• John Van de Mergel

Sounds | Roofman - Fly Off, Fall Down, Come Back


Wat een ontdekking en hiervoor moet ik de mensen van Treetop Agency danken. Van bij de eerste gitaarklanken over de zang tot de algehele sfeer van het nummer: I just LOVE it! Thijs van der Meulen verweeft (indie) americana met psychedlic rock. Deze eerste single van het in 2023 aankomende full album laat sounds horen die we van Pink Floyd kennen, maar leunt evengoed aan tegen The Greatfull Dead, om even wat ouwe knarren te vernoemen. Ik krijg hetzelfde gevoel dat ik bij Mooneye had, al zijn de Belgen misschien net iets 'poppier'? Alweer eens een band van 'bij ons' die ik héél graag blijf volgen.


Still The Mess I Was verschijnt op 24 februari 2023 via Clouds Hill. LIVE zaterdag 13 augustus 2022 op het Treetop Festival, TivoliVredenburg (Utrecht, NL)


Lees


Some songs need the glitz and blitz of big city life, the concrete jungle and the urban drama, drenched in white noise. Others simply a forest, the serene whisper of the wind in the leaves. It’s not hard to guess which world Thijs van der Meulen alias Roofman is coming from. A true man of the woods, the Dutch indie folk progeny fell in love with the woods as a teenager when his parents bought a camp ground right in the middle of a forest. The reason his achingly beautiful debut “Still The Mess I Was” sounds so big and glorious is that he decided to record it in Hamburg’s analogue heaven, Clouds Hill studio. The trees and the streets, the calm and the storm: Roofman is a man of contrasts.


And of conflicts, too. As a millennial, he is outspoken and reflective, using his soaring music as a means of getting a better understanding of himself. He commits to his weaknesses and fears, a bright and shining contrast to patriarchy’s draft of the strong and silent type of yore. Without nature, however, he would be a decidedly different person. “I have always felt drawn to nature,” he says. “As a kid I could spend hours sitting by the window, staring out into the woods, watching birds. To this day, the woods resonate within me, opening me like a box. I write a lot when I’m out there. Out in nature, I forget about everything and focus on my surroundings. It helps me to clear my mind, to breathe freely again. It's an important part of my life and my art.”


It wasn’t always just him, though. Once there was a rock band. “I was playing in a band a while back. At some point I simply stopped writing songs, something I did very regularly before. It didn’t…,” he is probing around for the right word, “feel right any longer. That was when I started to hang out and jam with other musicians from all over the world who stayed at my parent’s camp ground when they were touring the area. That must have triggered something because before long, I couldn't stop writing songs. And those songs were very different from anything I’d written before.”


Born in a perfectly mediocre town somewhere in the Dutch countryside, Roofman quickly became the vessel of his inner struggles and turmoils, aspirations and hopes. Honest and melancholic, purified of any drawers or cliches, always with a tiny sparkle of magic hovering around the edges. “Writing songs is a spiritual act,” he says. “It’s really hard to pin it down with words. I am astonished by the smallest detail when I’m out and about. The first leaves in spring, the unusual sound of a bird, the light filtering through the canopy.”


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