The first song on our album isn’t very new. We have played it on every show with Merlijn and Josha in the band. We figure it’s a good opener because most of our fans know it, especially with a demo recording of the song online for over a year now. It’s also very representative of our style, featuring all of the elements that are so typical of Akelei and introducing some new ones too.
I wrote ‘Verlangen’ at the end of 2006, although the final version came about in 2007. This version owes much to the band’s rehearsal sessions. I wrote older songs like ‘Pijnschrift’ before Akelei even existed so there was no input from anyone else. That changed when we started to rehearse regularly and I got a lot of feedback from Ward, particularly regarding song dynamics and tempo shifts. For ‘Verlangen’ it resulted in restructuring the second half of the song. You can hear an increase in breaks as the song builds up toward the second verse, only to fall quiet again, but not for long. It’s this contrast of heavy/light that keeps the style so interesting to play, certainly in a live setting.
This is also the first of two songs featuring Ward and me singing together. Singing harmonies is great. It adds so much warmth to the music that you can not create any other way. We’re definitely going to have more of these vocal harmonies in our new songs.
As for the lyrics… Well, to put it in Sarah McLachlan‘s words: “I have the sense to recognise that I don’t know how to let you go”. That’s just it, missing the person you love and being unable to let go. ‘Verlangen’ means desire and it does many things. Desire brings people together, breaks them apart, controls their thoughts. And I’m sure that desire can reunite people as well, if only they would allow it to happen. Mostly a matter of putting heart over mind, the mind being a terribly complicated thing that doesn’t want to be understood anyway.