+The Lumes: Einblicke in die DIY-Szene der Niederlande

Groningen. 2015. Eurosonic. Vertreter sämtlicher Sparten der europäischen Musikindustrie sorgen jedes Jahr im Januar in der eh schon lebendigen, westfriesischen Studentenstadt für ein beträchtliches Brummen, das am Wochenende die Intensität eines Bienenstocks erreicht. Einige Hundert Bands auf dem Sprung werden innerhalb von vier Tagen im Halbstundentakt durch die Clubs der Stadt geschleust. Überall Gedränge, lange Schlangen, Palaver. Der kulturelle Ertrag vor Ort ist dennoch oft mau: Kaum etwas versetzt in Bewegung, viel tote Masse. Kopisten, langweilende musikalische Abziehbilder, in der Zweidimensionalität der Belanglosigkeit verharrend. Kaum etwas reißt mit, und nur in den seltensten Ausnahmefällen passiert etwas Besonderes, wird eine Band raumgreifend, versetzt in Bewegung.

O’Ceallaigh Irish Pub. The Sound of Young Holland. Nach einem sehr durchwachsenen Festivaltag hatten wir den Donnerstag ob seiner mageren Ausbeute kurzerhand in Alkohol ertränkt (o.k., zugegeben, das wäre in alter Tradition auf jedem Fall passiert …). Am Freitag ein mühsames Frühstück sowie der obligatorische Besuch im Plato, einem Plattenladen, in dem am Nachmittag auch immer kleinere Gigs am Start sind. Auch nicht sonderlich ergiebig. Aber da ist eben auch ein Plakat mit dem Titel „The Sound of Young Holland“ zu finden. Wie sich herausstellen wird, handelt es sich um eine Gegenveranstaltung der niederländischen DIY-Szene zum Eurosonic, die 2015 bereits in die dritte Runde geht. Organisiert wird das Event vom Label Subroutine Records und Lepel Concerts, einem Groninger Konzertveranstalter, der sich in der Regel um kleine DIY-Bands kümmert. Und siehe da … da sind auch Die Nerven mit einem Gig außerhalb des Festivalprogramms eingeplant. Ein paar Minuten später sind wir im O’Ceallaigh Irish Pub, einer der beiden Live-Locations – das Guiness kalt, die Crew sehr sympathisch, kaum Festivalpässe, viele Homies. Kurzum, auch das Publikum angenehm. Bis auf uns natürlich. Außer den Nerven und der Zentralheizung of Death des Todes, also den deutschen Gästen, kennen wir im Programm nichts. Egal. Es sollte ein grandioser Tag werden – außerhalb des Festivalprogramms.

The Lumes (c) Alicia Breton Ferrer
The Lumes (c) Alicia Breton Ferrer


The Lumes. Was am frühen Nachmittag im Pub passiert, zieht an mir vorbei. War da ein Lautenkurs(!) unter kräftiger Einbeziehung des spärlich vorhandenen Publikums? Ich kann mich nicht mehr daran erinnern. Zu späterer Stunde wird es dann deutlich voller. Als The Lumes, ein Trio aus Rotterdam, zum Soundcheck antreten, werde ich hellhörig. Was da von der Bühne schallt klingt frisch, energisch, in your face – zieht mich an. Ganz nach vorne, seitlich neben die Bühne, direkt neben den Sänger und Gitarristen. Und die Intuition trügt mich nicht, der Gig rockt höllisch ab, erzeugt Emotionen, schüttelt mich durch. Ein Gitarrensound zwischen sphärisch-melancholischer Weite und giftigen, die Hirnrinde wegbretzelnden Noise-Eruptionen in Super Widescreen, der Gesang zwischen depressiver Distanz und Sturm und Drang-Ausbrüchen. Dazu ein wuchtig voranpreschendes Schlagzeug, ein stoisch treibender, viel Melodiearbeit verrichtender Bass. Dieser Stuttgart-Vibe an der Nordsee, erstaunlich. Just my cup of coffee. Insbesondere der letzte Song des Sets, „Satan“, hat es mir angetan – ein Knaller!

The Lumes: „Lust“, 2015, Katzwijm
„Lust“, 2015, Katzwijm


Im Anschluss komme ich mit Mitch, dem Drummer, ins Gespräch, und werde am Ende des Wochenendes mit der „Lust“-EP – ein liebevoll gestaltetes Tape, so richtig schön klassisch DIY – wieder Richtung Heimat ziehen. Die Versuche, im Südwesten der Republik ein paar Gigs für die Jungs zu besorgen, scheitern allesamt kläglich – richtig viele Kontakte zu Konzertveranstaltern habe ich zu dieser Zeit aber auch nicht. Und kleine Bands aus den Niederlanden haben’s in Duitsland sowieso nicht gerade leicht. Dabei könnte man die Jungs gemütlich mit den Nerven oder Karies auf Tour schicken können, denke ich mir. Weil’s qualitativ, inhaltlich und stilistisch passt – it’s a family affair. Ein paar mal landet „Satan“ 2015 noch in meinen Post Punk-DJ-Sets, dann verliere ich die Band wieder aus den Augen.

„Envy“. Irgendwann im Frühjahr 2017 frischt Chris von Crazysane Records meine Erinnerungen wieder auf. The Lumes aus Rotterdam, ob ich die kenne, und wie die live so sind. Ich kann Auskunft geben. Ein paar Wochen später streame ich die neuen Tracks. Wie viele gute Post Punk-Bands mit dunklem Vibe leben The Lumes von Heiß-Kalt-Kontrasten, von der Repetition, vom Stoizismus des Arrangementgerüsts, das durch glühende, emotionale Eruptionen immer wieder durchbrochen wird. Auch „Anguish“, „Slow“, „Discharge“, „Feign“, „Compulsion“ und „Who makes me try?“, die sechs Tracks auf der „Envy“-EP leben von diesem Wechselspiel – bloß ist die Gitarre von Maxime Prins in den Sturmphasen besonders giftig, springt einem aus den Boxen ins Gesicht. Transportiert eine Wall of Sound, trägt noch Bestandteile des Shoegaze-Soundwalls in sich, der die Band wohl in ihrer frühen Phase geprägt hat. Jetzt ist die Scheibe gerade erschienen und das Echo in den deutschen Musikmedien ist durchaus positiv. Zeit für mich, die Band als Stellvertreter der kleinen DIY-Szene in den Niederlanden mal etwas genauer unter die Lupe zu nehmen.

“We like things rough, bold, and ugly”

Maxime Prins (Gesang, Gitarre), Lennard van der Voort (Bass) und Mitchell Quitz (Drums) im Interview. Der Einfachheit halber auf Englisch.

Tell us a bit about your background: Have you been in other bands before? When did you start The Lumes? Are you involved in any other bands?
We all have been in other bands, but none of these were quite like The Lumes. Lennard played in a local band called Parkiet On Speed, which is quite famous for its funny name. Maxime played with a band called Señor Sandor, which was more of an 00s indie band and Mitchell drummed in a band called Bermuda Square, which made sometimes difficult but sometimes very danceable indie pop.

Señor Sandor – Like all illusions

Bermuda Square – Knew you well

How would you describe the creative processes of the band? Who’s writing the songs, the lyrics? Who’s doing the cover artworks?
The creative process always happens when we are together. All songs are written in our rehearsal room and are quite impulsive. We think that is the reason why our songs are so energetic. A while ago we noticed that we were stuck in a arrangement formula, which was very difficult to get out off. Luckily we broke this habit after recording “Envy”. Our artwork is done by a number of people, but always starts with the work of Mitchell’s little sister, who is an outsider artist.

Do you book shows on your own, do you have a booking agency?
Mitchell is a booking agent for Rock’n’Roll Highschool. He books all our shows, since he knows a lot of the programmers in The Netherlands. Some people say you can’t book your own band, but he doesn’t trust anyone else to do it. We’ve got some trouble getting shows in Germany though, since we don’t know that many people there yet.

Who paid for the “Lust” and “Envy” recording sessions? Private pre-financing, crowd funding, label funding?
We financed all the recordings ourselves by playing a lot of shows and working our asses off. Same goes for the production costs of “Lust”. With “Envy” we have a deal with Chris from Crazysane. He pressed vinyl and CDs, and we buy them for from him for the retail price.

According to the band info you had Shoegaze influences in the early phase of the band. Is “Casette #1”, your first tape, a document of this phase?
Well, we were inspired by some shoegaze bands. But we wouldn’t say we were shoegazey at all, we recorded “Casette #1” on our own a half year into our existence and sold it for three euro. It actually was a demo on which we used a lot of reverb, since we didn’t really know what we wanted to sound like yet. Luckily we are more developed now and have a better sense of what we want.

Do all of you live in Rotterdam? Is Rotterdam your home turf, does the cultural identity of the city (if there is one) play a role for you as a band? What kind of town is Rotterdam subculture-wise, does Rotterdam have a specific sound? Any DIY infrastructure you find to be noteworthy?
Yes, almost, Lennard still lives in a suburb of Rotterdam. But Maxime and Mitchell live west of the city centre. Our city definitely has a cultural identity. I noticed in the communication with our label that people in Rotterdam can be very harsh, we say what we think. We are so used to this, that we aren’t that easily insulted. We also think that this harshness shines through in a lot of the music and architecture made in Rotterdam. We like things rough, bold, and ugly.

There are multiple scenes in Rotterdam. We now have a few venues and promotors doing great stuff. Mitchell is a promoter at Roodkapje, which is a local venue that promotes young artists and musicians. Maxime has his own small venue in the south of Rotterdam where a lot of bands can play to fill gaps in their tour. Then we have bigger venues as WORM that programs mostly avantgarde or alternative rock music and Rotown, which is more of a pop venue that also promotes shows on a boat called V11, the Maassilo (which is BIG) and two churches. There is also this nomad group called HERMAN that organises noisy and experimental music at crazy places.

The Lumes at Le Mini Who?, Utrecht, ACU, 2017-11-11
The Lumes at Le Mini Who?


The “Lust” recordings were released on tape by Katzwijn Records, the „Envy“ sessions were recorded at the Next to Jaap studio that is also part of the Katzwijm collective – so you seem to be part of the Katzwijn family. The studio is run with a philosophy that rates authenticity over perfection. What does this imply in the recording situation and how do you approach recordings as a band?
We rehearsed the basics into perfection, and wrote the arrangements and lyrics in advance. Since we aren’t the richest band we needed to finish recording and mixing within six days. Luckily we were able to record most songs after performing them a few times in the studio. But, as always, during recording we noticed that some songs needed another energy level or a different mood. Luckily Tammo and Floyd, the recording engineers of the studio, helped us to break through these problems. We didn’t prepare the dubs, those were recorded spontaneously and were quite fun to do. Mitchell played on a ladder, threw stuff on the ground and recorded a snare hit in the bathroom. Lennard played an organ and Maxime on a broken amp.

How did you initially get in contact with the Katzwijm people? And what role does the Katzwijm collective play in the Dutch DIY scene? What about Subroutine Records?
We contacted Katzwijm Recordings after we recorded “Lust” through The Sweet Release of Death’s singer Alicia. They’ve recorded their first album with Corno and Alicia has always been a good friend of the label. She eventually started working for them when Corno became ill. Ineke and Alicia both really loved our recordings and released them on tape. In the meantime Mitchell also has become part of Katzwijm, and helps promoting evenings and the yearly Big Katzwijm Beerfestival (they also brew beer). Mitchell works a lot with Koen and Niek from Subroutine Records as a booking agent. We sure do love their label, we never asked them if they wanted to release our mini-album though, since we fell in love with Crazysane Records.

The Katzwijm collective was originally brought into being by Space Siren founder and guitarist Corno Zweetslot, who tragically died in the end of 2014 after serious illness. Did you get to know him?
To be honest, we never met Corno. We all like Space Siren a lot. For Mitchell it was a great inspiration after seeing them perform live for one of the last times. It was emotional, but really beautiful. We tried to honour Space Siren by covering one of our favourite Space Siren songs.

Space Siren – It was better to stay at home

When I met you guys for the first time in January 2015 at the “Sound of Young Holland” event the “Lust” tape was out on Katzwijm for a couple of months. What has happened in the meantime?
We recorded “Lust” in two days because we were selected for a really important, travelling festival in the Netherlands called the Popronde. We released it just two weeks before it started and after the event we played a lot of shows in 2015 and 2016. Maybe even too many shows because we didn’t really have the time to write a lot of new music. Many of the songs on “Envy” are a closure of this period. We’re now trying to move on and make more interesting songs that have more unique and unexpected parts in them.

We had contact with Chris from Crazysane Records before we were in the studio; he seemed to love “Lust” and asked us if we were planning on releasing something new in the near future. We told him we would be recording in a few weeks and I would send him our songs whenever it was done. Now we’re part of the label.

„Envy“ was well received in a pretty wide range of the German music press, Chris from Crazysane did a great job there spreading the word. Any German shows coming up?
He sure did a really good job! We’re planning a bigger tour in March, we hope people still want to have us then. Plans for the future are vague, we know we want to release a real debut album. But we can’t say when we will have enough songs we are comfortable enough about to put them out on record.

Das Interview wurde per E-Mail geführt.

Two lighthouses of Dutch DIY

Important labels

Katzwijm
Subroutine
  • Katzwijm

    Katzwijm - LogoKatzwijm Records is a small analogue recording studio, beer brewery and label in Voorhout, The Netherlands. The label has worked with noisy bands like Space Siren, The Sweet Release of Death and The Lumes. They also promote shows in Amsterdam, Rotterdam and a yearly beer festival in their own studio in Voorhout.

    Homepage

  • Subroutine Records

    Subroutine Records - logoKoen and Niek of Subroutine Records are the connoisseurs of the Dutch underground. They have been working with a lot of DIY bands like Naive Set, The Homesick and Rats on Rafts. They also co-released a few records with Katzwijm Records; like the second album of The Sweet Release of Death and both Space Siren albums.

    Homepage

Two excellent bands you need to know

Hot stuff from the Dutch underground

Sweet Release of Death
The Homesick
  • The Sweet Release of Death

    A noise band from Rotterdam, with some unorthodox influences. It seems they’re building up their songs as if they are EDM or Hip Hop tracks. They’ve released their first album “Bulb” (2014) at Katzwijm Records and their second S/T (2016) album as a co-release by Subroutine Records and Katzwijm Records.

  • The Homesick

    Noise pop from rural Friesland that is going big at the moment. They had several releases but the best one is their debut album “Youth Hunt” (2017), which has been nominated for best album by the (biggest) Dutch music blog 3voor12. They’re now heading into Europe and are even invited to perform at the SXSW in the US.

///Videos

The Lumes – Nervous & Satan (The Daily Indie x Subbacultcha)

The Lumes – Slow

 

//LINKS

The Lumes
Homepage
Bandcamp
Soundcloud
Facebook

DIY in Rotterdam
Roodkapje
MIR
Vessel 11 (V11)
WORM

Katzwijm
Homepage
Facebook

Subroutine Records
Homepage
Bandcamp
Soundcloud
Facebook

Rock’n’Roll Highschool
Homepage

Crazysane Records
Homepage

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