Name: Pierre Vervloesem
Occupation: Guitarist, composer, producer
Current release: The Pierre Vervloesem Group's 30 Years Of Success is out via Off.
If you enjoyed this interview with Pierre Vervloesem, visit him on Instagram, and bandcamp.
Where does the impulse to create something come from for you? What role do often-quoted sources of inspiration like dreams, other forms of art, personal relationships, politics etc play?
The walk! I walk 10 km every morning which gives me plenty of time to make CDs from a to z in my head
For you to get started, do there need to be concrete ideas – or what some have called a 'visualisation' of the finished work? What does the balance between planning and chance look like for you?
One strategy per album. Tthe question is more how? Then what? When I know what means I’m going to use (and stick to it) the disc is launched.
For example, for "2020" I planned a drummer for a date from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm, meals included. I play him on the spot the 15 pieces that I "composed" the day before, bit by bit. Everything had to be "composed" the day before and everything had to be recorded the next day, that was the strategy for this one ...
Is there a preparation phase for your process? Do you require your tools to be laid out in a particular way, for example, do you need to do 'research' or create 'early versions'?
If it's a guitar album, I choose first which sound(s) I will use as it is the sound(s) which will give birth to the music.
Do you have certain rituals to get you into the right mindset for creating? What role do certain foods or stimulants like coffee, lighting, scents, exercise or reading poetry play?
Just walking. Everything else is actor bullshit.
What do you start with? How difficult is that first line of text, the first note?
I have no difficulty in creating music. If it is difficult for a creator to create, he should find a normal job.
Once you've started, how does the work gradually emerge?
Having a clear picture of the end result at the start, it comes pretty easy. I do one track at a time, I don't start a second one until the first one is finished.
Once the record is finished I listen to the record and not the songs anymore and sometimes a little touching up is necessary for consistency.
Many writers have claimed that as soon as they enter into the process, certain aspects of the narrative are out of their hands. Do you like to keep strict control over the process or is there a sense of following things where they lead you?
Each note dictates the route to follow for the next, so yes, I let myself go once the project is launched.
Often, while writing, new ideas and alternative roads will open themselves up, pulling and pushing the creator in a different direction. Does this happen to you, too, and how do you deal with it? What do you do with these ideas?
When it's an album with me on my own, I don't change my mind about its general aspect. If an idea for another form comes up it might be used for another album.
But for example for "Flambant Neuf" the musicians all got a bass / drums track and no one could hear what another had played. I collected everyone's parts and obviously it went in directions that I hadn't planned, but that was the predictable result of this strategy.
There are many descriptions of the creative state. How would you describe it for you personally? Is there an element of spirituality to what you do?
The creative state is when there is no one around to piss me off.
When it comes to spirituality, it's a mean word, it's just bullshit.
Especially in the digital age, the writing and production process tends towards the infinite. What marks the end of the process? How do you finish a work?
I know when a song is finished because the song says so!
As for the infinity of digital for example, my 4 albums 'The Art of going Nowhere extended' are each 60 minutes and fortunately because that's the maximum that Bandcamp accepts per song. The infinite therefore rather ends around 60 min.
What's your take on the role and importance of production, including mixing and mastering for you personally? How involved do you get in this?
I mix and master all my project. I am therefore 100% involved.
After finishing a piece or album and releasing something into the world, there can be a sense of emptiness. Can you relate to this – and how do you return to the state of creativity after experiencing it?
I’m always busy with the next album.
Creativity can reach many different corners of our lives. Do you personally feel as though writing 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?
I cook quite well it seems. I take pictures quite well it seems. I'm bad at everything else it seems.
I guess everything has to be linked and I don't know how, I don't want to know it. For me a musician who designs his clothes himself has wasted time not concentrating only on his music!