One of my favorite bands is from Belgium, The Seatsniffers. Their songs are catchy, rootsy. They have their own groovin’ sound. I’m a sucker for lyrics, and theirs are very original. I think their song “She’s a fox” should be a pinup girls anthem! What a thrill to talk to their singer/ guitarist/ songwriter: Walter Broes.
The name the Seatsniffers, how did you get it?
From our collective minds! It is a good reminder to not take ourselves too seriously and that Rock and Roll should not be politically correct and it’s a bit silly.
How did you get the name The Seatsniffers?
Did you play in other bands before the Seatsniffers?
Yes I had a psychobillyband, “The Ratmen”. We released one record on Nervous Records, in the meanwhile re-issued on CD by the German “Crazy Love Records” (“Live Fast Die Young”).
I also played with all the members of the The Seatsniffers and another singer/ mondharmonicaplayer Big Dave (he is known from the Belgian band “The Electric Kings”), in a bluesband, “The Dizzy Dave Band”. When that band quit we started The Seatsniffers.
Are they inspired on your own experience or inspired by other people?
Our own experiences, other people’s, pure fiction or fiction inspired by our own or other people’s experiences. It’s all possible.
How do write your songs?
You have that special Seatsniffers sound. You also produced Smokestack lightnin’s album “Soulbeat”. Even there I hear your influence. How did that exist?
Thanks, you are not the first one who noticed we have our own sound. I have produced a lot of cd’s. Two cd’s of “Sin Alley”, a Belgian blues/rootsband, “Last Call” and“The Rhytm Bombs”. The debuutcd of the Dutch band “T-99”, Belgian Rockabilly/Roots bands “Moonshine Reunion” and “The Hometown Gamblers”. Also “Soulbeat” of Smokestack Lightnin’.
I think you hear my influence because I play some guitar on that album and I recorded it my way, which means, recording techniques, the use of certain instruments, and messing with arrangements and songs.
I didn’t write songs for “Soulbeat” – there are only covers on that record. I have written a song called “Big Kahuna” for their last full CD.
I was actually introduced to Smokestack Lightnin by my good Dutch friend and guitarplayer Tjarko Jeen (he lives in Austin, TX, for a while now), he is known from The Tin Stars and Ronnie Dawson. Bernd Batke of Smokestack is one of my best friends by the way.
Are you a perfectionist?
Yes I think so. I don’t believe in messingaround and see what happens. That might work perfectly for other people, but I think that I am like an autistic person, hehe. I usually have a plan and work on the songs on beforehand. Often I work out the arrangements too. I believe in rehearsing with a band and going into the studio well prepared.
I know very well what I want and don’t want. I have my own “estethics”, and it turns out I am a bit of a perfectionist – “well enough” usually is not good enough.
You have played in a lot of countries in Europe and the US. Which audience do you like the most?
With the Seatsniffers we played in Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, UK, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Austria, Swiss, Italy, Spain and we played in the U.S.A. too.
I don’t think I have a country preference. An enthusiastic audience is very nice everywhere and we met them in al those places. “The Continental Club” in Austin TX has that ro
mantic feel what, say, a small fishing village on the Westcoast of Noorwegen doesn’t have. But it’s good to play there too, because it has that unique atmosphere. We love to play for mixed crowds with all different kinds of people.
You played in Greenbay. Dit you tour through the rest of the US too?
Green Bay was a one-off and very fun to do. But the year before we did a tour in the South West of thhe USA.: Texas, Arizona, California, Nevada, New Mexico and back to Texas. That was a fun and great experience, but hard work too. Europese bands often don’t realize how good we have it here in Europa compared to things like distances, technique, respect money etc. It very understandable that Americans like to play in in Europa. Don’t get me wrong, the U.S. tour was a blast, I love to be in the U.S. Especially in the oh so beautiful South West. But in Europe the scene is easier.
You played with a lot of artists, like Wanda Jackson.
We played with Wanda Jackson six times. She’s very nice to work with. She’s a professional and she knows what she wants, how to get it done and she is a very nice lady.
Also Jason Ringenberg, Barrence Whitfield, Red Rivers, Little Gizelle and Mike Sanchez we accompanied regularly.
Are there things you regret? Things you definately don’t want to do anymore?
That is a very complicated question. We started with the band when we were very young, very experienced as individual musicians. But business-wise it’s a learning proces in progres, and you learn from your mistakes.
We recorded our first records with an “artistcontract” with a recordcompany, so the masters were owned by that company. That was not so smart. When that company went bankrupt it took us a lot of time, energy and money to get those masters and rights
. Therefor our albums were not available for quite a while. We learned from that. In the meantime our whole catalogue is available at Sonic-Rendez Vous.
Experience is the best teacher on all aspects, especially music. You learn while you do it.
Where did you learned from the most?
What would you like to experience? Winning an award maybe?
The Seatsniffers exist 16 years and it has been a wonderful time, more ups than downs. I don’t think that anyone in the band thought we would last this long and would do and see and experience this much.
Awards don’t mean anything.
Bo Diddley was one of the people who we would love to accompany. He was on top in our list. It would be fun to play more often in the U.S. but that is not so easy, mainly because it’s such a big country.
We are working on a new album, to be released end of 2011 or beginning of 2012. That is fun and exciting.
Our dream is more or less, to be acknowledged. We see ourselves as a rockband with rootsy influences. We dream of “the world out there” seeing us that way. We love Rockabilly or Blues, but we don’t like to be called a Rockabillyband or a Bluesband. We don’t see ourselves as “retro” as the out there world sees us. So I see that a bit as a dream even though I realize that is somewhat naïve and unrealistic. He he.
But don’t think I am frustrated or disappointed about that. The Seatsniffers road has been wonderful all the time and something I don’t wan to miss for the world. Beats a daytime job! 😉