The Writing Disorder



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“Music is the one incorporeal entrance into the higher
world of knowledge which comprehends mankind
but which mankind cannot comprehend."
                                                            —Ludwig van Beethoven

nooten      nooten2      nooten3

      Pieter Nooten has been making extraordinary music since the 1980’s. His style and sound has undergone several transformations—not all of them he embraced. But Pieter Nooten has a unique vision. His music provides the listener with a lush, atmospheric soundscape, as well as a soothing, cerebral experience. Pieter’s music embodies a variety of genres—ambient, ethereal, alternative—creating a mood-driven aesthetic that is both contemplative and harmonic.

      Nooten started his musical career in Amsterdam in the late 1970s, as a drummer in a local rock band. But he quickly learned to play bass guitar and keyboards, joining several different bands in the area. His first major success came with Clan of Xymox, a group who enjoyed a large following in the ‘80s and ‘90s, and gained cult status as a gothic band along with other 4AD artists like Cocteau Twins and Dead Can Dance. The band was made up of Ronny Moorings, Anke Wolbert and Nooten, and together they created some amazing dark and seductive music including the self-titled album “Clan of Xymox,” and their gothic masterpiece “Medusa” in 1986.

      Nooten later collaborated with Michael Brook on the classic album “Sleeps with the Fishes,” and worked on the “Blood” album for This Mortal Coil. In 1989, Xymox released “Twist of Shadows.” Despite their success, Nooten left the band in 1990 to explore new musical directions. In 1995, Nooten teamed up with Anke again, after she left Xymox. And in 2004, Anke and Nooten produced Sophie Zeyl’s debut album “Two Ways of Running.” When he finished that project, Pieter started producing and remixing the material for his solo album “Ourspace.”

      A few weeks ago, Pieter was kind enough to answer a few questions about the release of his new album “Here is why.” He is extremely passionate about his work, and hopes people will enjoy the new album as much as he enjoyed making it. Pieter still lives in Amsterdam.

Writing Disorder: What have you been working on, and how long have you been at it?

Pieter: I have just released a new album "Here is Why" on and have been working on video background material for the live performances with Miryam, my girlfriend and muse. Also I am rehearsing with Yvette, a great female singer and Lucas a young but fantastic cello player.

WD: What was the process like?

Pieter: Completely different than any project I have worked on before. This time I have composed, mixed, arranged and produced all the music on a single MacBook Pro, without the use of any outboard gear or musicians. It was an intense, sometimes sobering and lonely process. But also, the music has come out exactly as I wanted. And now that I'm getting very satisfactory reviews, it feels better then anything in the world you can imagine.

WD: What's the theme of your latest work?

Pieter: I set out to produce an album that was not inspired by anything but my own taste in music. An ego document I guess, but not a self-absorbed or pedantic one. I wanted to get something across. What that is, precisely? I am not sure. What I do know is that composing this kind of music is the only way in which I can express that type of urge. When people pick this up, understand the work and enjoy it the way I do, I have reached my goal. What I do know is that I want to create a sort of sanctuary, just a tiny bit of peace of mind, calm and serenity in a chaotic and violent world.

WD: How has music changed for you in the last ten years?

Pieter: Music is everywhere—more than ever in the entire history of humanity—which is fantastic but also confusing to most people. So they let others decide what their musical tastes should be. Marketing and propaganda, ruled by the laws of money, enforces mediocrity upon us. Pop music is probably the most boring genre of music there is, but it is instantly satisfying. Even though a polyphonous composition from the 13th century has more excitement, variation and depth than a pop tune, we love the directness of it. I think now, as pop music has no further grounds to conquer, it should try to express a bit more than one single feeling or emotion and dig a bit deeper.

WD: What are your feelings about your time in Clan of Xymox?

Pieter: I was young and could not really comprehend everything that went on around me. Still, it was very exciting and I wouldn't have wanted to miss one single moment.

WD: Are you a good collaborator, or better working on your own?

Pieter: I'm afraid I work best on my own. But I love feedback and some sort of (mental) guidance in the process.

WD: Any rituals or superstitions going into the studio?

Pieter: No. I go in when I feel I have to.

WD: What do you listen to today, and what influences your music?

Pieter: Again, I do not listen to music that much. I play Bach on my ipod shuffle when I am jogging in the park and occasionally I look something up on youtube. I am not a music consumer. I rather keep myself busy writing music myself.

WD: What is one of your favorite music memories?

Pieter: When I was younger I used to go concerts a lot. That was great. Also festivals and even house parties later on. Since some twenty or so years, I have gotten older and am not as easily impressed. I do not like the younger bands that copy the exhausted '60s, '70s, '80s or even '90s sounds, but I also do not hear anything new. So I tend to listen to classical music, and now and then even contemporary electronical avant-garde. Just to get that tiny bit of excitement back.

WD: Thanks very much for taking the time to do this.

Pieter: It was a pleasure. Greatz from Amsterdam.

To listen to samples of Pieter Nooten's new music, click here.Here is Why

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