Dutch singer-songwriter iET (pronounced eet) teamed up with legendary engineer-turned-producer Russell Elevado (D’Angelo, Erykah Badu, Alicia Keys) for her surprising debut album ‘So Unreal’, out now via on Analogyspy Records/Northern Shore. Check out the stunning video for the new single ‘Hold On Tight’.
First up what’s the story behind the name iET?
The name iET started out as a nickname. Budy Mokoginta (my musical partner) started calling me iET because I would always makes these high pitched tones with my voice around the house for fun and it would sound a bit like “eeet”. Then more of my friends started calling me iET and I thought why not use it as my artist name?
How much is your music is evolved since your EP The Kitchen Recordings in 2011?
“The Kitchen Recordings” and “So Unreal” are both connected. I started recording song ideas in my kitchen around the same period that we met Russell Elevado, the producer and engineer for “So Unreal”. I asked Budy if he could make a simple set up for me at the kitchen table so that I could record my new ideas by myself. At that same time, me and Budy were also developing songs with Russell and were looking for a drummer and a bass player. We were already working for some years with Neels Smeekens (on turntables) and Russell told me to look for musicians that would really would fit my music, so that we could form a real band instead of hiring session musicians for the album. We then found Salle de Jonge for Drums and Hugo den Oudsten for Bass Guitar to join Budy on Electric Guitar.
I came up with the idea of naming those raw demo recordings “The Kitchen Recordings” and decided to release them as an EP. The recordings are very raw & pure, most of them were first vocal takes. I just wanted them to sound personal and give people an insight into my development. The sounds of the kitchen and the house are noticeable on the album because I recorded everything with a mic and liked the noise around me whilst recording.
Some of the kitchen recordings have full band versions on the “So Unreal” album, so both albums are actually from the same period..
Can you talk about ‘Hold On Tight’?
I remember me and Budy sitting on the couch and Budy was jamming some chords on his guitar, (which became the intro of “Hold On Tight”) I started to sing a long and we played around with it. I wanted to write a few songs with Budy because he has a different vibe and is very good in writing more energetic songs. Budy laid down a basic track for me and I started to work on the lyrics, melody and vocals. We recorded the song and then we rehearsed it with the band and developed it further with Russ. He really wanted to challenge me to sing this song in a different way, to use more power and give the vocals real edge. He wanted the song to have the energy & sound of a seventies funk song!Can you tell us 5 things we should know about your debut album ‘So Unreal’?
‘So Unreal’ is produced, engineered and mixed by my sonic hero Russell Elevado, working with him was a dream come true!
We wanted to make an album without any concessions. Instead of forcing a specific style we just let the songs decide where they would take us. We have experimented a lot with the songs and the most important thing during the recordings was the vibe.
All songs were recorded in one take with the band, including lead vocals. We wanted to capture a live and organic feel as much as possible.
I wrote all the songs on my oldest and first (nylon string) guitar except for “Hold On Tight” and “Innocence”, I wrote those together with Budy.
The artwork for the album was created by the amazing visual artist Ingrid Baars. She visualized my music and my world in a way that nobody else could. The many faces on the album cover reflect the many styles of the album.
Some critics have called your album “mature and irresistible” and “an adventure with an advanced outcome”… what is your first reaction to these kind of comments?
I am really happy with those comments! The release of the album is a big thing for me and I am so proud of it, so having these kind of reactions puts a big smile to my face! An adventure with an advanced outcome is exactly how I feel about it myself so having somebody else feel the same way means a lot to me.
Could you briefly describe the music-making process?
First I wrote the songs by myself on my guitar or together with Budy and then made basic recordings to work out arrangement ideas. Then we started playing them with the band during what we called “vibing sessions” and recorded those sessions. We would send them over to to Russell and he would give feedback on it and would direct me to develop and try out new stuff. When Russell came to The Netherlands we went into the studio with the band and he developed the songs to the final stage. The recording of the album was really inspiring, we would listen a lot to music to get into a vibe and experiment further with the songs. Russell was always flipping the songs around or changing the rhythm or feel of the songs, it was a magical experience for me!What are your fondest musical memories in your house in Rhenen?
I did not grow up in Rhenen, although I was born there. I grew up in in Elst. My fondest musical memory is listening to the music that my father loved. He would play The Doors, The Beach Boys, The Everly Brothers. I can remember him whistling and singing along with the music often, he had a great voice as well. Sometimes he would rent videos and we would watch these old Fred Astaire movies with music from Frank Sinatra. Those were special moments because my mother was very religious so listening to music and watching these films was not a common thing for me.
What has been the hardest part of being in the music industry for you?
Getting people to listen to my music! People do not always automatically listen so unfortunately you have to spend a lot of time encouraging people to take the time to really listen to it. This can often distract you from doing what you should be doing, making music!
What was the last gig you played, what did you think of it?
Our last gig was at Mezz, Breda. We toured as the opener for Dutch soul singer Alain Clark. The last show we did was the last show of the tour and it was really nice! Lot’s of friends came out to see us play and we really enjoyed the show and the whole tour. Playing “So Unreal” live for an audience was incredible!
Tell us about your next show and why we should be there?
My next show is June 29th in Rotterdam. It is going to be a very special evening. Me and my band will play a full set and also two other bands that Budy has produced will play. There are a lot of new and interesting things happening in Rotterdam, so many exciting artists are coming up and we really support each other. So I am looking forward to that gig!
By Fabrizio Belluschi ©FAMEMAGAZINE.co.uk