DeWolff released their brand new album in May but are currently on their Euro tour. Time to know a bit more about them!
First can you introduce us your band?
Luka Van De Poel (drums): We are DeWolff, I’m Luka and I play drums. Pablo plays the guitar and Robin is our Hammond player. We’ve been playing for ten years now.
Pablo Van De Poel (guitar): And we make a psychedelic 70’s inspired blues rock.
Your album’s title is “Thrust”. What’s the idea here? How the title and the tracks interact?
Luka: We wrote most of the songs of the album and we were thinking about it. We wrote some really heavy songs, our heaviest songs like “Big Talk” and then we came up with this title which means “to push forward violently” like a rocket thrusting throw the atmosphere. We really felt that title represented the heavy songs. It’s a really powerful title.
Pablo: We’ve been brewing this music for ten years, kind of underground, and now it’s time to thrust this music.
How’s the process in the band? Do you demo or start from scratch?
Luka: Yeah we plan some rehearsal dates and then we go together and we just start jamin’ or maybe one of us has a slight idea of a song. At a pretty early stage we record those ideas so we have rough demos of the songs. It can take a day to write a song or a lot of time if we want something complex.
Pablo: We might write the parts of a song one day and next week we’ll change it, again and again. But yes we make pretty good demos of what we’ll record. For this record we started from scratch.
You’re playing an old school rock n’roll, what lead you into this genre? What were you listening to as kids/teens?
Pablo: When I started playing guitar I was listening to Limp Bizkit and Metallica, those were my first loves. Then my dad bought me a Jimi Hendrix compilation album, I was 11 I think, and he didn’t know Hendrix, he just knew the name. So I started listening to it and I really liked it and then I turned him onto old music. I was discovering Led Zeppelin and my dad really liked that.
Where you already playing guitar at that time?
Luka: Yeah but very bad. (laughs)
Pablo: I started at 9 and even with guitar lessons I sucked. But after listening to Hendrix, I was trying to play along the tracks so that’s how I really started to improve my playing.
And forming a band, how did it come to your mind?
Luka: Pablo already played in a different band and he was looking for something new.
Pablo: For a 13 year-old-kid that was pretty okay but it was really rusty. I wanted to discover psychedelic music like Pink Floyd but I couldn’t with them. So I started jamin’ with Luka and then we asked Robin to join us, but it was just for fun for quiet a long time before playing a first show.
Luka: When I was really young, I remember I said “no I just want to play drums” (laughs)
Looking it now, did you ever dream of all these accomplishments?
Pablo: No never. I woud have never thought of all this but it happened pretty early on. We started ten years ago and if I’ve been told that then: “no man that’s impossible”. But it happened in a way I think it was good because we didn’t have any real goals. The love of music was why we always doing it.
Which topics are you dealing with the lyrics? What message do you want to share? Do you have an activist spirit regarding some subjects?
Luka: We have a song about Donald Trump but we also have more political songs. We never really did that so that’s kind of new to us as well. But that’s just because we didn’t want to be stuck.
Pablo: The psychedelic lyric thing, like telling stories about aliens and stuff, we started writing lyrics about what was occupying our minds at this time. Also in twenty years maybe you’ll listen to this album and you can tell by the lyrics when it was written and what it’s about. I just want to make music that’s not necessarily 60/70’s. I think that’s a good thing that it’s hard to put a label on it.
About the Donald Trump song. They had the elections in America and when I went to bed at night and waking up in the morning it was sure that Trump won. We had a rehearsal that day and all we talked about was the election. So we played stuff and it was so angry that it had to be about him. Plus we released a demo of that song on that day on Facebook. In that moment, it was a really powerful emotion going on. That’s what we’ve been doing on this record just writing about what popped up in our minds.
Did you ever think making something really different, heavier? Do you put on some limits?
Pablo: The thing is that for us making music is… we absorb a lot of music over the years. When we come together and play, because we don’t have a concept or anything we just start whatever and we translate that to something we can play the three of us. That’s what DeWolff is, we never really think of doing something different because this is all we can do. The sound kind of evolve into different directions.
Luka: We always look for a new sound like on the first track and that weird guitar sound. It’s always a challenge to find something unique.
Pablo: We’re always super open minded but what is the core of what we do is just follow our hearts and only judge an idea by: “do I like or not?”. For this album, we would hear something random and just appreciate it in a different way. Just opening up to whatever we listen.
By having different sounds, songs and vibe. How do you elaborate your setlist? In order to have a coherent show.
Luka: In the last couple of years we discovered what really works live and what doesn’t work. We have some records we don’t play anything because we don’t feel it right to be played. For this record we can play every song live and it’ll be cool.
Pablo: We have for example “DeWolff 4” full of strings arrangements but when we were about to play it live it was like: “what are we gonna do with those parts?” because the strings were playing the melodies the most important parts of the songs and it sounded ugly on guitar. Six months after this release it was kind of a crisis because the older songs were really old and those that’s when our writing changed, it has evolved into this.
Top 3 ?
Luka: I go first. “Big Talk” because there’s such an energy and we’ve been playing it live for some time now. It just really works. “Freeway Flight” I really enjoyed the writing process on that song because it’s kind of complex with different parts and we had to fit it all together and we record on tapes so we couldn’t edit anything, it was a real journey to record it. But it’s also one of the best sounding songs here. “Tragedy? Not Today” #3 it’s just a powerful song and I’ll really enjoy playing it live.
Pablo: For me, “Big Talk” because that’s the first track I’ll recommand to someone about our new album but also because it’s the most powerful song that we’ve ever written. On 2, “Freeway Flight”.
Luka: Oh! (laughs)
Pablo: Probably for the same reasons but there’s a funny thing about this song. We had all those parts but we didn’t knew how to put them all together. So we demo the song with all the parts and the next day, listening back to it, it wasn’t a song really. We tried to fit here there etc. messing around a little and then we decided to give a color code to each part and try in a different way. “What if we put yellow in between red and blue?” (laughs) it was like a puzzle but in the end we managed to have it and then only we started to play the final version song. But it was really hard. (laughs) And finally “Outta Step & Ill At Ease” the last song of the record. I wrote most of that myself and I think that’s the best song I ever wrote by myself.
You recorded the album and produced it. Will you one day have the temptation to try something else? With a producer/digital recordings. Never say never or never?
Pablo: It’s kind of hard to think. We once did an album with a producer but over the years we developed such a strong view of how we think our stuff to sound and 90% of the time we don’t need any help to get that sound. Now we have “Thrust” and I think with a producer it could be frustrating with someone new to the band saying: “that’s good” but I’ll say: “no man I can do way better than this”. Being the three of us we have the patience to go on to improve things until it’s okay.
Luka: Plus we can say it to each other, if it’s good or not. It could get weird with someone else.
Pablo: If one day we meet a super cool guy and we want to work with him, who knows? I can’t see it for now.
Luka: Plus 9/10 times the producer’s idea is not necessarily better, it’s just different.
What do you think of this new wave of old school rock n’roll?
Luka: I think it’s really good.
Pablo: Some of it is good.
Luka: Yeah but I was trying to say that it hasn’t really been away but right now it’s getting bigger and bigger and you also see that the rock scene in Holland is getting better and bigger. That’s a good sign.
Pablo: Humans started evolving once books were printed, putting knowledge on paper like science of course. Somebody could read it and develop new with that. With music, this didn’t happen because music is being recorded since the 20’s or something and in the 60’s people got inspired buy the 50’s blues music. And in my opinion they improved it like theirs but they did something new out of it, something exciting and better. After that, people started copying those bands and more and more genres started existing. Now we’re in a time if you start making music right now, you don’t have to know anything about music. You can just open your laptop, download a software, make a beat and make music without any musical knowledge. A lot of these guys that make a song from a beat, they’ve never heard Led Zeppelin or The Beatles even maybe, that’s kind of a shame. It’s not getting better. They did the same in the 60s but at that time you had to pick up a guitar and learn. Now you don’t have to do that anymore. People are in their world, making stuff with computers. It’s turning into the Middle-Age, a lot of people forgot how to write a song.
So, coming back to your question, what I like to think of what we’re doing is: we have all these old records, those songs, we absorb this inspiration and think how we can do our thing with it fitting this new era.
Finally we are “RockUrLife” so what rock your lives guys?
Pablo: My wife.
Pablo: Music, it sounds very cliché but literally every day in my life is filled with music. Maybe two days in a month I do something else for the rest it’s all I do.
Luka: For me too of course. But for the past years, I got a new hobby and it’s cars. That rocks my life in this moment.