Heart of Steel: Interviews

Callenish Circle:
Interview With Guitarist Ronny Tyssen

Interviewed By The Punishment Due


Cheers for speaking with Metal-Rules.com Ronny!

Hi! First of all, I (Ronny, guitar-player) am doing the interview, but I'm sure Pat would like to say "HEY" to all readers as well.


Congratulations on the new CD, Flesh_Power_Dominion, it rocks!

Well thanx! Good to hear you like it. We're very found of it!


This album is generally faster than Graceful…Yet Forbidding. Was there a reason behind the overall tempo change, or is it coincidental?

We never decide on how our music should sound like. I think it was just a natural development that it turned out to be faster and more aggressive. A reason I can come up with it is that we were very pissed of by how things with DSFA, our former record company, went. They completely fucked up everything. But hey, seems it was good for something!


How did you meet the other guys from Callenish Circle?

Back in 1993 (May to be exact) I knew about a band playing a few death metal covers. A guy in school, Jos, founded it together with Pat. One day Jos came up to me and told me they were looking for a guitar-player. I sure wanted to try, because it was really my kind of music back then. That's how I joined the CC-clan. At the end of 1993 Gavin joined us and the first steady line-up was complete.


Do you live far from each other?

As you probably know, Holland is really a small country. We live in the very south of it. 4 of us live like in a radius of 10 km. Roland, our bass-player is the only one who lives about 30 km from here. It's really an advantage living that nearby.


How involved have you been in the writing of the music on all the CDs?

For the previous CD's Jos and me wrote all guitar riffs and melodies. In the rehearsal room we all try to build on the songs and give useful criticism to the complete songs and each other. Gavin is more or less the "structure-man" of the band. Pat listens to the overall "feel" of the song. For Flesh_Power_Dominion I wrote about 90% of all melodies and riffs. That's because when we were writing the music for FPD, Remy, our other guitar-player, was just recently a member of the band. I think his influence on the next album will be a bit bigger. Furthermore I'm writing almost all of the lyrics from the beginning.


Your vocalist has a great vocal range. What vocalists have influenced his style?

A Dutch singer called Andre Hazes...


I think you guys did a great tribute to Chuck Schuldiner with “Pull The Plug.” How influential was Chuck and Death to you guys?

"Pull The Plug" has been in our live set for over 8 years now and we always planned to record it some time, just in order to show our appreciation to Chuck for being a real pioneer in the extreme metal scene. Every Death album is a milestone in metal history. Death was a great influence for CC, especially in our early days. So in fact recording this cover track hasn’t got anything to do with Chuck’s death. When we recorded it Chuck’s situation was really looking hopeful.

Now you can look at it as a homage to chuck and we hope we’re helping Chuck’s soul to live on through his fabulous music. Rest in peace bro!!

This year also saw the death of Exodus singer Paul Baloff. Are Exodus a band you listen to much?

I sure appreciate Exodus, great musicians and Paul Baloff was a great charismatic performer.


What are your thoughts on Dave Mustaine’s injury and the disbanding of Megadeth – was the timing right following their latest mediocre offerings?

Like he says he had to quit because the injury in his arm, who am I to say that's not a good decision? I like the early Megadeth. The more recent albums are not my cup of tea, but not as bad as Metallica. That band had a much higher position on my "please quit-list"


Great to see you are now with a big label – Metal Blade. I take it you’ll be very busy this year…

You can say that again! Up till now we did about 160 interviews! We're very grateful to Metal Blade for doing such a good job. Furthermore we just returned from a 4-week European tour with our label-mates Vomitory and Amon Amarth. This tour was already confirmed before we signed the contract. Metal Blade was really our first choice among the labels we wanted to get signed by and they're not disappointing us at all!


Any gigs you’re looking forward to in particular?

Next Saturday we're playing the Dutch Ozzfest, a great opportunity to play with a couple of my personal hero's. Furthermore we're still in the race to play the Dynamo festival, that would be great to. In August we're supporting Dimmu Borgir and playing a really cool festival in the Czech Republic for the 3rd time already.


What has been your most memorable gig?

The first time we played the Brutal Assault festival, back in 1998. That was the first time we played in front of a very big and enthusiastic crowd.


Any plans for an American tour?

We really hope to visit the States some time, but there are no concrete plans though. I think there's a good chance the cross the big ocean after the next release.


What bands do you listen to these days?

I listen to a lot of different music. But the main metal bands for me are Soilwork, Dream Theatre, Meshuggah, At The Gates, Carcass and another 100... as long as music is well-played, the songs have a good structure, and the musicians have a feeling for songwriting - I can listen to a lot of different styles.


Would you like to work with any other bands?

I've got no urge to play in an other band, because I can use everything that's in my head for CC. So for me it's not necessary.


Who plays the keyboards for the band?

For FPD a friend of ours came up with a few digital sounds. His name is Rick Bouwman. We were looking for a few sounds and after trying a few things he came up with what we wanted.  But actually there's only keyboard on 1 song, "Bleeding."


What do you do aside from the band?

I'm working for a company where I'm involved with all kinds of IT-projects.

Might next year see the presence of Callenish Circle at Wacken Open Air? I didn’t see you on this years list.

We really hope so! We're trying to release the next album before all big festivals, so we make a good chance to play a few of them.


Have you ever been to the festival?

I've never been to Wacken as Dynamo is my festival! But it's a cool festival with a cool line-up.


Lastly, I see you are re-mastering and re-releasing your first album, Drift Of Empathy. Why are you having this done?

The plans are to do this at the end of this year. It's going to be released together with our one-and-only Lovelorn demo-tape.


Thanks very much for speaking with Metal-Rules.com Patrick. I hope you speak with us again sometime. Cheers!

Thank a bunch for the interview. I really appreciate it you showing interest in CC! Cheerz!


Callenish Circle Website: www.callenish-circle.com