Sunday, September 2, 2007

Interview with Boss Van Trigt of The Upsessions

The Upsessions are one of those bands that seem to come out of nowhere and hit you like freight train. They hit that reggae sound with such an infectious groove that you can't help but move your feet. In their short time together, they have already made a name for themselves. With an album out on Moon Ska World and a tight group of top notch musicians, they are definitely a force to be reckoned with.

We had some questions for them, and their singer/guitarist Boss Van Trigt was good enough to sit down and answer them.

1. So tell us, who make up The Upsessions and where do you come from?

It was Giel, our trombone player, who had the first idea. he was playing in a Dutch ska-punk band called 'the Hardheid'. He was having a good time with them,
but had the deep wish to form a ' skinhead reggae' band. I knew about his idea, 'cause he told me, but I was busy playing with the top Dutch ska act 'Rude Rich and the Highnotes'. Giel kept on calling me and asking me to start up a ' skinhead reggae' band with him, and his enthusiastic ideas made me decide to collaborate.
He searched for the right musicians, I started to write new songs. In a week, everything was set up. Giel brought the right musicians: Ron was exactly the drummer we were searching for. He just had it, played the right beats and was really one of the best reggae drummers around. Stijn shared our obsessions for dirty organ sounds and he came in.
With Bart, a great solo/picking guitar player and Peter as the bassman ( electric and double bass!!) the puzzle was complete. The first song we played was ' Jackie Miller Down'
and after that song, we all knew that we had just started a great thing.
We all come from around Amsterdam, except for Giel, he lives in Rotterdam, so he has to make a long train ride for every rehearsal.

2. It looks like theres allot of great Ska and Reggae coming out of Holland. What do you think it is about this small country that produces such great music?

It's true. Holland is way too small for all those ska bands, that's why a lot of them drive to Germany, where the scene is bigger. If we would only play in Holland, we would just play 10 shows a year. But I think Holland has got a great ska history, with acts that are known all over Europe, like Mr.Review, Mark Foggo, Rude rich and the Highnotes and the Beatbusters. I really don't know why it's just Holland that produces so many ska bands, while the scene is so small.

3. How would you describe your music?

I would describe it as ' Skinhead reggae' or ' early reggae'. That's the main thing, but we play some ska, soul, funk, rocksteady and reggae too.

4. What would you say are some of the strongest musical influences for The Upsessions?

We all love the old Jamaican acts like Derrick Morgan, Prince Buster, Desmond Dekker, Jackie Mittoo, Bob Marley, Laurel Aitken, Winston Wright, The Pioneers, and .The Ethiopians. And we share a big passion for Lee Perry. We love all his organ work, 'cause it's so bad. You got to have a lot of courage to bring out organ stuff like that.
But next to that, we all love soul ( James Brown, Marvin Gaye and so on), old funk ( the Funk Brothers), trad. ska ( Skatalites), calypso and so on.

5. How long did you guys work on the album New Heavyweight Champion? And how has it been received so far?

I think from the start 'till the end it was something like 6 or 7 months. As we are all working guys, we all just had the weekends to record stuff, we had no shows. Besides that we recorded it by ourselves, not in a studio. We had an 8 track tape recorder and some very cheap gear, and a lot of gear died during our recordings
so it was fun, but also difficult to do. It's been received very well, we had good reviews from Holland, Germany, the UK and France. One review said all our songs could have been from a Duke Reid sampler. To read things like that, is great.

6. How did you get hooked up with Moon Ska World?

In the old, traditional way; We just send them a demo-CD, then we received a letter, that they wanted to offer us a record deal. To be on Moon Ska CD is fantastic, when we were young, we used to buy Moon CDs. It really is a highlight in our career

7.It looks like you've been quite busy spreading your sound. Are there any places where you really enjoy performing, and why?

Well, in my time with Rude Rich, we used to do a lot of international shows, and I loved it. That's why I started thinking internationally immediately. As said before, the scene in Holland is great, but small. You gotta move to Germany or France now and then to play at big festivals. The best place to perform until now was the Potsdammer Ska festival in Germany. It's a two day ska festival in Potsdam, near Berlin. It's strange to see all these people singing our lyrics exactly. Memories like that are fantastic!

8. Are there any bands from Holland we should look out for?

I saw you found the J-stars already, big friends of ours, great up tempo ska band. Also we got Juicebox, the best Dutch soul/popcorn band. Outside Holland we all love the Big from the UK and the Moon invaders from Belgium

9.What's next for The Upsessions?

It's the recording thing we all love to do. We got so many songs to record, many bad organ versions to make. We all got a big obsession for very bad organ tunes. Tunes that make people think why they were ever recorded, hahahaha, we love that. We just don't wanna take it all too serious. Also we want to make a complete rocksteady album, with just lovers tunes on it, as well as a complete organ album, and maybe a ska EP. Enough plans for the future, hope we can find the time for all this.
And we got some big festivals we'd like to play all over Europe.

For more on The Upsessions, please visit these sites:
Upsessions website
The Upsessions on Myspace
Moon Ska World

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