Bert Ostyn, the respected lead singer of wildly popular band Absynthe Minded, is the subject of our interview today. He and the band’s “Surrender” has just been remixed several times for a new EP release, and we felt it was time to get to know the man behind the music.
Thanks for joining us, Bert! How has this week been for you so far?
Thanks for having me. Been having a rich week, some band practice, I’ve attended some concerts around town, and been following up on the coming release.
Can you talk us through the journey that Absynthe Minded has been on as a group?
I was living with these new songs for quite a while and we arranged and recorded the songs with the new group in about half a year. It’s been quite a ride, we did the basic tracks all together crammed in this little studio in a couple of days… and then we took some more time to complete the guitar parts, keyboards and vocals. We also took a break from it from time to time. We kept it organic, loose. People walking in and out, listening back, refining lyrics, adding some layers but not too much. It was a great collaboration and when we got to the point of mixing it at the legendary ICP studios in Brussels; we could already hear what we had in our hands, no we couldn’t blow it anymore even if we wanted to.
What do you try and capture with your sound?
Playing these new songs live is exciting, we’re always looking for the right feel to do it, and when it all comes together and it goes off we’re like, “ok let’s rock this joint.”
How does it feel to have had 2 gold albums?
That feels great, thanks for asking. We still enjoy playing the older stuff, and it’s so nice to see how people react when we play them. Attitude; gratitude on both sides.
What did you listen to growing up? Do you feel it still influences you now?
I had Nirvana and GNR shirts,but I listened to nearly everything that I could lay my hands on, making mixtapes and flipping library records, and of course radio too. I’ve been playing in bands since I was 15, so yes I think that it was the music itself that led me where I am now.
We’ve heard rumours that another Absynthe Minded album is on the way – is it nearly complete?
What can we expect from it?
It’s a very straight forward record for Absynthe Minded standards, some of the songs are upbeat really, uplifting, mostly with a dark and somehow twisted undertone. This thing will grow on you, with strength.
We’re all looking at the same world, and I want to write about it, and sing to it.
Have you seen “the one percent”? Are they miserable or are they happy, what do you think?
We live in a system where people with old money make more money faster than the economy grows.
Where is my financial adviser? The man with “Jungle Eyes” is very handsome, very intelligent, has character, wit, is very rich, and if he screws up he can start over anywhere in the world, anytime.
Like a cat with nine lives.
Jungle eyes don’t look at the jungle but see through it.
But he’s not alone in paradise.
We’re passionate about “Jungle Eyes”.
Now is the time to share it, and we’re so happy that we’re able to do this again.
Wow, can’t wait for that! Your “Surrender” has just inspired a set of remixes; do you have a favourite from them all?
I really like all three of them. And I’m happy it happened, I didn’t know what to expect, you know what I mean? The Stracciatella version, this future rework that nobody saw coming, you know, like an action movie comeback or something. Some of those chords he rammed in there I didn’t even know you could do that with my lines. The blackwave. remix used Simon’s Tom-Tom-Rolls in the coolest way, it just lifts off after that. Beats are crazy too. They make very eclectic music, very well produced. And Nico Morano’s version is well crafted, nightlife-proof, he knows what he’s doing and he’s having a lot of fun doing it.
If you had a couple of musical goals for the next year, what would they be?
It would be writing more hits, playing more shows and enjoying every minute of it. We’ve been doing summer festivals and some are still ahead of us. Next month we are going to promote the album and then in November we’re going to play in the clubs, we are really looking forward to those gigs as well!
Highlight of 2017 so far?
Making the album, and doing our first row of concerts. It’s the best of both worlds to me. The focus you have in the studio making these songs come to life, and then sing those songs every night we play. I have these stories to tell.