2014 Interview for AD/UN with Marc van Vugt (ENG)

IN THE MIRROR - Marc van Vugt AD/UN. By Tim de Hullu. April 4 2014

"We will fill emptiness with music''

Every week we have a fellow-citizen pause and reflect a moment, as if looking in a mirror. This week: Marc van Vugt, jazz guitarist, composer and teacher. On April 24 he will perform the first jazz concert at Tivoli Vredenburg with Ineke Vandoorn and Big Bizar Habit.


Born: Heusden, 1959. Raised in Vlijmen, Noord-Brabant.
Career: guitarist, composer and teacher at the HKU. Won an Edison Jazz Award (Dutch Grammy) in 2001 together with singer Ineke Vandoorn
Education: Conservatory, degree in guitar and Master of music in composition.
Private: lives in Houten with Ineke Vandoorn.


,,I see a nice guy, but also someone with a mission. I want to achieve things. Being nice is sometimes seen as: someone who is ok with just about anything. But to achieve things I sometimes need to take a stand. I will try to do so in a nice way, but that is not always possible.'' HANDY

,,I'm a maker, I want to be creative. The biggest part of my life I have done that by being involved in music. But the older I get, the more I realize that it transcends everything. Whenever I create things with my hands, it is satisfying. I'm a bit of a natural handyman. I create all kind of things, for example my own effects units. When I was 12 years old I was already involved in sound." THE BEATLES

,,When I heard the first chord of A Hard Day's Night by The Beatles, I was to-tal-ly inspired. I remember how I disappeared into the sound when I heard it. I thought: if I can do that for the rest of my life, I will be happy. The kick I got from that is still driving me. Making music and creating something of my own'' GUITAR

,,From the first moment I played a guitar, I was sold. I immediately wanted to create my own songs. I learned songs from records, such as Cecilia by Paul Simon. Once I found out how it was done, I hijacked the chords. I had classical guitar lessons, but I didn't connect to that. Later I paid for pop guitar lessons with my pocket money. The two teachers I've had have meant a lot to me. I was able to play what they taught me in no time .'' LEARNING A TRADE

,,My parents didn't let me to go to the conservatory. Instead I had to learn a trade. I have been angry about that. I went off to study psychology in Utrecht and stopped just before my doctorate. It really was not what I wanted. I was so involved in music and playing in bands. I thought: this is what I've got to do.'' CONSERVATORY

,,I wanted to study pop- and jazz music and learn to compose. But at the Utrecht Conservatory you could only study classical music and the demands for a major in composition were very strict. Nevertheless I did the entrance exams and was accepted. I think they saw my potential, because given my level at that time, I still had a lot to catch up.'' INEKE

,,Before I started at the Conservatory, I sang and played guitar in a Brazilian jazz band. The moment Ineke Vandoorn became part of the band, singing and playing the piano, I started thinking: this is clear, we should switch roles. She has a great voice. Since that time we have been working together. We became a couple soon also. We connect completely. She writes the text, I write the music. We dare to be critical of each other's work. In a partnership you have to give and take. We have toured all over the world.'' VAN GOGH

,,From an artist we want to know what he wants to express in his art. While in music all we expect are good songs. I see at myself more as an artist; for example, I feel a bond with Van Gogh, with the way he painted." When I saw a Van Gogh in real life for the first time, I was immediately in tears. I could feel how he made the painting: the thickness of the paint and the movements of the brush. That is what I try to convey: my own experience when I make music.'' SLEEP APNEA

,,In 2005 I collapsed from fatigue. It took me years to see how to deal with it and to get rid of it. I was diagnosed with sleep apnea and was lucky that they could treat me. Nevertheless, I was severely fatigued for a few years. I would wake up suddenly at night with a start, because I couldn't breathe. I slept very little and was confronted with dealing with myself. If you are always tired, events that have had an impact on your life are considerably magnified.'' ABUSED

,,When I was 12 years old I was assaulted by a couple of guys during Carnival. They stole something from me. When I turned to face them, they attacked me. Because of that event I do know something about physical aggression and also know that this has affected the way I look at people: with a degree of suspicion and caution; do you trust them or not?'' SJU JAZZ

,,The loss of the SJU Jazz Podium in Utrecht in 2011 is outright scandalous. But you do see that everyone in this city is trying to fill the gap. A good example is U Jazz, that promotes jazz activities, with the most beautiful concerts taking place at the Mirliton theater. That is typical of Utrecht: we seek freedom and want to experiment. Everyone is searching, I think that's great.'' TIVOLIVREDENBURG

It's a privilege that we have been asked to perform with Big Bizar Habit in room Cloud Nine TivoliVredenburg. We will do the very first jazz concert in the building; it is great to kick it off. I've been in the venue twice now. As a composer, I immediately get all these ideas about the details of the concert. What is so great, in my perception, is it is still an empty room and we're going to fill that emptiness with music. We have already rehearsed at the spot, but you won't know how it will sound till there is an audience. I am looking forward to it. It's incredibly exciting. " WHAT ELSE

,,I feel the need to express myself without any consideration. I've always written for orchestras, but in doing so you have to constantly find the balance between being 'a nice guy' and walking your own path. That's why I will be starting a solo project soon: just me and my guitar. I just want to express myself.''

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