My name is Merel and this is my story.
When I discovered metal as a teenager I bought a ticket to one of my first metal concerts. When I saw In Flames play I knew this is what I’m going to do. The rest is history.
A year after I bought my first guitar I started my first band Purest of Pain (2008-2018). Playing guitar and playing in a band go hand in hand for me. I improved my guitar and band skills simultaneously.
I feel very lucky growing up with a band as a teenager. I had the best times with the guys and we worked very hard. Writing new songs, practicing and trying to get as many gigs as we could get. I think we played around 100 shows in the Netherlands, eventually supporting bands like Unearth, Suicide Silence, Attack Attack, Grave, Opeth, Mayan, Delain. Supporting MaYaN and Delain eventually led to new opportunities.
The full length album ‘Solipsis‘ was launched via a crowdfunding campaign. It was mixed by Mantis Audio and mastered by the Swedish legend Jens Bogren. Solipsis received top scores from the critics. After a decade playing with Purest of Pain we decided to call it a day. “Really digging the album, honestly! You guys have managed to blend brutality with groove and emotion in a great way!” – Jens Bogren (Opeth, Arch Enemy, Soilwork)
In the meantime I was studying for my bachelor in music and started touring the world with established bands and Dutch best metal musicians.
– 2013 – 2019 Delain, symphonic metal
– 2014 – present Symphonic death metal MaYaN (2014 – present)
– 2015 The Gentle Storm (Anneke van Giersbergen ft Arjen Lucassen), progressive rock
Four world tours later I noticed that I wasn’t happy anymore and that I had this hunger inside of me to fully explore my creativity and to play music that was more to my taste. Playing the song ‘the Weapon’ by Dayshell was life changing. A song that I really enjoyed listening to and I felt so alive whilst playing it. At this very moment I made the reconnection with music. Not much later I made the decision to quit Delain and start focusing on what I really wanted to do.
From that moment on I started writing a lot of demos for my new band called DEAR MOTHER. An alternative metal/rock band with Joey and David. In 2019 we wrote the first album ‘Bulletproof’ and honestly I have never written music this easily. All the pieces fell in place and we worked very hard to achieve our goals. Spring 2020 we completed the crowdfunding with 121% without any songs released. The following that I’ve built over the years came to support us no matter what and it left me in tears.
At the same time the world was hit by the pandemic and countries and venues were closed down. This didn’t stop us and we continued what we promised. So shortly after completing the crowdfunding campaign we recorded the album at home and released the first track ‘12 Years In Exile’ independently. The response was overwhelming and two single releases later we hit the 500.000 streams on Spotify. Being featured on the biggest editorial playlist ‘Kickass Metal’, alongside established and signed bands like Architects, Rob Zombie and Lamb of God. We couldn’t believe it and left us speechless.
After not finding a matching label we decided to continue the full hands on approach. We did everything ourselves, from recording, directing and editing the music videos, the releases, artworks, product design, webshop, shippings, marketing and what not.
Bulletproof was released July 16th 2021 independently and we already hit the 1 million streams mark before the album was out.
And now the story continues…. What’s next?
Custom vanderMeij 7 string
Custom vandermeij 6 string
Custom vandermeij 8 string
Takamine acoustic guitar
Dunlop strings & guitar picks
FAVOURITE RELEASES: Linkin Park – Hybrid Theory, Muse – Absolution, Bring Me The Horizon – Sempiternal, Rivals – Damned Soul, Pvris – White Noise, Arch Enemy – Rise of the Tyrant, Dayshell – Nexus, Deftones – Koi No Yokan, Hundredth – RARE, Septicflesh – Communion, Architects – All Our Gods Have Abandoned Us
FAVOURITE SHOWS: Bospop (the Gentle Storm), Danse Macabre show Utrecht (Delain), first show with Purest of Pain, Masters of Rock (MaYaN), 70.000 tons of metal not the shows but the whole event
HOBBIES: exploring national parks, discovering new craft beers, food/cooking, driving my custom motorcycle Kawasaki w800, games, snowboarding, climbing, hiking, woodworking
FAVOURITE LOCATIONS: Oregon (US), North West Sweden (abisko national park), Manchester (UK), Wales-Prembrokeshire (UK), Montenegro, Dolomites (I)