Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Interview with Bert Vanden Berghe

KS: You have been very profilic with 2 released albums Winter EP and insert coins to continue this year. When will be the next album coming out by Bert Vanden Berghe?

BVB: Well, in fact there have been released two new albums in june.
Both Passive Cable Theory albums, so not quite as accessible as brunk (that’s really an understatement). It’s loud noise and deconstructed sounds. One is called ‘non selective deposit feeder’ and can be downloaded for free at
The other one, ‘I’m so impressed by your pop culture reference’ was released on the bleak netlabel and can be downloaded at
In july, a remix a made (as ‘brunk’) from a track of belgian trip-hop band Koala, was released via iTunes. It was my first iTunes release. I’m really curious for reactions on that one.
There will probably be some other stuff too, later this year: maybe some other brunk release, and/or maybe a release of Karen Eliot (that’s an experimental improv project I’m involved with)…
Whenever there’s some news I’ll announce it on my blog .
So you see, I’m kind of busy.

KS: You have used a lot of aliases to express yourself as the artist. By drawing the borders between your acts in that way, is it actually the easiest and most distinct method for you to keep yourself drifting between different genres?

BVB: Yes, that’s something I do make it easier for me to explain’ what I do.
Last few years I tried to make a more clear distinction between the directions of the different projects I have. Before, I did pretty much everything I liked to do or I wanted to experiment with as ‘brunk’, but that way ‘brunk’ was very difficult to explain to people: sometimes I recorded quiet and accessible stuff, sometimes it was loud and weird, sometimes it was very experimental – and that way it was harder to listen to as a whole too: too much fragmentation in styles and directions. So I started to focus more on a certain direction on each album, and somehow a more clear distinction in styles between the different projects. These days I try to do the quiet stuff with brunk, and the very noisy things with Passive Cable Theory, for instance.

KS: I have always marveled about your ability to exploit skillfully natural and electronic sounds. Are you a self-taught musician or have you some academic musical background behind you in the past?

BVB: I had studied classical guitar and music for some years when I was younger. So that gave me some technical background. But on the other hand, I mostly don’t approach things on a technical level, but one a very intuitive way. More feeling than mathematics. I do like to learn new things on the guitar though, sometimes I just learn how to play a certain song, or some new chords or techniques on the guitar, and then without really thinking of it, some things I learned sneak into some music I make – mostly in a totally different musical context, or not in a way they’re intended to be used. But I guess, that’s the way it goes with most musicians, learn a language and then write your own story with the words you’ve learned…

KS: You have used such a expression as “Brunkville”. Let`s explain it up more closely.

BVB: That’s just a funny visual way of seeing all the different musical projects I have – it’s a big imaginary town or city with all kinds of different corners, streets, buildings, atmospheres, people, stories… but they’re all part of the same city they live in. Like all this different music, all aspects and parts of who I am.

KS: Yes, let`s keep talking about brunk. It has to be said, though, in comparison with your other acts the soundscape of brunk has more affinity toward melodic and natural-sounding textures. Is it the result of using analog tehnique in the creative process too?

BVB: I think it doesn’t necessary has anything to do with technique, more an approach of keeping things honest and spontaneously. I mean, in the making of brunk music, a computer and software are involved, so that’s not really analogue, but I approach all that equipment in the same way I would approach a simple 4-track recorder. And of course there are more acoustic instruments (guitar), melody and soft melancholic lo-fi sounds involved in this music – that gives a more analogue vibe than the heavily processed sounds I often use in Passive Cable Theory or Karen Eliot.

KS: In the embodiment of brunk you have been active in dealing with experimental indie and dream pop tunes being thereby sonorously and methodically related to your contemporaries such as De Portables, or Barbagallo as well. Actually, how important is it for you those invisible connection with other similar acts?

BVB: That’s funny, it’s cool that you actually know De Portables: they’re from Belgium to, even from the same town I live in (Ghent). I like their music a lot! Barbagallo on the other hand I’m not familiar with… I’ll check them out.
To answer the question: to me, that connection is not something I’really aware of very consciously – but the music I like, obviously gets reflected in the music I create myself. A simple case of influences. And obviously, I like lots of very different things, really enjoy all those different styles.

KS: Actually, how often do you think about how would your music facade be seen from outside? What other people mean about your music?

BVB: Hmm, I only listen to the opinion on my music of people who are really close to me, like my girlfriend, my brother or some friends. Besides that, I try not to be concerned too much about other peoples perceptions.

KS: Nowadays, for all of those music which refer somehow to experimental rock, it is supposed to draw paralleels with krautrock. Indeed, what are your main influences in music?

BVB: I’m not really familiar with much krautrock. I have lots of influences, and they also evolve. I like all kinds of music from Neil Young to Merzbow, from classic to rock to fusion, from minimalism or ambient and drones to even some prog rock, etc etc… In all kinds of musical styles, you can find people who do something truly personal and creative. That’s what matters to me…

KS: Your improvising side is more perceptible in doings of invertebrata. What is the improvisation by your case? Is it deliberately manipulated process or is it just a row of sounds happened and following each other occasionally?

BVB: Some of both. I like to play with things that happen accidentally, even with mistakes, and create something emotional or musical with that. Some things just come out better this way than in a rational way.
But on the other hand I deliberately create some notes, chords, noises, progressions, layers, to achieve a certain sound, effect or atmosphere. Because that’s what really makes it my own personal thing of course.

KS: By concerning more circumstantial on the music of invertebrata or brunk, we can admit you have been a peculiar maverick in music. Are there any connections related with your convictions about freedom of expression?

BVB: Well, I can easily answer this one: it really is related with my convictions about freedom of expression. Staying true to myself and not caring about restrictions like sticking to one style or directions. It’s all about creativity, personal expression… and also having fun, of course.

brunk official site
brunk on Myspace
invertebrata on Myspace
Passive Cable Theory on Myspace
Karen Eliot on Myspace
fi_ber on Myspace
The Returns on Myspace
SkullyS LandinG on Myspace