An interview with Chris Janssen: Many new young blues bands are developing in the Netherlands

May25,2024 #Blues #Guitarist #Photos #Scene

How do you think that you have grown as an artist since you first started making music? What has remained the same about your music-making process?

Actually, there is only one answer to that, once you have as a musician a passion for music, you grow as an artist. Not a day goes by that I don’t touch my guitar. And most important I think is to play live as much as you can. And communicate with other musicians about different types of music styles. The passion to keep learning and always looking for new challenges. It is an ongoing process that automatically finds his way.

Who are some of your very favorite artists or rather, what musicians have continued to inspire you and your music?

My first favorite artists are Buddy Guy, Sonny Boy Williamson, Luther Allison and a lot of Chicago blues players. Later on, for example, the Allman Brothers Band and Little Feat. At the moment I listen a lot to guitar players as John Scofield, Joe Satriani, Scott Henderson, Robben Ford, Matt Schofield and Warren Haynes. Too many to mention.

Currently you’ve one more release titled “Over The Years 2000-2020″. How did your relationship with the Blues come about?

The relationship with the blues started when I was 14 years old. My friend played the blues harp and was a singer. I played on the guitar the first chords, E/A/B. We both had long hair and we played at private parties.

Do you have any interesting stories about your Blues experiences… over the years?

I still remember the first time I was on stage. The hall was full of chairs and no dancing was allowed. I stood with my back to the audience more than I looked into the hall, 40 years ago. A great experience was the support-act of John Mayall in the Netherlands. We shared the dressing room with John and he gave me some music advice. And to my great surprise, he even helped with our equipment. In my first band I played the song ‘Looking Back’. Of John Mayall’s album ‘Looking Back’ released august 1969 by Decca Records. Another highlight was the support-act of Canned Heat in Luxembourg. We shared also the dressing room. Great guys! I always listened to the song ‘Goin’ Up the Country’. Released October 1968, Liberty Records, on Canned Heat’s third album “Living The Blues”.

What’s the balance in music between technique and soul? Why is it important to we preserve and spread the blues?

That’s the feel and groove in combination with the accent moments.

There is a lot to read about the history of the blues. And it sounds cliché, but blues is the ultimate emotional music of its kind and of course indispensable.

Do you think there is an audience for blues music in its current state? or at least a potential for young people to become future audiences and fans?

I am convinced that there is potential audience for the blues. Both for the older generation but certainly for the young new generation. Many new young blues bands are developing in the Netherlands. The problem is that there are far too few locations for bands to performing live.

How do you prepare for your recordings and performances to help you maintain both spiritual and musical stamina?

Preparing for recordings has many facets. Two important topics. The first one is good and many rehearsals. Secondly, I write everything out in chords and lyrics. I think those two combinations are essential. I prepare extensively for my performances and take all the time. Both business and logistics. Good food, no alcohol and a good night’s sleep. And in the afternoon, I start loading my equipment in a slow/easy pace into my car. I prefer to drive to the gig alone.

From the musical and feeling point of view is there any difference between the old cats Bluesmen and the new generation of blues musicians?

From a technical musical point of view, I would say that with today’s modern resources the sound has improved. A diversity of sounds, studios & producers. And the development of the instruments themselves. I don’t see much difference from an emotional point of view between the old blues musicians and the new generation. Once you have the passion for the blues, that feeling remains regardless of your age.

What are some of the most important lessons you have learned from your experience in the music paths?

Wonderful to think about this question. Not the first time! Try to make your dream a reality at an early stage. Give your passion plenty of room to realize your plan and look for the right musicians. And maintain the feeling that there is a constant development in your goal. Do what you do best. I started a bit late although I wanted to become a professional musician from the age of sixteen.

What is the impact of music on the socio-cultural implications? How do you want to affect people?

Music, blues or not, is art and culture. Some songs you have written give people a certain feeling and experience and with other songs you try to share the lyrics as well. You always have something to say. With my music I try to contribute to a free and carefree society. A musical ideology that is never finished. But most of all, let people enjoy our music!

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