Intergalactic lovers

Bio

Flashback naar 2008. Barack Obama zwaait de plak in de Verenigde Staten, China organiseert de Zomerspelen en ‘Back To Black’ van Amy Winehouse heerst in de charts. Dichter bij huis, in Aalst, beslissen vier vrienden van vrienden om samen muziek te maken. Een klein jaar later boekt Intergalactic Lovers zijn eerste successen en in 2011 is er met ‘Greetings and Salutations’ een eerste plaat. De pers is laaiend enthousiast, de optredens stapelen zich op, de trein gaat aan het rollen…

13 jaar en nog twee succesalbums (‘Little Heavy Burdens’ (2014) en ‘Exhale’ (2017)) later, kennen zangeres Lara Chedraoui, gitarist Maarten Huygens, bassist Raf De Mey en drummer Brendan Corbey elkaar van binnen en van buiten. Samen doorzwommen ze al heel wat wateren – privé en persoonlijk. Als onbreekbaar viertal staan ze samen klaar om het volgende hoofdstuk in de carrière van Intergalactic Lovers aan te vatten. “De laatste twee jaar heb je al met een vergrootglas moeten zoeken naar ons,” geeft Brendan toe, “maar we moeten na een tour altijd even verdwijnen. Van het podium en van elkaar. Anders blijf je dit geen 13 jaar doen met daarnaast een job, een gezin…”

De hoofdvraag op de eerste bandmeeting na die rustperiode: waar willen we naartoe met de volgende plaat? “De sterkte van onze groep is dat we allemaal vooruit willen. We delen een gezonde ambitie en nieuwsgierigheid om onze muziek steeds verder te doen evolueren,” verduidelijkt Lara. “Deze keer kwam ‘mensen doen bewegen’ als gedeeld vooruitzicht naar voor.” Met een doel voor ogen, kon het schrijfproces beginnen. Normaalgezien gebeurt dat met zijn allen samen in het repetitiekot. Maar zoals dat gaat in het leven, kwamen de onverwachte wendingen. Maarten verhuisde om persoonlijke redenen naar Ierland en Lara was een groot deel van 2019 mentaal niet in op een plaats om aan muziek te werken. “Er moest een nieuwe manier van communiceren gevonden worden om die verschillende soorten afstand te overbruggen. Uiteindelijk werd dat een dropbox waarin iedereen apart basisideeën kon delen met de anderen,” verklaart Maarten.

Die dropbox raakte vlot gevuld met meer dan veertig muzikale hersenspinsels. Een overvloed, wetende dat de 11 nummers op hun vorige plaat ontstonden uit zo’n 14 ideeën. Leuk? Voor een band zonder duidelijke leider - “overleg maakt onze muziek sterker want we zoeken steeds naar de beste som van verschillende delen in plaats van toe te geven aan de wil van één iemand,” verklaart Maarten – zorgt zo’n overvloed eerder voor besluiteloosheid. Hoewel de Lovers geen problemen hebben met eerlijk zijn tegen elkaar – “soms moet je gewoon zeggen dat je wilt dat iemand eens iets anders doet” - bleek het deze keer een uitdaging om elkaars ideeën tot een geheel te krijgen. Enter the producer.

Lara: “Een producer moet bij ons een actieve rol vervullen en eigenlijk de bandleider ad-interim zijn. Wij hebben natuurlijk een visie als band maar de blauwdrukken waarmee wij bij een producer aankloppen, zijn altijd ruw. Wij vertrouwen op een producer om ons te sturen, ons de bomen door het bos te doen zien en onze visie te versterken met een eigen visie. In de zoektocht kwamen we uit bij Luuk Cox.” Een weloverwogen keuze; de band wist dat ze mensen in beweging wilden krijgen maar ook dat hun herkenbare sound aanwezig moest blijven. Cox – aka Shameboy – is thuis in verschillende werelden (elektronica, pop, indie…) en weet die altijd naadloos samen te brengen. Het is een weggever om te zeggen dat de nieuwe plaat elektronischer klinkt dan wat de meeste mensen zouden verwachten van de groep maar het voelt uiteindelijk aan als een logische evolutie, een hybride overgang naar een nieuwe invloed.

De producer ligt vast, ideeën zijn gesmeed en aangezien de band graag een productievacuüm weg van huis creëert, is er besloten op te nemen in Malta. Dat was buiten de laatste onvoorziene omstandigheid gerekend: COVID. Dat trok een streep door de reisplannen. De groep trok met Luuk naar Wallonië. Iets minder exotisch maar zeker even inspirationeel. COVID had echter nog een andere bijwerking want Lara werd er zwaar door getroffen. “Het was heftig, de revalidatie is nog bezig. In de studio merkte ik meteen dat mijn stem niet meer aan kon wat vroeger wel lukte. Ik kon minder lang zingen, minder vast zingen… Zingen is wat ik doe… Als dat opeens niet meer gaat, is dat extreem frustrerend. Ik jaagde me daar dan in op maar dat maakte het enkel erger. De mannen hebben veel geduld moeten oefenen. Het was opnieuw een leerproces doormaken en vooral doorzetten, niet opgeven.”

Het resultaat van de samenwerking met Luuk, het geduld oefenen, het doorbijten en de bewegingsvisie voor ogen houden, heet ‘Liquid Love’. Het is een plaat die eerdere vergelijkingen als Interpol of Feist de kop indrukt en andere geluiden aan bod doet komen. Een plaat die vertrouwt klinkt zonder in herhaling te vallen. Een plaat die gaat over verandering en het omarmen daarvan. Een plaat over liefde in al zijn vormen. Een plaat over tijd en de relativiteit ervan. Een plaat over de onzin van perfectie ook want perfectie is stilstand en alles is altijd in beweging. ‘Liquid Love’ is de volgende stap in de richting van de gezonde ambitie die Intergalactic Lovers al vier platen naar voorschuift (“werelddominantie”) en de sleutel tot hun terugkeer naar het podium en het publiek. En die terugkeer kan niet snel genoeg komen.

Flashback to 2008. Barack Obama is in charge in the United States, China is hosting the Summer Olympics and Amy Winehouse's 'Back To Black' is ruling the charts. In Belgium - more specifically in Aalst - four friends of friends decide to make music together. A year or so later, Intergalactic Lovers achieves its first successes and in 2011, with 'Greetings and Salutations', the band records its first album. The press is wildly enthusiastic, the gigs are piling up, the train is rolling...

13 years and two more successful albums ('Little Heavy Burdens' (2014) and 'Exhale' (2017)) later, singer Lara Chedraoui, guitarist Maarten Huygens, bassist Raf De Mey and drummer Brendan Corbey know each other like the back of their hand as they have navigated many waters - privately and personally - together. The unbreakable foursome is ready to start the next chapter in the career of Intergalactic Lovers. "The last two years, you basically had to get out a magnifying glass to catch a glimpse of us," Brendan admits, "but we always have to disappear for a while after a tour. From the stage and from each other. Otherwise, you can't keep doing this for 13 years with a job, a family..."

The main question at the first band meeting after that break: where do we want to go with the next record? "The strength of our group is that we all want to move forward. We share a healthy ambition and curiosity to keep on evolving our music," Lara clarifies. "This time 'making people move' came up as a shared prospect." With that goal in mind, the writing could begin. Normally, this is done together in the rehearsal space. But, as it goes in life, unexpected things happened. Maarten moved to Ireland for personal reasons and Lara was mentally not in a place to work on music for much of 2019. "A new way of communicating had to be found to bridge those different kinds of distance. Eventually, we decided to set up a dropbox where all of us could share basic ideas with the others," Maarten explains.

That dropbox filled up rather quickly with more than forty musical ideas. An abundance, knowing that the 11 songs on their previous record originated from some 14 ideas. Great, no? For a band without a clear leader - "deliberation makes our music stronger because we are always looking for the best sum of different parts instead of giving in to the will of one person," Maarten explains - such an abundance tends to feed indecisiveness. Although the Lovers have no problem being honest with each other - "sometimes you just have to say that you want someone to do something different" - this time it turned out to be a challenge to get each other's ideas integrated. Enter the producer.

Lara: "For us, a producer has to play an active role and actually be the bandleader ad-interim. Of course, we have a vision as a band but the blueprints we bring to a producer are always rough cuts. We rely on the producer to guide us, make us see the wood for the trees and reinforce our vision with his own. Our search ended with Luuk Cox." A deliberate choice; the band knew they wanted to get people moving but also that their recognisable sound had to remain present. Cox - aka Shameboy - moves in different worlds (electronica, pop, indie...) and always knows how to bring them together seamlessly. It's a giveaway to say that the new record sounds more electronic than what most people would expect from the group but it ultimately feels like a logical evolution, a hybrid transition to a new influence.

With the producer set and ideas forged, the decision was made to record in Malta - since the band likes to create a vacuum away from home. That would’ve been the plan, apart from the last unforeseen circumstance: COVID-19. Exit travel plans. The group decided to go to Wallonia with Luuk instead. A little less exotic but certainly just as inspiring. COVID had another side effect, however, because Lara was hit hard by it. "It was intense, the rehabilitation is still going on. In the studio I immediately noticed that my voice could no longer cope with what used to be possible. I could sing less long, less steady... Singing is what I do... If it suddenly stops, it is extremely frustrating. I would get worked up about it, but that only made it worse. My bandmembers and Luuk had to exercise a lot of patience. I had to go through a learning process again and especially had to persevere and not give up."

The result of working with Luuk, practising patience, persevering and keeping ‘the movement vision’ in mind is called 'Liquid Love'. It is a record that turns previous comparisons like Interpol or Feist upside down and brings other, new sounds to the foreground. A record that sounds familiar without repeating itself. A record about change and how to embrace it. A record about love, in all its forms. A record about time and its relativity. A record about the nonsense of perfection too, because perfection is stillness in a world where everything is always in motion. ‘Liquid Love' is the next step towards the healthy ambition that Intergalactic Lovers have been pushing for four albums ("world domination") and the key to their return to the stage and the audience. And that return cannot come soon enough.

Flashback to 2008. Barack Obama is in charge in the United States, China is hosting the Summer Olympics and Amy Winehouse's 'Back To Black' is ruling the charts. In Belgium - more specifically in Aalst - four friends of friends decide to make music together. A year or so later, Intergalactic Lovers achieves its first successes and in 2011, with 'Greetings and Salutations', the band records its first album. The press is wildly enthusiastic, the gigs are piling up, the train is rolling...

13 years and two more successful albums ('Little Heavy Burdens' (2014) and 'Exhale' (2017)) later, singer Lara Chedraoui, guitarist Maarten Huygens, bassist Raf De Mey and drummer Brendan Corbey know each other like the back of their hand as they have navigated many waters - privately and personally - together. The unbreakable foursome is ready to start the next chapter in the career of Intergalactic Lovers. "The last two years, you basically had to get out a magnifying glass to catch a glimpse of us," Brendan admits, "but we always have to disappear for a while after a tour. From the stage and from each other. Otherwise, you can't keep doing this for 13 years with a job, a family..."

The main question at the first band meeting after that break: where do we want to go with the next record? "The strength of our group is that we all want to move forward. We share a healthy ambition and curiosity to keep on evolving our music," Lara clarifies. "This time 'making people move' came up as a shared prospect." With that goal in mind, the writing could begin. Normally, this is done together in the rehearsal space. But, as it goes in life, unexpected things happened. Maarten moved to Ireland for personal reasons and Lara was mentally not in a place to work on music for much of 2019. "A new way of communicating had to be found to bridge those different kinds of distance. Eventually, we decided to set up a dropbox where all of us could share basic ideas with the others," Maarten explains.

That dropbox filled up rather quickly with more than forty musical ideas. An abundance, knowing that the 11 songs on their previous record originated from some 14 ideas. Great, no? For a band without a clear leader - "deliberation makes our music stronger because we are always looking for the best sum of different parts instead of giving in to the will of one person," Maarten explains - such an abundance tends to feed indecisiveness. Although the Lovers have no problem being honest with each other - "sometimes you just have to say that you want someone to do something different" - this time it turned out to be a challenge to get each other's ideas integrated. Enter the producer.

Lara: "For us, a producer has to play an active role and actually be the bandleader ad-interim. Of course, we have a vision as a band but the blueprints we bring to a producer are always rough cuts. We rely on the producer to guide us, make us see the wood for the trees and reinforce our vision with his own. Our search ended with Luuk Cox." A deliberate choice; the band knew they wanted to get people moving but also that their recognisable sound had to remain present. Cox - aka Shameboy - moves in different worlds (electronica, pop, indie...) and always knows how to bring them together seamlessly. It's a giveaway to say that the new record sounds more electronic than what most people would expect from the group but it ultimately feels like a logical evolution, a hybrid transition to a new influence.

With the producer set and ideas forged, the decision was made to record in Malta - since the band likes to create a vacuum away from home. That would’ve been the plan, apart from the last unforeseen circumstance: COVID-19. Exit travel plans. The group decided to go to Wallonia with Luuk instead. A little less exotic but certainly just as inspiring. COVID had another side effect, however, because Lara was hit hard by it. "It was intense, the rehabilitation is still going on. In the studio I immediately noticed that my voice could no longer cope with what used to be possible. I could sing less long, less steady... Singing is what I do... If it suddenly stops, it is extremely frustrating. I would get worked up about it, but that only made it worse. My bandmembers and Luuk had to exercise a lot of patience. I had to go through a learning process again and especially had to persevere and not give up."

The result of working with Luuk, practising patience, persevering and keeping ‘the movement vision’ in mind is called 'Liquid Love'. It is a record that turns previous comparisons like Interpol or Feist upside down and brings other, new sounds to the foreground. A record that sounds familiar without repeating itself. A record about change and how to embrace it. A record about love, in all its forms. A record about time and its relativity. A record about the nonsense of perfection too, because perfection is stillness in a world where everything is always in motion. ‘Liquid Love' is the next step towards the healthy ambition that Intergalactic Lovers have been pushing for four albums ("world domination") and the key to their return to the stage and the audience. And that return cannot come soon enough.

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