Exclusive Interview: Dear Mother talk writing and recording “Bullet Proof”!
Last month saw the debut album “Bullet Proof” from a crowdfunded Metal Project called Death Mother provide us with some heavy grooves for the summer and with over a million streams between Spotify and YouTube it can be considered to have made an impact. Citing influences in Linkin Park, Bring Me The Horizon and Slipknot, the trio are founded by a pair of former Delain members and split between the United Kingdom and The Netherlands. We spoke to guitarist Merel Bechtold about what goes on behind the scenes in creating their sound.
“Bullet Proof” comes across as something of a dark open letter of introspective lyrical themes. Did you find it a cathartic process to write and record? “You’re right about that! David is in charge of the lyrics and yes it’s been therapeutic for all of us. We really put our heart and soul into this album”
How does the writing process of a new Dear Mother track start? Melody, riff or rhythm first? “I always start with setting a challenge for myself. ‘I want to write a song that starts with a guitar riff’ or ‘I want to write a song with a double chorus’. That gives me direction and then I start jamming on my guitar or on my midi keyboard. Most of the time I write a full instrumental song and then I’ll send it over to David and he makes it gold”
How did you go about getting the balance right between the spine juddering guitars and the swathes of synths that soak the album? “I always listen to the layers and frequencies of the song and then start filling in the gaps and that can be either a guitar or a synth”
The band itself is a trio of vocalist, drummer and guitarist while you have oceans of synths on the record. Do you see yourselves getting a bassist and perhaps keyboard player for live performances? “Oh yes definitely! We recently rehearsed with our live guitarist Ferry Duijsens, also known as Punto. We played together in ‘The Gentle Storm’ with Anneke van Giersbergen a couple of years ago. He’s so good and has a beautiful soul! We’re keeping our eyes open for a fitting live bass player.”
If you had the opportunity to bring in a guest, who would you like to work with and why? “Ooh, that’s a good question! There are so many amazing musicians out there… If it’s up to me I guess it would be someone that sounds completely different than David and probably from a different genre. Maybe someone like Ruelle? That would be so sick!!”
For us gear nerds out there, can you tell us what you’re using gear wise (pedals, strings, drums etc) to get your sound? “First of all I use my custom vandermeij guitars. It’s a ‘one man’ guitar builder located in Amsterdam. If you’re a guitar freak you SHOULD check out his guitars. They’re so sexy! Regarding strings I use Dunlop Performance with a heavy gauge for the lowest string since I play in drop tuning. Also I use their flow picks, basically it’s an enlarged jazz pick. Best guitar picks on the market if you ask me! Regarding software I absolutely love the Valhalla Shimmer plugin, it’s my go to for ambients. The Saturn plugin from Fabfilter is pure gold. I almost abuse it on everything. To enhance the frequencies of synths or to just completely modify sounds into something else. The delay designer from Logic pro is great as well. For demo drums I love the GGD One Kit Wonder Aggressive Rock. It sounds so good!”
What difference would it make to you as a band if you could land an endorsement from a gear manufacturer? “That’s always a good thing! I know Joey has his endorsements and so do I and we always keep an open mind for new gear manufacturers”