Jean-Christophe : Hi Chris, could you tell us more about you to present you to the french public?
Chris : Hello, I am Chris van der Linden. I’m a musician from the Netherlands. I have released a lot of music, some through indie labels and independently. I am a really creative person and often do artwork and promotional stuff next to the music.
Jean-Christophe : I Thought that basically you were a guitar player, but somewhere I have readen that you where an ex drummer ? In Man In The Machine there’s more keyboards, synthesisers, sound machines and percussion than guitars, so are you a multi instrumentalist ?
Chris : I do a little bit of everything. I played drums for 15 years, but after a while I wanted write and sing my own music. As a drummer in a band usually you don’t have much influence on the songwriting process. I started Fourteen Twentysix in 2006 as a solo project. I just bought some recording equipment, a second hand guitar and a keyboard and started making my own music. I put a few songs on Myspace and people liked it so I decided to continue and get better.
Jean-Christophe : How could you describe your music ? Krautrock, world music, classical references ? Somewhere between Tangerine Dream and Passion from Peter Gabriel ?
Chris : Well BOW is really not about a “genre”. My goal with BOW is to make cinematic music and tell a conceptual story. The debut album Man In The Machine is futuristic, dark and a little bit industrial. The second album UMRI that I am working on now is completely different, its more world music. For me this is no problem but I can imagine some people will find this difficult. Normally you “like” a band for its specific style or genre, and with BOW this changes all the time haha.
Jean-Christophe : And then what are your major inspirations in music ?
Chris : Well I like a lot of different music styles ranging from metal, electronic/ambient to pop and classical. Some days I listen to Katatonia, other days Autechre or Depeche Mode. I could not name any specific artist that is my main inspiration really.
Jean-Christophe : Could you tell us what were your five favorite albums in 2012 ?
Chris : Difficult question, I am so busy that I don’t check out new music so often as I would like. A few things
I liked from 2012 are Katatonia’s Dead End Kings, but more in terms of sound design than the quality of the songs. I listened to Vespertine from Bjork again, her voice is great and the album has some interesting sounds that are an inspiration. The new Anathema album Weather Systems was pretty good, although not all of the songs were great I think, some felt a bit mediocre. I like the way this band has grown and changed, I like that in artists, shows courage.
Jean-Christophe : Man In The Machine is a very instrumental album with some off voices, you’re telling us a story, a concept album, a human quest, where a machine become a man, could you explain the story ?
Chris : The story is about a man and a machine who both question the purpose of “life”. Man may never know why he is born, while a machine has a clear purpose. It was built for something. However man has emotions and feelings, which the machine does not have. The story explores this conflict, which also looks at modern society, where technology has made people more like machines. People really liked the spoken word elements, it was quite hard to make so I was happy to see it turned out well.
Jean-Christophe : What’s the reason of this album. You have written a very confidential music, I’ll never have the chance to hear yours tracks on a french radio for example...
Chris : I like experimental music and dark atmosphere’s, so quickly the music I make is not suitable for a large audience. It’s certainly not something that will get national radio airplay. The reason I like making this kind of music is that I have a lot of creative freedom. I can do things that you can’t if you want the song to go on popular radio stations. Also I like working directly with fans and other musicians, so making Man In The Machine (funded by fan donations) was a great experience for me. That is a big part of enjoying what I do.
Jean-Christophe : You’ve dedicated the album to your son Pim, died in 2012, so sorry for you, it’s a terrible thing to loose a child.
Was the music a way for you to get through your pain ?
Chris : Music can definately help people go through difficult times. Some songs we will always remember from a particular moment. A breakup, a holiday, a death. With Man In The Machine a big part of the album was already finished before Pim died, but when I was finishing the album we were in and out of the hospital a lot. So during the day I would be in the hospital and then during the evenings I sat behind my iMac to do the artwork for the CD. I spend a lot of time thinking about everything and it seemed like a good thing to do, credit Pim as a way to remember. He is an important part of my life, just as music so this way it is combined forever.
Jean-Christophe : How have you worked for this album ?
Was it a long way home conception or jailed in a studio for days and night ?
How guest musicians worked with you, by Internet, joining you at home ?
Chris : The process has been step-by-step. I start by writing the concept, ideas down in a Google Document. Before touching any instrument I think about the budget I need to do things, what I will need a long the way, I make a planning with milestones and put them in my calendar. This way I can see the “total picture” from the start. Ofcourse some things shape up gradually, but its good to know at least that in February I should be ready for pressing the CD. Then I know how much time before that date I need the artwork finished etc. Its like setting the end date and then work back to figure out what I need to have done each month.
Some parts of the music and spoken word have been a real puzzle and work of experiment. For example the harp and violin have been done through complete random improvisations. I recorded these on location. I just recorded an hour worth of Sarah Nichols (Harpist) playing and then in the studio worked it into the album.
The spoken word I had never done before. In the beginning I had my own voice on the songs, just as a placeholder. I knew I had to replace these temporary speeches at some point with a real good voice. Really last minute I was able to have Keith Wallace do the spoken word parts. The album was going to be mixed and mastered one week later so I had to use the recordings of Keith no matter what. Luckily his voice acting was awesome so it turned out great.
Jean-Christophe : You also play in Fourteen Twenty Six, an other band started in 2006 as a solo projet. You prepare a second Bow album for 2013, UMRI. So what are your projects for 2013, live shows, new albums ?
Chris : My current plans for 2013 include the creating and release of UMRI. You can read more about that on www.bow-music.com This will take up my entire year for sure, its a massive (but cool) project. With Fourteen Twentysix things are currently on a slow point, we did some support shows for Antimatter and Alternative4 (ex-Anathema member Duncan Patterson) but currently have no shows planned. We are still enjoying the release and reactions on In Halflight Our Soul Glows, which we released in 2012. It’s a great album that people really like a lot.
Lasttly, I have a one other new project in the works with an ex-member of a very famous metal band. But I can’t talk about that yet, you will have to wait and see, but it could be really awesome stuff. I can’t wait to announce it really, but I have to be patient haha.
Jean-Christophe : Thank's a lot Chris !
Rédigé par Jean-Christophe le 13/01/2013