Dendermonde was founded in 2012 by Frederik Heuvinck (aka A Brand), Maarten Van Cauwenberghe (aka Babyjohn), Tom de Weerdt (aka DJ Low and founder of the Lowlands label) and actor Diederik Peeters. n 2014, after only a few gigs, De Weerdt stepped out not only of the band but also, sadly, of life. Teuk Henry replaced him on guitar.
Initially Dendermonde live show were rare, perhaps only one a year, which invariably proved legendary. However, Peeters also left the band, he says, because of the infernal rhythm and the rehearsal schedule of Dendermonde.
Then came the idea for Into the Open: a concert that would also be a dance performance. Everything became different.
Into The Open was created during 2021 as music for Lisbeth Gruwez/Voetvolk’s dance performance of the same name. While scores for dance often arise in response to choreography, these songs were there first. Yet in their seminal form. Blijweert (who replaced Henry because he can dance better), Heuvinck and Van Cauwenberghe developed a number of bass-drum-guitar structures on which Lisbeth Gruwez and the dancers built the performance. Together they looked for a new form. Something like a rock concert mutating with contemporary dance. With tight, repetitive and especially loud music that gave all the space to a wild, challenging movement language. And with musicians who merged with the dance.
It became a very exciting show. Literally: sexy. On February 24, 2022, she was given the honor of reopening the Brussels Ancienne Belgique after the grueling COVID period. Audiences and press reacted frenziedly. “An LSD trip from heaven” wrote De Morgen. Passages followed in Marseille, Amsterdam, Oslo and at the Marquee of Pukkelpop, among others.
After a first tour – the show is still playing – Dendermonde thought it was time to go into the studio and record an album. That has always been the plan. Not to capture the live performance but to utilise the studio to further explore the compositions sonically. To put production on it, so to speak. None other than Dan Lacksman of (among others) Telex was behind the controls, at his famous SynSound studios in Brussels. Into The Open – the record – is therefore the next adventure in this project.
Heuvinck’s almost machine-like yet veined rhythm lays the foundations. It is reinforced by the playful, effective bass of Van Cauwenberghe, who also plays the synths. Around this, Blijweert conjures a different atmosphere from his guitar for each song: from rarefied cosmos (Bruno) to unadulterated roughness (the opener Sam) – and just about everything in between.
The longer pieces, the new single Gunther and Ducheyne, show the strongest influences of Can, Neu! and other kraut. They build slowly, continue imploringly, swelling to an inescapable climax, with Blijweert in an epic role. The shorter ones, like the infectious first single Fons or the exuberant Danny, lean closer to Chemical Brothers’ electro or even punk. They explode immediately. Yet all the songs are part of the same universe. A rhythm-driven body rock (self-coined term, not to be taken entirely au sérieux) that both trances and sets the body in motion. With Into The Open, Dendermonde prepares a new vital brew from several decades of exhilarating music (70’s, 90’s…) in an equally intelligent and intuitive way.
Elko Blijweert: Guitar
Fred Heuvinck: Drums
Maarten Van Cauwenberghe: Bass