MOTOR!K is a Belgian Krautrock formation set up in 2018 by Joeri Dobbeleir (guitar and synths), Dries D’Hollander (drums) and Dirk Ivens (guitar and effects). The Belgian trio released its self-named debut album in 2019 on Out Of Line. It was a rather surprising signature on the label, which is more familiar with Dark-Electronics, EBM, Electro-Pop and since a few years Metal music. MOTOR!K moved on unleashing a new album this year. The work sounds as a perfect offspring between Psychedelic guitar play, transcendental Electronic sound treatments and exciting drum patterns. Time for a chat with Joeri Dobbeleir.
(Picture credits by Danny Quintelier / Interview courtesy by Inferno Sound Diaries)
Q: How did you guys get in touch? We of course know Dirk Ivens from his numerous projects, but can you tell us a bit more about your background?
Joeri: I’ve met Dirk many years ago because we live in the same town. In 2017 he released the debut album from my other band, The Whereabouts Of J. Albert. While meeting somewhere in 2018 we’ve decided to start a new band because of our mutual interest in the Krautrock-Kosmische Musik genre. Initially we jammed with a drum computer and a bass sequencer, but soon it was clear that we needed a more ‘human’ drum sound so I’ve asked Dries, who I also knew for many years and who was the drummer for Suburb Songs, one of my first bands. From the first rehearsal with 3 members it was clear that we’ve made the right decision. The fact that he also lives in the same town as Dirk and I made it even more appealing. Even our rehearsal room is nearby so it was easy to set up rehearsals and start working on the tracks.
Q: How do we have to understand MOTOR!K referring to the influences you incorporated and criteria when it comes to production?
Joeri: Of course we have certain influences like NEU?, HARMONIA or WIRE, but above all we try to obtain our own sound production-wise. I feel that with every album we are reaching that goal even more. Most of the basic bass tracks, synths and overdubs are recorded in my home studio and the drums and guitars in the rehearsal room. The mixing of the 2 albums was done at Dries his place because he has these very great sounding vintage 70’s monitors.
Q: Your music has been defined as Krautrock, which is a music genre evoking the German late 60s and 70s; the revolt of the students, the call for liberty, drugs etc. What does this period evoke to you and what does Krautrock –and its revival today, evoke to you?
Joeri: Musically it is a very interesting period because of the pioneering work of bands such as NEU?, Tangerine Dream, ASH RA TEMPEL etc…
The revolting and 60’s hippie part is least interesting to us, it’s only the love for the music.
The bands who are playing today are more straight-forward, including us. There is a certain similarity between all these ‘modern’ bands in the genre and that is this trance-evoking drive.
Q: I experienced your new work as more mature featuring more elaborated and accomplished songs. What’s your own perception about the evolution from the debut work towards “Motor!k 2”?
Joeri: When we finished the first album we never took the stage as a band. Before recording the 2nd one we’ve played nearly all of the tracks live so they could grow on us. I think that’s the main difference. Our main goal is to improve with each new album.
Q: What’s your way of working together and what’s the input of each member? What makes the chemistry between you all?
Joeri: I write all the basic synth and guitar tracks and record them as some kind of demo. Then I send them to Dirk and Dries and afterwards we jam to get versions we all like. Dirk did most of the overdubs for the 2 albums on guitar and synth.
Dirk his role in the band is to make weird groovy noises on guitar and synth to make it all less ‘poppy’ and Dries is holding it all together with his minimal drumming and electronic percussion. My role in the band is to play more melodic guitar parts and creating guitar loops. Because each of us has a significant role in the band, that easily creates a chemistry between us.
Q: Bacause of Covid-19 pandemic bands no longer can play live. Is that the reason you released different clips from songs of the new work? Tell us a bit more about the clips and how do you see things evolving for MOTOR!K?
Joeri: We only played one live streaming concert since the Covid-19 pandemic, which was a very strange thing to do, because we were used to play in clubs and at festivals packed with people.
When playing live, the visual aspect is very important to us. That’s why we use strobo’s and moving visuals to enhance the Trance-like feel of the music. The clip for “Sundown” was created by Monade Li, who also took care of the layout of our album “2”. The one for “Ritual” was made by E. Gabriel Edvy from Blackswitch Labs (who also worked with Dirk before for Dive) and “Headlights” was done by Ingo Sporl.
They all did a splendid job and we can’t thank them enough for putting so much effort in their work at these uncertain times.
As we speak we are preparing the third album, which we hope to record in a few months. Our goal from the start was to release an album every year, so we stick to that promise to ourselves. When all gets back to how it was before we hope we can catch up playing many gigs and promote our albums.