Hooverphonic are a Belgian band who initially became known for their moody, playful take on trip-hop during the mid-'90s. Since then, the band's sound has evolved greatly, incorporating psychedelic, pop, and orchestral elements. The group's songs have appeared in numerous advertisements as well as film and television soundtracks, and they have a considerable fan base throughout the world. However, they are superstars in their native Belgium; starting with 1998's Blue Wonder Power Milk, all of their albums (including compilations and live recordings) have hit the Top Ten of the album charts, and five of them have reached the top spot.
Initially known as Hoover, the group was founded in 1995 by Alex Callier, Frank Duchêne, and Raymond Geerts. The band cut its first demo with singer Esther Lybeert, and industrial musician Luc Van Acker (Revolting Cocks, Lords of Acid) encouraged the group to shop its music to record labels. Eventually the group signed with Sony, but Lybeert decided to leave the group, so Liesje Sadonius became Hoover's vocalist for the recording of their first album. Hoover made their initial splash contributing the song "2Wicky" (an eerie trip-hop number sampling both Pierre Henry and Isaac Hayes) to the soundtrack of the 1996 Bernardo Bertolucci film Stealing Beauty. The hit was followed by the full-length A New Stereophonic Sound Spectacular, a trippy album filled with breakbeats and samples. By the time the album was issued in America in 1997, the group had changed its name to Hooverphonic in order to avoid confusion with other bands titled Hoover, as well as the American vacuum cleaner manufacturer.
Sadonius left Hooverphonic a short time later, as she was uninterested in touring, and she was replaced by 18-year-old vocalist Geike Arnaert in time to record 1998's Blue Wonder Power Milk. Less eccentric than their debut, the album proved to be a success, with multiple songs featuring in films and advertisements even a decade after the album's release. Duchêne left Hooverphonic, leaving them a trio for 2000's The Magnificent Tree. The disc was even more accessible, and a bigger hit, reaching number two on the Belgian charts. The group wrote the theme song for that year's European Football Championship, which took place in Brussels. They then released the concept album Hooverphonic Presents Jackie Cane, which became their first number one. This was followed by Sit Down and Listen to Hooverphonic, an album recorded live with an orchestra but without an audience. No More Sweet Music, a double CD including a remix disc, was released in 2005.
In 2007 they signed with the powerhouse Belgian indie PIAS to release the psychedelic-influenced album The President of the LSD Golf Club, but shortly after its release, Arnaert left the band to pursue a solo career. Undeterred, the band began the search for a replacement. After receiving thousands of applications from all over the world, they finally decided on a young Belgian woman, Noémie Wolfs, who had almost no previous musical experience. Their first album with Wolfs on vocals, entitled The Night Before, was issued in 2010. The album's title track became their highest-charting single yet, reaching number three on the Belgian chart. The release also marked their return to Sony, as well as their shift toward a more mainstream adult contemporary sound.
In 2012, the group released Hooverphonic with Orchestra, which contained newly arranged recordings of previous hits, as well as a cover of Massive Attack's classic "Unfinished Sympathy." The album was a number one hit, and it was followed by the CD/DVD With Orchestra Live, also a chart-topper. The band continued its streak with 2013's Reflection. Wolfs decided to leave the band in 2015.
Instead of finding another replacement, Callier and Geerts worked with a revolving cast of guest vocalists for their subsequent recordings and performances. Hooverphonic returned in 2016 with the Europop-leaning In Wonderland, which was yet another number one smash in Belgium.
Hot on the heels of the experimental smorgasbord that was ‘In Wonderland’, Hooverphonic has returned to its roots.
The new single ‘Romantic’ is a vintage Alex Callier composition: howling notes, rich hues, subtle frills, and a sweeping melody. A repeated ‘I’m not romantic’ mantra takes a potential run-of-the-mill pop song into uncharted and exciting territories. Lyrical dissonance at its finest.
Fresh-faced ‘The Voice’ winner Luka Cruysberghs (too young to have lived through the 90s!) provides ample vocal ammunition for a Hooverphonic home run. A highly romantic song. Or anything but.
ON April 18th, Hooverphonic played their first sold-out gig with Luka at Islington Assembly Hall, London. In June they will tour throughout the US, followed by several European festivals in the summer.
“If there was any justice, Paul Freeman would be a household name.” ––Todd Rundgren
Justice, it seems, may be right around the corner for the Welsh-born singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist. Paul Freeman is currently enjoying a wave of critical and commercial success––a wave he now plans to ride to new heights with the release of his brand-new single, “Closer Still.”
The single’s release is a breakthrough moment for Freeman, an artist who is clearly no stranger to such moments. Freeman has toured the world and performed with a veritable “who’s who” of pop and rock music: Chris Cornell, James Blunt, Chris Isaac, Joe Cocker, Roger Daltry, Ron Wood, Todd Rungren and Steve Winwood just to name a few. He’s played guitar on Blunt’s iconic recording of “You’re Beautiful,” written a 2017 Top-40 Billboard hit for Sleeping with Sirens, and has written songs covered by Robbie Williams, Meat Loaf, and Mark Owen of Take That. His co-writing credits include work with Deana Carter and Carol Bayer Sager.
This breakthrough moment however, is different than the others he’s experienced. This is the beginning of a new chapter for Freeman, one with him and his work up front and in the spotlight––a spotlight powered by the authenticity and intimacy of the new music he’s written and recorded.
“Closer Still,” produced and recorded by Oliver Krauss, is the perfect example of that combination of authenticity and intimacy. Lush string arrangements underpin Freeman’s iconic vocals, the track driven by his signature guitar playing which propels the track forward. Just as so much of his writing does, “Closer Still” sounds at once like a song we feel we must have heard before, but know we never have. That special marriage of universality and uniqueness in Freeman’s writing is perhaps what is most celebrated––and welcomed––by both his fans and his contemporaries. For those familiar with Freeman’s work, or for those who are about to be, this new single and new chapter for the artist will not disappoint.
“Closer Still,” the new single from Paul Freeman, releases March 8th on Revanche Records.
Hooverphonic are a Belgian band who initially became known for their moody, playful take on trip-hop during the mid-'90s. Since then, the band's sound has evolved greatly, incorporating psychedelic, pop, and orchestral elements. The group's songs have appeared in numerous adverti...