Alannah Williams
Alannah Williams

Avid gig goer, photographer, writer and loves all things music! 

Known for their ambient pop cuts and shoegaze influences, CIEL are back with their latest track ‘Never Alone Again’. Tantalising frontwoman Michelle Hindriks’ spectacular vocals shine with melancholy veins stretching throughout. Self-reflective and introspective, the track is born from heart-felt emotions and flourishes with poetic lyricism.

With this new release and more exciting things on the horizon, we chatted with Michelle and Jorge to find out more

Alannah: How are you guys doing!

Michelle: We are good, thank you! I am really excited that things are finally opening up again in the music industry and we will be playing our first show in 18 months this Saturday!

Alannah: What’s your creativity been like over lockdown?

Michelle: It has had its ups and downs but generally I’ve been quite inspired during the lockdown. I’ve never had this much time to write music, so I’ve made use of it and written a lot of new stuff. However, at some point, I missed getting inspired externally, by having things happen in the outside world that I could write about. Or simply seeing a really good band playing live and getting inspired by that to write a song myself. So now I am looking forward to that.

Alannah: There were bands that came before ‘Ciel’, how did you guys all come together?

Michelle: We all used to play in different bands before CIEL. I started CIEL a couple of years ago in The Netherlands as my solo project. When I moved to Brighton I befriended Jorge and Tim and through a communal love for the same kind of music we started to play together. Now CIEL turned into a band with the 3 of us.

Alannah: We loved ‘Never Alone Again’ – what’s the story behind the track?

Michelle: Aw thank you! ‘Never Alone Again’ is about a bit of a darker period of my life back in The Netherlands, and looking back at it. In the song, I am asking to not have to relive that again, at the same time I am realising that life comes and goes in waves and I am trying to be acceptant of this. I wrote it quite a while ago and we finished and recorded the song with the whole band in between lockdowns.

Listen to ‘Never Alone Again’ here:

Alannah: How does it feel getting acclaim and praise from so many wonderful publications?

Jorge: It makes us really happy, all we want to do is write the best songs we can – songs that people can relate to with moments or feelings in their everyday life, songs that someone would want to listen to on repeat.

“It makes us really happy, all we want to do is write the best songs we can – songs that people can relate to with moments or feelings in their everyday life, songs that someone would want to listen to on repeat

Jorge – CIEL

Michelle: It’s a huge honour to us. I still find it weird – in a positive way – that people are writing about our music and that it means something to them.

Alannah: What are you most excited about with getting back to playing live shows?

Michelle: The experience as a whole I think. I love playing music live, it brings me in some weird transcendent state. And I love being on the road with the guys, meeting new people, having little moments with people you have never met, and traveling to new places.

Jorge: We’ve been working a lot on a new live setup where we combine live instruments with triggered sounds and we can’t wait to try it out. As a 3 piece we’ve explored what we can get out of each instrument and we are getting the best sound we’ve had so far. Having less instruments and members on stage has given more space to the ones we have and it seems like we sound bigger and louder than ever, basslines are heavier and fuller and the guitar has even more effects than before without going out of control. We are also constantly exploring new sounds that the drummer can trigger, from synths to pads and electronic percussions, even bass synths sometimes, this is making us re-arrange songs differently for gigs compared to the studio versions. It’s a really creative and fullfilling process that keeps the songs alive and fresh as they transform very often.

Alannah: Do you have a favourite venue that you’d love to play?

Jorge: So many! Just to name a few, Moth Club, Windmill Brixton, The Social Club.

Michelle: I love Vera in my hometown Groningen in The Netherlands. I’ve played there quite often, but it never bores me and I think it will keep being my favourite venue, either to visit concerts or to play.

Alannah: What three words would you use to describe your sound?

Michelle & Jorge: Mystical, gritty, gentle vocals.

Alannah: Has this changed at all from when you first started out?

Michelle: I think it is similar but has progressed naturally. Our newer work is definitely a bit more gritty with distorted guitars and the songs we will be recording this summer are going into this direction, but in a more extreme way. The songs are more uptempo and darker as well.

Alannah: I love your use of chorus and delay, do you think this makes you stand out from your peers?

Jorge: The use of effects like delay and chorus comes mostly from the influence of the bands we love and listen to the most, we always try to push those effects to the maximum in the studio hoping to come with new layers and tones that might stick out, sometimes with better luck than other times. If I think of something that stands out from the songs it’s the vocal melodies and tone.

Alannah: What do you see in ‘Ciel’s’ future?

Michelle: Hopefully some tours in the UK and Europe, playing festivals and mostly writing and recording a lot of new songs!

Jorge: Darkness and death, the best sounding songs we have written to date and hopefully a lot of shows, we absolutely love playing live and we are constantly looking for ways to sound bigger and better.

Let us know what you think!