Dutch rockers Phrasing began life as a cover band playing versions of everything from Metallica and Queen through to Britney Spears and Spice Girls. Thankfully, they got the last two out of their system and branched out into writing their own original material in late 2018.
The quartet of Frédérique de Paus (vocals), Justin Schut (guitars), Andres Palmgren (bass) and Nick Naumann (drums) have honed a powerful rock sound fuelled by heavy riffing, cheeky solos and technical metal rhythms alongside Frédérique’s delicious vocals.
Our first taste of the band’s own music is debut single Steel Yourself, which gives us one hell of a good first impression. It opens up with a lively riff over big drums and drops into laid-back vocals over chugging guitars that give way to little flurries of guitar notes. That feeds into a big singalong chorus led by Frédérique’s powerful vocals “So steel yourself, Don’t tell me tell that you can’t, Steel yourself, And fight for what you earned, Steel yourself, Stop acting like you don’t know yourself, Steel yourself.”
A second verse feeds straight into another catchy chorus, which gives way to rolling drums over a drawn-out guitar chord. Then a lively riff takes over and gives way to an awesome screaming solo, which feeds straight into a final blast of the chorus. Give this excellent track a listen below:
We had a chat with guitarist Justin Schut to find out more. Read on below…
GR: Who are Phrasing?
JS: “Phrasing is a melodic hard rock/metal band from The Netherlands. Back in 2013, together with some fellow students, I started a cover band called Iron Panda. We played a bunch of shows and festivals as a rock/metal cover band, covering stuff ranging from Queen to Metallica and making metal covers of Britney Spears and Spice Girls songs. A couple years in, there was a lineup change to the current line up.
“Late 2018 we decided we wanted to focus on writing our own songs and we came up with the name Phrasing. Ever since, we’ve been working on original material, combining our different musical backgrounds and influences.”
GR: You just released Steel Yourself. What should people be expecting from the song?
JS: “Steel Yourself is an energetic song that just gets you going. It was the first song we wrote for Phrasing and it actually came together pretty quickly. I had the main guitar riff lying around and as soon as I started working on it, the rest of the riffs kind of flowed out of that.
“Sometimes when you’re trying to write a song it can be difficult to piece different riffs together, but in Steel Yourself all the riffs originate from the same melodic idea which creates a strong connection that carries throughout the song. Lyrics-wise, there’s a strong message in there that speaks for itself. I think it’s something everyone can relate to in their own personal way.”
GR: How would you describe your sound to people that haven’t listened to you yet?
JS: “Genre-wise, I think we’re balancing on the line between hard rock and metal. We like a lot of melody, but also heavy guitar riffs and technical drum antics. We like to make music that kicks you in the face, in a good way.
“We want to make energetic music that’s interesting to play, but that also gets stuck in your head. If I’d have to compare us to bigger artists, I’d say our music is kind of in the Halestorm / Alter Bridge direction but with our own unique sound of course.”
GR: What influences you to write music? Any key themes or topics that you write about?
JS: “When Frédérique writes lyrics, she takes a lot from her personal life. Relationships, family and struggles we go through in life. Music wise, we just love to play our instruments and jam together. If you play enough, the riffs and melodical ideas will come, and if there’s something I like, I jam on it for a while to see what I can do with the idea.
“I like to make a mixture of technical riffs, nice melodic lines and very open riffs that give the vocals space to shine. It’s always great to bring new ideas to the rehearsal space to see what the rest came up with and how we can build on each other’s ideas.”
GR: Which bands/musicians are/have been your strongest musical influences?
JS: “I love that we all have different musical backgrounds, as that introduces a lot of different style ideas to the band. I’ve personally played a lot of Thrash Metal, influenced by bands like Metallica, Slayer, Machine Head, Annihilator, etc… but I also love The Beatles, the first Paramore albums and Alter Bridge.
“Frédérique’s inspiration seems to shift from day to day, ranging from Halestorm’s Lizzy Hale and In this Moment’s Maria Brink to Lady Gaga and Adele. According to her, there is nothing a good belt can’t fix. Our bass player loves bands like Tool, Muse and some of the classic rock stuff, while our drummer comes from a Death Metal background.
GR: What have you got coming up in 2020?
JS: “Well, currently gigging is a bit tricky due to the pandemic, but that does give us time to focus on writing new material. Seeing how well received Steel Yourself is, I’d love to get back into the studio so we can put out some more songs. Hopefully we can get back to that in the coming months. I’d also love to start playing gigs again before the end of the year. We can’t wait to play our new material live!”
GR: Anything else you’d like people to know about you/your music?
JS: “We would like to thank people for supporting us, we’re very grateful for the positive reactions we’ve gotten so far! If you haven’t heard of us before, please check out our new single Steel Yourself and let us know what you think! As Bill and Ted would say: Be excellent to each other and party on dudes!”