Those pesky Belgians… always so crafty with their pop music! First it was Goose, then Millionaire, and now 2 Many DJs who completely rule the airwaves. Das Pop isn’t an exception, the Ghent based band channels their affection for British pop with a life affirming electro-pop sensibility.
The first time I saw them live was at Berlin’s techno mansion Tresor, but then that’s the kind of band they are, quirky, unpredictable and entertaining. Two things you might not have known about Das Pop: Their guitarist Reinhard Vanbergen has a most excellent beard, but not only that, they also have their own range of knitwear which hit the shops last year.
The band share a love for some damn good music taste and when we sat down with the lead singer Bent Van Looy (pictured second from left) and found out that Jason Falkner was his hero, I sat there paralyzed well until after my lunch break.
We also found out that he digs good films, Belgian bolognaise sauce and oozes love for Bill Murray. Mhhmmm… Belgian bolognaise.
1. What gets you going in the morning?
The hum of the city. It calls like a Lorelei of stainless steel and soft concrete. Her breath smells like the exhaust pipe of a thousand cars. In the best possible way.
2. What five records would you take to a desert island and why?
Become What You Are by the Juliana Hatfield Three, I am slightly in love with her voice and it could keep me company in my solitude. Il Clan Dei Siciliani by Ennio Morricone to gaze over the ocean to. Rumours by Fleetwood Mac to fill possible hole in my soul. Off The Wall by Michael Jackson to enjoy wall references where on an island there are none.
3. What inspires you to create?
Walking around Paris, being on a train, on a bike, moving about in general. The writing on shop windows and buses in foreign cities. The guilty look in a greyhound’s eyes. The end credits to a bad movie. A Walkman. A glimpse of a girl’s unshaved armpit.
4. What book or piece of literature are you reading at the moment?
Pharmakon by Dirk Wittenberg is not a disappointment so far. I am 240 pages in.
5. Favorite piece of literature and why?
I love Stone Junction by the American recluse Jim Dodge. It’s a brash tale of wonderful weirdness, very ambitious and baroque but never failing to touch the very core of the soul. For its brevity, clarity and sophisticated kookiness I love J.D. Salingers Franny and Zooey. Great short fiction in Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned by Wells Tower. And if you can get your hands on anything by Dutch writer Arnon Grunberg, never hesitate.
7. What one historical figure inspires you or would you like to meet?
This may be a boring answer, but I think Andy Warhol defined our crazy times first and best.
8. List five movies that you couldn’t live without?
Short Cuts – Robert Altman
Human Highway - Neil Young and Devo
Starship Troopers - Paul Verhoeven
Rushmore – Wes Anderson
Beauty and the Beast - Walt Disney
9. Favorite director and actor?
Paul Verhoeven is criminally underrated. What he may lack in subtlety, he makes up for with bravado and power. Bill Murray is great because he just oozes sovereignty and not-trying-too-hard.
10. Favorite piece of architecture or building?
The Atomium in Brussels is both gorgeous and hilarious, a golden combination!
11. Favorite combination of food or recipe?
Less can be more. A good spaghetti vongole never sucks.
12. Favorite musical genre in the last 100 years and what would you mix it with if you could?
Is pop a genre? I don’t think so. It summarizes all popular music (yes that means you too, Mr. Nu Metal and Mrs. Lambada). It exists because it’s cross-pollinating with itself all the time. I cannot help itself and all we can do is give it a little hand.
13. Favorite Internet site?
I visit Pop Candy pretty much every day. It is Wendy Matheson beautifully blogging about pop culture. Also amazing: 1001 rules for my unborn son by Walker Lamond. It will appear as a book on October 27th.
14. Who has had the biggest influence on you in your life?
Girlfriend, family and a never-ending parade of loved ones. Musically: Stephen and David Dewaele (2 Many DJ’s).
15. What is one record you should never mix into a set (for DJ’s) or be seen dancing to in a club (for other artists)?
In both cases the answer clearly is The Offspring’s “Pretty Fly For A White Guy”.
16. Favorite 5 music artists currently listening too?
80’s paisley pop band – The Three O’Clock
Old Bossa Nova guy – Joao Gilberto
The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart
17. Favorite piece of art or artist and why?
Manets’Dejeuner Sur l’Herbe. It builds a bridge between the past and the present, it makes me cry and it has nudity.
18. Artist you’d most like to collaborate with?
Jeff Koons. His exhibition at Versailles was one of the strongest things I’ve ever witnessed. He never dabbed in music as far as I know, but a collaboration of whatever kind would be a dream come true.
19. One obscure band you think should be more popular?
This guy is a band in himself. I hate that he is the well-kept secret he has remained all these years. His name is Jason Falkner and he is a hero.
20. What’s your ringtone?
A fragment of a soundtrack we composed for theatre maker Pol Heyveart. It is nice when people ask me what it is.
21. Does Das Pop have a favorite sauce?
The bolognaise as made by Martino’s in Ghent. A truckload of bay leaf is the key, apparently.