By Rhys Stevenson
Global Metal Apocalypse was speaking to one of our Dutch acquaintances about Metal music in The Netherlands, now he firmly believes that it is suffering and declining. We therefore decided to take the time out to speak to Kees Hermeling about this concern and ask him how the Dutch Metal scene has or has not changed over the last few decades or so. Therefore all opinions expressed are solely on behalf of Kees Hermeling and does not represent GMA's views.
Currently the Dutch Metal scene is feeling a backlash, besides the major bands who tour the country such as Delain, Within Temptation, Hail Of Bullets, Vanderbuyst, Epica, After Forever etc, it is not that big anymore and this is seen through the lack of metal pubs or bars, this lead us on to what improvements he thinks could be made in order to resolve this matter and improve the output of Dutch unsigned and underground Metal bands and projects.
Naturally he drags up his previous comment about the lack of pubs and bars offering metal nights, so he firmly believes that they should have at least metal nights to help bolster the local bands expansion and also to give the Dutch metalheads a place to congregate, enjoy live music and drink beer. Furthermore he feels that there needs to be more Metal stores for metalheads to purchase equipment, gear and related items within the metal music-sphere.
On a more political note and in specific the European Union, he believes that this unity has caused more good than bad as he has noticed that since joining a crisis has arisen and is still there, taxes shot up and as a result bars and pubs had to close due to a lack of sufficient funds to pay off the taxes as well as the suppliers and lease for the buildings used. This leads us to the question of whether the Euro has benefited the Dutch Metal scene or has it royally screwed it over.
With respect to equipment, it has become more expensive since we dropped the Dutch Guilder and adopted the Euro, in fact goods have doubled in price, thus increasing band's costs unintentionally and thus making it harder for some unsigned bands to make music, purchase equipment, hire out studio's and play at bars / pubs; because of them closing down, therefore it is evident that the Euro has knocked the Dutch Metal scene on it's knees and is now begging for mercy, so where does this leave the unsigned bands?
There are only a few unsigned bands that are currently doing well for themselves, and even most of these are of the Hardcore music genre. Could it be that because one music genre sets off a trend that every other musician has to jump on the bandwagon and go with what is cool? Well it certainly seems to be the case here, either that or Hardcore is being used as a vehicle to express dissatisfaction and anger towards the Dutch government and European Union. So what of the scene on a local level?
Well Arnhem according to Kees is practically dead aside from venues the Willemeen and the Luxor, who occasionally have metal nights (once a month), in comparison to the nation's capital, Amsterdam is pretty much alive if you know where to look, thus questioning whether it is the lesser cities and towns that are left scraping the barrel to keep the metal scenes alive, could this mean that there is a gradual shift towards major cities reaping in the bands? Could metal actually itself be dying?
He adds that if he wants to go buy a metal shirt, he has to go to Nijmegen, this resonates with his statement earlier about having more metal stores open, it definitely seems that the Dutch Metal scene is waning slightly, for how long is one question and how serious can this get is another. One thing is for sure, this proves once again that supporting your local bands is vital for the scenes existence.
Another post from the archives as similar to the Canadian post, except we emailed the Singapore Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth (MCCY) and in turn they forwarded our email to the National Arts Council. From which our question regarding how the Singaporean governmental officials support Heavy Metal music. Naturally their response was somewhat generic, however here it is below:
Words by Ms Elaine Ng, Director, Sector Development, Performing Arts, National Arts Council
"At the National Arts Council, we work directly with artists and various partners in promoting the arts, and in developing a sustainable environment that enables the arts to entertain, enrich and inspire.
Our support for musicians also covers various stages of their career as well, from students and amateurs, to semi-professionals and professionals. We consciously try to grow and support musicians through these different stages of development:
Where youth are concerned, NAC organizes Noise Singapore - a youth arts platform to increase engagement of young talents in the areas of art, design, photography and music. Notably, Noise includes The Music Mentorship programme, a special programme where budding contemporary music groups/artists are mentored by experienced industry professionals over a 10-week period. These young musicians will then take the stage to perform at a weekend-long showcase.”
Digging this out from the GMA archives, a few years ago we sent some questions to the Department of Canadian Heritage, asking them how their nations views Metal music. Here we have their response, we thank Tim Warmington (Media Relations Advisor) for helping us out with this.
How does Canada view the mainstream / underground rock and metal music scene?
The Government of Canada encourages the creation, production and distribution of a variety of genres of music, including rock and metal, as this important cultural industry is essential to our communities, our identity, and our economy. Music in Canada generates nearly $3 billion every year in economic activity from sound recordings, concerts, commercial radio and performing rights.
Does Canada encourage youth to learn an instrument?
In 2011, the Government of Canada introduced the Children's Arts Tax Credit to encourage learning in a prescribed program of artistic, cultural, recreational or developmental activity. For more information on the Children's Arts Tax Credit visit this website: http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/gncy/bdgt/2011/qa01-eng.html
Does Canada support rock/metal bands?
The Canada Music Fund is the Government of Canada's main support program for the music industry. It is administered in part by the Department of Canadian Heritage and by private sector organizations: FACTOR for the English-language music market and Music action for the French-language market. The objectives of the Canada Music Fund are:
In recent years, the Canada Music Fund has helped support on average about 450 album production projects and over 1000 marketing, touring and showcasing initiatives annually. Projects in the rock and metal genres are eligible for funding. For more information on the Canada Music Fund click here:
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