The Dirty Denims – guitarist/singer Mirjam Sieben

Guitarist/singer Mirjam Siebe –  The Dirty Denims

Interviewed by: Anders Sandvall
Promo pictures provided from the bands homepage, taken by Willem Wouterse
Live photos taken by Patrick Spruytenburg and Willem Wouterse

The Dirty Denims’ brand new EP, BACK WITH A BANG, is a treat for all fans of simple and energetic rock n’ roll in the vein of The Donnas, Blondie, Joan Jett, and The Ramones. According to the Dutch act, they play happy hard rock which is pretty much what you experience when you turn on the EP. I had the pleasure to talk to guitarist/singer Mirjam Sieben about the band’s past present and future. The Dirty Denims have been active for a decade and thus far have kept their music and touring to The Netherlands and nearby countries. Now they want to branch out to the rest of Europe; I think the future is bright for this four piece rock n’ roll machine.

 

Hi Mirjam, thanks for taking the time to do this interview with Metal-Rules.com today.

Hi; Anders thanks so much let’s go.

Let’s start things off with talking about the band’s brand new album, BACK WITH A BANG which, as I understand, is going to be released in two parts? The first part came in April and the second part is due to be released in October; why have you chosen to release the album in two separate parts?

Our drummer was on a trip around the world for more than a year and we wanted to release something as soon as possible after it. It takes less time to release the first 6 songs, so that’s why.

How long did it take to write material for the album? Did you write the songs to the two albums at once or at different times?

The 6 songs of part one were all ready when our drummer came back from his trip, so we only had to rehearse and record them. The last 6 songs were written after that.

Who writes the material and what are the lyrics about?

Jeroen has written all the songs, except “Heartbeat”, that one is written by our bass player Ashley. I sometimes write parts of the lyrics and they’re mostly about daily struggles or the love of rock ‘n roll.

How come you chose to name the album BACK WITH A BANG?

Because we had not played live for more then a year, so it really felt like we were ‘back’. And we had a song called that.

The first part of the two albums (that contain 6 songs) are available on CD as well as download, did you release the album on your own or through a label?

We’ve released it on our own.

Have you read any reviews of BACK WITH A BANG pt1 yet? Do you care about what critics and media think of your work?

Yeah we read the reviews and we are glad that all of them are quite good actually, so it isn’t that bad to read 😉

What did fans think of the album?

We get a lot of great feedback of our fans, they all have their own favourite songs and they’re even shouting out loud at live gigs!

The video to “Don’t Waste My Time” was unveiled at the end of March and have so far has 3,000 hits, what can you tell us about the video shoot?

This is our very first official video clip made by someone else! We shot the video on January 2nd on a Monday morning. At 10am we had to rock on a green screen, that was quite funny and we are very happy with the result.

Don’t Waste My Time (official videoclip)

Are there any plans on shooting videos to any of the other songs?

Yep, we already had a video shoot for our song “Back With a Bang”, in a boxing ring. Hopefully we can show you that one in July.

The band threw two pre-release parties in two different cities and you also did two release parties. How did they go and why did you host so many parties for the album?

The pre-releases were at record stores, 1 during Record Store Day. We wanted to get the people enthusiastic to come to our release shows. We had 2 shows on 1 day during Dutch Kingsday (a very big holiday in The Netherlands), so why not throw 2 parties on one day! 🙂

I read that you describe your music as “happy hard rock” – what do you mean with that description?

Just like it says 😉 Hard rock with happy tunes. It’s a combination of rock ‘n roll, hard rock and power pop, inspired by AC/DC, The Ramones, Joan Jett, Blondie and The Romantics.

If people like to know how that sounds, they can get a FREE song here:
www.thedirtydenims.nl/get-a-free-song

What did fans think of the video teaser you released to promote BACK WITH A BANG?

I think they liked it because we sold a lot of Part 1 CDs.

Back With A Bang – part 1 (official videoteaser)

The album contains 6 songs and clocks in at 22 minutes, was it your intention of making such a short album? I mean in my book, that’s practically an EP rather than an album?

That is only Part 1 of the album. Part 2 will be released in October and also contains 6 songs, so the full album will have 12 songs, available on CD and vinyl.

What are the songs “Can’t Get Enough of Rock n Roll” and “Money Back Guarantee” about?

“Can’t Get Enough of Rock ‘n Roll” is about the great feeling rock ‘n roll music gives us. And “Money Back Guarantee” is about online shopping going wrong.

Can’t Get Enough of Rock & Roll

A month ago you put out 4 of the songs on YouTube, what response have you received on the songs?

We have released all the 6 songs on YouYube: 4 with only the album cover, and 2 with the video clip (Don’t Waste My Time and Heartbeat).

Back With A Bang (audio)

Make Us Look Good (audio)

Background

Could you tell the readers a little bit about when and where the band was formed?

In 2006 we started in Nederweert (a small town in the south of The Netherlands) and we only played covers from bands like The Romantics, Joan Jett, The Casanovas, Danko Jones, etc. Everytime we had written a new song, we ditched a cover.

Have you had the same line-up since the beginning?

Nope! This is our 4th bass player, all girls, haha! But with Ashley it feels the best now.

Where does the band name The Dirty Denims come from and who came up with it?

“Dirty Denim” is a song of the all-girl band The Donnas from America and because we are inspired by them and we thought that was a cool name we ‘borrowed’ it.

In the bio it says the band is influenced by AC/DC, Joan Jett, Blondie, and The Ramones. I think I can hear similarities with those artists, in what way have you been inspired by those acts?

AC/DC is the act that we are most influenced by, and the other 3 we always hear from people they think of those acts when they hear our music.

Which band/artists are your personal favorite ones?

Mirjam: AC/DC and The Living End, both from Australia, and Imperial State Electric from Sweden.
Jeroen: AC/DC, Oasis, Green Day, Gluecifer, The Hellacopters, Imperial State Electric, Guns ‘n Roses, Kiss, The Who. Too much, I love all! Haha.

Mirjam, do you have any special singer that influenced/inspired you to become a singer?

I’ve been singing since I was young, but The Donnas inspired me to sing rock ‘n roll and Bon Scott inspired me the past few years, I like his style.

Besides singing and playing guitar, you also play the organ; what made you want to incorporate that instrument into your music?

It was Jeroen’s idea to first use the organ on the song “24-7-365”, after that we used it for more songs. Because I played the piano when I was younger I was blessed to play the tunes 😉

The band have performed live a lot; what is the best thing about performing live?

To give the energy on stage and see the crowd interact and smile.

Is it correct that you’ve mostly toured in The Netherlands and the countries nearby? Why haven’t you toured the rest of Europe?

It never was really an option. We don’t have the connections and maybe work (jobs) are also holding us back. But we are planning a small tour outside of The Netherlands soon!

You’ve opened for acts like Slash, Golden Earring, Cheap Trick and Steel Panther, how was that and were their fans nice to you?

Some people at those gigs told us they liked us more than the head liner, haha! Or they thought we where the best support-act they say in the lives. That are great things to hear of course!

The band also performed at festivals like Lowlands, Rockn’ Park, Zwarte Cross, and Bospop. Are those festivals strictly hard rock/metal festivals? How was it to meet the audience at the festivals?

Those are great festivals and we are very proud we’ve played there. They are not all strictly hard rock/metal festivals, but because we play our combination of rock ‘n roll, hard rock and powerpop we fit on a lot of festivals, not only the hard rock/metal ones.

When were your EP’s GOING OUT and WANNA BE FAMOUS released?

GOING OUT was our first one, in 2009.
WANNA BE FAMOUS came in 2012.

Did you release them by yourself or through a label?

All on our own!

The song “ 24-7-365” from WANNA BE FAMOUS gave you national air play on the biggest radio stations in the country that also branded you as Serious Talent. How did that feel back then? And did the brand bring you any benefits?

Yeah, 2012 was a great year because of that song. We were lucky, because normally a rock ‘n roll band doesn’t get that kind of attention. But this song was catchy enough to stick with a lot of people 🙂

24/7/365 (official version)

Prior to BACK WITH A BANG the band released HIGH FIVE, when was it released and do you think the band have developed musically if you compare that album with the new one?

We released HIGH FIVE in 2014 and we think the new one is even better, because of the songs and sound.

It’s available on both CD as well as on limited red vinyl but then only in 250 copies, why so few copies?

We think that’s a quite normal amount for vinyl. We still have few copies left so take ’em when the’re hot! 😉

The band recently released the vinyl single “Hit Me With Your Best Shot”; when was it released and what do fans think of it?

They like it! And you can download it FOR FREE on our website.

Also that one is limited in 150 copies, why?

Limited is always great for the people who buy it.

Is it possible to buy your albums and EP’s in stores or only in your webshop and as downloads?

You can buy it in some Dutch stores.

On the band’s Facebook page it says that you’re working together with record labels Lighttown Fidelity and Handclap Records, can you tell us more about those labels and when did you ink a deal with them?

Lighttown Fidelity is a great label from Eindhoven (where we are from). Handclap Records is our own ‘label’, haha. We’ve also released some vinyl on Spanish label Ghost Highway Recordings.

Do you have any numbers on how many that have listened to your music at SoundCloud and Spotify?

We aren’t using SoundCloud a lot, on Spotify our song “24-7-365” has 37,000 streams.

What are your thoughts on the fact that the music industry has gone more viral now than before, people don’t buy albums as much as before and it’s easy to download and stream music for free. Is that going to have an impact on the record industry in the future?

I like the new way, because on the other side, the Internet made it possible for people to find the music they like, so there are a lot of new opportunities for bands to find their fans.

At the moment where in the world do you feel is your biggest fanbase?

Our top-5 countries on Facebook are:
The Netherlands
Germany
America
Belgium
Spain

For how long have you worked with the booking agency TJ Concerts and are you happy with the work they have put into the band so far?

Our colleboration is quite new and they are starting to find some great gigs for us.

Which part of Europe does TJ Concerts focus on?

For us they are focussing on The Netherlands.

Mirjam, what are the pros and cons with being in a band that involved both guys and women?

I think the combination works best. First I wanted to start a all girl band but I’m happy to also have some men around 🙂

As a woman in a hard rock band have you experienced any prejudices?

No I never experienced things like that. I think it’s a advantage to also have 2 girls in the band, it makes you stand out in the rock ‘n roll.

Past present and future

I wouldn’t say that I’m familiar with all of the hard rock/metal bands in the world but I’d say that I have a pretty good clue on many of them. For some reason I hadn’t heard of The Dirty Denims until I got the link to your music via email, why haven’t I heard of you before? Even so, it was a really pleasant surprise to hear BACK WITH A BANG!

We’ve never played in Sweden before, and I think with our latest release it’s the first time we really want to expand our horizon and play in more countries then only in the Netherlands.

The song “24-7-365” have been in international Comedy Central campaigns, what can you tell us about that?

The first one was in a campain of the comedy series The Office in Sweden (really! And you didn’t know us? Haha). And the second time it was in Belgium. Very cool they have used our song!

Will you say that the band is a DIY band?

Yep, with a little help from ‘some friends’ we are make all the disicions ourselves.

The band’s got several shows confirmed for the summer/fall but it’s mainly in The Netherlands as well as Germany, why don’t you play in the rest of Europe?

I don’t know! We all have jobs, so I think that’s the reason we never had the time/energy, but we are now ready to conquer the world!

Are you going to perform at any festivals outside The Netherlands?

No festivals outside of The Netherlands yet, but hope to play the Sweden Rock festival sometime!

Which do you like the most, doing your own shows or festival shows?

Both, but at festival shows there are more opportunities to find new rock ‘n roll souls and to expand our following.

Are you big enough in The Netherlands to perform as a headline act or are you performing as a support act?

In small venues we are headlining now, but we like to play support shows too with the same reason as we like to play festivals.

Would you like to come and perform in Scandinavia, do you have enough fans to tour up here?

We now have 15 followers from Sweden, 2 from Denmark and 4 from Norway haha. So: not enough. But I think we need to do some tours and build the crowd.

Any plans on heading over to North or South America soon?

Nope, first Europe! 😉

In October it’s time to launch the second part of the BACK WITH A BANG album, are all the songs already been written to the album?

Right at the moment we are already in the studio recording, and in a few weeks we will record the vocals. We need to do the last writing for melodies and lyrics.

Are you going to pack the two albums together or are they going to be sold separately?

The people who have Part 1 (with 6 songs) already can buy the album with all the 12 songs for half a price. So then they have all the 12 songs on 1 CD so they won’t have to switch CDs AND they have a limited Part 1 from us!

Are there any plans on releasing the albums on vinyl?

Yes, we already have HIGH FIVE available on vinyl. BACK WITH A BANG will also be on vinyl, with Part 1 on side A and Part 2 on side B.

The band has a really nice website, who runs it? However there isn’t too much info about the members or pictures of you, why?

Thanks! We never thought of that, would you like to see more about the members and what? We have a lot of video’s on it, our instagram photos and some press photos. Our website is really our ‘home-base’ with the basic info, in our social media we are going deeper and share a lot things.

The website also includes a blog, how often do you update the blog?

It depends, but I think every other week. See it for yourself here:

www.thedirtydenims.nl/blog

Do you think it’s important to be active on all the social forums that’s around nowadays?

Yes it’s quite important but most of all we like it!

What’s the most common question you get from fans?

If Ashley and I are sisters, haha! And we are not 😉

Back With A Bang (official videoclip)

What can I expect from a live show with The Dirty Denims?

A lot of happy energy and rock moves. And you will have to sing along.

Since you’ve been active for 10 years, do you have any plans to celebrate that?

We already have, in January this year we had our 10 year celebration-gig. It was great fun!

Could you give the readers three reasons why they should buy BACK WITH A BANG pt 1?

1. They will have a limited cd, because when the complete album is out this one isn’t available is out.
2. They will get 50% discount on the complete album on cd when it’s out.
3. Because it rocks!

They can but it here: www.thedirtydenims.nl/store

What would you like to say to the ones that haven’t heard your music yet?

If you like to rock ‘n roll, please have a listen!

Well that was all for me, thanks once again for taking the time for the interview. Do you have any final words of wisdom to share with fans and readers?

No, I think that’s all 😉

I wish you all the best in the future and I really hope to see the band live in action in Scandinavia soon, I’m really looking forward to hear BACK WITH A BANG pt2.

Thanks Anders this was nice, take care.


 

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