Name: Wieteke Wijte aka Wytiki
Occupation: Singer, songwriter, producer
Recent release: Wytiki's U EP is out via Ninety Days.
Recommendations: For half a year now I’ve been addicted to Westerman’s album Your Hero Is Not Dead, and please listen to the podcast Where Should We Begin by Esther Perel. This woman is incredible.
If you enjoyed this interview with Wytiki and would like to find out more about her work, visit her on Instagram, and Facebook.
When did you start writing/producing/playing music and what or who were your early passions and influences? What was it about music and/or sound that drew you to it?
I can’t even remember the time or age i started to play music, it was always something I was drawn into. I wasn’t afraid to be in the spotlights, the opposite: I loved it. I think it was a natural way for me to release. Being creative, to let myself hear. I think it really helped me to find my authentic self at a young age.
My first influences were definitely my bandmates from my first progressive rock band. I thought they were so cool and they taught me about albums that I really needed to know. Grace, Dark side of the moon, OK computer, Songs for the deaf, etc ...
I didn't necessarily have a particularly musical family, so I experienced that time in my life as very important as I am still very inspired by the music that I then got to know.
When I listen to music, I see shapes, objects and colours. What happens in your body when you're listening and how does it influence your approach to creativity?
Mostly it does something emotional I think.
Some people listen to happy music when they are not feeling well, I listen to depressive music to enhance that feeling. As in; Hey, ''she feels exactly the way I feel.''
And of course music can trigger me to come up with new ideas myself.
How would you describe your development as an artist in terms of interests and challenges, searching for a personal voice, as well as breakthroughs?
I have the feeling that I have been more open than usual since a few years. I no longer frame myself with a certain ego. Before that, I was sometimes influenced by all the talent and skills around me. It was sometimes tempting to not count myself as an artist.
I'm so happy to notice that I can now enjoy all the music around me, and see myself as a creator and artist separately from it.
Tell me a bit about your sense of identity and how it influences both your preferences as a listener and your creativity as an artist, please.
I am a very open person. I hang out with a lot of "types" of people, does that sound weird? This also applies to the music I listen to.
Of course I deal emotionally with certain facets in music, but in terms of genre I don't have a big preference. I used to see this as a disadvantage as a maker. I was afraid I didn't have a distinctive sound.
Now I definitely feel that I have a certain sound, but by framing, I lock myself up and block.
What, would you say, are the key ideas behind your approach to music and art?
Oh my God, I certainly don't have any key ideas about this. I just do something and if it works, it works.
Ah wait, a very important key idea: I want to make music from my heart forever, that's something I really want to watch out for. Never, ever let money or power overrule something so magical.
How would you describe your views on topics like originality and innovation versus perfection and timelessness in music? Are you interested in a “music of the future” or “continuing a tradition”?
I sometimes hear that people would find my music ''timeless'', and I think that's a very big compliment. I’m not very interested in trends and prefer to run away from them.
Sometimes it is tempting in the studio to apply something that you hear a lot at that moment in music around you. Because of course it’s not necessarily a bad thing to make something that would fit a trend, but I still like to look for something authentic and also believe that only then something would be timeless.
Over the course of your development, what have been your most important instruments and tools - and what are the most promising strategies for working with them?
Discovering a DAW (like Logic Pro and Ableton) changed my life. That way I could suddenly be creative in a completely different way. The possibilities are endless.
Take us through a day in your life, from a possible morning routine through to your work, please.
Every day is different.
Besides my work for Wytiki I write a lot, for myself but also for other artists. I still teach a little bit and I am also on stage with another band.
I would like a little more free time to paint a wall in my house, for example, which I have been saying for weeks that I will do this.
Could you describe your creative process on the basis of a piece, live performance or album that's particularly dear to you, please?
I can describe that about my EP U. Most of the tracks I wrote before I went to the studio, and 2 tracks in the studio together with my producer Daan Schepers.
His studio is in Antwerp, but I live in Amsterdam. In this way I always had a kind of little vacation when I went to the studio. I was in a bubble there, which worked very well. My relationship hadn't ended that long, so I was able to immediately convert those feelings that came with it into music. Good therapy I can tell you.
When I went home again I could finish parts of the text, or make parts even better in peace. It took a little over a year to finish.
Listening can be both a solitary and a communal activity. Likewise, creating music can be private or collaborative. Can you talk about your preferences in this regard and how these constellations influence creative results?
When it comes to writing: I like to do both. When I'm alone I can really open all the creative doors, but together you can reach other heights where you could never have been on your own.
It is easier to make the decision to do everything alone, but from experience I know that it can also be super educational and fun to do this with others. You learn from others, not only musically but also personally.
How do your work and your creativity relate to the world and what is the role of music in society?
I love this question. Music means so much. People find answers in music. And as a writer, besides the fact that you are already making this for yourself, you can also make people feel that they are not the only one. In emotion, in thoughts. I'm not necessarily a writer who makes big statements lyrically. At least not directly.
For example, if there was a song where I'd like to make a feminist point, I'd rather show you how I could perform a so called ‘’man's job'' by making a complex production myself.
Art can be a way of dealing with the big topics in life: Life, loss, death, love, pain, and many more. In which way and on which occasions has music – both your own or that of others - contributed to your understanding of these questions?
Every song on my EP can be seen as a page from my diary. Maybe I replaced the names and places with words that worked better rhythmically. (laughs) A few songs are about a broken heart, another about a accepting myself, another about finding god in me .
As I said before, music is therapy for me. And I think that's the case for everyone. Whether they know it or not.
How do you see the connection between music and science and what can these two fields reveal about each other?
Music vibrates. Physically. Emotionally. Chords or progressions can sometimes bring out something that wasn't there before.
This feels magical at times, but it is something that can be determined physically and scientifically. I love that about music.
Creativity can reach many different corners of our lives. Do you feel as though writing or performing a piece of music is inherently different from something like making a great cup of coffee? What do you express through music that you couldn't or wouldn't in more 'mundane' tasks?
Besides the fact that I would like to work more with my hands (like pottery or painting), I think a piece of writing is very layered for me.
Also, in making a song, another door opens, where sometimes other emotions come out than I express in my ‘’real’’ life. I think there is a lot more anger in my songs than I normally feel. As if that's a place where it's all allowed and possible.
Music is vibration in the air, captured by our ear drums. From your perspective as a creator and listener, do you have an explanation how it able to transmit such diverse and potentially deep messages?
As I said before, music is energy. For example, it also depends on how my evening will go, regarding who I would go to the pub with. With 2 old friends, with my brother, with a date, maybe I bump into an old classmate I used to hate. Maybe I fall in love.
If you put certain lyrics or chords together, to this particular rhythm, recorded in thát space, you just don't know how you feel after listening to it. It can turn an entire atmosphere upside down and give us the best night of our lives. Or fuck it all up.
Let it be the case that I’m quite a romantic person. And a Brian Wilson-kind-of-girl: ‘I’m picking up good vibrations’