photo by Wim Heirbout
Ono Scream is the solo project of Apparaat - frontman Bart Willems from Belgium. Ono Scream already have the first full-length release in Unknown Pleasures records. If you are fascinated by melodies and sentimentality of the 80’s dark wave and something fresh at the same time with references to groups like Soft Moon , Kvb e.t.c then it is a band for you. You can check the first album here:
*Let's start at the beginning. When did you start making music and especially under the name Ono Scream?
I started when I was about 16 years old I guess, being influenced by the first gigs I went to see. I saw The Jesus and Mary Chain on their first European tour in a small venue where they played, I think, 4 songs and they gave us noise and feedback guitars for another 20 minutes. I was sold on the spot. Later that year in the same club Fad Gadget was doing his “shave onstage routine”...loved it. Then I had a few bands, going from post punk to punk rock etc. Ono Scream was the very first project where I recorded all the instruments myself. It started one year ago. I had a lot of songs which I could not use for Apparaat, my other band. So after a while I started to look upon it as a different project. The songwriting went very easy, half a year and probably 40 songs later I had a solo project.
*Did you have a clear sense as to what you wanted Ono Scream to be?
No, not at all. It was all gut feeling. There was no plan at all, I was just writing the songs as they came. What probably triggered me at the time was the first Soft Moon record. The approach, the energy, the songs, what can I say...a new direction. Thanks Luis Vasquez!
*I’m interested in your explanation, which motives made you choose the name of the project?
It's about the primal scream from Yoko Ono. The psycho therapy which should treat repressed pain from childhood memories. John Lennon was also very interested in that treatment. Listen to the song “mother”. Very intense.
Yoko Ono is probably one of the most hated women in rock history, but I have to argue about that. I think she's underestimated as an artist. Did you hear her response to the election of Donald Trump? A primal scream of 20 seconds. I could not say it better.
*Ono Scream is a solo project. How difficult is to work alone and everything to be produced by one person?
It's very different from working with a band of course. Most of the time when I work on a song it's almost finished in my head before I start. For Ono Scream…
But that is not possible in a band because there is a lot of interaction between the members, they have other ideas etc. Which is great, but different. Producing can be a pain in the ass because I need feedback. So I bother a lot of my friends in the process to have some comments. But in the end, I'm a loner, I like working in isolation.
*When writing and recording, are you thinking at all about how the songs will be performed live?
At the beginning I wasn't thinking about that at all. But now I’m getting really curious to know how that will sound.
*Tell us about the debut album. How long have these songs that make up the new record been in the works? What are these songs about and what were they inspired by? How do you meet Unknown Pleasures label ?
Almost all songs have been written in the last 7 months. It was a vast flow. Like I said, probably 40 songs at least. This is a pattern in my life, when I have moments of creativity I just go on the flow( go with the flow of ride the wave ). Because I know It won't last. It comes and it goes. I had a rough year emotionally and it gave me a lot to write about. Songs like This endless walking tell it all for me. I don't like (want) to explain all the lyrics, I think you have to make up your own story by hearing them If I should have to say one thing about them, it's all about feeling lonely in the midst of a crowd.
I started to talk with Pedro from Unknown Pleasures records when he had heard a song on Soundcloud. We talked for a while and we soon found out we could work together. I think he was surprised I had so many songs. But I was very happy I found someone who believed in the music. That was important to me!
*Why did you choose to play such kind of music? Which bands or other artistic influences inspired your sound?
It's an expression of emotions, what can I say.... It's all clichés when you try to explain. If I would try to write popsongs it wouldn't work. This is who I am.
These last years there are some very interesting new bands who got my attention. Soft Moon, Death Day, KVB, Led der Est, Pleasure symbols, The harrow, Silent Servant, Broken English Club, Whispering Sons, Sleaford Mods and Tropic of Cancer.
*Have an idea where do you want this project to go? What's next? Do you have touring plans?
I'm curious about the future. I hope to do a small tour in Europe at the end of the year. But that is still daydreaming. The first months I would like to focus on playing live gigs with Apparaat. We have got a good live reputation. Now let's take it on the road! Still looking for venues to play. All help is welcome!
I'm already busy writing new songs so that's a good feeling for me, to know that the flow is still running.
photo by Wim Heirbout