“Not necessarily fun. But definitely interesting.”
Band Photography: Cindy Frey
I'm meeting Das Pop straight after their soundcheck for their Hilfiger Denim Live show in Brussels. Everyone grabs a backstage beer keg to sit down. There's energy in the air. The foursome just drive down here, straight from Sweden, where they are recording the new Das Pop album.
So, how's the new record going?
Bent: We've got six finished songs by now!
That's fast. Did you have a lot of material prepared before you went in?
Bent: We had lots of stuff ready in the back of our minds that wasn't allowed to come out until the 'Das Pop' album was properly released.
Any new song titles you can give away?
Bent: Yes! One's called ‘THE GAME’. It should be pronouced like that. With plenty of emphasis when possible. (Ed. The band premieres two new songs later that night: 'This is not a Crime' and 'Yesterday')
The new MGMT leaked recently. A few hours after that happened, the band decided to stream the entire album on their own site. Would you ever consider doing something like that?
Bent: We would consider anything. The ‘Das Pop’ album was leaked, too. It even topped the illegal download charts for a while.
Was there a lot of difference between the leaked version and the one that's officially out now?
Bent: Actaully, all different versions of the album were leaked.
Any idea how these leaks start?
Bent: Not a clue.
Reinhard (guitar- shouting from out back): OK, I admit: I did it. Sorry, guys!
Bent, I've read somewhere you always carry a copy of ‘Cat People’, the erotic thriller by Paul Shrader, on the tourbus. Is that true?
Bent: Yes and no. Not on every tour. But I have taken it with me several times, yes. Great movie.
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Cat People Trailer
What do the rest of you guys watch on the tour bus?
Bent: Oh, we've got this amazing Michael Jackson documentary.
(The rest of the band gets genuinely excited.) It's an unofficial documentary.
Matt (drums): Very unofficial.
Bent: It's really a low low budget production. The whole thing is filmed in one room. We picked up the DVD in a gas station... where it probably should have stayed.
Matt: Every 'tour' they show is just the same gig with a different costume.
Bent: And they weren't allowed to use Michael's music, so they just simulate it with grunts and yelps. (Starts grunting into the mic.) Amazing.
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Michael shops at the supermarket (home movie)
Matt: Our tour manager always burns a whole stack of movies for us to... erm..
Bent: (with a distinguished flick of the wrist)....critique. (cracks up)
When Mötley Crue was touring, there was only one thing that was forbidden to all: NO SHITTING ON THE BUS. Is there anything 'forbidden' on a Das Pop bus?
Bent: Same thing, really. Especially considering we don't have a toilet on our bus. That would be very bad manners indeed. We do actually tour with a nightliner sometimes and when we do, we have to sit down all the newbies and go over the rules.
Reinhard: One time we went back to the bus and you could tell: someone, someone we didn't even know, obviously did it. He shitted on our bus.
Probably the same guy who leaked everything.
Reinhard: Probably. What an asshole.
Matt: A total shitleaker. (cracks up)
Bent, I once heard you say that 'Das Pop' is brand as much as it is a band.
Bent: Absolutely. I think that goes for any band. Even the most obscure post-folk band will try to have their own identity, one that's different from all the other post-folk bands. I was talking about being instantly recognisable, something that sets you apart from the others.
Next up: questions by fans on Facebook and the blogging community:
Have you ever considered adding a female band member to get more attention? (See: Black Eyed Peas) (via Appelogen)
Bent: Maybe if we would find a girl who has all the qualities of a Candy Dulfer... She would have to be very good at playing the saxophone, though. Saxophone will feature heavily on the new album.
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Candy Dulfer & Dave Stewart - Lily Was Here
Question we got from several fans: when are you playing with a symphonic orchestra? (via Indiestyle)
(Band members look slightly stunned.)
Bent: Ah! That almost happened, recently. We're definitely going to. Probably even by the end of this year.
If you could choose any period in history to live in, which one would that be?
Bent: Difficult question. The Renaissance seems...fun. (laughing) Everything was new, everybody was inventing new things like... perspective, for example, which I'm a big fan of. Another interesting period would be the end of the 19th, beginning of the 20th century in Vienna.
Dinner with the Wittgensteins?
Bent: Yes! That would have been interesting. Not necessarily fun. But definitely interesting.
Next question: where does a man buy some good socks?
Bent: Everywhere! I'm serious. Whenever I visit a city, I go sock shopping. My socks need to tell a story.
What story are your most recent pair of socks trying to tell?
Bent: I remember it well, I was in the Tommy Hilfiger shop in Brussels...
(Everybody cracks up, Reinhard comes to Bent's rescue.)
Reinhard: But it's the truth!
Bent: Yep, they're very nice socks with a ‘T’ on it, which is intricately woven into a nice argyle pattern.
Questions on fashion always go to Bent, but Reinhard, I've seen you play dressed as an Arab and once even as Superman when you were backing up Daniel Johnston. What does a man have to do to get some attention for his fashion sense?
Reinhard: (drily) I guess: those things you've just mentioned.
(Daniel Johnston drawing for Das Pop)
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Das Pop - 'Tired' feat. Reinhard dressed as an Arab
Any new looks we can look forward to?
Reinhard: Nah, I've been going for the 'gold miner' look with these overalls for two years now and I'm sticking with it.
Do you go shopping for overalls in each city?
Reinhard: They're really hard to find, you know. I've got four of them now. I wear each one one until it can stand on its own from all the sweat and filth. Then I switch to the next one.
There's a great sketch by "That Mitchell & Webb look" in which two comedians are presented with toy doll versions of themselves. One doll has all kinds of extras, like a 10.000 word vocabulary and celebrity friends, the other one has nothing but an extra T-shirt. If there were to be toy dolls made in your image, what kind of extra features would they need to have?
Bent: A large wardrobe would be a good start. Changeable socks, of course. (Takes a moment to think.) And a pet fox.
Matt: I'll have a cat on a leash. And her name would be... ‘Miesje’.
Reinhard: I'll go for the Arab outfit.
Niek (bass): And for me..errr... a hat?
Bent: And different kinds of shoes.... all of them one size too small.
Quick closing questions:
Favourite live band of the moment?
Bent: Beach House
All of Das Pop: Lawrence of Arabia
Favourite Power Ballad?
Bent: “Listen to your heart” by Roxette.
Is that what you sing on karaoke nights?
Bent: “No, I only do ‘Sex Bomb’ by Tom Jones on karaoke nights.”
Any more power ballad favourites?
Bent: ‘I wanna know what love is.’ By Reo Speedwagon.
Matt: ‘She’s Like the Wind’ by Patrick Swayze.
Bent: The late, great Swayze!
I think that's how I'll end the interview: with Patrick Swayze singing.
Bent: Sound good. Do it!
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