At First – Interview
Interview with Jamie Jochems, vocalist with At First and Pete Devine of Pete’s Rock News and Views (http://petesrocknewsandviews.com)
PD: What type of artist are you?
JJ: At First is an independent alternative metal band from the Netherlands. We are musicians who like to experiment with different sounds and genres in a way that allows us to really tell a story. On the stage we like to give it our all, with an energetic, sometimes even chaotic, live performance. You can hear a lot of modern metal influences in our music, but in our hearts we really have a grunge DIY mentality.
PD: Tell us the brief history of yourself.
JJ: Our band was founded in 2015. The first years we played tons of shows to gain stage experience, which resulted in several awards for our live performance. We’ve played shows for Bring me the Horizon and Textures and shared the stage with acts like The Royal and Dool. In 2017 we released our EP Dreams Inc. for which we received praising critiques form the Dutch press, like Aardschok and Never Mind the Hype. Last year we focused on experimenting with our song writing and studio sound. We are about to release our first album ever called Deadline. Our album is self-produced just like the accompanying music videos we released the past few months and takes a more progressive approach, with electronic elements and deeper riffs.
PD: Who are your musical and non-musical influences?
JJ: We are influenced by legends like Rage against the Machine and Led Zeppelin but also by modern acts like Northlane, Halestorm and Alter Bridge. Not all of our influences can easily be heard in our music. We think it really is a mix of a bit of everything.
PD: What are your dreams and goals?
JJ: Our biggest dream would be to tour around the world. It would be great if we could make it possible to fully focus on our music and write more songs that really touch our listeners. Sometimes we even imagine what it would be like if money wasn’t an issue and we could create big comprehensive live experiences with choirs, audio-visual art and a lot of special effects. We also like to believe that our music could change the world, but we’re aware that that’s not possible. However, it would be nice if our music makes a change in the lives of some people.
PD: Who writes your songs, what are they about?
JJ: Every band member contributes to the song writing process. We like to combine our specialties in order to write the best story possible. All lyrics are written by our lead singer Jamie. Themes vary from science-fiction, to introspection and social relevance to resilience. Our EP Dreams Inc. was about a dystopian society where the listener could ask himself; is this science-fiction or is it becoming reality? Our first new album Deadline is built on this too, but with a greater focus on personal experiences and finding your place in modern day society. Some of the songs on the new album are about emotional themes like anxiety and fear of commitment. Others are more complex, like an 11-minute piece about a scientist that wants to change the world. However, all our songs on the album have one thing in common; they are an ode to the future.
PD: How do you promote your band and shows?
JJ: Since last month we are supported by Hard Life Promotion. Before that, all the promotion was done by the band and supporters. We really appreciate our fans for spreading the word about our music.
PD: What do you think about downloading music online?
JJ: We think that streaming services made illegal downloading of music unnecessary, but we understand that a lot of artists aren’t satisfied with their earnings. However, for new artists online distribution of music can be a great promotional tool.
PD: What song do you wish you’d written and why?
JJ: B.Y.O.B. by System of a Down is one of our favourites. We even did a cover version of it, while usually we only play original work. We really love the versatility, social message and craziness in the song. System of a Down has been a great influence for our music.
PD: What are some of your pet peeves?
JJ: The overload of information in the modern day society, the global pollution, the consumer society.
PD: What is your proudest moment in music?
JJ: Playing the after show for Bring Me The Horizon in AFAS Live Amsterdam. Bring me the Horizon made the music that we grew up with, so we were really honoured to do this.
PD: So what are you working on at the moment?
JJ: At the moment we are focusing on promoting our new album Deadline. After this, we will be writing new singles. We would like to do more support shows and festivals in 2020.
PD: Tell us about your next shows and why we should be there.
JJ: Our next show will be our album release party on Saturday 1 February. You should definitely come if you like to see us pour our hearts out on stage. We can’t be more excited to release our first album ever in our hometown Breda, The Netherlands. By the way, our support act is a really cool band called Pandora’s Key, who make symphonic, melodic metal. You should really check them out!
At First links:
Band/Artist location – Breda Netherlands
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Instagram — Spotify – Amazon – Deezer – Google Play
Check our page for At First