Lykle, Marco, Niels
Lykle, Marco and Niels in Leeuwarden

Spent most of yesterday in the city of Leeuwarden, meeting with students and other interested parties at the Academie Voor Popcultuur, where Niels Aalberts, Marco Raaphorst and I talked as a group and with individuals throughout the afternoon.

Niels is an independent A&R/Manager who represents Kyteman (amazingly popular trumpeter who leads a hip hop orchestra in the Netherlands) and Marco is a composer, Creative Commons activist and sound designer for Propellerhead. Both are well-known music industry bloggers in Holland.

The session was really great, though of course, everyone had to speak in English because my Dutch extends to about four general purpose phrases, which wouldn’t have been very helpful at all.

After the session the four of us (including Lykle, who’d organised and chaired the session) went out for a drink, a look around Leeuwarden and a bite to eat for dinner. We went to a place called By Us, which served beautiful food, really amazingly presented, but really, really slowly.

I got to try a Frisian single malt whisky called Frysk Hynder, which was produced locally and was really young – only one month past the 3 years maturation required before you can call a spirit ‘whisky’. Really nice though – sherry cask, which came through a lot, a little bit salty without being peaty, and a bit of caramel to it.

Apparently, once they’ve used the casks for whisky, they go and use them again to make mustard. Haven’t heard of that practice before, but I approve.

Once our meal was finally over (delicious – but by god you’re hungry when it arrives), Lykle and I went out to catch a band – Children of 9, which was the final project of one of the Academie students.

Children of 9

Amazing stuff. Some rough edges – and I described it as a mix of Nine Inch Nails, Muse, Disturbed, Depeche Mode, Rocky Horror and the Corrs – only not so tastefully understated.

This was clearly meant to big stadium stuff, and pyrotechnics would not have been out of place. A few rough edges, but given that Robin was a techno DJ two years ago, and he programmed the beats (the best bit) and coordinated all the visuals… as well as wrote the songs, put the band together and sang lead – it’s an impressive effort.

Late home (it’s about an hour’s drive to Groningen, where I’m staying, from Leeuwarden) but a really great day. Leeuwarden’s a really attractive city. Go have a look at the photos.

…and yes, I’ve changed the blog layout again.