Cedric Vermue is a Dutch composer and producer. After graduating from Utrecht Conservatory of Music in 2018, he started an intensive studio project: writing and recording two albums in association with various string players and producer Antal van Nie. One year after the debut album Left Upon Us (Piano and Coffee Records), he’s back with the live video of the track “We Came and Left“. It was directed by Lourens Lente.
Watch it below and check our chat with the artist who tell us more about this live session and the feelings about the current situation.
Let’s start from the current situation. How are you living these strange times and what are the main concerns as a music collective?
I have definitely turned more inward. A big step I just took now is that I moved to a new home, somewhere on the edge of industrial Amsterdam, 15km away from the city centre. It’s the first time I am feeling like settling into a place where I can imagine myself staying for many years – if they let me, as it is anti-squad. The entire location has an aura of surrealism, being at the edge of an industrial dystopia but also closely connected to a small forest and some traditional Dutch polder landscape. It’s definitely a place where I feel the potential to build or live in my own universe with enough space to make music and without the financial pressure you get from living within a city. I will also buy my first car in January, and recent effort is put into some much needed renovation of the house to make myself feel at home. And to build a music workspace for myself, where I can start working on my new album again. As this kind of lost its pace since I was kicked out of my previous anti-squad studio in Utrecht last April.
Initially, my main concern as a music collective was focused on creative output and releasing and producing music. At the moment I feel less urgency or pressure to do this and I am taking more time to develop myself. Especially now that there’s barely any events happening and few concerts around, I feel that I am constantly longing for creative inspiration and nourishment. Meeting creative people and friends that inspire me musically feels like the best thing there is at the moment. This summer I discovered an artist-in-residence community in France that I already visited twice and here I feel so much at home and supported in being an artist. Besides I am becoming increasingly open for collaborations and supporting other artists, because music and creative expression is the shit, and nothing better but sharing that with others and making things together. Internally I am building up courage and re-adjusting my plans for live concerts that are possible within – and hopefully stretching the boundaries of all covid regulations around. Because I feel it’s so important and needed for our mental health that people get together physically and music is such a powerful tool for connecting a group of people and bringing them in the same vibe.
Today we share the live video of “We Came and Left”. Tell us more about the track and the video
I am pretty sure that this specific track was inspired by a concert I visited from Nils Frahm in February 2018. It’s great to see him perform live and I love the way he is weaving a lot of different rhythmic and melodic patterns into his music. So the starting point in writing this track was building different complementary synth patterns and creating ambient sounds and layers. These would then be following the main harmonies, which became clear once I recorded a piano improvisation on top of it. Interesting enough I had quite low expectations on the track while working on it, perhaps because my mixing skills were still a bit underdeveloped back then, and it had a lot of ideas and elements that together became a messy blur. But somehow after Antal van Nie did the mixing on this song all elements came together beautifully and totally formed it’s own authentic sound and flavour but also fitting well in the current popular neo-classical genre. It became the most popular track of my album and also my favourite song to perform live. Which is why I decided to capture this performance in a live video. This is also when I started discovering and appreciating the compositional quality of the ‘naked’ piano part, which essentially was just an improvisation of me jamming along with electronics. So I decided to make the live video acoustic too, leaving out all the electronics and just showing me as a pianist, to make it more raw and personal.
The video is obviously inspired by water and me and the director Lourens Lente, were really trying to experiment and play around with perspective. So that’s how we were experimenting with feedback loops also known as a ‘Droste effect’, using an extra camera connected to a projector. Building the entire set including the waterproof floor and taking test shots took three days and in the end we only had a couple of hours left together with the second cameraman Ruben van Zaanen to do the actual shooting. So filming was a bit quick and went on until after midnight, but night-time also felt like the right quiet time for this track. I guess we had many ideas and ambitions and limited time, but definitely all of us are very proud on the final result and atmosphere of the video. It did get the touch of surrealism that we were looking for in the first place.
Ritual question. Have you seen or heard anything good recently? What are your favourite albums of 2020?
This week I discovered the album “Post Forever” by Ai Fen with experimental electronic music with female vocals that was giving me real goose bumps. She is still mostly an underground undiscovered artist at the moment, so definitely worth checking out.
My most listened album this year is probably “Sixteen Oceans” by Four Tet (just love the sounds and vibes and a close friend had it on Vinyl). And this year, I discovered Nick Drake for the first time and I got very fond of his album “Pink Moon”. It’s beautiful enigmatic music that perfectly paired up with my summer, some travelling vibes and many hours I spent learning guitar.
Now since the winter is here my musical interest becomes increasingly obscure and electronic and I am very big on religious choral music nowadays. An absolute jewel is the early 17th century composition: “Misere mei, Deus” by Gregorio Allegri. The recording by Tenebrae is my favourite.