Brave New World: Interview with Di-rect

Photo by Markéta Tichavská

Photo by Markéta Tichavská

They’re young, fun and on the threshold of international stardom. Well known Dutch rock band Di-rect recently signed a mega-deal with a German record label. Come 2013, the band will lay siege on the German music scene – capture them with their biggest hits of the past decade and create a new album that will hopefully put them on the world map.

The members – Jamie Westland, Frans “Spike” van Zoest, Bas van Wageningen, Vince van Reeken and Marcel Veenendaal- got together at the Atrium earlier this week to announce the deal. It was an informal affair, which saw the band chatting with members of the press, fans and friends.
Bas, wearing his trademark cap, settled down for a chat with us, happily translating the proceedings of the Dutch press conference. “The company is called Robot of the Century and they’re doing great work with upcoming bands. Germany is a huge market with a strong music base. The Netherlands is so small that no matter how successful you are here, your market stays small. One of the reasons why this deal is so important to us, is it gives us a much larger audience. We go from being a Dutch band to being a European band,” he explains. Meanwhile, the others mingle with the crowd as congratulations continue to do the rounds.
For uninitiated expats, Di-Rect is one of the country’s biggest music groups. Formed in 1999, they have released six albums, with their latest release ‘Time Will Heal Our Senses’ in 2011. “After our performance in Hamburg last September, we were approached by three labels, including Universal. The reason we opted to go with Robot is that they really believe in us. Soon after the festival, their chief came down to meet us personally. Having researched our work, he was very keen to discuss the way forward. The way we see it, we’d rather be with a company that can give us all their attention than be with one where we’re just one of their many artists,” says Bas. 
The band goes on tour across Netherlands in the coming week, but 2013 is all about Germany. “The good thing is that Germany is so close, we can probably perform here one weekend and there the next,” he says. Given their touring agenda, when can fans expect a new album? “We’re hoping to come back in the summer and formally work on the new album. But, the thing is, the writing never stops. We travel together, so whenever there’s some time we jam a little,” he says, adding, “We’re hoping to have a new single out by February!” 
For now their strategy is simple. Conquer Germany. Then Austria, Switzerland, the Czech Republic and, eventually, all of Europe. What about the US? “We know it’s hard to compete in the US. Bands out there work with much bigger budgets than we have, so let’s see…” For now fans can catch them live at the Paard Van Troje on December 29 and at multiple venues across the Netherlands.
For more on their upcoming performances in the Netherlands and ticketing information, log on to http://www.di-rect.com/agenda
First published in THE UNDERGROUND THE HAGUE. 
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