Several seven inches, two great albums and many appreciated live performances in the Netherlands and beyond – Dutch band Space Siren seem to have closed a circle that started with the birth of Janneke (daughter of Corno and Ineke, the founders of Space Siren) and ended with the unfortunate funeral announcement. “Songs for a Dead Pilot”, their last brilliant piece, includes two songs that producer and guitarist Corno Zwetsloot was able to record with Gwendolin, Aico and Ineke, before the latter passed away on 27 November 2014. It sounds astonishingly evocative of the tragic event that was approaching. While we hope they will come back soon, we convey our condolences and express our sympathy to Space Siren.
Chain D.L.K.: Hi guys! I hope we don’t have to speak about Space Siren as a great musical experience that reached its end.
Space Siren: Hi! Live Space Siren on stage doesn’t exist anymore, but the music is still there to listen. Of course, there’s the double 7″ from January 2015, the music video, and two more are coming up. But after that…
Chain D.L.K.: I’m pretty sure that Corno left a void and a hole in your act. What are the best memories he left behind, both to you and your fans?
Space Siren: There are a lot of memories that are dear to me: on stage, in the van, on the boat. But also alone on the couch, talking about life. Yes, there’s a hole in our lives that we can’t fill.
Chain D.L.K.: I’d say Space Siren is one of the best acts on the overcrowded scene of indie bands. First of all, could you remind us how you got together and what you’re your first steps?
Space Siren: Thanks! Ineke, Aico and I (Gwendolien) all stepped one by one, but in different times, into Corno’s studio. We were in different bands and, at one point, if you wanted to record something, there was one place to be: the Next to Jaap Studio, in the middle of nowhere, between flower fields and greenhouses. After many years recording all sort of bands and musicians, one band stepped out of the studio: Space Siren.
Chain D.L.K.: How did the Dutch music scene influence your style, as well as the “ethos” or the mood which surrounded your art? Are there any other possible influences from other artistic fields?
Space Siren: Yes, there were bands who supported each other, people who were organizing nights, writing articles, making posters, websites and so on. But I don’t know if the scene influenced our style. Maybe it is the energy of the scene that helps us create more and more, and in this way indirectly influences us.
Chain D.L.K.: What’s the worst compliment and the best criticism you’ve ever received?
Space Siren: There are two moments I remember. Both of them were after a show, same guy came to me and had the same sort of message: how dare you make this music, and how dare you play it live in front of a crowd. I was a little bit overwhelmed, but when we, Space Siren, talked it over, we concluded it was a big compliment. We don’t play to entertain all people. We don’t play to be ignored, even if you don’t like it; our music brings up emotions, good and bad ones.
Chain D.L.K.: As not so many readers know your music (and, hopefully, they will give it a try after reading this interview), how would you define it?
Space Siren: There are some words that best define it: “Joyfully dark and tastes like tulips with Tabasco”, as well as “Layered guitars and a sweet succulent voice that pulls you in and spits you out – gently”. Are you curious yet :)?
Chain D.L.K.: How would you define your mind-set for the records you made?
Space Siren: For us, it’s impossible to listen to our own songs without remembering the time when we recorded them. Memories of that time influence the present.
Chain D.L.K.: Some songs have bizarre titles, which maybe came out of the sparkle of your creativity. For instance, have you received a call from Mr. Wagner, in the end?
Space Siren: Yes, we received, finally, that call from Mr. Wagner, after lots of voicemail messages begging him to call back. Sadly, he couldn’t fix the problems we had, but he inspired us for a title.
Chain D.L.K.: Influences are often unavoidable. For instance, some tracks are similar to the first Pixies ones, or to those of some less known indie bands from the past (for e.g., Molina’s Songs Ohia, Transmissionary Six). Their songs could come to listener’s mind. However, your music is quite original and I can confirm the stance of listeners saying that your music has something new. First of all, do you think that listing references is really useful?
Space Siren:People need references when they’re reading about new, unknown bands. But if references are also influences for musicians…
Chain D.L.K.: What’s the main mistakes of reviewers or columnists when speaking about music? Give them a piece of advice in order to let the listeners know about your music?
Space Siren: Well, that would be the influence part. Sometimes they think you’re being influenced by a band you never heard of :).
Chain D.L.K.: What’s the most common mistake made by music makers?
Space Siren: Let’s quote Corno, when interviewed by Richard Foster in 2014:” It also took me some time to find out that you’re not making an album for someone else. It’s a bit strange to think that way, but, in a way, you’re often releasing albums that people can enjoy without finding it [sic] strange. But it also took me some time to understand that you don’t make albums for somebody else, but for yourself. And that’s quite hard, because you make something and other people say “hmmm I don’t like it that much” and you start to think: “ooh, what did I do wrong?” At the same time, you don’t realize that “it’s not the person who I made this album for” [sic].
Chain D.L.K.: To paraphrase the title of another beautiful song, who makes you try?
Space Siren: At that moment, I had no idea who was making me try, but now things sorted out quite well.
Chain D.L.K.: Is Space Siren really dead? Is the band going to leave some seeds somewhere? If so, how?
Space Siren: There are already some things growing. Ineke and her team are running the studio, but also Katzwijm Records. Aico is one of the brewers from the Katzwijm Brewery. I still have AC Berkheimer, another band. And the three of us together;maybe we are the undercover cover band in your local venue?!
Chain D.L.K.: What was the most touching condolence you received for Corno?
Space Siren: There were many touching condolences from family, friends, bands, writers from Netherlands and abroad, in the form of words, notes, presents, but also covers of Space Siren songs. It helps, it keeps you standing.
Chain D.L.K.: What’s the most important lesson you were taught by Space Siren?
Space Siren: That its ok to walk away from the know track. Make a plan and go for it!
Visit Space Siren online at: www.spacesiren.nl