De Staat are one of The Netherlands emerging bands. With a sold-out tour in their home country and branching out to other European countries, we at RMP took the opportunity to witness De Staat live during the leg of their Belgian shows at the infamous Ghent-based cafe, Charlatan.
Vocalist and guitar player Florre Torim took some time off to chat with us regarding their latest release “O” and the ongoing tour through Europe.
- Hello Torre, first things first, congratulations with the new release “O”. It's been out for some weeks now and the first part of the tour in The Netherlands is over. How has it been this far?
Very good, real nice. That tour was completely sold out. It's great to be back on the stages again. At least now in The Netherlands, for the bigger shows, we brought along visuals for the first time. It's something different for us too. We're putting on a different show than before. It's a step forward on all fronts. Lots of cool stuff happening
- Yesterday you started with the conquest of Belgium, all shows are sold out already. Is Belgium falling for De Staat?
I hope so. It's smaller venues of course but it hasn't happened before that venues in Belgium are also packed. I'm very happy. They say that Studio Brussel (Belgian radio station) is very important and for the first time in my career as a musician they are playing one of our songs at night. I'm already very happy with the way things are going in Belgium. We've waited for a long time to witness it going good over here. Slowly but surely the people are getting to know us and come out. But I love playing this sort of venues.
- It sure seems to be busy times for you guys, still a part of Europe to tour in the nearby future and at the end of March you're booked as the support band for Muse in Germany. What cab we expect from this show?
Well, I don't know what to expect myself really. I know we are playing on a round stage. That’s actually nice for us since our whole album is based around a circle. We are going to perform in a circle. But we don't know yet how this will be done. We don't know either what they're expecting from us from Muse’s side. It's going to be awesome anyway, it's basically an arena. We don't know if it's on invite of Muse themselves, it was just one of those moments you get a phone call.
Of course it's a result of building the band over years. Where you happen to be a name on a list. I'm very happy with this. I suspect that the band proposed it, I'll know for sure when we play the show.
- The new album was recorded in your own De Staat studio in your hometown Nijmegen (Netherlands), the old venue Doornroosje has been transformed into your very own workplace. How it the new location?
You're up to date! It's really great. We've been over there for over a year, a year and a half actually. It took some trial and error at first. I used to own a small home studio and our rehearsal space was somewhere else. But now it was the first time we brought those two together. It was a learning process for me to find out how to handle it. It's basically just a black box where paint chips of the wall. Just a rock 'n’ roll hole. It's very sweet, we're having a lot of fun over there where we can work in peace and quit. I wouldn't want it any other way than like this. It's a really nice method of working.
- A while back, you also invited 25 fans through a contest to witness live recordings of two new tracks in the studio. How was the response?
It was very exciting. They hadn't heard anything yet, for the first time they were going to listen to the new tracks. The response was very good. There were a few journalists present who said it was the best material they heard from us so far. It's a very uncertain time. When an album is about to release, you start thinking that it's crap on one side while on the other side you think it's real great what you've done. And then you think it's quite boring what you've done. You've been at it so long that you can't judge it anymore and then you are dependent on other people their opinions. Then you realise ‘Yeah, this is actually quite good’. It was a very interesting period but it was fun doing so.
- The video clip for “Witch Doctor” from your previous album has really become a hit. YouTube views alone are over a million and a half. It's a visually very attractive video with the CGI circle pit and apparently it's also becoming a hit during live shows where people perform the dance around you in the middle of the crowd?
It's going in the direction of two million as we speak. It' s not really a circle pit, it's more of a dance than a pit. Sometimes blogs write about the circle pit during De Staat show and then some methalhead start responding that's not a real circle pit. And they are right, I agree with them. If it happens these days, also live, then everyone is neatly into formation and dancing around me. Not much happens during the dance.
- But you also have a new video in the make. Something with a circle-shaped stage.
Yes, that's right. It' going to take a while before it is released, but it will be something special. I can't talk about it yet; it's set for release in two months.
- The new album gravitates around cyclic movements, from artwork “O” up until the track “Round”. What attracts you to these mysterious circles?
That is something that grows organically. When we recorded over half of the tracks, I realised that I needed to go all the way. I'm a fan of clear concepts. ‘Theme’ on its own is a wrong definition but I always try when releasing a new album to make sure it's a certain thing. One story, it can go all directions into my mind. By accident all tracks in the beginning of the recording seemed to have a mutual theme regarding repetition, about cycles, about infinity or about quitting something, the void what translates to 0. Not all tracks fitted this scheme. When we reached the end of the recording there were almost no other titles than this one. But I'm very pleased with it.
- The artwork to the album is quite basic and contains all instruments inside marked with a tracking number. Inside the CD-booklet each track holds these numbers to define what instruments where used on a certain track. I noticed a lot of analogue instruments and effects, certainly in this day and age of digital recording. A conscious decision?
Yes, that's also because basically the recordings were all digital with a computer and mixed from there, I've mixed it all digitally in the box. We just work with those materials because they are so great to work with. It's more practical to play live the same way. Everyone has their own little station with their effect pedals and with those we make the sounds and record them. If we want to use more digital effects, then it would become more complex. It's just fun to work with a pedalboard and two synths that have their limitations, with that you instantly have your sound because of the limits of the machines. When you try to do everything digitally, then suddenly a whole array of possibilities appears and then it can get hard to pick the proper ones. That is one of the reasons. I won't say that we will record digital in the future. It's not that we find it very important to record analogue. I'm no Jack White concerning that topic, who wants and needs everything analogu. I don't find it that important. We've been using more synths throughout the years. Compared to “I_CON” is the same amount of synth used. Only this time they get a more central part and the guitar sounds sound more like synths, but that has all to do with the sort of pedals we used.
- Any plans concerning De Staat in the nearby future you want to share with us?
I can't really tell all too much, we do have plans. We're going to play festivals this summer, also a few Belgian shows are coming up. What we will be doing by the end of the year, I can't tell yet. I hope to be going abroad again, chances are big.
– David Marote