Slowdive [02/10/2017]

I’ve met with Nick Chaplin and Christian Savill for a brief talk just before their concert in Warsaw, back in October 2017. I must say, I had great time chatting about their break from music and how their children react to Slowdive’s newly found fame.

How are you feeling right now, after coming back and putting out the record after quite some time?

Nick: We kind of got used to it, it’s been 3 years since we did the first shows, but we’re so used to play live again, to me it felt like I’ve been doing this forever. What’s nice is playing the news songs from the new record, having fun playing something different and just seeing the audience react, mostly to the new but also to the old stuff, you never know, do you. Like I remember we went to see Pixies at Primavera and people were reacting mostly to the old song, which is also good.

How is it really, to play your old songs 20 years later? Was it different, was it like you’ve stopped in time, as if the time was not counting?

Christian: We sound exactly the same, but then again, we look pretty horrible, old and horrible.

Nick: We were pretty horrible before.

Christian: True.

Nick: Some of the songs are pretty easy, we obviously had to do some hard work before we’ve got together, we didn’t just decide one day to get back together and then go to a room the following day, it took quite some time to discuss which songs we would like to play and so we picked the well-known and probably easy ones. And once we’ve got through that batch, we went through the slightly tricky ones. With time we’ve forgotten a lot of what we did. But as it turns out it comes back pretty quickly.

That’s why we had to wait 3 years for a new record?

Nick: Yes, cause we had to go through the old songs probably. It took us a bit longer to create the new record, than we wanted to. But we also played a lot more shows than we thought we would and in between shows we had to go back and look after children, to our families. So there was not much time to go to the studio, so we just concentrated on the shows. So yes, it took longer than expected.

Actually when you stopped playing, I was just 4 years old.

Nick: We were mentally only about 4. (Laughter)

I had to dig up some old stuff and some things I’ve read were pretty horrible. 90’s was all about rock and then we went through the pop era all around the world. Do you think you were just ahead of your time?

Christian: No, I think this whole time we were just doing our own stuff. Some bands kind of moved from one popular thing to another. Don’t you think?

Nick: Yes, even when we started and critics were really kind to us, we were doing our own thing. There were bands following the same kind of style before us, we obviously had our own take from there. As Christian said, when the kind of funky drummer thing started, every band was having it in their songs. We never did anything like that. We were moving as far from what was trendy as possible, but I think it’s just what we wanted. Sometimes people have liked it, other times they thought it was shit.

Was it really hard to come back after taking all this criticism?

Nick: Not really, people always ask us, if we came back for some kind of revenge, to show everyone we came back and just fuck you! But no, we haven’t really thought about it, people were just doing their jobs and that’s what this job was at the time, to sell newspapers, so they knocked the band down, made fun of it and people thought it was hilarious and then they moved to a next genre. But that doesn’t exist anymore. We were bumped up about it. If our comeback would not work, we would just go back to work in a computer company.

So you were working in a computer company?

Nick: Yes, we worked in the same office.

That’s cool.

Nick: It’s a company that employs people, who know nothing about computers. That’s why we’ve got jobs there.

Oh yeah, been there done that!

Nick: So yeah, we thought it will be like 8-10 shows, we never hoped we would do another record. We obviously ended up doing a lot more. People wanted to come to our concerts.

I actually checked and Pitchfork has put all of your records in “50 best shoegaze albums of all time” in the top 10. In the social media era, where everything spreads worldwide really fast, like STDs on Coachella, do you think it’s better for musicians?

Nick: It has two sides, on one side it’s too much music out there, I think. It’s hard to find something at the volume that’s acceptable. But the flip side of that is, anybody can be accessible, when before you needed a label, which you don’t necessary need anymore. The trick is, how to get the music out there, for people to find it. For us it was easier, because we have a name, which people with a certain age and certain musical taste have recognize straight away, so when we came back and put the record out, we didn’t have to tell people who we were. For a new artist it’s a lot more work.

How does it feel to be in the spotlight again? With new fans, finding you on Spotify, going to your concerts, taking pictures and following your every step on Instagram?

Nick: We’ve got used to that, but actually Rachel is really good at that, the whole social media thing. I don’t object to it, this is really important now.

Being some sort of famous these days bases on people recognizing you a lot more often, asking for selfies, starring at you. Is there anything you would not accept?

Christian: It never happens to us. It’s good, you can go to a show and literally just go straight to the audience and no one would bother you. It’s mostly Rachel

Nick: Yes, well, it happens to us occasionally. Of course every band has it. When we decided to get back together, we wanted the original five. If one of us didn’t want to do it, then we wouldn’t do it. We all have an equal fair share. But Neil wrote songs and Rachel, for better or for worse, is the girl in the band. The wide media attention is focused on the girl in the band. She doesn’t like that, but we sort of accepted, that’s gonna happen and we can’t avoid it. When we play a concert and someone snaps a photo, we can’t control which picture is going to be published in the article. And we know they all gonna be of Rachel. (Laughter)

Is it hard to marry music and family? Usually when musician start their careers there are no strings attached, no family, just groupies everywhere, at least that’s what I’ve heard.

Christian: When we were younger we were basically living in each other’s pockets. Right now we live in different cities, having families.

Nick: We have a beautiful calendar, which we share and we block out the time we are busy with family or doing other things. So we can look at it and find a period of four days, that we might be able to do something. Me and Christian live quite close to each other. But not together (Laughter), we went through that phase. Simon lives in Cambridge, Neil and Rachel live in the south west. England is not a massive country, but there’s still 4 hours’ drive from ours to Neil’s, he has 2 kids, I have got kids, Christian has got kids, so it is kinda difficult. But at the same time we’re older and some things are easier now, with technology.

Are your kids proud of you?

Nick: They’ve been to our of our shows just recently. Your son loved it, didn’t he?

Christian: Yeah, my boy, he’s 7, loved it, my daughter, who’s 11, was not impressed.

Nick: Mine is slightly younger. My son is 9 and he was a bit overwhelmed by the whole thing, he’s quite sensitive. He was a bit afraid of going into the crowd, so I told him to watch the show from the side of the stage. He was afraid everyone’s gonna look at him. I said “trust me mate, nobody’s even looking at me, everyone’s looking at Rachel.” My little girl is 6, she thought the whole thing was hilarious.

Christian: “Look at daddy’s dumb face!” (Laughter)

Nick: So I think they’re kind of proud, but I think they’re also embarrassed. When you tell people about what you do in life, and we respond, we’re in a band, they ask “what is you’re really do”, so we need to convince them it’s really what we do, just being in a band. Most people can’t see anything between playing in U2 and a band that just plays in pubs. They just can’t understand how you can make a living out of it, when you’re just playing in pubs and not just working too.

That’s weird, UK is actually a house to great musician and a lot of different music.

Nick: Not many people have interest in that. Not many care about music. I know Britain has a history of great music, right now it’s basically just X-Factor and so, they are buying CD’s in a supermarket, not accepting people can make living out of it.

Thank you very much for the talk and have a nice one on stage today!

Heidrik [12/05/2017]

Heidrik is a lovely Faroese artist, with a strong Tim Burtonish esthetic and magical voice. Last year I had a pleasure to meet him and chat a little about his artistry. If you haven’t had a pleasure to get to know his music, you can find it on Spotify / Soundcloud and watch all of his music videos on Vimeo.

You are a man of many talents, a musician, filmmaker, painter, it seems you turn to gold everything you touch. Did you ever consider music school instead of film school?

Thank you very much! No, not really…or I was at this 6 month music course in Denmark so I have done a bit of school regarding music. Film for me was something I felt I needed schooling for. It’s so much technical stuff you have to do to be able to make a movie. So many people involved and it’s a big machine you have to start if you do film. Music you can make alone without problems so that’s why I guess I felt more that film school would be more a thing I would be able to help me regarding film.

“Funeral” is a very intimate album, seems like we can see your soul with every pitch.

Yes, it is a very personal album and I wanted it to be as true as possible. I have been through some things I think I needed to get off my chest. It is a very important album for me because it help me to get closure to a lot of things and helped me move on.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but is the song “Boy” based on true events? It’s truly heartbreaking.

Yes, it is. The song about a boy who died when he was 17 in my home town. He was under constant homophobic bullying and suddenly died and the entire town go silent with guilt by their behavior. I can never forget that morning I heard he died. I was 17 as well and it was such a strange morning. It has sort of haunted me ever since so I felt I had to write the story down. I think it says a lot about us humans and how we behave towards the things we don’t understand or don’t know.

FXxjZXuYtjkMany people, especially young, living in small places, are struggling, when it comes to their sexuality and the world they grow up in. Faroe Islands are not only small, but also isolated.

Yes it’s very hard it small societies I think. Faroe Islands have change a great deal just the past 10 years but when I was a kid, homophobia was a very normal thing. People’s hate and fear was hidden behind religion as an excuse of their behavior. I am just very happy young people in the Faroe Islands wont experience such hate again.

How did moving to Iceland influence your life? Does it inspire you while creating?

It is a lot like Faroe Islands. Just bigger and a bit more modern. I learn a lot here – about myself and about life. I lived in Denmark but I never settled in. I am born and raised around nature and therefor was Iceland perfect for me. I feel very much at home here.

How was to work with Janus Rassmusen?

It was great! he’s is one of my best friends. We known each others since we were teenagers and he has also seen me grow up and therefor could easily relate to the album and help me say what I wanted in the right way. He is seriously one of the best producers around and he’s to humble to for his great talents.

Let’s talk about your inspirations, the cover of “Funeral” reminds me of Tim Burton’s “The nightmare before Christmas”, it’s one of my favorites. Where do you seek inspiration? What helps you most in the process of creating?

That’s funny! Tim Burton and I have the same source of inspiration I think and that’s maybe way you think so. We both are great fans of old black and white silent Berlin movies from the 1920s AND 50s horror movies. So I guess that’s where you may see some resemblance. I find my inspiration in old movies and pictures of old Hollywood stars. The album is called Funeral but I see the album as a very positive album because it’s about letting go and getting peace of mind so you can move on with your life. So I wanted the cover to be beautiful and colorful yet have some of the funeral elements but in a surreal sort of way. So it was not associated to a real funeral but more the symbolic side of a funeral.

You are one of those stars with a pretty unique name, how often is it mispronounced? What was the funniest version of your name?

Well surprisingly it’s not that bad. I think people are quite good at pronouncing it. But I love how polish people have like, cute versions of names so I am called Heniu or Heidriczek. I think that’s adorable 😉

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Warhaus [19/01/2017]

Last year I’ve had a pleasure to interview Maarten Devoldere, known as one of the leading faces of Belgian rock band Balthazar. But Balthazar was not the main topic of our conversation. Maarten decided to create a separate project, called Warhaus and was touring around Europe.

Your solo project had not only a magnetic title, it’s a journey, a dark dream we all secretly would like to live in. What inspired you the most while creating this record?

People I love. People i wanted to love, but couldn’t. Chorine. Pornhub. That Paloma blanca song. My mother. Nights I didn’t remember, so I could refill them up with sweet melody.

Listening to your album I started to wonder, who are the characters you’re writing about. Is there any particular story behind it?

They start quite anecdotal. They’re all about girlfriends or encounters with people. I can link every song to a certain girl, which sounds a bit cliché but yeah, I’m a walking cliché I guess. I try to develop the songs, so they’re recognizable for more people than myself though.

Between the release of Balthazar’s last record and “We Fucked A Flame Into Being” there’s less than 2 year gap, including the European tour and promotions. Did you compose some of the songs in the tour bus?

I worked five years on the album on the side. So I wrote a bit everywhere depending on where I was during those five years. A lot of that time I was on tour, but a lot was written at home as well.

Your vocals have the lead, what about the female voice? I must say, it’s electrifying.

I agree, that’s Sylvie Kreusch, a Belgian singer, who I’ve met on tour. She had an impact on the album in mysterious ways. I guess, I could say she’s a muse, if i believed in that kind of hocus pocus. Which I don’t.

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Are there plans for another record?

Not thinking about that yet. I’ll first make a new Balthazar record with Jinte. That been said as it is a solo project and it’s hard to split as a solo artist. There will probably be coming more before my retirement. [Laughter]

What are the main differences between working solo and creating the record with Balthazar? Do you feel more comfortable recording and performing as Warhaus?

Not really, some things are sweeter, some are not. I guess I like the variation. It pushes you to new directions, whether you like it or not. Playing in a band is about losing the ego and working as a team. Making a solo record is about exaggerating the ego. Which can be fun sometimes.

You’ve played in Poland in 2015 with Balthazar. In February you’ll perform twice, Warsaw and Poznan, in the exact same clubs. Will it be different for you? How do you perceive the Polish crowd?

It’s a different band, it’s a different year and the stars will be aligned differently, so yeah it must be different.

 

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