During their annual Mixmass festival, De Singel is celebrating the combination of the new and the old, classical and pop music, and local and international musicians. We hooked up with Antwerp-based artist-on-the-bill Felix Machtelinckx, singer and guitarist of Tin Fingers, who’s currently working on a new album. He recently started a new project – White Dress – a more theatrical, electronic outfit with a pianist. In a couple of weeks they are releasing a first song and music video.
Interview by Dries Robbe
The music videos by Tin Fingers always look very well designed and are visually quite strong. Is that also the case with White Dress?
Yes, even more so. White Dress has a very plastic character, and currently I’m collaborating with some fashion designers to work things out. The visual part of Tin Fingers always grows very organically, in a go-with-the-flow-esque way. On the contrary, White Dress is going the other way: playing with fakeness, caricatures, creating a persona,… And I’ve also reached out to my most feminine side.
What does that mean on a musical level?
It’s a bit darker than the Tin Fingers stuff I’ve made. The first song will be an 80s power ballad – you can maybe call it electronic crooner music? I’m doing some classic crooning à la Sinatra, but with beats and a female touch.
classic crooning à la Sinatra, but with beats and a female touch
On the line-up of the Mixmass festival at De Singel you’re not announced as one of these monikers. What’s happening then?
It’s a festival organized by Peter Theuns, who is also the band leader of B.O.X. (Baroque Orchestration X), a band that is blending contemporary music with baroque instruments. Pieter asked me to come as a singer to join his band, so not as Tin Fingers or White Dress, which turned out to be quite fun.
So you’re singing their songs?
No, every singer (Tsar B and Brihang are also participating) can choose to perform their own songs, write new ones or cover some. I wrote a new one and will perform two songs of the new Tin Fingers album. B.O.X. never heard my arrangements of these new songs, so they’ll create them all their self, with instruments I’ve actually never heard of. The instrument Pieter is playing on for instance, a gigantic theorbo, sounds amazing. I’m really curious to hear what they did with the songs.
The festival stands for a mix of classical music and pop music. Are you into classical music?
I absolutely like to listen to classical music, but I know way to little of it. I like Ravel’s Bolero and other famous composers such as Wagner, but I don’t listen to it that much.
it’s nice to suddenly open up a new door
Is this the first ‘featuring’ you’re doing?
I’ve played together and jammed with a lot of musicians, but never in this way. But this is fun: when you’re writing a new record with the same musicians all the time, it’s nice to suddenly open up a new door.
Any other musicians you dream about to collab with?
Actually currently, I don’t. I’m so happy with the musicians I’m working with, though there are some producers I’d like to work with.
She’s totally out of my league, but making a song with SOPHIE would be too cool. Her music is a totally different genre than mine, but her extremes, extravaganza and androgyny is something that really intrigues me. She would make a good match with the White Dress project. Maybe I’ll mail her.
What about the Tin Fingers releases?
We almost finished the demos for our new record. In February we hope to start the recordings, but we don’t know yet who we’ll be working with. Maybe we’ll do it ourselves; we really found our own universe within the band lately, so it might be weird to ask a producer to step into this new world. Our previous EP consisted of songs that we’ve been playing over the years, but now they originated in a constant stream. That is also the case with most of my favourite albums: you somehow feel the songs are written in the same time and atmosphere.