An Interview with Esmée van Sinderen

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Today I have young guitar wizard, Esmée van Sinderen, for a chat. We dig into what initially led her to the guitar, her ongoing evolution as a guitarist, her thoughts and feelings on social media, some of her favorite records, and more. Keep an eye on Esmée, as she is one to watch. I suspect that her talent will take her far and that she is one we will be hearing about for a long time to come. If you would like to learn more about Esmée van Sinderen, you can head over to her YouTube channel here, her Facebook here, and her Instagram here. Enjoy this interview. Cheers.

Andrew:
Esmée, thank you for taking the time to speak with us. This last year has been rough, right? How are you holding up during this seemingly ever raging dumpster fire?

Esmée:
Yes, it is not easy indeed. I try to be neutral in the situation and look at the possibilities. I try to do as much as possible with these options, like practicing a lot and making guitar videos and photos!

Andrew:
Tell us about your backstory. What was your musical gateway, so to speak?

Esmée:
I always wanted to be a drummer because this seemed super cool to me! Unfortunately, my parents didn’t think it was a good idea that I would put a drum set in my room because of all the noise, haha. I first played guitar in school during music lessons; I was about 12 or 13 years old. I had to get used to it and make the switch in my head that maybe playing guitar was more for me than drumming. When I was about 15 years old, I bought my first guitar, a Spanish one. I practiced a lot of fingerpicking style via YouTube. After about a year and a half, I bought my first electric guitar, an Epiphone SG. I loved it, and this was totally my thing! I wanted to get better and also took guitar lessons for two years. From here, I started.

Andrew:
As an artist and guitarist, who are some of your earliest and most important influences? How did you develop your signature sound?

Esmée:
I still am developing my own signature sound, but when I was around 15 years old, Slash was a role model to me; I think he was awesome, together with Myles Kennedy. His voice, I love it!

Right after that, I started to listen a lot of Tool, which is still one of my favorite bands of all time! Maynard is like a philosopher to me, together with Adam Jones. I played a lot of their songs at the time, and at that moment, Drop D was my favorite guitar tuning as well until I discovered Death. And especially Chuck Schuldiner. His personality really inspires me; I think he was a beautiful person! The way he thought about life gripped me. But the other side of his story is sad, the way he died. The situation he was in is difficult for me to imagine. Playing in such a big band but dying because you can’t afford your own treatment. I never knew this man, but I miss him and wish he was here with us to celebrate Metal.

Andrew:
Let’s talk about the Thin Lizzy Project. Tell us about it. How did you become involved?

Esmée:
My boyfriend Moanne and I met each other at our first band we played in, Abstraction. He was the drummer, and I played guitar. But this band didn’t work out the way we wanted. So we stopped with it.

My father-in-law Berend had been practicing for an audition for a while. An audition for a Thin Lizzy tribute band as a bass player. When it was almost time for the audition, the band was gone; it stopped. But Berend had already rehearsed these songs from Thin Lizzy; he thought it was great music. He decided to start a Thin Lizzy band himself, with his son Moanne as drummer and himself as singer and bass player just like Phil Lynott. He just had to look for two guitarists. This is where I came into this story, and Sjouke, our other guitarist.

Andrew:
How would you most describe your style? Specifically, are its roots?

Esmée:
I love Metal, but I can also listen to many 60s, 70s, and 80s Rock ‘N’ Roll! ZZ Top and Mötley Crüe are some of them. One of my favorite bands. Their guitar riffs are brilliant!

But I like a lot of different kinds of music, it just depends on the mood I am in.

Andrew:
Aside from your current work with the Thin Lizzy Project, do you have any solo work or new projects on the horizon?

Esmée:
Not yet! But I hope I’ll be in an awesome band really soon! Still looking for one!

Andrew:
Despite the incredible work of amazing organizations such as Women Who Rock and Women In Vinyl, women are still drastically underrepresented within the music industry as a whole. How do we go about empowering more women and enacting positive change?

Esmée:
I personally think that being a woman in the music/metal world is a gift. They are more and more, I must say. But I think it’s super cool and special when a woman is playing as a guitarist, and the rest of the band is male.

Andrew:
Touring is usually a huge part of a working artist’s proverbial machine, but as we know, COVID has disallowed it. What do you miss most about live music?

Esmée:
The energy! The energy you’ll get from a gig is just insane! I won’t really get this feeling while listening to records at home. So this is the biggest thing I’m missing!

Andrew:
One disturbing fact I’ve learned over time is that streaming services don’t pay artists well, if at all. What are your thoughts on that issue? How do we as fans do our part to help?

Esmée:
I don’t know very much about this situation myself since I am not yet on Spotify with a band. But I think every band should be paid well for this. I mean, everyone pays around 12 euro’s a month on this app, and the reason for this is the music on this app. So bands should be paid enough for this, I think.

Andrew:
What are your thoughts on social media concerning artistry? It seems all-encompassing at times. Artists aren’t just artists anymore. They’re their own PR people too. Does it help or hinder?

Esmée:
Social media certainly helps in the beginning to reach a lot of people, but it also becomes very difficult to grow because everyone has social media. Because of this, you have to try to distinguish yourself from others to grow more. It’s difficult, and it has advantages and disadvantages.

Andrew:
In a world dominated by big business and social media, can artists truly get ahead? How do we keep the playing field level so that everyone has a chance to succeed?

Esmée:
A bit like what I said in the previous question. Make yourself something original. There are already so many things in this world, and it isn’t easy to distinguish yourself from them.

Andrew:
Are you into records? Tapes? CDs? Digital? Where do you like to shop for music? What are a few albums that mean the most to you and why?

Esmée:
VINYL! Why? Because they are nice and big, which makes the artwork stand out nicely. Besides the music, I think the complete picture is also very important, and I can really enjoy it!

Andrew:
We know about Esmée, the guitarist, but how about outside of that? What else are you passionate about? How do those passions inform your music?

Esmée:
In addition to music, it has always been a dream to become a restoration painter. I like art. I am currently also taking courses for decoration/restoration painting training. I am swamped painting wood and marble imitations: gilding and painting guitars. But also, for example, use stained glass in churches. I think it’s a great job! But music remains my greatest passion!

Andrew:
Who are some of your favorite artists? Ones that mean the most to you.

Esmée:
Tool, Death, Opeth, Alex Grey, ZZ Top, Slayer, Mötley Crüe, Vader, Oasis, Chuck Berry, Dire Straits, and of course Thin Lizzy!

Andrew:
Last question. What advice would you have for young artists just starting? How do they stay afloat in a world that seems to be so abhorrent to creatives?

Esmée:
Try to be yourself and stay yourself. Being yourself comes across as pure, and no one else can take this away from you. Being yourself is your specialty! And never give up!

Interested in learning more about the work of Esmée van Sinderen? Check out the link below:

Dig this interview? Check out the full archives of Vinyl Writer Interviews, by Andrew Daly, here: www.vinylwritermusic.com/interview

About Post Author

Andrew Daly

Andrew has always felt himself to be a "jack of all trades, master of none" type of person. With an immense passion for music, a disposition for writing, and an eagerness to teach and share both, Andrew decided to found Vinyl Writer in 2019 as a freelance column under the column Stories from the Stacks. Over time, the column grew into a website which now features contributors who further the cause of sharing both a love of music and the art of journalism with the world through articles and interviews. While Andrew enjoys running the website, his real passion lies in teaching and facilitating others to do what they do best, and giving them the opportunity to explore their passions in the process.
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