For a lot of Tongeren-based musicians, playing in bands with your pals at concerts in front of other bands filled again with your pals is a mark of success. Tongeren’s music scene is a fun place, and if that passion fulfils your desire for realisation (and you have a side-job that pays the bills) it’s truly a happy place.
Since forming in 1998, “AfterTaste” have pursued specific goals for playing music in Tongeren (The Province of Limburg, Belgium), some of which they’ve yet to realize — such as, for example, sharing the stage with other artists at Europe’s finest post-rock Dunk Festival.
“We do have a feasible aim. As we’ve grown, we’ve gotten more creative in our songwriting, more open to experiments and new things”, confesses the leader of the band Dirk Dey Budeners. “We have a certain level of professionalism we are expecting to achieve by investing all our dreams, energy and money into our music endeavours”. “And I know each of us have dedicated our other careers to making sure that the band stays politically fearless and entirely self-produced. Because music is what we do out of pure passion.”
Dey Budeners started AfterTaste in late 90s together with Geoffrey Van Bogget on drums, Eric Opdenacker (bass) and Dirk Duchateau (vocals & guitars). In the early days the music of AfterTaste was characterized by punk rhythms mixed with hardcore melodic lines and was influenced by bands like Serpico, Sleeper, Texas is the Reason, Boy sets Fire. Surprisingly, but throughout the years, the band went through minor changes in its line-up. In 2009 the vocalist Dirk Duchateau left the band. “That was a difficult period for me, we ‘lost’ a good friend and a good musician. But he couldn’t manage playing in the band and at the same time working all weekends in HORECA sector”, says Dirk Dey Budeners.
“We were like in exile, I didn’t want to search for another vocalist, therefore we were with three (Geoffrey, Eric and me) and gradually we evolved from melodic hard-core to post-rock. During those 6 years we were experimenting with our own songs and did some studio work. Luckily, in the end of 2015, Marc Santermans joined the band and we set on the current four-piece format, which features a drummer, a guitarist and two bassists”, reveals Dirk.
“We knew Marc from gigs in the AB, Muziekodroom. He shares the same fondness for making instrumental music,” Eric Opdenacker explains about the current lineup.
Even dilettantes know that it’s highly uncommon to have two bass players in one band. Uncommon but if it works, it works! “Apart from having two bass players in a band, we are playing instrumental music which is far from popular, at least in our area”, smiles Geoffrey. “It’s an extra challenge – putting emotions into the music without using vocals”.
The AfterTaste frontman says the unconventional features of the band are something best experienced live: “Anyone can go to Internet and listen to songs, but we prefer people to come out to live gigs and feel engaged. When you feel it live, everyone gets memories to store in order to recall them on a calm rainy day”.
For the first time in my entire life I was witnessing post-rock power, cinematic spectacle, melancholy romantic motifs and the darkly brilliant emotion of epic Wagnerian scores in December 2016 at AfterTaste’s rehearsal studio in Alken (Province of Limburg, Belgium). The quartet was doing what seems to come naturally, bashing out Godspeed You Black Emperor-inspired post-rock jams and having a good time while playing it. Mostly dramatic while listening, the music, however, leaves a thoughtful aftertaste…
“AfterTaste” was a song by the band called “Walleye” (album “Familiar, Forgotten”, 1995) who played melodic hard-core. “A great band and a great song! The name “AfterTaste” sounded pretty cool. Also it means the taste left after eating, drinking…. so … we thought why not a name for our band!”, recalls Dirk.
In Tongeren where everybody knows everybody, and bands are often just your friends on stage, AfterTaste have been able to create and maintain a special meditative atmosphere on their shows — even if only for the 30 minutes they’re performing.
“When I’m asked about our first gig, everything instantly comes back to me”, admits Dirk. “The whistling and applauding crowd, the smell of that summer evening, drinks with friends afterwards… Things you experience when you are young stay with you forever. Our first concert happened in summer’99 in a small pub called “Pumpkeskal”. It was a famous holy place not only among us ‘natives of Tongeren’ but also throughout the country. A lot of bands played there such as “Stroke of Grace”, “Kindred”, moreover American bands came to perform at the venue: “Hot Water Music”, “Metroschifter”…I perfectly remember that feeling of nervousness that gets more intense before coming out onto the stage. We only had about 6 songs, a 30-minute show, but we were sweating like never before. However, after the first song the nerves were gone, and for me, the feeling was amazing – a slowmo ride on a pink cloud …”.
It seems reasonable that the best is yet to come. And these four men have lofty goals for “AfterTaste”. They’ll be recording an EP (5 or 6 songs) in summer 2017. More shows should follow.
8 April, De Link, Hasselt
May 2017, Retro Velinx, Tongeren
23-24 September, Conscienza Festival, Hippodrome Tongeren
By Marina Kazakova