Secret Rendezvous are an Electro-Soul group from Amsterdam consisting of Sietske and Remi. They’re currently working on the promotion of their latest album “Paint the Town Red” and we were delighted at Essential Pop when the agreed to complete a feature artist interview. Read the full interview below to find out about how both Remi and Sietske became interested in music, what music they enjoy listening to when not creating their funky psychedelic tracks and what they’re hoping to achieve throughout the remainder of 2011.
Q: If you could classify your music in a genre or a number of genres what would it be?
We like to call our music : Psychedelic/Electro/Soul.
Q: If you could use a tagline of less than 20 words to describe your music and who you are what would it be?
Creative, openminded, experimental duo on a musical journey combining Soul, Rock, Hiphop and Electronical influences into 1 modern, fresh sound.
Q: What is your musical background?
Sietske :I grew up around music, my whole family tree is either a music fanatic or musician, so when I grew up there were radio’s on everywhere or my Dad jamming on his guitar. I started singing with friends and performing as a teenager. Later on as a backing vocalist for other bands. Remi and I went to the Conservatory in Rotterdam to study Pop Music, that’s where we met and jammed together. From that point on (2002) we’ve been writing music!
Remi :At high school some friends needed a guitar player for their punk band. So I taught myself some guitar chords and joined them. From there I always was fooling around recording with an old 4 track tape recorder and later on with Cubase. My Dad doesn’t play any instruments but he has a great taste of music. So I was always surrounded by Johnny Winter, Hendrix, Stones, Beach Boys and other great records. Before I went to the Conservatory I did an electronic engineering study which is now very usefull as a producer and in recording situations. I also played guitar for other bands in The Netherlands and Belgium, but was always writing stuff with Sietske.
Q: How was 2010 for you?
Sietske : 2010 was the year we (voluntary) locked ourselves up in the studio to experiment, record, throw away, start all over again, record and mix our debut album so…pretty intense but a great learning process and musical year
Q: Who inspires you musically?
Funkadelic, Hendrix, Prince, Led Zeppelin, Donny Hathaway, Stevie Wonder, David Bowie, Kraftwerk, Flying Lotus, Autechre, D’angelo, Slum Village… A lot!!
Q: Which modern day artists do you look up to?
Remi :Electric Wire Hustle, Radiohead, The Mars Volta and Flying Lotus.
Sietske : adding James Blake, J Davey and Janelle Monae
Q: Is there anyone you would like to collaborate or gig with?
Sietske : Wow, too many artists, but right now I would have to say Bilal! I think he really re-invented himself for his new album Airtight’s Revenge and we would love to work with him one day!
Q: What songs are on your ipod at the moment?
Sietske : A lot!!!!! Hahahaha I like to fill my iphone with a diversity of music for any mood anywhere. Right now I’m into Bilal, Sa-Ra, Radiohead, Rufus Wainwright, Flying Lotus and on repeat are my favourite tunes from Lewis Taylor, Funkadelic, Prince, Stevie Wonder and D’Angelo. I also want to expand my vinyl collection!
Remi: Yeah me too… A lot is similar to Sietske’s playlist. But right now I listen a lot to Kraftwerk, Autechre, Deadelus, Starkey, Martyn, Yeasayer, The Kills, Jaylib and Fela Kuti.
Q: What is your creative process for creating a track?
Sietske :Most of the times Remi comes up with a crazy beat or groove and I hear a melody or some bizar phonetic words on it that start a topic from where we both can move forward.
Sometimes I come up with chords and a hook and then Remi adds the beat or groove and we work from there.
Remi : Yes, I just want to have the right vibe and try to play with just the bassline so the melody is free to go. You can’t do that if you write from chords. Then you will sing on top of what’s already done there.
Q: What’s more important, melody or lyrics?
Sietske : It depends on the song, really. I’m very drawn to great melodies, but sometimes the story is more important to tell. When I hear a new song the melody catches my ears first though.
Q: Where are you based?
Sietske : Our studio is still in Den Haag (at Remi’s place) but he’s moving in with me (in Amsterdam) so then our workspace will be in Amsterdam as well.
Q: What’s it like being where you’re from?
Sietske:Amsterdam is a fun town with a lot of cool, creative initiatives everywhere.
New cultural festivals or clubs arise every year and there’s always something to do. We could use some more jam sessions though!
Q: What are you currently working on?
Remi : We just launched our debut album “Paint The Town Red” in Holland and our first single/music video “Just One More Thing” at the end of March. Our promotional tour started last week in Holland and Belgium so we’re really busy with the tour at the moment, but also with the new single and music video that’s coming up this summer!
Q: What’s been the highlight of your career to date?
Sietske :The day we could finally hold our album in our hands after so much hard work, blood, sweet and tears hahahah
It’s really like the birth of a child, you’re so proud of it and you want to scream from the top of your lungs to tell everyone about it .
Remi :We’re also proud of the fact that MTV Brand New plays our video right now in Holland.
Q: What are you hoping to achieve in 2011?
Remi :We’re hoping to receive national and international airplay for our singles and to perform more outside of Holland as well, so in Paris, London and Berlin for example. That would be awesome!
Q: Do you have any gigs or shows that you’d like to tell us about?
Sietske :Well, we’re very excited about the touring festival we’re organizing this summer with 3 other befriended bands at the beautiful beaches in Holland.
It’s called OFF the Richter FEST and it’s our own initiative to bring attention to new, exciting, outside-of-the-box-thinking music! It’s with us (Secret Rendezvous) iET, Jeruma and Ryan.
We’re also planning a tour in the fall/winter to provide a whole evening with great new music for the club circuit in Holland.
Q: What do you do to relax?
Sietske : Watching documentaries, Tv shows like Dexter or Mad Men, hanging out with friends, going to concerts from friends. All that good stuff.
Remi: Making beats, playing with Ableton Live.
Q: Is there anything else you’d like to let our readers know about?
Keep an eye on our own label Sonic Galore Records, we will launch more music from Secret Rendezvous and new artists on it in the future!
Editor’s Note: Secret Rendezvous turn traditional pop music on its head to create an appealing, sultry and commercial Electro-Soul sound. Their creative ideas and energetic vibe mean that further success in many countries is surely just around the corner.
If you’d like to learn more about or contact Secret Rendezvous just follow the links below:
twitter link: www.twitter.com/secretrendezv
facebook link: www.facebook.com/secretrendezvousmusic
web page link: www.secretrendezvous.org
soundcloud link: www.soundcloud.com/secretrendezvous
Youtube : www.youtube.com/secretrendezvousnl
Bandcamp : www.secretrendezvousmusic/bandcamp.com
Sonic Galore Records : www.sonicgalore.com
OFFtheRichterFEST : http://offtherichterfest.tumblr.com