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The Peace & Freedom Magazine Henk Wallays Interview
(Originally appeared in Peace & Freedom, issue 3, January, 1986)
Henk is a fine synthesizer operator from Belgium, who is one of the most prolific cassette producers, surely, from that nation. His work is mainly distributed in Holland and Belgium, and having heard a sample of his work, it's classy stuff. Henk kindly took some time off to answer the following Q's.
How many countries have your tapes appeared in?
I'm a self-taper, playing electronic music in a little recording room, in which I have a 4-track recorder. I record all titles at home, and when finished, I master them. After having listened to them several times, I decide whether I release it or not.
What is the venue scene like in Belgium?
There are only about three or four big venues over here (I mean halls for about 7-8,000 people). But a lot of little ones, with a good contact with the public. The scene is very lively.
Have synths been the only instrument you've used?
I've never played anything but synthesizer and rhythm box, but I've been working with many different people, ranging from unskilled to great jazz guitar players and drummers. My best co-operation, so far, has been with Mana Cross, from America. We are somewhere on the same musical level in terms of style and sphere.
I like to work with some angry music or very comfortable soft music. I've even done classical-like music; the track "Beethoven". Synthesizer is a very nice instrument. You can use it in many, many ways - that's what I intend to do.
Have you had much radio play?
On some local stations in Brussels and Antwerp. Any interested DJ just sends me blank tapes and I pay the postage. I'm still a student, so, financially, I couldn't cope with sending 20-30 copies around.
Does synth music go down well in your country - sales-wise?
Some bands like Front 242, 1000 Ohm and Kuruki are playing this kind of music.
Have you been more influenced my musicians from your own country than abroad?
I've been influenced by many musicians. Before music, I wrote poetry for five years, and I've done three years of local radio as a DJ. Now I'd say Front 242 and Cabaret Voltaire and also some little names like Tranquil Eyes and Clan of Xymox. I get influenced by all kinds of things. I also admire David Sylvian.
Are there a lot of synth players in Belgium and Holland?
There are, perhaps, thousands of people busy playing electronic music. During my three years I've been active, I've met people from about everywhere - the only problem is that most of them keep their music to themselves, but I'm now trying to compile a Belgian compilation tape. there is a load of hidden talent here, but unless you can make serious hit sounds, there is no way you'll even reach the few record firms here. Sad...
After so many releases, do you even sleep... seriously, what does Henk Wallays have planned for 1986?
My music doesn't let me sleep, sometimes. 1986 could be the year I cross towards vinyl. 1986 should certainly be the year to create dance music; also more vocals.
Thanks Henk. Henk has tape UNO 012 on The Black Box label.