Drummer Pieter van Hoorn talks Dutch prog, inner band turmoil and musical reinvention.
“There’s a really good atmosphere in Holland, the facilities are good and the music education in schools is also excellent,” says Pieter van Hoorn, explaining the reasons behind the vibrant prog scene in the Netherlands. “But I don’t think that there’s a real professional community in the Netherlands as there aren’t a lot of full time prog bands in Holland. There are bands but they tend to have day jobs. We’re very lucky in Knight Area as most of us we can make a living from music.” It’s been a relatively tough few years for Knight Area since 2011’s Nine Paths. With the band losing both guitarist Mark Vermeule and bass player Gijs Koopman, they located appropriate replacements and rehearsed persistently before starting to write and record again. “We took the time to work together to arrange and compose new songs, and to get used to each other,” he says. “We really needed that time to become a band again. Mark chose to have a career in the real world, not in music, and he’s living and working in Tokyo now. Gijs and the band had different visions, so that is why we split up. The writing went well because with Peter [Vink, bass] and Mark [Bogert, guitar] in the band, we now have four composers. So we can pick and choose.” With their latest album Hyperdrive, van Hoorn claims that the band have moved away from the keyboard-led sound that had become their trademark with the guitar becoming prominent. Consequently, the album has a far more contemporary sound. It’s something he’s unquestionably delighted with. “There’s been a real change in our sound. Prior to this album, the keys were the main instrument, and the guitar power chords and riffs weren’t so prominent. Now the guitars are more dominant and I think that gives us more balance. Our last bassist played in a melodic way, rather like Chris Squire, which was more of a retro sound. The changes have given us more of a contemporary rock sound.” Hyperdrive is out now on Laser’s Edge and Knight Area are planning a European tour for next February. For more info, head over to www.knightarea.com.