K’S CHOICE (26/03/15)
K’s Choice european tour is coming soon. A few months ago, when newest album “The Phantom Cowboy” was just about to be released, we met the two Bettens siblings.
“The Phantom Cowboy“, your newest album, is coming very soon. Are you satisfied with the way it sounds?
Sarah Bettens (vocals/guitar): Yes, we’re very very happy. It’s one of those things where after being together for so long, we have to find something that keep us exciting. And that’s everytime we make a new project. We need something that makes us feel like we’re 22 years old instead of being in a band that existed for 22 years. (laughs) This time we tried something new, we wrote everything together, and we really focused on making it like a concept-rock record. We also had a new rythm section. So for us, it’s very exciting. We feel like we kind of have a little bit of a new energy. We can’t wait to play it live!
Gert Bettens (guitar/backing vocals): What’s fun is that we wanted to do a heavy album, but different from our so-called “heavier” period, when we made “Cocoon Crash”. It’s heavy but it’s something else, and we’re really happy with that.
So this record is a concept itself, more than an addition of songs?
S: Yes, it kinda is. We had this criterial before we started which was kind of like : for every song, you have to imagine the crowd bouncing. It has to be things we can play live and it’s got to be super fun. The entertainment level of this record had to be high. Sometimes we go deep into the lyrics, and every word has to be true. But this time we were just like “this has to be a fun record, we have to have a great time making it and we have to have a great time playing it”.
And so, does it sound the way you planned, or like you imagined it would?
S: We were going to be able to do something like this but I think until we really started writing, and after that with the producing, it didn’t really become real. Not until we started hearing what we were doing. And it really felt like it was a whole, which was hard to imagine before we actually heard it. So when we heard it was all coming together and sounding like something different than what we’ve done before, we were pleasantly surprised.
How would you describe this album, and its spirit, with just one sentence?
S: (long thinking) I have to find a good one. (laughs) I think it’s old school rock in 2015.
G: If we could make a first album again, that’s what we’d do.
How long did it take, to make the record?
S: Not very long actually! We wrote together in Tenessee with Gert for a week, and we did the same a month later in Belgium. We wrote two or three songs in between. It was very focused on the writing sessions. And then for the actual recording, we did almost everything live in the studio. All the basics tracks, aside from vocals and a couple of guitar parts. But we did all the basics tracks in five days pretty much so… Yeah, very fast recording! (laughs)
Any favorite song or part on the album?
S: There’s a couple of songs I like a lot. The very first one “As Rock N’ Roll As It Gets” is a lot of fun. And there’s “Bag Full Of Concrete” which is a good representation of the record. I like a lot of them but if I had to name two it’d be those two.
G: Yeah mine are kind of similar. We played the new songs for the first time a few days ago and “Bag Full Of Concrete” felt really nice. It just feels right to perform.
About your performences, what can we expect? Is there anything that will be different?
S: I think what will be different is that this atmoshpere will be there during the whole show. Some songs will fit in, and some songs will have to be played in a slightly different version. And we’ll have a few moments in the set when things will quiet down a little bit. But I think it will be a less pop and a more rock experience than in the past.
On a different topic, is there anything you can tell us about the artwork?
G: We wanted something that visually illustrates what we recorded. And I think we really succeeded in doing that with “Echo Mountain”. It was a very positive album that radiated something nice. And the artwork had that spirit too. But this time, it’s definitely darker, a lot heavier. And it made a lot more sense to lose all the colours and to go for something black and white. For some reason, the whole cowboy thing became kind of a theme, so we wanted this figure on the front that somehow looks like a cowboy. It refers to the title, but it’s now a phantom. (laughs) But he’s standing there and it looks a bit threatening I think, it’s nice.
What did you like in music recently? A song, an artist, a band… Something that might have influenced you?
S: There’s definitely been some Queens Of The Stone Age and Black Rebel Motorcycle Club listening while making the album. We kept that in mind when we were writing, it’s music that we like a lot and it looked like a lot of fun to play live.
Any plan for the future already?
S: For now we’re really focused on what we’re doing. We have a couple of songs that we didn’t put on the record because they didn’t really fit. But we actually think they’re really good songs so we keep them. We might do something totally different again for the next record but we haven’t given that too much thought right now.
Last question: as our website is called “RockUrLife”, what rocks your life?
G: My children rock my life !
S: I rock my life by being a firefighter also. It’s my second life when I’m home. And it rocks pretty hard sometimes. (laughs)