.......INTERVIEW
. with René van Haaren and his fellow band members from Dutch Progressive Rock Band ULYSSES
.                                       by Sergio Motta, Rio de Janeiro - Brazil

Sergio Motta - I would like to know at first why you have given this name to the band.
Should it be a way of paying somebody a homage?

René van Haaren: The band name was already chosen before I joined Ulysses, in fact my predecessor ( Raymond Mozer ) was the one who came up with the idea. Sylvester and Ron (Ulysses was still a trio, in these days) also thought it was a fitting name for the music the band stood and stands for. Ulysses is a mythological figure and also the first communication satellite, which was launched, it was called Ulysses. So the meaning could be derived from different angles , just like our music - very divers… Most important, a particular name gives a expectation. For example “the slashing bastards from hell” won’t fit our music. And in our opinion Ulysses does fit the music very well.
You have lately issued a Demo-Cd whose title is ‘’Eclectic’’, and for what I know this work
has really captivated many listeners’ attention over there in Europe. By the way, do you
intend later on to release a full length Cd featuring all these songs again?
Sylvester Vogelenzang de Jong: In fact the band started off as a hobby, which is still the biggest motivation of all the band members, so in first instance we recorded  the cdemo for ourselves. As a big ego-tripping fancy fair, hahaha.  The end result was so good that we are using it for promotional purposes. Hopefully we will find a record label who is willing to finance a full length album. Of course it all will depend on how much good new material we have, when we record a full length album.. For sure some of the cdemo tracks will be included.
It has been usual to find some stunning progressive rock bands in your country, which
are often in full activity by accomplishing live concerts and so on, but most of them are
unfortunately unknown to foreign listeners for not yet having any album on their credit
until then. Would you say that’s  the very reflex of the difficulties found on the way of
those who dare to create a quality music, even in an economically developed country 
as yours?
René van Haaren: The problem is that progressive rock or metal is not very popular in the Holland. The Dutch prog-scene is a very small musical scene. Bands like dream theater are an exception for this matter, they are being accepted by a much broader audience. Especially for the record industry a band has to be very promising before to be signed to a recording label. And without the support of a label with some PR budget, a band is labeled as an “ underground” band. And for a band to emerge from the underground to the accepted musical surface is almost impossible.
Your band is going to be partaking in a show on March next at Trailerpop 2002, and from
what I got it, this presentation should be such as a musical competition. Does this event
happen periodically? By the by, is there a prize for the winner?
Raymond Jansen: Trailerpop is an Annual event which is one of the biggest festivals in the summer in our local region. On this festival some big bands appear and the opportunity is given to the local bands to participate in a contest (a few months prior to the big show) of which the winner will also play on the main stage during Trailerpop 2002.
So we will be participating on one of these “contests”, maybe we win. But that is not our goal, we just want to play and have a good time. Of course …winning is a very interesting thought…
Although the Demo-Cd of Ulysses just consists of 5 tracks, I heard you have also some 
other self-composed songs. Why did you prefer not to include them in the current Demo?
René van Haaren: Most important reason: time, we had to record everything (Rhythm, vocals and solos) in just one day. The songs we used for “eclectic” on the moment of the recording were most mature. We tend to make constant changes to the arrangements and parts of the songs, so we had to be sure that a song was really ready for recording.

Sylvester Vogelenzang de Jong: The songs we recorded  were also chosen because the 5 songs are a perfect reflection of what and who we are at this moment.

It seems to me that you have composed a new song called ''Watching Over You'', which
sounds entirely like a ballad. What sort of satisfaction did you feel when composing a
song quite different from what you generally use to do?
Raymond Jansen: The song is the reflection of a tragic personal experience I had. Just listen to the lyrics and will tell the story itself.  I wrote the lyrics in just a few hours and I was convinced to use it for a song. During rehearsals Ron played a piano part, which felt perfectly for the lyrics I had written, so ‘’Watching over you’’ was born.

Ron Mozer: In first instance we had plans to make it a song for all the band members, but the song asked for simplicity - less is more.

Réne Schippers: Despite of the time pressure in the studio, we, Ron and Raymond managed to record the song in one take!

As far as I can see, one of the most memorable gigs from Ulysses  has taken place on late
year at ‘’De Paap’’, where during the concert was even possible to make an audio and
video recording. By the way, will it all reach the ears and eyes of Ulysses’ fans sometime?
René van Haaren: We try to make video recordings when possible. This is a perfect way to evaluate after a show. During the recording of the Cdemo we thought it was a nice bonus to add some live footage. (use a PC to view the AVI-files) For now the rest of the footage will just stay in our personal collection. Maybe in the future when we have some new good recordings, we might release a DVD-kind of thing , but that’s future business. We are first going to concentrate on promoting “eclectic”.
Concerning again the ‘’De Paap’’ show in the Hague, you have mentioned likewise that
the audience was very enthusiastic on that night and the band had a real good feeling
therefore. By the way, when do you definitely use to say to yourselves in the upshot of
a live performance? The gig was really great today!
Sylvester Vogelenzang de Jong: IIt’s all in the ambience...It’s very important that we play well, not only technically but also should the vibes interact between the musicians and also the audience. It could even be possible that a show, in which there were some mistakes, gives us an overall better feeling than a flawless performed show, played without balls!
But of course, we always try to play flawless, without stupid mistakes and drive the crowd completely crazy!
The artwork of ‘’Eclectic’’ was grounded upon the painting ‘’De Glorie Van De Tijd’’ by
the Dutch painter Hans Kanters. How did you arrive at a conclusion that this work of art
would truly be the ideal representative of your band’s work?
Sylvester Vogelenzang de Jong: During the band-rehearsals (before the recording) we brainstormed about some ideas for a CD cover. At a particular moment My attention was drawn to a book of the painter Hans Kanters, Especially my attention went to the painting “De Glorie Van De Tijd”, in English ”The glory of time”. This surrealistic painting contains so much information, you can look at it for hours… In the heart of the painting is a mythological sculpture which could even be ULYSSES in person. And the overall atmosphere, breaths the atmosphere of the music of Ulysses. I made a design for the cover and contacted the painter in person to ask for his permission. After some phone calls and correspondence we got the exclusive permission to use some excerpts of the painting… And we are very proud that we were aloud to!.
Just to close our interview. Would you like to impart any message for all those who
appreciate the music of Ulysses, and also the progressive rock music in a general way?
René van Haaren: First of all we would like to thank all the prog-minded out there, who supported us ‘till now. And we would like to ask all of you to check out our homepage (www.ulysses-online.nl) and maybe order our Cdemo “Eclectic”. Also please make an entry in our guestbook, we are very curious what you think of Ulysses. 
Thank you very much for this opportunity, Ulysses.
 

Sergio Motta
is a friend and partiner from the Progressive Rock And Progressive Metal Site

Discography:
01) CDemo - Eclectic
02) Symbioses
03) The Gift of Tears
04) #eMotion

Michael Hos - Vocals
Ron Mozer - Synths
Casper Kroon - Bass
René van Haaren -
Drums
Sylvester Vogelenzang de Jong - Guitar

Ulysses Home Page
http://www.ulysses.nu

Ulysses is a Dutch Progresssive Symphonic Rock Band formed by five musicians. It all starded in December 1998, when the brothers Mozer (Raymond on drums and Ron on Keyboards) decided to form a band in which they could express their musical ideas.

They contacted the Guitarist Sylvester Vogelenzang de Jong, who the brothers knew from his former band "Near Dark". From that moment on they started write the material. Of course the band also needed a bass player, Ron asked Marcel Dingemanse, with whom he had played in several bands in the past, to join the band and after a try out, he did. To complete Ulysses, they quest for a vocalist was started. Sylvester suggested to contact former singer of his former band.

Within a few weeks Raymond Jansen completede the the band. After a year of rehearing and writng a lot material, Raymond deceded to move to Norway. The members started lookin for a new drummer, in March 2000 the enthusiastic René van Haaren was reacted. Réne seemed to be what the band needed to complete the band, both musicaly and personally.

In May 2001 the bass player Marcel left for others plans. Through Réne van Haaren, Ulysses contacted Réne Schippers, a bass player with years of experience. Then the new bass player thought he would work out well and decided to join Ulysses.
 

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