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2 Times Nothing: ‘The Belgian music scene is about to explode, no kidding.’

​Maurice De Clerck, Jacob Hus, Jorick Hens, Jef Cruyssaert and Arto Van Roey a.k.a. 2 Times Nothing. A group of five that started out as a ‘school ensemble’ in Brussels, and now spread all over Belgium and the Netherlands. Last week they played ‘Lefto presents: Made In Belgium @ NEST, Ghent.’ 2 Times Nothing is a revelation, no doubt. But why? What drives them? How do they describe their own sound, and what about the Belgian music scene? We strongly advise listening to the concert footage. If you have never heard of this band, you’re about to now, and you’ll never forget about them. Promise.

Written by: Ramboer Timon, Photos: Cesar Vromman 

Who are you guys, and what do you want to achieve?

Jorick: We’re a band of five guys and we make music together. What do we want to achieve? As much as possible!
Jef: Lots of money.
Maurice: A house in L.A. !
Jorick: And lots of pretty girls! (laughing)

You guys do realize that all of this will be published?
Jorick: No, we’ll be serious from now on. This is always a ‘pain-in-the-arse’-question. So, we’re five guys making music together, ..
Arto: ..., and we used to go to the same school: an art school in Brussels named Kunsthumaniora Brussel, that is where it all started.

How long has 2 Times Nothing been around?
Together: Three to four years. We think.
Jef: Three years and two months to be exact.
Jorick: We started out as a cover band, just for fun. Only later we started composing our own sound.
Jacob: These last years we really opened ourselves up for all kinds of influences. Starting out as a jazz band, we wanted all of these random influences implemented in our own vibe, from hip-hop to an electronic touch. It doesn’t matter. There are all kinds of sounds lurking between our songs that you wouldn’t even recognize. That you wouldn’t even know. We don’t want to fit in a box, so we, just, don’t.
Jef: We all have different musical backgrounds. So, for instance, everyone has their own individual taste in music and sound but within 2 Times Nothing, these different ‘influences’ all come together forming a musical melting pot, creating us. This is an ideal setup to start from. Most of the times an agreement in taste is easily achieved. Most of the times, however.. (all laughing)

Could you name some of these influences?
Together: A lot of people: Robert Glasper, BADBADNOTGOOD, Pomrad, Four Tet, Stuff., SHNTZL, … to name a few.
Jef: A lot of inspiration comes from the reviving, booming, Belgian scene.
Maurice: Yes! It’s interesting to see how our Belgian scene is complete transforming, and re-living its musical past.
Jorick: The Belgian music scene is going to explode, no kidding. It’s a really good moment for us, and many other bands.

Why do you think the Belgian scene is doing so well at the moment? 
Jacob: I think this has to do with all these inner connections between the whole hip-hop, jazz and electronic scene in Belgium. These liaisons make it way easier to incorporate different sounds, and to eventually create new genres and new sounds. It’s thanks to initiatives such as Red Bull elektropedia that these relations between hip-hop, jazz and electro are forming and shaping up to become a Belgian exclusive gift to the universal music society.
Jorick: Red Bull Elektropedia even remakes old nineties Bonzaï Records (Bonzaï Records Reworks) through the hearts and minds of Belgian artists, e.g. Lefto, Charlotte De Witte, Hiele, .. to reshape old trance/techno -tracks towards a modern day equivalent.
Jacob: And the fact that Red Bull sets up these kind of projects, only makes us proud to join them. It’s an honour to work with them. Red Bull ain’t like any other organisation to play with, they don’t just book you. They book you and push you forward, helping you with connections, keeping an eye on you and looking for fitting musical partners-in-crime for the next event.​

How did you guys react to Lefto’s invitation to play at Made in Belgium?
Jorick: Lefto has a very broad perspective on music in general. The fact that he organizes events like these makes me hopeful for the Belgian music scene. I’m sure lots of Belgian artists have to thank Lefto for their breakthrough.
Jacob: He mixes a lot of music, but besides that he has multiple projects that keep him busy. The way he treats young, upcoming artists is memorable, he motivates them to keep on going.
Maurice: And that’s exactly what our music scene needs, an international voice promoting the Belgian sound. We need a spotlight, Lefto might be able to give us just that.

During the concert @ NEST, Ghent. 

You’ve started 2 Times Nothing as a school band. Since this year you’ve all graduated from school and spread out among different cities (Brussels, Ghent, Antwerp, Den Hague).
So what’s happening in the future?

Jef: We need to learn how to organize ourselves better, especially with everybody fanned out over the Flemish and Dutch lowlands. This year we did a repetition/holiday trip to France, which was just epic. Playing music all day while drinking a beer and enjoying the sun, what else do you want? Interesting fact: all the tracks we played at ‘Lefto: Made in Belgium’, were composed during our 4-day-stay in France. All new tracks, fitting perfectly together, and nothing can be found online. It’s all brand f*cking new.
Jacob: .., logically, because we’ve made them all-in one place. In these new tracks, you can really hear the (r)evolution we’ve been through.
Maurice: For instance, our sound is becoming more and more of a mixture between electronic and jazz sounds. We love the accoustic sounds, no doubt, but an evolution towards more electronic music was just something we really wanted to do.
Jacob: It could be described as a new genre, we’re not the only ones to do this. This is an upcoming phenomenon, in the way that a mixture between electronic and accoustic sounds is becoming more and more popular within what used to be strictly accoustic bands.

‘2 Times Nothing’, kind of an odd name, isn't it? How did you name the band?
Jorick: We were on the road towards our first gig, at ‘Residence De Clerck’ in France. We only had one or two songs of our own back then, so it’s kind of shocking to see how we’ve expanded our repertorium in just two years. Anyway, we were on the road and we still had no band name. Actually at the time we didn’t really have anything going on at all, except for maybe one or two songs and a shitload of covers.
It was ‘twee keren niks’, or 2 Times Nothing, as we used to say to each other, jokingly.
“How much do you guys ask for a booking?”, “twee keer niks.”
“How much songs do you guys have?’, “twee keer niks.”
So it started out as this habitual comment in relation to our music, but we’ve made it our own. We are 2 Times Nothing.
Arto: Not everybody likes the name though, but we do. If you ask around, people do recognize the name, so is the name that bad? We like it, so why care? Also, it’s a wink towards our Belgian/Flemish roots. The band name is an English translation of a flemish saying, as we explained before.

Left to right: Maurice, Jorick, Arto, Jacob and Jef

I’ve heard some rumors about an EP / collab with PERRON ZES. Could you guys tell us something about that? What is PERRON ZES?
Jacob: PERRON ZES is a collective of artists, graphic designers, musicians, producers, VJ’s, actors, etc,... They focus on multiple branches of the art world, combining their different expertises to create their own artform. They want to create something of their own, for the sake of a more diversified art world and in contrast to all unspoken commandments in art. We’re all people that want to create, so we create, and work together - making collabs, having a weekly radio-show on BRUZZ Radio, designing t-shirts, organising parties,… That is PERRON ZES, and we’re part of it.
Time for a secret: in the near future PERRON ZES will release the next 2 Times Nothing - EP, keep your eyes peeled!

Is there something else that 2 Times Nothing wants to share with the world?
Jef: Next event we want olives and avocado’s in the backstage,...
Arto: And Buenos!
Jorick: We’ll send you our Diva-backstage-list later, cool?
Jef: ..., and ofcourse we want Belgium to get to know 2 Times Nothing !
Arto: Come on, ‘gast’. (dude NL)
Jorick: ‘gast’
Jef: But it’s true, no?
Jacob: ‘Gast.’ I think we better leave it at this (laughing)

Thank you for the interview.

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