THE END 2013 // LONDON N8 // 15-16 NOVEMBER // TICKETS £15/25
FRIDAY @ THE HABERDASHERY, 6.30pm
Following acclaimed DIY-debut WE COULD WAKE EACH OTHER UP, EQUINOX, THE PEACEKEEPER (aka Belgian singer-songwriter/globetrotter Wouter Buyst) releases BIRDSONGS ON THE WASTE LAND.
About the new album Wouter says “The main difference with ‘We Could Wake…’ is that it’s situated less inside the realm of the mind… ‘Birdsongs’, in a way, calls for action. As on the previous album, the main themes are still the ‘big ones’ like desire or death, but some songs on the new album call for more rooted, personal action. And when I’m calling for action I’m addressing my little self in the first place. I’m cautious to avoid the trap of the cliché protest-singer. To preach doesn’t serve anyone and the poetry of the lyrics should always surpass any message. Poetically correct maybe, rather than politically”.
No slogan-songs: the opening track ‘The Holy Lamb Soundly Sleeping’ is inspired by the Occupy movement, but although Wouter has been part of Ghent’s squatting and activist-scene, it’s not his style to shout through megaphones (unless it serves the song). The lyrics can sometimes sound harsh or confronting, but he always sings them in his own gentle way. And although death is a mayor theme in more than one track, the songs are life-affirming.
Musical influences? Wouter loves Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy for his lyrics or the Icelandic group Múm for their melancholy and organic electronics, yet his preference goes to the old stuff: Mississippi John Hurt for his picking-style or the Alan Lomax field recordings for the soul captured in them. Lyrically, it’s Dylan and Cohen where he finds inspiration. Meeting Cohen once in the streets of Montreal was for Wouter the symbolic start of his music career. After a short talk about ego and being a performer, Cohen sent him on his path with the wise words: “it’s a hard road and shit will happen, but in the end you’ll be alright. Good luck son”.
The road always beckons in Wouter’s life, and his stay in Colombia (2010), India and the south of Europe (2011) inspired a lot of new material. “It’s easier to get inspired on the road. In Belgium I also write songs, but while travelling it’s easier. Things that happen seem to form a mythical story in itself; I just need to turn it into a song”. The album release is supported live by a European “living room tour” (playing 30 homes in 30 days) and support for Kelley Deal’s (The Breeders) new project R. Ring.
THE END INTERVIEW // EQUINOX, THE PEACEKEEPER
1. Where is home for you?
For the moment: a collective farm outside the city of Ghent, Belgium. But I travel around quite a lot.
2. Where does your band name come from?
Started doing my first recordings in a studio in Montréal around the period of the winter equinox (the day when time of daylight is exactly as long as night-time), needed a name and liked the image. And peacekeeper, well, I do my best to keep everyone on this planet calm, but I’m already happy when I can suppress my own demons for a minute or two…
3. What are your top 3 records right now?
- The complete Mississippi John Hurt.
- Listening a lot to the Dusted Digital catalog. Old thirties and forties stuff from around the planet. Stuff so soulful it seems the artists featured there have a permanent residence on the crossroads.
- Checking out Tom Waits again since I saw him last week in San Fransisco and he’s just something else…
4. What can we expect from your show at The End?
Old folkie stuff mixed with field-recordings and some Tuvan overtone-singing tossed in. People told me, after good shows, that it was like a kind of weird ceremony for them, I like that.
5. Where else should we be looking out for you.
November and december will be Belgian gigs. Next year is being planned, will be doing new recordings as well soon.