Archive | start from scratch!

18 October 2010 ~ 16 Comments

New Album Stream ep. 10: The New Jew

The first review of our album describes this song as “the strongest song on the album”. Please decide for yourself. You could consider this another new “old” song. An acoustic version appeared on our “Pull the Plug” EP and we recorded a demo of this song during the recordings of the Kid Dynamite tribute cover. Because of an out of tune guitar that was never released  though …

And what a coicindence, this song could not have been planned better. It was originally written as a critique of Dutch right wing politics instigated by Geert Wilders and Rita Verdonk. Thank god we got rid of Rita Verdonk, but guess who will play a crucial role in last week’s installed government?

Our pen pal this week is our studio engineer Nico van Montfort. He also recorded our previous releases “Testimony” and “Pull the Plug” and has worked with almost all Dutch punk and hardcore bands. Prepare yourself for a very detailed documentation of how we recorded the album you have been listening to in the last weeks. *Nerd/engineer/musician alert!*

Please read on, enjoy the song and feel free to share it with your friends.

Skip to: Special Guest / Lyrics / Liner Notes

Nico van Montfort says

I chose to talk about The New Jew for a few reasons. First off it’s the first song we recorded during the session for this record, second it’s the only song featuring Riekus’ vintage Olympic snare drum (the quality turned out to be a bit too vintage to last through a whole song of hard pounding, let alone a whole record) and last but not least, a lot of little tricks and funny things we did during mixing are used in this song.

Since we had recorded The New Jew before for the “Pull the Plug EP” and together with the Kid Dynamite tribute song, this definitely was a song everyone was comfortable with to start. After a good morning of setting up, tuning, trying different drum heads, more tuning, placing mics, making a hi-hat muffler (yes, we had too much hi-hat in the overheads and room mics) and trying different mics this was the first song to actually get on “tape” (interesting note may be that the drums and bass for “Testimony” were recorded on 16 track tape). This time we’re recording in the Er0ck studio in Panningen and Reaper is our tape machine. Riekus is playing to a click and Willem is guiding him on guitar in the live room. It doesn’t take too long to get a decent take of drums, except for the snare drum falling apart after or during each take. First the idea was to keep one tempo throughout the song but we noticed that the bridge sounded too rushed when played in the same tempo as the rest of the song so we decided to slow it down 5 BPM in the bridge.

For the gear nerd, here’s what we used on drums (drums are Peace Paragon custom maple 24×18, 13×8, 16×16, 18×16 Tama Rockstar and Olympic 14×5 snare from 1962, Mapex black panther 14×5,5 on all other songs, Evans coated G2 on all toms, Remo coated powerstroke 3 on kick batter, coated emperor on resonant, snare is Remo controlled sound coated)

Here’s the drums channel listing

  1. kick inside – 901
  2. kick outside – 902
  3. snare top – SM57
  4. snare bottom – 906
  5. HH – SM7
  6. tom – 904
  7. floor 1 – d112
  8. floor 2 – d112
  9. ride bottom – 905
  10. OH HH side – AE3000
  11. OH R side – AE3000
  12. Room HH side – NT1 (run through distressor on the way in)
  13. Room R side – NT1 (run through distressor on the way in)
  14. Room center back – AE2500 (condenser side)

After drums it was Toms turn to make his debut on bass. He just recently bough his own bass, a customized Japanese Fender Jazz bass with US electronics and a US made neck (which is thick as hell!). Tom hadn’t been playing bass for too long when Antillectual recorded this record and he didn’t own his own bass amp yet. He had been borrowing Yvo’s Ampeg V4 and 8×10 but didn’t really make friends with either of them yet so he had been playing bass on the clean channel of his Marshall JCM800 2210 guitar head most of the time, with a SansAmp in front to tighten it up a little and add a little character. I brought my Aguilar 8×10 to the studio so Tom didn’t bother bringing the Ampeg. He accepted my opinion that it sounds much better than any Ampeg I’ve ever heard (and probably wouldn’t dare to say so if he thought differently about it) We checked out some sounds with the JCM800 and the Aguilar and were pretty excited. Then we set up my early 70’s Marquis superbass head (it was actually born as a 2203 replica but I had it modded to Bassman specs, so it’s actually a 100 watt bassman with an EL34 poweramp) We immediately agreed this sounded more like an awesome bass tone than the 800 did. So, finally, off we went! Tom’s debut on bass was a pretty rough one. I had to get angry at him more than once to make him hit his strings hard enough. It paid off though: the bass ended up sounding rock solid. We tracked the bass using 2 channels: one DI track (SansAmp) and one mic track (d112), both run through distressors on the way in.

Some people might know that my favorite part of recording is checking out guitar sounds. That’s something Antillectual (or at least Willem) enjoys as much as I do so we brought quite an arsenal of amps in. Here we go:
Willem’s H&K triamp, Willem’s bassman 70, my ‘77 Marshall JMP 2203, Tom’s ’88 Marshall JCM800 2210, Hunk’s ’87 Marshall JCM800 2203 (modded), Gijs’ Mesa Boogie 3 channel dual rectifier, Casper’s Soldano SLO100 and as if that wasn’t enough to choose from we also brought some cabs: Willem’s Greenback 4×12 Marshall, my Greenback 4×12 Marshall, Hunk’s Blackback (pre Greenback) 4×12 Marshall, Tom’s V30 4×12 Marshall and Erik’s T75 4×12 Marshall.
We ended up using Willem or my (I actually can’t remember) Greenback cab for all the “non modern” (JCM800 / JMP / bassman) sounds and Toms v30 cab for the Mesa / Soldano sounds. Throughout the whole album we chose to use my Gibson Les Paul Standard DC on the left side and Willem’s Gibson SG Standard on the right side (apart from a few parts where we used my London city telecaster and Willems Sammick for nice single coil cleans) But that all doesn’t apply to this song anyway. For The New Jew here’s what you hear:
-left side: Les Paul + JCM800 2210 + Greenback
-right side: SG + JMP 2203 + Greenback
-choruses are an additional SG + TS9 + delay + bassman + greenback in the center of the mix
-bridge is SG + bassman + greenback

For each guitar track we were using 4 channels: 1 clean DI track (just in case), 1 channel dynamic of the AE2500, one channel condenser of the AE2500 and one room mic channel AE3000.
For The New Jew we ended up adding 2 tracks of acoustic guitars to the choruses too, to add some strum and “largeness” to the mix, backed up by a beatring. All together the track count was 84 channels for this record.

We took shifts with recording vocals. During daytime we tracked guitars and started tracking vocals after dinner, finishing 2 or 3 songs each day. Willem had a pretty long warming up routine, which included making pigeon sounds! This is the third time I recorded Antillectual and every time Willems’ singing has improved a lot compared to the time before.
We recorded all vocals through a Shure SM7, a TLAudio PA-1 preamp and a distressor.

Well, more fun stuff: mixing! A lot of cool stuff is going on in the mix of The New Jew, especially with the drums. The main thing is a lot of automation of the levels of the clean, close miced drums, parallel compressed close mics, overhead mics and last but not least the room mics. When you look at he automation lanes it looks like a work of art by itself, without even listening to it.

the new jew automation

For some good examples listen to the pre-verse, the bridge and the outro. The pre-verse is mainly room mic, the bridge is mainly parallel compressed drums and overheads, with plenty of room mic, and the outro is all room mic.

Another fun trick we used in the mix was running all guitars and vocals through one bus and adding some slight compression on that bus. The guitars duck a little when the vocals come in to give the vocals a little bit of extra power when they come in.

The mastering itself is also an interesting thing. As you might have noticed the record isn’t overly bright or extremely loud. We decided to go for a punchy, warm and round sounding record which asks for a little more headroom to keep the low end clean. Also we did quite a lot of automation to keep the whole album dynamic and exciting. Take a listen to the intro of The New Jew and see how large the impact is when the whole band joins in.

Lyrics

Forget about the fascists
Forget about the communists
We are in need of a new enemy
Thank god we found one, the new jew

Without “you” we don’t know who “we” are

We need a new enemy
To consolidate those divided
Create cohesion, one national family

We are fighting wars of fear
Terrorized by intimidation

Panic and fear spreading insecurity

Their uproar against us
A natural reaction
Could you swear to react different
Under the same circumstances?

Criminalized as threat
Generalized and forced to deviate
From our biases
Biased till proven otherwise

Liner Notes

The Netherlands used to be seen as a tolerant country. Some people and ideas that were unwelcome elsewhere found their home here. But lately things are changing. There is a tendency to put overboard our ideals of tolerance and even put them off as being politically correct or outdated. In stead current political hypes are inspired by nationalism, xenophobia and general intolerance towards anything that is not described as “Dutch”. There are mainly two politicians representing this tendency: Rita Verdonk and Geert Wilders. Both originated from a center right wing party (the VVD) manifesting more and more extreme populist ideas. What is happening in the Netherlands at this moment can in no way be compared to what happened in Nazi Germany in the thirties and forties. But the atrocities springing from that period could never have happened without the trends and conditions we’re facing again today. So be aware, be very aware.

For the gear-nerds who aren’t satisfied yet, remember we still have some videos from the studio

I don’t know on what step of the nerd ladder you are if you read EVERYTHING above, but we promise you to keep it understandable for normal people next week. Our friends from No Reason Records will give their insights on us, the scene and the music industry.

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11 October 2010 ~ 4 Comments

New Album Stream ep. 9: Our Hearts

As if we planned it: in the week that we stream “Kraken Gaat Door!” the anti-squatting law is installed. In the week we stream “Some of My Best Friends Are Meat Eaters” it turns out to be world vegetarian day. Last week we streamed “Chinese Takeover” and Liu Xiaobo (a Chinese political prisoner) wins the Nobel Peace Prize. A decision heavily criticized by Chinese authorities. The Nobel Prize committee responded: “[It is] a message to the world, that while we appreciate very much that China is becoming an economical and political power, with power comes responsibility, and you have to be prepared for and accept criticism and debate.” Sounds familiar …

So what to expect this week? Our stream is a song written (music & words) by our former bass player Yvo, sung by our current bass player Tom. So a good week for lovers of Yvo, Smash the Statues, D-beat-alike music and personal resistance.

Please read on, enjoy the song and feel free to share it with your friends.

Skip to: Special Guest / Lyrics / Liner Notes

Yvo says

Ten years ago Willem and I decided to play some music together. We started the band like  billion other bands start; friends who share the same passion for music and want to make their own music. That decision was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made in my life …

It’s quite hard to explain how I’ve experienced the time in Antillectual. Ten years is a long time and there have been so many beautiful moments. Probably the best thing was that I’ve always had the feeling I could express my thoughts and generate my ideas in the band. Punk has always been a form of resistance to me. Through punk and hardcore I was introduced to radical theories, direct action and DIY ethics. People talked and sang about subjects I could relate to. I saw how average kids like me toke control of their own lives and created autonomous places. I’ve seen endless info-stands at shows, the vegan catering and the DIY zines. I felt comfortable being part of that resistance. I also felt a sense of responsibility. It’s a DIY movement which basically means that everybody is responsible. Nobody is a passive bystander. It means you can book your own show, start your own band and create your own scene. If there’s something you don’t like or you like to see otherwise; do it yourself. This is what the song is about.

Responsibility is something we’ve always felt in the band. Being respectful towards promoters who work their asses of to do a show for our band. Thankful for everyone who’s cooking great vegan meals, and kids who open up their houses to let you stay in their homes. This might sound normal to everyone who reads this. But when I explained to my uncle how the DIY network basically is built upon trust and good faith, he couldn’t believe what he heard.
“So you don’t work with contracts?” No.
“You just trust those people in Italy on their word that they’ll take care of you?” Yes.
“You fly to the other side of the world to go on tour with people you’ve never even met?” Yes.
“You’re nuts.” No.

So those DIY ethics are not so normal in the outside world. In that sense the punk movement is making changes. Antillectual contributes to those changes. Or at least I hope so …

So after ten years, I left the band. Leaving the band was one of those terrible decisions I had to make. The decision was made easier because I had the full support of Willem and Riekus. I’ve always had the feeling they supported me in whatever decision I would make. I thank them for that. I’m really glad Antillectual continues with Tom. This new album sounds amazing and blows me away. Good jobs guys! Keep doing what you’re doing!

Lyrics

We are the poets who scream
Stumble and swear
We are the artists who paint
With black and grey

We shut the fuck up
And let our actions speak
We cheat on life
With five finger discount

This is a personal fight, this fight is personal

We embrace the night with adventure in our eyes
With fire in our hearts
Every silence that we break, every life that we reclaim

We search for the beaches
Beneath the pavement*
We look for the forests
Behind the skyscrapers

Liner Notes

Yvo (our former bass player) wrote this song when he was still in the band. He didn’t mind us playing and even recording the song for this new album. His words:
This is a personal fight. This is a personal song. Not one specific subject to find here, except for my personal interpretation of what I would call: resistance. My resistance against machines destroying what I love. My resistance against the people responsible for those machines.
Resistance doesn’t necessarily mean confrontation, barricades, molotovs and such and so on. Resistance is also the personal decisions I make in everyday life. It means to me creating a world that I find comfortable and worth living for. And this song is about those alternatives: the songs we love to hear, the poems we’re moved by, the paintings that express everything we can’t say in words, the food without chemicals… revolution of everyday life!

* “Beneath the paving stones, the beach!” – popular slogan by the French Situationists in 1968. Original: “Sous les pavés, la plage”

Follow Yvo and his current activities at the Typewriter distro (books!) website and the Eetcafe de Mallemoere (food!) website.
You know those road signs with angry -> smiley faces at the side of road constructions? You can start smiling a little. We are 9 down, 3 to go. Next week a new old song, yet still more up to date than ever. With a lengthy (nerdy?) comment from our producer Nico.

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04 October 2010 ~ 4 Comments

New Album Stream ep. 8: Chinese Takeover

Remember that ‘new’ Guns n’ Roses album? Not so happy how it turned out? Neither were we, and we somehow managed to link our discontent to the uprise of the economies in the Orient. Seriously though, this song is about the effects of the ever growing economies on that side of the world on the western world. To put it in Johan Cruijff’s words: “to every advantage, there is a disadvantage” (or something … ).

Our guest is Lenneke Knape. She works with bands like NOFX and Blink 182, runs Rockit Promotions, used to host “Witlof” on KinkFM and was kind enough to share some of her experience with us while we were planning the release of our album. Our appearance at the Groezrock festival earlier this year for example was largely thanks to her efforts.

Please read on, enjoy the song and feel free to share it with your friends.

Skip to: Special Guest / Lyrics / Liner Notes

Lenneke Knape says

When Antillectual approached me some time back to ask if I could help them bringing their plans to the next level I was thrilled. They’ve been around for such a long time that, if you are the least interested in punk rock music you must have been living in a cave if you haven’t heard about them yet. Obviously they are one of the most hard working bands in the scene around here. For me they are also the most political minded band I’ve ever worked with. However, don’t expect any clever lines on politics from me, I grew up on bands like Fear, Social Distortion, NOFX, Blink182 and the first band I worked with were the Vandals.

Nevertheless I have deep respect for their devotion and passion for the subject. I’d like to take advantage of this opportunity to write something to go with the release of their track “Chinese Takeover” to reach out to all of you working in the industry and all of you loving and living music, to help these guys to get their name out there, to get them booked on every stage in the entire world. They will seriously rock their hearts out.

My wish for them is that all of you will find out what I found out, which is that Antillectual is not only a very good band who produce awesome albums, care about the world, and are the sweetest guys around, mainly they are an asset to punk rock music these days and I want everybody to be aware of that.

Lyrics

Take a look at our economy
Take a look at our politics
Take a look at our morality
What a chance to progress

A Western world at sixes and sevens
Now is the time
To push over what is staggering
And welcome the new paradigm

Crisis

Opportunities for others
The orient knocking on our door
Claiming what is theirs
And a final closure of colonization

But to every advantage
There is a disadvantage
Together with their takeaway
We import and accept their standards

Chinese democracy doesn’t sound that good to me

Liner Notes

The balances in the world are shifting. The powers that were are no longer the powers that will be. In Asia there are countries whose economies are growing even faster than their population. And with their economies, their political power is increasing enormously as well. Hopefully the new balance will be a more equal balance than before, bringing wealth and freedom to regions that have been colonized and oppressed in the past.

Too much power for one country or one particular group of countries is never healthy. If the balance flips over to the other side we have to be on our toes. Because Chinese democracy is not only a terrible record. Our moral standards are not the same as other societies’ standards. We should be on the lookout for not only the economic takeover that so many people fear, but also for a moral takeover: disrespect for human and animal life and environmental abuse.
On the other hand: there is so much more we can learn and take over from the east than just their takeaway. It also is an opportunity for us to grow.

That’s it for this week’s song. We’ll be back next week with a track that was written by good old Yvo, D-beat lovers beware!

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27 September 2010 ~ 5 Comments

New Album Stream ep. 7: Some Of My Best Friends Are Meat Eaters

“That song with that AC/DC riff …” is the reference most used by others to describe this song. I consider that a big compliment. But this song has more, I hope. Even though it is a seemingly endless discussion, through this song we try to give the definite conclusion on eating meat and/or dairy products. Not. But maybe Marnix (CEO of the influential Dutch punk portal Punx.nl) can stir your mind.
Please read on, enjoy the song and feel free to share it with your friends.

Skip to: Special Guest / Lyrics / Liner Notes

Marnix says

Even though I have quite a lot of friends who uphold the vegan or vegetarian lifestyle, I’ve always been a real omnivore. That doesn’t mean I don’t eat vegetarian or vegan food, but hardly ever out of my own considerations. When I was on tour with Antillectual – Belgium, France, Spain and Portugal with the mighty Pieter Petit – I didn’t eat any meat for two weeks or so without giving it any thought whatsoever. After the tour I decided to stop eating meat during weekdays and try and eat less meat in the weekends.

Typical for the new Antillectual songs is that they’re a lot more catchy than the old ones. ‘Some of My Best Friends Are Meat Eaters’ was one of those new songs that immediately kinda stuck in my head. The song is, at least as I see it, about (meat) consumption and not pretending you’re a better person because you don’t eat meat even though it’s a respectable decision. It has always been typical for the lyrical content to have a certain message and this song has at least reached one person to take a more positive stance in life.

Lyrics

“It’s dead already”
“As if you make a difference”
“You don’t know what you’re missing”
“It’s in our nature”

Inconsistency galore
Bullfights nay, slaughtering OK?
Double standards the norm
Fur pelts nay, leather jackets OK?

Let’s get this done
Take the next step, emancipate
Beware of sliding scales and slippery slopes
Pamela Anderson, Weird Al Yankovic, Hitler and Meatloaf can’t be wrong
Join the club, enter our sky box

Moral crusaders
Shout down to the plebs
A call to morality, the always effective
“It’s in your own best interest”

Somewhere halfway it’s me
Climbing the slope
Together with the rest of us
So far to go

Join the club

Liner Notes

This is an ode to a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle. This is not about vegetarians being “better” than meat eaters or vegans being better than vegetarians. This is not meant to be another brick on the endless wall that some people build up in the annoying discussion between the pros and cons of using animal products. Making the choice to become vegetarian/vegan should be a personal choice, made by someone himself, coming from one’s own insights. But if someone makes that choice I think that is praiseworthy. A conscious choice to increase the quality of animals’ lives is a good choice. So are vegetarians/vegans better people than meat-eaters? Nope, but I do think they made a better choice in their lives.

Apologies to all feminists, Germans and to people with a sense of humor and musical taste for referring to Pamela Anderson, Weird Al Yankovic, Hitler and Meatloaf. All for better lives of animals. In our quest to insult as many people as possible: Chinese people are up next week.

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20 September 2010 ~ 9 Comments

New Album Stream ep. 6: “Kraken Gaat Door!”

This time no punkrock celeb doing guest vocals, but the counterpart to last week’s song about cultural upgrading. I guess you could call this our most “sing-along-able” song. Even though sing-alongness isn’t necessarily a recommendation for a song. But when fighting the Dutch anti-squatting law, you need to sing and stand together.
Etjen from Just Like Your Mom Toursupport
provides the verbal contribution. Back in 2006, this long time friend decided we needed a van, so he bought one to help us out. That was the small start of his now successful initiative. Despite the growth he still helps us out behind the scenes A LOT and provides cheap yet good vans, backlines and so much more for bands. Newest development at “Mom”: vegan catering at festivals!
Please read on, enjoy the song and feel free to share it with your friends.

Skip to: Special Guest / Lyrics / Liner Notes

Etjen says

According to me squatting is the most used, most effective and direct form of non violent direct action around the world. Across our green and blue globe 1 in 10 people are squatting to make sure they have a safe place to life, to have shelter. That said it’s more than obvious that the ‘new’ law the Dutch government is introducing is nessecary if you approve of making a profit over the backs of people and peoples basic needs, but nevertheless it is a ridiculous and even plain stupid law. And yes, I know that you can’t compare landsquatters in South America with squatting as ‘we’ know it in the western world. But fuck that, the basis is the same. I could go on about counterculture, and the needs of free creative spaces. History proves that almost every music venue in Europe is based in squatting. Why? I would say, google and find out yourself. But anyway, enough about squatting and laws: as this song states, ‘squatting will continue’ with or without laws. So I think the Antillectual boys have a point with this song.

For me, after 15 years living as a so called squatter, squatting is more than opening a front door of an empty building. Squatting is a state of mind you are in, not thinking in boundaries, being creative, thinking outside boxes… And most important, being social to the environment around you, whatever that environment is. In that way I got involved with these Antillectual boys. They wanted to tour and needed an affordable tourvan for that. So over dinner at Yvo’s place I thought and said: “let’s do it” and that’s how the tour-machine Antillectual, and myself set of to where we all are now: Antillectual releasing a 3rd album, me buying a 7th tourvan. Sounds weird, but thats how it is. And no it’s not about growing or getting bigger… It’s about doing something you believe in, believing in what you do, and creating space for other people to use it. Which brings us back to the theme of this song… Squatting…

I can say I’m proud to be part of all this. I like it to see that the new Antillectual’s in the world and in the musicscene can use the basis we all created when they go on tour. I like it to see when people take responsibilty, write some songs, book their own tour, and just go. And believe me, there are a lot of new (and old) Antillectual’s waiting to hit the road and to hit the venues in your area.

Together we take what we need and use it to make this fucked up planet a nicer place to live in… Kraken gaat door!

Lyrics

The next casualty in line
The next threat rising from youth culture
Either disarmed or illegalized
Downgraded and removed

Squatting is not a crime
Squatting continues

The petty bourgeoisie at war with their own legacy
Defending speculation
Artists, students, bands like us
Culture in general, owing so much to squatting

A shelter
For what is valuable
For what is not for sale
For what has no commercial interest at all

Callousness, why should I care?
I’ve got my house, I can drink my beer
Ignore its role in art and housing
Stress the conflicts and incidents

A place for those without one
A home for those without one
An outlet for those without one
No squatter is illegal

Liner Notes (continuing from last week …)

… but the mechanism works the other way around as well. When subcultures are unable to generate some extra money or simply resist to cooperate or fit in, mainstream media, companies and other institutions try to “downgrade” those subcultures so they can not be of any harm. The best example of this mechanism is the current anti-squatting law the dutch government has implemented in the constitution. Since squatting is a threat to the economy, healthy living conditions and simply stealing people’s property (not my words!) it should be forbidden. Since squatting is one of the most effective ways to create affordable living and working space for students and artists, a fertile home for underground culture and recycle ugly empty office spaces (my words!) it is not a crime! Kraken Gaat Door! (Dutch slogan meaning “squatting continues”).

That was it for side A of the record! Next week the first song of side B: a song about Pamela Anderson, Weird Al Yankovic, Hitler and Meatloaf. Guest contribution by Holland’s most critical, yet “converted” music critic.

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