‘Electronic meets Jazz’ | Interview with WAAN

Balancing between electronica and jazz, saxophonist Bart Wirtz and keyboard player Emiel van Rijthoven, aka WAAN, bring two different music universes together. Expect dusty keys, full of flavour grooves and delightful jazzy sax licks. Read our discussion below!

Describe your sound in 3 words

Electronic meets Jazz

Tell us a few things about Omi. What is the main idea behind it?

Omi started with a harmonic idea, based on classical triads, that we translated to the synth sound so that it became more electronic. We combined this with an afro beat on which BinkBeats (producer and percussionist) added some percussion and vibraphonette. The Alto sax and bass clarinet play the theme that has a slight eastern touch and so we have a blend of so many musical influences.

How did you two meet?

We have been playing in Bart’s latest project ‘Beneath the Surface’ together. When the recordings and touring with this band were done, we decided to form a new group that brought that sound and our synergy on stage to a new level. This has been a process of 6 years in which we planned different studio sessions with a diversity of great musicians from the dutch scene. It took some time to refine our musical ideas and combine them in WAAN.

Which album of the past decade blends jazz with electronika in the most elegant way?

STUFF. – Old Dreams, New Planets & Hiatus Kaiyote – Choose your Weapon

If you could change anything about the music industry, what would it be?

One or two decades ago, in the Netherlands, there was a vivid scene of small venues and clubs that were accessible for beginners,bands that wanted to try-out new stuff and where there was a close relationship with the audience and the bands. Because of strict regulations, complaining neighbors and whatever reasons, a lot of these stages disappeared. That makes the entry level higher and creates lesser opportunities for the music to grow.

On a more digital scale, we’d like to see a change in spotify: The first thing you see when visiting an artist is the popularity of tracks. This is seldom a good reflection of the work that this artist makes. It’s always a track that worked well in a certain playlist, or a collaboration with somebody else. This popularity scale stimulates artists and labels to flatten their music or adjust it to certain playlists and algorithms.

Favorite music related film?

That would be Interstellar for the organ theme. Great how Hans zimmer combined the concept of space with the biggest instrument on the planet. normally only hearing it when you walk into a church.
We really love a more experimental and more original way of music in films. for example: Birdman, with the music of drummer Antonio Sanchez, Ascenseur pour l’echáfaud with Miles Davis’ beautiful improvisations and Lalo Schifrin’s music of Dirty Harry.

That is the story behind your name?

We are proud of the Dutch and European sound in music, and wanted that to echo in our name. That is why we decided to search for a Dutch name. WAAN somewhat means: Delusion, Craze, Trip, Dream, Hallucination. Which reflects back on our music.

Would you reveal each other’s funny habits?

We both LOVE coffee, and the way we enjoy it is slightly different. Emiel is adding electronics to his Espresso machine, while Bart is constantly searching for the better bean. That also reflects (echo’s!) in our music and our gear.

Thank you!

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