Tag: Balthazar

New Video: Warhaus’ Cinematic and Slow-Burning Ode to Denial and Heartbreak

Maarten Devoldere is a Belgian singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, known for being one-half of the songwriting and vocalist duo of critically applauded, indie rock outfit and JOVM mainstays Balthazar — and for his equally acclaimed solo project, Warhaus.

With Warhaus, Devoldere cemented a reputation for crafting urbane, literature and decadent art rock with an accessible, pop-leaning sensibility: Devoldere’s Warhaus debut, 2016’s We Fucked A Flame Into Being derived its title from a line in DH Lawrence’s seminal, erotic novel Lady Chatterley’s Lover. And naturally, the material on the album thematically focused on lust, desire, the inscrutability of random encounters, bittersweet and aching regret with the deeply personal, confessional nature of someone baring their soul.

Interestingly, the material on Devoldere’s sophomore Warhaus album 2017’s self-titled album saw the acclaimed Belgian artist moving away from decadence, lust and sin towards sincere, honest, hard-fought and even harder-won love with some of the songs being influenced by Devoldere’s relationship with vocalist Sylvie Kreusch. The recording sessions for the album was a much more spontaneously affair, heavily influenced by Dr. John‘s Night Tripper period: Throughout the album, there are nods to voodoo rhythms and New Orleans jazz despite the fact that his backing band wasn’t technically known for being jazz musicians.

The slow-burning “Open Window” is the first bit of new Warhaus material since 2017’s self-titled album. Centered around Devoldere’s brooding baritone, strummed acoustic guitar, a Quiet Storm-like groove, twinkling piano and a gorgeous, cinematic string arrangement, “Open Window” is the sort of song meant to gently sway along to with eyes closed, drifting off into your own nostalgic dreams — or perhaps delusions.

In fact, the song is rooted in delusion — in particular, the delusion that the breakup isn’t permanent, that she (or he) will return soon enough. But it’s all just vapor and denial.

“Open Window is about keeping reality at bay in that comfortable bubble of denial. Definitely my favourite stage of heartbreak,” Delvodere explains.

Directed by Pieter De Cnudde, the accompanying video for “Open Window” follows Devoldere as he eats steamed mussels alone at a table for two. About half way into the video, we see what appears to be Devoldere’s possessions being tossed out into a window and smashing to the ground behind him. All of this occurs in a surreal, dream-like slow motion.

Live Footage: Balthazar Performs “I Want You” for HolyShit Sessions

A couple of years ago, the acclaimed Belgian indie rock act and JOVM mainstays Balthazar –songwriting duo Maarten Devoldere and Jinte Deprez, along with Simon Casier, Michiel Balcaen and Tijs Delbeke — went on a hiatus that allowed the band’s songwriting duo to pursue their own critically applauded, solo projects: Devoldere’s brooding and hyper literature Warhaus and Deprez’s old school R&B-inspired J. Bernardt. While Devoldere and Deprez found the ability to pursue their own individual whims and muses liberating, they found the time apart from each other and the band sparking an undeniable urge to work together, propelled by a greater mutual respect for each other’s individual work — and a desire for a much broader artistic vision for the band. 

When Balthazar reconvened to work on 2019’s Fever, they did so without any particular plan. But they had hoped that would improve upon their previously released work, show deeper artistic growth and further the band’s story. As they started to work, Devoldere and Deprez also mutually agreed that the album’s material should have a less serious, less melancholy tone. The end result is what may arguably be some of the loosest and most playful material of their career. 

Balthazar supported Fever with a relentless touring schedule that included a stop at Baby’s All Right. Feeling invigorated from playing Fever on tour, Devoldere and Deprez started working on new material, which eventually became their fifth and latest album, Sand. Released earlier this year, the album finds the acclaimed JOVM mainstays fully embracing a soulful alt pop and R&B leaning sound while being what they believe may be the most cohesive effort of their growing catalog to date. “There’s a theme running through these tracks, waiting, restlessness, not being able to live in the moment or putting your trust into the future,” Balthazar’s Deprez and Devoldere explain in press notes. “We’re at a point in our lives when we have to consider these aspects of life, that’s why the album is called Sand – after the sand in an hourglass.”

“The idea was always to drop another album as soon as possible after Fever. It was fun and we wanted to build on that,” Jinte Deprez says in press notes. “We did a lot of things that we haven’t done previously – we’ve never used as many drum samples or used bass synths before. So that was an exciting step for us. It was a very modern way of making an album, due to the constraints of the pandemic and we had to work remotely and converse electronically rather than in a studio.” “I can’t wait to play this album live because on the Fever tour we pushed the groove element further,” Maarten Devoldere adds.

In the lead up to the album’s release, I’ve written about four of Sand‘s singles: 

  • Halfway,” a shimmering, blue-eyed soul-like take on the Quiet Storm sound.
  • Losers,” a slinky, disco-like song centered around Devoldere’s sultry baritone, shimmering synth arpeggios and an infectious hook. But at its core, the song captures and evokes the anxious uncertainty of our lives over the past 15-19 months or so. 
  • You Won’t Come Around,” a slow-burning and cinematic, bit of 70s inspired R&B featuring shimmering strings, strummed acoustic guitar, skittering beats. And over that gorgeous arraignment, Devoldore expresses a confusing yet familiar series of emotions: regret and heartache that a romantic relationship has ended, relief that the relationship has ended and guilt that maybe they’ve moved on a bit too quickly; or in other words, the gnawing sense that you might be a selfish, uncaring asshole.
  • On A Roll,” a strutting yet seamless synthesis of their pre-Fever sound with their recent R&B-influenced material centered around Deprez’s crooning falsetto. 

After pandemic-related lockdowns, the members of the JOVM mainstay act got together for the first time in close to a year for the Heleen Declerq-directed and filmed documentary and concert film Sand Castle Tapes. Co-produced with HolyShit Sessions, the film captures the band staying at a beautiful old castle near Brussels as they got together to interpret and play Sand‘s material for the first time together. Declerq manages to capture the atmosphere of the castle and the music while giving an intimate look at the band. “You get to fully understand an album when you start playing it together, the relaxed circumstances lead to a whole other way of interpreting the songs,” the band says of Sand Castle Tapes

In the lead up to Sand Castle Tapes EP‘s release, I’ve managed to write about two of its singles:

  • A loose and jammy rendition of “Moment,” that found the band joyously expanding upon the song’s groove. Throughout the intimate and gorgeously shot footage, it’s made obvious that the band and their collaborators are just thrilled to be together and playing music together. 
  • A stripped down and intimate version of “On a Roll” centered around piano and mournful horns by Rob Banken, Peter Delannoye and Thomas Mayade. And over that slow-burning and gorgeous arrangement, Deprez takes up lead vocal duties while backed by Devoldere and some backing vocals by Judith Okon, Stefy Rika and Sarah Devos. The live rendition pulls out the confusion, heartache and longing of the original in a new direction.

The EP’s third and latest single is fairly straightforward rendition of “I Want You” with a subtle re-arranging for a live setting that replaces synths with piano while retaining the sultry, late night yearning at the core of the song. The live footage features the band playing in a gorgeous, old hotel room with a strobe light, meant to mimic a brewing storm outside.

Sand is out now. But the band will be releasing The Sand Castle Tapes EP digitally through Play It Again Sam on September 24, 2021. The EP will feature 10 songs from the Sand Castle Tapes film — 8 reworked songs off Sand and two jams. You can pre-order the EP here.

Live Footage: HolyShit Sessions: Balthazar Performs a Stripped Down Version of “On a Roll”

A couple of years ago, the acclaimed Belgian indie rock act and JOVM mainstays Balthazar –songwriting duo Maarten Devoldere and Jinte Deprez, along with Simon Casier, Michiel Balcaen and Tijs Delbeke — went on a hiatus that allowed the band’s songwriting duo to pursue their own critically applauded, solo projects: Devoldere’s brooding and hyper literature Warhaus and Deprez’s old school R&B-inspired J. Bernardt. While Devoldere and Deprez found the ability to pursue their own individual whims and muses liberating, they found the time apart from each other and the band sparking an undeniable urge to work together, propelled by a greater mutual respect for each other’s individual work — and a desire for a much broader artistic vision for the band. 

When Balthazar reconvened to work on 2019’s Fever, they did so without any particular plan. But they had hoped that would improve upon their previously released work, show deeper artistic growth and further the band’s story. As they started to work, Devoldere and Deprez also mutually agreed that the album’s material should have a less serious, less melancholy tone. The end result is what may arguably be some of the loosest and most playful material of their career.

Balthazar supported Fever with a relentless touring schedule that included a stop at Baby’s All Right. Feeling invigorated from playing Fever on tour, Devoldere and Deprez started working on new material, which eventually became their fifth and latest album, Sand. Released earlier this year, the album finds the acclaimed JOVM mainstays fully embracing a soulful alt pop and R&B leaning sound while being what they believe may be the most cohesive effort of their growing catalog to date. “There’s a theme running through these tracks, waiting, restlessness, not being able to live in the moment or putting your trust into the future,” Balthazar’s Deprez and Devoldere explain in press notes. “We’re at a point in our lives when we have to consider these aspects of life, that’s why the album is called Sand – after the sand in an hourglass.”

The idea was always to drop another album as soon as possible after Fever. It was fun and we wanted to build on that,” Jinte Deprez says in press notes. “We did a lot of things that we haven’t done previously – we’ve never used as many drum samples or used bass synths before. So that was an exciting step for us. It was a very modern way of making an album, due to the constraints of the pandemic and we had to work remotely and converse electronically rather than in a studio.” “I can’t wait to play this album live because on the Fever tour we pushed the groove element further,” Maarten Devoldere adds.

In the lead up to the album’s release, I’ve written about four of Sand’s singles:

“Halfway,” a shimmering, blue-eyed soul-like take on the Quiet Storm sound.
Losers,” a slinky, disco-like song centered around Devoldere’s sultry baritone, shimmering synth arpeggios and an infectious hook. But at its core, the song captures and evokes the anxious uncertainty of our lives over the past 15-19 months or so.
“You Won’t Come Around,” a slow-burning and cinematic, bit of 70s inspired R&B featuring shimmering strings, strummed acoustic guitar, skittering beats. And over that gorgeous arraignment, Devoldore expresses a confusing yet familiar series of emotions: regret and heartache that a romantic relationship has ended, relief that the relationship has ended and guilt that maybe they’ve moved on a bit too quickly; or in other words, the gnawing sense that you might be a selfish, uncaring asshole.
“On A Roll,” a strutting yet seamless synthesis of their pre-Fever sound with their recent R&B-influenced material centered around Deprez’s crooning falsetto. 

After pandemic-related lockdowns, the members of the JOVM mainstay act got together for the first time in close to a year for the Heleen Declerq-directed and filmed documentary and concert film Sand Castle Tapes. Co-produced with HolyShit Sessions, the film captures the band staying at a beautiful old castle near Brussels as they got together to interpret and play Sand‘s material for the first time together. Declerq manages to capture the atmosphere of the castle and the music while giving an intimate look at the band. “You get to fully understand an album when you start playing it together, the relaxed circumstances lead to a whole other way of interpreting the songs,” the band says of Sand Castle Tapes. 

Earlier this year, the Belgian JOVM mainstays released a a loose and jammy rendition of “Moment,” that found the band joyously expanding upon the song’s groove. Throughout the intimate and gorgeously shot footage, it’s made obvious that the band and their collaborators are just thrilled to be together and playing music together.

The second video from Sand Castle Tapes is a stripped down and intimate version of “On a Roll” centered around piano and mournful horns by Rob Banken, Peter Delannoye and Thomas Mayade. And over that slow-burning and gorgeous arrangement, Deprez takes up lead vocal duties while backed by Devoldere and some backing vocals by Judith Okon, Stefy Rika and Sarah Devos. The live rendition pulls out the confusion, heartache and longing of the original in a new direction.

Sand is out now. But the band will be releasing The Sand Castle Tapes EP digitally through Play It Again Sam on September 24, 2021. The EP will feature 10 songs from the Sand Castle Tapes film — 8 reworked songs off Sand and two jams. You can pre-order the EP here.

Live Footage: HolyShit Sessions: Balthazar Performs “Moment”

A few years back, acclaimed Belgian indie rock act and JOVM mainstays Balthazar –songwriting duo Maarten Devoldere and Jinte Deprez, along with Simon Casier, Michiel Balcaen and Tijs Delbeke — went on a hiatus that allowed the band’s songwriting duo to pursue their own critically applauded, attention grabbing solo projects: Devoldere’s brooding and hyper literature Warhaus and Deprez’s old school R&B-inspired J. Bernardt. And while Devoldere and Deprez found the ability to pursue their own individual whims and muses liberating, they found the time apart from each other and the band sparking an undeniable urge to work together, propelled by a greater mutual respect for each other’s individual work — and a desire for a much broader artistic vision for the band.

When the members of the JOVM mainstay act reconvened to work on 2019’s Fever, they did so without any particular plan. But their hope was that they improve upon their previously released work, show deeper artistic growth and further the band’s story. And when Devoldere and Deprez began working on Fever, they mutually agreed that the album’s material would have a less serious, less melancholy tone. And as a result, Fever may arguably be among the loosest and most playful of their careers while maintaining the deliberate craftsmanship and razor sharp hooks that have won them attention both nationally and internationally.

Balthazar supported Fever with a relentless touring schedule that included a stop at Baby’s All Right. Feeling invigorated from playing Fever on tour, Devoldere and Deprez started working on a new batch material that included the sultry, Quiet Storm-like “Halfway,” a track that found the band continuing where their last album left off — but while pushing the overall sound and aesthetic in an even more accessible, pop-leaning direction. 

The JOVM mainstays fifth — and latest — album Sand finds the band fully embracing the soulful alt pop/R&B sound while being what the band believes may be the most cohesive album of their growing catalog to date. “There’s a theme running through these tracks, waiting, restlessness, not being able to live in the moment or putting your trust into the future,” Balthazar’s Deprez and Devoldere explain in press notes. “We’re at a point in our lives when we have to consider these aspects of life, that’s why the album is called Sand – after the sand in an hourglass.”

“The idea was always to drop another album as soon as possible after Fever. It was fun and we wanted to build on that,” Jinte Deprez says in press notes. “We did a lot of things that we haven’t done previously – we’ve never used as many drum samples or used bass synths before. So that was an exciting step for us. It was a very modern way of making an album, due to the constraints of the pandemic and we had to work remotely and converse electronically rather than in a studio.” “I can’t wait to play this album live because on the Fever tour we pushed the groove element further,” Maarten Devoldere adds.

So far I’ve written about four of Sand‘s officially released singles:

The aforementioned “Halfway,” a shimmering, blue-eyed soul take on the Quiet Storm sound.
“Losers,” a slinky, disco-tinged yet sophisticated track centered around Devoldere’s sultry baritone, shimmering synth arpeggios and an infectious hook, but at its core, the song captures the anxious uncertainty of our moment, a moment in which most of us feel as though our personal and professional lives have been in an indefinite stasis.
“You Won’t Come Around,” a slow-burning and cinematic, R&B-inspired track featuring shimmering strings, strummed acoustic guitar, skittering beats and Devoldore expressing a confusing yet familiar series of emotions: regret and heartache that a romantic relationship has ended, relief that the relationship has ended and guilt that maybe they’ve moved on a bit too quickly; or in other words, the gnawing sense that you might be a selfish, uncaring asshole.
“On A Roll,” a strutting yet seamless synthesis of their pre-Fever sound with their recent R&B-influenced leaning centered around Deprez’s crooning falsetto.

The band released a great teaser for the film, a loose live version of album single “Moment” that finds the members of the band joyously expanding its groove and relishing playing music together — all while being a smooth yet cinematic take on R&B.

Sand is out now through Play It Again Sam. Additionally, Sand Castle Tapes will have its livestream premiere on June 3, 2021. You can buy tickets here:https://www.momenthouse.com/co/balthazar-sand-castle-tapes.

New Video: Follow Balthazar on A Stylish Trip to a “Groundhog’s Day”-like Hell

Acclaimed Belgian indie rock act and JOVM mainstays Balthazar led by songwriting partners Maarten Devoldere and Jinte Deprez went on a hiatus several years ago that allowed for the duo to pursue their own, critically applauded solo effects — Devoldere’s brooding, hyper literature Warhaus.and Deprez’s old school R&B-inspired J. Bernardt. And while Devoldere and Deprez found the ability to pursue their own individual whims and muses liberating, they also found the time apart sparking an undeniable urge to work together again, propelled a greater mutual respect for each other’s individual work and a much broader artistic vision.

When the members of Balthazar reconvened to work on 2019’s Fever, they did so without any particular plan. Their hope was to improve upon their previously released work, show deeper artistic growth, and to further the band’s story. Interestingly, when the band’s primary writing team began to write Fever’s material, they mutually agreed that the album would have a less serious, less melancholy tone. And as a result, the album’s material may arguably be among the loosest and most playful of their careers while maintaining the deliberate craftsmanship and razor sharp hooks that have won them national and international attention.

Balthazar supported Fever with a relentless touring schedule that included a stop at Baby’s All Right. Feeling invigorated from playing Fever on tour, Devoldere and Deprez started working on a new batch material that included the sultry, Quiet Storm-like “Halfway,” a track that found the band continuing where their last album left off — but while pushing the overall sound and aesthetic in an even more accessible, pop-leaning direction.

Interestingly, the JOVM mainstays’ fifth album Sand reportedly finds the band fully embracing the soulful alt pop/R&B sound of “Halfway” while crafting what the band believes is the most cohesive album of their careers to date. “There’s a theme running through these tracks, waiting, restlessness, not being able to live in the moment or putting your trust into the future,” Balthazar’s Deprez and Devoldere explain in press notes. “We’re at a point in our lives when we have to consider these aspects of life, that’s why the album is called Sand – after the sand in an hourglass.”

“The idea was always to drop another album as soon as possible after Fever. It was fun and we wanted to build on that,” Jinte Deprez says in press notes. “We did a lot of things that we haven’t done previously – we’ve never used as many drum samples or used bass synths before. So that was an exciting step for us. It was a very modern way of making an album, due to the constraints of the pandemic and we had to work remotely and converse electronically rather than in a studio.” “I can’t wait to play this album live because on the Fever tour we pushed the groove element further,” Maarten Devoldere adds.

So far I’ve written about two of Sand’s official singles:

“Losers,” a slinky, disco-tinged yet sophisticated track centered around Devoldere’s sultry baritone, shimmering synth arpeggios and an infectious hook, but at its core, the song captures the anxious uncertainty of our moment, a moment in which most of us feel as though our personal and professional lives have been in an indefinite stasis.
“You Won’t Come Around,” a slow-burning and cinematic, R&B-inspired track featuring shimmering strings, strummed acoustic guitar, skittering beats and Devoldore expressing a confusing yet familiar series of emotions: regret and heartache that a romantic relationship has ended, relief that the relationship has ended and guilt that maybe they’ve moved on a bit too quickly; or in other words, the gnawing sense that you might be a selfish, uncaring asshole.

Clocking in at a little under four minutes, “On A Roll,” Sand’s latest single finds the JOVM mainstays crafting a strutting and seamless synthesis of their pre-Fever sound with their recent R&B-influenced leanings with the track featuring buzzing bass synths, slinky guitar lines, glistening synth arpeggios, a sinuous bass line, a mournful horn arrangement and skittering beats, Deprez’s soulful crooning and falsetto.

Directed by Pieter De Cnudde, the recently released and incredibly cinematic video for “On A Roll” was shot at the NH Hotel in Bruges, Belgium, and follows Balthazar’s songwriting duo in a Groundhog’s Day-like hell.”The song and video is about the repetitive lack of control you have on situations, your life, your own ways,” Deprez explains in press notes. “Even for a moment when you think you can escape your own loop, you find yourself right back at the start again, finding out the changes didn’t change the outcome, or you.”

Sand is slated for a February 26, 2020 release though Play It Again Sam.

New Video: Emerging French Act Adrienne Releases a Brooding and Cinematic Visual for “Sentinelle”

Founded by producer Franck Lobielti, Adrienne is an emerging French collective that boldly eschews genre conventions, crafting a sound that meshes elements of chanson, psych pop and psych rock, sixties pop and hip-hop. Shortly after their formation, the collective went to Coxinhell Recording Studio in Southern France to write and record their debut EP,  Killer De Routine which was released last fall.

The EP’s latest single, the sultry and brooding “Sentinelle” is centered around twinkling keys, a sinuous bass line and dramatic drumming, atmospheric synths, an infectious and melodic hook, and a psych rock-like bridge. And while subtly recalling JOVM mainstays Warhaus and Balthazar to mind, the song evokes a sense of overwhelming regret and heartache. 

Directed by Quentin Perrault, the recently released video for “Sentinelle” the video follows a middle-aged couple at a crossroads throughout the run of the visual: we see the couple’s relationship through a series of flashbacks and flash-forwards in which we see the couple in better days and at their worst. It’s an eerie look through a couple’s history and the lingering ghosts that often result. 

Led by its creative mastermind Stijn Grul, the rising Utrecht, The Netherlands-based indie sextet VALENTINO. is an alt pop/indie rock band with a brass section. Citing David Bowie, Herman Brood and JOVM mainstays Balthazar, the Dutch indie act is actively working to reinvent and redefine indie rock in a similar fashion.

In their relatively short history, the band won the Utrecht Pop Award, played at Liberation Festival Utrecht and have toured across their native Holland, Denmark, Germany and Italy winning fans for a live sound that’s rousing yet intimate. Earlier this month, the Dutch indie sextet released their self-titled debut EP, and the EP’s latest single “My Head Was Drowned.” Centered around a rousingly anthemic hook, an enormous, swinging horn line, stuttering drumming, a bluesy guitar line and plaintive vocals, the expansive song is kind of like a seamless synthesis of 50s doo wop, arena rock and art pop that finds the young band walking a tightrope between a workman’s attention to craft, earnestness and ambition with an uncanny self-assuredness.

New Audio: Balthazar Releases a Shimmering R&B Inspired Single

Over the past couple of years, I’ve written a lot about Belgian singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Maarten Devoldere, best known for being the frontman of two critically applauded, internationally recognized JOVM mainstays Balthazar and Warhaus. Interestingly, Devoldere’s work with Warhaus managed to recall The Church, The Dream of the Blue Turtles and Nothing Like the Sun era Sting, Edith Piaf, and Leonard Cohen.  

While Devoldere was busy with Warhaus, at one point writing much of the project’s sophomore album in a remote retreat in Kyrgyzstan, his longtime friend, songwriting partner and Balthazar bandmate Jinte Deprez remained in Ghent, focusing on his old school R&B inspired solo project J. Bernardt. During Balthazar’s hiatus, the band’s songwriting duo enjoyed the ability to indulge their individual whims and creative muses, crafting commercially successful and critically applauded work — and Deprez and Devoldere found it liberating. Interestingly enough, the duo found that the time apart created an undeniable urge to work together again, propelled by a much broader artistic horizon and an even greater mutual respect for each other’s individual work. 

When the members of Balthazar reconvened to work on last year’s Fever, they did so without any particular plan beyond just desiring to improve upon their previously released work and to further the band’s story. And as they were beginning to write material, Deprez and Devoldere mutually agreed that the album’s material should have a less serious, less melancholy feel — and while being looser and more playful at points, it retains the hook-driven quality and craftsmanship that has helped the band win national and international attention. 

Last year saw the band on a relentless touring schedule to support Fever that included — as you may recall — a stop at Baby’s All Right in May. During that tour, the band wrote their latest single “Halfway.” Possibly deriving its title because it falls between the release of Fever and its highly anticipated follow-up, the song finds the band continuing the flexible songwriting of its immediate predecessor: co-written by Devoldere and Deprez, the song features Deprez taking on vocal duties, which give the song a sultry, old-school R&B feel centered around shimmering and reverb-drenched guitars, propulsive percussion, some gorgeous harmonizing and an infectious hook. Interestingly, the track finds the band continuing in the vein of Fever while expanding upon it, revealing an adventurous and ambitious band pushing their sound and approach in a new direction with a pop-leaning accessibility.