I am SLOW BEAR. With this music I hope to make a better place of this world. Maybe, from time to time, it will make a difference for the good.
When I became a solo artist in 2014, it proved one of the most liberating decisions I have ever made. I don't know how I overcame the initial fright to start doing everything by myself, and I am very proud of the result, my debut album ‘Pale Morning Fades’. I can still see myself, shaking with excitement and frustration, trying to get the vocals for ‘Mariner’ down in the middle of the night. If anything goes wrong I have only myself to blame and only myself to fix it. No more waiting for band members to show up!
I play on my own but that doesn’t necessarily mean I make quiet or introspective music. I sing and songwrite so I guess I can be labeled as that. But I’d prefer to be seen as a one-man-band who plays alternative rock music. It happens to be without a drummer or a bass player but the goal is similar: to bring across some of the energies that tremble in me; to ride the lightning!
I am a DIY artist. I feel that the original idea of DIY has faded with the generations, and we are now at a point where we can’t even imagine anymore what it used to stand for. Music that whirls up from underneath and from aside, puts itself outside the machinations of the market and values small scale, prompt expression, without mediation of publishers, accountants, A&R, influencers, government representatives or radio pluggers. I don’t have any commercial or fame-related aspirations and I will not disguise as somebody I am not. I don’t do networking, campaigning, career planning, overproducing, entertaining or audience targeting, as has become common in ‘alternative’ music nowadays. Screw that. I hate design. Today there’s a lot being written about these ‘indie’ bands that manage ‘to reach perfection’. How dull that must be! Graduation with honours at the school of rock - kudos from the professors!
I like the innocence of many bands of the 1960s (and the folk/blues artists that inspired them), when they weren’t aware (yet) that they could make a lot of money with it, or that rock musicianship could become a career. (God save the village green!) The sort of upbeat, rich and catchy, yet stubborn and somewhat sloppy vibe of flower pop strongly appeals to me, and I think you can find these influences in many of my songs – in particular on the first half of my album ‘Fucking Off’, but I love hooks and singalong choruses even in my darker material.
The song 'Normandy and Me', which will be included on my upcoming album 'Slow Bear Awakens', gives a good summary of how I want to be in life and in music. I try to approach everything, and everyone, in all openness, without suspicion, fear, competition, or whatever it is that creates borders and distances. When we were shooting the video for ‘Normandy and Me’ I knew I wanted something poetic, where reality and dream; present, past and future would blend together, something in the (Belgian) tradition of magical realism. I don’t want my songs to be purely ideological or political. I don't care much about ideology or politics.
Nonetheless, I wouldn’t want to make music without a purpose, and I’m afraid I make a terrible ‘jam rocker’ (sorry to my hippie friends!). I am in deep favor of environmentalism, feminism, Indignados and Occupy, most all kinds of anti-oppression and anti-discrimination, and I often write about these things. But I’d hate to be that guy who points his finger at people and tells them what to do. If I wanted to do that I’d become a teacher or a lecturer (ha!), not a musician. Rock music has a language of its own, where social and emotional concern, knowledge and spirituality, symbolism and observation, angel and devil, blend together in the most unexpected ways. In poetry, nothing is true, everything is permitted! If I could explain my message in a painting, there would be no need to make this music.
So here’s the deal. Stop reading (thanks for reading though!) and start listening!
Slow Bear Huddie