M5: You're 17, but you have a resume to be proud of already: A gig at the North Sea Jazz festival in 2002 with your own jazzband, the Solarjazzband. You appeared on various Dutch TV- and radioshows; you won several awards as a kid and got to meet and work with great musicians so far. You started at the age of 5, studying classical guitar; at the age of 11 you moved on to electric guitar, playing rock. You even got to play with Jimi Hendrix' bassist Noel Redding, who sadly passed away in 2003. What was that like, to be in the company of someone who was part of a legendary episode in the history of rockmusic?
BS: I was 12 years old at the time, so it's pretty hard to remember what I was thinking when playing with Noel. But I do recall I felt it was a great honor to have met him, because I was a big Jimi Hendrix fan. And I also remember that when we were playing together, I didn't go like: wow, I'm playing with Noel Redding! When we were making music, I was very inspired and stimulated because of his presence, for he was a great and experienced bassplayer, so it was easier to play better than I usually did. So, musically it was a great experience, the accompaniment of a 'famous' musician. When I got home I think I finally realized that I actually played with him.
M5: Playing rock lasted for 2 years, and then you saw a Pat Metheny video that turned you on to jazz. Which video was that? Can you explain what happened next, did you start to listen to all kinds of jazzrecords/jazzguitarists or .....?
BS: One day my dad watched a Pat Metheny Group video called 'More Travels'. It got my attention, and from that day on I was interested in this music. After listening to all Pat Metheny Group albums for 1000 times, I got interested in standard jazz as well, my first jazzalbum was a Wes Montgomery album, and I extended my collection with more jazzguitarists, and gradually began to listen to modern jazz, which is still the case now.
M5: You were a conservatory student for a year and decided to stop. Why?
BS: I was in the preparation class of the conservatory in Tilburg, where I live. I decided to quit because most lessons dealt with things that I felt I already knew, or topics I wasn't interested in, even theories that provoked me, because they kept me from developing my own ideas of music. So I thought it would be best to be free from any teacher for one year. That year isn't finished yet. Actually, I'm still having classical guitar lessons and some lessons from pianist Harmen Fraanje. But no jazzguitar lessons.
M5: You come from a musical family: your mother's a piano teacher, your father has his own guitarschool and you have a younger brother who also plays the guitar. Do your parents encourage you to go and try for a career as a performing artist?
BS: I think my parents are giving me freedom to do what I want. They don't really encourage me to be making a career as a performing artist, but they don't discourage me either. I can do what I want and I guess I'll have to do it by myself.
M5: Along with some of your musical friends you recorded your own music. Those who've heard it, are very positive about it. Your music is based on improvisations and experimental jazz. Are you sensitive to how others experience the things you do and in which way is this educational?
BS: When I got the idea of doing free improvisations, some people were negative about it. I think that when talking about free improvisation, a certain style comes to mind, one that isn't very popular among many people. That style wasn't really what I had in mind myself, but because some folks were quite negative about the idea of improvisation in the first place, I wasn't sure what listeners would think of my music. So, when people finally heard the record, most of them were enthused. I was quite happy with that response, because compliments are important, as they give you confidence. But you also have to pay attention to the negative criticism, for it can also be of importance in developing your music.
M5: The American All About Jazz forum/message board is a place you frequently visit. In what ways do you learn from the internet?
BS: For a few years now, I've been chatting with people on the internet about music. The All About Jazz forum is a great way to do this, as people from all over the world come to discuss subjects of music. When talking about music, especially writing about music, you manage to understand your own ideas better because you get to see them in written words in front of you. It works like a diary in a way. People can give you subjects to think about, or you can show your own ideas, and hear what other people think of it. It's nice to see your thoughts are registered somewhere.
M5: What would attract you the most, play LIVE or record albums in the studio?
BS: Im attracted to both of them equally. The spirit of playing live is great, as you're really playing to people directly. What I like about recording, is that you can relax and take the time to search for the music you want to make. I think the main concept of a musical project starts in the recording studio. You can be completely honest (if the musicians are working well with you), and play the music you want, as there's no audience to approve or disapprove. I'm fortunate to be able to record at the house of a friend of mine, he's a sound engineer and musician. We can record without having time pressure or other limitations. That's what makes it very attractive.
M5: What music do you listen to these days, who are your favorites?
BS: These days I'm very much into Scandinavian music. The people from the north are the most innovative today, especially in Norway. Some names are Arve Henriksen, Supersilent, and Atomic, but there are a lot more. I'm also very much into Icelandic singer Björk and Sigur Rós.
M5: Too soon to tell actually, but what's been your most exciting experience in the musical world so far?
BS: There have been a few, one of them was while recording a cd with sound engineer Ted Masseurs. It was the first time I could really make music I felt was my own. You can listen to this cd HERE. Some other exciting times I experienced were at our local jazzclub. I've been playing there every tuesday, for the past two years now. They've got real great musicians to play and work with. I've had some tremendous exciting experiences there!
M5: You're still at an early age, so you've got quite a long way ahead of you. What are your plans or goals for the near future?
BS: For the near future, I was thinking lately of going to study at the HKU, they have a faculty in Hilversum for electronic music and music production. I'm very interested in this direction ever since I got into Scandinavian music (there's a lot of electronic music in Norway). My wishes for the future are to travel around the world and spread my music.