Q&A With Tingle In The Netherlands

Q1. First of all Helen, Thanks for being my 3rd Q&A victim.
For those who haven't heard the name before – Who are Tingle In The Netherlands?

T.I.T.N.  Thanks for asking! There’s just the two of us: Owen J and Helên Thomas. Owen does all of the synth programming and production for Tingle In The Netherlands as well as some vocals and lyrics. The track ‘Mammals’ is exclusively Owen’s work.
Helên: I write most, but not all, lyrics and come up with vocal melodies and harmonies as well as doing most of the song vocals thus far.

Q2. Tingle In The Netherlands – An erotic name – Who came up with it?

T.I.T.N. Helên: It was a saucy term that I used to use referring to the nether regions of the body. You may have gathered from my lyrics writing that I have quite a puerile sense of humour… Anyway, we were just brainstorming and throwing out daft band names and then one of us, I forget who, said ‘Tingle In The Netherlands’ and we fell about laughing, so the name stuck.

Q3. 'Prostitutes Handbag' is a track taken from the album 'Why Can’t You Write Something Nice For A Change' released in 2010 on an EP. The album was released this year. Why did it take so long to release the album?

T.I.T.N.  We just wanted to wait until our public was bursting with anticipation for the album and then really make a splash…no not really. It’s just been a while because we’ve had other stuff going on that has taken up our time. Also, because we’re a DIY band we don’t have anyone breathing down our necks so we’ve been able to just go with the flow of our own fits and starts of creativity. Hopefully we won’t take so long with the next one as we have lots of ideas already for a lot of new songs; we’ll just have to knuckle down and get on with it!

Q4. 'Why Can’t You Write Something Nice For A Change' – Some of your X-Rated lyrics lead me to believe someone has said this to you

T.I.T.N.  Yes, most recently my Mum did say it with reference to the songs on our first EP, but we’ve both had people say this to us in the past. Owen creates artwork, music and satire that has a dark edge to it and my humour and poetry tends to be dark and/or a tad rude. A lot of people seem to want to live in a fluffy nicey nicey world but we both prefer to see, and describe, the world for what it is, warts and all.

Q5. You have been writing poetry for a long time Helen, When did the poetry turn to song?

T.I.T.N. Helen I’ve been writing poetry and daft songs since I was a kid and funnily enough a lot of my poems started life as songs. ‘The Housewife’s Lament’ began life as a song, then became a poem for the purpose of poetry slams, and has now come full circle and is a song again!

Q6. I read you wouldn't want to take the album on the road – Why is that?

T.I.T.N.  It was never our intention to be a gigging band. Tingle In The Netherlands evolved out of our desire to meld my words with Owen’s music in some way. Because the music is produced with loads of effects, especially on my voice, I think live gigs would be a bit of a nightmare logistically and not something that we would find fun. Owen doesn’t consider himself to be a performer and even though I have some experience of performing my poetry, I’d be very uncomfortably out of my comfort zone singing and fronting a band on stage.
We did do one ‘live’ gig for a friend of ours but relied quite heavily on backing tracks which to my mind isn’t live. We don’t want to do karaoke versions of our music so we’ve decided to remain strictly studio.

Q7. You have some kick ass tracks on the album that show a serious side to your music but then you get the tracks with humour. Is that how you approach your music?

T.I.T.N.  When we started doing TITN we were thinking that it would be a sillier project than it has turned out to be. We quite like the idea of being absurd and surreal as well as overtly cheeky but we didn’t want to get pegged as a comedy band. We quite like the incongruity of mixing quirky humourous lyrics with a dark synth sound especially as a lot of synth and coldwave bands can be a bit gloomy and serious. I think we like playing with people’s expectations and enjoy confounding any music snobs who might balk at the idea of creating quality synth music (as Owen does) only for it to be accompanied by a narrative about extra marital romps with the milkman.
Similarly, if we feel like doing something a bit more serious or reflective, like ‘Mammals’ or ‘365’ we will do; it’s good to be able to show people that as well as being flippant, we have other strings to our bow and that we’re not just goofing around.

Q8. Did you write a vault full of new tracks whilst waiting on 'Why Can’t You Write Something Nice For A Change' to be released?

T.I.T.N.  There are no completed tracks as yet but we do have loads of rough ideas and musical sketches that we intend to use as tracks. We have quite a few that have minimal lyrical content, so we know how they’re going to sound; we just need to put all of the pieces together.

Q9. I googled TITN and found links to Goo & Atomizer – Who are they?

T.I.T.N.  They’re both bands that we ‘met’ online as a result of putting the track ‘Prostitute’s Handbag’ out there.
Atomizer are another synth duo, from South London, comprising of Jonny Slut (Jonny Melton) and DJ Fil OK (Fil Jones). Johnny got in touch on myspace after hearing ‘Prostitute’s Handbag’ on Dandelion Radio. They really loved the song and asked if they could do a remix. Owen later returned the compliment and remixed one of their tracks for their ‘So Many Poisons’ EP.
They in turn have been remixed by The Pet Shop Boys which is quite cool in a ‘six degrees of separation’ kind of a way! Here’s a link:

Goo is a band from Thailand fronted by Brit, Paul Hampshire aka DJ Bee who was previously in the electroclash group Futon, also in Thailand. Bee got in touch after hearing ‘Prostitute’s Handbag’ which he had been playing in The Bedsupper Club in Bangkok. Owen also did a remix for the band Goo:

Q10. Finally, Thanks Helen for taking part and the final question is – Will you call your next album 'Questions & Answers, What a load of B****x? lol

T.I.T.N.  At this moment in time, the next album is called ‘I haven’t got a baldy clue’!
Watch this space as they say in showbiz…Thanks Andy!

Why can't you write something nice for a change available on BANDCAMP

Thanks Helen & Owen x