You might already know De Staat from Electric Castle and Awake. For a while now, the five Dutchies seem to be usual guests of Romanian festivals. But, with the fall, the festivals leave empty slots in our agendas. Luckily enough, their European club tour did not exclude Romania this time around and brought Torre, Rocco, Jop, Vedran and Tim back not only with a concert, but two, one in Cluj-Napoca and the other one in Bucharest. Since I have a bit of a passion for Dutch bands, I couldn’t miss the opportunity of interviewing them. And just like that, on a sunny October afternoon, I met Torre and Rocco in Cluj, not only vocalists and instrumentalists in De Staat, but also the talented dancers of the song Pikachu. More about the dance later on though. For now I feel obliged to warn you that there was a high dose of irony and imagination used in this interview and the answers should be treated accordingly.
We start with a bit of small talk, the guys tell me about the Bubble Gum tour and that it is the first time they get to play in more Eastern European countries. They admit that they felt very welcomed in each country, a thing that was quite surprising to them. Slowly the ice between us breaks, well, actually Rocco breaks it with his irony.
We weren’t that surprised, we are the greatest band in the world after all
he says with a cheeky smile on an almost serious face. My curiosity keeps digging for some memorable moments during the tour. But as from time to time each of us has the tendency to forget some things or we just choose to ignore the reality, we end up using our imagination and puns. “We set a club on fire! Everyone was trying to get out and we were still rocking. There was no water, so we let the vibes calm the flames,” tell Rocco and Torre completing each other’s sentences. When a band manages such an accomplishment, I’d say they deserve a prize. And they actually got one recently. Not for the most rocking show, but for the best international rock video of 2019 at UK Music Video Awards. Competing with bands like Rammstein, it was De Staat together with their song Kitty Kitty that took home the “unexpected” prize. “The music video is fantastic, but you usually wouldn’t expect something like this. Especially when there are so many great bands, with a lot bigger budgets” says Torre with a proud smile across his face.
Not only is the music video fantastic, but the song itself is as well, it kind of goes out of the usual De Staat pattern. Normally, their songs have a big sound, full of rock and alternative, with touches of electronic music, and here and there something freaky – or at least that is how I would describe their songs shortly, description which received the APPROVED stamp from Torre and Rocco. Though, the Themepark Rock name sums it up way better than I did. Luckily there are people like Rocco who bring to surface other names for unnamed before genres. Since we are talking about uncommon things, I think that now would be the perfect time to understand why these Dutch artists have a Dutch band name even though their lyrics are in English. That was one of the things that intrigued me ever since I listened to De Staat for the first time. To be honest, a truly different band needs a name that would trigger some questions. “De Staat is the Dutch word for “The state”. We kept it like that, because we are from Holland and we didn’t want to be part of the many bands with “the” in their name,” explains Torre.
We go back in time and talk a bit about the concerts they already had in Romania, a memorable moment being their concert at Awake Festival in August, this year.
We came to Romania right after we played the biggest show of our artistic lives, being headliners at Lowlands in the Netherlands. The truth is we weren’t very awake when we got there. But it was an amazing festival, the people were nice, we had this huge meal at 12 am, cooked by a very nice lady, it was a good and at the same time weird day
describes Rocco, a bit nostalgic, thinking of the gone summer days.
We rewind the time a bit more and stop in 2016 at Electric Castle, the place where the well-known Pikachu dance was born – or so the story goes. With a serious face, but a mischievous spark in his eye, Rocco reveals this story about a wizard who was lost on the dangerous paths of Bonțida. This wizard who only showed himself to De Staat taught them this Romanian dance without even performing it for them. They learnt is just like that… as if by magic. Nice story, right? Shall we let our inner dreamers believe this or should I tell you what actually happened? This is for you, the one who prefers the reality to Rocco’s imagination at 4 o’clock in the afternoon. The whole story did take place at Bonțida, there was a group of people who let their Romanian spirit show in a traditional dance. Our Dutch guys, fascinated by the moves, had to try it for themselves. And that is why now, during the live shows, the pedals and the keyboard are pulled aside and are replaced with something that could actually be a traditional Romanian dance performed by two Dutch guys. Apparently, fans do the moves as well. “Someone was telling me that it is very hard not to copy us during Pikachu” adds Rocco, very much amused by the situation.
And since we are talking about influences and nuances brought from other places into their music and choreography, I think that we should also talk about the colour of De Staat’s sound. Torre says it is grey, Rocco explains that it is like a chameleon, namely that it can have any colour, Torre adds “transparent”. We decided in the end to invent a special shade, something very original. We settled for “Transparent Chameleon”, created under exclusive De Staat license. Hopefully someday we will get the chance to see this transparent chameleon in front of our eyes. Until then we found out what will happen next musically.
Word has it that there is an upcoming collaboration with a big Dutch name who is very appreciated by De Staat, ever since they were children. “A boyhood dream!” It will be launched very soon and it will be in Dutch. As for the new album, we have to wait for a while. Their studio is being reconstructed. Who knows, maybe we will bring De Staat back to Romania for some recording sessions and more mystical events and some Romanian inspiration.
Until we get to listen to the new album, De Staat’s agenda is full of concerts. I recommend you see them live and of course to get your dance moves ready. Honestly, I was fascinated by their presence and their live sound. They are on the road until December and one must take advantage of the intimacy a small club has to offer compared to the usual big venues or festivals De Staat are usually playing in their own country.Citește varianta în română