This month Anthony Glass, the leader of the Electric Fans, Amsterdam's finest, most out there band, talked to Richard Foster.
This month Anthony Glass, the leader of the Electric Fans, Amsterdam's finest, most out there band, talked to Richard Foster about, (well, you know), this and that.
IN: Electric Fans seem to be in love with strange musical arrangements and weird experimentation. Why is this?
AG: Our line-up has always been a bit "untypical". For a while, we didn't even have a bass, it was just mouthharp, effects, drums and percussions. So that in itself already makes it less likely that you're going to sound like, let's say, Oasis or something.
IN: How do you create your music?
AG: Our songs will usually start from a basic idea, like a beat, a bassline, or a sample. During rehearsal, we work out each number more in detail, but onstage we will often take a more improvisational approach to it.
IN: You played a blistering set at the last Soundtrack night at the Melkweg. What was that like to do?
AG: It was a great gig, one of the best this year, beyond doubt. What I really liked about it is that the set consisted of two parts - the first, where we had to play along to what was being projected onto the screen, and the second, which was like a "regular" set. I particularly liked the film set, because it forced us to take a different approach: usually, we focus very much on the groove, and try to produce a full sound, but here we tried to hold it back more, to use more silences and breaks, and also to give each individual instrument more space. In a way, this made it even more fun to come back to the regular set again, and rock the place!
IN: What kind of gigs do you prefer playing?
AG: All kinds, really. It's different every time, so you can't really compare. But in general, I'd say it's a question of energy, if we feel in sync as a band, and of course, if we are able to connect with the crowd. When this happens, the whole experience goes to another level. What's funny about it, is that it can happen unexpectedly; you might be feeling quite down when the show begins, and not in the mood to play, and then suddenly, something happens, and this surge of energy goes through the band and the crowd. The Landjuweel show at Ruigoord in 2003 was such a gig, it's one of our all-time favourites.
IN: What is the musical ethos of the Electric Fans in general?
AG: For all the weird sounds we might sometimes produce, we've never seen ourselves as deliberately experimental or something like that, I think at the basis we make quite simple music. And I guess it's about a certain kind of open-mindedness, too. I was always interested in combining raw, live energy with something more "dance-y", but without losing the edge. Some people seem to think that there is some unbridgeable gap between these two ways of making music, but I totally disagree with that idea.
IN: Any heroes or influences you'd care to mention?
AG: Too many to mention. Really.
IN; When can we see you in action again?
AG; Well, tonight, actually! (1st Nov.) We're playing at Winston International, Warmoestraat 129 in Amsterdam. Entry 5 Euros, doors open 22h. See you there!