Simon de Witt, besser bekannt unter dem Namen Blanks, ist, wie er sich selbst beschreibt, ein „overexcited music boy“. Meiner Meinung nach, kann man ihn aber nicht nur als „music boy“, sondern auch als „YouTube boy“ betiteln. Denn mittlerweile hat der niederländische Musiker über 1,3 Millionen Abos auf der Videoplattform. Auf seinem YouTube Kanal kann man nicht nur „normale“ Musikvideos finden, sondern auch die unterschiedlichsten Videoformate. Angefangen mit normalen V-Logs, hat Blanks vor allem durch Formate wie „Style Swap“ oder der „One Hour Song Challenge“ die Aufmerksamkeit auf sich gezogen. Vor allem seine Version des Songs „Better Now“ von Post Malone war und ist so erfolgreich, dass der Song auf Spotify veröffentlicht wurde und mittlerweile über 20 Millionen Streams hat. Letzten Freitag war es dann so weit. Am 30. Oktober brachte Blanks nun endlich sein Debütalbum „Nothing Lasts Forever And That’s OK“ raus. Ich durfte ihm ein paar Fragen stellen.
Blanks im Interview
Lara: Hi Simon! How are you, shortly before the album release?
Blanks: Nervous and excited!!! I can’t wait to share all the music with my fans!!
Lara: Your EP “Never Have I Ever“ just came out in September. How come, your debut album is released this soon after?
Blanks: The EP is actually the first 4 singles of the album, so some sort of teaser! We decided to bundle them with the release of “Never Have I Ever” .
Lara: The music videos for the EP build on each other and tell a story. Where did the idea come from and how far will this be continued in the upcoming album?
Blanks: My coming of age memories are heavily intertwined with the music I listened to at that time. You could say they were the soundtrack of my coming of age era. With that idea me team and I came up with the storyline for the music video. I wanted to write a coming of age storyline were my album is the soundtrack of the story. About continuing the story: I haven’t given that any thought yet! I am focusing on the release of this album right now, but I don’t rule out the possibility the story might continue…
Lara: Do you have a favorite song or a favorite music video on your album?
Blanks: This is the hardest question!! I love every song, but if I had to pick I’d say “I’m Sorry” and “What You Do To Me”, where the music video for “I’m Sorry” is one of my favorites.
Lara: How long did it take to create the entire album? Did the lockdown disturb the progress? Or was it maybe even helpful?
Blanks:Much longer than I expected haha! The first song I wrote was 1,5 years ago. The lockdown did definitely not disturb the process: it started it. I was releasing singles every 2/3 months, and when covid hit, I decided it was time to start working on an album. So you could say it was helpful!
Lara: The name of the album will be “Nothing Lasts Forever And That’s OK”. Where did the inspiration for this title come from?
Blanks: The album title is inspired by the Portuguese word ‘saudade’ which describes an emotional state of nostalgic melancholic longing for something or someone that one cares about, knowing the object of longing might never be had again. I have so many memories that I’ll never forget (summer nights with friends, going to Paris with a loved one, people you meet over summer, get really close with and then never see again) that I wish I could relive and feel exactly the same, but I can’t. So when I learned about ‘saudade’ I related to the feeling immediately. However, this feeling made me realize you have to fully enjoy every present moment – it might turn into a deeply cherished memory! When I explained this train of thought to a friend of mine (the same friend I wrote “I’m Sorry” with, the fifth track on the album) we concluded: “Nothing Lasts Forever And That’s OK”. And that just felt right the moment we said it.
Lara: Watching your videos on YouTube, it’s easy to see how passionate you are about music. How did this passion come about? And how has it developed in your life?
Blanks: I feel like everything I ever did, I did it with passion. Music has been the biggest challenge so far, so I continue to bring passion to it! I just keep finding new things and exciting ideas! It’s like an infinite playing field I enter when I’m in the studio!
Lara: It’s very impressive how many instruments you can play. Is there any instrument you would love to be able to play, but you can’t (yet)?
Blanks: Thank you! And yes, I would love to be able to play the saxophone!
Lara: In your videos and in your songs, you can hear and see a clear preference for the 80s. How did it come that you are such an 80s fan?
Blanks: I feel fake nostalgic whenever I think about the 80s. The music sounds so good, the sounds are so warm, and the songwriting is impeccable: I just love it!
Lara: You already played a few shows after the big forced break, aka the pandemic. How was it to play in front of so many people again? What was your highlight?
Blanks: It was AMAZING! And also strange! You aren’t used to that many people anymore, so the first show I walked on stage I was so blown away I completely forgot my first few lyrics haha! The highlight was everyone singing along to the lyrics, that is an indescribable feeling.
Lara: At the end of each interview, we always ask for an untold story. This could be a random fact about you, something funny what happened, etc. Anything that you haven’t shared with the world, but want to.
Blanks: I want to give my brother a shoutout! When I started playing live with Blanks, he played the drums, but he was still studying. When our agenda started to fill up, he made the hard decision to focus on his study and leave the band, and this week he graduated!
Lara: Thank you Simon, I wish you a happy release!
Hier geht’s zum Debütalbum von Blanks!
Foto: Jantina Talsma