+The K. und It It Anita: Lärmrock aus Lüttich

Auch der zweite Teil unseres kleinen Rückblicks auf das The Great Escape 2016 in Brighton hat Belgien zum Thema, und das aus einem einfachen Grund: Die Belgier haben das Festival gerockt! – von vier Bands des westlichen Nachbarn, die in Südengland am Start waren, haben wir drei zu Gesicht bekommen, und alle drei haben uns voll überzeugt. Nach unserem Feature über Go March aus Antwerpen stellen wir nun zwei Bands aus Lüttich und Umgebung, also aus dem wallonischen Teil des Landes, vor: The K. und It It Anita, ausgesprochen starke Livebands, die auf dem englischen Showcase-Festival das Publikum mit kraftvollen, variablen, 90er-inspirierten Alternative Rock-Sets mitgerissen haben.


The K. – rot glühender Noise Rock

TheKThe K. © Michael Roemers

The K. haben am Donnerstagabend bei ihrem ersten Set einen schwierigen Slot im Festivalzeitplan erwischt. Als letzte Band des Abends nach einem langen, langen, ersten Festivaltag begeben sich Sébastien von Landau (Gitarre/Gesang), Geoffrey Mornard (Bass) und Sigfried Burroughs (Drums) im Latest Music Club nach einem kurzen Soundcheck um 1:30 Uhr auf die Bühne und spielen die Routine von mehreren Hundert gespielten Gigs in Belgien, Holland, Frankreich, Spanien und der Schweiz aus, sind von 0 auf 100 voll da: Zu hören gibt es Noise Rock zwischen Jesus Lizard, Part Chimp und Pissed Jeans, aber eben mit diesem ganz eigenen Twist der belgischen Noise Rock-Szene – giftig, ständig on the edge, an der Grenze zum Psychotischen.

Die Band präsentiert hauptsächlich Material vom Ende 2015 erschienenen Zweitwerk „Burning Pattern Etiquette“, das mal aggressiv rhythmusbetont nach vorne grooved, mal zurückgenommen, dunkel in sich kauernd, mit psychedelischen Doom-Elementen, daherkommt. Akribisch ausgearbeitete Arrangements werden dynamisch, mit 100 Prozent Schub, vorgetragen. Im Vergleich zum Erstling „My Flesh reveals millions of souls“ (2012, Jaune Orange) haben sich mittlerweile auch Math Rock- und Garagenelemente im Bandsound eingefunden. Die Rhythmusgruppe agiert enorm kernig und präzise, darüber liegen scharf die Gitarren und die Stimme von Mastermind Sébastien von Landau, von dem immer wieder wüste, rot glühende Ausbrüche ausgehen. Die Band liefert ab, kein Zweifel. Das zur späten Stunde noch vorhandene Publikum ist elektrisiert und geht voll mit, um diese Uhrzeit, nach unzähligen gehörten und gesehenen Bands, ist das durchaus ein Statement.

Zum Ende des Gigs hängt von Landau einem nichtsahnenden Mitglied des Publikums seine enorm lärmende Gitarre um, und fängt an, das Drumkit ins Publikum zu transportieren. Der Rest der Band folgt nach und nach, und beendet das Konzert dort im Lightning Bolt-Modus, mitten im kreisförmig um die Band wogenden, begeisterten Publikum. Keiner der Anwesenden wird den Abend so schnell vergessen …

The K. beim The Great Escape Festival 2016 in Brighton. Zweites Festivalset im Queens Hotel am Samstagnachmittag. © Alexander Schröder
The K. beim The Great Escape Festival 2016 in Brighton. Zweites Festivalset im Queens Hotel am Samstagnachmittag. © Alexander Schröder

 

It It Anita – Post-Hardcore, Noise Rock, Indie Rock

IIAA-copyright-Olivier-DonnetIt It Anita © Olivier Donnet

Szenenwechsel. Freitag, Queens Hotel. Die Nachmittagsshows im Keller der immer rasch ausgebuchten Festivalunterkunft sind durchaus beliebt und in der Regel auch gut besucht. Das gilt selbst für den ersten Slot: Als It It Anita, die zweite Band aus Lüttich im Festivalprogramm, um 12:30 Uhr an die Instrumente geht, hat sich der Raum bereits ordentlich gefüllt.

Auch dieses Quartett bestehend aus Mike Goffard (Gitarre/Gesang), Damien Aresta (Gitarre/Gesang), Mika Verbeeck (Bass) und François Casteleyn (Drums) fährt ansatzlos ein kompromissloses Energielevel, hat sofort die volle Aufmerksamkeit des Publikums – so ist das wohl bei diesen noisigen Bands aus Lüttich. Das musikalische Koordinatensystem ist im Vergleich zu The K. aber schon ein anderes: Die dialogische Struktur des Gesangs von Goffard und Aresta rinnert an die Interaktion von MacKaye und Picciotto bei Fugazi. Und auch was Songwriting, Gestus und Energie angeht, hat die Band der zweiten Discord-Generation einiges zu verdanken. Was die emotionale Intensität angeht, schießt einem ab und an widerum At the Drive-In in den Kopf. Bei aller emotionaler Dichte zelebriert die Band aber keineswegs ein eindimensionales Emo Rock- oder 90er-Jahre-Revival, im Material finden sich ganz unterschiedliche Einflüsse von Post Rock (Mogwai), über Indie Rock (Dinosaur Jr.) bis zur klassischen (Sonic Youth) wie neueren Noise Rock-Szene (Metz).

Im Frühjahr, direkt nach einem sehr erfolgreichen Auftritt beim renommierten Eurosonic Festival, hat die Band ihre dritte Platte in New York eingespielt, die im Herbst erscheinen soll – das live präsentierte Material stammt aber wohl hauptsächlich vom 2015 erschienenen zweiten Album „Recorded by John Agnello“. Wie der Name schon vermuten lässt: Die Arbeitsweise des erfolgreichen Produzenten, bekannt durch Aufnahmesessions mit Sonic Youth, Cymbals Eat Guitars oder Dinosaur Jr., passt perfekt zum Sound von It It Anita. Die Platte hat dann auch entsprechend für Wirbel in der belgischen und holländischen Musikpresse gesorgt und der Band einige Auftritte bei großen Open Airs und Festivals beschert.

Am Ende der aufregend energetischen Show sind wir ordentlich verblüfft als auch die – natürlich munter weiterlärmende – Gitarre von Aresta auf einmal um den Hals einer rein zufällig ausgesuchten Frau im Publikum gehängt wird und das Schlagzeug nach und nach im Publikum landet, der Gig in der begeisterten Menge beendet wird. Björn, der Bandmanager wird später, als ich ihn auf die Parallele zur Show von The K. anspreche, sagen: „It’s a Liège thing. The gig doesn’t feel right, it simply doesn’t feel true if they don’t do it …“

Interview: The K. und It It Anita

Massive thanks to Mike and Damien from It It Anita and Sébastien from The K. for being available for our interview.
How well do you guys (It It Anita and The K.) know each other? How did your The Great Escape shows compare to some previous gigs? Do you feel satisfied? Have you shared festivals / bookings before?

Mike (It It Anita): We know The K. for a long time – when they still were called The Kerbcrawlers. 🙂
We both have deep connexion (and friends in common) with Liège based music collective Jaune Orange. Yes, we already shared the stage with The K. And we’ll do it again next fall. It’s always funny to play with bands from the same city you’re from … The TGE shows were great, not very different compared to previous gigs, excepted the fact that we rarely play at noon! But venues were crowded, people were hot and we got good feedbacks.
Sébastien (The K.): Well, Lüttich is such a little town that it’d be impossible not to know each other. It’s been years now that we first met and we have a lot of friends in common. We’ve been playing together a couple of shows in France and Belgium but that doesn’t happen really often I must say. It was our first shows ever in the UK and I might be wrong but I think this was the first time for them as well. So, that was funny meeting in Brighton because I didn’t know they were also in the process of playing TGE.

Usually, if you’re a band, you have to face a lot of euphoria and shit playing as that band as time goes by. Tell us a bit more about your bands, your personal backgrounds, and what else you guys are up to?

Mike (It It Anita): I play in bands for nearly 20 years. I guess it’s the only thing I’m able to do. It’s certainly not the most well paid job but it allowed me to spend so many great times with so many great people, and this is priceless.
Sébastien (The K.): We know each other for a couple of years now. Especially Geoffrey and I. We were classmates at college and started to play music together. At that time we were a few friends who wanted to play in bands. That was part of the dream you know. And 15 years later we still have these bands together and our life, and Sigfried’s as well, are organized around music. We do this as a job now. Wow … that’s a hell of a question. Something I can’t really tell in a nutshell. I could write a book about it.

What was the mythology behind finding the particular band names?

Sébastien (The K.): Some say The K. is a shortened version of “The Kerbcrawlers”, I’ve also heard that The K. was used for Ketamine but I prefer Kafka’s version: Joseph K. – main character of “The Trial”.
Damien (It It Anita): A lady, she was a dancer when she was young, used to babysit a friend of mine. Her story was incredible. Just after the love of her life died, she decided that everyday she would eat a grapefruit and drink a glass of champagne. And because she would never find a lover like the one she lost, she also decided to change her partner every year. So every Jan. 1st, she started something new with another one. When she died, all of them came to the funerals and came with a glass of champagne and a grapefruit to celebrate. We like to call her Anita.

The Liège / Luik thing of moving the drum kit at the end of the set and finishing the gig amongst the audience. Both of you bands did us the great favour at The Great Escape – but … how has this tradition (should it be one) started?

Mike (It It Anita): We strongly like physical interaction with the audience. Damien plays in the crowd as much as he can and we’d like to play the entire set in the middle of the crowd but it’s a bit complicated, especially for technical reasons (monitoring etc.). P.A. guys are always scared when we move the drum kit!
And dunno about the tradition but as far as we’re concerned, we were very inspired by The K. 🙂
Sébastien (The K.): Haha, funny you’re asking this. It’s been years now that we’re sometimes play our shows in the audience simply because there is sometimes no room enough to play on stage in the venues we were used to play. Then it started to go further and further especially when we were on tour for 10 or 12 gigs in a row.
We even ended up a gig in a swimming pool once.
I also remember seeing Monotonix back in the days. They ended up their gigs held by the audience: members, the whole drum kit, everything! And they kept on playing. That was a real blast. So they can be considered as our godfathers and as the godfathers of every bands ending their shows among the audience.
Damien (IIA) once came to me asking if he could borrow me a little of this concept. And as the heir of this legacy I simply told him: I’m your father.
And it was done. Family affair. Haha.

Your music seems related to different noise pits of the 90s era – with that special Belgian energetic (shall we say batshit crazy) flavour. Even if it is strange to ask artists about their “concepts” of inspiration, we can’t resist: why the drive to create this type of noise rock?

Sébastien (The K.): We’re often described with names like Blood Brothers, Pissed Jeans, Part Chimp, Shellac and sometimes Jesus Lizard or Melvins.
Mike (It It Anita): All of us grew up listening to 90s indie bands (thank god!), when everything looked more sincere, when ordinary dressed guys made amazing records for 600$ … the golden age of noise rock: as a musician, even if you don’t have any particular skills, if you work hard and you’re sincere, everything is possible.

In terms of your working respectively song creation process, who does what? Can you also explain what role working in DIY mode and being supported by a third party management play in your bands today?

Sébastien (The K.): There’s no trick or anything. We’re showing up at the rehearsal space with new stuffs and we’re playing them. Haha. We’re our own managers. It implies a lot of work at the side. DIY is the key to get yourself free but it means also that you gotta be good at PR, social networking and all that shit. Some bands simply can’t manage to do this. Especially today. As a band it’s no more about recording an album, giving some phone calls and going on tour.
Mike (It It Anita): I usually take care about the songwriting process. Demos are suggested to other band members. We try together: sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. But there is so much label, management, and booking stuff that takes a lot of time: tons of emails and phone calls, meetings, etc., e.g. the collaboration with our manager is really strong: we talk to each other everyday, we help each other and this partnership works fine. We try to remain as independent as possible and we keep an eye on the development of It It Anita from A to Z. Damien is also deeply involved in our new label Luik Records. He’s also our graphic designer.

Tell us a bit about Luik Records and Jaune Orange. Who is running those labels and what is the idea behind them?

Sébastien (The K.): They’re both linked to Damien even though he’s not working for Jaune Orange anymore. He will tell you better than I could. What I can say is that Jaune Orange is a tiny label run by a few people and a collective of bands. They’re also setting up gigs during the year and a festival the first week-end of August: MicroFestival. Definitely the place to be.
Mike (It It Anita): Damien was also one of the Jaune Orange founder back in 2000 but he decided to leave the label in 2003 to start his own graphic design studio. On the other side, I was in Malibu Stacy, another band in Jaune Orange’s catalogue. After 10 years of Malibu Stacy for me and 10 years of teaching and designing for Damien, we decided to start It It Anita. It’s only after a few years together, taking care of everything with the band (with the help of Honest House, another collective from Liège) that we had the chance to meet Björn, our manager, and then, to create our new record label, Luik Records.

For Liège / Luik bands, how hard is it generally to be booked for shows in the Walloon region, or the Flams region? Both scenes seem to be a bit compartmentalized? What about other parts of Europe: Is it easy to be booked for shows there?

Damien (It It Anita): Yes, it’s a bit difficult to “cross the border” if you don’t have an undercover agent working out there. We have that chance, our manager lives and works in the Flemish part of Belgium. But we also think that the kind of music we play helps us crossing that border. There is more of a noisy audience out there, following a path opened a few years ago by bands like Raketkanon or Steak Number Eight …
Sébastien (The K.): Both It It Anita and The K. play in Flanders and Wallonia (soon to be renamed Wallifornia) because we work with people from both sides. Then it depends on the territories. But we have booking agents a bit everywhere and where we don’t, we book our shows ourselves.

We’re sure there must be an inspiring Liège / Luik micro world. Are you as bands part of a regional net that has good support (band connections, media, and clubs)? Where do you usually practise / rehearse?

Damien (It It Anita): Yes, we can say that after spending 10 years working in the music area (Mika as a musician and Damien as a graphic designer) we built a network that is now quite strong and we can collaborate with the press on some release or on book shows for some of our bands…
It’s a micro world, indeed. The place we rehearse is also the kingdom of many national or international bands, like The Experimental Tropic Blues Band, Le Prince Harry … Koko Studio, our favorite studio is also the place where great Belgian albums have been recorded.
Sébastien (The K.): I wouldn’t be so positive. Yes, there’s definitely a good vibe going on here and some support. But this country is so fucking little there’s no real way to get a self-sufficient network of venues and media that could be economically viable. Add that everything is mostly split in two: French speaking people on a side and Flemish on the other and you only have the half of a tiny thing left. Bands like It It Anita or The K. manage to do something on both sides but we’re only a few.

So what kind of town is Liège atmosphere-wise, the very typical Walloon province or filled with some international spirit, maybe influencing the musical attitude?

Damien (It It Anita): Liège is a small city but it has a great cultural dynamic. A lot of people are working their ass off to push things forward. For example, Dour Festival offices, one of the biggest European festivals, are located in Liège (in the same building as Jaune Orange and 2 minutes walk from Luik Records office), and they do use their influence to launch great initiatives around here. It’s called the CU Festival and they mix people, performances and places.
Sébastien (The K.): I don’t really know what “typical Walloon province” means from abroad. Is it good, or? Haha. If it means dirty unorganized city with a certain charm – sure it is. You always have the feeling something will soon happen. But what it needs now is to make it real.

What is taking shape next? What are your plans?

Sébastien (The K.): We’re going on tour in Spain end of June, then a few festivals this summer. Then we still have shows until the year in Holland, Germany, Poland, and so on. We’re not the kind of band who stops playing while recording new stuffs you know.
Damien (It It Anita): We are working on releasing the next record by fall. Again, it had been recorded by John Agnello in New York last January. It will be released in collaboration with many labels worldwide and a tour with shows in Spain, France, Switzerland, Netherlands, UK and, why not, Poland, Japan and Germany is planned.
We are already writing and working on the next one, it will be recorded by John Agnello (again!) somewhere in spring.

Kommentare geschlossen