Arjan Hoekstra - the man behind MIRNA'S FLING Hot
Danijel Zambo 05. November 2014
'For the Love of me' is the title of the fantastic new album by MIRNA'S FLING which is going to be released on November 14th by Trollmusic. The music and arrangements really astonished me, so i decided to have a little conversation with the man behind the project.
Das InterviewDanijel (Hörspiegel): Hello Arjan, I guess you're probably pretty unknown to most of our readers so please introduce yourself and MIRNA'S FLING shortly.
Arjan: First I’d like to thank you fort the great review of my new album! Introducing Mirna’s Fling: I first started playing guitar when I was about 13 years old, and I’ve been writing songs and making albums ever since. For me it’s something natural: like a diary my music tells me who I am, where I was and where I seem to be going. I played in several bands that didn’t really work out, so I decided to release my own recordings. I made the first two albums in very limited editions and both sold out quickly. Yet I never did any promotion, so I remained quite unknown. Now that I‘ve signed with Trollmusic, I hope to be able to touch and inspire more people with my music.
I asked my friends Ingmar Regeling and Dennis Edelenbosch to accompany me on stage. This turned out so well that we we started a band together called The Good Hand.
Danijel (Hörspiegel): Congratulations to your album, I really enjoyed it a lot! One of the first questions that came to my mind is why did you re-record some of it? as far as I know you already got some really nice reviews on the first version, so why didn't you simply release that version?
Arjan: Thanks a lot! To me it simply wasn’t good enough. You see, I’m quite a perfectionist, ha-ha!. Apart from that the music has a different meaning to me now compared to when I first wrote and recorded it. Back then it were pretty dark times in which I was surrounded by negativity. In retrospect I am thankful for those times, since I learned a lot from them about myself. Because of those dark times I can appreciate lighter times a lot better now. It’s still a dark album, but I think there are more rays of light and hope shining through. The album is about who I am, not about who I was.
Danijel (Hörspiegel): I really like the variety of emotions you put into your album - to me this is far more interesting than having the same mood over and over again! It feels like a journey to me and it sounds like it took you some time to finish the album, so how long did it take you and do you remember the moods or mindsets you were in?
Arjan: Indeed the album feels like a journey to me, too. In that sense it’s almost like a concept album. I didn’t particularly intend to make an album with this amount of variety, it just sort of happened. I have little control on what I write, some of the lyrics were a mystery to me when I wrote them. Sometimes I wonder how it’s possible to write songs that I don’t understand until after I finished them. I don’t think about styles or genres, but try to be open to whatever I come up with. The best inspiration comes when I am not thinking about anything. For me there’s no boundaries in what I can or can’t do with my music.
I first finished the album in 2009. I wasn’t satisfied with it and I couldn’t listen to it. It made me feel bad and agitated. It was not until I met Thor Joakimsson of Trollmusic, that I listened to it again. He asked what the album was about, and I started writing it down song by song. It felt like the lyrics were my conscience telling me things I didn’t want to hear back then. It all fell into place and I got very enthusiastic about it. When Trollmusic offered me to release the album, I started working on it frantically. I am incredibly proud of the result.
Danijel (Hörspiegel): There are tons of instruments on 'For The Love Of Me', I guess the most surprising one is the tuba in the first song 'Misery' - really great! What kinds of instruments can we hear on the album apart from guitars and vocals and did you play and record everything by yourself?
Arjan: Yeah, I used a lot of instruments, anything I could get my hands on actually. I played everything myself. Every instrument inspires me in its own way and takes me out of my comfort zone. The bass tuba is also on the last song ‘Stranded’ as the bass instrument. I love the tuba. I play it from when I was eight years old. The biggest challenge was the accordion on the tracks ‘Misery’ and ‘Rendez-vous’. It was very hard to play. On ‘Rendez-vous’ I also used a bow on the bass guitar and on some acoustic guitars since I didn’t have a violin or cello. Most of the songs are based on an acoustic guitar or piano. 'Winter’s Breeze' is based on a Bouzouki. Other instruments are a mouth harp, a drum kit, a small old radio, I do some beat boxing (with my mouth/voice), a flute, bongos, different kinds of key-instruments and lots of vocals.
Danijel (Hörspiegel): I have just recently seen an interview with Mikael Åkerfeldt from OPETH in which he said that releasing an album for them and for many other bands has almost become an excuse to go on tour cause this is where they earn money. How important are albums for you and do you think there's a future for that format?
Arjan: To earn money I have a job in the healthcare. For me making an album has nothing to do with money or touring. I’d love to have a tour one day, and a good album might contribute to getting gigs, but an album should never be made as a means to an end in my opinion. That way you create all kinds of expectation of what the album should accomplish. I think expectations kill pure inspiration and passion. When I write music I must be free of any kind of expectation. I try not to think about what people would like or expect from me. I think I would get a ‘writer's block’ or just make bad records when I would try to make them for the wrong reasons. A lot of musicians are after acknowledgement so much that success to them is about how many albums they sell, gigs they play or about how many 'likes' they get on Facebook. To me the album is already a success since I created something true and pure of which I am proud. If no one is going to buy it, I would still be as proud of the album as I am now, no doubts. So no, I don’t think there is a future in that. I hope not anyway, I would rather earn money as an excuse to be able to record another album.
Danijel (Hörspiegel): You are also a member of THE GOOD HAND and ALVENRAD, both being very different music-wise. What's your 'job' in these bands and which is the most important project for you?
Arjan: The Good Hand is my main band. It’s hard to separate it from Mirna’s Fling since it has a lot to do with each other. I really couldn’t choose between those two. To me the music isn’t that different from each other, but I can imagine that it seems very different to you.
Alvenrad is more like a project for me. I handle the bass and some vocal parts and I will also be their live bass player. Ingmar from The Good Hand will be the studio and live drummer for their second album. They are good friends and great people. It’s an honour to be part of their music.
Danijel (Hörspiegel): It seems like you are listening to all sorts of music - would you mind telling us some of your favourites? And are there any bands or artists you discovered recently we shouldn't miss out?
Arjan: That’s a hard question. I listen to so much music, so many different styles from classical to jazz to metal to 60’s and 70’s pop and rock, prog rock, etcetera… I really wouldn’t know where to begin. I hope you don’t mind me not giving a concrete answer to this question.
Danijel (Hörspiegel): Are there any other musical projects you're involved in we should know about and what do you do besides making music?
Arjan: There’s this band called ‘Riders of the Universe’ which I am part of. It’s like a project studio band with some friends having a good time. I work in healthcare with mentally disabled adolescents. I do this work with passion as well. Apart from that I try to keep studying and learning about life and who/why I am/we are. This all keeps me inspired!
Danijel (Hörspiegel): Thanks so much for your time, Arjan, the last words are yours!
Arjan: Well, Danijel, thanks for this interview! I'm grateful for all the help and promotion I can get, and since I’m completely unknown yet, I would say to whoever digs my music: Spread the word!