The Dutch Do It Better


By Derek de Koff

Dear readers ' won't you please give electro synth-pop a chance? Meet Dutch upstarts Anderson, fine purveyors of lively, refreshing, restlessly inventive songs. Big in Japan and across Europe, virtually unknown here, the talented duo of Vas van Nienes and Jeroen Van der Werken are hoping to crack the U.S. market with their second full-lengther, It Runs In The Family, a frothy, infectious party album with an interesting concept: each song is dedicated to a wholly imagined member of a ferociously pretend family, the Bensons. So what does it sound like? Dance? Trance? Intelligent electronica? Electroclash? Trip-hop? Dark wave? We don't know but we love the album, it's perfect summer fare, and we think you'll agree. Below, we chat with Jeroen Van der Werken about '80s music, creating bleeps, and cyber-stalking.

Out: How did the two of you first meet up? How did the band start?
Jeroen Van der Werken: We met about five years ago. We were both camping out in the Netherlands, on holiday, and we both had our guitars with us. We got to talking and realized we both liked the same kind of music, so we started jamming. At first we sounded a bit like Kings of Convenience, a band that's really big in Europe right now -- kind of indie-style Simon & Garfunkel. We started out that way and afterward we became more electronic.

When did you start throwing in all the bleeps and the bloops? Furthermore, when did you start throwing in the blips?
Really, that just developed while we were recording the songs. We started out as a two-person band and we wanted to keep it that way, but after the first album, we decided we'd start working with synths. Our first album, I guess you could call it Folktronic. In developing our style, we came up with a bit more of an '80s pop sound.

Were you guys listening to a lot of New Wave at the time? The Berlins, the Tacos, the Tin Tins and Thomas Dolby's?
Actually, no. We were listening to a lot of different stuff. A lot of people have compared our sound to Pet Shop Boys and Prince and '80s Euro stuff -- but really, we never listened to either of them that much. Now we're getting into Pet Shop Boys after hearing so many comparisons.

Now? Like, right now? How old are you guys?
We're both in our late twenties. I mean, we knew Pet Shop Boys from the radio' but we didn't own any.

So, you're on tour in the States right now, yeah?
Yup, we're in L.A. We're doing a release party for our record label; kind-of an industry party' and tomorrow we're doing a clubby show at the Roxy. We're in the U.S. for two weeks, just doing the West Coast.