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Erik Vandamme

Erik Vandamme

Bornholm is a pagan metal band formed in Budapest in 2000. Named after the Danish island of Bornholm, the band was founded by Ferenc Olajos, Vesanus, Astaroth, Mordan and Melkor. In the beginning they were very focused on their idols Bathory, but also on symphonic black metal, like that of Dimmu Borgir. In 2001 they recorded their first demo ‘Awakening of the Ancient Ones’ EP. After a few line-up changes, they released their debut album ‘On the Way of the Hunting Moon’ in 2005, with only guitarist Astaroth left from the original line-up.
After European tours with the bands Arcturus, Mayhem and Enslaved, they released their second album ‘March for Glory and Revenge’ in 2009. Because so much time had passed during the first two albums, the band worked on the follow-up album while touring for the album, but it too was only released in January 2013 and is called ‘Inexorable Defiance’. In 2013, they also accompanied Alestorm, Arkona, Ex Deo, Varg, Kalmah, Wolfchant and Thyrfing on the Paganfest European tour.
Of course, the band has not been sitting still in the meantime.  In 2016, the band released an album 'Primaeval Pantheons' and on 5 November a brand new disc 'Apotheosis'.
On the occasion of this release, we had a nice conversation with Peter Sallai , singer and inspirator of the band.

Who is Bornholm? How did it all started, tell some more about yourself?
The band was formed in North-Hungary in 2000 by me, and I am the musical mind behind it since then. I am a guitarist and singer on stage. It is not easy to talk about 20 years in an answer  and I did it in several previous interviews. Everything started when I left my previous bands and I thought I wanted to make something different. Something darker, spiritual and something that is more than just music. Black Metal is far more than just music, it was back in time when we started the band and I found my place in this musical world. We came from a different era, everything was far more real and there were awesome bands in the scene internationally. Something has disappeared since then and we try to bring back something, to continue and to find what have been lost. But it is very important to say that we are not living from the past, the present is more important. What we do, we do it here and now.

With over 20 years of experience and five studio albums till now,
BORNHOLM are no longer strangers to the scene. What where the low and highs till now?
I can answer similarly. So many highs and lows, but the most important is that we are here, and we can do what we want. As I think back it is clear to me that it was necessary to go through all these things. How many highs and lows are in the life of a person? In a band's life even more.

Now we ready to talk about ‘Apotheosis’. I like the doomy atmosphere, and very intensive way you guys bring back the most scary thoughts, but it also feels like ‘a blanket against dark thoughts’ to me. You agree? Is that intentional?
No, absolutely not. Dark thoughts are important, and we do not want to help anyone to fight with their own demons or to find answers to their questions. This album is about reality. This is full of heretic thoughts, sometimes surprising and so different way of thinking. Good and bad is subjective, and the most important to unify the opposites. Not to decide, but to merge them, all opposites. There is a force that is an angel and demon together, you can call it Lucifer, Prometheus or as you want... and there is a being on earth also that has good and evil inside, and it is the man itself. So rise above these things, be your own god, the only one what governs you is yourself. If you act without knowledge, it causes chaos, it is not about that. More like to form a new order from chaos. It has a doomy atmosphere, of course, because we are at the end of the current world. The two columns are crumbling now, the two pillars of science and religion. You can see those two things collapsing, and rising  a new order, which is a synthesis of these two things called Gnosis. But at first everyone goes to Hell to experience the reality behind the fake modern world of silly rationalism. This is the way to free the mind and to become something else. Something godlike. It is a process, and that is the reason of the title "Apotheosis". Love the darkness, learn from it, and get the light also to become everything. Everyone is their own savior. It is dangerous to talk about it nowadays when religion and the science are showing their ugliest face. I am above these things, I don't take part of the game. I just show it.

Can you say it’s a very personal album then?
All of our albums mirroring my personal thoughts, so of course it is. It contains occult references, but through my eyes but I tried not to be so subjective. I try to be like a medium, not a prophet if you know what I mean. Every album is a fingerprint of an era, a blueprint of a period of my life, what else can be? For me the music is a form of expression of art, not a tool to entertain someone. Today everybody wants to entertain as much people as they can, for the biggest amount of money they can reach. Everything is loud, harsh and empty. But I think if someone says the truth that is against everything everyone going to hear it. I want to be the enemy of this world, no to help to survive, but a tool for the many to destroy it, because it is necessary. People feel that there is no future, they afraid of the tomorrow... why? Form your own future and there's nothing to fear of. Yes, it is dangerous, but the courage, the spirit of the true rebellion is missing now. Back in time when this genre - metal- was not so accepted, everybody was more courageous, now we see a bunch of smooth, slimy, empty bands who are taking care of the feelings of everyone. This album is not like that, and Black Metal is not like that. Not about to serve something - good or evil -, but to rule. This aristocratic attitude is that what is missing now from Black Metal. Do not serve, as Lucifer said, don't even you going to be cast down to hell. Do your own will, that is the most important.

I have read  that Apotheosis is not only a showcase of
BORNHOLM’s tonal development, but also goes back to the origins of the band’s history, can you tell more about that?
Yes, musically we tried to step forward. This is a most essential album, the sound and themes containing so many things, that our music is about. We had to stop a bit, and the world also stopped around is. It gave us a chance to rethink everything, to reform and to define ourselves. I think this album is a milestone, a new beginning. This is what we are and we get rid of everything else that influenced us. If you listen to the album you hear our own metal. I guess it goes against the current trends, this is what we believe in. Of course it is not perfect, an artist is never satisfied with his own work, but we became the closest to it. We let the creativity flow, we tried to create our own world. We don't want to fit in the scene to go with the masses, we go against them. I think this is the power of this album. When I founded the band the situation was almost the same. In a totally different musical world, I started to do something that was totally the opposite of everything that was trendy back that time. We show the individuality, the true conviction of ourselves musically.

Also there is almost the fight between light and darkness, same thing agree, and is that intentional way you choose?
Darkness and light are not about the fight. Every light has a shadow and the darkness allows the light to shine, it gives the background for it where everything gets it's it's sensational. The right to the decision is the true power, not the way you choose. If you choose you'll be ruled by the way itself. This power is the will, the free and true will.  The light and the darkness just tools to fight not the aim or the power to serve. Serve your own will and wake up. A sculptor puts the clay on with one hand and takes off with the other, this is the way of creation. The hand me just the tool, left and right just the mirrored image of themselves. If you look at yourself, you can see it. You have everything to be the sculptor of your own life. Natural and supernatural are both the part of this world. Rational and irrational gives meaning to each other, nothing is less than the other.  Unify the mind and the heart in yourself and you become a different being. Do not listen to any of them separately. You are one system, do not fight inside, everything is a part of you. This is a pagan attitude which has been lost thousands of years ago. For us this is paganism, not a musical style or looking back to the never existed illusion of the past.

It also goes in many directions, you don't get bored for a second, during the virtuous walk through dark thoughts, here too conscious choice?
I write the music from inside, not only from the mind and not only from emotions, both of them has its own role during the process. I think to be conscious doesn't mean that I find out everything as a plan. It is dumb I think and the result going to be something that is not honest, not true. To be conscious is to know that if you do, you row, it's going to be unique because there are no two similar people in this world. Be the consciousness of something higher and become this higher self. There are things that are unexplainable in words or in writing, their nature is different. More understandable through symbols or seals. I just open myself and this is what comes out, some like it, some not, but that's I am. Our music is changing as the time is passing by, as the personality changing year by year, but the face is always recognizable. That is the most important, be yourself, but try to do everything better than before.

Meanwhile, there is the single 'I Am war God' and recent ‘ Spiritual Warfare‘, there is also a story behind it? which one?
This is not a concept album, it has no story, but there is a philosophical line that drives the listener through the whole album. "I am War God" is about the warrior's nature, the state of mind when somebody goes into a battle. It is ancient,  a genuine force that can be called god of something. Necessary thing, but not the aim of life. A tool of life, to survive and to win. In a physical world is needful to have physical power. In nature, war is a daily thing, but if you look around you see a calm, beautiful landscape from above.  "Spiritual Warfare" is about a different scene of the fight, an astral world a more hidden, unseen place where will fights against the will. A magical ceremony, a ritual has been never just a play. It is a tool to use these forces what governs the world, it is the gate to a field where everything will be decided. If you want to be more than you are, something will fight against you. The first thing is you will what's gone be attacked, this is the base of everything. If you win that fight you deserve to step forward.

What are your personal expectations of this record?
We can just play music and to record an album. But you know when it's releases it starts to live, it's own life after. We create the music, and after its repercussions to our lives. It is a very exciting process. So we haven't planned everything, we let it live and we are open for everything that comes. This is balanced, we create is and it creates our future after, like a butterfly effect. Everything can happen and nothing, let's see if it is true what we are talking about or not. My conviction is that it is, so this is a very exciting period. A lot of new things happen, and we try to fulfill the expectations.

Bornholm has a lot of changes within the lineup. I thought you were still the only original member of the band. Can you give me a reason for that?
Of course, there is a reason. That is the nature of this thing. Different people with different aims, different possibilities and talent. Sometimes to change is necessary. I could tell stories about everyone, but I think this interview is not about that. Who has to be here, is here. Who not, it is better for him to be elsewhere. I cannot force to do everyone, and I don't want to. Because personal problems, musical differences, lack of talent, family, a lot of things can cause this. If somebody works with people knows this perfectly. For me the band is like an entity, it is necessary to believe in to exist. If somebody doesn't believe in the band or its music, why should be here? Since the beginning I write the lion part of the music so I never let cause serious changes in the music if someone comes or goes.

I would like to clear up a misunderstanding, sometimes pagan black metal is associated with Satanism and worshipping the devil, of course it has nothing to do with that, but what is Pagan Black metal to you?
What people believe in is a not a musical style. You can express your thoughts, your opinion or your faith also through music. Journalist like to categorize the music, it is easier to write about a band if they belong to a genre etc. But it is artificial I think. The first is the music, and people can call it as they want. Look around in the world, is it sure that God is God and the devil is the devil? To doubt in everything is the way to knowledge. Atheism, of materialism is also just a religion... look, science today started to behave like a despotic religion. I say look for the truth inside of you, not outside. Do not kneel before anything. It is easier to exist in a system that was taught for you than to erase everything and build up something new, isn't it? There are god and devil inside, what I worship is deep behind the soul. To be pagan for me is to be independent. Not to believe what others say, doesn't matter how many of them doing that. A single truth is infinitely stronger than millions of lies, that is the reason that the biggest sin is not to believe. It doesn't matter, it is an organized religion, or an organized media, or rationalism, all is the same. Something you have to accept, but I don't.  This is paganism. To walk your own way, alone. There's no god above you, and there's no fear of anything in front of you. Live in the world, not on the internet, believe your own eyes, not the media and act as you want not the way as others want. You are being responsible just for yourself. A pagan, always looking for the eternal and the permanent, don't want to go anywhere, doing what the ancestors did thousands of years ago. To know the world, not to change it. Who doesn't know believes that it can be changed. There is an order in the universe and you cannot replace the Sun  to a planet.

Is there something like a typical Pagan Black metal scene in Hungary?
To be honest, I don't care other bands personally. We walk our own path and may bands formed and split up through the years, but that is not my business. We never had close friendship to other bands, and this is a lonely way. Black Metal attitude, you know. Better to separate from others. I think there are people who are listening to different types of metal music and there are musicians who play what they believe in. I always wanted to do my own music and not to belong to any scene or something like that.

We haven't talked about corona yet, what impact has this had on you as a band, or on you personally as a musician and human being?
Usually I don't talk about that, I have my own opinion. To be honest, absolutely nothing. It helped us to work calmly, gave time to think of us and the music we create but that's all. I do my work as before, I work at home 12 years ago... I'm doing my own business. I know it is trendy to worry about others and so on... but as I said, we are outsiders. If the world collapses, we create a new one for ourselves. There is the world of the masses who want to get back their old life, the problem is that I don't want to get back anything, because that world wasn't mine. That was the reason I started to play this kind of music, the philosophy of Black Metal rooted in somewhere elsewhere not in the modern ideologies. I see what was and also what comes. There is much more huge power behind it than any modern human being can imagine. This is a personal war, create and redeem yourself if you can and if you dare and step into a new age... or pass by with the old one.

What are the further plans for the end of the year and next year?
At first we want to relax a bit because there was extremely big work to create and to release the album, but of course we are preparing  for the shows next year. We are planning a tour in March across Europe with two Norwegian bands and we would like to play on as many festivals as we can. In the autumn there is a South-American round... but the most of the things just turning out. We goanna be in the rehearsal room most of the time I think until then.

Will there be a tour that will take you to Belgium, among other places?
Yes as I mentioned there will be and it going to Belgium as well! We played there years go and it is a beautiful country!

Apart from the band, I read in an interview that you also have a neofolk/ambient/martial project called 'Invinctus'… can you tell us more about that?
Nothing, it was just an album and I wanted to try something else not metal. It was a trip to another style, and not as meaningful or professional. Just a play. I'm not planning to continue that, Bornholm is enough for me to express my musical ideas. Maybe a really dark, violent, extreme metal project could be interesting to do, but not in the near future.

After all these years, do you still have goals and ambitions?
Of course I always have. That is the meaning of life for me, to continue my way to further goals. But I like to think just about the next step. There is so much music inside and to live a creative life is the best of all. To be a better musician as I was yesterday, to get closer the ideas what I have in my mind is always ambition. Never going to be 100% anything but to try to do it is a great way of life. To do better what I like to do. And the years passing by, that is the time. What was and what's going to be, both of them are non-existent. The present is the most important.

With all your experience in those twenty years, what is your advice to beginning bands?
I don't like to give advice to anyone. You know, if you give advice to someone, the responsibility is yours... Do your will at all times!


Joe Vestich - When you are with the band playing and you are making people happy, that’s after all my great ambition

Joe Vestich is a singer, songwriter, guitarist and visual artist who moved to Finland in 1986. Joe has played with Dave Lindholm, Heikki Silvennoinen and Aku Syrjä in bands such as Northwind, Screaming Thunders and Messengers. Joe has also collaborated on albums with Costello Hautamäki, Jonne Aaron, SF-Blues and Paleface. Joe is now having new material and touring extensively as a solo artist, duo and with his own Joe Vestich Band. Occasionally, when schedules permit, Joe also duets with Dave Lindholm and Heikki Silvennoinen. Joe's music ranges smoothly from folk to country and rock´n´roll to rhythm´n´blues. This is a man worth listening to!  We of course talk about his new release ‘Steal the Wind’ and the influence he had, but also future plans.

Joe, start by telling us more about yourself? How did it all start, who and what were your big influences?
I’m from USA but living in Finland since 1986. I came over here as a university student. I used to play little concerts in small pubs. I started play some acoustic sets, back in that year. I was approached by a very important musician here, Dave Lindholmi. He is like a legend over here. He asked me to play some gigs with him, and said he liked my way of playing. I was getting back to USA, but next summer I was playing big festivals and that’s how it all started here in Finland.

You have shared the stage with Dave Lindholm, Heikki Silvennoisen and Aku Syrjän kanssa, how did those collaborations come about? And what influence did they have on you carrier as musician?
We all share the same into roots music, those guys where big into Blues. I was more a country guy in that time. I was playing Johnny Cash and Hank Williams and those things. But there is a connection between Country and Blues, for sure. At least that kind of country music I like. Soo I don’t think they been influence me, but we shared the same interest in the music, the legend and things.

That’s something interesting you say there is a connection between Country and Blues, what is that connection exactly then?
The chord barriers are quite the same, I would say. The words, at least in the old traditional country. At the moment there is stuff that is not real country anymore I think. It’s usually sad songs, in country but also in Blues, that’s a connection to. Things like, you lost your girl and now you drinking that stuff. It’s there in Blues and Country. The only difference is the beats, that’s quite different.

You also said ‘the old country’ what’s wrong about the ‘new country’ for you than?
It’s not real country anymore, it’s more like kind a of pop music. My former band made, in America, is now CEO of Warner music , he is the number one of Warner music and country music. I send him the record and he said ‘’Joe this is great, but this is retro Americana Roots music and we are a mainstream country’’. But that’s the problem in America, I get to play there every year, right now it’s pretty mixed up. It’s the politics and things there.. I have friends on both sides republicans and democrats. When they ask me what side I ‘am I tell I live in Finland. I’m more liberal minded, but not get involved in it. But like it is now, America it is getting worse in America, and that have a influxes on how they think about music and stuff to.

About influences. Finland, the country itself , did that have an influence on your music style?
Not sure the country itself have an  influence on me as musician. I set up in my mind and heart, what kind a music I want to do. For a long time, this music was not so much accepted in Finland. But it’s rolling a lot now. Thanks to internet and social media all types of music coming in, it’s easy to catch it. Soo we could get young people get interest in country and Blues. Soo the country changed, not by me, but the internet and things.. that’s more the thing I guess.

What where the highs and lows till now for you after 40 years?
That’s a difficult question to answer. There is been a lot highs and a lot lows (haha). In the late 70’s me and my brother had a band that was very popular. We had full houses everywhere, big crowds. But we were young and there was boys and girls, and drugs. Unfortunately it didn’t last. Soo that was sure something very big. But nowadays we still get a good full house, no matter where we coming. That’s a high to. Specially the big clubs, I like concerts also and festivals. When you have a big crowd follow around you, that’s something you have in those clubs. And that are moments of highs. The lows? Par example two years ago in Florida I was play in a Bicro bar ((not understood this to well)) half way to the there was the owner, a very ruff women, and she just give me half the money and said ‘this is not working, pack up and get out’ that’s one of those sad moments that we can call one of the lows. But that’s a American problem ,  I think sure in this days. Like we talk about before here. There is a lot going on there…

Let’s talk about the new album. Joe Vestich band is your solo project, with 'steal the wind' you bring out another warm-hearted masterpiece. A kind of cozy 'campfire' feeling comes over me, without sounding too corny.  There are even some folk influence and somewhere I even hear some Bob Dylan passing by. What is your opinion about this statement?
I agree with you. When I was a kid my father was big into Folk music. He was a big fan of Pete Seeger and Woody Guthrie. When I was very young my dad use to listen to a band called The Winston tree , they were big in the early 60ths. In America, they were students in the south-California. Were my dad was. That sure had his influence on me. About Bob Dylan? Country have had a big influence on Bob Dylan, that’s why there is this link.   

Bob Dylan was also a protest singer ,  I find in your voice and thing, that there is some kind of madness or frustration coming out , especially in this new album Is that correct?
That frustration is having a lot to do with this pandemic we are living in. No gigs, no work. And the money I have saved to make the record, I had to use to pay the rent. In that way there was a frustration. About the way things were going and how difficult it was to make this album, got me frustrated and that’ is sure coming back in this album.

I suppose these corona times have had an influence on you too. To what extent have these times influenced your career, positively and negatively? Writing new songs?
There sure was a lot writing going on, because there was not much to do. I even have material for the next record (haha).

It's also a very varied record, some songs like 'Rocket girl' (the title covers the load) are really rock others rather subdued is that a path you consciously follow?
There is a connection between rock’n’roll and country , the old country is coming from the Blues and rock music, like Elvis and things

That’s what I liked the most about this record, it’s a combination of all this styles between country, folk and blues, wonderful?
Great to hear that, when I was young I listen a lot to the Beatles they touched on everything. They did country stuff, and pretty heavy things like ‘Helter Skelter’. Also The Rolling stones have this blend of Country, rock’n’roll and blues in there sound, they started as a Blues band.

Let’s say all rock music started with Blues and a specially black people play music?
It all started with slaves playing blues, and even they were slaves, they play happy music. That’s where it indeed all started, as far as I know.

Now we talk about play Blues, how it comes there are still more older people at Blues gigs?
I’m doing a lot Blues gigs, 12 November it was the release gig of the new album here in Finland. I’m doing a lot mixes of styles, we brought the whole album but in between we bring some old blues classic. But also things like Chuck Berry and Elvis stuff. And I have noticed , at least here in Finland, more and more younger people coming to this kind of concerts. And to our gigs. But when I hear my friends, who doing more Blues then I do that’s most a older crowd of fans, that’s true. It’s maybe because I mix things that make the young music fans coming to. A lot of those younger people also love Johnny Cash.. Before the pandemic I used to play a lot in Russia. And there is a blues scene, full of young people.

I guess it’s indeed because you mix things up … Anyway, something else about the record. Other songs have a melancholic to wistful side, again the question is that a deliberate choice?
Most of the songs are about women and relationships. It’s again about the blues thing we been talking about earlier. A lot relationships turn out pretty bad. That’s what this melancholic thing is all about I guess. Par example, that song ‘Rocking girl’ you mention. She coming to the release concert, en lives in Helsinki. We are still great friends. And I wanted celebrate what a cool girl she is.. also that’s this melancholic part. And that’s rock’n’roll to. 

What are your expectations of this release and what audience do you want to reach with it?
It’s just such a tuff business now because there are so many great bands and artists and songwriters this days. More than ever before. This Americana Blues Roots music is growing a lot. It’s very popular in Benelux county’s like Holland, Luxembourg and Belgium. But also in Germany. It’s growing pretty quickly in Finland but also Russia. I only hope that I get more gigs because of this record, I know people not buy records anymore this days, but I do hope this release can give me more gigs. Specially in Benelux. Because I see quiet many American Roots bands are coming there, also Germany. I still feel strong and health  to play gigs and travel. Play more places, and play for more people that’s why I doing this for.. that’s my expectation of this new record to, to keep going on that way.

I guess you’re going on tour with this album,? Anywhere, where can we see you on stage? What are your further plans for this and next years?
I’m doing some gigs in Finland, but normally in December I’m up to Lapland in the far north. In some ski resorts. In usual ,normal times, we get a lot tours in England. They like Roots music a lot there. Usual I’m a whole month up there. Now we just  have to wait because it’s not sure the situation is getting any better with this pandemic at all. Nothing, and also that English tour, is for sure now. We made reservation, but it’s still not sure anymore… I hope pretty soon, because otherwise I will be without work next month.

Are there any other project next to Joe Vestich band in the near future? Tell more about it?
What I normally doing , and hope is going to happen is, next to the ski season up North. In the middle of the winter I go to USA. I go to Pennsylvania where I grow up, and going to Florida. And I want to go to Texas. He producer work with all the big artists there, we do couple gigs with John in Texas and then we come back here in Finland for a few weeks, and hopefully in Europe. If I can find a booking agent there. I hope to set up some gigs in Belgium and Holland to. And come with John , and a Finish band to Europe next summer.. 

After all these years, do you still have some ‘end goal’ or ambitions? Something you want to do, but not doing before or something?
The times when I really feel good is on a gig. When you up there with the band playing and you making people happy, that’s after all those years still my goal and ambition.  When they smile, dance and have fun that’s a real thrill for me. Nothing have changed for me in that way. I liked play in Russia, the crowd that have fun, after all this year it’s still my biggest ambition.

With all you experience what is your advice to young artist who look up at what you have done and still doing?
I would just say, believe in yourself. Don’t ever give up, and stay away from alcohol and drugs. At least, don’t let it take control. I have seen , especially in Finland, seen guys falling down because just too much alcohol. It’s getting better with younger musicians, but from the older generations I have seen guys go down because they made alcohol and drugs control their lives.. Soo also be healthy, that’s another advice I would like to give. It’s a tuff job to be on the route all the time. For me exercise is very important I seen a lot people my age going down because they did not care about themselves. That’s pity.  Soo you have to be healthy in this kind of business but for you musicians just believe in yourself, in every way. And just go for it, no matter what. It’s in your heart or blood, you just have to go for it!

That’ s a wonderful advice to end this interview. I hope to see you on stage in Belgium in one of the nice clubs we have here, and good luck with you upcoming record. Is there anything you want to say to our readers?
I really hope to see you, I never been in Benelux. I have meet some Belgium and Holland people and also Luxembourg. When I started university here there were a lot guys from those country’s here. Soo yes  I just hope to Belgium, and meet you all…

Dvkes - Terug kunnen optreden is een ambitie op zich, en zelfs een doel om zoveel mogelijk mensen te bereiken

Na het bejubelde debuut (“Push Through”) staat DVKES (uit te spreken als Dukes) te trappelen met een nieuwe plaat. De band die over een stevige portie talent beschikt (Humo’s Rock Rally, De Nieuwe Lichting 2020 en opgepikt door KEXP) nam producer Micha Volders (Whispering Sons, The Sore Losers) onder de arm voor de tweede langspeler. Volders trok de band uit zijn comfortzone en het resultaat is een eigenzinnige mix van krautrock, psychedelica en vroege elektronica. Indie pur sang!
DVKES verrast bovendien door vrouwenstemmen toe te voegen aan het instrumentarium. Vrouwenstemmen?  Ja, én niet van de minste! Lara Chedraoui (Intergalactic Lovers), Naomi Symons (Reena Riot) en Ciska Vanhoyland (Mon-o-Phone) wilden maar al te graag samenwerken met dit Antwerpse trio.
De hypnotiserende grooves, het snijdende gitaargeluid, de weidse synths en de catchy songs worden in een smaakvol atypisch jasje gestoken. Je hoort onweerstaanbare indierock met een knipoog naar Talking Heads, Raymond Scott, Tame Impala, Goat en Devo.
Naar aanleiding van de release van ‘Echoplasm’ hadden we een fijn gesprek met zanger/gitarist Joos Houwen, ook over de toekomstplannen, invloeden en inspiratiebronnen.

De band die over een stevige portie talent beschikt. “Humo’s Rock Rally”, “De Nieuwe Lichting 2020” en opgepikt door “KEXP” , zijn maar een paar voorbeelden, hoe groot was die impact van al die voorbeelden om te groeien als band?
Hoe groot die impact is, is een moeilijk om te meten. Het heeft uiteraard wel deuren voor ons geopend in de zin dat we wat radio airplay kregen. Dat is met de vorige plaat niet het geval geweest. Door deelname aan die wedstrijden leerden meer mensen ons kennen. Daardoor konden we meer gaan spelen. Daar zijn ook contacten uit ontstaan, waardoor we gemakkelijker partners hebben gevonden om die nieuwe plaat aan de man te brengen.

Met jullie debuut ‘Push Through’ bewezen jullie uit het heel goede hout gesneden te zijn, hoe waren de algemene reacties?
Die debuutplaat is onverwacht goed ontvangen geweest, zowel door pers als publiek. Heel mooie reviews…. Dat is wel heel fijn voor een eerste plaat. We zijn nog steeds blij met de vorige plaat en spelen er live nog altijd verschillende nummers uit.

Dat brengt  ons inderdaad bij de nieuwe plaat ‘Echoplasm’ , zijn er geen extra zenuwen? Want je weet wat ze zeggen over ‘die tweede moeilijke’, omdat de eerste een succes was, liggen bij sommigen de verwachtingen heel hoog?
Ik begrijp dat, maar we hebben onszelf daarom geen extra druk opgelegd. Je probeert uiteraard een plaat zo goed mogelijk te maken, dus een beetje druk is er uiteraard. Bij iedere nieuwe plaat moet je gewoon jezelf opnieuw bewijzen. De opnames van deze plaat zijn wel heel moeilijk verlopen. We zijn aan de nieuwe plaat beginnen schrijven en halverwege het proces heeft een van de gitaristen er om persoonlijke reden de stekker uit getrokken. Daardoor heeft het allemaal wat langer geduurd. In 2019 zijn we de studio ingegaan voor die nieuwe plaat en halverwege het proces zijn we gestopt omdat onze drummer ziek was. Hij heeft kanker gehad. In februari 2020 was de plaat klaar en dan zaten we plots met een virus dat nog steeds een invloed op ons leven heeft. De tweede plaat was dus een moeilijke bevalling, maar niet perse op creatief vlak. 

Corona is een ‘dankbaar’ onderwerp voor journalisten ? nu, hoe heb je deze tijden doorstaan? Heeft dat geen rem gezet op jullie als band, want jullie waren pas echt aan het groeien? Ben je er sterker uit gekomen als band?
Tijdens de pandemie hebben we vooral de nieuwe nummers gerepeteerd omdat er shows in de agenda stonden, maar die shows werden telkens weer gecanceld. Nieuw materiaal schrijven in de periode vond ik erg moeilijk. Er stond al een plaat klaar en de toekomst was zo onduidelijk. De ziekte van Antoni maakte het niet gemakkelijker. Het heeft ons wel dichter bij elkaar gebracht. We beseften dat wat we samen doen, een soort van privilege is , een geluk. Plots voelde het aan alsof alles met een vingerknip kon weggenomen worden van ons. De herstelling van Antoni, hij was ondertussen ook vader geworden, dat heeft op ons allemaal een enorme impact gehad. We hebben echt beseft wat we hebben aan elkaar. Het leek zelfs alsof corona gewoon een futiliteit was in vergelijking met de gezondheidsproblemen van Antoni.

Wat muziekstijl betreft, valt er op DVKES eigenlijk niet echt een label te kleven, wel veel post punk/krautrock gerelateerd? Vanwaar die voorliefde voor die toch typische jaren ’80 muziek?
Die sound is organisch gegroeid. We proberen met elke nieuwe plaat iets nieuws te doen. En dan gaat het vooral over de verpakking van de songs. Die neigt wel naar die’80s sound. Dat heeft misschien ook te maken met onze producer Micha. Hij heeft aan die plaat, samen met ons, zijn eigen kleur gegeven. Een groot deel van die sound, dat experimenteren, komt door zijn invloed. Ik wil niet teveel uitweiden over die technische kant, maar hij heeft daar dus zeker een experimenteel kantje aan toegevoegd. Het is dus niet perse een voorliefde voor de jaren ’80.

Micha zijn invloed klinkt zeker door, maar wie zijn je persoonlijke grote invloeden? En de invloeden van de andere bandleden?
Iedereen heeft zijn eigen invloeden, daarom is het voor mij moeilijk te antwoorden voor de rest. Voor mij persoonlijk is Devo bijvoorbeeld een grote invloed. Talking Heads, komt er ook in voor.  Ik ben ook een grote fan van Serge Gainsbourg, dat komt misschien minder naar voor in de sound op de plaat. Of misschien eerder onbewust. Ook Tame Impala komt terug in een nummer als “Undercover”. Maar het gebeurt zonder er bij na te denken. Vraag me om iets te schrijven in de stijl van bijvoorbeeld Tame Impala, dan lukt dat niet…

In bepaalde media worden ook die vergelijkingen gemaakt met bands als Talking Heads, Raymond Scott, Tame Impala, Goat en Devo. Ik hou niet van ‘namedropping’ maar hoe sta je zelf tegenover die vergelijkingen?
Er zijn zeker bepaalde zaken die kloppen, zoals Tame Impala en Goat. De vergelijking met Goat heeft ook veel te maken met de dames die zingen op onze plaat. Goat heeft ook zangeressen. De “female backing vocals” , waren trouwens ook een idee van Micha. Maar elk bandlid heeft wel andere favoriete artiesten. Er zal zeker en vast iets kloppen van die vergelijkingen. Ik vind het geen slechte vergelijking. Integendeel! Raymond Scott klopt zeker. Hij was de hoofdinvloed voor de elektronische klanken op de plaat. 

Mij valt vooral dat aanstekelijke op, maar ook dat jullie de comfortzone durven verlaten, trekt me nog het meest over de streep. Een bewuste keuze?
Merci! Het aanstekelijke is bewust. Ik zoek altijd naar een “hook” voor de nummers. De comfortzone? Ik beluister graag platen waar je een lijn vind in de sound, dat lukt bij ons niet direct. We schrijven vanuit verschillende invalshoeken. Daardoor staan er dus ook verschillende dingen op de plaat. Waardoor we inderdaad die comfortzone verlaten. Maar dat vind ik wel leuk om te doen eigenlijk. Maar bewust? Nee, dat niet.

DVKES verrast inderdaad  door vrouwenstemmen toe te voegen aan het instrumentarium. Vrouwenstemmen? Kun je daar iets meer over vertellen? Hoe heb je die toptalenten gevonden?
We waren voor de opnames al van plan om iets te doen met vrouwenstemmen. Met Lara heb ik een persoonlijke connectie, in die zin dat ik eens vervanging heb gedaan bij Intergalactic Lovers op gitaar. En ook onze drummer Antoni is al op tour geweest met hen. Naomi is dan weer een ex-collega van mij. We gaven les op dezelfde school. Ciska kennen we via Micha. Wij zijn nog altijd heel dankbaar dat ze wilden meedoen!

Jullie doen het grote werk, en zij hebben wel een meerwaarde aan de plaat. Gaan die ook mee live optreden?
Ze zijn zeker een meerwaarde! Ze hebben samen met ons de sound van de plaat gevormd. Live doen ze niet allemaal mee. Ciska komt uit Limburg. Niet zo praktisch om te repeteren. Naomi doet wel mee. Lara wil graag, maar ze is zelf met een plaat bezig geweest en heeft gezondheidsproblemen gekend. Het komt er sowieso wel eens van! Maar er doen wel 3 dames mee op het podium. Mijn vriendin Nathalie Wijnen zingt mee. Ze heeft ook het artwork van de plaat gemaakt. Naomi zingt dus mee en ook Tessa Vanhees. Tessa heeft ook gezongen op de plaat. Dat is de vriendin van onze drummer.

Wat zijn eigenlijk je persoonlijke verwachtingen over deze nieuwe plaat? Of waar hoop je op?
Ik ga niet teveel hopen. Want ik leg de lat niet graag te hoog wat verwachtingen betreft. Ik hoop gewoon dat we veel mogen spelen. Daar kijken we echt naar uit. Afgelopen zomer hebben we wat gespeeld, maar laat ons hopen dat daar een vervolg op komt. Dat is eigenlijk wat ik nog het meest hoop dat de impact van die nieuwe plaat zal zijn.

De twee shows in Vooruit, Gent (met Ramkot) zijn ondertussen uitverkocht, niet teveel zenuwen daardoor, schept dat niet extra hoge verwachtingen dan?
We zijn ontzettend blij dat we die shows kunnen doen. Op zich ligt de druk niet echt bij ons omdat we de mensen moeten warm maken voor de hoofdact. Maar we gaan alles uit de kast halen om het publiek in te pakken uiteraard.

Hoe groot was de honger om terug live op te treden eigenlijk , en hoe was de echte live ervaring na al die tijd ?
Ik moet toegeven dat ik toch zenuwachtig was bij dat eerste optreden. Het was zo lang geleden. Ik had het gevoel dat ik op een of andere manier opnieuw moest beginnen. Ik was ook vergeten wat adrenaline doet met mijn lichaam en geest.  Na het optreden naar huis rijden en niet kunnen slapen tot een uur of vijf, diep onder de indruk van dat optreden. Het was dus ergens stresserend, maar ook mooi. Ik besefte opnieuw waarom we het doen.

Ik heb van bepaalde bands zelfs vernomen dat ze de indruk hadden dat ze bepaalde skills terug moesten ‘’aanleren’’ als het ware, dat alles een beetje stroever ging in repetities en bij dat eerste optreden, was dat bij jou ook zo?
Bij de repetities heb ik dat wel ondervonden. Ik wou tijdens het jammen wat improviseren en dacht ‘tiens dat lukt precies niet goed meer’. Als ik iets in mijn hoofd heb, kan ik dat spelen. Maar door lang stil te liggen, lukte dat niet meteen. Ik heb tijdens de lockdown veel gespeeld, maar niet op het scherp van de snee. Het is gelukkig teruggekomen! 

Hebben jullie tijdens die periode dat je niet kon optreden, streaming gedaan en hoe sta je tegenover dat fenomeen? Is de drempel om iets te ontdekken bijvoorbeeld niet gemakkelijker via die weg?
Met DVKES hebben we geen streams gedaan. We hebben via een projectsubsidie van de overheid wel een show gedaan in 4AD in Diksmuide. We wilden dat graag doen met een echt publiek en hebben de streams links laten liggen. Met een andere band (STATUE) heb ik wel een stream gedaan. Dat was op zich leuk om te doen, maar ook beetje raar. Wat de drempel betreft; die is inderdaad lager. Je kan gemakkelijk een nieuwe band ontdekken als toeschouwer. Ik denk ook dat je gemakkelijk nieuwe mensen kan leren kennen met dezelfde muzikale interesse. Dat laagdrempelige is wel interessant, maar pre-corona bestonden streams ook al. De AB doet dat al heel lang dacht ik. Door de pandemie was het even de enige manier om een optreden te beleven, maar het is en blijft toch niet hetzelfde.

Om die lijn door te trekken naar sociale media (Facebook en zo) of Spotify , hoe groot is de impact op jullie als band?
Het medium zelf is vrij praktisch, je kunt de mensen die geïnteresseerd zijn gemakkelijker bereiken. Maar er is ook een overaanbod. Dat maakt het moeilijk! Zowel voor Spotify als voor sociale media. Voor de komst van sociale media zal het ook moeilijk geweest zijn om er uit te springen. Ik heb alleszins een haat-liefdesrelatie met sociale media.

Ik had ook een vraag die ik aan menig Gentse band stel, zit er iets in het water in Gent dat er zoveel rock en andere interessante bands ontstaan daar?
PFOS? Haha.. nee maar dat is eigenlijk een beetje in elke grote stad denk ik. Je legt gemakkelijker contact met gelijkgestemde en er is meer infrastructuur. Goede zalen, interessante cafés,…Er zijn meer ontmoetingen en misschien beïnvloeden mensen elkaar meer in de stad. Dat geldt niet alleen voor Gent. Denk aan Antwerpen, Brussel, Luik,..

Wat zijn de verdere plannen, naast enkele shows met Ramkot?
Er staan nog shows gepland, twee shows in Nederland. Ook in De Zwerver in Leffinge (15/01), Café Café in Hasselt (25/11) en De Wollewei in Turnhout (27/11). Er zit nog veel leuks aan te komen, maar daar kan ik nog niet veel over zeggen. Daarnaast gaan we ook verder werken aan nieuwe nummers. Ik moet bekennen dat ik weinig geschreven heb in de pandemie. Veel mensen hebben zich gesmeten om nieuwe songs te schrijven tijdens die periode, ik dus niet. Maar nu die shows terug in aantocht zijn, zie ik het weer helemaal zitten om opnieuw te schrijven.

Wat zijn de uiteindelijke ambities, is er iets als een einddoel dat je voor ogen hebt?
Zoals ik daarnet al heb aangehaald probeer ik die verwachtingen niet te hoog gespannen te houden. We zullen wel zien. Het heeft geen nut de lat te hoog te willen leggen. We zijn vooral blij dat we terug kunnen gaan optreden, dat is al een grote ambitie op zich in deze tijden. We willen zoveel mogelijk harten veroveren op die manier. Ik leg die lat bewust niet te hoog, want als die verwachtingen niet ingelost worden kun je alleen maar teleurgesteld zijn. We zien wel wat er komt.

En ambities naar het buitenland toe?
Natuurlijk! Dat zou cool zijn. We hebben twee shows in Nederland volgend jaar, het is een start van wie weet.. geen idee. Maar buitenland zeker!

Pics homepag @Natalie Wijnen

Ik hoop het voor jullie, maar misschien is het wel goed de lat niet te hoog te leggen om niet te hard te worden ontgoocheld. Bedankt voor dit fijne gesprek

Jules Maxwell - To play regularly but to do it at home and invite small audiences to come to you, that would excite me as an ambition for the future

Jules Maxwell is a composer and keyboard player with Dead Can Dance. His solo album Nocturnes is available from 5th March and his album ‘Burn’ with Lisa Gerrard is available from 7th May.
We have write a review about the single ‘Noyalain’ , that you can read here .
Of course Jules Maxwell is a top composer who is at home in many markets and is working on many projects. We had a nice chat with Jules about his recent releases. We also went back to the past and looked at future plans.

Although you  studied music at school, it was while you was studying for a Political Science degree at Queen’s University in Belfast (Maxwell is from Bangor, Northern Ireland) that you  became involved with making plays for the drama society.  You had always been interested in drama and theatre and making music, so this trinity of creative arts became central to you  extensive work with a whole host of different genres. Can you tell something more about it?
I’ve always been interested in drama and I believe that there is a vital connection between drama and music. I sometimes think I am more interested in drama than I am in music. I hear drama in great music whether it be in Teenage Kicks by The Undertones or Finlandia by Sibelius. I also believe there are connections to be had in dance. In 2008 I was taking part in a music and dance improvisation workshop with French percussionist Lê Quan Ninh and Kirstie Simson in London. Before we began, Ninh reminded us musicians of the importance of listening before playing. “The first thing a musician accompanying dance must do is listen” he told us. “Because dance is full of music already”.
So throughout the years making music for theatre plays and dance performances has always been an integral source of inspiration for me.

Most people know you from you work with Dead Can Dance,  can you tell something more about this? The high and lows?
Playing with Dead Can Dance has many highs. To be inside the music is a great privilege. To understand the workings of it has been a revelation for me, teaching me much about the power of simplicity. To be able to watch the audience at the shows from the stage is an amazing experience. And to play some incredible venues throughout the world, from open air amphitheatres on the edge of the Acropolis in Athens to The Ryman Auditorium in Nashville.  I also believe that Lisa and Brendan are two of the most important singers of their generation and it is an honour to make music with them.  Touring can be tough particularly if like me you have a young family at home.

In 2018, You emerged from the shadows with Your debut album's release, the eclectic, personal and intriguing, “Songs from The Cultural Backwater”. It was a success? Did it open some more doors? and was this a reason to step out of the shadows even more?
I had already quietly released two or three other albums before 2018 but Songs From The Cultural Backwater was the first album where I sang my own songs. Prior to that my albums featured other singers. So in that respect it did feel like a step out of the shadows for me. We had been living in a cafe in Picardie in Northern France and I had been performing monthly solo concerts for 3 or 4 years in the cafe, so it felt like an easy transition to make once the record was released. I was encouraged by the response to the album and yes, it has emboldened me to sing more and see what doors open for me as a singer.  

You’ve been forming a strong partnership with Lisa Gerrard - both sharing the creative realization that theatrical disciplines like improvisation and exploration are at the heart of your music, is that correct? How did this cooperation going?
Lisa and I improvised a piece called Rising of the Moon as the final encore of the Dead Can Dance shows on the 2012/13 world tour. We both connected with each other during that process. She is an amazing person to improvise with. Her voice is so versatile and nuanced and her conviction is second to none. It always feels charged and important.

Your latest release, Nocturnes, due to be released on the newly formed Archangelo Recordings on March 5th, is an album of eight instrumental songs, how where the main reactions on this release?
Nocturnes was started long before but came to fruition during the 2020 lockdown. I had made a few quiet piano pieces for a dance company called Vincent Dance Theatre in Brighton and these formed the backbone to the work. I am very proud of it and it has got some amazing reviews. We are releasing a limited edition double vinyl version of Nocturnes and it’s second volume follow up Cycles in March 2022.

There is also a new release ‘Burn’, can you tell me more about this release?
Burn is the result of a session Lisa Gerrard and I did for an album with The Mystery of the Bulgarian Voices. We had 4 songs on that album but several other ideas had emerged during the session which didn’t get used. Together with producer James Chapman I was able to shape a further 7 songs and these became the Burn album. It’s completely different to Nocturnes and Songs From The Cultural Backwater.  It’s euphoric and quite electronic. It feels like an early eighties record to me.

Our writer has written a review of the single ‘Noyalain’ He wrote: ''It's not a track that leaves you cold, but one that gives you goosebumps. It is electronic, threatening, haunting and it has a vague hint of Vangelis. The review can be read here
I have read this statement in an interesting interview you had:’’ One of the really interesting things for me as a composer is just to always acknowledge how simple much of that music is. And that simplicity for me is kind of the holy grail’’; can you tell us some more about this statement?
Working with Dead Can Dance taught me that you can create very complex sounding music with two or three very simple elements. I believe that simplicity allows the listener room to bring themselves to the work and that can be exciting. In my experience it’s much harder than it seems to be simple. We find it difficult not to complicate things in life.

We are still living in strange times with this pandemic, which just doesn't seem to go away. How did you get through this period as a musician, composer and human being? Did it bring you inspiration? The positive and negative sides of this crisis for you?
The oddest part of the pandemic for me as an artist was to be told to “Stay Safe”. As if  staying safe would do me good. I believe that artists have a responsibility not to make safe decisions in order to make good authentic work. So that has been odd. I can’t stand online chats with people and I have missed the art of assembly. It was a joy to be at a recital recently in London with an audience of 1000 people just being quiet together. That’s a very powerful thing which we didn’t have for a while.

Making plans is still difficult now, here the cultural sector has it difficult also again … What are the further plans?
Dead Can Dance will tour Europe a lot in 2022 and I have the pleasure of opening for them on many of the shows, performing from Nocturnes and Songs From The Cultural Backwater. I am also planning to perform some shows with Lisa in late 2022 in which we will re-create the Burn album and take it further and deeper.

Next to the project with Lisa Gerrard, are there other project you busy with? Please tell us more about it?
I am working with a wonderful Fado singer called Lina from Lisboa on a new album with James Chapman. I am also creating an album with Jason Cooper who is the drummer from The Cure. Both should be released in early 2023 hopefully.

After all this years, and success , do you still have ambitions or ‘end goals’, things you want to do in the far future? Any other releases coming up?
The model we had in France of living and playing in a cafe interests me. To play regularly but to do it at home and invite small audiences to come to you. That would excite me as an ambition for the future.

I think some composers or musicians will see you as a as a source of inspiration. With all the experience you have, what advice would you give them?
Show interest in people and listen more than play …

Nick Hudson - My background is as much in cinema and literature as it is in music and within my songwriting I'm very cognizant of how I place color, texture, narrative, dynamism, imagery etc

‘Front of Human Fractures' is Nick Hudson's first solo album. The release starts from the point of view of a queer man in the late 1930s. A melting pot of compositions for piano and two violins. Hudson is a prolific figure of the British underground scene. He is best known as the front man of the art-rock band The Academy Of Sun, which released the epic 'Quiet Earth' last year to critical acclaim .Hudson has also worked with Wayne Hussey (The Mission) and Matthew Seligman (Bowie, Tori Amos, Morrissey), NYC's Kayo Dot, David Tibet (Current 93), Asva, Canadian queercore icon GB Jones and Massive Attack's Shara Nelson.
You can read the review of 'Front of Human Factures' here.  
We had a nice chat with Nick about that release, how he survived corona times till now, his opinion about Brexit and the future plans.

‘Front of Human Fractures’ was you newest solo album , of course you already busy quite some years, tell us a little bit more about how it all started? And more about yourself?
It just happens to be my first solo album in around five years.  I'd finished a five-album cycle called The Phoenix Archaeologies in 2016, with a record called Ganymede In A State Of War, which was based on an unproduced play I wrote in Berlin earlier that year, after falling for one of the ushers at The Berliner Ensemble, where I was spending time with Robert Wilson's entourage.  I'd spent the subsequent five years developing The Academy Of Sun and after having toiled for twenty months on our vast double album The Quiet Earth, I felt compelled to work smaller and more intimately, and thus Font Of Human Fractures was teased out of the vapors.

Next to working together with big artists, you also well know as lead singer of The Academy of Sun, how is it with the band right now?
I don't know!  Half of them moved to a different hemisphere at various points throughout the pandemic and I myself am currently somewhat nomadic so even getting in a room together would require military strategizing right now.  That said, we've had an incredibly active few years in both live and recorded output so I think that entity can relax a little while.  It'll re-energies at some point.

What are the low and highs true all this years?
Of the pandemic years?  The highs were constituted by the forging of deeper, more compassionate friendships, and by subjecting myself to over a hundred films in the first lockdown.  And finishing a novel before I turned forty.  For which I'm still pursuing a publisher.  The lows were, as for many of us, innumerable: risking bed sores by embroidering the seat of my armchair to my rump as I stared forlornly at one of four walls in sepulchral silence for months on end, empty buckets of ice cream swooning a sad lament; missing my family, missing performing and playing music with people.  I did manage to issue a phenomenal amount of music though, which I guess suggests that creating is a necessity.  I didn't, nor did any of us, need such a harsh task master to hammer home this point, though.

This COVID got us all, but how did you ‘survive’ it?
Ice cream. Cinema. Cooking.  Whiskey.  Writing.  Studying.  We're all irrevocably changed by it, even if present circumstances propose a simulacrum of the before-times. 

You have made your solo album right in the middle of the pandemic, why not wait any longer?
I recorded most of it before.  And there was nothing else to do.  In times of duress and instability, artists create.  It's not a vocation as much as it's a compulsion.

I thought it was a very beautiful record.  A record that sounds fairy-tale like and shows some mysticism, darkness in a melancholic, alienating framework. Colourful and visual even. It is all very sophisticated. You are confronting light and darkness, is that conscious or not? What is your opinion about this?
Thank you very much indeed!  My background is as much in cinema and literature as it is in music and within my songwriting I'm very cognizant of how I place color, texture, narrative, dynamism, imagery etc.

What was the general reaction to the record
Honestly, I'm humbled by the response.  It seems to touch people very deeply.  I've had some very personal messages stating that certain songs have kept people going through awful times.  What better response could one hope for?  The Quietus declared that there's nobody around making music quite like this right now, which was a beautiful and kind sentiment to behold.

You have not been idle, meanwhile there is already a new record, ‘K69996ROMA:EP’ Can you tell us more about it? Is there a story behind it?
Artist tend to function reasonably well in isolation. They need it, in fact.  So dare I say many artists may have fared better during lockdown, given the conditions were close cousins of their natural state anyway, haha.  I had long wanted to sharpen my skills with MIDI and so during Lockdown One I threw myself into programming and found it a conducive tool for exorcising the more aggressive, rhythmic side of my compositional interests.  Plus after years of collaboration I wanted to make something entirely hermetic.  I'm a scholar of European cinema. Via all of these strands the tapestry that became the K69996ROMA:EP was woven.  The title tracks addresses the death of Pasolini. We Darken Horses casts Chris Marker's La Jetee under a quasi-pornographic light and If I Get Killed... is an abstract framing of the allegations that Alain Delon had a direct investment in the death of his bodyguard in the sixties.  (I'm not adopting any particular stance in this mythology, lest I provoke the ire of Mr Delon.)

Why a new album so soon after the previous release?
I have a huge backlog of music courtesy of being incarcerated in my studio flat for two years.  Plus the two releases share a gene pool.

What was the general reaction to the record
Confusion, excitement, fear.  Haha.  Adria Goycoolea, a magnificent filmmaker, created an extraordinary video for the Pasolini track, which has met justifiably rapturous responses.  He's brilliant and you should check out his other work.

Besides the pandemic, there is also the Brexit, which is causing some problems I heard in the news. How do you feel about this Brexit?
How do I feel about Brexit?  I feel like dragging down the sky with a net of poisoned fishhooks and pulverizing with thunder clouds the duplicitous and racist disaster-capitalist sewer-dwellers who brought it into being, alongside their tech-bro enablers and all the Bannons and their kin.  It's a wrecking ball.  I hate it, and I hate its lieutenants.

Does it make it difficult for you to gain a foothold in the rest of Europe? 
I'll find my way to Europe regardless.  But yes, there is extra bureaucracy.

It’s something I have read in an other interview. Can you tell me more about your interest in the former Soviet Union?
It sprang from my love of Tarkovsky.  Plus being born in the eighties one was very much aware of The Cold War in the air, even as a child.  Then I was continually drawn to Brutalism.  And I'm something of a low-key scholar of nuclear history.  I taught myself how to read the Cyrillic alphabet in between flipping burgers as a chef a few years back.  And the landscape, the cinema, the sheer vastness of the landmass, the fact it encompasses over ten time zones, the autonomous regions and their shamanic traditions, and all of this aside from but in addition to a beguilement at their political history, especially over the last fifty years.  You may have noticed there's a track called Surkov's Dream on Font Of Human Fractures.  Also my ex- was related to Tolstoy.

Let’s talk about the future, what are the future plans for you and other projects you’re doing?
I've just moved house so I'm deciding where to go next.  I'm developing a graphic novel with a Norwegian artist, based on a short script I wrote.  I'm in the early stages of developing a commission with a Moscow-based dance company.  A film I scored will have premiered by the time you read this.  I'm stepping away from music for a while to repair and recover from a densely hectic few years and to focus on writing.

Next to solo album and The Academy of Sun, are there any other projects anyway?
Aside from the above, I intend to get a film made and gradually evolve my Tarkovsky opera, which has been glacially forging itself since last summer.

To end this interview, what are your future ambitions , and do you have something like an end goal?
I intend to move to Europe, work more in theatre and film.  I would like to write for full orchestra and/or choir at some point.  Get novels published.  I'll likely live in Russia for a time.  I want to make crocodile ceviche.  Live in the Arctic for a while in total isolation.  Scott Walker reEnd goal?  Nah, there's no destination, just a journey.  Maybe I'll adopt the Peter Cook method and cease all activity save for phoning into regional radio shows as a fictional Nordic mariner.  Thank you for the awesome questions!

Thank you for answer them, hopefully we can see each other soon in better times,  and drink a couple Belgium Beers instead of Corona ?

donderdag 11 november 2021 14:36

Tussen Mijn Oren

Walrus is de band rond Geert Noppe die al toe is aan hun derde cd nu . Een muzikaal verleden heeft hij bij Yevgueni (zang/toetsen) en toen deze van Klaas Delrue een sabbatjaar inriep , legde hij zich volledig toe op Walrus . Dit resulteerde in 'terug naar het begin'  fijngevoelige, stekelige als stevige Nederlandstalige pop, die charmeert door muzikale rijkdom en beheerste orkestratie.
2020 moest een druk jaar worden voor Geert Noppe, in zijn ontelbare projecten. Corona besliste anders. Geert bleef niet bij de pakken zitten, hij werkte noest verder aan een nieuwe plaat van Walrus. 'Tussen mijn oren' kwam uit in een  productie van Alex Callier. Opnieuw een interessante parel van een man die  op eenvoudig pakkende wijze vertelt en verhaalt  uit het dagdagelijks leven.
“Zomer zonder klank” is een sterke opener. Walrus tekent meteen voor die troubadours , emotievol een verhaal vertellen, waarvan je stil wordt en/of lekker heupwiegt. Nergens klinkt het overdreven , integendeel Walrus neemt je in, luister maar naar “Held”, “Tussenin” of het opzwepende “Tussen mijn oren”.  Walrus balanceert telkens tussen die innemendheid en extravertie.
Na vijf jaar brengt Walrus een radiovriendelijke schijf uit; staat open voor fijngevoeligheid en je zingt de songs prompt lekker mee. “Kauwen in de Kerselaar” en “Breek het maar af” overtuigen in dit sfeertje.
Afsluiten doet Walrus met het bijzonder gevoelig pakkende “Misschien ben ik al dood”.

Blijf gerust nog vele jaren leven, beste Walrus. We hebben bands en artiesten als jullie nodig, die op eenvoudige wijze ons hart ontroeren.
'Tussen Mijn Oren' zet zijn stempel op de kleinkunst waarbij een levensverhaal wordt verteld en ons inneemt. Sterk.

Tracklist: Zomer zonder klank - Held - Tussenin - Schets -Hier - Dansen uit de maat - Dit was ons huis - Breek het maar af - Kauwen in de Kerselaar - Tussen mijn oren - Misschien ben ik al dood

Tussen Mijn Oren
Eigen Beheer

donderdag 11 november 2021 14:30


Koala is een collectief aan getalenteerde muzikanten, die een brede,  kleurrijke sound bieden.
Het project rond Carlos Dyckmans werd opgericht in 2003. De band bracht al drie studioalbums uit: 'Gravity' (2006), 'Central' (2008) en 'Tall Machines' (2012). Een perfect huwelijk tussen triphop en hiphop blijkt Koala te zijn ,eigenlijk wel meer een uniek concept .
Helaas werd het toen stil rond de band. Tot in 2019 Koala plots van zich liet horen met twee singles, de recensie kun je hier nog eens nalezen. 

En nu zijn ze er met 'Outlaw', de nieuwste release… Op “Passed Death” wordt hiphop gecombineerd met allerhande stijlen, gerugsteund door de uit Cleveland, USA afkomstige rapper Notizz. Een verrassend klinkend nummer.
Vaak wordt de lijn tussen triphop, hiphop en rock bewandeld. Er wordt geflirt met allerlei stijlen als new soul, urban, als global sounds, pop  en jazz. “Je ne suis pas tout” is een mooi voorbeeld.
We menen zelfs een vleugje Franse chanson te herkennen in sommige poëtische songs. ‘Outlaw’ betekend letterlijk buitenbeentje, en dus wordt er ook een vocale aankleding toegevoegd, die je wegvoert naar een dromerige wereld dankzij de stem van Laura Vanden Heede op “Home”. Het poëtische talent van Gert Vandeberghe komt naar boven op bijvoorbeeld “Talk”. Of neem nu het mysterieus, donkere “I Remember you”( feat Notizz, Marieke Lightband, The Black Lodge Collective); de wendingen in het nummer bezorgen je rillingen. Of op “Snow” een song met Notizz en Daniela Fa, hoe alles samenvloeit.
Het zijn allemaal song hoe ingenieus en uiteenlopend Koala tewerk gaat en klinkt.

Wat een boeiende plaat is dit in z’n totaliteit door al die verrassingen, ontdekkingen, variaties en kleurrijke sounds. Knap allemaal. Koala is hoedanook een avontuurlijke band , die muzikaal veel te bieden heeft.


Passed Death (feat Notizz)
Je ne suis pas tout (feat Kreshen)
Malecon (feat Daniela Fa)
Embassy (feat Notizz, Jonas Cozone)
Tsar (feat Marieke Lightband, Notizz)
Talk (feat Gert Vanlerberghe)
East (feat Dan-T, Jonas Cozone) Manenkroon (feat 'Hozo)
Trapped in covid (part 1) (feat Notizz)
Trapped in covid (part 2) (feat 72 Soul)
Home (feat Laura Vanden Heede)
Starlord (feat Notizz, Jana Nys, Jonas Cozone)
I remember you (pt.1)( feat Notizz, Marieke Lightband, The Black Lodge Collective)
Snow (feat Notizz, Daniela Fa)


donderdag 11 november 2021 14:25


Het Belgisch progressieve rockproject Transport Aerian, bekend van werkjes ‘Darkblue’ (2015) en ‘Therianthrope’ (2017) is terug in een nieuwe line-up en een nieuw album ‘Skywound’, ook verkrijgbaar in de reeks shows in België en Nederland.

‘Skywound’ is een conceptalbum waarvan de hoofdthema's gericht zijn op de tragedie van een gewoon liefhebbend koppel dat gevangen zit in turbulente gebeurtenissen in de wereld, een wereld die zich voorbereidt op een oorlog en op de rand staat van een wereldwijde catastrofe. De wereldwijde problemen worden aangehaald, politiek, spiritueel vanuit het gezichtsveld van de mens; het verhaal over het concept van het album kan over ieder van ons gaan.
Muzikaal combineren ze de elementen van klassieke progressieve en hedendaagse heavy experimentele muziek; het is een verkenning van vintage productie-ontwerpen, een post-modernistische tint in de teksten is aanwezig, en het is gemaakt als een naadloos stukje muziek, in de traditie van progressieve rock albums.

Transport Aerian is een band die van vele markten thuis is. Om een verhaal te vertellen moet je ervoor zorgen dat de luisteraar niet wordt afgeleid; het gezelschap dient meteen een mokerslag toe met het episch klinkende “At the cliff”, zowel in de instrumentatie als in de vocals.

Transport Aerian verrast, intrigeert en is dus niet vies van experimentjes. De ballads met Rachel op zang en de akoestische gitaar mijmeringen zijn maar enkele hoogtepunten op deze knappe plaat. Het geheel klinkt gevarieerd, avontuurlijk, mysterieus , licht ingetogen, emotievol als gedreven , explosief , waarbij de registers kunnen worden opengetrokken. Luister maar eens naar “Fracture”, in zijn verschilllende lagen .
“Kutznetsov” legt de klamtoon op het experiment, deels verwijderd van de traditie van progressieve rock. Verder tasten ze de grenzen af  met “Latgalian Gothic”, “Lunatic” en het afsluitende “Skywound”. Een epische afsluiter trouwens.
Het siert de band hoe ze te werk gaan. En de plaat klinkt anders dan het vroegere material, mooi, overtuigend.

Transport Aerian - Shall Not Be (live on Radio Benelux) - YouTube

Tracklist: 1. Shall Not Be (3:15) 2. At the Cliff (4:38) 3. Fracture I (0:40) 4. Lunatic (7:09) 5. Latgalian Gothic (4:21) 6. Falling 20 (3:11) 7. Fracture II (2:13) 8. Kuznetsov (3:53) 9. Fracture III (0:56) 10. The Effect (3:02) 11. Moses (3:49) 12. Fracture IV (1:10) 13. Skywound (5:14)

donderdag 11 november 2021 14:17

Reinhard & Reinhard

Van ’Reinhard & Reinhard' door Reinhard Vanbergen & Rheinhard Roelandt citeren we even de introductie op de bandcamp pagina:  "Dit album is een samenwerking met... een andere Reinhard. Ze gingen samen naar de kleuterschool, en verloren elkaar daarna uit het oog. Via sociale media ontdekte Reinhard Vanbergen de muziek van Reinhard Roelandt toen die dagboekopnames postte van zijn zelfgebouwde modulaire synth, opgenomen op fladderende tapes en kleine vintage speakertjes. Het idee om tracks te bouwen bovenop de modulaire buitenaardse soundscape met akoestische instrumenten leek inspirerend en als een perfecte pasvorm’.
Na het beluisteren van de eerste nummers op het album, zul je blij zijn dat er nog meer komt. De soundscapes van Roelandt's modulaire synths geeft dit album een vreemde buitenaardse trip naar de ruimte. Terwijl de akoestische instrumenten, die we kennen van Vanbergen, je een thuisgevoel bieden. Dit is een album dat zich afspeelt in een kleuterspeelzaal tussen jazz, soundtrack en klassiek. “Verdwaal en vind je terug in deze one-of-a-kind ervaring”, horen we.
Beide componisten zijn van vele markten thuis . De plaat beluister je best in zijn geheel, omdat elke song perfect past op de volgende, als een puzzel; de schakels monden uit in een spookachtige totaalbeleving. Een parel van experimenteel vernuft, die tot de verbeelding spreekt door zijn talrijke variaties. “Rad Resistor”, “Tear Transformer” zorgen voor die verwondering die ze willen bieden, avontuurlijk en gevoelig .
De soundscapes zijn zalvend , strelend en werken verslavend. Wat een fijne beleving.
In hun klankentapijt zijn het twee grootmeesters in experiment, die een muzikaal kunstwerk verwezenlijken.

Tracklist: True Transistor 03:16 Moody Mosfet 03:41 Amber Amplifier 02:47 Rad Resistor 02:27 Rootsy Regulator 01:46 Tear Transformer 03:12 Smooth Sensor 04:42 Ready Rectifier 04:12 Cold Capacitor 04:43 Round Resonator 01:45 Indy Inductor 03:30 Fuzzy Fuse 04:00 Dreamy Diode 03:08

Reinhard & Reinhard
Reinhard & Reinhard

donderdag 11 november 2021 14:12

Standing In the Light of a Brand New Day

Guy Verlinde is een bluesmuzikant die bekend is als solo artiest en als bandleider van The Mighty Gators en The Houserockers. Daarnaast staat hij samen met zijn Blues Brother Tiny Legs Tim aan de Gentse blues scene. Tevens treedt hij op in scholen met zijn educatieve muziekvoorstellingen.  
Daar houdt het niet mee op. Met 'Standing in The Light of a Brand New Day' bracht hij zijn nieuwste solo plaat uit.
Wij hadden een fijn gesprek met Guy. Dit interview kun je hier nog eens nalezen.

De schijf start met een ingetogen intro, waarna een lekker aanstekelijke gitaarriedel de toon aangeeft. Guy heeft een warme stem, die onroert en ons doet wegdromen , o.m. op “Caroline Sings” en “Up on the Mountain”, eentje die je makkelijk kunt meezingen. Het onderstreept de veelzijdige, variërende aanpak van Guy Verlinde als muzikant en composer. De tempowissels zijn intrigerend en boeiend.
Weemoed en melancholie horen we op “The Unsung” , luchtiger klinkt “If I where your God” en “I'm Your Man” is een lekker aanstekelijke blues grass song. De blazersectie  durft een prominente rol innemen. Strijkers horen we op “The way you are”, de mondharmonica zorgt dan weer een andere insteek.
De instrumentatie is magisch mooi; alsook de vertelkracht van Verlinde; zijn vocals raken hoedanook. Het avontuur in de nummers zal de doorsnee bluesliefhebber intrigeren. . “Both Sides of the Blues” zet het kracht bij. “In July” is een bluesy afsluiter, waarover Guy zegt '' Ik wilde de plaat ook laten eindigen met iets sferisch, iets zorgeloos, zodat de mensen, na het beluisteren, een zorgeloos gevoel krijgen." Hij is er met met brio in geslaagd.

Besluit: Guy Verlinde heft met 'Standing in the Light of a brand new day' een afwisselend emotievol overtuigend Plaatje uit.

Tracklist: 01. Breaking Dawn 02. Up on the Mountain 03. Caroline Brings 04. The Unsung 05. I'm Your Man 06. If I Were Your God 07. No More 08. Both Sides of the Blues 09. Surrender to the Groove 10. Last Goodbye 11. The Way You Are 12. Karma's Gonna Kick Your Ass 13. In July

Pagina 4 van 117
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