Was anyone else in your family musical at all?
No. My father used to have piano lessons when he was younger. He hated it he said [laughs].
Was there much music in your house growing up?
A little bit. My father always worked at home so we had to be very quiet. Maybe that’s why I like it so much [laughs].
In regards to when you edited Solex Ahoy! listening back to everything do you feel each track does reflect each province?
A little bit. Life on water is very different to land, so it still only reflects the water side of the province. I try to make it reflect the province a bit, yeah.
You mastered it with Frank van der Weij?
I know he specialises in sound design for film, television and theatre; what was it like working with him?
He is a very good friend of mine. I also did my mixes of my normal records with him. He mastered the other records too. He has a very good studio and he knows my taste. I love to work with him. In the sessions with him I learn the newest plug-ins that he works with.
Could you tell me about the film part of Solex Ahoy!?
I filmed it with a kind of crappy old handycam. My phone that I have right now makes better films than that old handycam. I filmed everything. First I edited all the music and made all the songs and after that I edited the visuals for the film to it. Because the improvisations are so cut up it is impossible to sync the visuals with the music. What you see most of the time is atmospheric things of the landscape and the trip. When you see the musicians play it is very seldom in sync with the music.
What is one of your favourite memories from the journey?
In Limburg we had two guys, one on the trumpet and bugle and the other on the saxophone (pictured below) …it’s a very old story that goes back in history and very long time. In the province of Limburg you have a group of people that play traditional music with horns etc. like a brass band and they play on the street and there are two competing bands in the town they go back a long way – if you are part of a certain family you are supposed to play in one brass band and not the other. They always compete against each other; it’s like a religion almost. It’s like a very, very small civil war. They don’t talk to each other and they don’t live in the same neighbourhood etc. Now it’s very mellow and they don’t really act like that anymore but I invited one musician from one brass band and the other from the other brass band and I asked them to improvise together! For them it was a big joke of course. That was probably the nicest memory.
Were there any big challenges you faced?
Yeah there was a guy that played tin whistles and uilleann pipes and when he played I thought, oh this is a horrible sound! [laughs]. It’s really terrible. You never know how someone can play sometimes when you invite them. If they play so loudly you think, oh man I can only use a few seconds of this improvisation and you can’t really sample a melody from it. With this guy he could play but his instrument just sounded so harsh and nasty that I didn’t know what to do with it. He kept on improvising so it was really hard for me to stop him. I thought I cannot bear it any longer! [Laughs] He was really getting into it. It’s like if someone was paying you a visit and you really want them to go.
Are most of the tracks instrumental?
Yeah mostly instrumental. There’s a very old children’s nursery rhyme on one of the provinces and a song by the wife of one of the musicians and then there is a poem in another province told by a Dutch actor (pictured below). I sometimes sang some ‘ohs’ and ‘ahs’ to spice it up a bit. I don’t have lyrics though. It’s really a little bit of a soundtrack.
You were recently invited to screen Solex Ahoy! at a the Flyaway Film Festival. How was that?
Yeah. I just looked on the internet for film festivals that don’t ask for an entry fee and this was one of them. I decided I was going to send a DVD to some of the festivals. It’s a very lo-fi do-it-yourself film. They really liked the film. One of the guys from the film festival is from Holland and the film reminded him of his home country and he was feeling kind of emotional. He felt homesick when he watched the film.
Wow! That’s a big compliment.
Yeah, yeah I thought that too!
Have you decide how you will release Solex Ahoy! yet or when it will be available?
I still want to send it to a few more festivals. In time I will put it on YouTube so everyone can see.
What else are you working on at the moment?
I’m working now with a Dutch musician – Truus de Groot – living in America. She used to be a member of a 80s punk band, Nasmak. We’re working on a new record together for children. It’s supposed to be a record that is nice to listen to for adults as well. When I got my one year old daughter I hear all of these children’s songs that are… it’s very hard to find nice music for children. She came up with the idea. I think we need some nice music for children that is fun for adults as well.
What’s one of your favourite things about motherhood?
Just to cuddle with her, nothing can beat it. When I gave birth to her, the first time that you have her in your arms is something magic. I cannot really describe it, it is bigger than life!
Lastly I wanted to ask, what does music mean to you?
It’s like food. You need it. It’s like eating and drinking.