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toroddfuglesteg View Drop Down
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Direct Link To This Post Topic: Alquin (April 2010)
    Posted: April 24 2010 at 03:50

ALQUIN were an innovative Dutch band who released four studio albums during the early to mid-70's, their first two being of particular interest to progsters. With a mixture of rock, jazz and classical music, they show elements of SOFT MACHINE, CARAVAN, PINK FLOYD, CURVED AIR with tinges of ROXY MUSIC. The band split up in 1977 following line-up changes and differences in musical direction - some of its members went on to form a new wave/punk band called The METEORS.

(biography by Lise (HIBOU), CANADA)

I caught up with Ferdinand Bakker for an interview with and about Alquin

Please give me your (long or brief) thoughts and lowdowns on.......

Marks from 1972

A real debut album 
The music could have developed any direction
Lot's of different styles
"I wish I could"  and "You always can change" are the only songs we played 
again after our reunion 
We feel Marks gives a good view on the time period it's made in
It's a bit "hippie", naive in a good way

Mountain Queen from 1973

A statement
With a lot of bands the second album always seems to set the standard
It's a very solid album 
You can hear the band has developed a lot of stage experience 
Dereck Lawrence (Deep Purple) as a producer and the respectful recording ambiance in England
were very inspiring for us
We felt we were taken seriously
"The Dance" and "The Mountain Queen" have bin on our set list for a long time
On the latest Sailors and Sinners tour we combined The Dance and Mr Barnum
(half of the Dance was performed on violin)

Nobody Can Wait Forever from 1975

Maybe the most complete album
We found our final set up  with lead singer Michel van Dijk
The combination of rocky oriented songs  with rich and intelligent arrangements are still
the ingredients of Alquin in 2010
"Wheelchair Groupie" became the cult hit ,mainly because it had the right (single) length
"Revolution's Eve" and "New Guinea Sunrise" are highlights we  kept on playing ever since
Personally I think this is the most complete and consisting album we did.

Best Kept Secret from 1976

You feel times are changing
Some darker songs "High Rockin" and "Take any road" already announced what was gonna come
The title had a bit of cynical touch to it
The American Tour had been canceled on the very last moment
A new A&R manager at RCA (US) just decided to reorganize things
the momentum was gone as far as going to the States
The recording session was very intense
With Vic Smith we dived into making a very good sounding album
Again a longer track "One More Night" with lots of colours and musical routes
Central Station Hustle was a very personal statement of Michel
LA Rendez Vous has this nostalgic touch , that later came back in songs like Notebook

and your two live albums On Tour from 1976

For me it's a good registration, not to good sounding though compared to

and One More Night from 2003

and finally; your DVD One More Night from 2003

the live DVD/album we recorded after our reunion
Here you can see / hear exactly what Alquin is all about
Interaction and joy , where age doesn't count

and your comeback album Blue Planet from 2005

It seems like we just picked it up where we left it on Best kept secret
Our first attempt to right something new for Alquin was Sweet Surrender, the bonus track on
the live album "One More Night
The chemistry was still there
Of course the way of working quit different
The songs were to a great amount prepared in my own studio (The Park Studio)
Then we toke the material to the band and played the songs live for a while
This in order to get the Alquin sound, which can only be produced by its own members
It felt like making our first album again
Also we were very interested how the audience and music press would react.

Because of the good reactions reviews as well as live performing we decided
to go for another one:  Sailors and Sinners
Half of the production cost were payed up front by the fans (sponsors)
They could sign in on our website
Personally I think this might be the best album we ever made
Its very rich has a lot of depth in lyrics and music,
Alquin is fully alive again
We combine our hunger for new material with the maturity everyone has
by so many years of musical experience.

There is a lot of compilation albums and 2 for 1 Alquin albums. Is there any you recommend and/or want to warn us against ?

I would now recommend  The Ultimate Collection  (Universal)and the remastered versions from Esoteric Records

Alquin broke up in 1977 and reformed in 1995. What were you doing during these years ?

With Job I formed a new group "The Meteors"
I made 3 albums with this band  
Hunger , produced by Connie Planck (Ultravox, Holger Czuckay, DAF) is still one of my favourites
Then I started producing and writing stuff for theatre 
In 1988 I started The Park Studio with Kim Haworth (also Meteor member) in Amsterdam
We made one album with a our new band Red Cinder for  EMI
After we focused more on commercial activities like TV/radio ads and sound design . composing for films

Why did you decide to reform again ?

Michel, living in Amsterdam, sometimes visited the studio
I asked him for a project (Let's stick together) in Delft
Job was also performing in those sessions
After a short reunion tour set up by a young fan who never saw us playing live
we felt the chemistry was still strong
This led to the One More Night (typicly Job)-tour and registration
which again led to "Sweet surrender"  which led  to ....

What is your experiences with the music industry and did you make any money from your albums ?

The music industry hardly exist anymore for bands like us
Its all games and marketing
Although some A&R managers would love to invest in good music
the returns on investments are not enough due to copying and download practice
"Sailors and Sinners " has been downloaded about 20.000 times

You started out as a band who blended the sounds from Caravan, Soft Machines, Roxy Music and Pink Floyd. Then you changed to a more hard rock band. Why this change in style ?

Our roots and definitely Michel's where also to be found in America  (Beach Boys,Byrds,Dylan,Otis Reading,CSN&Y Little Feat,/Motown,R&B)
So the change , I personally think its more an evolution , was not towards pure hard rock. 
We are way to divers to give it that label
Of course with Michel we tended to had for more songs  than pure instrumental tracks

How would you describe today's music from Alquin and what is your current status ?

Some describe it as Prog Rock 
like I stated before: 
The combination of rocky oriented songs  with rich and intelligent arrangments are still
the ingredients of Alquin in 2010
We don't have to conquer the world anymore
but we certainly can give the audience something to experience and enjoy
maybe we can also inspire younger musicians with our passion

Just to wrap this interview up; do you have any regrets in your music career ?

mmmm  hard to say
may I should have contacted my old buddies earlier , so we even would have made some more interesting work

What is your five alltime favourite albums ?

Sgt Peppers Lonely Heartsclub Band

Anything you want to add to this interview ?

Check out Sailors and Sinners   and tell your friends

Thanx to Ferdinand Bakker for this interview.

The Alquin PA page is here and their home page is here

Edited by toroddfuglesteg - April 24 2010 at 03:52
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Finnforest View Drop Down
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 24 2010 at 12:17
Thanks Torodd and Mr. Bakker.

I love that debut album!! 
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presdoug View Drop Down
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 24 2010 at 16:31
I have loved Marks and Mountain Queen for a long time-did not know of recent goings on until just now-your early music, for me, has always represented why i find continental European rock music so much more rewarding than North American -surprised to read that you had so many American musical roots and influences-still, i would pick listening to Alquin or Solution any day over Chicago or Blood, Sweat and Tears!
If you have nothing, you have everything.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 25 2010 at 16:27
Good to read that they are still active. Their 70's albums were great indeed (Mountain Queen is one of my all-time favourites and IMHO the #1 masterpiece of Dutch prog).

Edited by someone_else - April 25 2010 at 16:28
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 25 2010 at 18:48
Thanx for the interview,and thanx to Alquin for some excellent music.
Shake & bake.
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