18 August 2022
WOLF VAN WYMEERSH, maestro of Belgian post-punk-sludge crusaders Elefant and guitarist of former power-pop idols The Van Jets wrote-recorded-released his solo debut album, baptized THE EARLY YEARS last May. A romantic record looking back at days gone by. A newborn singer-songwriter pearl.
Let’s talk with the author about it. But first as usal here on Turn Up The Volume an
interview starts with a slice of music. Time for a ride on your horse, ladies and gents…
thanks for making time
for this chat
What and/or who inspired you to look back and translate
what you saw into the songs for your solo debut longplayer?
I’ve been tinkering about this album for a long time. The title ‘The Early Years’
was a joke title for the first Waldorf record, but seemed perfect for a first full
album. The title directed the choice of the songs: I was writing new songs about
my past life and cherrypicked older songs.
Are all the songs related like families are?
I’ve never thought about it that way, but yeah, some songs = sisters/ brothers.
Some songs are literally looking back (The Hog, On A Sunday Afternoon, I Gathered
Everyone), other songs deal with relationships (Drama I, Part Of Me, Who Can Tell)
whereas some are more philosophical (Friendly is Better, Come As You Will,
Fall From Grace) and everything in between.
We are family the Wolf way
You said that some of the tunes were written in your youth.
Why did you put them away for so long? Time flies, doesn’t it?
Some songs I forgot about, others were deemed too dramatic
or personal at the time, others didn’t fit the bands I was in.
What/who triggered you to start
writing songs in the first place?
Somewhere in time, I was playing as if I was performing on stage in
my bedroom. There I was playing/improvising my first songs. I never
played a lot of covers, writing my own seemed more natural or easy.
What’s your best and your worst
memory of your early years?
Hard to answer that specifically.
Best stuff: my grandmother’s smile
Worst stuff: All of the darkness that surrounded my family.
The (silent) conflicts and tension between my parents.
Whose big beautiful eyes are looking at us, on the LP’s cover?
And why this choice of photographic artwork?
It’s my wonderful daughter Marie-Lou. My girlfriend took this super picture,
I was passing it every day as it was hanging in the kitchen and I loved it.
I knew instantly this had to be the cover of my album.
In the studio you were assisted by musicians Stijn Vanmarsenille and
Roeland Vandemoortele. How were they involved in the ‘making of’?
At first I wanted it to be a strict solo effort. But since we had started playing
live and since they are amazing players they ended up playing and singing
some cool stuff on the album.
Like cool banjo stuff Roeland played on Part Of Me or the otherworldy
arpeggio’s Stijn came up with in I Gathered Everyone.
How different is it to play/work with a band and be your own boss?
It is not such a big difference as I rely on my 2 compadres for advice.
What went through your mind, what did you feel, when you opened
the box with the first manufactured copies of ‘the early years’ CDs/LPs?
I felt happy and fulfilled 🙂
Thank you lord Satan, Jesus, Buddha and Elvis Wally!
Do you feel old today, Wolf?
Yes and no.
Yes: I enjoy the ‘wisdom’ that comes with aging, less doubt and mist.
A minus is that my bones are cracking and that I’m aching in the places
where I used to play.
No: My mind is still very eager and fun-loving.
What are the top priority things – musically/personally – that are
on your bucket list. The things you really want to accomplish in
There are plenty:
Music for theatre/music,
a French album,
a Dutch album,
a metal album
an electronic album in the vein of Perrey/Carlos,
an abstract noise album,
an acapella record,
Is ‘The Early Years’ the start of looking to
the future years as a solo artist, Wolf?
I hope to make some more music in the distant future.
I’m brooding on some new dark songs 🙂
Thank you for this interview.
May the road rise with Wolf
and his family.
Buy/stream THE EARLY YEARS
here below via Bandcamp.