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I guess it all started when I first heard The Beatles, at the age of 5. I can't deny that they still are one of my most important influences. Anyway, after playing trumpet in a local brass band for a few years, at the age of 8, I decided that guitar was an instrument that suited me much better...
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[FS1976.jpg] So I started playing guitar when I was 15, mostly inspired by Ritchie Blackmore, and sure I was gonna change the world! I had my first band, called Bloody Crime, after 6 months of playing (that is, taking chords with two fingers only!), and I also produced weird vocal sounds that can hardly be described as musical. Anyway, needless to say it didn't have much success.
So I figured I had to try a little bit harder, and I started taking it more seriously. I put up my second band, two years later (and after a lot of practicing), called The Mirrors. We were a band of friends, we played songs we composed ourselves (the other guitar player/singer and myself). Basically, we played rock and blues songs. We stayed together for approximately two years, we had a little bit of success too, well, that means: our friends seemed to enjoy our music...
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At the age of 18-19, you change friends like you change underwear, so I joined another band, called The Seconds. Waw! This was the best time of my life. I only sang the backing vocals this time, which seemed to be a better idea. The other guy who played guitar, was a big Stones fan. He sang and composed the songs, I always used to call him the heart of the band. He composed most of the up-tempo pop/rock songs, and I liked to color them with backing vocals, and chorused guitar chords and flying solo's. Oh yes, I loved to give a solo! And how I loved that combination of simple songs with a nice, colored guitar sound... And so did other people, apparently: we won most contests at that time, and got released twice on a compilation LP (remember: long-play?).

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But everything comes to an end... I joined Boots, a band that took itself quite seriously (that's really the most friendly way to put it...). I made most of the songs, we found a singer, the music was more pop-funky, with close-harmony vocals now. I never really enjoyed the gang (yes, that explains why there is no picture here!), and soon it also came to an end. I sort of remember these guys even threw me out of the band in the end! Nothing personal of course...
I had enough of bands (and people) for a while... And I had some new interests as well, had bought more and more synthesizers over the years, and wanted to make instrumental music on my own. I loved acts like Japan and Brian Eno, and started making music with ethnic influences, with a mechanical sound, and a lot of programmed drums and bass. Remember the TR-707? And the Korg Poly 800? Anyway, when I had enough songs, I called a friend who makes moviesets, and I asked him what I could do with this kinda music. I wanted to do something visual with it. So we (he) came up with the idea of putting up a puppet theatre, called Visions Of Foreign Countries. The idea was to record most instrument parts on a 4-track recorder, playing one instrument live at the time (varying from vocals, guitar, to synthesizer). Every song described another theme. We did the show only once, it took a lot of time and effort, and I had 10 friends who were willing to help me with the show (thank you again, folks!). We had a lot of good reactions on the show.

You can view the pictures or the video clip on this site.

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And again, my friend the moviesetmaker and myself, we wanted to do a show, called We're All Televisions. We wanted to get into the houses of the family Jones, and get their living room, their television set, and their lives on stage! We wanted a strong interaction between what you see on TV, and what you are living in your other ("real") life... Finally, we never did it, because it would have been too expensive. But we did make the music.
I had just bought the Ensoniq Mirage sampler, and loved to sample ethnic drums and loops, and mix that with guitar solo's, together with jazz and rock influences. It was instrumental and repetitive, quite experimental music. The first song Answering Machine even got used as a jingle on a radio station. I called this project Umgawa!, thanks to a friend's suggestion. He (Alain Marchal) contributed to the project, and we did a live show. He had a plastic toy guitar, from which he had taken the 5V power and sent it to his Serge modular synthesizer. We made the Serge trigger the TR-707, who converted this signal to a midi signal, and then it was a piece of cake to send it to the Mirage's sequencer, triggering its sampled sounds! Result: he played this toy guitar, and triggered big sound effects, while I played rock 'n' roll riffs on my black Kramer guitar... We had great fun!

Alain Marchal, a good friend of mine who participated on the project and came up with a lot of samples for it, also took the photographs for the album on his journey to New Orleans.
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And then I had a song in my head, which needed to be performed by a female singer. I found Meanie, dancing on that dance floor where I always used to watch her... She came to sing, we got along quite well, and decided to work together.
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But it didn't last too long... We weren't ready for it yet. My friend the moviesetmaker and myself, we had an idea of doing another show, called Stories From The Blue Moon. It was the last thing we tried to achieve. I made the songs, but we didn't seem to have the same idea about the musical direction... We never did the show... But we stayed friends.
And there she was, back in town: Meanie! (never say never)... We made songs, did shows, had fun, and eventually got strong interests from a record company. We named our band Meanie's Boiling Boys. We made the Meanie Rocket, and took it with us on stage... The idea behind the show was that Meanie (being a sexy girl from another planet, that was only populated by women) had stolen mum's Meanie Rocket spaceship to visit planet earth and to find out what boys really looked (and felt) like... She did it more than once! We had a hell of a good time, until we were signed by a small record company, and everything started getting serious...
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We changed our name into Kiss The Bride, and released two singles: When The Love Is Gone and Sometimes It Just Ain't Enough. They had some airplay, but not enough success to keep he band alive, and to keep the record company interested. So that came to an end too. And I lost Meanie... She was being offered a contract as a solo artist for a techno project with another record company.

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Then I started working as a producer for a duo of two young, nice looking girls (lucky me!), Indiana, who were signed by a major record label. We started recording two songs I had written in the late days of Kiss The Bride, and one of them, Not Afraid Of The Dark got released. I got paid by the record company for these two songs, for both my work as a producer, as for the use of my studio. The single became a radio hit, so we recorded 4 more songs I had written. This time, the record company decided not to pay me anymore for the use of my studio, God knows why... So this was the last thing I did for them...


The Flying Snowman (co-)wrote, recorded and produced Yanah's album called "The Girl In The Picture" in his Flying Snowman Studio.


One song that E-Rick wrote, "The Girl In The Picture", was dedicated to Kim Phuc, the little girl (in the black and white picture) that was severly burnt in 1972 during a napalm attack on Vietnam. The benefits of that song went to her foundation, that supports children that are victimized by war. Kim came over to Belgium to receive the first single-cd from Yanah in a press-conference that was broadcasted on all national stations. More info on her website: www.kimfoundation.com


Kim and E-Rick aka The Flying Snowman became real good friends and have met numerous times since the event.

    


Yanah was signed on Flying Snowman Records label. She opened for Eurosong in 2004 with the song "Yes Or No" then we did a lot of gigs almost 2 years in the BE/NL area including UNESCO in France, some of the most prestigious festivals in BE, TV of course and radio. Yanah got a lot of airplay with the song "Back Against The Wall", and the song was once voted in Radio 2 as a favorite next only to the #1 song. The CD got good reviews on Yahoo and CD Baby, and in national newspapers (Het Nieuwsblad, La DerniŤre Heure, Het Belang van Limburg) and magazines (Flair, Story, Joepie, Dag Allemaal, Menzo, TV-Familie, TV Gids, TV Familie, Stage, Uitkomst). In iTunes, her cover of Don Henley's "Boys of Summer" continues to sell more than our original songs. (Listen to the songs here). What happened? There were plans and the lyricist was working on a second song for an EP when my record company received her termination letter. It wasn't a surprise, all of us in the band saw it coming. You get the idea clearly as soon as the artist starts disliking all the attention and previous packaging. The best memories of the Yanah years was Kim Phuc and the band. While we didn't see eye to eye in many instances just the way it's always been in this business, it was the best band I've ever played with. The musicianship, professionalism & wit are quite rare, I was lucky to have played in a great band, with Bert Van Daele on keyboards, Wouter Van Daele on bass, Mathieu Verfaillie on drums, and Dirk Naessens/An Raes on fiddle.


During this time, the Flying Snowman managed to produce and mix Sandbox Society's EP. My studio is one of the cheapest in Belgium, the best ones charge something like 2000 EUR per day. I agreed to do the SBS songs in the studio gratis in exchange for the publishing rights. We've stretched our time doing the vocals, even worked with a lyricist to revise the songs to hit the notes right. Unfortunately or fortunately for SBS, I had to choose due to limited resources. I wanted to work on my own songs. We were getting a lot of IT jobs for hightech websites with product databases at that time and we had to make the right decision money-wise.

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We just acquired new toys for the studio - an Eddie Van Halen EVH III head by Fender and an Eddie Van Halen Axis guitar made by Music Man. We haven't updated our ProTools and Logic to the latest rip-off version yet. I'm just so sorry we have no time to listen to all your demos with all the IT stuff that needs to be done. There won't be any gigs this year as well except with friends. We started the song "Duns of Soma" in 2007 so far the listener's test is promising. The Flying Snowman is working on other songs in the same genre as Duns... Hopefully the singer can pull off the witch job with a Japanese accent! He'll keep you updated if you subscribe to his newsletter!

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I sold a lot of the studio stuff because of too much work with IT... However, I found the time to form a band called NeverB4. We play lots of good music like Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, Stevie Salas, Winger, ... Take a look on www.neverb4.be and come and see us if you can!

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