More than a year after her debut single "True Love Is Tough", Sarah
- or Sarah De Koster as goes her name in full - finally has a first album out.
"The State I'm In" is a pleasant one, 49 minutes long it takes you to
poprock atmospheres with distinct influences from singer-songwriters such as Sheryl
Crow and Bonnie Rait, clearly Sarah's personal favorites. Frontmagazine racked
up the minidiscrecorder and took Sarah aside for a short conversation.
Sarah: Well have you ever : the drummer and I have exactly the same minidiscrecorder.
He even taped a drum part at a gig with it.
FM: What would your dad say! (father De Koster is the boss of SABAM-Leuven).
You're probably a more popular figure at parties than your dad, no ?
Sarah: (smiles) The man is just doing his job, the same as you can't park your
car without putting coins in the meter. Some people even think my whole career
started because of my dad's position, but that has no truth in it.
FM: Your cd is called "The State I'm in". Tell me, what state
are you in at the moment?
Sarah: I am really glad. Even more so because I've just heard that the sales are
going very well and that full-cd has been something I had been looking forward
to for a very long time. I'm very happy it's finally there. I feel perfect.
FM: You're being touted by EMI as the newest "woman in rock" of
Flanders. How do you see that?
Sarah: I see myself as something new, there's no-one in Belgium that's comparable
to us. I want to be liked by a big audience, so the expectations are quite high.
In September or October we also want to try it abroad. I stress "try",
because it won't be easy competing with stars such as Alanis Morisette, Sheryl
Crow and many others. It'll be tough, but we're going to try it.
As a told my mom just a little while ago, I'm a realistic person, I won't "float"
easily. I know it won't be easy, especially in this genre of music, but I won't
give in easily. This is what I wanted and I stick with it. Who wants to do business
with me will have to take that into account.
FM: Your mother told us that she had listened to the cd in one go. You've
made it easy on her by choosing 14 short poprock songs, no?
Sarah: I think only 2 songs clock under two minutes, the others are three or four.
I like that. On Alanis' most recent cd there are 19 songs, and long ones too,
and in the end that gets quite boring. Better to have 14 short but good songs
instead of 19 long tracks. I think that the people will find the songs varied
and not boring at all.
FM: You have surrounded yourself with people that know their way with writing
songs. In how far does their work represent your own tastes?
Sarah: Mark Vanhie has intruduced all the
songs to me, and he knowns perfectly what I want, which style, what lyrics etc
... I have never had to refuse a song by him so far. There are 13 songs by him
on the album and I had no doubts about any of them.
The only thing that had me worried so far was Marktrock, because there was an
awful lot riding on that gig. Normally I'm quite a cool, calm & collected
person, but I got quite a rush of adrenaline there!
FM: You're still attending school, but I bet you don't spend a lot of time
behind your books?
Sarah: But I want to pass this year! Perhaps this is not my ultimate goal, but
I want to graduate.
FM: You've been busy in music for quite a while now, in the beginning in
the Soundmix-show. How do you look back on that? Would you do that again ?
Sarah: I've been asked that question before today, and I think that if I hadn't
won, I wouldn't have continued with it. Because once you get to the final, the
people already know about you, so what's the use of trying it a second time? For
me it has been a very positive experience. It certainly was the trampoline for
what I'm doing right now.
FM: The A&R manager of EMI told that he didn't like you at first...
Sarah: He has exaggerated that a bit, because a lot of record firms were jealous
of my contract with EMI even before I had won.
FM: Was Eurosong as mistake? You were "the odd one out" there,
to put it mildly.
Sarah: It wasn't a promotion stunt. We got the proposition and I didn't take it
at first. They asked us again and summed up the pro's and the con's. I have made
my conditions clear. It had to be a nice song that was in "my line".
Perhaps it was not a Eurosong-song, but I liked that track. Of course I wanted
to win, everybody took part with the intention to win.
In hindsight it's perhaps good we haven't won, because it's so dangerous. You
risk being thrown in to a big junkyard. But, I'm sure Belgium will do pretty good
There was no hate-relationship with Eurosong at all, except for one contestant
who was acting rather hypocrital about the whole thing ("Get ready for the
sunsand" by Alana Dante was blasting from the speakers at this time). And
I didn't use no Pro-Tools, I don't need that!
FM: So now you are in the "public domain". Doesn't that frighten
Sarah: Well, that's just a part of the job we do. And I'm pretty sure they won't
have much to gossip about. As long as the junkpress doesn't start making up the
gossip themselves, all will be ok. I want the people to like me for what I am.
This interview was done
by and appears with
kind permission of
April 15, 1999.
"The State I'm In"
EMI Belgium, 1999
True Love is Tough
Round and round
The state I'm in
Melrose in the morning
Will he care
My world changed
Hard to be happy
He's the one