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Happyplaces stories (video

Because of Satoshi, the audiences that I had in Tokyo with my events were able to understand me. Satoshi created space for me to connect with people of a different language. English is quite a challenge in Japan, only a few people are confident enough to speak it fluently, or are fluent enough to speak confidently. Thanks to Satoshi, I had some great events while I was at SHIBAURA HOUSE. He was introduced to me as the translator, but after spending a full week together, I learned a lot more about him. And his English accent. …

Happyplaces Stories (video)

You see, there is a musical space. Musical space also exists in different layers. You have time, the passing of the time, and you have the acoustical space. And of course, the space created by the elements of the composition. This is mostly a composer’s work, but of course, as a conductor, you should bring it back to life. And so you recreate some imaginary space. This is the same as any performing musician does. A pianist with his piano, a violin player, they all create this musical space. But conducting is something more. You have many people playing at the same time, so there is also the psychological space in which people have to perform. And that’s my primary interest in life, which is about creating a space to enable maximum individual contribution but taking into consideration that the necessary condition is that the outcome is somehow like an orchestra playing together, harmonised. And I say harmonised, not synchronised or in an orderly manner, but harmonised. …

Happyplaces Stories (video)

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I decided that I wanted to learn more from Peter, about how he comes to his lyrics, about his process and inspiration as he is largely responsible for the lyrics of BLØF. But also if he ever thinks about what his lyrics and the songs mean to people. How they might create space for people, for memories, stories. About the power of music, and his goals, dreams and ambitions. So I looked him up at his home in Middelburg, Zeeland.

One of the most defining images I remember from that day, that defines Peter as a portrait, but I unfortunately don’t have a picture from (which also would have been a bit awkward), was his toilet. In my memory, it was a bit of a shine, a mixed collection of memorabilia from landmark moments of the band and their achievements, mixed with family life and Buddhist artefacts. It would have been the perfect portrait image. …

Happyplaces Stories

In October 2013, I interviewed Erik de Jong, better known as singer songwriter Spinvis. After several years of virtually working together on several projects, Erik and I finally got to meet each other in real life. Spinvis is a Dutch one-man project centred on Erik. Using experimental, lo-fi music, Spinvis became an instant success in the Netherlands, earning two gold records in the process and performing sold-out tours in both the Netherlands and Belgium.

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Erik while performing in his ‘Tot ziens, Justine Keller’ music show.

In 2001, Erik, at the age of 40, sent a three song demo to the Dutch indie label, Excelsior Recordings. Within two weeks, a record deal was signed. The label decided to keep the songs that had been recorded by Erik on his home computer. With some minor mixing touch-ups these songs comprised Spinvis’ first album, released in the Netherlands on 1 April 2002. At the time, I was working for the label, making music videos for some of their bands, album covers, websites and other stuff for band promotion. That was a really fun time, with a lot of concerts and festivals. For the release of his first album, we created an online player that allowed people to listen to three of his songs. Hard to imagine now that it was fairly unique back then, but remember internet access was really slow and online music scarse. No broadband, no Spotify, no whatever other service did that what is now normal. That player was quite succesful that it impacted sales — when we limited the full songs to 30 second previews, the physical albums started to sell better. Funny times, figuring out how to use that ‘internet thing’ properly. Next to that player, I also helped with his physical print work, and other side projects. …


Happyplaces Stories

A library of perspectives from the Happyplaces Project

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