Interview Senne Bergsma (Ahmshere)

“We just wanted to have an album out to promote our music, just to make a first step”

(March 2013, text by Henri Strik, edited by Peter Willemsen, pictures provided by Senne Bergsma)

Once in a while new progressive rock bands see the light of day. One of these new bands is the Dutch outfit Ahmshere. Their debut album Mindless Trust (see review) sounds very mature. This was for me the reason to introduce them to the readers of Background Magazine. Therefore I had an interview with drummer Senne Bergsma who was so kind as to answer all my questions!

Senne Bergsma

Would you please tell me something about the history of the band, and introduce their members?

Senne Bergsma: “Our guitarist Marco de Neijs and singer-keyboardist Rien Fierst met when they were looking for musicians to form a new band with. Marco had already teamed up with drummer Paul van der Zwaai (Triangle) and after a while Rich Huijbens, who's currently the bass player of Incidense, joined on bass. Near the end of 2011 Paul and Rich decided to quit. In December 2011 I joined on drums and Frans Ellinger was the new bass player. In March 2012 guitarist Chris Henny (Kingfisher Sky) joined the band as our lead vocalist. From that moment on the band got in a flow and started to write and arrange the music for the debut album Mindless Trust which was released in January 2013.”

Who came up with the name Ahmshere and what does it mean?

“We were thinking about a unique name and eventually it became Ahmshere. It's a name that was used only once before as the name of a fictional oasis in the desert. It's also an advantage to have a name that sounds catchy and is written in an unusual manner. Actually, that's what we try to do with our music as well.”

How would you describe your music and which bands were influential to Ahmshere?

“I would call it symphonic progressive music with all kind of influences. We want every song to tell a story about all the many things we have to deal with in our lives. All band members have their own musical influences and inspiration. Most of us listen to several progressive bands like Dream Theater, Yes and Rush. When Frans Ellinger joined the band he hardly had any progressive background. He mainly listened to jazz and funk. That's just what we want to do with Ahmshere: we refuse to commit ourselves to one style of music. By digesting all the individual influences and ideas of the band members in our music Ahmshere has a unique sound.”

When did you start to work on Mindless Trust and did the album become what you had in mind?

“We started immediately with song writing as soon as the band was completed in March 2012. We're very proud of our first album!”

Why did you release Momentum as a single?

“Well, Momentum is rather easy to listen to for a large audience, but it's also complicated enough for the others. We had some nice ideas about a video at the same time.”

Ahmshere (L to R): Rien, Marco, Chris, Senne, and Frans

Are you going to release more singles in the future? Are you aiming at a certain kind of public?

“We aim for all kinds of listeners. We don't exclude a single, because it's always good for publicity. We're currently working on a new song; we have no plans for it yet, so this would be a great idea. We just recorded an album, so maybe just a few singles would be nice.”

Chris Henny

As far as I know you released the album independently. Couldn't you find a record company or was nobody interested?

“We didn't even look for a record company. We would be interested, off course, but we figured that we could do it ourselves in the first stages. You must have the right connections and the market in the Netherlands is so small. In short: you have to know certain people and you also need some luck. We wanted to record an album to promote our music, just to make a first step.”

Chris Henny is also the guitarist in Kingfisher Sky. Do more musicians play in other bands and does Chris prefer Ahmshere to Kingfisher Sky?

“Some of the band members play in other bands as well. It's good for your experience making you better during live performances. In this crowded Dutch market you cannot be choosy. You want to play it all! The styles of both bands are so different, so why choose? Currently this isn't an issue.”

Is your music ready for the international music market or do you just concentrate on the Netherlands?

“We hope we can make a statement in the Netherlands, but as I already said, the market is small, so we hope that the album will make its way abroad as well. Maybe we have better chances there. And yes, our music is definitely meant for an international market.”

Can we see Ahmshere live on stage shortly or is it difficult to do live shows?

“Live performances are the best way to express our music. We love to perform and are scheduling gigs now.”

What are the plans for the future?

“Composing new songs for a longer live experience and finding venues to play, and of course recording our second album.”

Thanks for answering my questions and good luck with the band.
“Thank you, it was my pleasure.”

More info about Ahmshere on the Internet:
       review 'Mindless Trust'

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