This article is part of The Avant-Guardian no. 8.
KRAAK’s exploration in what’s happening currently in underground music — aka the concert series Yung Sheikhs — presents an true youngsters edition with the finest and hottest acts in noisy post-punk, Finnish exoticotronic and Brussels synth melancholia.
JB I bought your 7” because Emmanuel Gonay got mentioned in the liner notes. He must be my favourite guitar player.
eve decampo: What a shame, I did not even know that Emmanuel was playing guitar! When I see him we always talk about printed matter.
JB Capelo is a duo. How did the two of you meet?
michael nyarwaya: We met in art school. We had friends in common. We figured out that we lived really close to each other so we begun to hang out, and one day…
ED In fact we both grew up in the same neighborhood, in Jette.
JB How long have you been making music together?
MN We started out 3 years ago, as a trio, but that didn’t work out, so we continued as a duo. It works since then.
JB Is the 7” on Lexi Disques your first release?
MN Yes it is.
JB Do you have more songs than the two songs on this single?
MN Of course we have more than two tracks.
ED For the moment, when we play live, we play eight songs.
JB Which role do the two songs on this 7” play in your setlist?
ED We don’t play ‘Danse Des Nénuphars’ anymore at concerts. ‘Utrecht’ and ‘Danse Des Nénuphars’ are magnificent ghosts from Capelo’s first time, crystallized on these wonderful small objects that are 7"s. Now we slowly fade on to something else …
JB What does the song ‘Utrecht’ have to do with Utrecht?
MN The title comes from a conversation we had. Eve told me about her holiday with her boyfriend in Utrecht.
JB On Discogs, you mention ‘synth-pop’ as genre. Accurate?
MN Accurate? I’m not sure if it’s accurate. It’s a bit of a struggle to find out what kind of genre we actually do. We choose this by default. When we put this tag on our music it was not really to refer to synth-pop, I mean the historical genre. ‘Synth’, it’s just because we use synthesizers, cheap ones. And ‘pop’, well, it may be to point to the fact that it’s simple, straightforward and naïve, with big emotional vibes to it. It also reminds me of a conversation we had where we wanted our music to look like candies.
JB What would your definition of ‘pop’ be?
ED For me all that is generous, clear, easy and funny or emo and free is pop. This tree over there is pop, just like spaghetti bolognaise, everything we meet and understand as humans. I’m not good when I have to assign a genre but I’m secretly relieved and proud that people qualify us as pop.
JB ‘Danse Des Nénuphars’ reminds me of James Ferraro around 2010: a slick version of 80s pop, made by someone who’s too young to have experienced this music first hand.
MN Ferraro did a lecture in our school. Ferraro’s influence is not intentional but obvious nevertheless. Hmm, to me ‘Nénuphars’, it’s a bit of a spooky tune. I don’t want to be geeky or something but people who speak about Ferraro refer to Jacques Derrida, the French philosopher. I didn’t get all of it but his notion of ‘ghost’ tell that manifestations of the past haunt the present. So maybe the track was like invoking a trace. We just wanted to express something blurry, not really spotted. Unconsciously it took this form. I don’t know why but to me, it’s like a old perfume ad song.
— Joeri Bruyninckx