‘LOOK ALIVE’ ladies and gents! As this Rotterdam, Netherlands band After Elmer just made their pop-punk EP debut with ‘Look Alive’ in mid-September. After Elmer’s very own Jaap, Pieter, Jasper and Thomas joined Moody Music for an international zoom interview to chat about the band, the new EP, and the making of the comedic music video for their “coming of age” released single, ‘Look Alive’.
For Fans Of: Green Day, Blink 182, All Time Low, Knuckle Puck, Trophy Eyes, Sly Withers, Ceres, Snark
MOODY MUSIC: HOW DID AFTER ELMER BECOME A BAND?
THOMAS: it started out as three brothers, Jaap, Pieter and myself. How I remember it was that Jaap and Pieter were writing songs just for fun, and one day I played drums for them in the practice room. We thought that this was going pretty well, maybe we should form a band and we were like hmm... ahh… yeah okay let’s try it then, and it went really well. Then we decided to add a second guitar player and then came Jasper.
PIETER: we were already doing quite a lot as the three of us, we had recorded two singles, and especially with our live performances we noticed that there was kind of a void. I was doing both the rhythm and lead guitar parts, and so yeah there was a musical void when we played live, so we needed a second guitar player. Then we put an ad on the internet and Jasper reacted and we met up and it fit very perfectly, he’s like the fourth brother we never knew haha. It must be hard for him to get into a band with three brothers, but yeah, he fits perfectly!
JASPER: I’m just a lucky guy to fit in so well, so that’s nice!
JAAP: The first time we met him we didn’t make music we just drank beer and talked. But after we talked, it clicked, he (Jasper) didn’t even have to touch his strings haha
JASPER: yeah, it was awesome
JAAP: he clicked really well, and listened to the same bands as we did, and I remember we talked on the first time about All Time Low’s album ‘Nothing Personal’, and that we were both really fan-boying about it hahaha
JASPER: yeah, it was the ice breaker, with our musical tastes
JAAP: I think I left the sticker of the band in the same bar about two weeks ago, so I hope it’s still there on the bathroom. But we started as the three brothers, and Pieter and I were just making some songs, and we all had bands before this, and Jasper also did something before we became this band. A couple of years ago my latest band broke up, it was more like it wasn’t going anywhere, so I decided to quit that band and was thinking I want to give music a real serious shot and make stuff I really want to make which was pop punk. Pieter and Thomas also had bands and they had quit a little bit before my latest band had quit, and when we were in one house together, living with our parents, it wasn’t really happening where we would be making music together, we were still brothers and fighting all the time and it was not happening. But we were all living in other places, I thought maybe it could work this time, first I said that with Pieter and checked out some songs, and then Thomas came along and then we were a band of three for a while, and then Jasper came along, so that’s how it all started.
MOODY MUSIC: WHAT DOES THE NAME 'AFTER ELMER' MEAN?
PIETER: hahaha so that’s kind of a long story, but we were trying to come up with names and we couldn’t really figure out what name we should have so we thought maybe something that connects the three of us cause we go a long way back. When we were smaller, there was this guy in our neighbourhood we thought was called Elmer, and he was always picking on us and we was always picking on him, so, we thought maybe we should do something with that, so we thought After Elmer, because we were always after him and also because we are now in the era that we don’t even know where he is anymore, so it’s the era After Elmer.
Then later we thought, wait a minute I don’t think that guy was called Elmer actually he was called Rutger. But Rutger as you can hear is quite a Dutch name because of the sound, so that’s not really international appropriate so we just keep it as Elmer haha
MOODY MUSIC: so you’re not going to rebrand/ rename? Haha
JAAP: no, no haha it sounds good this way, we were already settled on Elmer and then we were like oh wait that was not the guy’s name, oh well it sounds good!
MOODY MUSIC: WITH THE NEW EP ‘LOOK ALIVE’ ITS VERY FUN, QUIRKY AND HAS A LOT OF PERSONALITY, AND YOU GUYS DESCRIBED IT AS “coming of age, getting shitty jobs and the importance of talking to each other”, WHY WERE THESE THEMES IMPORTANT TO THE BAND
JASPER: well I don’t have a shitty job to be honest haha I love my job haha, but it’s something everyone can relate to especially the other guys in the band. You get to that certain point in your life when you’re done with study and you have to go to work, it’s hard to get stuck into that work, of like I have to work for the rest of my life now that I’m done studying and that’s something we all can relate to, even though I like my job very much it’s still something I can relate to.
JAAP: As I wrote most of the lyrics for the EP, the songs are not written as one story, they have their own little stories and we put it together because it’s what we had and what we wanted to put out, but if you are searching for something that’s in common it’s all these things like coming of age, like ‘Look Alive’ is a song with that question, am I going to be stuck behind a desk for the rest of my life?, and ‘Secrets’ and ‘Hatchet’ have more to do with love that’s being unanswered, and wanting to fight for someone. And ‘Talk’ is about really listening to one another, and it got to be what it was out of my feelings.
THOMAS: ‘Talk’ is about the importance of really listening to someone with problems.
JAAP: Yeah like when I have something on my mind or if I have a problem, I just want to say it to someone and not having that someone saying how I should deal with it, like it might be really good advice and they really want to help me. But sometimes you just want to share, and you just want the other to say yeah, I know it sucks, but maybe you need to take a step back and a few days later you can think about solutions, instead of just giving people advice too soon in my opinion.
PIETER: people always say that if you have problems it will get better in the future, but sometimes that’s not what you want to hear, you just want to get all your sh*t out and you just want someone to talk to.
MOODY MUSIC: yeah, like you just want someone to listen, not always giving like quick-fixes
MOODY MUSIC: NOW THIS EP STARTED IN OCT 2019 AND IT’S NEARLY BEEN A FULL YEAR OF WRITING, RECORDING AND ALSO PROMOTING THE EP. What can you tell us about the process?
JAAP: it was long! Haha
PIETER: I think that the writing itself wasn’t long, it was more the recording, well of course because of corona. We actually wanted to release this at the end of April in the summer, in the first half of this year.
JAAP: All the songs were already written before recorded, which was literally a week after we released ‘Sorry for the Revolution’. The biggest part of recording was done pretty fast and then corona hit and then we still had to do these small things of fine tuning the songs and that took so long because we couldn’t all be in the control room with five people and the guy we recorded with was also very cautious, which is good.
THOMAS: When there were little things some of us were having doubts about in a song we had to phone. Pieter and myself were in the studio and so when there were some things we didn’t know would work in the song we had to call them and send them the songs with or without the idea, so yeah, that took a really long time and was very annoying to do, but eventually it worked, and I think near the end we were all so done with it and were like okay this is going to be it haha. It was the best versions of the songs in my opinion.
MOODY MUSIC: was that hard not having everyone in the same room together?
THOMAS: yes that was very hard.
JASPER: yeah especially with sending things through your phone and you're listening to it, but you don’t know how it really sounds, because the phones distort things. You don’t really know how the guys in the studio are listening to it and how we are hearing things, it’s so much harder.
THOMAS: and every has different speakers as well.
JASPER: yeah, exactly.
MOODY MUSIC: LET’S TALK ABOUT ‘LOOK ALIVE’ AS IT’S THE RELEASED SINGLE AND NAME OF THE EP. WHAT WAS IT LIKE FILMING THE MUSIC VIDEO? I love it, it’s very funny with all the different characters, what was it like on filming day?
THOMAS: it was a very, very warm day that day haha
JASPER: yeah it was crazy, it was like more than 30 degrees outside and we were filming in an empty office of my Dad’s work. It was my first clip, I loved it, I loved doing it.
PIETER: you know that’s actually where corona has a positive swing to it, because of the corona a lot of people are working from home so we have a whole free office space we can use.
MOODY MUSIC: you could shoot more music videos! Haha
JAAP: haha yeah all office themed! We almost had the entire building to ourselves which was pretty cool and Jasper’s Dad fixed it for us so we are really grateful for that. It was a long and busy day, but we got everything and we are really, really pleased with how it’s turned out and I still watch it from time to time and still thinking like WOW we did that! And it was really cool.
MOODY MUSIC: did you guys film it yourselves?
THOMAS: yeah we did. Jaap did a lot of the filming and directing stuff, he also edited the video and did a really good job. So it was kind of like Jaap’s project haha.
JAAP: well we need to give Bran some credit. We had one extra with us, which was Bran, who is the boyfriend of our sister, he’s like a really creative dude and knows all this stuff about filming and things like that. So we had him on the team, and he helped make it happen, so it was really nice to have some extra people with us.
MOODY MUSIC: DID YOU GUYS GET TO CHOOSE YOUR OWN CHARACTERS FOR THE MUSIC VIDEO?
THOMAS: I didn’t hahaha
PIETER: no you didn’t (Thomas) haha
JAAP: Pieter, I think that I came up with like a sketch and came up with suggestions for characters and I think that, did I assign a different character to you?
PIETER: No I think I came up with my own character, I don’t know why I think that it comes easily to me to play a geek haha. I have a sword at home! Haha so I thought maybe? Haha
MOODY MUSIC: haha are these characters based on real life? Like a biker, a geek, a gym rat haha
PIETER: well the thing is, it is all very exaggerated haha
MOODY MUSIC: sure is it haha
PIETER: haha that what makes it extra fun to play and do all of these exaggerated things that you would never ever do, that’s what makes it very fun yeah
JASPER: other than that, I am not a brilliant gym enthusiast and Thomas isn’t really a biker! haha
THOMAS: no I don’t even have my car driving license so… haha. But when I had to get dressed as a biker I had this big leather jacket on and I had the beard on my face which really itched, but it was so warm I was sweating like crazy and it wasn’t fun. I still have the beard right here! Haha
MOODY MUSIC: YOU GUYS BRIEFLY MENTIONED A LITTLE BIT ABOUT ‘TALK’ THE ACOUSTIC TRACK OFF THE EP, WHAT MORE CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT IT? It reminds me of All Time Low’s ‘Jasey Rae (acoustic)’
JAAP: musical parts it really come from Pieter and Thomas, from what I can remember.
PIETER: yeah, we were playing with this idea to have one acoustic song on the EP, and just like you we like that All Time Low kind of style. I remember Thomas and I were jamming one night and we had like three or four ideas for intros, we went to the practice studio and we had the acoustic guitar part and we didn’t have any lyrics. I think that the first time we tried something Jaap came up with these lyrics and he sang the chorus and I was like WOW alright! that’s what you’re doing right now, remember that! Because that’s very good!
It came very organically, and I really like how the music and the lyrics blend in I think it fits very well.
THOMAS: we had a lot of sketches for this song but one only made it.
JAAP: yeah, there were a lot of new versions with the acoustic guitar riff you hear at the end.
PIETER: in the second verse you have that muted part with the guitar, that was actually meant as an intro at first as well, but it didn’t become the intro and we still wanted to use it in the second verse.
THOMAS: it gives it a little bit of a dynamic swing in the song.
MOODY MUSIC: WHAT ARE ALL OF YOUR FAVOURITE SONGS OFF THE EP?
JASPER: I guess mine is ‘Secrets’ it’s fun to play and I just really like the vibe
PIETER: I was torn about ‘Look Alive’ and ‘Talk’, but we’ve talked a lot about ‘Look Alive’ so I’m going to say ‘Talk’. I think the topic is very good, as I see it around me there are a lot of young people who are kind of depressed which is not okay, so I think that the message in the song is very good. I think that song on the EP brings out Jaap’s vocals the best and I really love his vocals on that song.
JAAP: I don’t know, it changes everyday haha, but, I think I really like ‘Look Alive’, I was just so happy with the song when we wrote it and there are so many elements to the song that changed for the better when we worked all together on it. I really like the song for that, and for just the energy in it.
THOMAS: I like playing ‘Hatchet’, but I like ‘Secrets’ better to listen to. I like that in the last chorus there’s a little high guitar riff which really blends everything together. I really like ‘Secrets’, but when I’m playing I’m more excited to play ‘Hatchet’ than ‘Secrets’.
JAAP: it’s the more heavier song because it has this breakdown part.
THOMAS: yeah, I really like the breakdown in the second verse. I get really happy when I play that breakdown.
MOODY MUSIC: ANY FINAL WORDS ABOUT THE EP? OR MESSAGES YOU WOULD LIKE TO GET OUT TO FANS?
JAAP: We just hope that people in Australia would give our EP a shot and watch our music video and keep in touch with us. We release band dairies every now and then, just short clips of what we do behind the scenes, we will be releasing the behind the scenes of the video clip the “making of” so that’s something people will like and make them want to listen to us.
PIETER: I hope people in Australia really like us cause we would really like to go there on a tour!
JASPER: that would be very awesome yes!
JAAP: and I think for final words we are just trying to make the most of this situation, while we can’t play shows, and making the EP was great to get our minds off that. We hope to continue to make this stuff to get through this time.
THOMAS: and WE LOVE OUR FANS!
That was Rotterdam’s new up and coming pop-punk band After Elmer chatting all about the band and their new debut EP ‘Look Alive’ on an international zoom interview with Jess from Moody Music Blog Au. ‘Look Alive’ is OUT RIGHT NOW! And stay tuned for a FULL REVIEW of After Elmer’s new EP in the coming weeks right here on Moody Music Blog Au *insert a shaka and a yeww! right here*
After Elmer are
Jaap (Vocals / Bass)
Pieter (Guitar/ Backing Vocals)
Look Alive EP Tracklist:
1. Look Alive
After Elmer’s Social Media
#moodymusic #moodymusicblog #moodymusicblogau #music #blog #blogger #punk #poppunk #poppunkmusic #skatermusic #afterelmer #lookalive #debutep #ep #newmusic #netherlandsmusic #rotterdammusic FRI 2 OCT 2020