Inge van Calkar
Good titles are half the work. In fact, they tell the whole story. No other title than Reset could’ve described Dutch singer Inge van Calkar's second album better than this one. She pressed the reset button, without thinking about it, and she drastically changed her artistic direction. Out went the acoustic elements went out, and in came the electronics. People’s tastes change too, you know. That is part of her musical development.
It is better to stop half way than to persevere in an error. A complete album has been binned. At one point, she decided to take a different approach altogether. Okay, she may have entered the nation’s collective pop memory thanks to her participation in popular TV show The Best Singer-Songwriter of the Netherlands (2013). Since then, her taste, style and approach have changed dramatically. That’s possible, isn’t it? 'I've always had a weakness for alternative rock,' says the Groningen-based singer. But only now this change has come out in full glory.
Launched by Spotify through the New Music Friday playlist in the Netherlands, Germany and Switzerland, River, the third single of the album, got noticed straightaway. 30,000 plays can’t be wrong, we like to paraphrase the old Elvis slogan once again. Public broadcaster, AC-formatted Radio 2, picked up the single and put on high rotation. Apart from Spotify, River is doing well on other streaming services too, like Apple Music in France.
Van Calkar is happy with the finished product. ‘Yeah, it’s going rather well,’ she acknowledges. That’s rather an understatement. With Reset finally everything that was in her mind for years, came out like she wanted it. 'Behind every track on Reset are five or six tracks that I have thrown away. I really started again rigorously. It was not a matter of "kill your darlings", no, only the best songs could be included on this record.’
The album contains only nine tracks. That is not so much, you might think, but this is the music that she really cares about. ‘There are actually only eight and a half of them, because one track is only an interlude.’ She is extremely proud of it. And rightly so, because with Reset she lands in the musical territory where '90s icon PJ Harvey and interesting newcomers like Nadine Shah and Phoebe Bridgers hang out.
The first two singles from Reset earlier this year, I don't mind and Imaginary already made some inroads, but number three River - the most poppy of the bunch - marks the breakthrough. She has taught herself how to adapt to that modern sound by starting to work single-handedly with the Logic Pro recording program from Apple, the sequel to Garageband for professionals. ‘I really dug deep into it. That's how I did my own preproduction.’ This enabled her to present an almost completed production to producer Freek van der Heide and his keen sidekick Jeroen Sjoers. Together they finished the job.
The mere fact that these days she mainly takes control of her own artistic direction and sound, that’s what makes her heart tick faster. The record has also come out on her own Deer and Forest label. This independent attitude also gives her more freedom on stage. That's what the public sees, whether it's at the Reeperbahn festival in Hamburg or on her extensive Dutch tour with her band, supporting Gare du Nord. ‘I am much more daring to be the artist on stage.’ Previously, she was more of a singer-songwriter. With the music, her stage persona has grown. 'I feel more like an artist now. That is perhaps the biggest change of all.’