(Secret Rendezvous – Japan Release Promo Video)
Secret Rendezvous’ debut album “Paint The Town Red” was released on July 25, 2012 Japan-wide. We’ve presented Secret Rendezvous with a number of questions so that you can learn more about these talented artist firsthand.
Q1. Can you introduce yourselves and your music to the fans here in Japan, including a brief overview of your careers so far?
A1. Hello everyone, we’re Secret Rendezvous from Amsterdam, Holland. We consist of 2 people: Sietske “Musiex” Morsch (singer/songwriter) and Remi “Sausbei” Lauw (guitarist/producer). For live events we are accompanied by our friends Ricardo Lekatompessy (bass) Joel Dieleman (keys) and Yori Olijslagers (drums).
Our music has influences from the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s as well as modern music that’s why we call our type of music Psychedelic/Electronic/Soul. We named ourselves Secret Rendezvous since January 1, 2011 and launched our debut album “Paint The Town Red” in Holland in March 2011. Since then we’ve been touring in Holland, Belgium and England.
Our singles have been featured on Dutch, British, American and Canadian radio and TV stations and we’re very happy with the reactions so far.
To launch our album now in Japan is such an exciting new step and we can’t wait to hear responses from our people in Japan!
Q2. How and when did you guys arrive at Psychedelic, Electro and Soul and know that it would define Secret Rendezvous?
A2. Remi: Well, we started out making Soul music with a little Hiphop and a little Rock. We were called “Talking Loud” back then and released our EP “Come a Little Bit Closer” in 2008.
It was a fun time and we learned a lot, but we wanted to try out something else and make a new sound. Then we started to experiment with electronics and soundscaping and that’s when we decided this would be our new Secret Rendezvous name and sound!
Q3. Can you explain to me in detail how the songwriting for your music is done? For example, is it made during sessions with the band? Is it always a joint effort?
A3. Sietske: Most of the time Remi shows up with a new beat or chord progression and I write over that. Sometimes I come up with chords and we write together from that. For some songs we ask our bandmembers to play, some we do ourselves. The basis is always Remi and myself, so yeah it is a joint effort.
Q4. Can you tell us a bit about the city you are currently living and the influence it has on your music style if any?
A4. Sietske: Ahh, yes! We live in Amsterdam, which is a very open-minded city. Many different cultures live together and there are lots of possibilities for artists to play.
While making the album however, Remi was still living in The Hague, also the centre of Holland and 45 minutes from Amsterdam. We were both born in villages pretty far from the centre and then later on moved to cities. I think that combination makes us down to earth, yet free and open-minded. Characteristics that are important for the way we like to create as musicians as well.
Q5. How do you describe your music to people who have never heard your music before?
A5. Remi: Think Soul music, but added with Psychedelic Rock influences from the 60’s and electronic influences from the 80’s.
Q6. Tell us about your album, “Paint The Town Red,” the individuals you worked closely with, and how long it took to record?
A6. Remi: Ok, “Paint The Town Red” is our debut album, it contains some songs written over a period of a couple of years, but most songs are written between 2009 and 2010. The whole pre-production and recording process took us 2 years.
We asked some of our friends to feature as a musician on the album like Yori Olijslagers (drums), Ben Bakker (drums), Emiel van Rijthoven (keys), Ricardo Lekatompessy (bass), Michelle Oudeman (backing vocals), Jeruma Arnold (backing vocals), and Geronimo Latumeten (backing vocals and co-writer of “Always Get So Clumsy”).
We worked with our friend Budy Mokoginta (iET) who mixed the album and was the engineer when we recorded drums. Dave Collins (Nikka Costa, Soundgarden) mastered the album.
Q7. In your bio it reads, “The two have an eclectic taste in music ranging from Funkadelic to Kraftwerk, from Curtis Mayfield to Led Zeppelin and from Prince to Flying Lotus.” Can you tell me how you are personally influenced by the listed artists, and if there is any part of “Paint The Town Red” influenced by one of these artists?
A7. Remi: Well, basically Sietske has her Soul and Oldskool R&B background. So the vocals are always a Stevie Wonder, Donny Hathaway, Prince kind of touch. I started as guitar player with lots of rock and punk music. So that’s explaining the Hendrix, Led Zeppelin influences. I think Funkadelic and the early Sly & The Family Stone work are a good example where all the best from soul and rock are coming together. But last couple of years we were listening more & more to electronic music.
I’ve been to Berlin a couple of times and for Europe that’s the base of Electronic music, and it impressed me a lot. So I started to experiment with drum computers and synths combining with hiphop grooves and lots of guitar pedals!
“Wacko” for example has all those ingredients. The single “Paint The Town Red” is combining punky guitars with Prince melodies and Kraftwerk synths.
“For the Sky” is a fragile soul song that Sietske wrote on the piano with a double time feel and a kind of Stevie Wonder feel. After the bridge I decided to go halftime and have a more country Crosby Stills & Nash with O’Jays feel with some reversed psychedelic guitars.
“Trouble” and “Keep it Movin” is Funk combined with Rock like Funkadelic and Sly did.
Q8. Can you tell me the concept behind the entire album? What were your conceptual goals when you set out to record “Paint The Town Red?”
A8. Sietske: To be honest, we didn’t work from a concept. We just made as much as we could and along the way chose the direction. There were a lot of changes in our personal life at that time that had a huge impact on the process and the way we felt towards it.
Some songs didn’t feel right anymore, some songs had to be written and were made at the last minute.
I guess the concept unintentionally then was that it had to be a variety of songs, not just one style and that everything was possible. We wanted to push our boundaries and think outside the box.
Q9. Could you recommend to me a few songs from your album and tell me why you recommended those songs.
A9. Sietske: That’s a tough question!
Let’s see… our song “Secret Rendezvous” is a great way to start with. It’s a light, happy song and perfect for the summer!
Remi: I think the message of our song “Paint The Town Red” says a lot about where we stand creatively.
It’s about the effect of talent shows and media. Fitting in commercially or paving your own way.
Sietske: “Wacko” is more hiphop/electronic orientated and about sometimes feeling a little overwhelmed and insecure with the choices you make. When you keep hearing the negative comments inside your head from people who try to bring you down and you forget to trust your own inner voice.
Q10. Do you know or listen to any Japanese artists?
A10. Remi: Unfortunately we don’t know a lot of Japanese artists. I’ve got a jazz mixtape from DJ Mitsu in my car and know him from some remixes with for Jose James.
During mixing the last song from our album “What Do We Know,” Budy Mokoginta who mixed the album, mentioned that the synths of this song reminded him of a solo CD from Ryuichi Sakamoto. Budy took that as a reference for mixing this particular song. We would love to check out the Japanese music scene and hear what you guys would recommend us!
Q11. How does it feel to have “Paint The Town Red” released in Japan? And do you have a message for the Soul, Electro Soul, and R&B listeners of Japan who will listen to your music?
A11. Sietske: It feels great! It’s such an honor for us to spread our music outside of Europe and we hope to visit Japan soon!
A message? Well, “Paint The Town Red” means for us to be free and unlimited. To think big and beyond your comfort zone. It’s our motto now to spread that message, so we hope to give that feeling with our music. 🙂