Text: Susanne van Hooft
Photos: Cesco Reckman
On January 18, we will be taking over one of the many stages within De Drie Gezusters in Groningen during Penguin Showcases (supported by Eurosonic Noorderslag). The CHAOS team has selected the biggest promises of the upcoming year for you to come and play some filthy sets. One of these bands is Money & the Man from Zwolle. We speak with Ymte Koekkoek (drums, backing vocals) who forms this two-man formation together with Henk Wesselink (lead vocals and guitar).
Tell me, how did you come to this band?
Henk and I know each other from the music course here in Zwolle. We weren’t really friends at first, but once we jammed together, we clicked. We found out that there were actually very few people who were really on the course to really make music. We both wanted that, we came there to make our own work and to be a musician. We both grew up with grunge music, so Pearl Jam, Nirvana, Foo Fighters and Red Hot Chili Peppers. We thought then: as long as bands like the Foo Fighters still sell albums and as long as Justin Bieber can make money with the music he makes, we can too.
Just a general question: the bands you mention, your examples, are real guitar bands. You only have one guitar. That’s remarkable. Is that conscious, or does no one want to play with you?
When we started jamming with just the two of us, we had both listened to a lot of two-man bands. In my case it was The White Stripes. And Henk has listened to The Black Keys a lot. So subconsciously we were open to a two-man band, although it was never a preconceived plan. In the beginning it was: if the two of us manage, then we will do it together. We’ve also had times when we’ve thought about a third person, but who should it be? Should that be a bass player or a keyboard player? Which way are you going? Now we are at a point where we are far with the two of us. I must admit that we use several guitar amps. The guitar is split into the paddleboard and a guitar amp is doubled with another sound so it sounds stereo like two guitars and then split again to a bass amp with an octaver so it sounds an octave lower.
What is your flagship number, the number that typifies you?
‘I Wanna Know’ is a song from our first album Money & the Man and it is danceable and well hit. It is the most famous for many people. Another song is ‘Stoned’. We also have a video of our album release, a kind of after movie. So the energy you get live is in that song. You are actually always busy making a new flagship. We try to make our albums as broad as possible so that you have a few danceable songs, a few headbang songs, a few that are a little funnier or goofy and sometimes an acoustic one. We like that your album isn’t filled with the same song twelve times.
A good time to reflect on your future plans.
We are working on new work. We hope to play more festivals next year. In addition, we are behind the scenes developing our studio, sound and orchestrating the next record. When the album is released there will be a club tour and some festivals. If you are talking about a multi-year plan; we do have ambitions abroad. We think it would be great to meet a cool German booker. That is also the reason why we want to play showcases at Penguin. We would like to get the ball rolling in Belgium, Germany or France. In the Netherlands, the alternative bands are there and there is a scene with people who like it, but many of the radio stations still play the same music. The top 40 is quite two-sided, but culturally not very broad. I feel like the idea that the genres that were once hip never really died out in Germany. There is still a lot of enthusiasm for grunge bands there. The Netherlands is more hit-sensitive.
You are looking forward to the Penguin showcases in Groningen to meet new people, what else are you looking forward to?
Normally I don’t like that weekend in January, it’s cold and uncomfortable, but in Groningen there is so much life on that weekend. You see so many familiar faces there. We have built up a large network so we know a lot of people and when you walk down the street it is like walking in a village, you say hello one after the other.
Of course there are a lot of bands playing. So tell me, why do people have to come and see you and let all those other bands go?
What we do is a combination of the most beautiful and rawest rock by two guys in a way you won’t see anywhere for the rest of the weekend. When you come to our performance, you will be blown away by the whirlwind.