23 Aug

INTERVIEW: Eefje de Visser on Combining Visuals and Music + What’s Next

It was day four at the Belgian festival Pukkelpop, and we were TIRED. But then a record label messaged us telling us that we really needed to see a show because it would be special. And they were so fucking right. We went to see Eefje De Visser performing in The Marquee with a brand-new show, and we were absolutely blown away. She was kind enough to take some time after her performance to talk to us about performing, ‘Bitterzoet’, the future, and more.

How’s it going?

Good! I feel very calm. It’s a fun time right now, and I’m enjoying myself.

Congratulations on the show! I must be honest, and excuse my words, but I stood there and thought, what the fuck, meid*, this is crazy.

Thank you! Gosh, that’s grown, actually. I started with this show—with Bitterzoet now for the first time—to be able to express myself visually. During the making of the record, I was also thinking about the visuals, what should be in them and what I wanted from them, and what feeling should be in them. And then in 2019, we did our show here for the first time at Pukkelpop as well. And then the idea was that I wanted to do something with choreography. I wanted it to be a musical show, not that the choreography would take over from the music. That there would be moments in there. We’ve been doing that ever since. And I wanted a very warm color palette. Warm and deep. Something soft. Sometimes very feminine, maybe. We’ve been able to deepen that more and more, and now we’re at a point where it’s working better. Ultimately, I want people to stand there with a good feeling.

*Dutch for “girl” but in a sassy, fun way

You’re on stage with a lot of people now—with dancers… Does that create a different atmosphere?

We worked with four extra dancers for Lowlands and Pukkelpop, which is very exciting for us. You can’t rehearse that. Of course, you rehearse on a stage, but there are cables, there is less space… But because we were already able to do it at Lowlands, we were a bit more in our element now. Only this time, we had confetti for the first time ever, which was very nice. Swirling confetti that fell like snow. I had wanted that for a long time. So, all these new elements keep us sharp.

Were you nervous to perform? Bitterzoet was voted one of the best albums, it was a huge success.

Yes, I was, but I’m trying to tone it down. I want to be okay with it so that if it doesn’t go well, I don’t suffer too much. If I feel like if it goes really well or is a big success, it doesn’t make me a better artist. So, I try to keep myself calm in that and realize that things can go wrong, and then I actually want to be ok with that. And that way, I can still do these concerts relatively calmly.

Since Bitterzoet came out, it took a long time before you could perform it on stage. How was it to see people’s faces for the first time?

Yes, a lot of fun. We have played a lot in front of an audience, but always in a COVID-proof setup and that is so different. And the first time we played without COVID measures was in Antwerp at the Open Air Theatre. And that really felt incredible for all of us: for me and the audience… It was raining too. And I just had this new song, which has something about rain in it—my new EP is also called Blauwe Regen (editor’s note: means Blue Rain), and it all came together so nicely.  That was also the moment that I realized how important it is that people can stand close to each other, can feel each other, and that the emotion spills over to people standing next to you. That is so special. That you become one group together. And I think we also need that group feeling. I have to say, that’s really the kind of magic you look for at festivals, and in clubs, you hope it will happen. Now that it has happened, it really exceeded my expectations. It’s been so much fun. People were totally on board and knew the songs well, too, because they’ve been out for so long. There was a lot of ecstasy. That’s what we want.

The album is nearly two years old; are you already thinking about the next step?

Definitely. I’m still searching. Of course, it’s also difficult because we’re already working with dancers, confetti, all that stuff… I don’t want to have to go even more bombastic or even more out of the box every time to blow up the show even more. I don’t want to become the type of artist where the show becomes more important than the music, so to speak. That’s a kind of balance I must find now. There’s a lot going through my head, but I don’t know what form it’s going to take.

Are you already thinking about your next album?

I’ve written lots of songs already. But I’m going to add many more. And a lot will fall off. But there is a lot of inspiration. There’s no time pressure. I’ve realized that Bitterzoet has been out for a long time now, and I would if it doesn’t take too long. But on the other hand, I want it to be really good, and I don’t want to rush anything. So, if it is necessary, it will take longer. 

What’s on your list for the coming year?

We have a tour coming up now. We are at [Belgian festival] Crammerock and then we do a club tour through the Netherlands. But now I can also announce that we are going to do a show in the Ancienne Belgique in Brussels on December 8th. And then we’ll close the Bitterzoet era down. Closing a chapter.

Photos by Robin Joris Dullers

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