SWEET VOCAL AND POP ENERGY: KAFKA WITH “BOOTYCALL”

KAFKA is a Dutch band formed by Dafne Holtland and Frank van Kasteren. Dafne has a lyrical and harmonic voice that manages to cross without too much effort in rock’n’roll. She also knows how to play all kinds of instruments, having trained in classical music; in short, a truly all-round artist who firmly believes in her passion for music! And then there’s Frank, composer and author of alternative songs, who is also well-versed in all kinds of instruments. The band then manages to move between different genres looking for the surprise between the musical contrasts! Their latest release is “Bootycall“, which is part of their upcoming album “Out Of Tune” that will be released this spring 2021. This new single speaks of mutual desire, the warmth that is generated and emotion; pop sounds seductive and sensual envelop the voice of Daphne, rhythm and energy tell us about Frank. The Kafka are ready to surprise you!


YMX: Hey KAFKA, thanks for talking to us. How have these gloomy times been treating you?

KAFKA: To be honest it’s kind of special to kick off in these times. We’ve released our very first single Goldfish when Corona had just begun and it immediately gained a lot of interest and airplay, so we were very happy. We also had the opportunity to create a music video with a famous Syrian dancer and one of the best cameramen in the Netherlands, because everybody was bored sitting at home. Besides, these are digital times and the future of music will be very digital. So in some way, it’s a boost for that part of the music scene. We saw the positive side of it. On the other hand, of course, we would really love to go out and play. We both miss the people, the stage, the excitement. It’s quite difficult to stay positive all the time, with all the gigs we had to cancel and reschedule. We would love to share our music live with our audience. We can’t wait for it!

YMX: How did you decide music was something you wanted to pursue? Are there any particular episodes that inspired you in doing so?

KAFKA: We both cannot imagine a life without music, without writing and creating, playing live music and exchanging vibes with an audience. Dafne grew up with music and performing on stage, and found out you cannot find the same feeling in anything else, it’s as urgent as having air to breathe. For Frank music came a bit later, when he was 14 years old he started going to guitar lessons with his sister, because she didn’t dare to go alone. “After two years of boring exercises my mother got ill, she got cancer for the second time. When I heard that I ran upstairs to my room and didn’t know what to do with myself. That’s when I wrote my first song. I think it was called Scream to Heaven :). I wasn’t very good, but immediately I knew that this was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. Four years ago my mother died. Music is still the best way to process grief and loss. The moment music sounds and feels exactly like you feel, it’s like someone completely understands you. It’s love.

YMX: Here’s a fun game: name 3 artists, or bands, that inspire you and influence your work, and explain why:

KAFKA: We grew up with very different musical backgrounds. So let’s both play this game. Dafne: Kate & Ann McGarrigle is a band that really inspired and influenced me. My mother always used to play their music when I grew up and just like the McGarrigle family (with members like Loudon, Rufus & Martha Wainwright) we always made music with the entire family. The close harmony, polyphony and all the different instruments that were played by everyone, shaped my view on the role of music in daily life: everything is possible, just don’t be shy. Frank: My first love of music was Queen. I got the Greatest Hits II album from a boy in my class, Tom. I was hooked. I listened to that album all year long. We didn’t have Spotify in those days, so that was the only music I had from them. Later I discovered that my father had old vinyl records and cassettes of Queen. So I listening to News of the World, Night at the Opera, A day at the Races and Jazz. I became a huge Queen fan. Next to that my father played everything of Frank Zappa. And I mean everything… It’s crazy but really cool to grow up with, I can tell you that. No musical surprises after that ;). After Queen came Radiohead. I guess my puberty was kind of melancholic. And Guns n’ Roses, simultaneously with my electric guitar. These days I listen to Balthazar a lot, a Belgium band that I love. I really really dig Billie Eilish as well. And I’ve been a big fan of Bon Iver for years now. Okay, more than 3 artists… but three different stages of my life. Does that could as well?

YMX: You recently released “BOOTYCALL“. Can you tell us how that project came about?

KAFKA: We just released our latest single Bootycall Our debut EP ‘The Biggest Time Bubble’ (released in September 2020) contains a lot of links to the pandemic, like the song and music video of ‘These are the nights’ about the magical feeling of an empty nightclub in a sleeping city like Amsterdam. This August we will release our first album Out of Tune. We are lovers and we went to small houses in the middle of nowhere sometimes, to escape the chaos of the city. One day we were in a big house in Zeeland and we wrote a song, just for fun. At the open fire, we wrote Goldfish, our first single. It was amazing. We’d been afraid that making music together would damage our relationship. On the contrary. It’s become a lovely part of our lives together and making music with your lover is even more intimate and much easier than with other people. One blink of the eye is enough to understand and feel each other.

YMX: How did the pandemic affect your personal music recording experience? Was it easy adjusting to working remotely?

KAFKA: Because we are a couple, it never felt lonely to work on Kafka. We’re very grateful for that. To write music the pandemic is kind of ideal. Most of the time you go in some kind of lockdown to write songs. Now it’s already here, and even without FOMO because everyone is in lockdown! In addition, we have built a studio. So we are working in that studio very often now, it’s great to have a place like that to create, arrange and record whatever, whenever you want. For us, and for our neighbours as well.

YMX: Professional livestreams seem to be really taking over these days. Is it something you would consider doing?

KAFKA: Yes, we have done a few live streams so far in some venues. It’s very cool that you can reach so many people all over the world with a “live gig”. Among whom a lot of people that never went to concerts or theatre, everyone can now easily join a show. But we really love to play in front of real people, of course, we do miss the live audience. Right now we’re working on live music videos from our studio and from the canals of Amsterdam because somehow we feel it is more natural to show our audience how we make music together as a couple or band, then to sit next to each other and stare into a big empty hall, pretending there is an audience. That still feels very surreal. Especially when you finish a song and there’s no applause. Only silence. Don’t know if we can get used to that.

YMX: Since pandemic began, online music promotion has become crucial for an artist’s growth. How important is that for you, and are there any strategies you are willing to share with our readers?

KAFKA: As we said, it’s (almost) the only promotion we had up to now. So it’s very important to us. We like to show people how and where we make music. Also, we like it to give people a peek inside our daily lives, with our cat Sammy. Is that a strategy? We do it the way we like it and hope people will share that feeling.

YMX: Finally, what are your plans for the future?

KAFKA: We’re really looking forward to the release of our album! We have a tour coming up in six of the biggest venues of Holland, as a support act, with our band in 2022. Besides this big opportunity, our booker is working on a tour in Europe around our debut album released late summer. We hope that everything will be open then again and we are so ready to rumble! We’d really love to get out of Europe with Kafka as well, it would be very cool to go on tour in the USA!