Carlo de Wijs

World of Hammond organ

EXPLORE THE WORLD OF HAMMOND ORGAN MUSIC, EDUCATION & RESEARCH. IT'S MY AMBITION TO GIVE THE HAMMOND A BREEDING GROUND IN USE, SOUND & TRADITION

New Era, New Sound, New Release!

My World of Hammond (7)

Hi all,

I’m incredibly proud to announce that a brand-new era has arrived: it is finally time to launch the first audio and video release of our New Hammond Sound Project! From now on, there will be a new track released every month. We can’t wait to hear what you all think!

This project came into existence through years of developing my modular Hammond organs, together with Jordi’s hybrid drums. The visuals made by Job van Nuenen, which kind of serve as a third member of the band, complete our vision. Like no other, Job knows how to translate the musical-tension and structure to image. I think that’s also why so much time has passed since my last CD-release with the Voices of Soul in 2012: real art takes time. However, I promise you that this is going to change.

Our first track, Element Cm, is based on a ‘catchy hook’ that gradually evolves in ever-changing harmonic colours. The bit is recorded live and shows footage documented from six different cameras.

Theo Janssen and recording-assistant Ruben Steenmeijer carried out the audio recording. Theo, Jordi and I then mixed the tape after which (Ivo) Statinksy Mastering took care of the finishing touches. I’m telling you, keep an eye on that man. He turned out to be a perfect addition to the making of the final product.

Besides producing the tracks, of which three are ready and new ones are in the making, there is still a lot of work to be done. The website needs an update; social media needs to be streamlined; releases on Spotify, Apple Music, et cetera need to be planned; we’re searching for a(n) (booking) agent; so yeah, this is going to be a busy but exciting time. Still, I couldn’t wait any longer and just had to start sharing parts.

Ultimately, creative expression turns out to be the strongest and the backbone for all of my other activities as well - like for instance the development of Hammond education and my other research. If you like you can read more about this personal process, just go check out my new bio ‘The man behind the organ’.

Enjoy and don’t hesitate to share the music!

Talk to you soon, Carlo

My World of Hammond (5)

HOT TOPICS, TRAVELS and TRHOWBACKS

Hi there! It’s been a ‘hot’ summer in many different ways. So where to start? I wish I could give you a glimpse into all the sorts of exciting developments that are and have been going on, but since that would be too much, let me just concentrate on what is tangible – which is actually excited enough on its own!

 My research into the history and future of the Hammond organ seems to be the main and ever returning subject when it comes to all my other activities. The first chapter of this thesis has been finished and approved by my professors and promoters. It describes and discusses the emergence of the Hammond organ as pioneering innovation and the life of its inventor, Laurens Hammond. It’s not a story built up by just facts, instead its centres around the actors that have influenced the history of the instrument’s development. I talk about the climate in which innovation could come about, the technologies, the social and cultural factors present and the people that – together with Hammond – were decisive for the development of the Hammond organ.

My research into the history and future of the Hammond organ seems to be the main and ever returning subject when it comes to all my other activities. The first chapter of this thesis has been finished and approved by my professors and promoters. It describes and discusses the emergence of the Hammond organ as pioneering innovation and the life of its inventor, Laurens Hammond. It’s not a story built up by just facts, instead its centres around the actors that have influenced the history of the instrument’s development. I talk about the climate in which innovation could come about, the technologies, the social and cultural factors present and the people that – together with Hammond – were decisive for the development of the Hammond organ.

 On another note, despite the discussion about the open access of scientific articles, which I strongly support, I abide the policy of the Erasmus University and therefore won’t be sharing the entire chapter on my website – yet. Of course I hope to be able to share this content at some point, since I believe in a Hammond community where people can share interesting facts and perspectives. Keeping science alive, am I right?

On another note, despite the discussion about the open access of scientific articles, which I strongly support, I abide the policy of the Erasmus University and therefore won’t be sharing the entire chapter on my website – yet. Of course I hope to be able to share this content at some point, since I believe in a Hammond community where people can share interesting facts and perspectives. Keeping science alive, am I right?

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Chicago

I’m very much looking forward to the upcoming visit to the Chicago History Museum next week. The Hammond Organ Company Records between 1928 and 1985 are stored there, which the Marmon Group, as owner of the Hammond brand, donated to the museum when Hammond passed onto non-American hands during the eighties. As researcher I’ll get access to these archives – which I expect to be of great importance to my research. There are about 20 meters of boxes containing correspondence, reports, drawings and patents, budget and marketing plans, operational figures, et cetera. They also preserve a collection of promotional and educational materials, photographs, posters, audio and video, and even a number of actual organs.

I also hope to get the chance to meet a number of people, such as the former technical engineer who worked under Laurens Hammond personally. Besides that, I’m also planning a visit to Hammond Suzuki USA. Hopefully, there will be some time left to actually visit the city, clubs and museums. In other words: you can expect a report of my visit for sure.

This week, the lessons at Codarts started again. This is the first official year of a new bachelor- and master program, after launching the pilot-version two years ago. Naturally, we will still need to work on the familiarity with this program within Europe, but I’m pretty content with the current response – both from within the program and the outside world. We’re also going to work together with Suzuki to make sure this new program will be both of high-quality and internationally known.

Finally, this blog ends with a proud father announcing that his daughter Romy will join his team in the field of PR and Marketing this coming year – it being a part of her master Media and Creative Industries at the Erasmus University as well. When she was just a baby, Romy often kept me company, chilling in her maxi-cosi, while I was working at my desk or studio. As soon as a rehearsal with the then Voices of Soul started, she would join them with her own vocals  – showing us her already exhibiting talent for wanting to babble on with the musicians. It therefore should not come as a surprise that I now want to take advantage of her – by now actually developed – creative and communicative talents.

Stay tuned, as the next blog will be here soon enough.

Carlo

 Romy & me when she was four, 1999.

Romy & me when she was four, 1999.

My World of Hammond (4)

Europe, sandwiches and new tracks

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Hi guys!

I'm very proud to mention the letter of intent Hammond Suzuki Europe and Codarts signed on Tuesday April 17 in which both shared their interest in promoting the education in Hammond organ at Codarts. In my opinion, this is a huge step in developing eductation at the highest possible level!

Hammond and Codarts will also cooperate in the international recruitment of students and investigate the viability of starting a joint pre-education trajectory. 

The presence of mr. Shuji Suzuki, president of the Suzuki Corporation, and mr. Shun Aoji, head of the international sales department, at the signing was a true and unexpected bonus.  Boye and Willem played some music on Hammond B3 and XK5.  More about this on  Codarts website

Boye and Willem are my fellow partners in the NewHammondLAB as well. Last week we were invited to produce a music track for the opening of the yearly conference of Dutch Higher Education (Jaarcongres Vereniging Hogescholen). I wrote an overture for our LAB, which we expected to be suitable for this job. Arranging, recording and mixing were all a joint effort. What do you think of this one-minute version? Would you like to hear an extended version?

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Sandwich?

A Hammond Sandwich

In 2017 Dutch alto saxophonist and great jazz personality Paul van Kemenade asked me to join his new project: Hammond Sandwich. Together with collegue Arno Krijger, we intent to add a very personal sound to the music of this band instead of performing a probably more expected Hammond battle. A sound with with fast and high notes; screamin' Leslies and blues. In fact, it will probably be nothing but the blues

It's not that I'm condescending about these kind of Hammond battles, I was happy to take part in very pleasant meetings with Rob Mostert and Sven (Hammond Soul) Figee and with Mike Carr and Dirk van der Linden in the past, but .... this instrument has so much more to offer. Arno and I, in my humble opinion, are constantly finding new colours in sound and music and are blending them like a sandwich!

Almost every member of this band, Paul (as), Jeroen Doomernik (tp), Chris Strik (d), Arno & me contribute original compositions. It's a true joy to be part of this project.

'flying' on a forklift with equipment (Jazzroom Breda)

Yes, I know! It took me a while to come with a new release, but it's almost there.

Next week, four new tracks will be audio-mastered. My dear friend Job van Nuenen is working hard to extract and design video clips with the material from the six camera shoots we made during the recordings last year. I'm really curious about what you will think of this new material.

Personally, I think the performances I did together with my musical soul mates Jordi Geuens (drumming, producing and mixing) and Theo Janssen (recording & mixing) sound like a fresh and clear start into the area of a true New Hammond Sound. But please, some patience is still required.

There's more to come so please stay tuned!  Carlo

My World of Hammond (3)

Hammond@Codarts and my beautiful Blue B!

Hi again, It’s been a busy few weeks! Sjaak van Oosterhout delivered my long awaited, newly blue coloured, B3: the instrument I have been playing since the age of eighteen. We have basically become one. In comparison with that other Hammond beast, my modular and experimental instrument, this Blue B(3) is fully equipped for stage use. It has the individual routings, with which I can choose to manipulate its sound analogue or digitally. There’s also the midi keyboard, which I use to play pre-produced Hammond samples or the beautiful Novachord Ableton Live Soundpack. It has several foot controllers, wah wah and a vocoder. Both instruments sound quite different from each other. I wish I had more time to play on both instruments all day, but with the many projects happening at the same time… Thanks to Sjaak, who – again – has done an unbelievably good job!

 Modular Hammond & Blue B and a lot of wires..

Modular Hammond & Blue B and a lot of wires..

I'm proud to say that after two pilot years, my employer Codarts Rotterdam decided to fully support a new Hammond organ main subject for the bachelor and master. This is truly unique for Europe, guys! Of course Hammond already exists as a part of some keyboard and piano courses at other conservatoires, but this one has a central focus on the Hammond besides piano and keyboards. On March 10, we celebrated the launch of this with the Hammond@Codarts day, which was pretty successful. See the video compilation of this inspirational day with music, talks, interaction and jams.

KEEP ON ROCKIN'

CARLO

My World of Hammond (2)

Rhoda, mixing & New Hammond Records

It has been an exciting week! Four days of being in the presence of Rhoda Scott: her personality, wisdom, openness, friendliness and frankly just her still being that great performer. How nice it was to have the opportunity to talk to her for several hours, which resulted in a huge input for my PhD, Hammond education at Codarts and as a personal inspiration. Rhoda’s daughter and personal manager Eugénie accompanied her all the time. She keeps Rhoda free from unnecessary activities, which results in this healthy and energetic grand old lady of the Hammond. Almost all of ‘Hammond Netherland’ showed up during her four concerts, both young and old.

A lot of the stories Rhoda told me will be included in the second chapter of my PhD research, but first I will finalize chapter one. Expect this to be published real soon.

Altoist Benjamin Herman accompanied Rhoda, which reminded me of the more than 12 years I had the pleasure to perform in his organ quartet. What an outstanding guy he still is!

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New Hammond Records

This Friday Jordi Geuens, mix engineer Theo Janssen and I had an audio mix session of the recorded tunes from last year, made in my former Geertruidenberg studio. We’ll release those New Hammond Sound tracks in the Spring and next week Job van Nuenen and I will work at the matching videoclips. I promise you it will be a fresh New Hammond Sound project. It will also be the start of my own New Hammond Records company!

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B3's coming back

The last thing to tell you in this second blog, is that my B3 organ will finally return from Sjaak van Oosterhout on February 26. I can’t wait to play again and study all new possibilities.

So many things are happening at the same time right now and I’m very pleased with that. More to follow soon.

Stay tuned! Carlo

My World of Hammond (1)

Music, words, Rhoda Scott & Hammond at Codarts

It was a busy week: the announcement of both the renewed Hammond bachelor & master course at Codarts and a Hammond Event on March10 which I will organise (program with Hammond students, NewHammondSound' Jordi Geuens, Sjaak van Oosterhout about Hammond technology & more). Also, a very special chance has occurred: on February 12 I’ll get to interview my first love when it comes to Hammond, Rhoda Scott! It's for my PhD and for Codarts to celebrate our Hammond course. I'm very excited to speak to Rhoda for an hour and half or so. https://youtu.be/oIB2ywz3S9o

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Imagine a 2018 Hammond version of Kraftwerk!  Last Friday we rehearsed with New Hammond Lab: Willem 't Hart, Boye Ingwersen and me. We believe it'll be a very special sounding project.

‘My ‘mate’ Jordi Geuens and I are mixing four original songs we've recorded last summer in my former Geertruidenberg studio. And although we're no mix-pro's (Jordi almost), we try to achieve our New Hammond Sound: modern, dynamic, a big sounding duo. We'll finish the mixes with our trusted engineer Theo Janssen soon and I've also got to work at all the videostuff too with a little help from another buddy Job van Nuenen (but everyone is sooo busy...)

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Yesterday the air-conditioning was installed in my new studio (thanks Alan), yeah. It's not only cooling, but also warming up for when I just sit still and write...because, that's what I’ve been doing most last month: writing, writing and writing for the first chapter of my historic research. I'd never thought of writing 10.000 words for only the first part of a story. Still a lot has yet to be done (add all the right references and more stuff), but this is A BIG step for this musician over here!

Don't be shy to talk to me, Carlo

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My World of Hammond (0)

Hi, as you probably (want to) know I'm a Hammond organist, developing music, sound, my Hammond modular instruments and projects all the time. Besides those projects I'm teaching Hammond at Codarts (conservatory Rotterdam) and doing a PhD research on the history & future of the Hammond organ. It's a lot, I know, and sometimes confusing too. So many things are happening at the same time and that's why I came up with the idea to write a regularly blog about 'my World of Hammond' to keep grip on this for myself and for you. Hope you'll like to follow this journey too and feel invited to react. Till soon, Carlo