BALTHAZAR might not transmit the loudest signal to your indie-radar but a steady one. Their albums Applause (2010) and Rats (2012) are marked by casual, harmonic pop and found many fans among critics and those who prefer deliberateness and consistency to eccentric coquetry. NOTHING BUT HOPE AND PASSION wanted to know if there are plans for a new record and took the chance to speak with Jinte Deprez and Maarten Devoldere on the verge of HURRICANE FESTIVAL after their show.
How was your gig ?
Maarten: It was really cool. It was stressful to get here – the cops took us off the road, because our bus was too heavy. We had to rent a car and put a part of the band in the car. When we arrived, we had only fifteen minutes to put everything on stage. But that’s kind of cool because you have the adrenaline. You don’t have time to relax and you just play. I kind of like it.
Is it a challenge to play on festivals?
M: Yeah, it’s completely different to a club show. There are a few fans, but the rest of the audience you have to conquer. You can win a lot of new hearts. If you play in a club, people are going along with the vibe after the first song. At a festival you really have to work hard.
In 2010 you released ‘Applause’, in 2012 you released ‘Rats’. Can we expect a new record for 2014?
Jinte: We are writing a third album right now and we are going to record it this summer. Hopefully it will come out at the beginning of 2015. We don’t play too many new songs now, because we are still trying stuff.
Three words: How would you describe your music?
M: That’s very hard. We worked for ten years together to find a sound that you can’t describe in three words. I think it’s minimal…
J: It’s pop music. We try to be catchy, we always end up being atmospheric.
M: So minimal, atmospheric and…
J: It’s very wide. We don’t like to label it. We end up doing some minimal, atmospheric pop music.
Will there be a change of the style on the upcoming record?
J: We don’t know yet. We just let it happen and see what comes out.
It’s ten years of BALTHAZAR now – time for an anniversary celebration.
J: It feels strange to say that we already exist for ten years. We were really young when we started. But the real beginning of the band was when we released our first album.
Where does your name actually come from?
M: We met in a hospital room. There was an old man as well and he was called Balthazar. We decided to start a band and the old man was coaching us and we said we gonna name the band after him.
Have you ever met him again?
M: Yes. A couple of times in the beginning. But he’s stuck at home because he is old. We always send him new records and we call him or write him letters because he doesn’t have a computer.
Admittedly, the name-question is not the most original. BALTHAZAR seem to get pleasure out of inventing new more or less credible answers. There also is the story of the band reading through a book with children’s names and choosing the worst and the story of an old man called Balthazar who lives in the hilly region of Belgium and sends carrier pigeons with tasks to them. Still, we think our answer is the loveliest one. :-)
What do hope and passion mean to you?
M: It’s what gets you out of bed in the morning and what makes you sleep at night.
J: It doesn’t need any explanation.