Here’s my interview I did with the amazing Whispering Sons for my befriended
music junkies over the ocean at 50thirdand3rd. Enjoy the darkness…
WHISPERING SONS is Belgium‘s darkest hope for the near future. A new band with a soundtrack for a new generation. Gloomy, cinematic vibrations to get completely lost
in and return purified afterwards. Post punk twilight hallucinations to scare your creepy demons to death. Tense darkness with room to breathe and space to move. They are the spiritual bastard children of an excessive sonic orgy that happened way back in 1980, on
a Friday the 13th, with members of Joy Division and The Cure, except for intriguing singer Fenne Kuppens. She is a lost, wandering granddaughter of Nico, German femme fatale, singer/actress/model who got lost herself after spending some time, mid-sixties, with
the coolest of cool The Velvet Underground. Get the sonic picture? Yes, their color is black.
A sexy blackness. Their muse is sad. A liberating sadness. Their pleasure is unknown. An inspiring unknown. Find out all and more about Whispering Sons. Here, now…
When and where was the band conceived?
Whispering Sons: “We had been playing music together for a while, the four of us, without real aim or purpose. When singer Fenne joined in 2013, that’s when the Whispering Sons project really began to take form.”
What’s the story behind the band’s name?
Whispering Sons: “The five of us spent some time in rehearsals just playing different covers and messing around musically. I guess you could say we were still looking for a direction. One day we stumbled upon an obscure Danish band called Moral, were smitten with a song called Whispering Sons and decided to do a cover version. It was one of those moments when everything suddenly ‘clicked’. The song became a staple of our rehearsal sessions and the ambiance it created felt very natural and inspiring to us. We eventually stuck with the band name ‘Whispering Sons’ as a sort of simultaneous tribute to Moral and the discovery of our artistic direction.”
How would you describe your sound yourselves?
Whispering Sons: “A blend of danceable sadness and frustrated urgency. A soundtrack
for exorcising your inner demons.”
Share an unforgettable anecdote with us about the first rehearsals…
Whispering Sons: “This isn’t a singular anecdote, but our rehearsals take place in a
lovely studio in our bassist’s garden. Unfortunately, this also means an enormous influx
of insects in there when we leave the door open. Particularly spiders. We fucking hate spiders. So every time we start to rehearse we have to send our guitarist (the only one
of us who doesn’t scream like a girl when he sees one) in to get rid of them.”
How easy/difficult is it to work with 5 individuals in a band?
Whispering Sons: “Musically we don’t experience a lot of problems. Mostly we cooperate pretty well, mainly because when writing music, we’re all focused as a collective on the general end result. There’s really nobody trying to show off individual skills or trying to push some personal musical agenda. In this matter – which is probably the most important matter for a band, after all – we are definitely very group minded. Other
smaller topics, like the choice of a certain artwork for instance, might generate a little more discussion between the five of us, but in the end, we’ve got the same general idea
of where we want to be headed and we all get along great.”
The group’s color is black. Because it fits the music or because it’s the coolest rock ‘n roll color ever?
Whispering Sons: “We like black. It’s not that we’re not colorful and happy people. It’s just that black is most definitely the sexiest color.”
Tell us all about your 6-track debut EP ‘Endless Party’?
Whispering Sons: “At the start of 2015 we booked some of our first real live shows in Brussels, and beforehand we realized our set wasn’t really up to par at that point. So we spent some intensive time together to write some new songs. Because they came from a similar point in time and a similar feeling we decided to group them and these were the six tracks that eventually would end up on the EP. Maybe because of the time pressure we felt at that moment of writing the songs ended up sounding very claustrophobic and quite confining. But in a good way. It’s something that’s reflected in the lyrics as well: they’re
all autobiographical and introspective and hinge on a theme of escapism.”
Fenne, your baritone voice reminds me & many of the late Ian Curtis, frontman of Joy Division. Are you aware of that or didn’t you had a clue who he was when people started to ask you that question over and over again?
Fenne Kuppens: “Who?”
What did you actually feel when you heard yourself singing for the first time
in the bathroom?
Fenne Kuppens: “I honestly can’t remember. That must’ve been a long, long time ago. However, I do remember the time when I started singing in this deeper voice, which I didn’t know I had until two years ago or something. From that moment, I felt so much more comfortable. It allowed me to stop worrying about singing in tune and instead put a lot more emotion and expression in my voice. But it is not that I intentionally tried to copy another person’s manner of singing, to answer your previous question.”
On stage the band feels and sounds like a film noir. What movie would be perfect to screen behind the group at concerts?
Whispering Sons: “We wouldn’t mind a Jean-Pierre Melville film in the background. Le Samouraï or Army of Shadows. Great aesthetics, great use of color, great everything.”
Any team rituals before hitting the podium?
Whispering Sons: “We all stand in a circle, hold hands, and collectively shout ‘Go Whispering Team!’ three times. Haha, not really though. We don’t really have any rituals. Unless you’d call pacing nervously around the backstage a ritual. Usually we’ll be doing that until of us says: “Hey guys, let’s just remember it’s all about having some fucking fun.” After that we just walk on stage and enjoy ourselves.”
You just started your first ever European tour. Nerves or adrenalin? And what are the expectations?
Whispering Sons: “A bit of both I guess. Going on an international tour is something we’ve been dreaming of doing for years. When it’s finally happening you’re so excited you feel you could burst, and at the same time so nervous something could go wrong you feel like having a heart attack. Especially because this first tour was organised in a very DIY-way. Like with everything you do for a first time, problems are bound to show up. But we’ll tackle them as they appear and have loads of fun and laughs in the meantime. For sure
it will be a very enriching experience.”
The number one artist on your list to do a world tour with?
Whispering Sons: “The number one choice would be definitely The Soft Moon. We’re all big fans of Luis Vasquez and his music. Especially his live shows are absolutely insane. It has
an enormous amount of energy that also inspires our music and performance.”
If you could travel in time what artist would you jam with?
Whispering Sons: “We’d love to get together some time with experimental electronic musicians. Like Haxan Cloak or Tim Hecker for instance. They do something that’s so
much different than what we do. We’d love to see the way they work because they have this radically different way of approaching sound and music. There’s a lot to learn from them.”
Which album do you want to play while visiting the dark side of the moon?
Whispering Sons: “Somehow when we imagine being in space we always hear Vangelis’ music in our heads. Especially ‘Spiral’.”
Vinyl or compact disc?
Whispering Sons: “Vinyl without a doubt. Aesthetically and musically the most beautiful medium.”
Social media: a blessing or a pain in the ass?
Whispering Sons: “Both really. It’s a wonderful tool, but it is pretty time-consuming as well.”
Editors or The National?
Whispering Sons: “Most of us are moderate fans of both. Though in terms of influence on Whispering Sons we might give Editors some credit for inspiring the musical tastes of our fifteen year old selves.”
The Cure or Joy Division?
Whispering Sons: “I don’t think we’re even gonna start to try and discuss this amongst the five of us. People might get hurt. Let’s just say we hold both of these bands in high esteem.”
Next big step. Full album?
Whispering Sons: “Who knows? Nobody knows at this point. Not even we do. We’re really taking it one step at a time. All we can say right now is: at some point in the future – yes, there will be an album.”
Is playing in a band actually the best job ever?
Whispering Sons: “I don’t think a ‘job’ is really the best description for playing in a band. It’s a blessing. And there’s nothing we love more in the world.”
What’s the band’s ultimate ambition?
Whispering Sons: “COMPLETE ‘WHISPERING’ WORLD CONQUEST… or… ehm…maybe just to release a couple of good albums and do some amazing tours would be fine as well.”
Thank you for taking time for this interview. May the road rise with Whispering Sons.
You can stream/buy Endless Party EP here on Bandcamp
(Band photos provided by WS / live pics by JL)