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  • Writer's pictureMary Ann

Thirsty Thursday Featuring Harry Kappen

Thank you for chatting with us! You recently released your new single, "The Freedom Inside," that you also wrote. Tell us about the writing process and where the idea came from. Nowadays people are very dissatisfied with everything; distrust in the government, belief in conspiracy theories, cheap talk on social media and all this during the biggest crises around our climate, the war in Ukraine, increasing refugee flows and an energy crisis. I thought maybe it would be better to start change within yourself and find the freedom within yourself to do that, instead of complaining and nagging about anything. So it's about permitting yourself to find the freedom inside yourself to start change. My niece Marieke Druiven made a very nice animation loop to support the song.

What song that you have recorded means the most to you and why? The most obvious answer to this question is of course; all the songs are like my children so I won't choose. But.. honestly there are some favorites; I really like the title track of the Escape album because it's simply orchestrated and bluesy and captures the essence of the album; escape from threats, in love, art and dreams. And also the songs about people who are or were close to me mean a lot to me; 'Give me your sorrow', 'Friend' and 'Ana'. But in another musical sense I like 'Dazzling skies' (about the painter van Gogh) and 'Where ever you go' the most. With 'Where ever you go' I wanted to write a song in the Paul McCartney tradition. You may decide if I succeeded or not...

How was the last year for you? What were your highlights? Well, 2022 was a big year for me; first the decision to do it all yourself. Releasing the Escape album and then making two separate singles 'Wargames' and 'The Freedom Inside' early this year. A crucial step was meeting Michael Stover from the MTS management group in November '22. His efforts to help me and to believe in me were a great encouragement. And that led, for example, to the 4-time nomination for the ISSA songwriters awards in August of this year. I am now busy writing and recording new songs so that I will be able to release the new full album in the summer.

Did you always want to be a musician or was there a specific moment that something happened that made you think "this is what I want to do with my life." If so, what was it? I never had the idea of becoming a musician, but it was clear to me from the start that I enjoyed making music; learning to play the guitar, playing in high school bands, recording in studios, traveling Europe to play gigs. Admiring other musicians for what they do (Hendrix, Bowie, McCartney, McLaughlin etc). I've always wanted to make my own songs. It belonged to me and still belongs to me for who I am. Later I started studying music therapy. I wanted to help people by using music as a tool for changing behaviour and personal development. I now mainly work with adolescents and their families. And therefore I learned to play drums, piano and other instruments. So for me music is like breathing, sleeping, eating, being a father and much more you could say. Harry without music would be a different person.

Who have been some of your biggest musical influences growing up and do the same artists currently continue to influence you now? Maybe it started with hearing the themes of television series like Bonanza, The Thunderbirds, The Persuaders, Ivanhoe etc etc. All great music. But when I started playing guitar I definitely listened to Jimi Hendrix, Jeff Beck, Terry Kath and John McLaughlin and more. This for how they played guitar of course. For making songs I am much more influenced by Paul McCartney, David Bowie, Joni Mitchell and nowadays artists like John Mayer and Bjork.

I have taken all the information and experiences from many more artists and composers and combined them with my own wishes, skills and imperfections, to eventually become the musician I am today. And yes, there is such a great musical legacy that I still enjoy listening to the 'old' heroes. What is an example of a menu you would prepare if I came over? I used to be a cook in a few restaurants in the north of the Netherlands. And since my girlfriend is from Mexico, I think I would make you some Mexican food with a Dutch twist. So we definitely start with a rich chicken soup (the twist is: the chicken once spoke Dutch), a tasty quacamole, a bean dish, corn chips, rice brua (with black beans and vegges) and a Dutch salad with lots of tomatoes and goat cheese, and different tortillas with different fillings (chicken, veggie , beef).

And despues: helados (ice-cream) con frutas.

Was there ever music playing in the kitchen growing up? No, but my sister and I often had to do the dishes after dinner and we developed a kind of rhythmic dishwashing. We were quite good at it, well... that was our opinion anyway. Our mother had a different opinion, because sometimes we accidentally broke a plate or glass.(or two...okay.. three...) If you could share a meal with any four individuals, living or dead, who would they be? I think I'd like to have dinner with Paul McCartney, David Bowie, John McLaughlin and Mozart. Obviously because I admire them all. I think it's fun to talk to. Maybe we didn't need to talk about music, but life in general and then we'd do a little musical session afterwards: Paul on drums, me on bass, David sang, John on guitar and Amadeus on piano. Nice band...'the Eternals'...

What's your favorite cooking show? I like a lot of shows, most of the shows here on TV are from England. I love Jamie Oliver's shows, I have many of his books on my shelf. And I like the way he presents his recipes and cooking skills. And I also love the one with Nigella Lawson, she cooks in a very sensual way.

Most memorable meal while touring. Where were you and what did it involve? Well, 'unforgettable meal' would be a bit of an exaggeration, but each time when we drove back to our hometown in the night after a performance, we often stopped at a truck driver's restaurant in the middle of the Netherlands. And we met other bands doing the same thing. The meatball sandwich was always very tasty and those memories stay with me. We had a lot of fun with the other musicians and exchanged many stories.

If you could be sponsored by one food/drink brand who would it be and why? It absolutely must be a brand that makes healthy products, so low in fat and sugar and no alcohol. I don't know many American brands because, I live in the Netherlands. But if it's something that's healthy for you, count me in.

Harry Kappen is a Dutch musician and music therapist. His first love is the guitar, but gradually he discovered the bass. Now you can safely call him a multi-instrumentalist. His work as a music therapist requires him to be able to play a variety of instruments, including voice, in order to connect with his clients in different ways. This is necessary both in the treatment of individual clients and in system therapy (for example, in dysfunctional families).

On his latest album 'Escape' and seperate single 'Wargames' he sings and plays every instrument himself in combination with the use of digital sounds from Logic Pro.

Harry played in many bands in the Netherlands and throughout Europe. He composed his first song when he was 10 years old. He played with his sister Hanneke in Kapsonic and released an album with her about 6 years ago, called 'Kapsonic'.

Harry is an admirer of David Bowie, Paul McCartney, Prince, Radiohead, Scandinavian pop music by Björk and Motorpsycho. Sometimes their music reflects in Harry's eclectic music.

In spring '22 he self-released an album called 'Escape'. 'Barefoot in the dew' was the only single from this album so far. The Escape album is a concept album. With songs about escaping reality, escaping violence, even life, escaping into love, dreams or art. It became a personal journey with personal lyrics.

Then in the spring Russia attacked Ukraine and the atmosphere in Europe changed completely. During the summer, Harry realized that there were no protest songs in the Dutch charts. In general you could say that musicians do not speak out against abuses and threats, while there is reason enough to protest, you would think. (Ukrainian war, climate change, fake news, ignorance, etc). How different it was in the 60s and 70s during the Vietnam War.

So Harry made a new song and released it a few weeks ago. Hence 'Wargames'. 'Wargames' will also be on the next album due out in the spring of '23.


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