Belgian punk rock outfit The Dutch Rudders are back with a new album! 'Malchance' (that's a fancy French word for bad luck) won't be out until Friday, but we are already streaming the whole album! You can check it out below. Recorded during the pandemic, the songs reflect the times we are living in and deal with the desire for the world to open up again and to be able to go drinking with your buddies. One of those drinking buddies is guitarist Christophe Vanheygen of Rich Widows fame, so we figured why not let him do the interview? Good idea? Read on and find out.
PRT: Most Belgian punk rock people are familiar with The Dutch Rudders. But how do you introduce the band to people from different parts of the planet?
Alcohol infused punkrock for the whole family.
PRT: There’s about 4 years between ‘Are You Miserable’ and ‘Malchance’. Was it difficult to write the record, or are you just lazy?
To be fair. We are a little bit lazy. And also this whole pandemic thingy made it a little bit special. The biggest problem with us is time and getting together. Lucske became a DILF, Kim is super busy with his other band Off the Charts, Dries has Tourette Syndrome and Toefke was depressed because of his receding hairline. So we had some shit to deal with the last couple of years.
PRT: What makes it stand out from the previous records?
We could say we made a more mature record and that the band has grown up and all those cliches. But fuck that. It’s still about drinking and fucking shit up, the songs are just much, much better.
PRT: Everyone has a favorite song on their own record. Which one is yours and why?
Kirk Van Houten, the first song of the record. It starts like a freight train that’s leaving the station and will hit you straight in the face when everything comes together. And for the fans of the Simpsons. It takes of where ‘Are You Miserable’ ended. Big Worthless Nothing is also a fun one to play, it’s the last song we wrote for the album. It’s got a good chorus, it’s about drinking. Cormorant Tree is also an awesome song because it’s quite intimate before everything goes to shit. Forever A Champ is a song about Walter Michiels, the artist formerly known as Pico Coppens, which has guest vocals from Nikolas Van Der Veken (Janez Detd.). But to be honest, we really like every song and are quite proud of the album.
PRT: Promo-talk says you wrote the album during the pandemic. How did that go, especially when you weren’t allowed to get together? Was it a group effort or just one of you who wrote everything and said: “Here are songs. Now learn how to play it”.
We are punkers. So we definitely had a couple of get-togethers. We started writing songs in September 2020 because we were really getting bored with the pandemic. Lucske knows how to demo songs so we did just that. Every time someone had an idea for a song, we immediately got together to complete it until we had 13-14 songs. Afterwards we had a rehearsal with our producer Tim Toegaert (Willy Sommers, Fleddy Melculy, Janez Detd.) to talk about the songs and to make small changes.
PRT: What’s up with giving your albums French names? ‘On Verra’ and ‘Malchance’?
Why not? During the recording of ‘On Verra’, we hadn’t thought of a title and we kept saying “meeeeh, we zien da wel ast zo ver is.” Hence, ‘On Verra’. For ‘Malchance’, one night we were drinking and Lucske said the new album should be called ‘Malchance’ and we all immediately liked it. It suits us, it suits the songs.
PRT: Who in the band has the most ‘Malchance’ – you know, bad luck – and why?
We could go with the easy answer. Ward, because he’s ginger. But we’ll go with Dries. You should see his toes. Those things are just weird. He has only eight toes. Four on each foot. They are like those little, fat breadsticks with nails.
PRT: What led you to Adam & Eve for the cover art? Was there a “big idea” behind it?
We asked our graphic designer Tom Neirynck to make something. This was his idea and we liked it. We’re not really a band that thinks every single thing through and through. If it feels good for all four of us, we’ll probably end up doing it.
PRT: What would Eden look like for The Dutch Rudders?
An endless supply of beer, liquor, football on television and a lot of nudity.
PRT: And what would be your “forbidden fruit” to get cast out?
Tomatoes. Which is also Kim’s safe word.
PRT: You’ve been around for quite a while now. What’s your greatest achievement so far?
A week before everything went to shit back in 2020 we played with Janez Detd in front of 2500 people. The stage was as big as most of the venues we play so that was pretty cool. We stole a bottle of rum from them and Ward got shitfaced.
PRT: You’ve also been drinking for quite a while now. What’s your best drinking story as a band?
We’ve got a couple good ones. We once played a show in Zoersel with Gnarwolves and Lotus, every single bandmember puked his guts out before the end of the night. Another time at Random Fest (love you Laffie and the Hofmansn) we had the fantastic idea of drinking a lot of gin tonics and some sangria. Right before showtime a couple of us smoked a green cigarette and everything went completely to shit and we all blacked out.
PRT: How does it feel to be the second best-looking punk rock band with gingers in Belgium?
Thibault from Equal Idiots is indeed a very good looking young man. Fets from The Priceduifkes/Prince Beastly clan is also a very handsome gentleman.
PRT: The best Belgian punk rock bands obviously require two gingers. If you could substitute one band member for an extra ginger, who would it be and why?
We would never substitute a band member for an extra ginger. But Ed Sheeran can always call us when he’s looking for a backing band. It would also be pretty awesome if Rupert Grint would come over to have a couple of beers with us.
PRT: What would be your strategy to beat Rich Widows in a drinking contest?
Go straight for the kill. Them boys from Rich Widows are getting older. Bring in the tequila and TDR will be dancing on their grave in mere seconds.