… What would you advise them?
I started preparing the campaign in January already even though I wouldn’t go live until April. But in February they took down the Paypal payment option so that sucked. Especially since the Netherlands isn’t a ‘credit card’ country like e.g. the USA. But I reached my goal nevertheless.
Well, some advice (not that I’m the expert all of a sudden): take enough time to prepare your campaign. Spend enough time on producing a cool pitch video, some nice artwork helps, keep your backers updated through facebook, be transparent about where the money is going to. But I must say I had incredible help from the people from backersground.com and missvisuals.com. I couldn’t have done it without these people.
So, how do you see For All You Know continuing after the second album is released? Will you try to find time for a tour or do you have any other plans?
Well I am trying to do some gigs. I’ll first try some in the Netherlands and we’ll see from there. The ‘problem’ is that everybody is busy with other bands (that do pay the bills hahaha). Once Within Temptation starts touring I will have to focus on that again. But then again, you never know what will happen.
Wudstik and me are already starting to gather ideas for another release. I hope it won’t take 6 years again between the two releases. hahaha
What about Maiden United? Are there any plans in this camp?
We’re gonna do a very special show in Royal Theatre Carré in Amsterdam. It’s a very prestigious theatre (maybe the Dutch equivalent of the Royal Albert Hall). On January 27th we’ll do a really nice show with some cool guests. Check out maidenunited.com for more info.
Have you heard any albums of 2017 that impressed you?
Yes, I was in Poland a couple of weeks ago for the 35th Anniversary of the guitar brand Mayones. I’m being endorsed by them for the last 10 years and I was invited to the party. I did a guest performance with Polish band Chassis and the headliners of the evening was Polish band Disperse with Jakub Zytecki on guitar. Their latest album “Foreword” is amazing!
Thank you for your time. Add anything you want to close this interview.
Well thank you for letting me tell your audience something about For All We Know. I appreciate this.