In our present, urban times, dominated by show-offs and pretenders, Bar II keep their mysteries to themselves. They won’t abide by the dictatorship of imagery only to focus on pure, raw, dark deranged rock music. May they raise the bar, too.
Bar II comprises of Mr Du Penfast and BARThom, who discovered that they were both not satisfied with their previous production experiences, but had complementary skills to make something cool, which resulted in their debut EP ‘Wake Up’.
Mr Du Penfast, headphones on, QOTSA intravenously, shaggy hair, passed his thirties, recording and producing albums for others, realises that rock can still surprise. But to him, an artistic void persists. Between brutalizing his guitar, attacking his drums, or going mad on his bass, he’s looking for something.
BARThom, dealing branding and media between the Brussels Leopold Quarter and Reyers, is called “El Mediator”. He appears to be calm on the oudside, but has a storm raging inside him. It is while screaming in front of a garbage can that he crosses the paths with Mister one October night.
The inner anger they mutually recognise will turn out to be the foundation that will bind these two, apparently very different, lads together.
On your Spotify profile you mention “Crazy rock band, stuck between Lost Highway and Vernon Subutex”. Are you referring to the books?
“Yes, to the movie and the book. We liked the discrepancy of the characters. They seem completely out of the box, not in the right time nor the right country. We felt the same many times, so we liked that. And by crazy rock band…there is always craziest…”
Does reading help with your songwriting? Can you walk us through your songwriting process?
“Probably! Actually BAR II focusses on sound and music. The lyric part comes second, that’s why we collaborate with a brilliant lyricist. We appreciate the spirit and the darkness of the lyrics, but we want BAR II’s identity to focus on the music, the melody, the rhythmic parts, the voice tone and and the sound, so basically the power it provides. That’s our unique goal when we compose: to surprise, energise, rock and try to make something not heard before…”
If you were to do a concept album based on a book, what would you choose and why?
“That’s not the plan, actually. Maybe ‘Carrion Comfort’ by Dan Simmons, simply brilliant!”
What inspires you most: music, books or movies? Are there any bands that have influenced your sound?
“Movies, I like so see pictures when I talk about sound and production, There are a lot of similarities between those two arts, deepness, surprises, actions, point of view, structures, tempos…”
“About our musical influences, there are many: Royal Blood, Queens of the Stone Age, Artic Monkeys, PJ Harvey, Soulwax, Radiohead, The Heavy, The Kills, Black Keys, White Stripes and many more.”
What can you remember about your earliest compositions (not specifically for this project) and what influenced them?
Mister: “Because I get bored very easily when it comes to music, I always tried to surprise myself and make things complicated, when people wanted mainstream from me, it always has been an issue. With this project, I feel I can fit my madness with the tortured.”
Thom: “For us, it works. There have to be people with our tastes somewhere..:)”
Let’s talk about your newest single, what inspired you to write ‘Fake It’?
“Actually, ‘Fake It’ was on standby for a long time. We had the verses just after we shot our first single ‘Wasted’, but we were put off by the chorus – nothing exciting came. So we started working on other songs first. And one day, I remembered these verses and I figured that we had to do a five chord chorus – more of a classical type of writing, not so often used in pop or rock – so it never ends with the same chord to bring that no ending sensation. We call it ‘the circle chorus”. So we had our “mad” part, and then, the final part was just inspired by a crazy Soulwax ending we loved, kind of a journey in a mad world, video game alike.”
‘Fake it’ is such a great song, how do you feel when you listen to the finished mix of a song like that?
“Pride, accomplished work, because of the story we talked about before. Exciting every time we listen to it, until now.. that’s just our goal…”
Do you have plans to release more new music soon ?
“Yes, we’ve recorded a total of six songs in the same period and we decided to release them all, because we loved them all. So this is our second EP after our first one ‘Wasted’ in April 2021. We have one song left that we hope to release in autumn if our schedule is ok.. The whole project is called ‘Wake Up’ which has lots of meaning to us.”
What was the best bit of advice, whether it be to do with music or otherwise, that you still follow today? And who gave it to you?
“Don’t misunderstand your feelings! We are all different people, so don’t try to be like others, because it works for them, because he looks happy on socials, because people say we normally do that…this is bullshit. You’ll never be better when you do what YOU like, in arts, in school, in cooking even in talking…. Experiences talk.”
Can you recommend some up and coming artists in your local area that you want to give a shout out to?
“We listen to a lot of different music. There are lots of talented musicians especially in Belgium but none spring directly to my mind at the moment.”
If you could be a member of any band from throughout history who would it be and why?
Mister: “Josh Homme, Dave Grohl, McCartney, if we can say bullshit…:-)”
Thom: “Maybe Martin Gore of Depeche Mode for his brilliant songwriting .”
What’s your favourite song from the Cool Top 20 and why?
“Really like the hook and the mood of ‘Baptized’ by JonSaw.”
What song would you like to add as a bonus track and why?
“We pick ‘How I feel’ the second track of our EP. It’s not a single but we love it and we hope your readers will too.”