FROM the working-class neighbourhoods of Brooklyn…
it is to Belgium – where I get to discuss music with Statue. The band has released the video for the track, E. I was interested knowing more about them and the inspirations that go into their L.P., Kasper. They talk about their formation and fond memories from music; whether there are any dates in the dairy – and whether they are coming to the U.K.
The band talk about the scene in Belgium; the artists who inspired them to get into music; what they all hope to achieve throughout this year – I learn how a typical Statue song comes together.
Hi, Statue. How are you? How has your week been?
Bart: Had a good dinner on Monday with some friends.
Emiel/Toni: Crazy-awesome! Just played our first shows of this year. Feels very good to play again.
For those new to your music; can you introduce yourselves, please?
Bart: Think Matrix fight scene music played by guitars not sounding anything like a guitar...
Lennart: ...oh...and please leave those vocals out.
E is out now. What is the story behind the single?
Antoni: It started out as a jam with a nice melody, wide-loud guitars and Rock-kinda drums. But, in the studio, we completely destroyed it...
Made it a bit more dumpster-Rock.
The video is quite quirky and fun! How was it putting it together?
While working on the song in the studio, we realised it would become a very nervous song. We couldn’t stop dancing and talked about fast cars and sports.The guys of Visual Internationals - who’ve worked out the video - came up with a crazy ping pong video-clip idea - and we immediately jumped on it.
Lennart: The recording of the video we’re pretty crazy. We rented the sports hall for a night. So, we had nine hours, a great crew and 480 ping pong balls to put it all together. Afterwards, we went to the swimming pool for two underwater shots. Pretty exhausting but loads of fun. We started at 11 P.M. and we’ve ended at 10.30 A.M. So, we were pretty fuc*ed - but we had to celebrate with some rum and red wine.
Kasper is your new album. What can you reveal about the themes and ideas that inspired its creation?
Bart: The tracks on the album started off, originally, in the likes of our previous album - Calexico Point - and originated naturally in our rehearsal space. Once in the studio, the great interaction with producer Micha Volders and Micha’s take on song structure and sound, triggered us to the more aggressive, robot-like danceable tracks you can hear on the album.
How do songs come together for you? Do you write songs together - or does one person write the songs?
Every song started with one of the guys trying some riff, beat; a groove or whatever you want to name it. Then, the band picks in and start adding where others start toning down again; until the main theme of a song has grown. We start playing it regularly at rehearsals; from there it grows into a song that kept evolving - only taking a final form from the moment it’s recorded for the album (it will appear on).
Jan: Hours and hours of jams. For Kasper, we’ve selected ten ideas out of a-hundred-plus-hours of jams. Then, we come together; go completely insane listening to these crazy jams. Once we’ve selected the most interesting ideas, we start jamming and working on these songs for hours and hours.
Lennart: Every song is a team effort.
Did music come into your lives early? What got you hooked on it?
Bart: I can only speak for myself, but it didn’t come that early. As with many kids of my age, my interest was triggered at the age of sixteen; because I liked ‘guitar’ music - mostly Rage Against the Machine and Nirvana. For me, the reason picking up the bass instead of the guitar - like any sixteen-year-old would do - was that Lennart (yes, the same guy I’m still in with Statue) played in a Nirvana cover band and didn’t have a bass player.
Antoni: As far as I can remember, I’ve always wanted to play music and it never changed. So; I’m not sure what hooked me up. It’s just the most fun thing to do in the world!
Which musicians did you all grow up around? Can you each remember the first album you ever bought?
We listen to very different kinds of music. But, living in Belgium; I think we all listened to bands like dEUS, Millionaire; Evil Superstars…
Emiel: I can’t remember the first album I bought. But; I think it should be something like Rammstein, Papa Roach; Slipknot, Sum 41; Metallica...
When I was fourteen, I started listening to Sonic Youth, Q.O.T.S.A.; Hüsker Du, Radiohead and Dinosaur Jr.
Bart: I didn’t grow up on a certain musician. I have been discovering new music from the moment I started consciously listening to music. The first album I ever bought was Blood on the Dancefloor - Michael Jackson.
Lennart: The first album I ever bought was By the Way – Red Hot Chili Peppers. It got me into guitar-playing. I liked the way John Frusciante approached the guitar. Afterwards, I really got into Tom Verlaine (Television), David Byrne (Talking Heads) and Feist. Oh, Feist...
She has an extraordinary way of playing the guitar. She wants to comfort you and cut your throat at the same time.
Joos: The first album I bought was Purple Pills by D12.
Jan: The Mars Volta - Frances the Mute.
You are based out of Belgium. Is the country quite active in terms of new music?!
Emiel: I believe Belgium is becoming very active in terms of new music. The last five years, the bands have been tripled. So much new music, new bands. Quite interesting but...
Lennart: ...there is a great underground scene with lots of bands with their own sound and vibe. More importantly, some of these bands find their way into the more popular circuits giving the edge to mainstream music (it’s craving for).
Can we see you tour soon? What gigs do you have coming up?
Emiel: We’ll be playing most of the time in Belgium and the Netherlands. We’re slowly working on a team throughout Europe, so we can start playing other countries.
Will you come to the U.K. and play? What do you think of the music here?
Jezusfacory Records will distribute our album in the U.K. I think there are a lot more pubs, venues and bands in the U.K. This increases the creativity and level of the musicians.
Bart: Book us: we will tear down your club.
Antoni: We will come and visit you guys, but your E.U. exit doesn’t make it easy, though.
What do you hope to achieve in 2018?
Emiel: Play nice venues, go on tour; play a lot, play cool audiences; make a lot of fun with the band and the people we get to know on our way!
Jan: Start working on next year’s album!
Have you each got a favourite memory from your time in music - the one that sticks in the mind?
Emiel: I think we have a lot of fantastic memories. But, there is one I still remember it was like yesterday. One time, we played and we stayed at the venue all night partying our heads off. When the morning came, we were all too drunk to drive. Only one of us could, so we all had to get in one little van with all the instruments. Someone got pressed in the trunk and another one had to sit on the roof of the car. Luckily, it was only a ten-minute drive.
Antoni: Playing at Pukkelpop was definitely one of the highlights. But, just playing the music I like with my friends just turns a big smile on my face.
What advice would you give to new artists coming through?
Antoni: Play as much with as many people as you can and do whatever you like.
Bart: You’re the musician: make the music you want to make. Don’t do it for anybody but yourself. Don’t give up.
Joos: Get out there and try to construct a sound of your own.
Lennart: Try. Fail. Fail again. Win.
Do you get much time to chill away from music? How do you unwind?
Antoni: I don’t have much time to chill away or unwind. I don’t think any of us. If we’re not playing with Statue we’re playing in our other bands.
Lennart: As Antoni mentions, we don’t have much time left to listen to music. But, I truly enjoy listening to music on our way to a gig. In the best case; I’d love to dream away to some new albums on my couch with my headphones on...
But that’s pretty rare.
Finally, and for being good sports; you can each choose a song and I’ll play it here (not any of your music - I will do that).
Bart Weyens (Bass): The Fall - The Classical
Emiel Van Den Abbeele (Guitar): Hüsker Dü - Don’t Want to Know If You Are Lonely
Joos Houwen (Guitar): Serge Gainsbourg - En Melody
Antoni Foscez (Drums): Holy Fuck - Tom Tom
Jan Viggria (Guitar): Fu Manchu - Evil Eye
Lennart Janssen (Guitar): Ought - Habit