Yes, it's an interview with Michel van Dam of the Wot Nxt organization, noise-niks supreme and flyers of the musical avant-garde flag in Holland.
Hey hey, have we got a treat in store for all you young fresh unpolluted kids out there. Yes, it's an interview with Michel van Dam of the Wot Nxt organization, noise-niks supreme and flyers of the musical avant-garde flag in Holland. Possibly (well, to incendiary's mind anyway), the only exciting and truly "out there" musical collaboration in this whole land (no shit Sherlock). Sonic Youth? Neerrrr, not in the same league….
IN: Can you explain the whole Wot Nxt "organisation"?
M: Wot Nxt is an independent multi-music organisation. It started sometime in 1995 at the school of Graphic Design in Rotterdam. There were four friends: Tijl Clement, Patrick Bras, Guido van Eekelen and Michel van Dam. After we left school, everybody went to art-schools all around the country to do their own stuff. Wot Nxt was then only my project, apart from Guido van Eekelen, who released some things under the Wot Nxt name.
It was, and still is an "anarchistic everything is possible" group. I was in this duo-band, the "Sugar Coated Mind Bombs". You could describe us as "Improv/punk/noise". They released several tapes on Wot Nxt. They also recorded and released tapes from like minded spirits, like "Chew Chew" and the legendary "Ectoplasma". That was sometime 1996 /1997 and that's where another friend came in: Paul Zwetsloot. He had an idea for a long time to have his own record company. Anyway, we met each other, talked, got drunk and started "Wot Nxt. The Record Company"!
As we speak, Wot Nxt has released about 7 cassettes, 4 10" vinyl records, several CD-R's (mostly Sugar Coated Mind Bombs) and some CD-R samplers. Wot Nxt is also getting more and more into organising shows, all around the country. We have a lot of contacts in the Dutch squat-scene and with a lot of people with comparable ideas. We still believe everything is possible, especially live! So it can happen that you go to see a Wot Nxt show which starts with an German laptop white noise show for 25 minutes, and after that a hard indie pop guitar band, followed, say, by "Spokane", extremely silent, "whispermusicmakers" (can I use that word?), followed by the Sugar Coated Mind Bombs who always make the sky fall down with EXTREME NOISE!
IN: My God, you are bloody busy...
M: There are still a LOT of ideas for shows with a wide range of music. Klezmer meets Crustcore. Par Example. Also some vinyl plans but right now...they are broke (contributions are welcome). Paul is also very busy with a charity project called Banu Bada. They are helping children who live on (and UNDER) the streets in Rumania. Paul does that with his girlfriend, Tascha. Wot Nxt arranged some benefit shows to collect money for them. They were sold out! And they collected a lot of money!
Wot Nxt is also about to start the "Wot Nxt Portable Underground Pop Shop" which is a distributon organisation for all kinds of underground music, books, art, whatever.
M: Mostly it will be in my workspace in Leiden. People can call if I'm in! Wot Nxt is also going to do some "not very legal art-exhibitions" in the centre of Leiden. So, well, Wot Nxt is all kind of stuff. Do it yourself. It can be very rewarding but also very annoying. I reckon that we could host a 5 day festival, non-stop with all the bands that cancelled shows at the LAST MINUTE!!
There are also more people involved with Wot Nxt. Our big friend Marcel for instance, we call him Marcel Internet, guess why (no, I can't, Ed). Also, other people from Leiden. Jack and Ronald from Krush the grind-core gods, the people at Bar en Boos and De X.
IN: You all seem to play in each other's bands! What's all that about?
M: You're right! Sugar Coated Mind Bombs is Maarten van der Ploeg on drums and me on bass/vox. Then there is this friend of ours, Aart-Jan Schakenbos, well known in Leiden for his musical talent ánd knowledge. Aart-Jan once played at the same show as Sugar Coated Mind Bombs. Hell! he once played as support act for Sonic Youth!! Aart and I ran into eachother at some grindcore show at the now ruined squatplace "The Barakken". We talked, got drunk and decided to make some fine improv/noise together. And we did! At The Muziekhuis in Leiden. It was on a Monday morning and the people who work at the Muziekhuis talked ALL WEEK (and that's a fact) about it. Several people took a peek to see if nothing was broken. We also did some performances at an art show in Breda as: "One way ticket to Pluto". We are also known as: "Slick city and the condoms". Aart-Jan has a friend, Leo Fabriek, the great drummer (but no drumkit). Leo, Aart and me decided to start a band, The Julie Mittens. Julie from Julie Andrews (remember The Sound of Music?), Mittens from "whiskers on kittens and warm wollen mittens".
IN: Bloody hell, some reason for a name Michel!
M: Yeah, and that all because the son of God, J.C. (John Coltrane that is) plays this song: "My favorite things", at the Olatunji concert. His last recored live set ever. The absolute record that is. If you are into free-jazz / improv / noise, buy it. It's on Impulse Records.
The Julie Mittens, heavy freejazz is the music, sometimes it's like stoner, sometimes it's chaos. But loud, always loud. Aart and Leo are into Japanese improv. They have this band: Tenuzu No Chiizu. Aart plays the ELECTRIC buzuki, a Greek instrument while Leo plays piano. It's very good, inteligent music, they are going to release their first cd within a couple of months. They could get big with this. NO!! They MUST get big with this! Aart, Leo, Maarten en me did a gig a couple of months ago in Dordrecht. The line up was Sugar Coated Minds Bombs and Tenuzu No Chiizu. TNC played first, SCMB second and after that they played TOGETHER for about one hour. A "Supersoundscape" that was.
At present, It's like we are a small underground movement IN the underground scene of Leiden. There's also "soccer Committee", fine music like Cat Power, magnificent silent songs from a girl called Mariska Baars, she is also "part" of that scene. The underground of the underground.
IN: What are your musical ideals? Are they, indeed describable?
M: Well, speaking for the Sugar Coated Mind Bombs, everything is an influence. I listen to everything that makes sound. Music, everything. My music coolection (actually a mis-spelling, but I left that in cos that's an ace word, eh? Ed), goes from Dixieland-Jazz to Grindcore and everything in between and beyond. And all the music I listen, I try to put it in my music. Surpisingly, Maarten has almost nil musical interest. Nick Cave, Leonard Cohen, that's about it. He doesn't listen or buy the music he plays. But he is a very good, fast, technical drummer. A natural born one that is! SCMB is now again back to their punkroots. Old school hardcore like Minor Threat or Black Flag. This is after almost 8 years of complete improvisation. Sometimes we didn't rehearse for 6 months, aranged a gig and played. This happened quite often actually...
A couple of years ago I was in England for a couple of months while Maarten was in the Philipines. We both got back in the same week, two weeks later we played for over 250 people. We released this show on the Wot Nxt label as CD-r. So what's in your mind on stage? Whenever we improvise we try make a big wall of chaotic sound. People are always very surprised that such a small band can create so much noise and energy. We are doing this for about 10 (yes, that is TEN) years, so we both know what the other is going to do. It sound disgusting, but we are like brothers. Timing is our strongest point. Hell! Maarten and I became fathers at the same time, in 2003! Our kids were almost born on THE SAME day. Teun (my son) on the 27th of march and Jelle on the 29th of march. Well THAT'S what I call timing, (and NO, we didn't had a gig 9 months earlier!)
The Julie Mittens is slightly different to play, because we all have to listen very closely to what the others are doing and react to that, or not. We are at our best when we can't figure out what sound is made by who. When it's one cloud of sound, almost something organic. Someone once described The Julie Mittens as full-on improv blast from the Netherlands. Influenced by Coltrane, Haino, Urabe but very much on a trip of their own. My musical ideals? Stun the people with sound.
IN: Who are your heroes?
M: Well I do listen a lot of music. All the bands or people that in someway inspire me are heroes. Right now, right now, it's the MC 5 I listen to most. Saw them live a couple of weeks ago. Sometimes you could get the idea of what they were like back then... I discovered them only a year ago and was really surprised by the amount of noise the produced. Especially the live bootlegs. What, more? Nomeansno, The Ex, Godheadsilo, Hella, John Coltrane, Sun Ra.
IN: You played the first Soundtrack event at the Haagweg, Leiden. What did you think of that?
M: It ended up as a complete chaotic mess and that's what I liked about it. It was good. Art can be very boring. Artists are most of the time very boring people who think they are right so it can be refreshing to shake things up a little bit. MORE!! MORE!!!!OK so what can we buy?
Wot did we do? here's a:
Wot 000 - "Master" Lo-Fi recordings by SCMB 1995
Wot 001 - "Superfolds" Concept tape by SCMB 1995
Wot 002 - "Big Cunt! Songs About Cars" tape by SCMB 1997
Wot 003 - "Het JOIN moet blijven bandje" tape with several "Bulb-area" bands.
Wot 004 - "SCMB Live!"
Wot ??? - "Debunker" tape by Chew Chew 1996 (?)
Wot ??? - "Evert de verwarming" tape by Ectoplasma 1996 (?)
Together with "Roadkill Rekordz" we released the cd of "Only Entertainment" The "allcoveredinpunkband" , unfortunately they split up.
Sugar Coated Mind Bombs:
"Wots wrong with them raw oysters ??!!" 1998
"Christ it's ..." 1999
"SCMB Live" 2000
"SCMB live at the Muziekhuis" 2002
"SCMB live at De X" 2002
"SCMB live at De Barakken" 2003
"SCMB live at the X feat. Aart-Jan Schakenbos" 2003
"This won't work for you" 2004
"Big Cunt! Songs about cars etc..." 2004
"The inventor of gadget" 2001
The Julie Mittens
Wot Nxt Promo nov. 2002: The As-Ifs / Chut! / I drive a UFO / Gone Bald / SCMB
Wot Nxt Promo feb. 2003: Bishop Invaders / Soccer Comittee / Roy S. / Julia P.
WNRC 001 - "Smogus / Griffin" split 10 2000
WNRC 002 - "Double + Good" 10" by Roy S. 2001
WNRC 003 - "Things go better with coke" by Xynobite 10" 2002
WNRC 004 - "Roy S. vs. Julia P." split 10 " 2003
So! And the season is about to start! Also: TNC is about to realese their first full lenght CD. Michel is about to record his SOLO project; also Winston Krapuul (singer/songscreamer). So, things are busy! And here are some websites people MUST check: