New: Zita Swoon "Live at the Jet
Registration of an acoustic performance in the Jet Studio's (for TMF), with versions
of My Heart Belongs To Someone Else, Hot Hotter Hottest, Fun
For Free, People are like Slamming Doors, Josiewitchgirl and
Moving Through Life as Prey. >>> Buy
this EP at Proxis <<<
415 Bfr - 10,29 Euro - 9.09 $ (on
Oct 10, 2001) <<<
Zita Swoon, or Moondog Jr. which is the same band before, is the band of Stef
Kamil Carlens, the former bass-player of dEUS.
From "Every day I wear a greasy black feather on my hat" from
The predecessors of Zita Swoon existed already before dEUS, or Kiss
My Jazz (another band in which Karlens has participated) were founded. At
the time, the band of Stef Kamil Carlens was called "SKC Moondog". They
didn't release any material under that name.
A second name for the group was "A Beatband", who released "Jintro
travels the word in a skirt". The musicians that perform on the album are
different for every song, but Klaas Janszoons and Jules de Borgher who later also
became part of dEUS were among them. This CD has remained fairly obscure.
It wasn't until the sudden breakthrough of dEUS and
their contract with Virgin England that the group of Carlens was to gain some
fame. In 1995 he got a chance to record a full album for the same record company,
this time under the name "Moondog Jr.".
A pre-release single "TV Song / Moondog"
was released and the group performed these songs on MTV's Most Wanted. A bit later
the album "Everyday I wear a greasy black feather on my hat"
and a second single "Jintro & The Great
Luna" followed. In the reviews, of course the parallel with dEUS gets
mentioned quite often, but there's also a lot of talk about the similarities with
Tom Waits' music. Is it a coincidence that the album was produced by Michael Blair,
who earned his fame through his work with Elvis Costello and Tom Waits.
The album made quite an impression and brings them e.a. to the stage of the
Pinkpop Festival in Holland.
In 1996, Stef Kamil Carlens decided to leave dEUS (the reasons being : some dissatisfaction
with his role in dEUS, some dissatisfaction with Island who were putting Moondog
Jr back and the fact that playing in two successful bands was taking too much
of him). However, he still occasionally performs with the group on stage and even
on the album "In a bar under the sea". In his own words "he's still
a big fan of dEUS".
In 1997, the group was compelled to change it's name because a blues artist
(Louis Hardin, an American blues musician who performs in Germany under his artist
name Moondog) had some complaints about the similarity of their names. Stef changed
it to Zita Swoon (Zita = intense, Swoon = desire). When the "original"
Moondog, died in 2000, Zita Swoon didn't change their name back again.
The first release of the newly named band is "Music for Sunrise",
the music for an old silent movie (Sunrise - A Tale of Two Cities, by F.W. Murnau)
that was composed by the band and performed live in 1996. A single "Couldn't
she get drowned" is also released.
Two members of the group (Benjamin Boutreur and Tom Pintens) also enjoy quite
a bit of success with their own group Flowers For Breakfast.
The first one left both bands in 1998, to go form the swinging mambo big band
El Tattoo del Tigre.
In 1998, the band receives a couple of ZAMU-awards, signs a record deal with
Warner and released the album "I paint pictures on a wedding dress",
a phenomenal album recorded in New Orleans. Preceded by the Jeff Buckley-ode "Song
for a dead singer",
the album got a very good reception in Belgium and Holland. In the first release,
the album was accompanied by another free CD called "The Sound Hobbyist"
with 9 extra tracks, apparently because the band was not completely satisfied
with the way producer Malcolm Burn had done his job.
In 1999, the band also received quite a big thankyou from the Flemish government
for their "artistic merits" : after dEUS (who were awarded the title
"Cultural ambassador of Flanders) in 1998, Zita Swoon has also found the
way to the money-vault. The group was awarded a grant under the new Flemish musicbill.
The group from Antwerp received 1,5 million BEF. Manager Teddy Hillaert reacted
to the news of the government decision in Het Nieuwsblad "This is a mighty
precedent : the members of the group realize that their responsibility is huge.
If they don't do well, other rock-groups won't receive a dime the next time round
(in 2002). We have an obligation towards the others to make something out of it".
In February, the song "About The Successful
Emotional Recovery of a Gal Named Maria" was the second single of
the album, in May "My Bond with You And Your
Planet DISCO!" the third one. The last track - performed live in a medley
with seventies and eighties cover - even got Zita Swoon into the hitparades for
a short while here in Belgium, and was elected "song of the year" by
Humo & Zamu. There was also a remix-album of the track, with contributions
by artists such as Dead Man Ray, Starflam
& Soulwax). A tour in smaller concert
halls gave them a reputation that made the organizers of festivals as diverse
as Pinkpop, Dranouter and Werchter sign them for the summer.
The group (or at least Stef, Bjorn & Aarich) then started touring with "Plage
Tattoo", a music & dance & theater play in association with Les Ballets
C de la B. As the bio says "It is an energetic fusion of the raw, exhibitionistic
dance style of Augustijnen and Okano and the fragmentary, melancholy songs of
Zita Swoon. With this project the band confirm that they cannot be consigned to
the pop world. The bridge to other art forms is firmly in place: their sound also
lends itself to theatre, film and dance.", although most of the attention
went to a (female) underwear-wearing Stef Kamil on the stage. A CD "Plage
Tattoo / Circumstances" with impressions (not really "songs"
as such) of the play came out in 2000.
In 2001, it was time yet again for a "less experimental" album. The
band hired the theater hall Ringtheater, decorated it with skulls, wolves and
rabbits (which would also be the cover theme of the album), and set up a complete
recording studio in this temporary setting. The result of this endeavour was "Life
= A Sexy Sanctuary", the aim to make a "sexy pop album". This
time, they did it without a producer (soundengineer Karel De Backer took on that
role). This aim was most obvious in the singles than came out before the release
"Hot Hotter Hottest", and
just after "The Bananaqueen"
(with an impressive 3D-art video). The album itself gathered very positive reactions,
although most reviewers thought it was not quite up to the level of the (in hindsight
better and better) "Pictures on a Wedding Dress".
The band of course did also a tour to promote the album, and earned a closing
spot at the Werchter Festival (which made Stef Kamil Carlens - this time with
a red David Bowie anno 1970 hairdo - the artist who has most often performed on
a Werchter stage).
In September 2001, a third single from the album came out, the less exuberant
"My Heart belongs to someone else (I
which it was mine)", and October they released a live-session, which
was recorded in the Jet Studio in Brussels, as a CD in a deal with music tv-chain
- Stef Kamil Carlens (guitar, bass, vocals ...)
- Benjamin Boutreur / Bjorn Ericksson (sax, piano ...)
- Aarich Jespers (drums, percussion)
- Tom Pintens (vocals, keyboards)
- Tomas de Smet (bass etc..)
- Piet Jorens (percussion)
- Klaas Janszoons
- etc etc ...
Buy CD's of this band at
- A Beatband "Jintro travels the word in a skirt" (EP, 1993, Bang!)
- Moondog Jr. "Every day I wear a greasy black feather on my hat" -
- Music inspired by Sunrise (Play it again Sam!, 1997)
- I paint pictures on a wedding dress (Warner Bros, 1998 - the first pressing
came with a mini-cd "The Sound Hobbyist")
- Disco! Adventures (WEA, 1999 - remixes
of My Bond .. Disco!)
- Plage Tattoo / Circumstances (Chicaree
- WEA, 2000)
- Life = A Sexy Sanctuary (WEA, 2001)
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