The last few months I must admit I am in a permanent state of mild euphoria. It’s not that my friends constantly have to warn me that, like Icarus, I’m approaching the sun too closely, but still, I do feel a certain affinity with the audacious Greek hero. I can trace back when my happiness barometer surged: it was mid-January. Two things happened that month. At work, the senior management announced the consequences of a major reorganisation for staff numbers, and to me this was the first spark to set fire on a big change in my life. And secondly, I wrote the first of twelve new songs for The Dutch. Thirty years after Under The Surface, our fourth album is underway!
The seed was already planted last September. The two LPs by The Dutch that were released in the eighties under the Epic label were finally posted on iTunes and Spotify, and we played the Paradiso, Amsterdam. It was the culmination of a year in which I joined forces with the rest of The Dutch, three of my best friends, including my brother Bert. After a long, long hibernation during which Bert and I only talked to Klaas and Jan occasionally, we met each other weekly, sometimes daily again, to my delight. Do you agree that the guys you befriended around your twenties are still the ones closest to your heart? When it doesn’t matter if you loose touch for a while, because when you meet again, you instantly share the same old jokes? I am lucky to have more than three close friends, but Klaas, Jan and bro Bert definitely belong to the best of the best.
That year we had the infinite pleasure to come together as a band again, with the concert at the Paradiso in sight. Our strategy was simple: first we had learn to play together again. This Is Welfare, Another Sunny Day, The Good Earth, all those songs from our eighties repertoire were revived and we rehearsed them with growing confidence. We invited fans, friends and family to come over and on September 17, the Paradiso was sold out. I’m not sure if you can still objectively judge your performance when you’re standing face to face with 400 enthusiastic fans, among whom the mother of Klaas, smiling just in front of you, but let’s agree it was a fantastic show. Easy if you missed it, right? And everyone who wás there heard me announce that this was only the beginning, that The Dutch would write new songs and that we were working on a new album. Surely that was the Icarus in me talking.
And so came mid-January and one of my team members at work put the question, when I briefed the team about the impending staff reductions, “What are you going to do yourself, Hans?” Without thinking I replied, “Maybe I’ll start making music again.” That night I came up with the melody line of Copy That Line. In the weeks and months that followed, there was no stopping them: a long stream of songs emerged. Together with Jan, Klaas and Bert they were arranged and recorded using GarageBand, Logic and other nice music software, and rehearsed in Wout de Kruif’s studio, about whom more in a blog later on. And a couple of weeks ago, we started talking with a few record companies.
Of course, being Icarus, I know that far beneath my wings the Aegean Sea still swirls. While I flirt with the sun there are so many things that still can go wrong: What if the music industry is not waiting for four guys who were successful in the eighties and claim to be alive and kicking almost thirty years later? What if the source dries up, and after twelve new songs our creative eruption suddenly comes to an end? What if? But if you don’t mind I won’t let all those worries ruin my mood. One way or another, the new songs will find their way in the world. When we were like eighteen years old, playing the Bellamy Club in Amsterdam, with one of our first bands called Special Thanx, the Madison Square Garden in New York was our ultimate goal. And so it still is.
September 25, 2015