Pubblicato il Gennaio 26th, 2019 | by DDG


Bent Van Looy: this is (Das) Pop!

Bent Van Looy is a Belgian author and singer, popular in Europe since when he fronted the power pop band DAS POP: the Ghent artist is fairly eclectic, being active also as drummer with Soulwax, painter, designer and… fashion icon, having also a parallel career as founder of a fashion label, The Jante Law. His recent record YOURS TRULY (2018), produced by Jason Falkner, is one of the best pop of the last months, eleven inspired songs with the personal watermark of the author, echoing here and there the Beatles or the late XTC or Randy Newman: a short telephone conversation with Bent allowed to discover more details about it.

Your previous solo records were not as shiny and happy as YOURS TRULY, the sad clown on the ROUND THE BEND cover was a pretty clear image of your feelings at that time: did you come back to pop?
I consider my solo records as a trilogy, a pop journey: ROUND THE BEND (2014) was very intimate and piano based, with respect to PYJAMA DAYS (2016), that’s more open… and this time, with YOURS TRULY (2018), I wanted to explore more through baroque and melodic pop music.

And the use of ukulele is part of the exploration?
The point is, I really can’t play guitar: my wife bought me an ukulele as a birthday present, and I had no idea on how to use it, then I found on YouTube this hawaiian man playing Somewhere over the rainbow, the old Judy Garland The Wizard of Oz song, and I started to think that it would have been interesting to try it for writing my own stuff. I really don’t know how you should actually play ukulele, but now I play ukulele like I play piano, through instinct – and sometimes it leads to new colours, so to say.

But it also led you back to old Das Pop days, maybe.
Yes, absolutely, I think so! The previous solo records were more malinconic, this time the ukulele was part of this positive phase of the journey, it was pure fun, just like some Das Pop songs.

Jason Falkner supported and produced you throughout the whole journey, as he did with other european pop writers, as Anne Soldaat.
Even before I met Jason Falkner, I was a huge fan of his music since my 20s, I remember I was also every day playing his records in the record store, having no money for buying them all! Then he worked with Anne Soldaat, who’s a friend of mine, doing a beautiful work on his melodic compositions; Anne made him listening to my music, without letting me know, then he told me that he liked it… and I flew to Los Angeles and started working with him in his studio.

Then, there are actual connections between you/Das Pop and Daryll-Ann, the Dutch band led by Anne Soldaat and Paulusma! I always noticed some common roots – Beatles and XTC, maybe.
We are friends, and when Das Pop was touring everywhere in Europe (but in Italy and in Denmark, actually), we often shared shows with them, in particular in Holland – we played in Holland more than anywhere else… playing with Anne is fun! With respect to common roots, yes and no: we are all big lovers of old, melodic pop music, but Das Pop were more on the UK/Ireland side, whilst they were more on the US side – I hope it makes sense! On the other hand, there are also similarities in the approach to an international pop style, we both preferred to sing in English, since Dutch language is not spoken by many people, and it is not as musical as English or Italian – we do not have your opera, in Dutch…

How it was to cooperate with Jason Falkner – in particular, writing together songs such as Never look back and Yours truly?
It was a natural process, nothing planned: in particular, Never look back was really 50/50, it was the last day of recording, it was done in maybe 2 hours, and was ready in a few days: it was great!

And what about your roots – we mentioned Randy Newman.
Hmmm… it’s difficult to find them by yourself – I mean, when we were working on YOURS TRULY I was listening to a lot of music, weird records discovered in LA, pop records from the seventies; today I am listening to a lot of instrumental records, I like in particular music that I have no idea about how it was made… Now I am writing more songs, but it is difficult to describe or to plan, my next project should be a surprise also for me!

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