Interview with Jasper Maekelberg (Faces On Tv)

On the 26th of February, before Balthazar’s concert, I had the chance to sit down and have a chat with Jasper Maekelberg from Faces On Tv, also known as the opening act. Producer, multi-instrumentalist, lyricist, lead singer and many other words could describe Jasper as a musician. But, as a person, the one word that comes to my mind when I think of him is artist. His dark appearance and mysterious look might mislead you. But, once you start talking to him, all the misconceptions disappear, but the riddles behind him still remain. His bright mind wanders through places that are not discovered by many of us. As I already said, an artist in every sense of the word. We talked about the past and the future and at some point, we also switched roles…

At the beginning of February, Jasper joined Balthazar as their opening act for the Fever tour. They travelled through the UK and now are touring through Europe. After we talked about the places where they had concerts, I found out which one of them is his favourite “I think Milano was my favourite show this tour. I really enjoyed it!“ Now, that we are talking about concerts, what is one without the crowd? I wanted to find out what is the difference between the people at his concerts back home and the ones in the rest of Europe, Jasper being Belgian. “People in Belgium are really static, they don’t move, they just watch, which kinda sucks. While in other parts of Europe, I see people dancing on my music.” We hope he wasn’t disappointed by the dancing during his show in Bucharest.

Now, that we talked about concerts, let’s find out what is behind the music we hear on the stage. “Do you write in the way you consume?” that is what my next question sounded like. Jasper, with a look of confusion on his face, asks some questions just to make sure we are both on the same page. He is a complex musician and you definitely hear that in his music. I finally found out where all of that comes from. Listening to a lot of different genres from alternative to indie but also classical music widens his sonics palette “But I do not put everything I listen to in my own work.”, which is understandable. But, I am sure he is not far from doing that.

After that, we talked about his lyrics and how, with their help, he creates some kind of space. Hand in hand with the words of the songs goes his sound, which is easy to recognise, it has got that something that you are stuck with. “How would you describe your sound ?” again a few seconds of silence take over us, and then the question returns to me. With curiosity in his eyes, Jasper says “How would you describe my sound?”. I didn’t expect us to change roles, but to be honest it didn’t bother me. Deep in my thoughts, I eventually figured that his sound is one of those things that you know exactly what it is, but for some reason, you can’t find the right words to explain it. After trying a little bit harder we ended up calling it an organised mess, but in a good way, in a way you will only understand just after listening to his music.

As I already said, we also travelled to his past. The first record he got from his father was Scary Monsters, by David Bowie, being followed by Nirvana’s Nevermind. Once he became older, the artists Jasper would listen to changed: “When I was a little bit older I got into listening to The Beatles and Led Zeppelin” Scary Monsters had a special place “But Scary Monsters is still my favourite”

Being part of a family with a musician already there (his father), from a young age he was encouraged to play the piano “at some point I got bored of it (the piano), so I wanted to play the drums. My dad was in a band and they used to rehearse in the back of our garden, the guy that played the drums always left them there, so I would go there from time to time and start playing them.” Once he knew that music is the path that he is gonna follow, Jasper started playing the guitar “I wanted to learn how to play the guitar, because I wanted to make music”. Once the production of the first album started, new instruments made their way to his hands “I can play the flute but for one of the songs I only had to learn how to play one note. Now I can play like four notes on that, so I am making a progress.” says Jasper, as a smile appears across his face.

Now that we are talking about the record I am gonna tell you that the debut album Night Funeral of Faces On Tv, was released in April 2018. Interesting name, right? Apparently, this one is named after a song that you can find there “There is one song on that album that is called Night Funeral, and I feel like that captures the sound of the whole album, so that’s why I decided to call it like that.” Suspicious, Call Me Up and Dancing After All are only a few songs that sound much better live and the most impressive part is that Jasper plays them all by himself, just by using the instruments around him. For sure, the whole thing comes with tiredness, but there are also upsides. “I like it because when I am doing that it’s like I am reinventing my music. I have to go from instrument to instrument and than loop some of them, which gives the songs something new almost every time”

The future couldn’t be excluded from our little talk. “What’s next for Faces On Tv?” “I am working on finishing the next album. Just writing new music.” His words were enough to make every Faces On Tv’s fan’s day better. Anyways, Jasper has a bright future laid in front of his eyes, with such a talent and brilliant mind I am sure he won’t disappoint us. We can’t wait to find out what other artists he will produce and through what spaces we will be wandering with his new album. Until then we’ll support him on his upcoming tour and I hope to see more Romanians at his concerts.

This interview was originally published in Romanian. (Click here)



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