Back with a second album, “Atlantis Atlantis,” Belgian electro-rock group Rheinzand bring a global perspective to their dynamic, pulsating sound. Teasing the release with singles, “We’ll Be Alright,” and “Elefentasi” (in six languages), Rheinzdand’s full range comes alive on this LP. What they offer is a space between reality and fiction, on an interplanetary scale. It only makes sense this album is named after a famed lost city in the depths of the ocean, as a true sense of discovery emerges when pressing play.
Learn more about how the group came together and band member collaborations, including Hercules & Love Affair, in a special Q&A with Rheinzand’s Charlotte Caluwaerts and Reinhard Vanbergen following the stream below.
How long has Rheinzand been in the works? It seems you’ve emerged into the universe from a long process.
Charlotte: Rheinzand started very gradually. One track every 6 months. Once we had 8 tracks, we were wondering what it would sound like in a live context. We found a drummer (Stephane Misseghers) and a bass player (Bruno Cousseé) and we rehearsed for a week. That was the first time we actually worked more than 1 day in a row on Rheinzand. From there on we spent more and more time on it, leading up to the first album. The second album was a totally different process, where we wrote the album in one month and recorded bass and drums in one week.
What inspired you to remix Elefantasi in 6 languages? Is there a particular connection to each one you chose?
Charlotte: The original version is in Danish. It was an ode to our Danish label, Music For Dreams. I secretly started studying Danish and sent the track as a surprise. They loved the track and asked for an English version, which took a bit of effort to come up with. The Spanish version immediately came to me. I’m fluent in Spanish and developed a loving relationship with Mexico. The Italian and French version were kind of obvious from there. I grew up in a French speaking environment and my brother lived 6 years in Sardinia. Doing a Dutch version came naturally after writing in 5 other languages. I always loved languages and love how the melody and poetry are very distinct. It was something I could play around with, doing the track. The main story about the pink elephant that wants to be blue is the same, but every version is quite different and has its own character.
With Reinhard Vanbergen appearing on the Hercules & Love Affair album In Amber, and other band members’ involvements, how do these experiences carry into Rheinzand’s tracks?
Reinhard: I have been active for 25 years as a producer, mixer, composer and instrumentalist, Charlotte has been writing a lot for DJ’s and producers, and Mo had a huge career as a DJ as part of the Glimmers. So there have been many, many collaborations. If you work with talented people you learn something every time. It’s maybe even one of the more important aspects to me as a musician. I mixed the previous album of Hercules & Love Affair, called Omnion. We have worked together for quite some time. In Amber provided a more open way of working together. Andy’s approach to songwriting is very special. He is very open minded, lets you do your thing, then grabs the best of everything to focus it into his expression. This has been a valuable vision that for sure had an impact on our songwriting.
Do you have any more collaborations happening in the future?
Reinhard: I released my first solo record 2 years ago, at the beginning of the pandemic on the same label, Music for Dreams. I kind of stayed away from danceable disco tunes to not become competition for Rheinzand. I made a few more albums after that, and most of them were collaborations, but with artists outside of music. I call them ‘inspired by’ albums. I made one with a painter, Michaël Borremans, one with a star chef, Kobe Desramaults, one with a photographer, Diana Monkhorst, one with Zoro Feigl, who makes huge installations, and one with painting VR. The last 2 will be released soon. Of these collaborations have scheduled a few more, one with a director, Kadir Ferati Balci, one with a guitar builder, Guttlin guitars, my favourite guitars these days, and one with Jiggers, the best cocktail bar of the world, located in Ghent Center. It’s a fun way of working together and an endless source of inspiration. Charlotte is a part of most of these, as we have developed a very fast way of working together after we had to write 50 songs for a Belgian TV series in a month last year.
Being from Ghent, what parties would you recommend to anyone exploring its nightlife scene?
Charlotte: Mo, our third band member throws his own parties with his companion Nicolas Vandecaveye. They are called Mo’juice. Mo has been touring the world for over a decade with the Glimmers, and met a lot of other amazing DJ’s. He brings them over, and with some younger talents in the mix, they make these nights the best parties in Ghent. There is one yearly edition for halloween, called Mo’blood, that is the very best. Everybody is dressed up properly, and that seems to be an extra push to really let go of everything and party till they drop..epic.