Chain D.L.K.: You met at Brendan Perry’s workshop [in Ireland], so I’m curious about itand about your feelings before and after it…. Can you talk about yourexpectations and how you decided to form your project?
Poets To Their Beloved: Saskia: It was not my first workshop with Brendan Perry. I’d gone there someyears before, so I knew what to expect. Still it’s a very magical experienceto play music in Quivvy Church together with people from all over the world.I was on my way to county Cavan when I was talking in the bus to an Irishguy about where I was heading. So I told him about the workshop and suddenlyI heard a voice asking: “Workshop??” It was Marcel; he was in the same busas me. He’d never gone to a workshop and was a bit lost (this is a feeling Iknow all too well; when I went to my first workshop I asked myself all thetime what I was doing: travelling to Ireland on my own, meeting up withBrendan Perry in the middle of nowhere!!). Anyway, I led Marcel to Belturbetand after our drum sessions we would sit together and play music. There wassuch a musical sparkle between us, we knew we had to do something with it. Iwent back to Holland and Marcel to Germany, but this could not stop us.Marcel wrote a song for me called “Love” and I wrote the lyrics and did thevocals. By then we knew our band was born and we had to work together!
Chain D.L.K.: Since you moved from Holland and from Germany to take part in thatworkshop in Ireland, I’m assuming you already had a musical background. Canyou tell something more about your past experiences?
Poets To Their Beloved: Saskia: I have always been more of an attic-artist. I played a lot of musicon my own — bought a guitar when I was 17 and wrote my own songs. I alsohave already experimented with different percussion instruments and Ilearned to play the didgeridoo and hammered dulcimer, but I always loved tosing most of all!
Marcel: I’ve been into music for a long time before, mainly as a guitaristand composer. I played in many bands with different styles and I alsostudied music to become a teacher, and that’s what I am now. I’ve recordedsome CDs, played hundreds of shows, did some studio jobs, but PTTB is one ofthe most important musical engagements ever. I love it!!!
Chain D.L.K.: Did you [both] work [long] distance? How did you manage the creation ofyour songs?
Poets To Their Beloved: Saskia: Because we live [far from] each other, we used the internet totransmit files. Most of the times Marcel sends me ideas — guitar structuresor whole songs — and then I come up with percussion and lyrics and anythingthat comes to my mind when I hear the song. But when you think of “EcstaticDance,” I started it with the drums and vocals, and Marcel came up with theguitar lines and other vocals later.
Chain D.L.K.: The first tracks of your debut album (“Embrace the Fool”, “Love”,”Ecstatic Dance” and “My Moments of Tranquility”) amazed me because of theirevocative power. Can you tell something more about what you wanted toachieve?
Poets To Their Beloved: Saskia: The strange thing is that I never thought about achieving something.They are songs from our world, from the heart. They tell you how we feel atcertain moments of our lives. They confront you with love, loss, hopes,dreams and despair. These songs are stories of our lives.
Marcel: When I write a song the only thing I want to achieve is to expressmy feelings at that moment. Most of the times I start with a guitar line asa base and this initial idea creates the whole structure. It’s like anorganism that comes to life.
Chain D.L.K.: On your tracks I can hear Celtic influences. What influenced you mostabout your “European” (if you’ll pardon the term, because even in thosetimes the concept of Europe wasn’t born) ancestors?
Poets To Their Beloved: Saskia: I was raised without a religion; I would not say atheist, but with afree will and mind to choose or not choose a religion or way of life. By nowI am very aware of my European ancestors and the knowledge they’d gatheredabout our mother earth and how to live in harmony with the living spiritsand nature. The woods bring me so much peace, and now in our very hectic andfast world, we seem to have forgotten about the spirits of the forests andthe animals, the circle of life and death. In our crowded cities withconcrete buildings we don’t see the splendour of the sun that rises, themoon that tells us about the ancient times, the folklore that has beenpassed on through the centuries; we’ve forgotten about our ancestors. Ibelieve that we’re being nourished by this planet, and when she dies, we diewith her. I don’t believe in a God in heaven. The spirit lives inside, andthat’s where the passion comes from. A woman complimented me a few monthsback. She’d seen our performance and she told me it was a heavenlyexperience to her. To me it was as earthly as it could be.
Marcel: These words are so wise, I cannot add anything!
Chain D.L.K.: How do you manage the fact that many people will compare Poets To TheirBeloved to Dead Can Dance only because you studied for a few days withBrendan Perry?
Poets To Their Beloved: Saskia: We thought about it before, if we should ever mention about ourmeeting at the BP workshop. But it’s DCD’s music that has brought ustogether, so we should name it and I am sure we’re influenced by it, aswe’ve been playing their music a lot! Our ears have been filled with theirmusic, but of course also a lot of other influences have crossed our minds.Music is very important to us. Our songs reflect who we are and they mirrorwho we’ve met and what music and sounds we’ve heard. We’re all influenced –even when we’re born, we’re drawn to the sounds we heard whilst being in thewomb. Our songs are the products of our travels and impressions of thislife.
Marcel: Of course, they have influenced us. But our songs have a differentcomposition. The main melodies and harmonies come from the guitars. Thisleads to a different sound. What may appear similar are the percussions andthat we combine female and male vocals.
Chain D.L.K.: What’s the concept behind “Embrace the Fool”?
Poets To Their Beloved: Saskia: Life in general. All our songs are based on personal experiences,loss of loves and death, or a mirroring of our thoughts about our lives onthis planet and in this society. It’s no coincidence that we’ve called ouralbum Embrace the Fool. Most wonderful things have been achieved by thosewho could not blend with society. Its mostly the scapegoats and the free ofmind that bring change in our society. It’s very difficult for me todescribe my own music. I sing what I feel and what I like, and that mood canchange by the day. I think a great part of melancholy can be foundthroughout the album, but there’s always a spark of light, a little candlethat remains lit. There’s always hope. Some listeners have told me that ourmusic touches the soul. I would be very happy if our music could do that.
Chain D.L.K.: Which fool’s iconography did you take? The one of the jester from thetarot cards, or the modern concept which is much more depressing because ofthe different social meaning?
Poets To Their Beloved: Saskia: This is a question for Marcel!;)
Marcel: When I wrote the lyrics for “Embrace” I asked my girlfriend if Icould use the image of the Fool for what I wanted to deliver. We took a lookat the tarot cards and came to the conclusion that this image would fit. Ialso wanted to incorporate our common idea of a fool. Due to that it issomeone who does not listen to common rules, who does not care for whatothers say, who seemingly does stupid things! But it might be this fool whoperceives the transcendental power because he explores territories that mostof the people laughing at him fear.
Chain D.L.K.: You have tracks titled “The Disillusioned Nihilist”, “Ode to Melancholy”and “Your Eyes So Strange to Me”. What made you sing about such relationshipdifficulties?
Poets To Their Beloved: Saskia: Ah, love and difficulties… Need I say more??
Marcel:/ No :=)
Chain D.L.K.: Are you preparing gigs? If so, do you think you’ll go for somethingintimate?
Poets To Their Beloved: Saskia: I love small venues. Our music is very fragile. By now our concertsare scarce, as one part of the band lives in Germany and the other inHolland, and next to this we also have fulltime jobs. But no worries, we’llmanage!!
Chain D.L.K.: What’s next for Poets To Their Beloved?
Poets To Their Beloved: Saskia: We are already writing new songs and have loads of ideas, but by nowI am still in a rush of happiness after the release of our firstborn. I amjust enjoying the ride right now!
Marcel: It is the same with me!
Chain D.L.K.: There’s something I neglected to ask which you’d like to tell?
Poets To Their Beloved: Saskia: Thank you for this inspiring interview and your enthusiasm! I couldnever have imagined that our music would reach so many people. It’s great toshare our thoughts with you! Be good!
Marcel: Thank you for your support!
Visit Poets To Their Beloved on the web at:
[interviewed by Maurizio Pustianaz] [proofreading by Benjamin Pike]