in the Category: music
De Ambassade is crossing borders again!
After releasing the two instant cult seven-inches, Verloren and Wat Voel Je Nou, in 2016 and 2017 respectively, Amsterdam’s dark/cold/new wave outfit De Ambassade left us empty-handed and perplexed for two years; we wanted to discover and settle forever in their universe of eerie DIY synths, understated Dutch vocals and reverb-drenched drums. But then, at the end of 2019, there it was – the release of Duistre Kamers on the ever-great Knekelhuis imprint, which turned out to be nothing less than a sublime exposé of De Ambassade’s songwriting and producing skills. We called singer and synth player Pascal Pinker and bassist Timothy Francis (third member Aniek de Rooij could not make it but was there in spirit!) for a curtain-raiser to their show in Ghent in early 2020. Let's go back in time!
Interview by Dries Robbe
Photos by Danny Griffioen, shot in Amsterdam
How are you doing since the release of the new record?
T&P: Very good! All shows have sold out, we brought a lot of merch that sold out pretty fast too, enthusiastic audiences. Actually, all you ever want a release to be.
So, I guess the De Ambassade hype is real?
P: I don’t like hypes, but sometimes, they just happen.
What are your musical backgrounds and how did De Ambassade start?
T: I always was a bass player – and still am – and started playing music in the punk scene.
P: I started studying audio design at art school, but quit after some time and started making records on my own. I founded Dollkraut, did some releases with this outfit and then started De Ambassade as a side project. I had some ideas which I started working on together with Timothy or other musicians, which eventually led to Duistre Kamers. In fact, I was attracted to other ‘areas’ in music and wanted to explore them, also on the technical and musical production part.
T: I also play in Dollkraut, and I think another reason we started De Ambassade as a live band, was that there was some buzz after the Verloren single. People started asking who we were, where we came from… there was clear interest in a live act.
I don’t like hypes, but sometimes, they just happen
In the liner notes of Duistre Kamers on Bandcamp I read that, ‘Beneath the surface lies a deeper Dutch language narrative celebrating free speech and thought, starkly in opposition with a world where alienation and solitude create ever more distance between all beings.’ Is that a political statement?
P&T: Where did you read this? I think the label added this. They have this punk attitude and DIY vibe. We can relate to this; we always rebelled towards one thing or another or didn’t do things in the most convenient way. We don’t like things to be too clear or figured out too much.
Your sound clearly refers to the ’80s wave music. How did you end up there?
T: We just wanted to make music and ended up there – it’s not that we explicitly wanted to make music that sounded like that. But we obviously listened a lot to music from this era.
P: The ’80s is a source of inspiration, and we share ideas, mindset and characteristics with the musicians of that period.
What do you want to bring about with your music?
P: I always like it when I can make people happy with our tunes. A girl who attended a show of ours at the Strange Sounds From Beyond festival ran towards me and told me that the Geen Genade and Wat Voel Je Nou single really helped her to get through a depression. I was baffled by this, and can’t deny that this really meant something to me.