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Fronted by jazz singer Diede Claesen, Ape Not Mice is one of the coolest new bands coming from the Netherlands. With a retro sound that evoques the sound of jazz legends, the band, who has just released their first album "Every Stain Tells a Story" this past May, are coming strong making a great impact in the dutch music scene. Wether you love them or not, (and if you don't something is wrong with you, but that's another story), be sure to check this amazing stuff, you won't regret it. After all, with such an interesting name, nothing bad can come from them!

Read the interview, buy the album and check some videos after the JUMP ...

Buy "Every Stain Tells A Story" HERE.

*Why the name Ape Not Mice?
We wanted to have a playfull, creative bandname. Not too serious but not totally random. Basically, we played around with words! We took the three words every Dutchy should know 'aap noot mies' (which are the first three words you learn to write as a child) and turned it into an english sounding name: Ape Not Mice!

*How would you define yourself as an artist?
I'm a storyteller. I think in 'what ifs?' which creates a constant flow of crazy thoughts entering and leaving my mind. The whole day I'm associating things, which can lead up to making up strange stories. Like when there's like an abandoned shoe on the street I could spend hours thinking about how it got there and what may have happened. If I had to describe myself in a few words I'd say: cheerful, silly and naive.

*You are also a painter and photographer, tell me more about that ...
I'm just someone who likes to create things. My mind is just full of constant ideas passing through and I need to do something with most of those ideas. So I paint and photograph when I can! It's really soothing for me and helps me organizing my thoughts and it's just a great outlet. I don't think I could only be making music, that wouldn't be satisfying and the major thing about photographing and painting is that you can just focus on one thing and block your surroundings. Then again, I just need to let all the stories flow out of my head and that can be done by any form of art! I love acting as well, and going to the theatre and museum! But as far as I'm concerned: I just adore creating.

*Who would you name as your biggest influence?/What is your dream collaboration?
I think Kate Nash may be my biggest influence. I love how she writes about daily, down-to-earth things. Her way of describing things is truly witty and well found!
I'm not sure about ONE dream collaboration, I've got a few. I'd absolutely love to write with Patrick Watson, for he's a genius at catching moods and being creative with instruments. I also love Camille, a french singer, who uses a lot of body percussions and who's very creative with her using her voice, so that would be interesting. A few more on my list would be: Florence Welsh, Jamie Lidell, SIA... (I could go on!)

*What are your views about the pop/jazz revival in mainstream music? Do you think it's a good or a bad thing?
I think it's a really good thing! It makes people aware that there is more to music than just regular mainstream pop! And it gives the artist more space to be creative and think outside the box more. I think the boundaries for pop-music should be more vaguely, it should be about music and the way it carries and emotion onto people, not about wether the refrain is catchy enough to become a hit. I think many people tend to 'forget' about jazz and this is a great way to let the younger generations have a taste of it. (Does that make me sound old? Haha!)

*How important do you think is to maintain your authenticity?
Very. I would never want to make something just because it might be a bigger succes! As long as it represents your view on things it's good I guess. But of course I would not want to end up like the 9652829th Britney Spears or the 'next' Lady Gaga or so! You want to be recognised for what you make and YOUR qualities and not for sounding like somebody else!

*Would you classify yourself as throwback jazz? Do you believe you have a certain retro vibe?
I do believe we've got a certain retro vibe to our music, or atleast some of our songs, but wether we're throwback jazz I'm not sure! Our music is full of hints of jazz but I'd rather have people judging wether we could be considered throwback jazz themselves..

*How was the band formed?
The drummer, Mark Vrolings, was looking up versions of 'Stormy Weather' on Youtube and found me singing it behind my webcam with a cracky microphone!
It caught his attention but he thought I was probably living in like Canada or something, turned out we lived in the EXACT same city! So he contacted me wether I would come over to have a cup of coffee and jam for a bit, and it clicked. That's how Ape Not Mice was born!

*What can you tell us about your life?
I'm currently studying at the conservatory in Tilburg, I'm supposed to graduate next year. Though it seems very obvious that I'm studying singing- if you look at all the things I'm doing right now- it was not the study I was intending to do! I wanted to become an actress ever since I was about 9 years old. Frankly, I used to follow acting lessons and acted in different plays, I did sing on the side, was way too insecure about it. I'd placed all my bets on getting into the theatre school, and I was almost accepted in Amsterdam and Maastricht, but they thought I was too young (I was 17) and so I had to come up with a plan B. One of my besties was trying out for the conservatory in Tilburg and she said I should do the same. So in a blur I signed up to audition. When the day arrived and I was sitting in the train on my way over there I got soooo scared that I almost bailed if it wasn't for Mark (the drummer red.) who made me go on with it... and it turned out well! Thinking back, I had always been busy making music, I wrote my first song on primary school and it was called the 'pyama song' (about dreaming about the moon, haha!). My dad has got tons and tons of CD so there was always music playing in the house that I grew up in. Funny how things work out...

*So you released your first album, "Every Stain Tells a Story", on May 13, what can you tell me about it?
Yeah, we're so excited that it's finally released! The idea behind the album is that 'stains' are the evidence of things that you experienced. 'Stains' have a sort of nasty reputations, but if you see them as a sort of proof for your adventures they suddenly turn into something romantic! That's sort of the twist we've used in this album. All the songs are tiny stories and they are not all about the pretty things in life but if you hear them they sound very 'breezy' and have a 'positive vibe'. So like 'stains' you can look at the songs from two different angles.

*How would you describe the general feeling of it?
Catchy cheerful witty positive music with some interesting stories being told.

*Any particular song that means a lot to you?
They all do in a different way. But I like the message in 'Travelers' a lot. It's a bit 'hippy'-ish. And I feel like Morning's blue because it has really caught the feeling I wanted it to have.I'm always on the verge of crying when I sing the last word of the song as well.. I guess that says enough!

*Would you pick a favourite from it?
Mmmmm, 'The Spotty Nose' and 'Devil May Care', because they're both quite bizarre and extremely fun to sing. I always get people smirking with those two songs, ha!

*You write all your songs? How do you inspire yourself?
I write all the songs. The songs on 'Every Stain Tells a Story' were written by the guitarist and me and I'm currently co-writing with a few interesting people!
I can't really put a finger on how I inspire myself but I reckon it's just my daily life. Things that happen or that I can't understand... Like: why traffic lights don't automatically turn green for cycling people when it's raining. So mean to let them wait on people that sit high and dry in their cars!

*What else can you tell me about "Like Yeah!"?
'Like Yeah' is my message to all the empty-minded MTV-girls because they can do a very extraordinary thing: talking with 'empty' words. They go like: he was like, and then she was like, they were all like, but Brody was like... and so on! And I just can't. get. the. hang. of. it. They lose me there. I think many others too.. It's time we step up to them!

*And about "Singing in the Sun"?
Singing in the Sun is a cute song about wanting to grow up but when you're older thinking 'how could I have wanted to grow up?'. I was playing around with lipstick and wearing my mothers high heels because I loved the sound of the sand on the pavement being crushed under my weight as I strutted by real lady-like. Not having a single care! Just singing in the sun in the pretty dress your grandma made you...

*Your latest single it's "UFO", why did you choose that song?
It's got a funny message and it's really 'summery'. I'm a very clumsy person and I always get myself into situations I'd rather not be in and it always turns into what could be a 'slap-stick scene'. I always hope that a UFO's will come and beam me up to get away... So the song is real-life-inspired which makes it more fun too!

*My favourites are "The Spotty Nose" and "Utter Joy On Open Sea", can you tell me more about them? How was their sound created?
For 'The Spotty Nose' we really wanted a 30s sort of sound to it, just because it could really use the upbeat and sort of 'naiveness' that it adds to it. I love that song. Last year I got the message from my doctor that I'm allergic. For trees and stuff. I never felt like a person that would get allergic.. I only knew wining allergic women who would go like 'oh... no... i can't have that. I'm allergic' and I don't like 'em. But I tried to see my allergic as something not that bad. It can, in the end, always be worse! That's what made me write 'The spotty Nose'- for it's about a girl that's allergic to EVERYTHING on the planet!
'Utter Joy on Open Sea' is our sailor song! It needed that 'Jack Sparrow'-vibe to it. It's about how the sea looks like the perfect getaway from our crowded streets and busy minds. How I'd love to just be a captain for a day.

*Are you already recording a second album? Would you keep a similar sound or will you make something completely different?
Not yet, we just started writing but we're not really sure which way we're heading with it yet...

*So you are also in another band, High Heels and the North (or Ouch Charlie!), how would it difer from Ape Not Mice? How different are they sounds? Are you also planning an album with it?
I'm currently not in that band (it's one band with about 5 names!) anymore. We were just a group of really close friends writing songs which ended up being really nice to play!
The major difference is that with that band no one had a lot of knowledge about music theory and the sort of 'rules' of songwriting. So every idea was really fresh and 'naive' which I loved about it. There were no boundaries or no things leading us. We were making whatever we felt like making, no matter wether it didn't stay in the right key. So the sound is overall a bit more 'naive' I guess!
No... they're actually looking for a new singer! They live in the north of Holland 'Groningen' and I live in the south, so our scedules didn't match no more, sadly! I still see them though, and I love them loads, but they want to make music for fun and I want to make music for fun and as a carreer. That mindset didn't go together...

*What can we expect from you in the coming months?/What are your plans from now on?
I'm going to do many many many gigs with Ape Not Mice! We're playing on like EVERY jazzfestival we've got in Holland, which is super cool, and we're selected for the Popronde as well so we're going to be playing throughout the country. We're going to play at the Effenaar in Eindhoven to celebrate our album launch the 16th, which is going to be really exciting and we've just found ourselves a great ethousiastic bookings-agent! We've also got a showcase coming up in 'Hotel New York' in Rotterdam with international bookers coming and we're going to try to spread our name all over the world. But most important, we're going to enjoy ourselves!

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