ARTIST TO ARTIST: PALMBOMEN II & BETONKUST

This month marks the release of a new collaborative album by two of the scenes oddest musical purveyors.

ARTIST TO ARTIST: PALMBOMEN II & BETONKUST

This month marks the release of a new collaborative album by two of the scenes oddest musical purveyors.

This month marks the release of a new collaborative album by two of the scenes oddest musical purveyors. Palmbomen II and Betonkust have each established singular sounds blending far reaching influences from punk, diy, krautrock, disco, funk, soul and beyond into their modern day take on dance and electronic music. Rough and rugged, live and uncut the pair are focused on establishing a raw aesthetic which channels character and personality rather than polished, pristine production. The new album on Dekmantel is the latest in a series of collaborations which has seen them release music on 1080p and Pinkman previously. 

We invited them to talk below...

Palmbomen II:

Hey, kind of awkward to talk English to you, but that's our audience I guess. We were asked to tell something about our experience in Center Parcs. What do you remember about that?

Betonkust:

Not that much actually. Of course I remember packing the equipment and driving there, the empty subtropical swimming pool and getting groceries at Albert Heijn, but I don't have much recollection of making music. Maybe it's the same as with playing live shows. You're just focused and your brain isn't busy with 'recording' every key that you press. All of your CPU is used in the moment. I do remember some nice local tv shows with a car with a camera on it just driving around. Inspiring footage of the environment.

P:

No, the music making is kind of a blur for me too. We made so many songs per day, and while doing that we are completely in the zone. The only way to keep the days apart is to know what dinner was. I remember vegetarian shoarma that we made. And maybe the time we went swimming in that subtropical swimmingpool. Oh I do remember also that we set up the gear on day one, installed everything, and while testing our setup out, our very first thing we made was 24x33. Very naturally, with just you and me playing some melodies and rhythms. I wish everything was not so god damn lofi sometimes though.

B:

That's true, that was the first one. I think we made 2 or 3 tracks per day in that period. Like a military operation. No alcohol, no (girl)friends, no Facebook. Music bootcamp. Like they do when Rihanna needs a new album. Putting producers/songwriters in a studio until something comes out. Yeah our stuff is more lo-fi though. Maybe we should start making mid-fi tracks.

P:

Yeah it felt like such a music bootcamp, but then totally free, just playing around. If someone makes a reggae rhythm, the other adds DR660 metal drums to them etc. We only spend 2/3 hours on a song so nothing matters. I guess that's the reason also why it's so lofi. It's easy that way to make something quick, and put it through tape, you don't hear the details really. It's like abstract / expressionist painting versus hyper realisytic painting or something. But yeah I wish sometimes to go mid-fi. Just being able to DJ our own songs. A little more effort on mixing and quality. Would that not ruin our sound?

B:

No I think people will say that we have EVOLVED as artists. Personally, I always care a lot about what people in music journalism think of my work. The professionals. Especially the Dutch ones. By the way, I think we have one track left that didn't make the record right? Do you have it? Is it any good? I don't have it anymore I think.

P:

Haha yes I love reading music and concert reviews all day long too. No, which song do you mean? That dark kind of melodic goth/metal song? I used that actually in a fake commercial about cigarettes, in a Memories Of Cindy video. We also had some other left overs, like that Belgium carnaval song. Which was kind of only a small loop I guess. Do you know which one I'm talking about? I'm going through projects now, and I'm finding all kinds of things. I just discovered a more atmospheric version of "Leo/ Mirjam". It's actually not bad.

B:

I remember that new beat carnival thing, it was scary, like totally out of control drunk horror hell that you can't escape from. That was a jam that I did while you were on the phone. I don't know anything about another 'Leo/ Mirjam' version. We did one take per track right? I can't recall doing any alternate takes. Maybe if something went wrong within the first 30 seconds we would start over, but then we would only keep the finished version. I also remember going outside at like 1 AM to check if the music wasn't too loud. Always some kind of fear of being thrown out of Center Parcs. "These are recreational bungalows! Not studios!" Never happened though.

P:

Haha no we never had any contact with anyone there. Only with the receptionists. And that's it. But yes I'm always afraid if people will throw you out. Always making pictures of the place to put every table and chair back to the original position when you leave. Yes scary carnaval, didn't you make that pattern by sending a drum pattern to a bass synth? That's always a recipe for something good. And about the extra take, yeah there's normally no alternate versions, but I found this rough strange version. Not sure why we made it? Maybe we took it to the next day and recorded this to be sure? But we never do that, we normally always finish everything directly. What do you think is the difference of recording in recreational bungalows and recording at home?

B:

Yes so called 'happy accidents'. It was probably a drum beat in the Boss DR-660 and then I searched through different drum kits but the Boss also has two kits with bass sounds, so then you have a drum pattern played with a bass synth sound. The same happened with 'Suite 100' on the Hotel Breukelen record released on Pinkman. Unexpected random dissonance.

The difference between home and a rented space is that you have a very clear time limit. A frame. You have five days. Make as much music as possible. You don't have to feed your cat, no one is coming over, complete focus. At home you will have all kinds of things that you have to do and the risk of friends/family coming over. Going to a bungalow is like a band going into the studio for a limited amount of time. Only we don't need an expensive studio, we just bring some cheap gear. The speakers were probably the most expensive stuff we brought. Or the Cioks power supply.

P:

Ha yes, cheap gear. It was even only a midweek, so 4.5 days I believe? But we did another session too, to add some songs for the LP. Or can I not say that? Do we ruin the magic saying this?

B:

Yes from Monday afternoon till Friday morning, the classic midweek. When the EP came out some articles wrote that it was all recorded in a weekend but I don't know were that came from, that's a lie. And yes, it were two seperate sessions, but I myself even forgot about that. It all blended into one memory for me. The two sessions were pretty close to eachother though. Couple of months in between maybe. Did you know that 'reality tv' actually started at Center Parcs De Eemhof? They did the first 'Big Brother' experiments there in like 1997. One bungalow with a couple of people with mics and cameras and one bungalow for the crew who were watching them every move. I saw a documentary on this.

P:

Ah wow, so before the first Big Brother? Yeah there's quite some history huh in that The Eemhof Center Parcs park. It is a pretty cool idea to do such a thing in Center Parcs. Those things are very useful for many non-recreational things. I also rent houses a lot for filming. It is great to have spaces like that. What do you think should be next for us next to the mid-fi quality of the music? Where shall we rent accommodation? And around what theme shall we make songs?

B:

Not so long ago I was asked to play a dj set at some holiday park but the gig got cancelled because the bungalow where I was supposed to play had been completely destroyed the night before. Some festival had used the bungalows as accommodation for the guests. Anyway, I'd like to record the next batch of tracks in the original Big Brother house in Almere. Does that still exist? Or at the Mediapark in Hilversum, somewhere in some abandoned tv studio? Or at IKEA? Or at a electricity substation?

P:

Ha yeah that sounds good. Locking ourselves up in Ikea during some holiday closing. Didn't Bart De Graaff do that too? Inspired by your guitar/electronics song you sent me recently, it would be great to stay near Seattle sometime, in the Marco Polo hotel. And make some more guitar related tracks with our setups. Or should we stay in Holland?

B:

Let's stay in Holland for a Bart de Graaff concept album first and then we'll go to one of those terrible heroin motels near Seattle to make sad electro grunge.


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