05 December 2011

Fresh Meat Monday - Piet Haag

Would you care to introduce yourself?

Hello, I'm Piet Haag, from Glasgow, 46, and a cynical old git.

How would you describe the music you make?

In a few words, I'd say satire driven adventure pop. Lyrically it draws a lot from the ridiculousness of the music scene, musically its pretty eclectic ranging from light and fluffy through to full fledged psychotic noise. I'd like to think its musical without being muso - there are lots of chords, but most of them are in two songs, and a load of them happen at the same time, so it averages out quite nicely.

How did you start out making music?

I came at it back to front through sound engineering, so really it was a by product of having to learn how to use equipment. That led to commissions for games, corporate videos and so forth, but it got incredibly dull and I just drifted out of it. I think the final straw might have been a medical video for autopsies which started with the top of a skull being sawn off. Anyway, about 10 years passed when I did little other than the odd doodle, and I eventually found myself missing the creative challenge, so I applied for the pop music degree at Napier Uni, and they kindly let me in under the token old geezer scheme at year 3 - that got the ball rolling again.

What process goes into the way you write songs?

For the album it was really a mad dash with not much process at all. My original idea for the final year composition module was rubbish: the project supervisor heard it about 6 or 7 weeks before deadline day and basically said: melody - fail; harmony - fail; rhythm - fail; structure - fail; concept - fail... so it was back to the drawing board. I wrote the lyrics with some tunes in mind, fleshed out the arrangements on keyboard, recorded the lead vocal and got some musician mates along to do the instrumentation. So, no time to wonder if the hi hats were a bit forward at 11.2KHz - wham, bam, album finished, warts and all.

What can people expect from your live shows?

I've worked with a few folks of my age who've tried the live thing, and mainly it just comes across as nauseatingly insincere middle aged blokes whining about relationships and the environment - makes my toes curl, so no plans on the live front for the moment.

What are you all listening to at the moment?

I've been very busy, so music making and listening is on the back burner, but I really enjoyed the new Moth & Mirror album, lots of drama and variety; United Fruit have amazing energy and vitality; Metallica and Lou Reed is a hoot, and I've got to put in a plug for Robin Adams, an outstanding songwriter and performer who really deserves more attention. Oh, and can't wait for the new Kate Bush album - lifetime fan!

What can we expect to see/hear from you in the future?

Its probably heresy and totally taboo, but I think if you're making music, you have to be realistic about your expectations and motivations. If its pop, nowadays you can rule out commercial gain and artistic credibility, since everyone and their granny is releasing albums and the market's totally saturated. Then there's getting a good looking girlfriend, but to borrow a turn of phrase from Elaine C Smith, I sound like a monkey on adenoids for a lot of the album, so I think we can rule that out. Then there's in it for the love of music and the sake of the art, which are really shorthand for doomed to failure for feeble types, intellectuals and art school waifs. That leaves just fun, but I'm old enough to value my liver. So I'm not sure what next. Probably the girlfriend option is the best motivator so I might bang out some tunes about sex or you've got nice legs or something like that.

Piet Haag - Sign Me Up To Chemikal Underground


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