WOW Artist in Residence Victor Dirks performed with his band PHRAME in the Green Gallery during WOW Open AIR. On May 5th he will perform as a singer and front man with electro funk band Single Pilot at the Bevrijdingsfestival in Den Haag and Amsterdam.
“I grew up surrounded by music and instruments. My family always had a piano at home and I remember going home during school breaks when the house was empty and just playing and absorb the sound. When I was twelve then I started the music school in The Hague, I was lucky to be in a city where there was something going on. During my classes I met Jack Pisters, who was teaching there and setting up the pop department, bringing in teachers that were musicians in their own right and active in the pop scene of The Hague. A couple of years later then when he was starting a new project he asked me to play with him and together with a bass player from England we started the band S.C.A.R. and produced a record The Awakening in 2005”.
“Once I was done with music school I started a four year bachelor at the conservatorium, where the emphasis was a lot on creativity: it was here that I could flourish as drummer, songwriter and performer, absorbing the great variety the program has to offer. That was exactly the kind of environment I wanted to be in. After the conservatorium, I started a period of intense studying to get my drumming on a higher level, focusing more on the instrument and techniques while I started playing in different bands. At the same time I started teaching band coaching to kids and trying to find a balance between the hours I spent teaching and making music”.
“Around the spring of 2014 I decided to start my own project PHRAME together with bass player and long time friend Jamie van Hek. I had all these songs lying around of which I never knew what to do with them. so I started to think what I wanted to do, how and in which format. When Jack Pisters decided to start a Master program in Pop Music, I decided to apply for it to help me get into focus and clarify the concept around PHRAME, receiving the coaching and advice I needed. After one and a half year I’m now at a point where I know what works practically for a band and I can put all this knowledge into practice with PHRAME. We’re focusing at the moment on live performances, strengthening our identity and growing, but there are still lot of things that we could introduce in our live shows to make our strong points come out. It would be also great to team up with other bands of the same genre and try to find the spot where the scene is happening”.
“I record all my ideas on my phone. The inspiration can come from something that I’ve experienced or I’m feeling at the moment or sometime is a sound intuition. I write differently if I’m sitting at the piano, the computer or playing the guitar. Usually I either start from a melody and then try to find chords to go with it, or the other way around so try to work with sounds and harmonies, be inspired and come up with a melody. What for me is also important is also constantly search for new music, and discover new things that come out and think the twist you would give to it”.
MUSIC AND LYRICS
“Music is an expression of how you look at things and when I look back to the lyrics I write I see that they tend to transmit a positive message on things that make life worthwhile. I got to a point where I consciously chose not to sing about pain and misery or from a victim position. Although I did it for a while and I love certain music that express pain and sadness. Music for me is about transcendence, and when it really reaches you on an emotional level it is not good or bad anymore, it is simply true. However I think there is a value in expressing the joyful side of life, without denying that it is often a struggle and there is a lot of suffering”.
“Writing lyrics is often a slow and difficult process, because on one hand you don’t want to sound cliché and say something, while on the other you don’t want to be over complicated and you want to be able to sing it. I could never write lyrics that don’t have any meaning. I used to write very abstract things, very symbolic, but I could never explain exactly what they meant”.
“I grew up listening to a great variety of music, My mother often played all the good 60’s music on vinyl as well as a lot of folk and classical music, my older brother got me into grunge/punk rock/metal. My first drum teacher introduced me to all that Jazz and electronic dance music, followed by a period of classic and 90’s rock. I love all of it, and it was a real struggle in the beginning when I was thinking of the direction I wanted to take with my own songs, because I would like to do everything! This also brings me to take part in very different project, in January I started a Pop/Americana band with Bernard Hering, a promising guitar player and singer songwriter”.
“Before moving to WOW I lived on my own for over 10 years, and moving here was perfect to be more involved with other working artist that create an inspiring community. I knew that with starting a new project, the opportunity of meeting new faces and make new friends is essential”.
Portrait by Sarah Rezallah Kakar