So when I started to think about people to interview Emile was one of the first people on the list. Maybe because State Of Mind is great (if you don’t know about State Of Mind yet, I suggest you check them out ASAP), maybe because Emile knows to say some good stuff on stage now and then, maybe because he’s a teacher.. I don’t know, I just know I wanted to interview him for SWNK and luckily he was game. So let’s see what he has to say..
Hey Emile, how are you doing? What’s on your mind?
I’m fine, but too much on my mind right now….just got back from a chill holiday in Ibiza though! If I don’t keep myself in check, who will??
True, true. So is there something you want to talk about before I fire my endless list of questions at you?
Not really I guess. I mean, I trust you enough to come up with questions that will lead to a more in depth interview, instead of the questions I answered ten times already. So you’re a big part in making this the best interview I ever did!
Oh great, putting the pressure on me right away. Thanks Emile! I don’t think I read any interviews with you, so I’ll just try to steer away from the usual questions a bit. Will probably not be able to avoid em all though. Let’s start at the very beginning, what’s the first memory you have of your life?
Pff, that’s a tough question man. Cause I’m not sure if the first things I remember are things I REALLY remember, or just things I saw on pictures or things my parents told me. One thing that comes to mind is the first headfirst dive I made. I was about 3 years old and went to preschool. They had a big locomotive in there, and, the clumsy kid I was, I managed to fall out of it, headfirst on the wheel of a bike. I had to go to the doctor to get stitches. Since then my life has never been the same!
Even though my parents may not always understand my choices I make in life, they have always stood behind me, and I love them with all my heart!
Hahaha. You learned to stagedive early on, nice! Any other childhood traumas we need to know of?
No man. Or maybe that my babysitter, when I was still a baby, let me out of sight for a second and I fell of the commode. It’s not that I remember this, but it might explain the way I turned out haha.
Haha, you fell a lot. But how about the best memory so far?
Again, a very tough question, but maybe I should just stick to the first things that come to mind. I still remember hanging out with my grandpa (my mom’s father) when I was younger. He died when I was 14, but I always had the feeling he’s one of the persons that made me who I am. I remember playing checkers with him and doing crosswords. I really regret he missed the rest of my life and I guess he would be proud of where I am right now. Weird how I start a question about my “best memory” and end it with a rather sad feeling…
Oh, I want to add one more thing! The fact that my mom beat cancer over 10 years ago! I always stayed positive, but the fact that she really did it, is the best feeling ever!
That’s great. I lost my grandpa to that disease, terrible, terrible. It totally destroys a person. Glad your mother beat it man. Again a good memory with some sort of sad feeling to it though. Makes me think about my mother and if there’s one thing I don’t want to think about it’s losing her. I guess you’re close to your mother too? Might sound like a stupid question, but that’s not always the case.
To be honest, I can’t say I’m THAT close to her. Compared to my sisters, that call her once every day, she don’t hear from me that much. But it’s cool. My parents only live 10 minutes away from me, so every time I feel the need to see them I just hop by, drink a cup of coffee and be on my way again. I like it that I can see them whenever I want to, but I also like it that I can leave whenever I feel like. You know what I mean? And even though my parents may not always understand my choices I make in life, they have always stood behind me, and I love them with all my heart!
Good to hear that! Back to the memory thing, how about the worst?
Of course this has to do with losing people I love, or seeing people that I love in pain. This may sound weird, but I don’t know what’s worse; the fact that I lost my grandma (at a respectable age of 94), or the grief I saw my father had when he lost her….
I don’t know what’s worse; the fact that I lost my grandma (at a respectable age of 94), or the grief I saw my father had when he lost her….
For me, it’s the grief of people close to me. When I see them crying I’m having a hard time. But let’s step away from all the sorrow and get into a different subject. How did you end up as a teacher?
It took me while… When I finished highschool I went to the university to become a pharmacist, but that wasn’t for me. Then I decided to do a social-cultural study, which I finished, but when it came to the point of finding a job I didn’t know what to do with it. So I started working fulltime at the supermarket I already worked, but guess what….after 2 years I still didn’t know what I really wanted to do, so I needed to make a big change. That’s when I started a part time study to finally become a teacher, which took me five more years (combined with my job, band and social life I’m still glad I did it that way). So now I’ve been teaching for the last two years and like it a lot! So all’s well in the end!
I can imagine. But a pharmacist? How did that came into play?
It’s stupid man. You’re 16, you’re smart, so you think university is the only option. So you start thinking what subject you like, and in my case it was chemistry. Next step was thinking what I could do with chemistry, and making pills made sense to me. I can only say that it doesn’t make sense to decide what you want to do with the rest of your life when you’re at an age like that. In your early 20’s you change too much I think! And the pharmacy industry is really fucked up man! Way too elite and I told them to fuck off when I had to test stuff on animals!
Yeah I understand, lots of people don’t know what they want to do on that age, I guess I was lucky in knowing what I wanted to do at an early age. But what would you suggest to change it? Make a decision later? Would that work?
I don’t know… It wouldn’t make sense either to take a few years off from studying, cause that might make it harder in the end too. And even though people don’t always get the job in the end that matches their study, I don’t think it matters all that much all the time. Because if you’re well educated you can learn a lot of jobs just by working at a certain place and growing in what you do. For example, I studied to become a teacher for 5 years, but I learned as much or maybe even more in my first year working as a teacher. So of course you need a certain base, but you can learn a lot just by doing stuff and learning more each and every day.
I would like to add one thing though. I do think it would be better if the teachers at highschool would give more and better advise on all the options of what you should do after highschool. Like I said, for me it was like “oh, your favorite subject is chemistry?? then you should do something with that! and you have high grades? that means university!”. So they didnt give me many options back then…
I totally agree about the working versus learning part. Both is important, but the real learning you do while you ‘practice what you preach’.
Something else I was thinking about, you said you wanted to make pills, but did you mean as in medicine or did you wanted to make drugs at that age haha? I know you’re straight edge but I don’t know if you were all your life.
I became straight edge almost 15 years ago, but wasn’t straight edge when I started studying Pharmacy. But no, I never had the intention of becoming a drug dealer haha. Just straight up medicine made sense to me. Helping people to get well and stuff. And just making pills seemed like fun, but I was totally wrong!
Kids can only learn when they feel good about themselves and when they’re in a safe environment.
Thanks for clearing that up haha. So what’s the most important thing you want to teach the children you teach?
It may sound dull, but to respect each other and the things and people around them. Kids can only learn when they feel good about themselves and when they’re in a safe environment. If these settings are right, I’m convinced that kids will learn and pick up the most from the stuff I teach them. And they have a big part in it themselves, as well as I do in being their teacher.
Good one. Must be good to see the results of your teaching, them picking up what you’re saying?
Yeah it does. Especially the age I teach. I get them ready for the next step and see them grow a lot. Because I have a mixed class I teach most kids in my class for almost 2 years! It’s cool to see that you help them mature and they appreciate what you’re doing.
In what ways do they show that appreciation?
In small things. Just by coming up to you in the morning and have small talk with you. Or compliment you on your clothing or whatever. If there’s one thing that most kids are, then it’s honest. If they don’t like you, they will show it and sometimes even say it. They will stay out of your way. If you do connect with them it’s the other way round. For example, one of the kids that left school a year ago was one of the kids that gave the most trouble in class. But somehow I found a way to connect to him. That didn’t mean he never caused trouble, but I could always talk to him about it, and I could always see he wasn’t always able to change it. He’s the only one of the kids that left school last year that still comes around every few weeks to have a talk with me. These thing make teaching totally worth it!
Awesome! And how about the hardest part of being a teacher? I can imagine it’s not as nice when they’re bullying eachother for instance.
Yeah man. The most important, but also the hardest thing is teaching them to respect each other, to respect me as a teacher and that everyone’s different. Kids often feel that if they wouldn’t mind, someone else wont either. With calling each other names for instance. And also it’s hard that they don’t always realize they can only learn in a quiet environment. Of course they should have fun and I make sure they have plenty of time for it, but when they have to work, it has to be quiet! And that’s hard for some of them. As a teacher you basically guide them in making those decisions for themselves. You can’t really force them.
As a teacher you basically guide them in making those decisions for themselves. You can’t really force them.
So what do you when they don’t take your guidance (not like once, but on a regular base)? Did that already happen? Do or would you consider that as a failure?
It’s different with every kid, but of course there’s rules and of course sometimes they get punished when they do stuff I don’t allow. This always means I have a talk with them about what they did and make them understand why I don’t allow it. After that I give them a stupid punishment that’s useful to me, like sweeping the classroom! If it happens more often I will sit down with them and their parents and make an arrangement about what to do with it.
And yeah, your second question is a very fair one. I don’t see it as a failure, but I always think about my part in what happened, or the reason why kids do the stuff they do.
Sometimes a different approach works. Always keep the Dutch saying “de hand in eigen boezem steken” in mind!
Haha, that’s a nice one to close off the teacher talk. Let’s talk about State Of Mind. What’s up with State Of Mind, you guys recorded a new record not too long ago right?
Yeah we did. We recorded 6 songs that we want to put out somewhere this summer. Of course it’s taking us longer than expected, so don’t ask me for an exact date. The vinyl will be put out on a 12″ by Take it Back Records and we will probably do the CD ourselves. But we’re 100% convinced this is the best stuff we ever did. We pushed ourselves again to get where we are now, so let’s see if the kids will understand what we’re about…
Will definitely be picking up that 12”. Can’t wait to hear it. Can you tell a bit more about it? As you put it yourself, where are you guys now, what are you about?
We’re about grooving our way through life. You have to question the things around you, judge the things you don’t agree on. We as people are still fucking up this world. And everyone has their part in it. We do too. On the other hand it’s important to appreciate and love the good things in life. Life is a racetrack of emotions and you never know what comes next. But in the end you’re the only one that can do something about it. I hope this makes some sense, but to me it does….
Life is a racetrack of emotions and you never know what comes next. But in the end you’re the only one that can do something about it.
No worries, makes perfect sense. I think State Of Mind is your first band, am I right? How did you end up in that band?
Yeah it is, and it’s a pretty common story I guess. The four other guys that started State of Mind already had been playing in a band together, but ended up without a singer. And dont ask me why, but they thought I would be good for the job. So we just started jamming and we connected and I still thank them for asking me, because it’s been one of the best things I ever did in my life!
I know it’s a common story, but not everybody who will be reading this will know, so that’s why I sometimes ask questions I’ll already know the answers to myself. Was there any pressure on you? As in those guys just released a great demo as Blood Red and some people saw State Of Mind as the follow up to that band so…
Not really. You always have people that will keep whining about a previous band of a few bandmembers, but to us it was clear this was a whole new band. The sound was totally different, even without my vocals. The only pressure I had was to do a good job as a singer, since I didn’t know how that would be. But this is a long time ago man…
And how were those first times on the stage for you? Nervous?
Yeah man, ofcourse I was. Everyone would be! But it gave me a lot of energy, so it was cool from the start!
Yeah I was nervous too haha. That adreline buzz is great right? That’s the one thing that never seems to change with getting up on that stage…
The line-up has totally changed the beginning, aside from you being the only original member left. Was it strange or hard to get new members up and running or did it bring the well-known fresh start / inspiration?
What you’re saying isn’t true. Without my guitarplayer Gijs, there wouldn’t be State of Mind. He’s the other original member, and he’s the one that has written all the songs (besides 1 song on the last record that Jan did) since the beginning of State of Mind. If he would quit the band, I’m pretty sure it’s the end of SOM. He’s the one that defined our sound. When I knew he was down with continuing the band, I was sure I made the right choice doing it! And no, it wasn’t hard at all. I had the new lineup ready within a day and since we’d been friends already it was a fresh new start and the best decision we ever made!
I never imagined this band to be around for this long and to do all the stuff we did so far!
This is so stupid, how the hell could I forget about Gijs (Sorry dude!)? Of course I know he was there from the beginning. I almost edited out this question haha, but it’s nice to see you talk like that about him, so let’s keep it in. Good to hear the change only brought out the best in you guys. Anyway, I’m an idiot, next question.
So what are the highlights of playing in the band so far?
The records we did, the tours we did and all the great bands we played with so far! When we started I never imagined this band to be around for this long and to do all the stuff we did so far! I do wish we would’ve tour a bit more, cause to me that’s still the most fun of being in a band!
Something completely different, any good stories from the times you joined No Turning Back on the road? You must have seen quite some NTB shows?
Yeah man, I stopped counting years ago, but it’s insane how many times I saw these guys on stage. I’ve been hanging out with them for more than 10 years, so it must be at least 400 times. And the first few years I would go to every show with them and on every tour, until it just became too much. I remember driving to Spain just to play one show, because it was the first time they were asked to play Spain. Or the first tour to the south where it was 8 guys cramped up in a van with a complete backline and merch. But all of us wanted to go, so we said fuck it, and everyone could only bring one backpack, but we still did it. I think the best story was on that tour. We (well, NTB of course, but I always felt i was part of it) played a show in Spain (I think it was Madrid) and of course they took care of “sleeping places”. So in the middle of the might we end up at some weird part of town with just garage boxes. They said we could sleep in a rehearsal room. But they didn’t say there was a dog pound underneath. So me and Frank (aka FJ aka the Mullet; NTB’s OG bass player) decided to sleep in the van. We took a look inside the rehearsal room though, and already heard some weird sounds. Before we went to sleep, Frank warned me he was a bit paranoid and he had a baseball bat underneath his seat. So finally I fall asleep, when suddenly, in the middle of the night, someone is pounding on our door. So I open my eyes and see Frank next to me, eyes wide open, with the baseball bat, ready to hit the first guy that will try and open the door!!! It was a scary but funny sight at the same time. When we look outside it’s the other NTB guys that came to get the tent, because when they turned off the lights, all they could hear around them were mice or rats. So the van wasn’t all that, but inside the room it was much worse! They put up the tent inside and had to sleep body to body. But that wasn’t the end of it. The next morning I wake up because the sun was shining on the van and it was mad hot. But when I opened the window, the smell of the dog pound was disgusting. But I couldn’t stand the heat anymore and decided to open the window regardless the smell (it was May and in Spain it was already 25 degrees or something). I get up a bit and look into the eyes of guys with guns. They looked as shocked as I did. Turned out they were hunters and came to get their dogs on sunday morning. So, none of us enjoyed a good night of sleep and to this day it’s still the worst place we ever slept. But we can still laugh about it!
Yes! Those are the stories I’m looking for. Got any more of those?
Uhm, nothing comes to mind right away. Of course there’s more and we always had a blast, but you always remember stuff like that when you’re hanging out with friends and start picking up memories…
That’s true. Reminiscing about the good times. Anyway, at the beginning you mentioned getting the same questions ten times already, here’s your chance to answer one you never been asked before. Get in control and ask yourself a question.
Yo, this is impossible man!
No it isn’t. Don’t chicken out dude haha. Let’s try it like this, if you would be interviewing someone what would you ask? Or take the best question you ever read in a zine and answer it yourself.
Well, maybe not the best question, but I do always like to read how people got into hardcore. Cause back in the days there wasn’t the internet to get you into it. So my answer would be that I always listened to alternative music and radio ever since I became a teenager. And then the entire punkrock thing suddenly boomed. So you had bands like Offspring, Green Day and Bad Religion, but also Biohazard, Life of Agony and Rage Against the Machine that had a punk/hardcore background. So I started listening to these bands. Then I found out that the Offspring were playing in the W2 (back then still called Willem 2) in my hometown. But since it was on a weekday (I was 16 by the way….this was the year 1994, in case you wonder how old I am haha) my parents wouldn’t let me go. So I told them that the first time there would be a punk or hardcore show in that venue, I would definitely go!!! Couple of weeks later I heard a song by a band called BLACK TRAIN JACK on the radio and found out they were playing that same venue. So I went to the record store, bought tickets and on the sunday they played I stood in front of the venue, before it even opened, with long hair and dressed in a purple Smashing Pumpkins shirt! As soon as the venue opened I bought a XL BLACK TRAIN JACK SHIRT (still the largest shirt I own) and put it on straight away. First band that played was BONESAW and they were HEAVY to say the least! I felt even smaller than usual between all the bald big guys in the venue, but I liked it! Black Train Jack were awesome! Ever since that show I would go to almost every band that played the W2 and had hardcore or punk in their description. It didn’t matter if I knew them already. I was very lucky they booked hardcore/punk shows at least once a month! That first year I saw bands like Downset (right after that I decided to shave my head, 3 months after my first HC show), Lagwagon, Strung Out and a bit later on also Warzone, Slapshot, Subzero and many, many more! Without that venue I don’t know if I would be the person I am today!
I’m convinced there must be more than this world we live in, but don’t know exactly what it is.
Nice one, I only saw one show there, the Razor Crusade, Give Up The Ghost show. Loved that one. Nice venue, it’s a shame they’re not doing (that many) shows like that anymore.
So let’s get a bit more personal again. This is one I ask everyone, are you religious or spiritual?
A bit of both I guess. I’m convinced there must be more than this world we live in, but don’t know exactly what it is. I’ve been raised Catholic and still consider myself to be Catholic. I don’t do much with it, but it is what it is. On the other hand I know that if my parents would’ve been muslims, that was what I would’ve called myself. To me it feels like every religion is basically the same, but we just put different names and theories on the things people couldn’t explain back in the days. Some of those things still can’t be explained. There’s always things that people will question, so there will always be religions. Hating on other religions is just plain stupid of course, but every person with common sense will agree with me. But hating on religions or people that get strength out of religion seems just as stupid to me.
I think I agree with you, I’m not religious myself, but if people get strength out of it, more power to them. And aside from trying to explain the things people couldn’t understand, I think it also worked as some sort of the first laws. To keep it all together you know.
But how about the organizations themselves? Hating is a strong word, but I do dislike a lot of aspects about the Catholic religion and how they did things in the past (but even now). The way the priests wallowed in wealth and the poor had to give money to the church, buying your place in heaven, the crusades, the whole ‘recent’ thing with little boys… What I’m trying to say I guess is, if it gives people strength to believe in a higher power it’s okay, but organizations that allow that kinda stuff I can’t identify myself with. How do you feel about that?
The same as you I guess. I also don’t agree with all the things you just pointed out. But every sane person would say the same. If you don’t question things, just because someone high in the religious ranks says it, that makes you a stupid moron. I was just pointing out that it’s not ALL bad, while there’s a lot of people nowadays that want to give you that impression.
Point taken. And I agree. Another question I think I ask everyone, who is Emile Mutsaers? Well, I don’t ask everyone about you, but you get the point haha. Not what you do, but who are you, what do you stand for. I know it’s a hard question, sorry.
It’s a tough question, because I think I showed a lot of myself in this interview already. More than I ever did than to anyone I don’t know before. Deep inside I’m just a punk, in the original sense of the word. Kicking against society, criticizing the things I see, being pissed off at a lot of things but at the same time, trying to give a positive twist to it!
Especially when you’re younger, it’s good to listen to music and lyrics that make sense to you and that you can relate to.
Sounds good dude and yeah I know, I’m asking quite much of people, but then again I just like to get the most out of you, to get the best possible interview you know. And I usually leave this for last, but here you go: thanks for opening up man!
I’m not done with you yet though, who or what inspires you?
My family and friends of course. But also a lot of music, lyrics and artists have inspired me. Especially when you’re younger, it’s good to listen to music and lyrics that make sense to you and that you can relate to. Now I’m at an age that I’m pretty much able to decide stuff and question stuff for myself, but that’s also because I surrounded myself with people I can relate to.
So how’s life at the moment? Aside from being busy, are you happy? Satisfied?
It’s a weird moment to ask me this. There’s a lot of things going really well for me. I have a nice crib, a steady job that I like, I’m healthy as well is my entire family. So these things make me happy and satisfied. Being single for the first time in 4.5 years sucks big time though. It’s not that I can’t cope or that I’m totally devastated, but it’s just not how I planned it. I was very happy with my relationship, but it takes two to make it work. No hard feelings about this, but am I 100% happy now? No.
Ah that sucks. It’s been a while haha, but I remember the feeling. Like time stops (for a second). Good luck with that, I’m sure you’ll find your way, but that doesn’t help you at the moment. Thanks for being that open though, it’s appreciated. How about the future, where do you see yourself, in let’s say 10 years?
Still teaching, still living in Den Bosch, still straight, still vegetarian, still going to (all kind of) shows, still being surrounded by great friends, still with both my parents close to me, still pissed off at society and hopefully by that time in a steady relationship with a couple of kids!
Sounds good. Brabant is where it’s at. So for any foreign tourist reading this with plans to come to the Netherlands (and smart enough to skip Amsterdam), what should they check out in Den Bosch?
Of course the Sint-Jan, which is the most beautiful Cathedral in the world. Den Bosch is a beautiful city to take a walk in anyway. It’s not too big, so it’s easy to do that. You could have a boat ride through the Binnen-Dieze, which shows you the stuff underneath the old town. Or take a walk around the old city walls. Den Bosch has a lot of history so I suggest you take a guide to show you around. It’s no big secret that I really love my town! Born and raised in DB!
My generation has seen so many changes. Teaching kids makes you realize this even more.
That even sounds interesting to me man. Something completely different, I know you love hiphop, where does that love come from?
It wasn’t until my 20’s that I REALLY started to get into hiphop. Before that I always had the feeling being an alternative teenager and listening to hiphop didn’t mix. But it’s not just great music, but also an awesome subculture. To a lot of people it seems like hiphop is real commercial, but if you take a look just below the big artists, you’ll see it’s the opposite and probably not that different from hardcore. Hip hop history is awesome! And the music is great man. It’s awesome what a good rapper can do with words. How they flow. My favorite hiphop has good flows and is hiphop you can dance to. Most hiphop isn’t tough or violent, or whatever bullshit a lot of people want to make you believe. Last week I went to see the Jungle Brothers. They played for only 150 people, but they delivered! No attitude, just great music!
I like a good share of hiphop, but I never digged that much into it. I should some day, but then again, there’s so much stuff to check. Any good tips?
Well, everyone should just check out the classics to start with. No real surprises, but just start with everything that’s related to the Native Tongues (Tribe Calles Quest, De La Soul, JayBeez, Black Sheep, Fu-Schnickens, etc), throw in some Gang Starr, the Pharcyde, Souls of Mischief. Make sure you buy Notorious BIG’s “Ready to Die”! I’ve also been listening to a lot of Ice Cube lately. And you cant go wrong with stuff like Big Daddy Kane and all the old LL Cool J jams! I could go on for a while, but this should get everyone bumpin’ and grinding!
And here’s another random question: The hardcore scene changes, people change, the world changes. What’s the most notable change you experienced and how do you feel about it?
My generation has seen so many changes. Teaching kids makes you realize this even more. They don’t know the old Dutch currency anymore, while to me it seems it’s not that long ago. They don’t know about record players, tape decks and everything revolves around computers. The biggest changes I’ve seen have to do with technology I guess. And I don’t really know what to think about it. Most things make life a bit easier, but also the charm of a lot of things seems to be gone. One example is the way I got into hardcore. The way I found out about bands was to read thanks lists, to go to the library and rent CD’s that I would put on tape, to trade tapes with other kids. It took more effort but made you appreciate everything more. Same with mobile phones. I still remember how nervous I was calling my first girlfriend, because you had to call her house, and could also get her mom or dad on the phone. And if someone was late, you would just wait till they were there instead of start calling straight away. And you didn’t care people couldn’t get a hold of you for an entire day. You were just outside or whatever. So like I said, a lot of things became easier, but a lot of charm is gone…
I think about that quite a lot. And it’s getting more extreme every day. You know, hanging out with friends and everyone busy with their phones (luckily not all the time). We’ll see how it all develops. Only a matter of time before people long for some privacy again I guess.
And if you could change one thing in this world yourself, can be anything. Could even be reverting a change that has been made. What would it be?
One thing huh? I feel like the genie in a bottle…. I don’t know man. I would stop wars, feed everyone, ban diseases and change people’s diets to being vegetarian. In the end it’s mankind destroying the earth and when you think of it it’s the most fucked up thing ever. I don’t want to sound too cocky, but this seems a bit of a stupid question, cause there’s only so much one man can do……
No worry, not cocky at all. It’s interesting to say what people answer if they actually obey the rules and only say 1 thing haha. Probably tells a lot about people if you’re a shrink. Which I’m not, so in the end you’re right. Stupid question. And I’m afraid that’s all too, so we’re not going out with a bang. Damn.
Anything you want to get back at, anything you want to add, or simply need to get off your chest, now’s your chance?
No man. This is the most thorough interview someone has ever done with me and I tried my best to answer everything as honest and open as possible. If anyone wants to know more, feel free to ask. Thanks for doing the interview. Final words: Live and love hardcore; it’s more than music! Don’t be a sheep! Stand up against the bullshit around you! Go vegetarian! SOM HARDCORE 2011!
Like I said earlier, thank YOU dude. Thanks for opening up. I do appreciate it.