Timo de Jong - Blue Violet - Allison Forbes
Timo de Jong has just released his track 'Dawdle'. This is the title track of his new EP, which is also where he collaborates for the first time with a producer, Thomas Olivier (Hackensaw Boys, among others). Before the corona pandemic, Timo played more than 100 shows a year, but in recent times he has been forced to focus on what he does very well; writing new songs.
When asked about this new project, Timo says: “This EP means a lot to me, because it is the first time that I have really been able to let go of things during the process. Working with Thomas has not changed my sound, but improved and refined it. I believe that I have experienced great growth.”
Over the past year, Timo de Jong and producer Thomas Olivier have worked on the music together, from the demo to the entire end product. A certain sound has been deliberately chosen with an appreciation for a warm and natural sounding production. For example, all vocals were recorded live and with a microphone from the 1950s.
Timo de Jong is an authentic musician who lives for live performances, of which he has already performed more than 600. That includes three successful tours through England, and performances in Germany and Belgium. Whether it's an intimate living room concert or a band performance in a pop hall, Timo does his thing, and that thing is: making good music. In 2021 he participated in the 'Hit The North' program, a talent development program in collaboration with Eurosonic, among others.
He makes his music to arise, to tell and to heal. In doing so, he takes experiences of himself and those around him, in order to write a universal and appealing text about them. Behind the scenes, Timo de Jong has been refining, improving and crystallizing his music for a number of years. He moved from folk to rock 'n' roll, eventually arriving at Americana.
Blue Violet - Halo.
Offering one final glimpse into their debut album ‘Late Night Calls’ — set for release on 29 April 2022 — “Halo” is a climactic new cut that builds to a colossal conclusion. Dealing with the anxiety of leaving your comfort zone and surrendering to something new, “Halo” stirs to life as a delicate and dynamic ballad before building into a theatrical and thumping expanse that blends tender vocal harmonies with wall-of-sound instrumentals.
Touching on a range of influences plucked from literature including the fabled river Styx from Greek mythology and Murakami’s surrealist novel ‘Hard Boiled Wonderland’ and even nods to the far-out fantasy of Jim Henson’s ‘Labyrinth’, “Halo” deftly blends the real with the surreal and boasts Sam and Sarah Gotley’s breadth as writers as much as instrumentalists.
Speaking of the track’s creation, the husband and wife duo explain: “Like ‘Labyrinth’, in the song it feels like there’s a woman lost in another place and a man who rules over it. In most of our writing there is a narrative that runs throughout and provides a metaphorical theme. In this case we really did have this surreal vision of an underworld in our heads when we wrote it, and we tried to make the music match by adding in things like key changes and a bridge that was completely different sonically to the rest of the song. But it is also figurative for how it feels to willingly surrender yourself to something new; something dark that takes you out of your comfort zone. People tend to shy away from moments like that in life, although they often provide us with extremely profound experiences.”
Two years ago Tamworth-bred country artist Allison Forbes had the world at her feet. Her debut album Bonedigger - produced by Oz country legend Shane Nicholson - had come out in early-2020 to near universal acclaim, debuting at #1 on the ARIA Australian Country charts.
It was the second highest-selling independent record across all genres in that heady first week, with Forbes’ distinctive take on outlaw Americana near omnipresent on country radio, topping numerous radio charts in the process.
It’s hard to imagine things going better for the mould-breaking singer-songwriter - Forbes and Bonedigger would go on to score four prestigious Golden Guitar nominations at the 2021 Tamworth Country Music Festival, and be voted Most Popular Female Artist at the 2020 Independent Country Music Awards - but then… the COVID pandemic struck.
Instead of Forbes being able to hit the road and consolidate the hard-fought traction she’d achieved withBonedigger - connecting with her existing audience and winning over new fans with her captivating live show - the country plunged into lockdown and the hard-fought momentum began slowly ebbing away.
Such immeasurably poor timing would have justifiably broken many artists, but instead Forbes doubled down and poured her heart and soul into what would become her brilliant second album, Dead Men Tell No Tales. It’s a collection which hones and magnifies Forbes’ indubitable talent to create an album conceived in and forged by adversity, yet which transcends its tough-times genesis courtesy the stunning empathy and compassion which floods through these beautifully-rendered tales of loss and grief.
“It was really an album that I didn’t know that I needed to make until I wrote the songs, and even now looking back on it I didn’t realise how relevant it was going to be,” Forbes admits. “Everyone was experiencing a lot of loss, including myself. I lost one of my best friends fairly early during the pandemic - I’ve also dedicated the album to him - and I think that loss tied in with a lot of other confusion, and a bit of angst as well. There’s a muse that’s a common thread through the songs.