The Freelance Mentalists.
Tuesday, November 09, 2004
 
Hero Takes A Fall

I don’t believe in heroes. Or maybe I do. But then I need to redefine what a hero is. If a hero is about courage, strength and perfection, I don’t have’em. But if a hero is about detachment, then I guess Daan Stuyven fits right in. When I pick out a person as hero, it’s usually about the distance that seperates them from me. Maybe it’s because I want to remain ignorant of their life so that I can fill in the gaps in the record. It enables me to interpret the music how I want to. I never really aim for obscurity when looking for a hero nor for popularity. I don’t want to be in a dingy club feeling oh so special when gawking at my hero. Nor do I want to be in a stadium with a gazillion punters trying to make out if that dot is my hero. Music is not a point of view - I don’t want to look up, down or even at my hero. Nor do I want to emulate them.
My first face to face interview was with Dead Man Ray’s Daan Stuyven. Who? Exactly, Dead Man Ray is underrated. Looking back, I still cringe. I only glanced at him, fearing that he would detect I was more a fan than a proper music journalist. The interview was over in 15 minutes because I couldn’t manage to really make him talk. Or myself for that matter – I pushed the words out of my dry throat. Whatever, I had managed to come into direct contact with my... uh... idol and realized I didn’t want to relive the experience. The interview debunked the detached image I had of him: he was there, in front of me. He wasn’t really friendly – I already knew from the lyrics, he wouldn’t be – nor insightful – whatever depth I had found in Trap he would laugh off. He was aloof, making up answers just to fill the empty space between us.
Dead Man Ray is not really about content. The sound and words are about texture and, thus, creating a distance between the band and the listener. There’s never a moment when you can understand what he’s singing about. The words are English, the sentences are just appearance. It’s about self-awareness. By creating a new language – in lyrics and sound – Dead Man Ray set themselves apart from the others. It’s about accentuating that they are different. That’s what attracts me to their sound. By using this cut’n’paste language I find a companion. I never really feel part of the pack when I discuss/listen to music. I am aware I can never really get 70s NY Punk because I don’t live there/then, or Folk Rock because I haven’t followed the Grateful Dead around in the 60s. I understand Dead Man Ray because I don’t. It’s about detachment. It’s about being The Other.

Reading this again (and again and again) I can’t find any truth in what I am saying. I realize why. Having to pick an underrated hero – or even a canonized musical god – pushes me into a corner. I don’t like to be linked to anything. So whatever I said about Dead Man Ray and Daan Stuyven, forget about it. Over- or underrated, heroes haven’t given me any comfort. Especially in times likes these.
 
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