Belgian conundrum

Following their current world tour, lead singer Geike Arnaert is leaving and the band is searching for a replacement.

hooverphonic 248 88 (photo credit: )
hooverphonic 248 88
(photo credit: )
Remember all those times in the shower, singing your favorite songs into the showerhead? As fun as that is, in the back of your mind was the thought of how awesome it would be to sing along with the actual band. This, my dear reader, is very much the reality for Hooverphonic fans. Following their current world tour, lead singer Geike Arnaert is leaving and the band is searching for a replacement. The two remaining members, Alex Callier and Raymond Geerts, have posted a request on their website for any interested party to send in digital voice sample. "We are very sorry that Geike is leaving, she is a great singer. But, I am very excited about finding a replacement," Callier reveals by phone. "I think that by leaving our comfort zone, not taking in someone we know, but rather a new voice, we create the opportunity for something genius and fantastic to happen. We found Geike in the same way 10 years ago. Only then we had to do live auditions and it was a long and painful process. Thankfully, now we have the internet to do the preliminary screening." Formed in 1995 in Brussels, they achieved international success when their song "2wicky," off their first album A New Stereophonic Sound Spectacular, was included on the soundtrack to Bernardo Bertolucci's Stealing Beauty. The band's sound was described as "the new, theatrical, cinematic sound of the century." It's a description that Callier prefers to the usual trip-hop label used. "I never wanted to be defined as trip-hop," he explains. "I always refused to be part of a scene. Even in high school I hung around with the nerdy kids and the cool kids. But our sound always had a cinematic element to it. Every album sounds like it can be a soundtrack for a movie." Shortly after the release of the album, Arnaret joined Hooverphonic. During her tenure, they released five more albums including The Magnificent Tree (off of which came their biggest hit "Mad about You"). On their fourth album, Hooverphonic Presents Jackie Cane, they took the cinematic element one step further in that the concept album tells the story of Jackie Cane, a singer catapulted into stardom at the expense of her relationship with her twin sister. Driven to the brink of insanity by the pressures of fame, she quits show business and returns home to attempt reconciliation but the story ends with her sister killing them both with a poisoned last supper. Over the years Hooverphonic's sound has fluctuated transitioning from trip-hop to bombastic to electro tunes. "I love all sorts of music, from Rachmaninoff to Sonic Youth to Pet Shop Boys," Callier explains. "That's why I explore all different sounds." Their last album, The President Of The LSD Golf Club, was recorded without synthesizers and computers, a first for the band. "It returned to the darker sound of our first album," says Callier, who also reveals that, "in the next album, I'm thinking of returning to soft, slow electro. But, I'm sure whoever's gonna be the lead singer will have an effect on the sound." Excited for the group's upcoming concert in Israel, Callier offers, "The first show, in a country we've never performed in before, is always exciting. It's like dating a girl. The first date, no matter how nerve-racking, is always the most exhilarating one. Furthermore, it's Geike's second to last show with us, so we all want it to be great." As such, Callier promises, the show is meant to be a bit of a retrospective of the band's history with many of their better known hits to appear on the set list. "We'll play them with the musical instruments featured on the last album, but they'll be there. When I go to a show, I want to hear the band's hits. It's very arrogant not to do it. The most important thing is for people to have a good time." Hooverphonic takes the stage on November 20 at Tel Aviv's Barby (52 Kibbutz Galuyot St., (03) 518-8123) at 10 p.m. Tickets are NIS 179-199.