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In Words: Vanderbuyst

- Willem Verbuyst - Dec. 2010 - Claudia Ehrhardt -

© Vanderbuyst

Willem Verbuyst - December 28th 2010 (by email)

With Vanderbuyst a Dutch trio brings back the spirit of 70's / 80's hard rock, but they aren't sounding backdated. Their self-titled debut is out for a couple of weeks - also on vinyl! - and it's time to learn more about the Oranje.

When I first heard the name Vanderbuyst I thought about Vandenberg... A association you can understand? Perhaps even wanted?

Yeah, it is definitely related to names like Vandenberg and Van Halen. When I was still in Powervice, Richard (the bass player) used to joke that once I would start my own band called 'Vanderbuyst', as my name is Verbuyst. When we started this band we were looking for a name, and I remembered 'Vanderbuyst'. We all liked the fact that when you see it, you know what kind of music to expect: 70's/80's hard rock.

Musically you are based in old school hard rock, a music which the music industry and media seems to ignore these days. Guess, you really love this kind of music or you would have done something different, coz this is far from being the next big thing. People ever tried to talk you over to do something else?

Indeed, we play this music because we have a passion for it. We realize that Vanderbuyst won't make us rich, but we're not into this for the money. And success comes in different guises. When you play in front of a metal crowd and you see them going wild, that is one of the greatest rewards you can get for a band like us. True, the hipster media don't care for old school stuff, but we're not interested in what's hip either. You know, there is still a big scene out there that's into true hard rock and heavy metal. This music might not be the cash crop, but it has been around for a while and still stands strong.

Even if there aren't just major labels, even small labels don't seem to be to fond about old school hard rock... You are signed to VŠn Records, a label which just recently expanded their rooster and no longer concentrates on black metal. Are you happy so far with the support of VŠn Records?

VŠn Records are a great support. I new this label from Dutch bands The Devil's Blood and Urfaust. Their releases always look top notch; nice detailed artwork and good vinyl. Since VŠn Records have mainly black metal on their roster, I thought that our music wouldn't be 'dark' enough. But at the Rock Hard festival we gave a copy of our recordings anyway. The next week we received the news that they wanted to release it. That was one of the greatest things that happened to us. They really work hard for their bands. Also with the promotion and all, they do a great job. They did more than we could ask for. They released our debut in three different colors vinyl. That's fucking awesome if you ask me.

At your self-titled debut you have 6 Vanderbuyst songs and a cover of UFO's Rock Bottom which is a classic. Quite often bands get criticized when covering a classic like Rock Bottom. Have you had doubts about the cover version? Any comments by UFO?

We've been playing Rock Bottom at live shows for a while now and people always respond to it with great enthusiasm. Without saying this a great song but often we saw that it kind of unites the audience and the band. It is like: ok, let's relive these glorious hard rocking days. We thought it would be cool to record this song as a tribute to that great musical era and the impressive U.F.O. Some people advised us not to record it, especially since it is our debut album. On the other hand, some people begged us to record it, haha. We never felt sorry. We didn't had the intention to copy that song, but played it the way they would do it live, and that is with a lot of improvisation on the guitar, letting the moment capture you.
By the way, no reactions from U.F.O or Michael Schenker so far. I think they have better things to do than checking out versions of their classic. We're here to listen to their records, not the other way 'round.

Some might say that the album is too short... Not enough songs? Or a deliberate decision to offer a short quality release instead of an 80 min. long album with fillers?

We had more than enough songs. In fact we have recorded two more that are not on the album. Since the introduction of the CD people expect 80 minute long albums. And what do you get? Minutes of intro noise and bonus tracks. Those bonus tracks are just those that wouldn't make it for the album, if there was only vinyl. In the eighties bands released one 40 minutes album each year. We like that tradition.

The artwork is typical 80's and reminds me a bit of Ratt... It will look great at the vinyl versions.... Who had the idea for the artwork? Are you glad that you got the chance to release a vinyl version?

The kind of music we play with Vanderbuyst is made for vinyl So we were looking for a label that would release a vinyl version as well. But at VŠn Records, they surprised us, as they wanted gatefold editions with black, purple and transparent vinyl. That is super. Nowadays you don't have that many labels with a passion for music the way they have. We're lucky, we realize.
Probably it won't surprise you that Out Of The Cellar from Ratt is one of my favorite album covers all times. We all like the artwork from the eighties in which women play an important role. We told a friend of us, who is a very talented photographer, we were looking for a picture with some women's legs and a good eighties vibe. After one day of shooting he came up with this, which was exactly what we were looking for. By the way, he also took the band picture and some live action photo's that are on the inside of the album. Another friend of us helped with the layout. I think they both did a great job.

Unfortunately I missed the release show in Oberhausen, please tell us a bit about the event! How was it?

That was awesome! Not only was it our release show, but it was our first show with Vanderbuyst in Germany as well. We opened that night, although it was early, the place was pretty packed. A lot of friends came over from the Netherlands to support us. But quite some German metal maniacs were present as well, and that crowd is always a treat. You know, compared to the Dutch, the German audience really is a wild one. When you feel that much energy from the audience, it makes you work even harder on stage.
Burden and Griftegård were on the bill as well, it was cool to see these bands. Also the after party was great, we drunk a lot of beers that night.

You'll play a lot shows till the end of 2010, it seems that playing live is what you are living for... I know that a few shows in Germany in 2011 are already planned, more shows to come? Can we expect to see Vanderbuyst outside the Netherlands more often now?

Yes, doing live shows is what we like the most. Nowadays we play three times a week, so that's really cool. The latest few months we focused on the Netherlands, but upcoming year we'll play more abroad. And definitely Germany is on the agenda. We will do a tour in May with Saxon. It is an honor to play with those legends. We will play 23 shows with Saxon, but I think we will add a few show ourselves when we have a day off. I would really love to spend my days in a van, driving from show to show, and play every night with Vanderbuyst. We don't care what kind of place. Bars, Bikers-pubs, gay-clubs, metal festivals... any place: we want to play there.
We just received the news that we will play on the Metal Assault Festival in WŁrzburg on the 8th of January. That will be a memorable day, since they got Angel Witch among great others on the bill as well!!!

Let's talk a bit about the recordings... The recording also been kind of old school as you recorded From Pillar To Post and Rock Bottom live in the studio. Quite unusual these days. Do you think that this way the atmosphere is more perfectly captured?

Yes, we knew we wanted to record Rock Bottom live. Since in that song during the solo part a lot of improvisation and interaction is going on. When we came back to the studio to record this track, we decided to do a live version of From Pillar To Post as well. We're really happy about the way they turned out. I think Pieter Kloos did a great job. You really can feel the energy. I believe we will in the future we will work more like that. It would be nice to release a live album. 'Vanderbuyst live in Tokyo' or something, haha. Tokyo Tapes, Strangers In The Night, Live And Dangerous are all a big inspiration for us.

Selim joined you on Tiger, can we expect more co-operations in future?

Somehow we do this. A lot of people think that the break up of Powervice turned us into enemies. But that's untrue, we're still friends, most of them I see once in a while. I'm a big fan of Selim's style. I learned a lot from his guitar playing when we were still in Powervice. I also contributed some solo's on The Devil's Blood recordings. Of course he's welcome to add some of his guitar firework on our next album. I hope he will have the time, because he's busy as hell with his band.

Will you work again with Pieter Kloos? Or would you like to work with somebody else? Which producer would be 'a dream come true'-kinda thing?

Pieter Kloos as a sound engineer is all one can wish for. He truly knows the ins and outs of 70's/80's hard rock. I never heard someone come that close to the authentic sound. I expect us to work with him the upcoming albums. But of course he is very in demand at the moment, so I hope he will still find some time for us in the future. There is not one single producer that I really would like to work with, but I like to do some recordings abroad, on the Bahamas or something.

Talking about dreams.... I guess to share the stage with one of your heroes would be something really special... There are some bands which obviously influenced you, any others which aren't that obvious?

You know it might sound crazy, but when you play in a band you don't have that many days off in the weekends to see other bands. So the best way to see them is to try to do their support. For example we did the support of Praying Mantis, a band I really like. On a evening like that, it is always a party: a Vanderbuyst show, a great audience and a legendary band. Beside sharing the stage with bands that influenced us, I also like to play on festivals with different styles on the bill. When we play, you see that the older generation is reminiscing of the 80's. But also the younger generation metalheads is enjoying our shows; they understand where the metal of today has its roots.

You'll support NWoBHM legends Saxon on their European tour in May / June 2011. Saxon isn't the band you first think of when listening to Vanderbuyst, but they have influenced countless bands. Have they been one of the bands you were listening to as a kid? Is it a dream-come-true tour for you? And who is on your wish list for future tours?

Doing a tour with Vanderbuyst was definitely a dream for us, but doing a tour with the heroes from Saxon that is more than we dared thinking of. I saw them a few years ago and they still rocked the place. I think we will learn a lot from them. Maybe hard to tell but certainly Saxon has influenced us as a band; I listened to the Wheels Of Steel album hundreds of times. I like the way the guitar riffs keep going while the vocals are loosely on top of it. A song like Filthy Love, from our demo, is definitely influenced by Saxon material. Touring with a band like Y&T or U.F.O. would be awesome too. But let us enjoy upcoming tour with Saxon first.

Are you already working on new songs? Can we expect something new before the end of 2011?

Yes, we already working on some new material. I hope we can release a new record in the Autumn of 2011. We'll do our best to realize this.

I would like to thank you for this interview and the opportunity to introduce ourselves to your readers.
Claudia and for all those who are into 70's/80's hard rock, early NWoBHM, I hope to see you at one of our shows in Germany next year.
Horns up!

Sounds like in 2011 Vanderbuyst will play everywhere, so no excuses not to see them on stage. And as Y&T and U.F.O. are still touring, they might get a chance... Meanwhile you can pick up the CD or the vinyl and revive the good ol' days of hard rock!

Claudia Ehrhardt


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