Dear reader, listener, viewer,
This is the windswept story of Seasons.
A little more than two years ago, we decided to make an EP for every season of the year. Five songs for Spring, five for the Summer, five songs for Autumn, and four last songs for the Winter.
The last songs are finally released. We think it is time to tell you the story. The story of Part of the Plan, Fall/Awake, Hide the House and Boats to Go. Many people are involved in this story. Sometimes because we asked them. Sometimes we met them by accident. Seasons is also a journey along different homes, industrial sites, farms, attics, submarines, hidden gardens and other unexpected places.
Let’s go way, way back.
The Windswept Story of Seasons
starring: Katía Truijen, Denis Wouters, Jelle Himmelreich, Zoli Soós, Merlijn Verboom, Anneke van Woerden, Viktor Truijen, Yannick Tinbergen, Jacco Gardner, Maarten Tamminga, Victor van der Griendt, Vincent Dijkema, Silvía Hlynsdottir, Kasper van Kooten, Nikò Brian, Jolijn Peters, Pieter van Vliet, Iskra Vuksic, Maxime van Haeren, Giulia Bijvoet, Bianca en Kit, Eugene Weusten, Bas Jacobs, Cornelis Serveert, Roos Verkade, Brian Bik, Admiraal Oosterbroek, Renée Borgonjen, het publiek en andere vrienden, de Buurtboerderij, De Zolder in Ermelo, de auto van Zoli, de kachel van Melvin, Het Vuur, de Ambulance, de Geertruida, de Noorderparkkamer, Hongerige Wolf, Delicatessen, Concerto, Pakhuis Wilhelmina, De Lutmastraat, De Jordaan, Hoorn, Heerhugowaard, het Eiland, de Autoharp, Aardbeien in Zwaag, 3voor12 A’dam, Brecht, de metro, vogeltroepen, De Nieuwe Anita, Hollandse Nieuwe, de lente, de zomer, de herfst en de winter.
September 2011 we released our first album Sights in Paradiso in Amsterdam. Sights was about the city. Katía used to be a guide in the Westertoren, and at the level of the big bells you would always hear the soundtrack of Amsterdam entering the space. Trams. Voices. Boats. A few birds. Other towers. More bells. The wind. Air planes. We recorded the sounds and used them for the album.
A few months later, after we had been touring through the Netherlands, we were writing new songs. It was interesting to notice that these songs were often about the season that had yet to begin. So in Spring, we would probably be writing songs that felt like the next season, because we longed for the Summer. We decided to work on a rather ambitious project: to make an EP for every season.
It had became Winter. And we were waiting for Spring to arrive. So we started to write. The first part of the story was Part of the Plan.
Part 1. Part of the Plan (Spring)
Outside it was snowing. The city was lighted by the reflection of all the white surfaces. Sounds were muted by the snow. Inside the apartment of Denis en Melvin the heating was on and it was warm. In the living room we set up Studio Lente. Now you can turn the music on.
I love to tell different stories in this room.
Those pictures capturing my stolen days of swimming.
Go back to where you once where, as you thought of going. Into these days of silence. Before it stops. (Travelogue)
As we were cycling West, the night started to fall and as we looked up we stopped. Silently we watched them for minutes.
City talks to me. Kisses are for free. When you know the way to go. To the mill and back. Seasons change so fast. Falling from a tree. I do not agree. Do you? Little interest. As long as it will last. Read it in reverse. You will be the first. For us. Do you call? (Read it in Reverse)
I am collecting days but I think I’ve lost most of the time.
When I decided to make a photograph there was no room no more.
There was silence in there. I was silent in there.
Everything was recorded simultaneously. Afterwards we mixed the EP in Heerhugowaard with Maarten.
Part of the Plan: Katía Truijen (vocals/guitar), Denis Wouters (guitar/vocals), Jelle Himmelreich (bass/vocals), Anneke van Woerden (drums/percussion), Vincent Dijkema (guitar), Jolijn Peters (flute), Maarten Tamminga (cracking chair, recording and mixing)
A few weeks later we stumbled upon the boys and girls of 3voor12 A’dam who wrote about our seasonal series.
\|/ Frisse Moed \|/
So we finished Part of the Plan and we couldn’t wait to release it.
We thought the best way to do this was to organise a little festival, with a line up of some of the bands we love.
We were cycling across one of the canals, and it was exactly when we turned right when one of us said ‘Frisse Moed’. ‘Let’s call it Frisse Moed’. It’s some sort of Dutch saying, that you would use when you start with new energy.
Katía remembered the Buurtboerderij where she and Denis had once played with their other band Simple People, an almost secret little place behind the park. You had to be lost if you wanted to find it. Eugene of the Buurtboerderij liked the idea and so we started to plan the festival. We used every space. Outside there was a big fire. There were bands playing at the attic. Acoustic sessions in the front room. We had a radio station Frisse Moed FM, that streamed all the favourite music of the bands themselves. The attic was hot but we couldn’t open the windows because of the neighbours. We danced until we had to stop. We finished the beer so we drank wine. We think we also finished the wine. Spring had begun.
Summer was coming.
Summer is a different story. You know that. First we tried to decide on what Summer sounds like. Or what it should sound like. We made lists with ingredients like muggy, sweltering, cinnamon, tape, orange, tubes, the sound of rubbing hands et cetera.
We went to Haarlem to see a band playing, but they didn’t arrive until much later. So in the meantime Denis and I performed in Geertruida, the house / venue / music studio / record label / band hotel of Yannick and his friends. It would be the perfect place to record the Summer EP and Yannick was willing to help us to record.
Now tune in to the summer and listen to Fall/Awake.
Katía Truijen (vocals/guitar), Denis Wouters (guitar/xylophone), Jelle Himmelreich (double bass), Anneke van Woerden (drums), Pieter van Vliet (trombone), Yannick Tinbergen (xylophone/electronic drums), Viktor Truijen (drums)
Recorded by Yannick Tinbergen @ Geertruida (geertruida.net), Mixed by Jacco Gardner (jaccogardner.com).
I could never pass, could I. Even when I’m walking by. Street is ending where it starts. I thought I knew this place by heart. But this is not today. The stairs never go the same way. I think I woke at that time. I guess you have another name. But you were saying just the same. That game of disappearing stars. Fire falls apart. The night is where I start to think I woke at that time. (Fall/Awake)
In the garden of Geertruida we recorded In/Between, a duet of two electric guitars and a big fire in the middle. It would become the middle of the record.
One thing about the Summer is that you will most likely run into strangers. (More often than in other seasons. Probably because everyone is outside.) And so we met Nikò. He was cycling through Europe with his recording device and he recorded all bands and songwriters he met on his trip. Our friend Sophie told him to visit us on ‘the island’, where we were just writing songs in Katía’s garden. On this hot and muggy day, Nikò recorded Head/Home and he made a picture.
The story continued. As we had finally finished the recordings in the Geertruida, we called Jacco Gardner who we had met during Band in a Barn a couple of years before. Jacco agreed on mixing our EP and so we went to Zwaag, to an old office that was now his studio at an abandoned industrial area. (Here an ice cream truck magically appeared just when we thought of ice cream). In the studio we used old tape recorders and echo machines. Fall/Awake was almost finished.
Part 3. Hide the House (Autumn)
It must have been July. Katía was in Italy. It was forty degrees and the air-conditioning had stopped working. Her parents and brother were swimming, and she was playing the guitar inside the little house. ‘Hide the house, won’t you cover the garden’. On a small Spanish guitar she wrote most of the tunes that would in the end become the Autumn EP Hide the House.
If you like, you can put the record on.
Katía Truijen (vocals, guitar), Denis Wouters (guitar, autoharp, vocals), Jelle Himmelreich (double bass), Zoli Soós (drums), Kasper van Kooten (saxophone), Merlijn Verboom (sounds, vocals, recording and mixing)
We recorded our Autumn EP in Ermelo.
It must have been November, and Denis and Katía were in one of the suburbs in Amsterdam. A friend of Denis was living in an empty school with a gym that had an incredible reverb. We wanted to use the space as our studio for the Autumn EP. However, when we brought our drum kit there, the residents explained that the police would never allow the noise. So we needed a new space. The sooner the better.
Victor and Arjen, two friends Katía had met during the tour with Eefje de Visser, were living in a very nice old farm in Ermelo. Katía called Victor to ask if he would mind if we came over and use the farm as a studio for a couple of days, and he liked the idea. Two days later we went to Ermelo, crammed in two cars, with all of our instruments, sleeping bags and studio gear.
For our 3rd EP we asked Merlijn to work with us. We were very much excited that he wanted to record and mix our Autumn songs! After we walked around the farm of Victor en Arjen in Ermelo, Merlijn took us to the attic. It was a little bit dangerous there. There were big holes in the floor. Enormous spider webs. And it was extremely cold up there. Was the roof leaking? But the acoustics were great. We had to do it.
Zoli’s drum kit was located in the back, and we brought up hay bales for Jelle, because they turned out to be perfect to isolate the double bass. Denis cut of the fingertips of his gloves to be able to play the guitar. Katía decided to record the vocals later because it was so cold.
When you listen to the EP Hide the House you really hear the atmosphere of the attic. We think it was one of the best adventures ever.
This is one of the many covers Katía made for Hide the House. (Autumn is her favourite season. It’s an ambiguous season. Maybe that’s why she made so many covers.)
After the success of \|/ Frisse Moed \|/, we decided to organise a festival again. This time on the first day of Autumn.
In Pakhuis Wilhelmina and Delicatessen we organised /|\ Het Verval /|\ together with Cornelis Serveert. A chock full programme of music, unexpected stories, art, food and DJs.
So even Autumn ended at a certain point. We entered a long, very long Winter.
Part 4. Boats to Go (Winter)
Winter turned out to be a long season. To be honest with you, Winter took us more than a year. You may call it some sort of a hibernation.
We recorded the main part of the Winter EP again with the five of us: Katía, Denis, Jelle, Zoli and Merlijn. Zoli had asked the owners of the Noorderparkkamer if we could use their beautiful space in the park. If we would promise to do a gig during the Summer, we were allowed to use the space for two days.
In the meantime, it had become Spring and even Summer. We hadn’t been mixing the EP yet. But we were asked to play at festival Hongerige Wolf, where we stayed and danced and performed after a heavy rain storm and later on in an old skate ramp.
Katía sang and played Oh What a Beautiful Morning for a nice TV commercial with athletic girls and became Massive Talent.
Autumn came and we played a show in the Kargadoor in Utrecht. Victor came over to film us again.
In Concerto we played the last show with the four of us…
However, the Winter EP had still to be finished, so we went back to Merlijn’s studio to record even more instruments: guitars, flutes, cutlery, synths and trumpets that sound like Mexican musicians on a boat that is passing by.
Today the Winter has started. Again. Seasons is finished.
For us, the project was quite an adventure that led to many unexpected meetings, places, sounds and stories.
You can listen to 0ur final EP Boats to Go.
Have a great Winter!
x Katía, Denis, Jelle and Zoli
Katía Truijen (vocals, guitar, autoharp), Denis Wouters (guitar, synth, all kinds of instruments), Jelle Himmelreich (bass guitar, double bass), Zoli Soós (drums), Sylvía Hlynsdóttir (trumpet), Merlijn Verboom (all kinds of instruments, recording and mixing)
We’d love to hear from you, so if you feel up to it, please send us a note: letters[at]soundslikekatia.nl