Interview with Marcel Coenen

"For some of you you may already be familiar with Marcel or his previous band 'Lemur Voice', who released 2 albums, one for Magna Carta or even this new act 'Sun Caged'. Progressive Metal has started to become a trend in a certain way although it's still underground people are not taking notice of such bands like Fates Warning, Dream Theater, as the top names in Progressive Metal & now with smaller bands like Sun Caged who are equally as talented Progressive Metal is on it's up at long last. I managed to have a chat with one of the top guitar players from Holland Marcel Coenen, to find out more about this new act and what the future holds for Sun Caged. With the bands release of their debut album through Lion Music this is a great album which I recommend you check out. Here is what Marcel had to say, thanx for the interview Marcel and best wishes to Sun Caged & Dennis Leeflang."

OK lets start by asking you, why did Lemur Voice break up and are you still friends with the older members? What are they doing now?

"Hello, at first thanks for this interview ! Well, Lemur Voice existed from 1993 until 2000, when we started writing new material for the third record we just noticed something was missing, we did not have that same click anymore, everyone wanted to do something else, other musical directions etc. We managed to write one song which took us almost a half year to write, and when the song was done we were not really happy with it. We just noticed we grew apart from each other as musicians, so it was better to give it a day. Nowadays three ex LV members formed a new band called “Slow Poke Rodrigo”, they play dance/drum and bass music, so very different from prog metal. And yes I am still friends with them, we did not have a fight or anything like that, it is not that we see each other often though, but when we meet it is always friendly."

What was your favourite album and why and which songs from that album stand out for you and why? Are they any least favourite songs you like and what was wrong with the album you dislike?

"Well, the second album “Divided” was my favorite, just because it really showed the best of Lemur Voice, where we stand for at that time. When I have to pick a favorite song it would be “Childhood Façade” or maybe “Solilocide”. I like them the best because of the progressive parts and the heavness. I cannot say I disliked the other material though, I am still proud of everything we recorded."

What happened to the deal with Magna Carta for the debut album? I believe the 2nd album was released on Telstar, that must have been a downfall for the band, what happened??

"Magna Carta just did not do anything for us, they promised us a lot of stuff which they just did not respond to. When we were writing songs for the second album we sent them a tape recorded in the rehearsal room and we got NO reaction on that at all. So we just decided to look for a different company. Telstar seemed like a good company at first, but it happened to be not good for the band after all, the album was hard to get for most prog fans which I think still sucks big time."

Is there anything that you regret about Lemur Voice, if so what?

"No way, I have had a great time in the band, no regrets , maybe the only thing I regret is that the album 'Divided' was so hard to get (and still is, it is a real collectors item)."

So what did you do after Lemur Voice broke and before Sun Caged formed?

"I already formed Sun Caged while Lemur Voice still existed, it was first started as a project, we wanted to make a demo with lots of guest musicians, more like an Ayreon kind of project."

I understand that you have released a solo CD also on Lion Music, what do you think of it and how does it differ from Sun Caged & Lemur Voice, I know it does not have any vocals. Do you know if it is selling well?

"I always wanted to do a solo album, when I joined the guitar contests in Holland in 1998 I had to write instrumental songs to play over. So I started writing some material and found it to be very good for my writing skills so I wrote like a whole album. I kind of released it myself just for people who wanted it, burned it on CDR for them , printing my own bad looking cover etc. When we signed our deal with Lion Music I just asked Lasse (the boss of Lion Music) if he would be interested to release my album, and so the story goes. The music on “guitartalk” is instrumental, very much guitar orientated, from heavy songs to ballads, it is nothing like Sun Caged or Lemur Voice at all, it is more in the veins of Satriani, Vai, MacAlpine etc."

OK, so lets talk about the band Sun Caged, so where did you find the members for the band and who else did you approach to form the band?

"At the end of 1998 I wanted to do a Pantera tribute gig at a local festival, I was looking for a drummer for that at the time, then there came this guy called “Dennis Leeflang” on my internet chat program and we started talking, he was a drummer and wanted to do the job, that job went pretty well so we decided to form a band/project at that time. Rob Van Der Loo (Bassguitar) I knew since he gave me a demo of his previous band somewhere in 1998 during a Fates Warning gig in The Netherlands. I kind of forgot about it, but when I started this project with Dennis I started listening to demo’s I got from people and this demo of “Soulcatcher” (Rob’s previous band) attached my ears to the music a lot since the bass work was extremely good. So I decided to call him. At first we started rehearsing just with the three of us, we wrote the song “Scar Winter” during our first rehearsal (this song is now called “Sun Caged” on our album, so yes, there was already this great chemistry)."

When we had a few songs ready we decided to ask some guest musicians to record a demo. Singer Gregoor was ofcourse my singer in Lemur Voice, singer Nick Hameury I knew from my old band FORM, he was more of a grunter in the style of Phil Anselmo (thrashy voice). Laura Van Driel we saw perform at Progpower in Holland with her own band at the time (Forever Times) and we truly liked her voice, so we decided to ask her also. This Cuppen played with Arabesque around that time, he was a great keyboard player so we decided to ask him too. The demo “Scar Winter” was recorded with these guest musicians.

Then my band Lemur Voice broke up so we decided to make Sun Caged a full time band. None of the guest musicians wanted to be part of SC so we started looking for musicians. We found Joost Van Den Broek after we placed an ad in a local magazine. He responded to it, and we were shocked by his amazing talent. Then we found singer Sascha Burchardt after holding a lot of auditions. We recorded the demo “Dominion” and shortly after that Sascha quit the band because he wanted to sing only for his joy, not on a professional level.

We saw Andre Vuurboom perform with his previous band Jera, and we were surprised with his strong voice. So we decided to ask him too.

Recently our drummer “Dennis Leeflang” quit the band and we got a new one, his name is “Roel Van Helden”."

Do you feel that you have the right balance within the band, if so in what way?

"Absolutely, the chemistry we have is amazing !! We all enjoy playing with each other, and we also accommpliment each other very well. Just awesome!!"

So who are the bands influences and how do they reflect within the bands music?

"We get influenced by a lot of stuff, not only music. It can be daily experiences, life in general etc. Musically we all listen to a wide variety of stuff, from Jazz to Fusion to Rock to Metal and even extreme Metal. All these things form our style, we just write what we feel like writing."

How many demos did the band record? What songs were on them and how well did they sell?

"The band recorded three demo’s before the record deal with Lion Music was signed. The first demo was called “Scar Winter”, it featured 4 guest musicians and had only Dennis, Rob and me as full members of Sun Caged. The songs on there were: “Scar Winter” (now called “Sun Caged”), “Zombie Resurrection” (now called “Soil”), Killer Banshee and Caged.

The second demo was called “Dominion”. This demo featured Dennis, Rob and Me, and also Joost Van Den Broek, the singer on this demo was Sascha Burchardt. The songs on this demo were: “Curiosity Kills”, “Four Guilders”, “Sides” (now called “Closing In”) and “The Escape” (now called “The Eighth Day”).

The third demo we made was simply called “Promo 2002” and was the first demo with the line up we also have on our album. The songs on this demo were: “Secrets Of Flight”, “Sedation” and “Killer Banshee” (new recorded version). The demo’s we made for promotional purpose, though we did sell some of them, especially the Dominion demo was sold like 500 times."

What labels did you shop your music too? Besides Lion Music who else showed a lot of interest and why did you sign to Lion Music, what did they offer you which was the best?

"We sent the demo to a lot of labels. There were other labels who were interested. Lion Music just gave us the best feeling so we decided to sign with Lion Music."

How long is the deal with them & are you happy with them so far?

"We signed for 4 albums, and yes, we are very happy with Lion Music. Lasse does a great job on promoting the album."

Who write the lyrics and music and how long does it take to write a song and the album?

"We all write music, the lyrics are normally written by Andre. Writing goes naturally, sometimes we have a song ready in one rehearsal and sometimes it takes months to complete a song, it just depends."

So why the title and cover for the album? Where there any other titles and covers in mind, if so what were they?

"Well it is a debut album, to make it titleless was our mutual idea. It is just better for the recognition of the band name as well. The cover was designed by Marco Jeurissen, and he just had this idea which we all liked."

Does the cover and title reflect within the music on the album, if so in what way?

"Not really, of course the name Sun Caged can be seen in a lot of different ways. The name "Sun Caged" will be explained several times and in different context in the lyrics. Read them and try to figure it out."

What are the songs about and which ones are your favs and least favs and why?
What are the songs about and which ones are your favs and least favs and why?

This song is about someone who tries to forget the pain of something that has had an enormous impact on his life. Unwillingly to except, he tries to numb the feeling with anything he can find. Drugs, alcohol, etc.., he is in a constant state of dreaming. In this state he undergoes the normal things in life, which, in his state, seem rather altered. People try to help, By choice he just can't hear them.

Sun Caged:
This song is all about lying to yourself, even if you know the truth. Forgetting everything you did wrong and still judge other people. Going through life, doing nothing you dreamed of and trying to convince yourself
this is the life you want.

Is there a god? Are we alone? Is life all about pain? Where are we going? Do we believe in god, simply because we are afraid to die?
Is there a purpose to our life? Just a few questions this song is all about. Ofcourse there is no quick answer.

The most fictional song, which is about the fear of death and letting go.

In this song someone is struggling against that empty feeling we all know, He feels he's just a part of the machine, unable to change anything, a victim off fate. As his feelings start to die of, he finds some strange comfort in not
caring anymore.

Closing In:
The fear of commitment. This song is about distrust. A bad experience that has marked you for life. You see other people around you in this situation you will never choose to be in, you see them as tiny puppets, doing what there told and trying to convince you this is what they like and want. You should be as they are. You have to make a choice. Be them or be an outcast.

The Eight Day:
The world is a dark place, only on the outside it shines. With every passing year  the images on tv are getting more grim, we are used to it andpay no attention anymore. Let them die, just don't bother us with it. In the end this will mean the destruction of everyone. If there is a god,speak to us and end this. God has made the world in seven days, on the eight day we will destroy it. ...nothing will remain.

Secrets Of Flight:
Learning to live, even if no one has told you how. Many mistakes to make, some are easly undone, others are here to stay and haunt you all your life. Don't try to hard, you will be disappointed, Don't try to get it all, you will fail.

This song is about someone who is unable to shake that feeling he is not in control. Every day is the same, nothing ever happens. He doesn't know which way to go anymore.

For me personally I like all songs, but if I had to pick one favorite it would be Hollow, just because it really reflects all aspects of the band."

Are you happy with the end results of the album if not why?

"Yes, very much!!!"

Do you have any new material wrote for the next album, if so what are they called and how do they differ from the debut album?

"We started writing new material recently, no titles yet though, we are still working on the new idea’s, and I can tell you that it will be awesome, just wait out for it!!!"

You are all extremely talented musicians, what music schools did you go too? Is Marcel one of the top guitar players in Holland?

"Heheh dunno ;) There are a lot of good players in The Netherlands. But thanks for the nice compliments ! Joost and also Roel both study at the academy of music in The Netherlands. The rest (including me) is self taught."

"What other projects does any of the band members have outside of Sun Caged? If any please send me some thanx!!!

"I also have a band named “Stormrider”, more info on: . That band is a cover band, we play all kinds of 80’s metal bands, like Manowar, Accept, maiden etc. Very much fun to do. Joost also plays for Arjen Lucassen, he did the Star One tour and now also plays some keys on the upcoming “Ayreon” disc. I also have a Joe Satriani cover group together with Rob called “Time Machine”. Roel also has a second band called “Delphian”. I am also having a band together with Roel for my upcoming second solo album, and Rob is also busy recording his solo album which will feature a lot of guest musicians.

What gigs and festivals have you played so far, which ones stand out for you & why?

"Oh we did a lot of them, the complete list can be viewed at our website. We did some cool festivals, like ProgPower Europe and Jamrock, and we also played as support for bands like Vanden Plas and Queensryche which were awesome."

Within reason who would you like to play with?

"I’d love to share the stage with Deep Purple !! Because of Steve Morse of course!"

Anything to say before we finish?

"Well just visit our website:

and our personal websites:

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