Nick Roovers, one of the masterminds and filmmakers behind “Same Music, Different People”, explores the world of metalheads in Europe. Our reporter Candice decided to explore a bit more about Nick and his own journey towards this film.
So nice to speak to you Nick, thanks for joining today! We wanted to first ask you about the documentary itself, and ultimately why you decided to make this documentary?
Sure, it started with Friso van Daalen and Elaine Fleur about two years ago in a pub I used to work at, the ‘Little Devil’ in Tilburg, which is a rock and metal club with a lot of metal heads – all loyal visitors.
After we had too many drinks, (that’s when the best ideas come up), we started wondering if it was like this everywhere else? I mean how did the metal scene work, was it different in every country? We wanted to discover this and the best way to do so was through the documentary. It also proved to be a lot more interesting than we expected it to be.
Where was your first destination?
The first place we visited was the ‘Summer Breeze Festival’ in Germany, that’s where the filming started. The owners of the festival gave us a chance with the idea to start filming and do some interviews there.
Did you manage to work at the festival or did you guys just get wasted the whole time?
Hahaha, no we did all the trips with Friso and Elaine, and I think we have a good work ethic between us. During the day we would interview and in the evening at around six o’clock we would start networking – which equals drinking beer in the metal scene. We pretty much had the best of both worlds.
Sounds like fun! I’ve heard about this kind of unity amongst the fans, this ‘strong bond’ like a sort of brotherhood, did you want to find out whether this brotherhood was everywhere, a kind of universal feeling amongst the fans or were you more interested in the diversity within music tastes?
What you said is exactly what we tried to capture with the movie! Everyone always says ‘metal is such a brotherhood, we’re so familiar to each other it doesn’t matter where you’re from’. Everyone who listens to metal is basically acting like one big family. And what we wanted to find out was whether this was actually true. Is it true that metal is a sort of an overarching genre that unites everyone, or are differences noticeable within different countries? We were focusing on the similarities between people across countries but also the differences, like what has culture got to do with metal, or how has the country’s history had an impact on the metal scene?
Can you give us an example of some of these differences?
The most obvious would be in Scandinavia, metal is very mainstream there, and really supported by the government. For example, in Norway, metal is one of their main export products whilst in post-Soviet countries like Ukraine or Lithuania, they are still really searching for their own identity. Metal still has this rebellious spirit over there, like how it originated back in the ‘80s. In Scandinavia it’s more of a pastime, but in the post-Soviet countries, like we met a guy in Belarus who described it as a way of life, a way to rebel against the dictatorship that’s currently taking place.
I’m interested in knowing a bit more about the darkness found in metal, this sort of dark energy that brings people together which sort of sounds like a paradox in itself. Does everyone share the same relationship to metal across countries?
There’s a lot of nuances, what we did experience is that everyone was really passionate, open and friendly and ready to talk about their experiences. Metal has always been a bit of an outcast genre, in a way it’s creating and releasing energy, and in that you can experience many different emotions. We spoke to Matthias from a German radio station, and he said that every metal song can encompass all emotions from happiness, to anger, to melancholy, to euphoria; basically everything and that attracts a lot of people.
Do you think a lot of fans have anger problems or show acts of violence?
Not at all, they’re not aggressive, they’re the nicest people ever! Hahaha, yeah but maybe I’m preaching from my own church. I think it has something to do with the aggression in the music, they can release their negativity in the music, and therefore can be nicer to other people, or can interact with other people better because they don’t hang on to this negative energy.
Ah I think I understand the mosh pit now…so you’re fighting…but nicely…
Yes, exactly! It’s a controlled environment where you can release your emotions.
Right right, pretty therapeutic actually! So, you’ve travelled mostly European countries, Eastern Europe, and Scandinavia, do you have any ambitions to go further to South Africa for instance or Asia?
Yes, we would love to, and the documentary topic can also be taken much further. We focused on Europe this time because we didn’t have any budget, but if we had more money we would love to go travelling and meet more people, see more types of metal, and add it all to the documentary.
Where exactly would you like to go next? I heard there’s one metal band in South Africa which I’d love to check out.
Here in Europe, we really have the best quality bands, and the most diverse. What I’m personally wondering though, is what metal is like in these more exotic countries, like you mention South Africa, but also Japan and Indonesia. I’ve heard from bands, that if they went to Indonesia, fans would go completely apeshit and treat them like heroes. Or Brazil, other places in South America I’ve heard that they’re really passionate about the metal scene, which is really different to here in the Netherlands. It would be really interesting to look that up and see how it works over there for example.
So that’s what your hoping to achieve by showing your film at IN-EDIT festival? It would be a great opportunity for you guys to present your ideas and network for the next stage of your project, or are you working on something else now?
Hahaha, well we are quite amazed and truly honored that we could show the documentary at IN-EDIT festival, because beforehand we didn’t have any experience with documentary making and didn’t have a portfolio or anything. That’s already a great step for us, but if we can dream big, and I always like to dream big, then it would be perfect if someone came up to us and would be interested in funding the next part or project. Then I think I can speak for all of us, that we would like to delve in to metal further and see what we can do worldwide or maybe focus on one country in particular because there are a lot of stories untold.
Candice von der Wehl