The Netherlands has been a breeding ground for several amazing acts on the international music stage in recent years. Think Little Dragon, Ruby Empress and Maud Geffray. Up next in the line up, I present to you the soothing bass vocals and elevating beats of GENTS. I recently had the privilege of interviewing them, so here are 11 questions I was dying to ask and 11 answers you won’t be able to get enough of.
1.Your music makes me want to get up, close my eyes and sway haha. What kind of dancers are you both? Moves depend on the music playing, but are you more free-spirited or more reserved?
Dancing is about doing whatever you feel. We’ve never learned to dance and never will, haha. But we love to explore where our limbs takes us. Theis is probably the more subtle and Niels the more expressive dancer. Every1 has their own style.
2. As a child, what purpose did music serve you? Who were some of the musicians that you two looked up to?
Music has always been our way of having fun and playing around. Before we started doing music ourselves we danced around to 90’s cartoon pop or drummed along to Safri Duo dance tracks.
3. When did music transform from something you listen to, from this passive, receptive act, to a platform of creation and action for you?
Dancing along and playing air guitar turned into drumming on pot and pans, and then getting real instruments. We can’t really remember a specific, transformative experience or moment, but we’ve been in bands since we were teens. In the beginning, we were just trying to be the new Red Hot Chili Peppers or Rage Against The Machine. Our guitar riffs never made it, so we had to come up with something else…
4. You two describe yourselves as sentimental at heart and optimistic by default, can you elaborate on what this means?
Describing ourselves as sentimental optimists is a way of highlighting two strong energies that reside in the both of us. We are really emotional, but we also have genuine hope for the world. Hope is having a hard time these days though, we know. Gotta insist on it sometimes, haha.Sentimental optimism is a term coined by our good friend and talented singer, Better Person, when he tried to define GENTS some years ago. Shout out to him! We’ve been trying to come up with a genre name based on it, like ‘sentimental optimistipop’ … maybe it will have a breakthrough one day…
5. One of the most common themes in your lyrics is love. Why is this the theme you chose to write about and how do you think it interacts with the soothing yet nostalgic and emotional nature of the spa pop music genre?
Actually, very few of our songs are about courtship and stuff like that. But luckily it’s not up to us to decide how people understand or interact with our music.We just wanna write music that resonates with people and our way of doing that is by admitting and owning up to our own emotions, insufficiencies, and things we don’t understand about ourselves, our friends/family, and the world in general. In doing so, we hope that other people will do the same and not feel too alone on this merciless and alien planet. That’s our way of expressing love.
6. How would you say spa pop differs from dream pop or bedroom pop?
Imagine what it’s like to be at a spa retreat. Now convert that experience into music. Massages, saunas, and essential oils are great for your body and mind, but at the same time, a spa is also a space, where you’re naked around others, which means that everyone is equal. Stripped down and with no chance to hide behind clothes or an attitude, you have no choice but to surrender to vulnerability and honesty. It is this juxtaposition between vulnerability, honesty, and doing something extremely enjoyable and healthy for yourself that’s the foundation of spa pop. Throw a catchy melody in the mix and there you have it! Being, to our knowledge, the only spa pop band in the world, we guarantee you that this is the only right answer to your question.
Don’t know anything about the other genres, but let us ask you this: Can you do a spa in a bedroom? Probably not. Do you dream about spas? Most likely.
7. How did the two of you first meet and what makes you such a good pair musically and artistically?
We started playing music together when we both lived in Berlin in 2013. It was mostly fooling around and without any particular aim. It felt like a parallel universe – like a bubble of innocence, where we’d just have fun with doing whatever as long as it included making music. We only knew each other. Having this shared origin story means that we connect on a deeper level. Also, Theis is virgo and Niels is pisces meaning that we are sister signs AKA a perfect match <3
8. How would you recommend upcoming artists find a way to break into the scene like GENTS did?
Patience is key. Respect other people – and most of all yourself. Don’t try to be anything you are not. Just do your thing, keep it real, and make friends instead of networking <3
9. Who are you two listening to right now?
Erika de Casier’s recent debut LP “Essentials” is amazing. So is “Powerhouse” by Planningtorock. Also really digging the stuff ML Buch is doing. You should also check out Menage a Trois and John Moods. Slick pop and heartfelt croon.
10. Do you have plans to collaborate with anyone soon?
Well, there’s a lot of stuff in the pipeline so you just gotta keep your eyes and ears open. We have always been keen on collaborating with other interesting artists, which we will continue to be.
11. Around when can we expect new music from GENTS?
New music from GENTS will always be released right on time, which is sooner rather than later. If you follow us on Facebook or Instagram, we’ll make sure to keep you updated. Soon. Very soon!
Interview by Jenny Lee.