It’s no secret: I am a HUGE De Staat fan. In my opinion they are truly the best Dutch rock band EVER! I was delighted to see them play live a couple of times in London over the last year and you could say I was ecstatic when I got to interview them early this year. (You can read my interview with band member Rocco here).
What makes them so fantastic I hear you ask? The answer is simple: it’s their raw, dynamic, versatile and uncompromising sound. While their songs are mainly guitar-driven, they are not afraid of mixing in Balkan beats (‘Build That, Buy That’), proper Dutch gabber (‘Witch Doctor’), car horn solos (‘Ah I see’) or a dark Nick Cave vibe (‘Meet the Devil’). All their three full-length albums ‘I_CON’ (2013), ‘Machinery’ (2011) and ‘Wait for Evolution’ (2009) have a diverse sound and are full of energy. It’s a pleasure to listen to their albums, but it’s a real treat to see the band play live: singer Torre is witty, charming and isn’t shy to show off his excellent dance moves. The entire band plays extremely tight and each show is an adrenaline-packed sonic storm.
This week De Staat released their new EP, ‘Vinticious Versions’, made up of stripped down versions of their own songs off their previous three albums. During the first listening session I was shocked to discover that the band had transformed their guitar-based tracks into much slower and ‘smaller’ songs. To me De Staat is synonymous to adrenaline so I initially had my hesitations towards their new EP. However, after a few more listening sessions, I was quite captivated by the new take on the tunes I am so familiar with.
Don’t expect any acoustic versions, but seductive and broody renditions instead. Frontman Torre on the new sound and EP title: ‘It’s dark and delicious. […] With that feeling in mind combined with the retro feel of the recordings it brings together the vintage element with the deliciousness giving them the name ‘Vinticious Versions’.’
That vintage feel is clear from the first notes on the album. The first track ‘Get it Together’ has a very warm and vintage atmosphere to it; even when playing it digitally, it’s like listening to a vinyl record.
Torre: ‘In our recordings we’ve used sounds from the 60s and 70s, I like the Tarantino vibe on songs such as The George Baker Selections’ ‘Little Green Bag’ – I really like the sound of that.’
While for some tracks the original high-energy versions still work better for me, I am enchanted by the new sultry sound on the EP. My favourite track on there is ‘Down Town’, which is transformed from its original frenetic and driving version into a highly seductive Serge Gainsbourg adaptation that just oozes sensuality. If that revamped track isn’t sexy enough for you, have a listen to ‘Devil’s Blood’, the Vinticious Version is teasingly slow.
Funkier tracks on the EP include ‘All is Dull’, which has been given a light ska makeover, and ‘Input Source Select’, now with a Beastie Boys flavour.
Torre: ‘One of my favourites is ‘Input Source Select’ – it’s like an old school hip hop track. It sounds like we’ve used lots of old loops, but we recorded the drums ourselves and copy and pasted it so it has a drum machine sound – it’s a homage to the Wu-Tang Clan, De La Soul and A Tribe Called Quest.’
‘Vinticous Versions’ is a delicious addition to the De Staat record collection and will make a perfect Christmas present!
De Staat are:
Torre Florim (vocals, guitar)
Jop van Summeren (bass, vocals)
Rocco Bell (special FX, keys, percussion & vocals)
Vedran Mircetic (guitar)
Tim van Delft (drums)
The ‘Vinticious Versions’ EP is available as vinyl/CD/MP3 via Cool Green Recordings/Mascot Label Group.
1. Get It Together
2. Build That, Buy That
3. Input Source Select
4. Down Town
5. All Is Dull
6. Devil’s Blood
8. Wait For Evolution