On The Radar: Weval
Harm Coolen and Merijn Scholte Albers originally combined their talents from a shared love of film before deciding to change course and head into the music industry.
Their track Detian got featured in the new Schweppes commercial starring Penelope Cruz – so there! – and their EP 'Half Age' got us hot under the collar.
Having only just entered our field of vision… we asked them all the questions that mattered in the hope of getting to know them a little better;
You're pretty new on our radar, fancy telling us a little bit about yourselves? Who are you and where are you from?
We are both from similar small towns in Holland and now live in Amsterdam. We met 3.5 years ago at film school. We both felt like making a short film but ended up making music. After a while we thought we should finish the concepts we had back then, think about a name and post it online. Pascal from Atomnation contacted us a while after going online and later he released our first EP.
What's the Weval sound? Who would you say are your biggest influences and what are you hoping to achieve with your music?
OK those are three big questions, we’ll try to keep it short!
We derive more from a song structure or a basic idea and then develop a track in a way that it feels good. The only (general) thing we can say about our sound is that we like raw elements. We both like it when hats are not too clean, a bit distorted, kind of lo-fi, but it's not a process we are really aware of. If you think about it too much it could become a distraction.
Our influences come from different places. Last year we were Soul/R&B-orientated, like Bill Withers, Michael Jackson, and more recent things like Jai Paul but also bands like Tame Impala and Connan Mockasin are a big inspiration.
What we hope to achieve is challenging ourselves to get better and not stick with one thing. In ten years we hope we’ll be still making music and that it will sound different from now.
How's the Amsterdam music scene? Is there anyone we should be keeping a close eye on?
Amsterdam is a great city to live in and we're having a lot of fun here but we have to say we don't feel part of one particular scene. We’ve found that a lot of people are engaged with music and are quite open for new stuff, so that's nice. If we can give one name, it's David Douglas, a guy who lives nearby in Utrecht. He just released a full length album called Moon Observations. It's an album that slowly grows and becomes better and better.
You started off in the film industry, what enticed you over to the music side of things?
Making a film is a great thing to do with all its different phases but the production part can be hell. Making music for us is a really direct way of being creative. You develop and finish ideas from your living room. So when comparing it to film, making music feels much freer and it's a thankful art form. You can listen to an album or track many times. For us, film is all about the story, everything is part of that. Music is more about a feeling.
What were your original aspirations for Weval? How do you think you're shaping up?
We were hoping some people in Amsterdam would like it, and of course our friends and family. The fact that we can sort of live from making music right now is a big surprise, we're really thankful for that.
Who got you hooked on electronic music?
Harm: I started working as a volunteer when I was 16 in an alternative metal/rock venue. As soon as the bar was closed I took my chance and started DJing electronic tracks.
Merijn: It’s hard to say, maybe it was this band TRS-80… Or it was from those cool 90’s soundtracks. The Matrix soundtrack was the first album I ever bought. I think I was twelve. Also the Fight Club soundtrack from the Dust Brothers was amazing and stood by itself.
Have you got a favourite track of the year so far?
Harm: David Douglas – Moon Observations
Merijn: Nao vs. A. K. Paul – So Good
Where do you see yourselves in 5 years time?
Hopefully with a nice debut album. Maybe even a second?
What can we expect to hear from you in the next few months?
At the end of October we will release our second EP on Kompakt Records. We finished it a few weeks ago. Curious what you all think of it!
See… we know em better already!
Weval – now truly on our radar – have their 'Half Age' EP available now here. The vinyl reissue of the EP and a live edit of 'Rooftop Paradise are also available now. Their next EP will be released via Kompakt in late-October.
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