I first heard about Tim Vantol a couple of months ago as I mentioned at my Vainstream 2017 review and since then I have been falling in love with his music, lyrics and attitude. Well, for my surprise (well not so much as I have the feeling he is an amazing guy) I’ve had the pleasure to interview him before his concert in Berlin!
So read ahead to find out all about this amazing guy and his concert.
Date and Price:
01.10.2017 / 18,70 EUR
Musik & Frieden, old Magnet club next to the U-Bahn (subway) station Schlesisches Tor.
It is a small club which makes every concert memorable. The space holds parties and plenty of acts. The prices inside are ok, around 3 EUR for a beer.
A short background history:
Tim Vantol is a Dutch singer/ Songwriter with Punk-Rock and Folk influences. He started learning how to play the guitar with friends when he was 16 and since then has been making his music. He released his first solo album “Road Sweet Road” in 2009. In 2011 he played for 6 months with the Dutch band Antillectual. Since then he has brought out two new albums: “If We Go Down, We Will Go Together” (2014) and “Burning Desires” (2017) which has him touring Europe right this moment.
I personally find his music relaxing and hopeful, his lyrics make you think and enjoy life.
It has been said “Tim Vantol is a mix of Frank Turner, Chuck Ragan, and Tom Gabel” and I couldn’t agree more!
Tim Vantol has the same attitude on stage as Frank Turner (one of my favorite acts to see live). You can see his eyes brighten up when he is playing, he enjoys and loves what he does, he entertains and passes this amazing feeling to the audience. But, enough of this, let’s get this interview going 😉
I met with Tim Vantol a couple minutes before the venue was open for the concert attendants and had the chance to ask him a couple of questions that had been burning my mind as I am only a really curious human!
Disclaimer: The answers were shortened for the solid purpose of not having a huge text, but nothing, I mean nothing, has been taken out of context.
What do you most hate to be asked about?
Tim Vantol: I don’t hate anything, but what gets me frustrated is people asking me about a new record. I am a slow writer it always takes a lot of years. I release a record, I am over excited, I go on tour and I cannot write on tour. People finish a record and continue writing, I am not like that. Everything is fine until somebody is gonna ask me “Tim what about a new record?” and everybody is gonna start asking the same and that gets me crazy! And then the panic starts, “Oh shit, we are always four years through!” and then I have to write a new record. I want to do it right, I need a quite rooms with my thoughts, I just don’t want to write something bad and have people laughing at me.
After this answer I decided to skip one of the questions I had prepared, just to not fuck up my first interview!
My favorite lyric from Burning Desires is “Why shouldn’t you”, which is about freedom and privileges that not many people have. You also made a moving speech at your concert at Vainstream festival this year about how people should help others more, not just with money, but to be there for others, a smile, a chat and a hug, can save a life, I remember you vividly saying. Are you involved in any kind of social work or project helping the less fortunate or would you like to be?
Tim Vantol: Not currently, no. Of course, I would like to help out as much as I can, but I think a lot of other people have the skills to do that better and everyone does their thing and I try to help wherever I can like donate clothes, etc. Maybe I should, but on the other hand, I have a microphone, is a small thing and not equal to what other people do, but I can write a song and I can inspire or at least put the thought on people to be better and do what they can for the world.
I’ve actually been thinking about doing volunteer work, like really thinking about it. To go to Greece to take care of the people coming in with the boats. I saw it on television and I thought I wanted to do that, I wanted to do something I want to help. but although it is volunteer work they have a lot of requirements and I didn’t have the time for it right now, with the tour and everything.
I have my microphone I will keep trying to do my thing and help on my way. I do what I can.
People tend to take different conclusions on music lyrics based on their own lives. Could you tell me one lyric from your new album people usually understand completely different from what you were thinking about when you wrote it?
Tim Vantol: Not many people know the history about my songs, they are really personal, only a few close friends and family know the real meaning behind the lyrics. I am willing to tell a couple of stories to certain people but is mostly really personal, I leave that open so everyone can feel what they need from it. For me, it is my opinion, it’s my stories and everyone should decide for themselves what they understand. Ohh, but there was this one song I have written it’s called “Apologies, I have some” and there was a Dutch magazine that ruled out that this was the best love song ever written and this is not a love song at all, but then I was like, cool! Someone thinks completely different about this song, perfect!
Everyone can do whatever they want. If it helps them or connects them, then perfect!
What is the biggest difference between audiences in European countries?
Another Disclaimer!!! I told him that, coming from Brazil, I personally think the people in Germany suck as an audience, they don’t move or dance or do anything. I have a really conflicting mind about it, but his answer was…
Tim Vantol: WHAAAAT?? I need to go to Brazil because for me this is awesome here, for me Germans are the best. But look, Brazil is all about dancing and everything, but we here (I mean I am not German, but well Holland is close enough) we don”t know how to dance, the moves that they have is to grab a beer, put it in their mouths and drink, just kidding. But I do see a big difference between the crowds, even between Germans and Dutch, the first are more likely to go to a concert even if they don”t know who the band is, and if they like it they will bring their friends next time.
I love what I am doing and as long as people interact with my music and smile, I am happy! That moment on stage is the best, no matter how shitty the day has gone or the week.
Do you prefer to play in smaller cozy venues like here or big crowds?
Tim Vantol: I am gonna be really honest. Just put me with my acoustic guitar in a bar and I am probably the happiest person. Sometimes I do this Pub-tour, and it has nothing to do with strategic thinking or promotion, is just something I do by myself, I tell everybody they can get some time off I organize it myself I book all the venues, I do all my self I go through the whole frustration, but then I just jump in my car, put my guitar in there, bring a friend with and we just cross all of Europe playing in bars, really small ones where there are 50 people crunching on each other and there we are equals, we are on the same level, there is no stage and it is the best fucking time!
But I also love to be a support act for big bands, there is no pressure, they let me play a half an hour, I can play my songs and that’s all there is. It is just loads of fun seeing the expression of the people there who never heard of me and are waiting for Royal Republic on the stage, thinking what are you doing there with that acoustic guitar and I am like, yeah I see you, people, I know what you are thinking, I don’t have a band and it is what it is, we gotta do this together!
I love it all, I just love to play and to see that people are coming to my concerts because they actually enjoy it. But, I do like to be close to the people, so smaller venues are the best for me right now.
Have you been to Germany before? How do you like it?
Tim Vantol: I actually live here for the past 7 years, but not in Berlin, in the south next to the mountains, beautiful place. (I, the writer, was not aware of that fact O.o) . I really like where I am right now, I can see myself living here forever and I can visit my family at any time in Holland.
As for Berlin, I’ve had amazing times at the Ramones Museum. There are so many amazing places here, but I have always been here to work, so I’ve only seen the city once. I just like it overall, it is really nice, there is a lot of music going on, oh there is a bad karaoke bar up on the Warschauer Strasse bridge, I love that place, I’ve had the drunkest night ever there!
Again, if you are reading this Tim, thank you so much for the lovely first interview and the awesome concert!
The Concert Review:
In short: two hours of excitement, deep thoughts, screams and a fucking great time!
It all started with this awesome man called Dan Fairhurst from Manchester. He got his guitar and loads of histories, songs and covers. Together with an amazing voice, he got the crowd laughing and warm for what was to come.
Then, the Tim Vantol Band (I guess you can call it that way) enter the stage with a beat up song to get everybody out of the ground. From that point, you could see the sparkle in the boy’s eyes. The concert was not sold out as the others on the tour, but it didn’t matter, the force they came to the stage with was the same. I was dumb enough not to pay attention to the setlist, but I am pretty sure they played all the Burning desire album and some other random famous songs from past albums.
Between songs and laughs, Tim Vantol shared a bunch of his road and life stories and took some time to talk about how many shitty things have been happening in the world and also reminded us all that, no matter how bad it all is, there is always something good to be seen AND “If we go down, we go together” 😉
As part of the show, the lead singer also presented the whole band, entitled to a solo from each of the band’s members, which apart from showing all their talent, also provided a lot of laughter in the crowd and between the band. The evening passed by so fast, the hoarse voice sounded so amazing it spun my head and the lyrics kept changing meanings with every story before.
By the end of the night, we all said goodbye to the band, they left the stage and the crowd asked for an encore, at first nothing seemed to happen, but within 3 minutes Tim Vantol came from the back with his acoustic guitar and played the chorus from “What a wonderful world” by Louis Armstrong, to, again, remind us how amazing life is, even when there is so much bullshit happening outside. The acoustic act went on with one of his own songs and ended with the whole band back on stage playing as hard as they could!
The fun ended when all thank yous were said and the light went on, but the memories will go on for a looooong time. I am looking forward to the next chance to see these guys again!