Hey there! Below is an interview with Sven Woodside, the bassist for the band Voicst. Voicst are a three-piece rock group based out of Amsterdam. You can check out their music here and learn more about them here. Enjoy:
First off, for those who don’t know the band, how would you describe your music? Who are your influences and all that?
The classic dreaded question, “describe your music”! We’ve been saying pop/rock with a twist. Our influences are numerous. There are three of us in the band and all with overlapping tastes in music but also with some extremely varied choices too. Joppe (the drummer) can be woken up in the middle of the night with anything by the Melvins. Big Melvins music lover. Tjeerd
(guitar/vocals) can listen to listen to Outkast to Queens of the Stone Age….I myself (bass player) have a thing for more folky styles. Joni Mitchell’s Blue is my all time favorite record. Belgian band Millionaire was a big influence on us when their record “Outside the Simian Flock” came out. Awesome record. All three of us basically love music period.
What’s on the horizon now for Voicst?
We are currently working on writing material for our third record. We sequester ourselves off in the woods as much as possible getting ideas down paper, and in zero’s and ones. Our laptops have become our mobile recording studios. In August we’re off to South Africa to play a couple weeks of shows and everyone is very much looking forward to this. Luckily enough we can bring our extended band which consists of another guitar player, a baritone sax and a keyboard
player. They help breathe more life into the songs from our second record “A Tale Of Two Devils”. In the fall we will be releasing this record in Germany and so also taking a few excursions to play various live shows there. Starting off small.
You guys are from Amsterdam. I got to visit the city real quick last Spring. What are the best and worst parts of living in the ‘Venice of the North’?
The worst parts I guess are all the stereotypes. That’s probably the case every where though. Here in Amsterdam we get them with the drugs and red light districts and some people think that that is all there is to offer. But no. Amsterdam has lots of culture, a beautiful watery feel to it with the canals. But cities are cities and so also have their hustle and bustle which can run you
down. The best things about living in Amsterdam are also some of the worst things. Being a ‘world renown’ city and having such ‘drug laws’ we do get a lot of great bands coming though every year. Many bands start off in Amsterdam or end up in Amsterdam at the end of tours which can led to quite interesting and passionate shows. Great inspiration. Amsterdam is also relatively small, i.e. not to sprawling like lots of big cities, so it has an almost small town vibe to it which is very nice – considering it is still a so called world class city.
You’ve played small shows in Europe, you’ve done festivals and you’ve done some tours in America. How are all these different settings different? Which is your favorite to perform in?
We have played shows ranging from 80,000 to three friends. All have their charms and all have their downsides. Huge festivals can be very impersonal on the one hand as you’re usually up on a high stage back away 20 meter’s from the first person in the crowd. But they can give back sooo much energy though when it all comes together. We played at the Pinkpop festival in 2008 here in Holland and to see 10,000 people all singing along and dancing to your songs is quite something. Small venues are usually easier – not all the time though! Getting up close you can actually look people directly in their eyes and see expressions more. It’s much more personal and usually a more intimate experience for all involved. The sound is not always the best but personally I prefer these kinds of smaller venues/shows where I can take three steps and be
playing my bass between the crowd.
What’s the most outrageous things that’s happened to the band on the road or at a show?
These kinds of things are usually unpleasantly discovered on camera’s the day after and quickly deleted from memory and never spoken of outside the confinement of the tour bus….
In your earlier years you got to open some shows for the likes of Nada Surf, The Ravonettes and Tenacious D. How was that experience? Any funny stories to share?
I think Nada Surf was one of the first ‘bigger’ bands we opened for. We actually got the spot after we played a live Dutch radio show (VPRO 3voor12.nl) and we had given them a couple home made cd demo’s. The next day they did an interview with some online magazine and only talked about our demo with the interviewer… heheh….. So I guess we stuck and were able to support them in Holland. With Tenacious D they asked the venue they were playing in three days before the show to submit four bands for them to choose from as a support act. We got picked to open for their only European show. We were very honoured. Last year we bumped into Kyle Gass at our Pinkpop show and he remembered us from way back then. Had some very funny things to say but I cannot remember them now. Any way, what goes on on the road stays on the road, right?
If Voicst were a mythological creature what would it look like and what would be its powers?
Tough one…. eh. Maybe something like a Hyrda, a three headed hydra. While one head soothes and lulls you into feeling happy with music (singing?) another can talk to you with powerful lyrics that let you understand, or perceive the world around you (in your own way), and the third rejuvenates you simply by looking at you… something like that. I guess D&D back in the 80′s is a prerequisite for this question huh…
If you could spend a romantic evening with three famous women (living or dead) who would they be and why?
Intriguing questions! Well apparently Helen of Troy had a face that could launch a thousand ships. I think that’d be interesting evening if the statement is true. Another two is too much to think about at the moment…..
You’ve got a whole string of shows this August in South Africa. How did that tour get set up? What are you looking forward to most about those shows?
Oh we are REALLY looking forward to playing in South Africa. Anywhere we’ve never been before is always such a new challenge. We can start fresh and try to win over the audience from point zero. It’s tough but lots of fun. So I guess playing shows for people who’ve maybe never heard of us before, in smaller bars, cafe’s, clubs – I think these are the really fun shows to play most times.
The tour was set up by the the lovely people from Oppikoppi and our booker here in Holland at Friendly Fire. The people form Oppikoppi had seen us play (a couple of times actually) at the Eurosonic/Noorderslag festival in Holland, I think last year. And I think we originally wanted to go last year but because we had commitments at the time in the Netherlands we couldn’t. Now we can!
How does the ideal Voicst show go?
An ideal Voicst show is full of energy and good vibes that leaves you with a feeling of ‘I want more’ and with inspiration to go and make music, or do something creative yourself. We try to bring across our enthusiasm and love of music, and the energy it gives us. Hopefully some rubs off and people leave a show stoked.
How does the band go about writing songs? Does one person come up with an entire idea, or is it more collaborative?
It varies. In most cases some one has a basic idea (usually Tjeerd) and brings it to the practice space where it will get worked out and beaten up a little before emerging on the other side as something Voicst. Some times the song is more or less finished when it arrives in the practice space and then everyone adds their own touches.
And lastly, a two-part question we like to ask every artist, A) Do you believe in true love? B) Do you believe in ghosts?
I do believe in true love, yes. And yes I believe in ghosts because my true love can see them.