in the Category: music
2 Times Nothing
Don’t judge a book by its cover. 2 Times Nothing might appear to be the band with the most trivial name in the country, but in reality they’re Belgium’s finest. They’ve been playing together since childhood, which becomes apparent when you hear their music. Not shy of merging their instruments with electronics and effects, you can hear fragments of late-period Miles Davis in their music, mixed with a touch of Aphex Twin and Four Tet. We sat down with four members of the band. It was freezing cold, our toes were like ice cubes, the heating was broken, so we met around a bowl of boiling soup and discussed the meaning of the past, ideas for a future EP and having a residency at Volta.
Interview by Wannes Dewit
Photos by Lauren Lizinde, shot in Brussels
Most of you study jazz at the Conservatory of Antwerp. How has that influenced your music?
Thomas: We do study jazz, but we’re not only studying traditional jazz there. We’re open to contemporary things as well. It’s amazing, though, that we get the opportunity to learn from such amazing musicians.
Jacob: The step from the Kunsthumaniora to the conservatory was a big one, since the education at the conservatory is much more extensive. The music that we used to write at the Kunsthumaniora got described as jazz, but with a twist. Our music came out of this place, trying things on our own and not getting taught every little detail.
It is almost 2020, is a jazz education still worth it?
Thomas: I think it’s really important to hear in someone’s music that it was inspired by the past. After the study of tradition, you have to go on an expedition. What are my influences? What do I want to do? It’s kind of like looking for yourself.
Jacob: It’s true, jazz is the cornerstone of most music around us. You really feel this when you study the music. Good knowledge of the past also makes innovation easier. It’s really important that the youth try to innovate. Without the youth and their new ideas, cultures starve. If the music doesn’t have a future, its past becomes meaningless.
After the study of tradition, you have to go on an expedition
You’ve already collaborated with producers in the past for your Uskumatu EP. Are you interested in something similar for the future?
Arto: Yes definitely. I’ve always said that I would love to make a volume 2 of Uskumatu, with a bunch of remixes. I like the concept a lot. For Uskumatu, we gave one of our songs to five different producers who did what they liked with it. This was nice, but I think it could work even better if we came with a fixed idea next time, explaining what we want, what Uskumatu means, telling a story around it.
Jacob: Recently, we’ve tried to work in the opposite direction. We took songs from a producer and arranged them for our band, giving them our own touch.
Are there certain producers that you’d like to work with for Uskumatu, vol. 2?
Jacob: We haven’t really thought about that. If local producers would like to collaborate or remix one of our songs, they should definitely give us a call. We always look for ways to strengthen the Belgian scene. It’s very important.
Jorick: I’d love to see what Maxwell Sterling, ssaliva and Hexagon Brozart could do with our material.
You guys have a residency at the music venue Volta at the moment. Tell me about that.
Jacob: Yes, Volta is a very inspiring place. You’re surrounded by a lot of amazing musicians who are working very hard on new material as well. We also got the opportunity to get feedback from some amazing musicians. That’s how we got in touch with Bert Cools, Niels Broos and Jamie Peet.
Thomas: Youff is there, Bombataz as well, a z e r t y klavierwerke… It’s really the place to be.
Where do you get inspiration for new music?
Thomas: AAN/EOP are a big inspiration for me. It would be cool if we could try our hand at improvising full songs, like they do. We could prepare this by looking for sounds beforehand, or agreeing on a certain vibe. We could play completely free and just look at what happens in the moment.
Jacob: Improvising is something that we’ve missed in the past. We’re definitely going to work on that.
Do you feel like you get supported enough as emerging artists in Belgium?
Maurice: Yes, but we also got lucky. Lefto opened a lot of doors for us, for example. Now is the time to show what we’ve got, to show everyone that we’re here to stay. We aren’t the 16-year-olds we used to be any more.
Arto: Moodprint was also a big help. He came across a video of a concert of ours, after which he arranged a studio session for us. He supports us a lot and also made a remix for the Uskumatu EP. We keep in touch.
Any albums you would recommend for our readers?
Thomas: The newest from Robert Glasper, Fuck Yo Feelings. Oh my god. It’s mental.
Maurice: Tributary Tales by Gerald Clayton is amazing, but I think that Aphex Twin and Pudding oO are the artists that we as 2 Times Nothing have listened to the most.
Jacob: Finding Gabriel by Brad Mehldau. The Lounge Lizards are also great. They’ve really turned a scene that was dying upside down and brought it back to life in a very brutal way.
4th Stream Festival Day 1: 2 Times Nothing
5 Dec - Volta (Bozar), Brussels
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