An interview with Flevoland, your next music obsession
It all started in the Netherlands where the two young artists grew up, met and started to create. Their first EP Taken by Stream inspired by the artificial province of Flevoland will be released on the 11th of March with the movie Welcome to Flevoland. Through an energetic evening call, we discuss the genesis of their group, eccentric geo-pop music, creative inspirations and desires.
Is there any way you define your music?
We call it geo-pop. It’s an embodiment of subconscious feelings, of two young adults plowing through the fields of life. It’s really easy to misconceive Flevoland as a joke but it’s actually very emotional music.
How did your project Flevolandcome to fruition?
We lived together and would regularly make music but it never led to anything until Yso started playing bass guitar and Jurian used a new drum computer which led to the origin of our first song “Dronten” . That was the birth of Flevoland. The Genesis. The vibe of that song was so special for both of us, an instant feeling. This was the first time in my life that we created something that latched.
Flevoland will always be a source of inspiration, it’s a metaphor. It resembles certain feelings that are in the music and there are many many feelings to find in Flevoland although it feels like there are none. People laugh about it but there is actually so much depth that you can find in the province. We were feeling a lot of emotions reassembled in Flevoland. It felt freeing.
Can you speak a little more about your song ‘Dronten’?
It’s a city in Flevoland, which is one of the more depressing ones. It’s like a copy of a very traditional Dutch city structure but it was built out of nothing and has no history. This city stands for everything in Flevoland which didn’t exist until 70 years ago. They reclaimed land from the sea and the main goal was to use it for agricultural productions and housing. And then the city Almere was created – everyone who has a regular job and isn’t rich lives in Almere since they’ve been pushed out of the bigger cities.
The vast emptiness of Flevoland added to the feeling we got from Dronten. It was a bit like being really locked up: there’s basically nothing if you live there. Everyday is similar. We were living in Utrecht but it felt as if we were in Dronten. Both of us felt quite trapped in our lives, and that’s the main theme in ‘Dronten’. Now that I think about it it was kind of like that.
For the release of your EP, you will be screening a film Welcome to Flevoland. What is it about?
We made a movie to take you there. We wanted to release the music with a live event but it became a big hassle due to covid so we decided to make a film instead, that would be screened in a real cinema to celebrate the release. It started off as a pragmatic idea which became another piece of art. There were three weeks between the idea and the end product, it was all very spontaneous.
We drove for one day through Flevoland to film the movie. All of the songs are in the movie, they have their own theme and physical place in Flevoland. The imagery reinforces the songs, they coexist together. You’ll be listening to the whole EP. A very long music video.
If you make music for yourself and we like to think we do, you’re not dependent on anything and it’s the most freeing way for both of us
The two songs you’ve already released “Dronten” and“Open Field” are in English, why not sing in Dutch?
There is no clear argument why we used English lyrics, but with English it’s of course easier to connect with people beyond the Dutch borders. Actually, a few songs don’t even have lyrics but made up sounds that sound like words.
For example, in ‘De Vraag’- it’s very subconscious freestyling, it’s a mumble and then we thought of putting words but then we decided that the song is really magical as it is. It has no words but it really fits the theme of the song. It’s a little random and you might think oh they didn’t really try but if you listen with the heart, it makes sense.
We want to create a mix between hits and songs with no lyrics. Also, we don’t force anything and we don’t copy anything, for us it’s just truly original music. In the future there might be a few Dutch songs, which might be fun to do as well. There are some really cool Dutch electronic and hip-hop music but the pop music is so boring and its music with which we don’t identify at all since it’s a bit shallow. The last ‘pop’ group in the Netherlands that we really loved was De Jeugd Van Tegenwoordig.
Songs are their own objects and have their own identity and if there’s a true idea, it will guide you to finish the song, respect it for what it is
What about the title of your EP Taken by the stream, what inspired this choice?
It’s a good name for the overall vibe of all the songs. You’re sort of lost in life but you’re carried along in the stream of daily life anyways and that’s the energy which connects all of the songs. There’s this common misconception in which people assume things won’t change since that helps them survive and put things in a box but then they suddenly change. Some people are more like pebbles which move all the time with the stream and others are like boulders and need a flash-flood to get moving.
Yso: I would like to be a small pebble
Jurian : Ideally you flow like water through life and you are very adaptive to the universe, which would make you a really small pebble, flowing with the stream all the time. That’s something to aim for I guess, but I don’t think I’m a small pebble to be honest.
Yso: We’re definitely not big boulders, but like most human beings we also like to be rooted a little bit.
What artists have inspired you?
That’s going to be a very long list! We both explored so much music together and shared so many great artists with one another. It goes from hip-hop, trap to metal. The vocals in Taken by the Stream are a bit more hip-hop inspired. Jurian was inspired by Playboi Carti and we were also influenced by Kate Bush. Her music is so free and also so original. Oh and the Bee Gees have been there from the beginning for the emotions and melodies. There’s also Roxy Music with the album Avalon. But also techno music and just being in clubs for the energy. We would love to perform in a nightclub. Techno and trance music have definitely been inspiring, and was also a source of inspiration for the design of the cover..
Do you have any advice to give to someone who is having difficulty sharing their work?
Well, we need some advice on sharing music! Creating is easy but the rest is so hard. With making music the only advice you can give is to stay true to yourself and to finish your songs! It’s nice to work with someone. We’ve been really motivating each other because there’s nothing nicer than being excited about the same thing together. We’re already happy that we did it and that it’s exactly what we want it to be.
Jurian: I’m not going to die without releasing a really cool project. I can say to my kids, daddy made some music and you don’t have to listen to it but daddy was in a group. In my midlife crisis I’ll be re-watching Welcome to Flevoland every night (laughs) thinking about the time when I was still free, before I
took a job in an office and it all went downhill from there (laughs).
Yso: Flevoland is the peak of our existence but Flevoland is not at the peak yet, it’s only going up from here. Only the tip of the iceberg has been discovered.