Where are you currently based and where were you born?
I’m in Portugal now, in a quiet little village South of Lisbon, not too far from the ocean. Originally I’m from Utrecht, in The Netherlands.
My father taught me how to play the piano at a young age, and as soon as I could I started playing in bands. I never went to music school, but always wanted to travel around in a bus with a group of friends and play shows. And so that’s what we did, for many years. I was in a couple of different bands, always writing, recording, producing. My last group was SKIP&DIE, a collaboration with Cata.Pirata, a singer and visual artist from South Africa.
I remember many days lying on a pillow in front of my dads record collection. I always loved artists that somehow take you traveling. Like Ry Cooder, or David Byrne, Eno. I was going from The Meters to Philip Glass, and a bit later also Damon Albarn, Manu Chao, Beck, Beastie Boys..
COLLIGNON is a solo project, but also a vehicle for me to work with different artists. I will do collaborations, set up my studio in another part of the world and launch projects from there. Having this flexibility is very motivating.
I love electronic music, but there are some challenges for me. Pressing a button is really a different thing from touching a string, or singing for that matter. There needs to be some character and personality. With modern production you can make everything so perfect and shiny that you might lose feeling, or essence. I think in our times that kind of conflict translates well into many other areas.. Anyway, it’s fascinating to me and I’m trying to walk that line.
I really wanted to make an instrumental record first. Nobody telling you nothing, just sounds and music to let your mind float.
When I stopped touring, I built a studio in the garage next to my house and started working from there. This first EP is the result of me being able to develop my own sound in this studio. I used to be working on my laptop in the back of the bus, so to speak, now I have a nice room, some nice microphones and a cool mixingdesk.
I use some drummachines, the Machinedrum and Analog Rytm and also the Octatrack from Elektron to start ideas. I have them all patched to different tracks on the mixer and can send them to different speakers or effects. I have some guitar amps and a leslie, some springverbs, things like that. I found this Revox D36 taperecorder from the 60 that I really like for compression and saturation. I have some old synths, MS20, Jupiter 6, a Voyager, Rhodes, piano and a small modular setup too. On the computer I work mostly in Cubase now.
Traveling and seeing the spectacular diversity in the world made me humble about all these things you think you know and just take for granted. There is so much to explore and to be curious about. It triggered me to start fighting cultural homogenisation. I believe progress lies in diversity and the flirting, dancing and clashing of ideas.
Oh thank you, that’s nice! For a while I’ve been interested in video synthesizers. I have an old school one from Atari (the guys who built the original game Pong were always stoned apparently and dreamed up this machine), but there is a company now called LZX in Portland that builds really cool modules. I found the patterns and rhythms I could make with these machines work really well with the music. And it’s a lot of fun to do too.
Oldies like Caetano Veloso, Holger Czukay, Thelonious Monk, Yusef Lateef, Kasai Alstars or Alain Peters, Nicola Cruz, Mauskovic Dance Band, Mark Ernestus’ Ndagga Rhythm Force.
We have a small campervan and love to drive down the Portuguese coast, but since this virus doesn’t allow us to move much, we’ve spent more time growing veggies and fruits in the garden. Feeding the chickens, reading, meditating, drinking coffee, there’s a lot of that these days.