Rutger Zuydervelt – “I guess my first ‘alternative music’ was death metal”


I see Greg Kelly (I love Nperign!) and Pauline Oliveros. Two artists that I could connect to your work as musician, as their attention to the grain of sound and to the shape of what reaches the ears of the listener is huge… as far as I listened to your records, it seems that you always get into the details of what you play/record/mix, right?

Oh yes indeed, for me the detail/texture within a sound is as important as the overall structure. Just like melody and rhythm (as abstract as may be), the texture is an important parameter that I spend a lot of time on. A sound (or combination of sounds) really has to have some sort of an organic or even physical character…


What are the two orange cassettes on the top? They look like some Basf tapes from the 70’s: Why are they up there? Or is it something similar?

One is an old recordable cassette (from HEMA), the other one is a cleaning cassette from Philips. They’re just there because I like the designs.


Talking about design: I love the picture you took with the series of CD from some labels. A lot of Constellation, then Type, Miasmah, Die Schacketl, Erstwhile and some other I can’t recognize, but look great, including a very mysterious set of white/unlabelled CDs and a pink rubber one.
This brings me to the artwork you usually make for records (among them, I totally loved the one done for Chris Dooks “The Idioholism Vinyl Trilogy”). What came first? The musician or the graphic designer?

The white spines are Eilean releases, the pink foam-sleeve is the Goodiepal Mort Aux Vaches” album (which is amazing).
I’ve had some guitar and piano lessons when I was young, and I started doing electronic music (at home) when I did my first graphic design study (followed by a study at the art academy). I worked for years as a professional designer at companies, and never had the intention to have a proper ‘career’ in music, but it just happened… So I’d say the design stuff came first, then the music took over…


“The Idioholism Vinyl Trilogy” + PhD Text (2015 – by Chris Dooks) whose artwork was made by Rutger


IMG_20180711_170636 -B.jpg

Yes, a lot of attention for the detail/texture within a sound, and – in general terms – I would say that your music is usually calm, seldom extreme or ‘fast’, at least what I heard from you. Sometimes noisy, but never over a certain threshold. So I like to see one of my favourite bands ever, Cop Shoot Cop, rather violent in their approach, very direct! How was your evolution in terms of tastes? Where did you start in listening to ‘alternative music’?

Hm, ‘seldom extreme’ sounds like ‘boring’, but I’ll forgive you! Cop Shoot Cop are in my collection as well. To be honest; sure, they’re loud, but I think their music is actually very catchy!
I guess my first ‘alternative music’ was death metal. That’s what I got into at the age of 16 or so. Then there was a short ‘phase’ of gothic and dark ambient, quickly turning into drum ’n bass and triphop. From there it wasn’t such a big step anymore to idm (Warp stuff mostly), into more experimental stuff.


Ahah! No! I didn’t mean boring at all! And extreme can be very boring somehow! But I fully agree, CSC are totally catchy and very pop at the end, perfect melodies, perfect songs, just strong as hell. Not as death metal maybe! So, what was your favourite band in that genre? Some Norwegian church-burner bunch of black dressed guys?

Well, the church burners are back metal dudes of course (and I like some of it), but they’re all dressed in black for sure. My favourites were the big names I guess; Morbid Angel, Death, Gorefest, Obituary, Napalm Death… Hard to pick one favourite, but for now I’ll go for Morbid Angel, and especially their album “Domination”.


I kind of like Morbid Angels (especially the collaboration with Laibach), and Napalm Death (even if I won’t say they’re death metal). But: no Burzum? I always thought he’s the funniest of them all… I’d like so much to have him here on Concrete Shelves one day! Burning shelves!

Well, there’s some of Napalm Death’s records, like “Fear, Emptiness, Despair” that are more death metal than grindcore I’d say. But no, I wasn’t into Burzum much… didn’t like the flimsy production… and although I like it more now, it’s a shame that mister Burzum has some unfresh political ideas…

Yes, in fact I said “the funniest”, as I can’t consider seriously Mr Varg Vikernes, even if I like albums like “Filosofem”. His political ideas, as similar ones around in Europe and US, are not really ‘fresh’ as you say. They kind of stink. Thanks a lot for the nice chat, Rutger! I hope we’ll meet personally one day. Any chance to see you performing in Italy? You’re not touring often, right?

No plans for Italy. Indeed, I don’t tour often, and nothing is in the works… But let’s hope we’ll meet someday.

Rutger Zuydervelt makes electronic music as Machinefabriek. He is married and has a cat called Poeka. The best food he ever had is probably Taiwanese soup dumplings. He also scores films and dance performances. | |


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