The Brussels based Lexi Disques label is celebrating ten years of existence. Two personal favourites: the paddo one (City Hands – A Place In The World, 2014) and the dandy one (Edgar Wappenhalter – Zingt Hendrik Marsman en Karel van de Woestijne, 2012).
A psychedelic truffle trip
Your 7” is the best looking one in the Lexi Disques discography, I believe. Was it clear to you from the start that you would do the artwork by yourself?
Thank you for the compliment. I have released most of my music myself and made the artwork for it too. Music and artwork have always been connected for me and come from the same place. When Catherine asked me to release a 7” on Lexi Disques I could not imagine not making the art myself.
Why did you want to make a 14 page booklet, so that it’s almost a zine with a 7” attached?
The inspiration for the 7” was a psychedelic truffle trip Catherine and me took when we were visiting the Danish island Tunø. The images of the booklet and the text are my interpretation of the experience we had. I had a small silk screen set up at the time so silk screened the cover myself, 7 colors outside and 4 colors on the inside. The inner sleeves are silk screened with 2 pages from Catherine’s dream diary. The stamps on the labels are made by Catherine, bees were an important presence on the island. The booklet images are all expressions of the experience and I hope they come together with the music to give a glimpse into the place in the world we existed for some time. It came together in the way it did organically.
What are the lyrics of this 7” about? Is it a poem? Is it a piece of a diary? Is it a story?
The words like the images and the sounds are connected to the trip and are an attempt to describe the experience in an artful way.
Why did you decide to put poems on music for this single? An why poems by Hendrik Marsman and Karel van de Woestijne?
I had recorded ‘Stroom’ for a Sloow tapes compilation and I considered that track as one of my main accomplishments under my Wappenhalter moniker. Especially because (at that time) I was really into Marsman (I still am, but less fanatically) and I thought merging his poem and my musical translation of the way it spoke to me worked out really well. Around the time the cassette was released Catherine complimented me on my contribution to the compilation (I remember it being a night full of love at Scheld’apen in Antwerp) and I told her how much that song meant to me. We kind of decided to make a single of it that night. I was super excited since I consider Lexi Disques as one of Belgium’s greatest efforts in combining off-track music, friendship and DIY aesthetic. Although Catherine and I do not talk as much anymore as we used to, I still consider her one of the most amazing people I have ever encountered in the Belgian music flock. I can’t remember if at that time I had already recorded Van de Woestijne, but I know I was working on it. I do know that, when I finished it, it lacked the transcendental zone that I was lucky enough to touch upon in ‘Stroom’. That’s why I called Floris Vanhoof, one of those other great minds in the same flock, because I knew that he could add the magic it needed. In the end, because of Floris’s electronic sounds, the single became a double a-side in my eyes.
Why specifically the poems ‘Stroom’ and ‘Gij Zult Mij Allen Allen Kennen’?
‘Stroom’ is one of those intricate spells in Dutch poetry, it is so hermetic and yet at the same time so close to this feeling of tangible majesty they often call ‘cosmic self-magnification’ in Marsman studies. I have always had a special thing with the gloomy poseur persona of Karel van de Woestijne. He was born on March 10th, like I am, and ever since my late youth I fantasize being a reincarnation of the man.
Do you have the impression that, by 2012, you were already moving away from music and more into the direction of literature and poetry? Do you maybe feel like words are more ‘your thing’ than music anyway?
I was definitely experiencing a shift in interests at that time. I guess in the last six years literature has meant more to me than music (or at least the evolution in contemporary music, to be precise). Over the last two years I seem to have found a nice balance. I am focusing on music again, recording a record with Annelies Monseré, and more recently with Glen Steenkiste’s harmonium quartet. But back then I really needed some time off from music. Right now I would say they are my two loves, literature probably being my muse and music the ever adulterous seductress.
– Joeri Bruyninckx
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