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Chabliz: "Listen To Your Inner Voice"

Petra de Winter answered my questions via e-mail, interview published on Jan 22 2013

  by Mario

"Adventurous dutch pop-noir and gothic jazz band with enchanting female vocalist with a whopping four octave vocal range, using a wide range of vocal techniques." - that's how Chabliz describe themselves. They've started a very special Sellaband project to pay tribute to Screamin' Jay Hawkins. I talked to Petra de Winter about how they got together, about the funding project and their further plans:

50K MUSIC: You've started your project on Sellaband about one month ago. Are you satisfied with the support so far?
Petra: Well, yes, we are satisfied. It could have been a bit more, but that depends on the energy that we put in it to get in contact with the believers at Sellaband. It takes a lot of time to write them, and what i see is that bands who put all their effort in Sellaband, writing with the believers, they get more investments. That's kind of fair. We have to devide our time and energy into several things, writing songs, rehearsing them, booking gigs and a tour, and recording and editing a videoclip. I am the person in the band who does all the organisation stuff. The other bandmembers do other things for the band. Some of us have also jobs and children, I also have three children to care for, which means that i can't give ALL my time to the band. You need to be very good at networking to reach a lot of believers at Sellaband. that's a real skill, and some bands have developed that skill better than others. My friend Catself and her collegue Lee-Leet for instance are very good at it. I learned a lot from them in that field. We're making progress at it :-) Another thing is, that our music is a bit weird and quite alternative. You love it or you hate it. The music from Chabliz is niche-music, not everybody likes it, it's a bit underground,it's not music for the masses. So we can't reach all the believers,some of them will find it simply too adventurous. Some bands just make music that almost everybody likes. We make another kind of music, for a smaller group of people.

50K MUSIC: It's a very special project, isn't it?
Petra: Our project is quite different than most projects at Sellaband. Most bands just ask money for financing their next album or tour, while Chabliz is raising money for a few big, strange musical theatre performances in Holland. These performances will be filmed and broadcasted at You Tube and they will also be available on DVD after the performances. It will be a tribute to the world famous Screamin'Jay Hawkins (the first rocker in the world) on the day that he deceased and at Valentines Day ( "I put a spell on you !"). Because he will be deceased exactly 14 years ago at 14-2-2014, we will play his monsterhit and evergreen "I put a spell on you" exactly fourteen times, in fourteen totally different versions in a big show with dancers, video art and theatre. The versions that we will play go from classical to hardrock to jazz to dance, all kinds of musical styles will be played, we'll even play it in a tango version. Because we just recorded an album, that will be released soon, we are able to offer our believers the very same incentives as other bands who wish to record an album do. They also receive a physical album when they invest three parts or more, and every believer gets a full download of the album.

50K MUSIC: How did you find the way to Sellaband?
Petra: Our good friends Catself and Johan from Talentcast referred us to Sellaband. By the way, I already heard of Sellaband before, but never dared to really go for it in a serious way. Many artists don't believe that there are people out there who'd like to invest in your art. We really had to learn that and we had to get used to that idea. We were raised in the way that it isn't polite to ask for something, that's still a big part of the dutch culture. Dutch artists are raised in a way that they should never ask for something, we just have to play and wait until somebody gets the idea to throw some pennies or crumbs to us, haha :-)!

50K MUSIC: All the Chabliz band members seem to be extremly successful with their solo projects as well. How did you get together as Chabliz?
Petra: Haha, we don't feel it like that at all ! It's true that we all are and were quite active with other musical projects as well, but what is success? We all made beautiful and interesting things with our other bands and projects, that's for sure, but for me success also means that you can make a good, or at least a normal living with it. And we didn't reach that point yet. It's a poor way of living if you speak about income, and I am very glad that i have a husband with a more common job, otherwise our children would have been quite poor. When playing a concert they usually pay everybody a normal salary, even the toiletlady usually gets more salary than the musicians. Musicians get abused or forgotten all the time. It happens quite often that everybody in the venue goes home with any kind of wages, the sound technician, the bartender etc, except the musicians. They sell a few albums, get some money to cover their gasoline and that's it. By the way, many venues can't even pay their musicians more, because they would get bankrupt if they did. It's not even possible to point at a culprit, for there isn't any. It's just the whole system that's not working properly, you can't blame anyone particular for it. In the dutch culture people don't really appreciate music, they appreciate it, but don't want to pay for it. Art and nature are the underdogs of the dutch society. Everybody wants it, but nobody wants to pay for it. One of the nice things about Sellaband is that there are still people there who understand that and want to invest in music.

How did we get together? Well, our bassplayer Marcel Peters and I (the singer), already play together for a long time. Our drummer, Ap de Ree, joined the band after we put an advertisement in 2007. Our former drummer deceased far too young, he played with us for a long time, that was very sad. We had become a sort of family, like brothers and sisters. We found very soon a new drummer, as if he was sent by our deceased drummer to replace him, he had the same humour, musical taste and length (tall!) as our former drummer and he is also a Scorpio :-) In 2009 our former pianist left the band, there were too many differences in musical taste and ideas between him and some of the other bandmembers, we didn't go together into the same direction anymore. After a very long search we finally found Pim van Riezen, who really understood our music, which is rare. Last summer we finally dared to make the step to invite a guitarplayer too, that was already a big wish from me for a long time, and we found René Meester, who has very big musical ears and who understands our music quite well. Now we are finally complete, and ready to enter the big world of music.

50K MUSIC: What are your plans for the next few months, except promoting your Sellaband project?
Petra: We are almost ready now with the recordings of a videoclip. Except two songs our whole album is mastered now. The next months we will promote our album and our videoclip, release them, play gigs, do a tour and write new songs for our next album. We will also work on a promotion plan for our Screamin'Jay Hawkins Tribute. The next months will be quite important for us.

50K MUSIC: And finally: One thing you want your fans and Believers to know.
Petra: Well, we are very excited about the next period. Our videoclip will be ready and released in the beginning of March, and of course we are quite curious about what you will think of it. We will talk to several record labels for the album release, that's quite exciting too. The dutch radio is already quite interested in our single, that makes us very glad and full of optimism. With every concert that we play we get better, we found our own sound by now and that's a good thing too. Another thing that we would like to say to our fans and believers is this: Listen to your inner voice and don't do what other people say, except when you really agree with them. Since we do that, we definitely make better music AND better decisions.


Chabliz on Sellaband