Interview: Dear Mother

Photo by Lidewij Bouter

Recently, Dear Mother released their debut album titled Bulletproof, which DutchMetalManiac’s Glenn van der Heijden reviewed here. Now he also interviewed Dear Mother’s Merel Bechtold, Joey Marin de Boer and David Pear Hruska.

Joey: We’re struggling a bit with David because his camera is stuck.

Merel: This is David.

Hey David

Joey: The little blob on the screen.

Merel: See, we don’t even know he’s real, Glenn, we’re still not sure who David really is.

Well, that adds to the mystery, right?

David: Yes!

Merel: Okay, do you want to start, Glenn?

Well, we can start, yes, David can hear us, right?

David: Yeah, I can hear you.

Well guys, congratulations with the new album.

All: Thank you.

Merel: And thank you for your lovely review. It was probably the nicest review we have.

Oh, you guys read it?

All: Of course.

Well, I was totally blown away, because I’ve been following you since the crowdfunding, so you probably know. I was very excited to review the album and I got to say guys, it’s more than I expected.

All: Awesome. That’s very cool, man.

Which brings me to a question that I probably already know the answer to but how do you guys feel?

David: It’s an incredible accomplishment. You work so hard towards something, just constant, work, work, work. Also because we’re so far apart. A few days later I realise that, oh wow, we’ve done this, this is incredible.

Yeah, I can imagine. I mean, also with Covid and such, didn’t you guys stress about is it ever going to happen or when did you know this is really going to happen?

Joey: Well, there was a lot of stress. Every step we needed to take in order to complete the album we were insecure if we were going to manage, like we recorded two music videos together and the rest of them we had to do separately, but even going further back we had to postpone drum recordings for two months because of Covid restrictions and because I had a cold. So, like every step along the way towards the album is a hard one and being in a pandemic is just not making it any better, but when we hit the studio recording drums I knew immediately like if we can overcome this hurdle then we’re going to nail it, because I knew that Merel was going to nail the guitar recordings and David was going to nail his recordings. So, for me, drum recordings was the point of no return basically.

Yeah, and then it’s finally happening and then you think it’s going to happen.

Joey: Yes.

Well, you guys talked a lot about that it’s a dream to create an own band and to have that succeed. How difficult was it for you guys to leave established bands and to just plunge right in there, to just do it?

Merel: I think that for me it was a very hard decision, because you just going to leave established bands behind and you have like all these cool things that you can do with them. That was quite like a big step, but it was only for a very good cause, which was Dear Mother, like starting something that’s really from the heart. I really wanted to do this badly. I’m not very great with making decisions, I’ll always take my time for it to be absolutely sure. Now, I’m just happy and this is not going away, so there’s only one way to find that sanity back and that was to just make that decision and go for it.

So, it was kind of an itch that didn’t go away, so to speak?

Merel: Yeah, definitely. I tried for years. I already knew that I wanted to do something like this. It didn’t go away and things didn’t get better, like for me personally, so I knew that there was only this way. And I didn’t regret it for one second, this was the best decision I ever made.

From an outsider point of view it is the definite best decision you could’ve made, so there you have it, but yeah, then you needed to go look for a singer, can you tell us guys a little bit about that?

Joey: Yeah, of course. We wrote eight songs together, Merel and I, and we’ve known each other for a couple of years. Then we wrote eight songs together, like Merel wrote most of the songs and we wrote so many melodies with the guitar and synth and we were like, shit, maybe we should get a vocalist first, because the songs sound done already and there’s nothing for the vocal line. They’re so full of instruments and there’s actually no room left for a singer. Actually, that was a mutual feeling, like we need a singer now, we need someone to make these songs come alive and tell a story with them. So then, Merel posted on Facebook that we needed a vocalist and David was tagged by his dear friend Claire and the rest is history, yes.

Yes, the rest is history and talk about those vocals. I mean, David, how the hell do you do that?

David: I have no idea. You know what, the funny thing is that I was a terrible vocalist for I think ten years of my life, so until Dear Mother came into my life and I started to try, but I don’t know how to explain it. I am surrounded by incredible singers so it might be those influences.

Yeah, because I’ve been listening to the album and I thought, what the hell, how does he do those incredible changes between clean and screams and everything you do in between?

David: Thank you. I really appreciate that, so very soon I’ll become just an egomaniac or maybe start eating blue M&Ms or something.

Please don’t do that, we like you now.

David: Thank you, I’ll shall not change then.

Don’t be an Axl Rose or something.

David: Haha

Don’t do that.

Joey: We actually have a name for David already if he becomes a diva. We just have to switch two letters in his name and he becomes Divad.

David: Oh!

Merel: Divad Pearl.

David: I love it.

That’s actually amazing.

Joey: And then we’ll kick him out.

Because that was my next question, you guys immediately became friends with David, right? You can feel that, the synergy, like you’ve known each other for years or something, how do you explain that?

Merel: It’s really nice that you say that, because it indeed feels like that. Can you imagine you talk to someone, like via email or something, wrote a song together, you’ve never seen this person, then you write some more songs, you meet each other in like non-pixelated, one time and the next time you are going to pick up David from the airport to stay with you for five days. He’s a complete stranger still, but he wasn’t. I kind of knew David from the first moment I talked to him.

And never in those five days, those initial five days, it was like no, we made a grave error, this is not going to work, never?

Joey: Well, the thing is David paid us a lot of money, like he made us pay a lot of money, so then you can forgive every little mistake he makes. No, actually it almost felt like a friend from the past or something, it felt like family you’ve never actually met, but they’re family. That’s what it is with David, and with Merel as well, but Merel and I have known each other for a little bit longer.

Yeah, a little bit.

Joey: A little bit, seventeen years.

David: Those things really make you believe in like the law of attraction, when you’re in a good mindset or right mindset when you’re meeting something you like you attract what you need, not what you want, but what you need. It just resulted in a really good friendship.

Because when creating the songs did you just started playing and did it all come together or did you have struggles with a couple of songs, or did you relook a couple of songs, this is not right, that’s not right, we have to change that, or how was that?

Merel: Well, we came together like three times in the entire process, which is not a lot. But that was not really, like per se, needed, because the writing was going so well. It just felt really good. Yeah, we had a few songs that were definitely more challenging like Satellite was one that we struggled with quite a bit. Another one was Fade In, more like the intro of Fade In, the rest of the song was written in one go. Overall, the songs were written really fast and sometimes we spend a little bit more time on it because it wasn’t just it, but I think overall the songwriting process was like super much fun and super easy, because it was all like aw, it was chemistry.

Really nice to hear. Is that also the reason why you guys went for a full-length album? Instead of an EP, what you see these days, you see a lot of people bring out EP’s, because it’s easier, it’s faster.

Joey: No, from the beginning we knew that this was going to be a full-length. Like, Merel and I wrote eight songs that we really loved already, so we set ourselves the challenge to write fifteen songs and then just see whichever song would make the album. It happened to be twelve, we’ve recorded thirteen, but twelve songs made the album and I think that was just a no-brainer basically to go with a full-length.

Were you never afraid that you didn’t going to make the crowdfunding, because I remember that it was a little bit tight at the end there and Merel was posting a lot of things, you guys were posting a lot of things, it seems like for a moment there you were afraid that it wasn’t going to happen.

Joey: Well, from the beginning we were afraid that we didn’t going to make it. Afraid is not the, we were curious. Like, the whole crowdfunding. Merel has a fanbase, I’ve a couple of fans, David has his fans and we have a lot of people that support us, but you don’t really know if people are willing to support you with their money for the crowdfunding. So we were just curious from the beginning, like are we going to fulfill the crowdfunding base, are we going to complete it?

Merel: Especially because we didn’t have any songs out, so no one really knew what it was going to be and maybe that even helped for a part, that people were like, what’s this? I’m curious. I don’t know. Of course it makes it easier if we would have released one of the songs and people could know what it was going to be. Some people might not even want to go blindly in something. Indeed there was like a point in the crowdfunding where, it became, like we started it really well, it was like oh, that’s awesome, and then halfway, or even like over halfway, it seems like oh shit, we’re not going to make it. Of course, this was also like when Covid hit us as well, so, right in the middle of our crowdfunding, so we didn’t know what was going to be the effect of that. So, we were really getting very worried and then it seems like we are not going to make it. We made it within those 24 hours. That was magical, like wow. Our goal wasn’t like a tiny goal, like we also required, we sat out with quite a budget, because we wanted to do like a good album, like the way we did it and there’s just like a massive price tag on that. With the budget, we really had to manage it really well, because we also wanted to do music videos, like we really going to use the money to kickstart Dear Mother and the album is a massive, massive part of that.

Joey: How was that for you, David?

David, are you still there?

David: Yeah.

Joey: Oh, his wifi, man. That’s the biggest problem of Dear Mother, David’s wifi actually.

Why doesn’t he have wired internet? I mean, I got all wired up here, so.

Joey: Oh man, don’t ask, it’s okay.

One of those people that still believes in wifi when you have to do big things, right? I’m not a big believer of that, all things are wired here.

Joey: Yeah, can you please tell him?

David: I’m present, it’s surprising that the London wifi is the worst.

Yeah, but how was that for you, David? The last question, did you get the question, or?

David: I didn’t get that question, because you guys were falling out quite a bit.

Merel: Oh, we were falling out?

Haha, I should say you were falling out but nevertheless, but now I forgot what we were talking about.

Joey: David, what was your feeling about doing a crowdfunding at the beginning of starting a band? That was kind of the question.

David: Well, the crowdfunding, what Joey said was just a combination of bringing something that’s not necessarily proven and, just exactly like Joey said, it was three different audiences that we’re selling something to that hasn’t been out yet. Everything that we had done was just, you know, done completely by ourselves and we haven’t been together, even like met only three times. It was a big trust game that we’ve had done and it’s a game that proven to us that everyone who is currently supporting Dear Mother, like everyone we’ve on board now, can literally move mountains.

Yeah, because I really think that it proves that making good music, as opposed to making just music to sell music, that it still survives. The passion of making music and the passion of the fans, but also the passion from you guys, proves that you can make a good product and be 100% supportive of that and be happy with what you release eventually, right?

David: 100%.

Yeah, the other night I was watching your release stream and your good friend Niels Nielsen asked, well, he answered a pretty, you gave a pretty big answer, towards the end I guess about where you want to be as a band, you guys didn’t really answer that and I was curious about where do you want to grow to as a band? I mean it’s very early on, I get that but.

Merel: World domination, Glenn.

Haha, I should’ve expected that.

Joey: Now, we actually just want to be happy with what we’re doing and just travel around the world playing our music, playing our songs and that’s kind of the plan right now. To get out there and meet the fans and play songs for them that they want to hear, play songs that we want to play, hopefully that’s the same thing. Basically just be happy with what we’re doing. That sounds pretty straightforward, but that’s hard.

Merel: Yes.

David: Apart from me, I am completely different. I just want to have loads of drugs and travel the world, that’s all.

Well, just a little bit that Axl Rose thing in there again, but I’m bashing Axl, but I’m a big Guns N’ Roses fan, so I can bash him. No, all joking aside, having fun is a big part of that so I hear.

Merel: Yes, super.

And playing live hopefully is going to be a big part of that too?

Merel: Yeah, I hope that we can like tour a lot and that we as well can tour with bands that we really enjoy, so it becomes like this one party, this one family on tour and having the fun of playing and supporting each other and visiting the people at home, we can finally meet them in person because now it’s all of course online and it would be great to play in their hometowns.

We’re all pretty much done with that part of the world right now, aren’t we? But we have no control over that. But how big was the support from the community, from your colleagues and other artists, did you have positive reactions from them?

Joey: Yeah, definitely. I only got positive and encouraging messages and calls from people in the scene, so to say. The support has been amazing and that’s the same with the crowdfunding, like whenever you complete the crowdfunding with 121%, we just felt like okay, now we really, really need to deliver and it gave us a really big boost as well, like there’s so many support and not only, like you mentioned, not only from the fans but also from our friends and people we worked with and it’s a bit surreal to be honest.

Merel: Yeah, and it’s cool, because they’re kind of like proud of us as well. Hearing from your mates that it’s pretty amazing what you’re doing is just incredible.

And I think friends and family too, right? When you hear that it’s great what you’re doing I think that makes you grow, that makes want to succeed more, right?

Merel: Yes.

Joey: Definitely.

Well, I can sit here talking about future things and I hear you guys want to tour as fast as possible, be sweaty on that stage and deliver those wonderful songs to us. I really hope that it’s going to happen really soon. I think for me personally if I may say so Dear Mother was a little bit, like I described in my review, out of my comfort zone, out of what I usually listen to, but I think that you guys were pretty accessible in the music. Was that something you guys thought about, like we need to reach certain people or was it really what are we going to make, what do we want to make and we’ll see?

Joey: Last thing.

Merel: Yeah, I think we really want to reach ourselves first of all. We want to do like us and hopefully there will be people who like that as well.

I don’t know how many packages you were packing there but I saw the video. How many countries, did you guys keep track of the countries where you had to ship the album to?

Joey: I don’t know how many, but it’s been crazy. We’ve got a lot of orders from Japan.

Japan actually?

Merel: Just a few right?

Joey: And Ecuador was there, Nicaragua.

Merel: Yeah, we had like some wacky countries as well that I don’t even know exist.

How cool is the fact that your physical album actually is somewhere in a closet of someone in bloody Ecuador, that’s surreal, right?

Merel: Yeah, it is.

Joey: It is. It’s superweird, in a good way, like it’s so crazy that we sell an album in a country that I had to look for on the map. I can’t blindly point at Ecuador on a map. I have to look for it, I know that it’s South America-ish. That’s supercrazy, that are countries that I’ve never been to or vaguely heard of and we’re selling albums over there. It’s so crazy, it’s like a dream come true.

And, like I said, physical, so you just send the disk and it just is there, because we all have internet, we all can do that digitally nowadays, but to be able to do that on physical disk, for me that always adds to the awesomeness for me, physical media. I don’t know how that is for you guys?

Joey: David, are you still there?

David: Yes, physical cd’s, for me, this is my first album that we did from start to finish with the physical magnitude, so for me this is a big deal and my fifteen year old dream come true, so yeah, I absolutely love it. It’s surreal.

Great to hear that. So basically you’re still partying about it, right?

David: Yes, 100% I am.

Well, I loved having the time to interview you guys. I mean I am forgetting a whole lot of shit that I wanted to ask but I mean I am that enthusiastic about you guys and about the album, because when I first heard David screaming and adding his awesome vocals I was actually do I like this? I don’t think I like this, when I listened to it again I was like I do like this! I remember asking Merel via Facebook like when I was starting to support you guys on the crowdfunding I was asking what kind of music it was going to be and it really was a stupid question because you guys didn’t have any to present, but I was really like I hope I am going to like this because I like you guys, David is actually such an awesome guy. A little bit off the record here but it’s true. Actually, David really helped me over that threshold with his vocals and his presence on the album there, so yeah.

David: Oh, wow.

Joey: Awesome. That’s a lot of ego boosting right there.

David: Yeah, it is. My ego is so inflated right now that I’m just going to go online and buy Gucci shoes and a gold chain.

Well, I hope that this interview still has some structure left when I am going to type it out and edit shit. It’s going to be a nightmare but I am really having fun interviewing you guys and I really hope we see each other in the near near near future.

Merel: In Hedon, right?

David: Same.

Yeah, it could be, yeah, but come to Nijmegen also, yeah.

Joey: To Doornroosje, yeah man.

I will be there.

Joey: Awesome, we’ll make sure we’ll invite you, man. We had so much fun as well.

I hope that you liked the interview, I was a bit nervous, I don’t know why.

Merel and Joey: No need to be nervous.

And I am really really glad you like the review.

Merel: Yeah, thank you much.

Joey: Thanks so much man.

With pleasure, I hope, let’s face it, Dear Mother is here to stay, right?

Merel: Yes, can’t stop that.

Thank you for letting me discover your music because it is amazing and have fun with everything that’s going to sprout from this.

Merel: Yeah, we’ll see what the future will bring.

And we’ll see each other real real soon, right?

Merel: Yes.

Joey: Yeah man, that’s a promise.

Have a great day guys.

All: You too.

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