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toroddfuglesteg View Drop Down
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    Posted: October 19 2010 at 14:23

Finnegans Wake is an avant-garde band from Belgium led by Henry Krutzen. Their albums is pretty popular among the avant-garde fans in our community. In particular their last album which has won the band a lot of praise.

I got in touch with Henry for the story.


Your biography has been covered in your ProgArchives profile so let's bypass the biography details. But which bands were you influenced by and why did you choose that name ?

My influences are many, from old 70's prog bands such as Henry Cow or other Canterbury scene wonders, such as Hatfield and the North, to contemporary classical music (Schnittke, Messiaen, Cage, Ravel), fusion jazz (Squarepusher, Weather Report, Herbie hancock) and contemporary jazz (Anthony Davis, John Zorn) with a touch of hard rock (Stooges, Blue Cheer) and world music (East of Eden, Oregon), etc...

The name has a three dimension referential field: irish music (which I like very much!), the work of James Joyce and the french psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan (who made a seminary on the topic).

Your type of music is pretty special and not mainstream. Why makes this type of music your heart strings sings and/or what makes it so fascinating to you ?

Well, I suppose my music is a result of all the things I liked and listened until now, all together put in a blending process that follows my moods and interests of the moment. That is also why the music of FW is in constant evolution and continues changing with the years going by...

Over to your albums. Please tell us more about your first album Yellow from 1994

The first album is the result of my encounter with Alain Lemaître in the beginning of the 90's. He had opened a home studio and we decided to give a try in recording some music. I was without project since the end of the 80's when an octet jazz project came to an end. We had done many concerts and I suppose everybody got tired so we split. I stayed a few years without making music and Alain gave me the oportunity to work in another way, not aiming all projects for live gigs, as it was the case with the octet, but working on studio projects. I always had wanted to do some prog music, so we started with "Yellow" that turned on to be quite Canterbury oriented, with the arrival of my friend Jean-Louis Aucremanne, on keyboards. The first piece ever done was "Chamber Music", from a James Joyce poem. The result of this first album was quite eclectic but it opened the door for experiencing more on this Canterbury inspired first period.

Please tell us more about your second album Green from 1996

After "Yellow", we just went on but tried to tighten things up for more homogenic material, still in this Canterbury vein. "Green" already has more written material and less "open" solos. It closes the first period of the band.

Please tell us more about your third album Pictures from 2001

With "Pictures", I entered in a new phase that I would caracterize as written period. From that point it turned to be Chamber Rock with almost nothing improvised (except some very rare solos). I started to work with conterpoint structures ans introduced more instruments. this is also our first project with real drums and many of the guests were from the classical music world. This project really put a mark to experiment with other parameters, harmonies and rythms. I moved to Musea sub label Gazul, that had interest in producing things in a R.I.O. / Chamber rock direction.

Please tell us more about your fourth album 4^th from 2004

I moved to Brazil in 2001 and had to reorganize everything from there. Alain stayed but Jean-Louis didn't want to go on at that point. In Brazil, I met Alexandre Moura-Barros with whom I worked on the compositions of "4th". Once again, I continued the new "Pictures" direction of chamber rock and I started to work with brazilian musicians, who increased the percussion work of the compositions. As Gazul didn't have the financial conditions of producing a new, double CD, I had to move once again from Gazul to my friend's Guy Segers Carbon-7 label.

Please tell us more about your fifth album Blue from 2008

Once again I had to move inside Brazil to another city and state. Alexandre Moura-Barros got ill and was in no condition to go on with the project. So I met Marcílio Onofre, a young contemporary music composer, who was interested in experiencing with a "rock band" structure. With "Blue" we achieved very complex compositions, and this was really the final point put to this second period of written chamber rock music. Unfortunately, Carbon-7 closed and I managed to enter the very fine italian label, AltrOck.

Please tell us more about your most recent album The Bird And The Sky Above from earlier this year

It was time now for a change and "The Bird and the Sky Above" opens a new phase in FW work. I thought that it was not interesting anymore to continue in the same direction. It would have been redundant and, although I already had a few pieces written in the "Blue" way of composing, I thought it would be more interesting to change and see others perspectives in composition. Marcílio agreed totally with that and we started to work with semi improvised structures, live-in-the-studio conducted improvisations and edited material. I started to work with the idea of the recording studio being itself a musical instrument. We mixed some Messiaen scales inspiration with Cage structures and conducted improvisations, but still staying inside some thematic material, such as this imaginary bird references, titles and moods. It was a challenging experience and it opened to new ideas that should be realized in the near future. AltrOck couldn't stand the new direction, too distant from the rock world, and I had to move again to another label, Fazzul, from swiss experimental saxophonist Markus Stauss, who entered also in the band's core.
How is your creative process from coming up with a theme/riff/idea to you get it down onto an album ?

Usually I compose on the keyboard or piano, let my inspiration flow and then work on the material produced until coming up to a final project.
Just to give those of us who are unknown with your music a bit of a reference point or two: How would you describe your music ?

"Yellow" and "Green" are mostly Canterbury prog rock music. "Pictures", "4th" and "Blue" are Chamber rock projects. "The Bird and the Sky Above" is more contemporary music (if this means anything...).
You have relocated from Belgium to Brazil. Please tell us why you relocated to Brazil.

I married a Brazilian woman!
What is your experience with the music industry and the new internet music scene ?

I don't care to much about those things... I just try to get a label for my projects and, as far as they are released, this opens space for doing other things, continuing my experimentations. I think quite interesting the internet evolution and I am glad when I see that my works can be downloaded as I think that it is a way for my music to gain access and availability.
Are you currently involved in any other bands or projects ?

There is one band here that made contact for colaboration... I will see what happens.... It is a post-rock project and I could maybe participate as a guest.
What is your plans for the rest of this year and next year ?

I am curently recording two CDs: the new FW and a solo project. 

The new FW will continue the new direction, working on a "Suite in D-minor" (this will also be the CD title). I am continuing the experimentaion with the studio as instrumental function. The suite builds itself from conducted improvisations and every new part serves as basis for the next compositions, so that the project is an ever-changing process that awaits for its own closure moment, that should be in the next months if things go on like that.... I will also take every imaginary fantasy out of the project. There will be no birds or whatever but titles expressed in function of the structures of the band for each piece... It should be released next year on Fazzul if Markus Stauss agrees.

The solo project is a chamber music project with some tracks that could be considered as soundtracks for imaginary movies. Therefore the title that will be "Imaginary Landscapes". It envolves solo piano pieces, a string quartet, trios, all in a rather melodic way. It is a kind of compilation of my work during the last years, and envolves pieces that couldn't enter a FW project. This one too should be available in 2011 but, for the moment, it doesn't have any label yet... I'll have to search for somone interested.... If no one appears, I'll do it  in selfproduction and put it on the internet for download...

To wrap up this interview, is there anything you want to add to this interview ?

Thank you very much for your interest in FW music. I hope you'll enjoy the future works and send a warm "abraço" from Brazil.

Thank you to Henry for this interview

Finnegans Wake's PA profile is here &
the homepage is here 

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Mellotron Storm View Drop Down
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 19 2010 at 16:16
Very cool interviewClap I have the "Blue" cd which is as he says complex chamber music. I'd like to check out one of the early albums now that i know they are in the Canterbury realm.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 19 2010 at 20:48
Good to hear another CD will be coming out next year.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 20 2010 at 21:10
Great interview. Earlier this year I listened to this band for the first time, and since then they are on my regular playlist.

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 20 2010 at 21:14
I enjoy The Bird and the Sky Above, hoping to check out more sometime relatively soon.  Great interview!
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